Chris Epting Sends Suicide Bomber into Vern Concert.




knapp suicide bomber

“I opened the gate and they stopped, turning. I was trying to say, and I caught her, trying to say, and she screamed and I was trying to say and trying and the bright shapes began to stop and I tried to get out. I tried to get it off of my face, but the bright shapes were going again…”

I was reminded, two Saturdays ago, of the “Benji” section of Faulkner’s amazing The Sound and the Fury – the idiot man-child castrated for the public’s safety after he terrifies a little girl by chasing her down the street, in his mind just “trying to say” something to her.  I was reminded of that passage when I heard Jim Knapp’s repeated protests to his handler Chris Epting that he “was just trying to ask her [Gina Clayton-Tarvin] a question” before being thrown out of my library concert by security, and an hour later had the police called on him for lying in wait in the parking lot.

“…I got undressed and I looked at myself and I began to cry. Hush, Luster said. Looking for them aint going to do no good. They’re gone.”

I should probably back up a bit.

vern herceg concertFor fifteen years or so I’ve been playing concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library about every two months.  I rent the room, people pay 10 bucks to get in and buy CD’s, and generally I make a little profit.  Frequently when there’s an election coming up, or an important issue I think people should know about, I invite candidates or activists I like to speak a few minutes.  (Not TOO long, cuz some folks just want to hear the music!)

This past Saturday September 10, I invited four, then eventually five candidates that I really think Huntington Beachers should vote for, and invited them to each speak a couple minutes in between my performances (along with musical guests) of a variety of classical, jazz, rock and original pieces.  The candidates I invited were:

  • Council candidates Lyn Semeta and Ron Sterud (Republicans who remain independent of the Chamber of Commerce and oppose High-Density and Poseidon;  people should also re-elect my old Democratic friend Jill Hardy, but she’ll stay in easily.)
  • OC Water District Candidate “King” Clem Dominguez, who is running a very grass-roots race on an anti-Poseidon and pro-transparency platform;  and
  • Ocean View School District President Gina Clayton-Tarvin, running for re-election along with her running mate Patricia Singer;  Gina’s become a local heroine (but also become controversial in some cramped quarters) for spearheading the effort to make Rainbow Disposal enclose their malodorous dump for the benefit of the adjacent Oak View school and neighborhood;  her re-election seems so probable that I expected her to mainly speak about how badly the district needs the bond Measure R to pass.

And What has Chris Epting Been Up To?

epting and son assholes at vigilIf anything, the former journalist has become an even more dishonest and deranged propagandist than last time I wrote about him.  His monomaniacal ravings about Gina’s never-defined “corruption,” on the few forums where he is still allowed to vent, have begun to resemble Jack Nicholson’s endless typing “All work no play…” in The Shining.   Forever disheveled and grizzled, he endlessly repeats lies that he knows are lies (for example, that the July Victims’ Vigil at the Pier was intended to celebrate the Dallas Cop Killer, and that Gina had anything to do with it) – a quality I admit puts him a few rungs below notorious OC blog-propagandist Matt Cunningham.  (I don’t think Cunningham would knowingly repeat a proven lie, and repeat it endlessly.  It’s more a … Trump thing to do.)

when epting met ginaMeanwhile, Chris’ little squadron of fellow anti-Gina zealots has grown a little, from about four to maybe ten strong.  Ranging from unrepentant and half-literate racists to a few disgruntled former OVSD people, they make the Epting-dominated “OVSD Community Forum” (from which dozens of us are banned, but occasionally peek at from our extra Facebook accounts) a cacophonic echo chamber which few normal people can stomach.

So, when it entered into Chris’ consciousness, a couple weeks before my concert, that Gina would be speaking there, he posted on his Forum, “This sounds like a good opportunity for some of you to go ask her some tough questions!”  And everyone knew he meant, “Ask her EPTING-style,” meaning barking accusations repeatedly while glowering over her and holding a camera-phone in her face, something she won’t take any more.  

Oh, and Chris’ favorite charge against Gina had recently switched from the various unfair and dishonest ways she supposedly treats poor Rainbow Disposal (which I assume wasn’t getting much traction with the public, probably only making her more likable)… to bizarre accusations about her involvement with ASBESTOS in OVSD schools, most recently his lie that she’d claimed Hope View School was “100% asbestos free,” something she knows better than to ever say about a building from the 60’s.  Watch Chris’ short propaganda video below:

You see how he plies his trade?  The inexpert NEWSCASTER is the one who says “asbestos FREE;”  GINA who has been immersed in the issue for years specifies “FULL ABATEMENT.”  Yet Chris entitles his video “Gina Clayton Tarvin states that ALL asbestos has been removed from school,” which he knows will determine what half his viewers think they see.

norm firecracker westwellLet’s see, next thing to tell you.  Till the very last moment of filing day it was looking like Rainbow/Chamber/Epting were not even going to have a candidate to run against Gina and Patricia.  And they MUST have had a hard time finding anyone to do it, seeing who they ended up with – a complete unknown woman named Kathryn Gonzalez, along with quite the opposite – a longtime maverick Libertarian HB politician with anger management issues and sundry baggage, self-named Norm “Firecracker” Westwell.  (Right.  Westwell could fill up his OWN long article, if I have to do it some day.)

SO.  I got two somewhat rude phone calls a week or so before my concert, Norm and Kathryn both demanding brusquely to be allowed to speak at my concert if Gina and Patricia got to.  They had gotten my number from Chris.  I could have said no, and probably should have, given their entitled attitudes, but my love of debate and free speech and ten dollars got the better of me, so I told ’em sure, pay your ten bucks, listen to the music, and you can each speak for two minutes.

Back to the Concert…

knapp 2Friends of mine worried, Epting is going to come and cause mischief, embarrassment, maybe even violence.  I was all, no, he doesn’t have the physical courage for that.  He’ll send someone else.  It’ll probably be the sometimes unhinged Westwell if anything.  

We were all wrong.  Norm and Kathryn were gracious and polite, and when their times came to speak, hardly said anything but that they loved the music, and to please look for their websites and vote for them.  I was even disappointed, shouting at Norm, “Come on, tell us how you would do things differently from the current board!” but he ignored me.  

But some of my friends noticed, and mentioned later on, that both before and after the show Norm and Kathryn were huddling with a big angry fellow named Jim Knapp, who in retrospect was their de facto spokesman, the conveyor of their “message.”

knapp 3And as it turns out, this hulking juggernaut with the dead angry eyes and loud but whiny voice, this Knapp, has a long, bitter personal and professional history with the school district over the years, which we won’t get into here.  But most recently he is FURIOUS at having his “first amendment rights violated.”  Furious at being repeatedly thrown in Facebook jail for violating FB “community standards” with his nonstop personal attacks and false charges against “Crooked Gina.”  And most recently furious at being thrown out of the Sept. 7 re-opening ceremony at Lake View School.  

(What happened there – Knapp, reportedly accompanied by morbidly rotund hate-vessel Chuck Johnson, showed up onto school property with big signs proclaiming that the school was still unsafe and filled with ASBESTOS, and hollering, in front of hundreds of school children and their parents, that they were all going to get MESOTHELIOMA AND DIE, and that it was all Gina’s fault.  Illegal to start with, and also akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater, so of course the two psychos were thrown out.  [UPDATE – Now I’m hearing that, despite what I was told, it was not Johnson but Norm Westwell himself who was helping Knapp terrorize children.  This incident will need to be looked at a lot more closely now.  Stay tuned…])

So again, back to my concert.  When the intermission started, after his friends Norm and Kathryn had given their brief intros, Knapp started chasing Gina around the room with his camera-phone screeching “Why did you lie about asbestos?  Why did you violate my rights?  How many children have been diagnosed with mesothelioma?” and suchlike lunacy, comporting himself exactly like his mentor Epting, but an overgrown Epting on PCP.

knapp and king clemGina told him to leave her alone and stop filming her, and gradually members of my audience – some of them longtime Gina supporters, along with many who hardly knew who she was – began clustering around her to protect her from this charging rhino.  Janice Unger Ugland held her hand in the way of Knapp’s camera, and he repeatedly slapped her arm down, greatly angering her husband.  You can see the mellow council candidate Ron Sterud place himself subtly in between Gina and Knapp;  folks begin to call for security.  Bryan Swezea confronts the ogre gallantly, and then best of all King Clem Dominguez, half Knapp’s size, orders him sternly to “GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE,” as library security arrives to escort him away.  As Knapp leaves he hollers “PRAISE THE LEFT!” to which both I and Victor Valladares respond, “…praise the LEFT?” as we consider the vast variety of political persuasions represented in the room.  

Oh yeah, you want to see all that now.  First Knapp’s stoopid video, and then a medley of our own videos compiled by Oscar Rodriguez:

So, at that point we thought it was all over and that Knapp was gone.  Gina also offered her apologies for leaving early – she had to make it to an Optimist Club event to which my concert had already made her late – and she disappeared as well out into the hall, at which point I began to play my long second half.  I recited my Ode to a Plastic Bag.  6-year old Bree Wareh sang Katy Perry’s “Roar” with me.  Perry Van Dran joined me to perform two of the songs from our rock opera in progress.  I played Rhapsody in Blue, which is a LONG piece.  Then I let my unlikely fan, Villa Park conservative firebrand Deborah Pauly, give a brief argument against the Measure R school bond, or else she would have exploded.  Finally Perry sang my dark holiday song “Dirty Snow.”  I’m just trying to get across how much time went by here.

We began to move all the equipment, but once we tried to get out the exit, who did we see but Gina sitting there, with the security guys by her side?  “I CAN’T LEAVE!  THAT KNAPP GUY IS WAITING FOR ME OUT IN THE PARKING LOT!”  Outside, the police had just arrived, and were doing their best to talk Knapp into leaving.  “I just want to ask her some questions!” he kept protesting much like Faulkner’s castrated idiot man-child, before FINALLY huffing off after being threatened with charges of false imprisonment.

A day in the life of Gina Clayton-Tarvin, in Epting World.

epting smartass

A few hours later began the inevitable:  Knapp trotted back to Epting with his prize story and video, and  Epting began his alchemizing it all into a tale of innocent victim Knapp terrorized by tyrannical Gina and her fanatic followers.  But Epting’s alchemy isn’t that convincing to most thinking adults. I’m getting tired of this story, you can check out Epting’s lazy dumb manipulative interview with Knapp…  

I’ve skipped a lot of things for brevity’s sake, believe it or not.  

  • I skipped my own brief unpleasant conversation with Knapp right before he went to harass Gina.  
  • I skipped the sordid history Knapp and his family has had with the Ocean View School District;
  • I skipped the fact that Stephanie Erickson, a Mexican-hating harpy allied with Epting, had been calling the library for a few days to complain that I shouldn’t be allowed to play there, and Gina shouldn’t be allowed to speak there, because “The Mexicans in Slater Slums get EVERYTHING for free;”  
  • All the utter craziness that has gone on SINCE then, particularly at the OVSD meeting last week, featuring a full-on Epting meltdown – should I tell that story too?  I wasn’t there, but there is plenty of video!

Well, everybody wanted to hear my account of what happened at the library September 10, so there it is.  But the important thing:

Huntington Beach!  Vote:

For OC Water District:

“King” Clem Dominguez.  (Or if you live in the Harbour area, re-elect Phil Anthony.)  Despite what many say, we can still stop the disaster of Poseidon if we get a more honest Water Board, especially given a few recent developments I’ll be writing about next.

clem banner

For City Council:

Jill Hardy, Ron Sterud, and Lyn Semeta.  Do NOT vote for the mega-funded Patrick Brenden or the mega-familiar Joe Carchio.  I don’t care how nice they are, either one of them will flip the council to a Chamber-puppet majority, and the city will go to hell in a handbasket.  I exaggerate thee not.

hardy sterud semeta

And if you live in the Ocean View School District:

Gina Clayton-Tarvin and Patricia Singer for school board.

gina and patricia




yes on r

PS Ignore any Brenden ads

below or at top;

they are paid-for targeted Google ads

which I can’t do anything about – V.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.