Category Archives: Events

"What Love Looks Like" by Kurt Bensworth

Last Saturday I met Kurt Bensworth hawking his first novel, What Love Looks Like, at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in the Amerige Heights Town Center in Fullerton.

Bensworth’s tale of first love is set in Orange County where he grew up and still lives.

“The story fell in my lap several years ago,” he said. “When I explained it to my wife, she told me, ‘Ok, honey, you have a choice. You’ve been talking about writing, and I know you do a little writing here and there, but the truth is, there’s a story here. Either write it or stop talking about it.’ ”

“There are two high school kids in Tustin High School, and I describe places in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. A lot of Orange County people would certainly recognize the places that I speak about in the book.”

It took Bensworth “a good year, a solid year” to write the semi-autobiographical love story.

“It was a very emotion-filled writing year. I think I felt everything all over again. … A lot of nights I started at 10 o’clock and I’m not finished till 2. I’m working on my second book right now, but on my first book there were a lot of late nights.”

Explaining that emotional involvement, he said, “I don’t think love ever dies. If you loved somebody, there’s always going to be that little piece of your heart, even if the relationship ended badly, even if you were divorced or something happens or somebody passes away. It’s part of who you are. It’s part of your general make-up from who you were then and who you will be. It’s all part of you.”

Although Bensworth has done other writing, his previous work was more likely to be educational material about computers and software. Love novels are a new venture. And he’s very specific that his genre is love, not romance.

“It’s a completely different genre. Seriously. There is a difference. They put me in fiction. They won’t put me in romance…. Nicholas Sparks would not be put in romance. They put him in fiction, because that’s just how it’s done.”

Bensworth expects to be at Barnes and Noble again today (Thursday, Oct. 14) from 4  to 7 p.m. for a book signing. People “can sit down and discuss their first loves to me if that’s what they want to talk about, or anything else they’d like to talk about, because, you know what? Everybody has a story.”

You might even want to by a copy of his book. You can visit the bookstore or order from Bensworth’s website.

“If you come down and you pick up the book and you read it, I promise you I’ll strike an emotional chord with you somewhere down the road.”


Barnes and Noble
Amerige Heights Town Center
1923 West Malvern Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92833
(714) 871-9855

Kurt Bensworth

You can also meet Bensworth at monthly meetings he hosts for the Orange County satellite of Independent Writers of Southern California


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Protesters March to Fullerton City Hall

Protester marching against development of West Coyote Hills in Fullerton, Feb. 16, 2010. (Photo credit:Cindy Cotter)

About 75 people gathered in front of the Fox Theater on the corner of Harbor and Chapman Tuesday evening before marching through Fullerton to the city council meeting in a protest organized by Friends of Coyote Hills to oppose  development of 510 acres of open land in West Coyote Hills. The Council will decide later this year whether to approve a zoning change which would allow Pacific Coast Homes, a subsidiary of Chevron, to build housing there. Continue reading

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Race for Supervisor Underway

Tom Daly, Shawn Nelson, Rose Espinoza, and Richard Faher, supervisorial candidates for Orange County's 4th District, appear at a NUFF-sponsored forum moderated by Jennifer Muir at the Fullerton Library on Jan. 25, 2010.

The race is on. Four candidates running to fill Chris Norby’s seat representing the fourth district on the Orange County Board of Supervisors participated in a public forum Monday evening at the Fullerton Library. Norby is leaving to replace Mike Duvall in the Assembly.

The participants included Tom Daly, the Orange County Clerk-Recorder; Shawn Nelson, a councilman from Fullerton; Rose Espinoza, a councilwoman from La Habra; and Richard Faher, a businessman from Placentia. Two other candidates, Anaheim Councilmembers Harry Sidhu and Lorri Galloway, did not attend.

The forum was moderated by Jennifer Muir of the Orange County Register and organized by Neighbors United for Fullerton (NUFF). At the official starting time of 6:45 p.m., there were about 25 people in the audience, but they continued to arrive. By 7:30 there were close to 100 people. I’m only beginning to familiarize myself with local personalities, but I recognized Pam Keller, Fullerton’s mayor pro tem; and Jim Pugliese of Pacific Coast Homes (proposed developers of West Coyote Hills) in the audience.

Nelson and Daly looked good. Espinoza and Faher not so much.

Richard Faher, Placentia businessman

Faher’s opening remarks consisted of an inexplicable “history” of public policy moves that have led to a current crisis in unfunded pension liabilities. Although the crisis is real, Faher’s history was unenlightening. His propensity for reading often-confusing prepared statements packed with facts and figures set the tone for his future contributions. But I give him points for being the least political of all the participants. When asked what he’d do about the issue of funding the Harbor Patrol out of the county’s parks budget (a practice all candidates opposed), he alone said there was little he could do — the only way the matter would be resolved is for it to become an issue in the upcoming campaign for sheriff.

“We’ve been talking about the Harbor Patrol thing for a lot of years and nothing’s changed and I don’t think anything’s going to change,” he said.

Rose Espinoza, La Habra City Councilwoman

Espinoza was the only woman on the panel. Her interest in health care and quality of life issues and her concern for the Latino community and for low-income residents were clear. But she didn’t seem to have a grasp of many of the questions raised. More than once I had the impression that she was basing her answer to a question on the answers provided by panel members who preceded her. She was fond of saying that the proposal in question, whatever it might be, was probably a good idea, but not practical in the current fiscal climate — a one-size-fits-all response that’s unconvincing when it’s overplayed.

When asked for her opinion on a transit project (the CenterLine proposal), she first repeated Faher’s contention that it would be too slow (which argument Faher had just attributed to Nelson), then went on: “It might be a good idea for central Orange County, but it’s not money well-spent at this time.”

Nelson then opened his response with: “It’s a bad idea for central Orange County. … Until Metrolink is an efficient operation as is, we have no business building tracks.”

Shawn Nelson, Fullerton City Councilman

Nelson seemed to have a good grasp of the issues and was able to present his views clearly and convincingly. What distinguished him, in my mind, was an emphasis on technical solutions intended to increase efficiency. When asked how the county could save money, he suggested e-filing of public documents. (That turned out to be a bit of a gaffe since he was sitting next to Daly, who said Orange County was the first in the nation to institute e-filing some time ago.) Nelson’s suggested means of dealing with the state’s early release of prisoners was that communications technology should be used to keep local law enforcement informed. He doesn’t think legal requirements for lobbyists to disclose their activities is necessary; he’ll post all his contacts with lobbyists on his website.

Tom Daly, Orange County Clerk-Recorder

Daly also presented himself well, and seemed to have a better grasp of county operations than any of the other panel members. When asked how the county could save money, he said the county owns land, like the former El Toro marine base, that is underutilized. All candidates agreed that money that is now used to fund the Harbor Patrol should be used for more parks in North Orange County (NOC), but Daly said there hadn’t been a new county park in NOC since the 1970’s. When asked about environmental issues, Faher gave a non-answer, Espinoza fumbled, Nelson gave a good answer (recycling) drawing on his experience in the city council, but Daly named ways in which the county is responsible for environmental issues, including the topical question of flood control.


Neighbors United for Fullerton
Jennifer Muir
Tom Daly
Shawn Nelson
Rose Espinoza
Richard Faher

(All photos by Cindy Cotter)

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Assemblyman Hagman

Republican Assemblyman Curt Hagman, 60th District, met with constituents at separate gatherings in La Mirada and La Habra Saturday morning. About 25 people joined him on the patio of Panera Bread at 15224 Rosecrans in La Mirada at 10:30 a.m.

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