TOM JOHNSON SHINES THE SPOTLIGHT - THE COCKROACH TAKES THE STAGE
Friday morning's Daily Pilot brought us a very interesting column by publisher, Tom Johnson, here, in which he decries the recent decision by the Costa Mesa City Council to designate Paularino Park as a "passive" park - the definition for which still does not exist in the official Costa Mesa lexicon. As you will read, Johnson attributes this re-designation specifically to the actions of one resident - a man who bears a striking resemblance to my theoretical character, Your Neighbor. Johnson goes on to chronicle some of this fellow's "accomplishments" over the past several years.
To no one's surprise, this angry fellow immediately posted a lengthy blog entry on what he has referred to as his "little newsletter", which you can read here. You'll see that he's eager for others to read his voluminous works. Having done so myself, I can tell you that many will turn your stomach. If you're feeling the need to fall face first into some literary feces, here's a link that will take you to a site that lists several hundred of his essays. Simply scroll down through the titles and select one or two. Have a bucket handy, because they may make you puke. In his blog entry, this fellow rejects Johnson's criticism and regales us with a list of his accomplishments for the improvement of our city. I guess the only thing missing is cross-burning to make his resume complete.
I'm saddened by the influence this twisted, bigoted man has had on our city. Last year, almost to the day, when I included him in my list of nominations for the Daily Pilot 103 most influential persons, I did so begrudgingly. I detest what he stands for, but there can be no doubt that he has influenced the direction Costa Mesa politics has taken over the past few years. Through his manipulation of some frightened, malleable people in town he has gone about methodically making life miserable for the Hispanic population of our city - one third of our residents.
LIST OF SHAME
He has been instrumental in the reduction in funding of some of the charities on the Westside of our town. He has facilitated the closure of the Job Center. He has orchestrated the demise of the Human Relations Committee. He has proposed a plan to wipe out the industrial businesses on the Westside of town - many of which provide jobs for Hispanics in our city. He tried, unsuccessfully, to close down the Orange Coast College Swap Meet - a venue for low end commerce and social interaction for the Hispanic population of our city. I doubt his attack on that entity has ended. Now he has been successful in having "his" neighborhood park, Paularino Park, declared a "passive park" to keep Hispanic men from kicking a soccer ball around after a hard day at work. The actual result of that bit of his handiwork will keep neighborhood kids and parents from tossing a ball or frisbee around after school or on weekends. Unless visitors want to sit and watch the grass grow, they will find Paularino Park offers little. Of course, there's always the chance that you'll find this fellow chasing butterflies with his grandkids. Yeah, right!
EMULATING HIS IDOL
This man - a philosophical throwback to 1920's-era Germany - has taken not just pages, but entire chapters, from Adolph Hitler's playbook. He's given frightened residents of our city a group of people to blame for the negative conditions in their lives - Hitler used the Jews, this man uses the Hispanics. He then, playing on those fears and hatred, has methodically gone about trying to expel them from our city. I guess we should feel lucky he hasn't tried to gas and incinerate them. To facilitate this expulsion he has played to the darkest side of some people's minds. He's found a fertile field in which to plant his seeds of intolerance and a small, paranoid group of easily-manipulated people to do his bidding. By using our young jailer/mayor and his majority as willing tools of his plan, this vile, angry guy has managed to nurture and harvest fear and hatred of Hispanics in our town - something I would not have thought possible a few short years ago. Through his negative influence on the leaders he sponsored he's made our city an adversary of every neighboring city instead of partners in the resolution of problems of mutual concern - to the detriment of all our residents.
FLIES ON A DUNG PILE
Tom Johnson has this guy pegged to a T. Until the residents of this city wise up and see this man and his influence for what they are, this city will continue to be the poster child for intolerance and the subject of ridicule and derision of our neighbors. The leaders he has sponsored and mentored will continue to attract outsiders from the radical right like flies to a fresh pile of dung, feeding on the rotting philosophy spewed by this guy and his sycophants. This guy touts himself as being a member of MENSA, which may be true enough. However, I can't help thinking how his actions are such a colossal waste of a prodigious intellect. What a shame.
HAVEN FOR HATE
These are sad times for this city - my home for half my life. I would caution young parents who might consider making Costa Mesa their home to think hard before making that decision. Today, under the influence of this man and his disciples, our city has become a haven for hate and bigotry, where among the life lessons to be learned from the elected leaders and their cronies are intolerance and disrespect of those around you with a different skin color and language proficiency.
I'm glad Tom Johnson decided to shine the light of truth on this fellow. Unless the residents of this city are allowed to see and understand his actions I fear our town is doomed to become a reincarnation of some of the worst southern towns during the middle of the last century. I'm not willing to have this city turned back to that era without a fight. You, my friends and neighbors, deserve better than that.