It's been more than two years since that memorable morning in July 2008, when I awoke from a late night, rubbing the sleep from my eyes to walk outside and retrieve my Daily Pilot from the driveway. With coffee in hand, my first glance caused blood to rise in my face and my eyes to pop wide open in their sockets. There I was staring at "myself" in black and white – a caricature of me as a child standing on a soap box, pathetically crying while two men, lurking behind, shake hands over a document titled "Fair Rehab Deal."
The caricature was a demeaning mockery of my views on Newport Beach's Drug Rehab Settlement Agreement, the first of its kind, which I had so vocally opposed. I felt like I had just been assaulted.
As a relatively unknown West Newport resident, I was targeted because I had publicly objected to a law that was detrimental to my community, despite being promoted by city officials as a "Public Benefit Agreement." The Daily Pilot did not consider the content of my objection – the newspaper simply took aim and fired, and I had absolutely no venue from which to defend myself.