2017’s quirky news: plastic coyotes, a foul flower, a porn prank and more

Did you hear the one about the plastic coyotes scaring off sea lions in Newport Harbor? How about a city councilman’s website that was appropriated to promote porn?

Here are a few of the novel, bizarre and kooky things the Daily Pilot covered in 2017:

The coyotes of Newport Harbor

Newport Beach harbor officials have a wily new way to keep sea lions off boats and docks: a pack of plastic coyotes.

The decoys, plopped at known pinniped hot spots, are intended to act as scarecrows against sea lions that would like to haul themselves onto decks and otherwise cause a ruckus.

The three-dimensional, life-size coyotes are mostly plastic with furry, twitchy tails.

One of the coyotes is named Wile E., of course. His friends are Bugs, Elmer, Sylvester, Yosemite, Taz, Marvin and Babs.

Nearly nude burglar raids dancewear shop

Laguna Beach police in May arrested a man suspected of breaking into a boutique that sells exotic dancewear for women.

A surveillance video showed a man, clad only in tiny undies, grabbing items in the Delicate Illusions shop on South Coast Highway.

The store owner told officers that more than $1,400 worth of merchandise and cash was taken during the burglary, which occurred while the business was closed.

Officers arrested Reese Westenberger, 53, on suspicion of burglary, grand theft and vandalism.

“Surveillance footage is priceless,” the Police Department tweeted. “#caughtwithhispantsdown.”

Reagan statue’s move ruffles some feathers

A life-size bronze statue of Ronald Reagan owned by the city of Newport Beach got some high-profile new digs during the fall.

Then-Mayor Kevin Muldoon said in April that the Reagan likeness had been vandalized and neglected at Bonita Canyon Sports Park, where it had been on display since 2011. He suggested moving it to a place more fitting of a former president: the sculpture garden in Civic Center Park outside City Hall.

The relocation, completed in September, drew criticism from some residents who felt it was a partisan statement and wasn’t done with enough public input.

The statue is near the Civic Center’s colony of giant concrete bunnies.

Corpse flower blooms

Visitors to Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa could stop and smell the roses. Or they could sniff the titan arum, better known as the corpse flower for reasons that become apparent to anyone standing downwind.

The flower, said to reek like rotten fish, sweaty socks or roadkill, put on its show in June, drawing hundreds of visitors to smell what all the stink was about.

The corpse flower, a native of Indonesia, is a relatively rare plant, with a towering, striking silhouette. OCC’s specimen, nicknamed “Little Dougie,” stood about 5 feet tall and is still growing. Before the summer engagement, the flower had last bloomed in 2014.

The flower emits its foul stench for 24 to 48 hours after opening to attract flies and carrion beetles that pollinate the male and female flowers it holds deep inside a pod.

Councilman’s website ‘hijacked’ to promote porn

Costa Mesa City Councilman Allan Mansoor alleged a detractor “hijacked” his online domain name and repurposed it to advertise pornography.

In a federal trademark infringement lawsuit filed in February, Mansoor suggested that a political opponent took control of a website bearing Mansoor’s name after Mansoor’s domain registration expired in 2015.

The revamped site featured explicit appraisals of porn sites and links to those sites.

Mansoor later amended his lawsuit to name an Irvine man as the alleged perpetrator, along with several unknown “Does.” He dropped the suit in June and now seems to have regained control of allanmansoor.com, which currently promotes his campaign for Costa Mesa mayor.

hillary.davis@latimes.com

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