Ornate former O.C. home of Trinity Broadcast Network poised for new use

The Trinity Broadcast Network compound in Costa Mesa.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, March 6. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you this week’s TimesOC newsletter with a look at the latest local news and events.

No concrete election results from Super Tuesday will be available for some time because lots of ballots have yet to be counted, so I thought we could focus on something today other than Orange County voter turnout or who is winning or losing at this point in any of the races. Instead, here’s a look at what transpired at a recent meeting of one of our local planning commissions.

Trinity Broadcast Network, having seen significant growth since 1996 when it acquired an ornate Costa Mesa compound to use as its headquarters, sold it in 2017 to a commercial real estate firm. It changed hands again and has been largely unused since, but it may soon be “resurrected,” as my Daily Pilot colleague Sara Cardine put it in a news story published over the weekend, as an event center.


The current owner of the 6.19-acre property on Bear Street that boasts a 65,924-square-foot, three-story building, successfully convinced the Costa Mesa Planning Commission last week that it would be a great venue to host special events.

According to Cardine’s story, Manny Khoshbin, owner of the Irvine-based Khoshbin Co., purchased the property in 2021 for a reported $22 million, after previous plans to operate an international language school there never came to fruition.

“We’ve spent over $1 million improving the site, beautifying it, and I think the neighborhood really enjoys seeing some life [come back] into the property,” Khoshbin said. “We’ve been getting a lot of requests for events, weddings and birthdays, because it’s such a beautiful landscape.

“I wanted to do this event center to add an amenity to the neighborhood and generate some revenue as well as create some jobs — that was the plan.”

Planning commissioners, who approved the proposal on a 5-1 vote, put some restrictions in place so the surrounding neighborhood isn’t too negatively affected by large crowds: No more than 225 people can be on the site at one time, events have to end by 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends, there may be no amplified sounds outdoors and no more than four musicians at a time can perform outdoors during an event.

And there’s more: Free valet parking will be offered, and access to the property will be restricted to a single entrance. The building’s third floor is not to be used as office or event space without approval from the city, and no cooking or food preparation may take place on site.

Residents who observe activity outside of those conditions are encouraged to report to the city anything that seems amiss, one planning commissioner said during the meeting.

“You are our eyes and ears in the community,” Commissioner Jimmy Vivar told residents in the meeting’s audience that night. He explained code enforcement officers could be sent out to investigate potential violations. “If anything does happen, I encourage you to reach out to the city.”


Councilwoman Natalie Rubalcava speaks during a Feb. 27 meeting of the Anaheim City Council.
Councilwoman Natalie Rubalcava speaks during a Feb. 27 meeting of the Anaheim City Council, the night the date was set for a recall election backed by Unite Here Local 11.
(Screenshot by Gabriel San Román)

A member of the Anaheim City Council faces a recall election in June. Councilwoman Natalie Rubalcava represents District 3, a central area of the city. Anaheim was was the center of an FBI political corruption probe two years ago, after which, according to this TimesOC story by my colleague Gabriel San Román, Anaheim hired a consulting group to do an independent investigation. The report generated by the consultants overseeing the work accused Rubalcava of assorted wrongdoings. She has said the accusations are “inaccurate.” Unite Here Local 11, a union representing hotel and convention center workers in Anaheim, backed a recall effort and garnered enough signatures on a petition to qualify for an election. During the Feb. 27 meeting of the Anaheim City Council, four council members expressed disappointment with having to set a date for the Rubalcava recall, according to San Román’s report. Officials estimate the cost of the special election at $700,000.

Two stories published in the past week, in the L.A. Times and TimesOC, center on battles against Mother Nature in San Clemente:
— Construction began last week on a $7-million barrier wall to protect the train tracks running through the area from a landslide. According to this news story from our colleague Hannah Fry with The Times, the storm-soaked area was the subject of a state emergency declaration that allowed transportation officials to access $10 million in funding so the tracks could be protected and the rail service — which has been shut down there for more than a month — could be restored.
— Work on a $14-million effort to repair the San Clemente coastline with a sand replacement project had to be delayed for more than two months because the quality of the sand being brought in for the job was poor. It was so gravely, according to this story by TimesOC’s San Román, that it was damaging the equipment used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The City Council in late February directed staff to apply for a Sand Compatibility and Opportunistic Use Program permit to transport sediment to the project area by truck or rail from possible sites like the Prado Dam or even landslide areas in the city.

The Orange County plastic surgeon who branded himself as “Dr. Laguna” has settled a lawsuit with patients for $6 million. Dr. Arian Mowlavi reached the settlement with three dozen former patients, according to court records. “In a series of malpractice lawsuits filed against him, patients alleged he unnecessarily forced them to be nude for an examination, made inappropriate comments about their bodies, touched them without consent, tried to upsell other procedures moments before they went under the knife and, in some cases, botched the surgeries,” according to the L.A. Times report here.


Costa Mesa police are investigating two stabbings that took place less than a half a mile from one another.
Costa Mesa police are investigating two unrelated stabbings that took place less than a half a mile from one another last Tuesday evening and early Wednesday.
(Daily Pilot Staff)

Six people were arrested last week in separate gang-related stabbings in Costa Mesa. The stabbings took place last Tuesday evening and early Wednesday less than half a mile away from one another, one near Paularino Elementary School. Two victims were hospitalized. The Costa Mesa Police Department issued a news release Thursday detailing the times and places of the two incidents. They did not release the names of five juveniles detained after the Tuesday night stabbing because they are minors. The person arrested in the second stabbing was not identified, police said, due to their ongoing investigation.

A shooting in Newport Beach, believed by the victim to be a case of road rage, wounded one man last week. According to the Daily Pilot report, police responded at 12:22 a.m. last Wednesday to a Shell station on Jamboree Road, where they found the victim — who had been driving a Tesla — suffering from a gunshot wound. The incident did not happen at the service station, but in a parking lot near the Newport Pier following a verbal altercation.

A suspected gang member has been arrested in the Feb. 25 shooting that wounded a 3-year-old girl who was in the back seat of her mother’s car. The L.A. Times reports Angel Castillo, 20, of Santa Ana, was allegedly trying to shoot the man in the front seat of a Nissan Altima, identified as the boyfriend of the girl’s mother. Castillo was arrested in Santa Fe Springs on Thursday. He faces two counts of attempted murder, as well as charges of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle and committing the crime for the benefit of a street gang. The injured girl was still hospitalized as of Monday of this week but is expected to make a full recovery.


Albert Pujols speaks with reporters at Angels camp on Monday, March 4 in Tempe, Ariz.
Albert Pujols speaks with reporters at Angels camp on Monday in Tempe, Ariz.
(Mike DiGiovanna / Los Angeles Times)

Former slugger Albert Pujols aspires to one day manage a Major League Baseball team, the L.A. Times reports. Pujols, in Arizona this week at Angels camp as a guest instructor, was asked about future plans. According to sportswriter Mike DiGiovanna, Pujols acknowledged that the idea of holding a manager’s job appeals to him. “I think, you know, why not? If the opportunity is right one day, I think I’ll be ready for that,” he told the reporter. Right now, as the guest instructor at camp, the 44-year-old is fulfilling one of the obligations of his 10-year, $10-million personal services contract with owner Arte Moreno.

Garden Grove Pacifica High is at the top of the Southland Softball Rankings this week. The high school softball top 20 rankings for the L.A. Times by CalHiSports.com were published Monday. Pacifica is in the No. 1 spot, Huntington Beach is No. 3, Orange Lutheran No. 5, Los Alamitos No. 8, Marina, No. 9.

Tackling Sports, an informal gathering of like-minded people to talk sports, is scoring attendees. The group meets at the Oasis Senior Center in Newport Beach, usually on the third Tuesday of each month, reports my colleague Matt Szabo. It has grown quickly since it was started last July by former NFL referee Laird Hayes and Tom Johnson, a former Daily Pilot publisher (and my onetime boss) who now publishes the online newspaper and community forum Stu News. When Matt sat in last week, the featured guest was Scott Daruty, president of Monarch Content Management and Elite Turf Club who also serves as senior vice president for Los Angeles Turf Club Inc.


Emplyee Amber Markham holds a Strickand pistachio-flavored ice cream in a waffle cone.
Emplyee Amber Markham holds Strickand pistachio-flavored ice cream in a waffle cone with Nicholas Liu, owner Neil Liu, and Jordan Smart, from left, during the grand opening of Stricklands Ice Cream in Costa Mesa on Friday.
(Don Leach/Daily Pilot)

A popular Irvine ice cream shop that was closed years ago has been replicated in Costa Mesa. Stricklands, which was located near UC Irvine, had a big following before its 2018 closure. Some devoted fans of its creamy offerings, Neil and Stephanie Liu, on Friday opened their own Stricklands franchise. “I was a die-hard fan, going all the time,” Neil Liu told the Daily Pilot Friday. “After they closed, every time we had dessert or a birthday party, we’d sit around and say, ‘Why isn’t there a Stricklands around?’” Their new shop is on Newport Boulevard, in the Costa Mesa Courtyards center. Intrigued? A calendar listing of their March flavors of the day can be found here.

The Hilbert Museum of California Art recently reopened after an expansion project that tripled its size was completed. The museum showcases the extensive collection of Mark and Janet Hilbert of Newport Coast, who have amassed more than 5,000 pieces. The couple made the museum possible with a gift to Chapman University in 2014. It first opened in 2016, then was closed while the expansion was underway. Visitors can now tour nine exhibitions featuring everything from paintings to Navajo weavings to antique radios and more. The address is 167 N. Atchison St., Orange. Reservations to visit the Hilbert can be made here.

A new dog park in Laguna Beach welcomed canines and their companions for the first time last week. Dog owners at Moulton Meadows Park will be able to use the play area, located where Capistrano Avenue meets Balboa Avenue, daily from dawn to dusk, except Thursday. According to this story by my colleague Andrew Turner, State Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) secured $300,000 in state funding for the project, which included new benches and fencing, a modified irrigation system, renovated turf and a new landscape buffer, as well as a pet drinking fountain.


A Holland Lop.
A Holland Lop is one of 52 breeds of rabbits that are kept and shown throughout the U.S. A workshop on rabbit keeping will be held at Centennial Farm at the O.C. fairgrounds on March 16.
(Courtesy of Allen Mesick)

Here’s a learning opportunity for those who might be interested in rabbit keeping: Centennial Farm on the Orange County fairgrounds is offering a new two-hour course called Urban Hops on Saturday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to noon. The workshop will be led by Allen Mesick, a licensed rabbit judge who’s traveled the world judging competitions and teaching others about the sustainability benefits of rabbit keeping. Mesick’s lecture coincides with a rabbit show hosted by the Riverside County Rabbit Breeders Assn., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., during which hundreds of rabbits will be on display. Reservations for the workshop must be made at this website by Wednesday, March 13.

Irvine Park Easter Eggstravaganza festivities are underway. The event, which opened Saturday, is scheduled to run daily through Saturday, March 30, weather permitting. The Easter Bunny is there from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends to meet visitors and pose for photos. There are Easter-themed activities like daily egg hunts for children 2 to 12 that are divided by age groups, hay rides on a tractor-pulled wagon, train rides and games. The park is located at 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange. To learn more about photo costs, Easter egg hunt scheduling, activity tickets and parking visit the Irvine Park Railroad website.

“Reflections”: A Timothy J. Clark Exhibition at Moulton Museum concludes this Saturday. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m., with a closing reception set to begin at 2 p.m. Art historian Jean Stern, the former director of the Irvine Museum, will walk through Reflections with Clark, a longtime resident of Capistrano Beach. Together they’ll offer the closing celebration’s comments on art, history and culture at 3 p.m. Moulton Museum is located at 25256 Cabot Road, Laguna Hills.


Thank you for reading today’s newsletter. If you have a memory or story about Orange County, I would love to read and share it in this space. Please try to keep your submission to 100 words or less and include your name and current city of residence.

I appreciate your help in making this the best newsletter it can be. Please send news tips, your memory of life in O.C. (photos welcome!) or comments to carol.cormaci@latimes.com.