Thursday, August 09, 2007

Revelations And Frustrations in Costa Mesa Nation

The Costa Mesa City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 7, 2007 was yet another interesting adventure. I'm not sure what was up with the mayor, but it seemed like every time I looked up at the picture on my television screen he was absent. Every once in awhile he would pop up and dash off the dais like he was trying to make the council meeting an aerobic event.

During the public comments segment an interesting event occurred. One speaker - a regular attendee before the council who resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor - who uses his three minutes to provide direction to the council, made a couple of very telling comments. First, he told us that he is able to recognize gang members on sight, and described some of the physical attributes on which he bases his opinion. It sure sounded like racial profiling to me. Now, if this guy can actually identify gang members from among other members of the community on sight I think we need to draft him into the Gang Enforcement Detail of the Costa Mesa Police Department to facilitate the eradication of gangs from our city. Since he's been a frequent loud critic of gangs and a strident advocate for safety of our residents, I'm sure he would acquiesce and perform this public service for the safety of all Costa Mesa residents.

This same fellow also mentioned, in the same context of the gang problem, that he has been a frequent visitor to crime scenes in our city, and that he has also taken his family with him to these locations. This only affirms the mental image I've had of him, squatting in his bunker in Mesa North, listening to his police scanner, ready to dash out to view some violent event in our city. It's my understanding that he has at least one small child - the one endangered by marauding soccer players in Paularino Park - so I find myself wondering just what kind of a parent would drag a small child to a bloody crime scene. Good Grief! This certainly confirms some of my opinions of this man.

As most have already learned by reading the Daily Pilot coverage, here, the question of placing of the fireworks issue and a 2% increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on the November 2008 ballot were both laid to rest by the Mansoor majority. I found it interesting that they would choose to forbid the voters of this city the opportunity to express their view on these two issues at the ballot box. A 2% increase in the TOT would mean an additional $2 million in revenue to the city - money pitched into our coffers like coins tossed into a wishing well by visitors just passing through. That lack of foresight represents a lot of public safety staff members not hired and a lot of potholes not being repaired. I suppose, if enough voters were interested, either item could be placed on the ballot by the initiative process. That might be interesting.

Among the other items mentioned during the meeting was the possibility of resurrecting a parade in conjunction with the annual Fish Fry at Lion's Park. Councilwomen Katrina Foley and Wendy Leece are scheduled to meet with the City Manager and former councilman Mike Scheafer to discuss it.

Oh, yes. As predicted, the fellow mentioned early in this posting was all over Tony Dodero for his commentary published in the Daily Pilot Wednesday. It sure does seem that he's become our young jailer/mayor's biggest supporter. Maybe it's because the mayor seems to jump every time this guy snaps his fingers.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Bruce Krochman said...

It was interesting attending the meeting in person. Frankly they are tedious.

By now you know my position on fireworks. I have been doing a little research. Did you know that one of our community members has asked the council to ban fireworks during at least 46 separate council meetings between February 2002 and June 2007? No wonder the Councilwoman Dixon asked for the ballot measure, she is exhausted listening to the constant drone to ban fireworks from this poor woman. I don't really believe she is that tenacious though, I think she just forgets from one meeting to the next what she spoke about and brings it up again to make sure she has mentioned it at least once!

Whats-his-name was fascinating to watch. He is obviously quite comfortable addressing the council. He must have a lot of practice.

8/09/2007 06:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Geoff,
Speaking of frustrations in the CM Nation, have you noticed the increasing criticism of the Pilot's editorial and commentary practices on the Pilot blogs? It seems like some of the pro-Mansoor faction are getting a little testy over criticism of our Mayoor! This is an alarming trend, simply because it smacks of intolerance for differing opinions. I know that this has been a focus of your criticism of the Council majority. Now it seems that their supporters are wanting to silence the Pilot as well. Pretty pathethic if you ask me...

I think that we are extremely lucky to have such a responsive and involved community newspaper. Of course the editorial staff has an opinion - that's their job! They do a great job of representing both sides in the commentary, forums, and blogs - which is very important for good civic discourse.

Anyway, just wanted to see if you have been noticing the same pattern.

8/11/2007 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce,

Yeah, I know we have divergent views on fireworks, but that's OK. Yes, there has been a small, but dedicated, cadre of folks opposing them for several years, including the woman you refer to. Yes, old what's-his-name is quite a show... must be the actor background, huh? :-) He knows how to work his audience, for sure.

Rob,

Yep, and it's not a new one. Of course, the leader of the band is our "favorite" guy. Once he starts the drum beat many of the others pick it up. You do realize, of course, that he posts on the Daily Pilot blog under many names, right? For such a smart guy, he sure is a pathetic soul. I know the Daily Pilot editors don't automatically publish every single entry submitted on their blog. They do have a line beyond which they won't go. I think they are pretty darn flexible, though, in the things that actually do make the cut.

It's going to be a very interesting fifteen months or so. The mayor and his mob have been campaigning since November 8th last year and will continue to attack any potential opposition candidates right up to the election.

8/11/2007 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Dorian said...

Ok Rob - Balanced? Have you ever seen an artilce from them slamming Foley or Dixon? There non-stop bashing of the mayor and the majority is nothng but stupid. It is a patern tht the Pilot has been putting in place for quite some time.

8/11/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Andrew, I'm glad you showed up with your comment. Your choice of terminology is quite appropriate, since one of the few words you spelled correctly is "stupid".

Yesterday, in the Daily Pilot blog, you posted the following entry:

Andrew Dorian wrote on Aug 10, 2007 10:49 PM:
" Mike and Bruce may be fine people but either pone could get out of their own way when trying to articulate a position on anything. I wonder if this was a direct influence of the RTR backing going against their own moral beliefs. The last election was important and the next one will be too. If either chooses to run without the baking or the RTR crowd, and on their own merits and beliefs, they may be viable candidates. Looks like losing your sole to a losing political agenda equals losing. "

After I read it I found myself wondering if you actually realize just how misguided, misinformed and - to use your own word - stupid so many of your comments are. Even if we discount the spelling errors and typos, you just don't make sense most of the time, as is the case in the above example. Bruce and Mike ran separate, independent campaigns last year. Each brought separate strengths to the campaign and many of their own personal values and goals coincided. Return to Reason supported their candidacies as individuals, not as a "ticket". Compare that to our young jailer/mayor, who carried Wendy Leece around on his hip for six months and funded her campaign out of his treasury.

Regarding your specific comments abut the Daily Pilot, the editors have an obligation to their readers to provide factual, accurate coverage of news in our area. They also have an obligation to provide their editorial views of important issues. To do less would violate the public trust. You don't have to agree with them, and obviously don't, but at least they provide you with a forum from which to criticize them. I don't think you would do the same. You wouldn't let one of them stand in your kitchen and tell you that you're stupid, would you?

As to Bruce and Mike, here's my view:

Both these men have a life history of public service to our city going back decades. Their credentials as public servants are impeccable. They are "doers", not screamers like you and me. Bruce has been a volunteer in our community since the day he arrived and has served with distinction in his various volunteer roles and on the Planning Commission - a contribution which was recently recognized by the Orange County Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Mike has spent virtually all his life in this city and, for all his adult life, has volunteered in many activities and led most of them. He's been president of the local Lion's Club and headed up the Fish Fry for decades. He was president of the Boy's and Girl's Club. He was president of the Senior Center Board. The list goes on and on. During his brief tenure as an appointed member of the city council he was responsible for the creation of the Volcom Skate Park - something that had not been accomplished for a generation.

Neither you nor I can hold a candle to either of these men and their volunteer activities. I'm proud to call both of them my friends.

Why don't you just admit that all your vitriol is aimed directly at your neighbor, Katrina Foley and be done with it? Your petty neighborhood squabble doesn't play well here or on the pages of the Daily Pilot, either. You're not the first man to feel threatened by an intelligent and competent woman - get over it! Even a moron watching our city council meetings realizes that she is the brightest bulb on the dais - by far. Do I agree with everything she says? Absolutely not! However, even though she doesn't have the votes most of the time, she always brings her "A" game, is the most prepared and presents her views with the greatest clarity. Maybe that's what bothers you, huh?

Andrew, if you don't like being criticized here, just stop writing. Or, do a better job when you do write. You keep trying and I'll keep giving you an opportunity to succeed - or not.

8/11/2007 10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Andrew,

I think that any review of the Pilot's blogs will reveal that both the pro-Mansoor and anti-Mansoor factions are well represented. The columnists are not nationally syndicated heavyweights, but local folks in the community who have an opinion - a column is not an official editorial position. They each have a bias, as they should. Look at both Dana Lopez in the LA Times and Gordon Dillow in the OC Register - complete opposites.

As for the editorial policies, once again, they strive to present a balanced front, but they also have an opinion. The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, OC Register, LA Times, SF Chronicle, NY Post, etc. also have opinions that sometimes widely vary. Papers endorse candidates as well, which is hardly balanced. They strive to get the pulse of their respective readership and present opinions that echo them. They also express opinions that are unpopular - journalists are typically smart folks who want to change the world. Look at both the LA Times and OC Register editorial pages for examples of this.

I don't know about you, but I write Tony Dodero when I have a question or issue. He always responds. He genuinely cares about putting out a great community paper, and takes his job seriously. I have also spoken with members of the editorial staff. They work hard and struggle with the best way to approach the myriad issues we face in our small world. Sometimes I COMPLETELY disagree with them, but I would NEVER seek to silence them or ask them write anything that they didn't truly believe.

Think about how vocal this community is and how big the issues we face are. We are at the forefront - literally - of the national debate on immigration. We are highly impacted by regional traffic. We have a gang problem and some failing schools. We have a huge section of our city (the Westside) that is in the middle of an ideological war. How do you think Newport would react if some loon suggested that Spyglass Hill be rezoned for industry?

Point is, no matter where the Pilot comes down on an issue, it is going to piss someone off. They run anti-Mansoor pieces, then publish his letters. Same with Bever. My unfounded opinion is that they haven't written anything slamming Foley or Dixon because they don't stick their necks out like Mansoor and Bever.

Day in and day out - we have a forum to actively participate in the civic discourse. That forum is provided by the Pilot. One of the duties of my job is to monitor news coverage, and I can tell you that we have a rare jewel of a paper in the Pilot. The newspaper is going the way of the dodo, yet we still have an engaged, responsive daily paper that is free.

As for balanced? Newport-Mesa is not politically, ethnically or ideologically homogenous. The Pilot does a good job of trying to present a balanced perspective. They certainly get it wrong, but often get it right. Where you may be offended by an editorial position, thousands may wholeheartedly agree. Take immigration - while many are inceredibly opposed to the presence of illegal immigrants in CM, many aren't. How is the Pilot supposed to present its opinion on immigration in a way that will make everyone happy? Pretty tough job. As for Mansoor and Co. - I support much of what they do, but many abhor everything about them. Another tough spot for the Pilot. If they support RTR, well, at least we know where they are coming from. After all, at some point, all newspapers have an opinion. At least we are free to write in and protest - and they'll likely publish the letters!

All in all, I think we are very lucky to have the Daily Pilot as our community newspaper.

8/12/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Dorian said...

Rob - I guess we will have to wait and see what this next election brings, if the pulse of the city is behind the majority again, then as you put it the paper should follow suit. I find that hard to believe since the writings are so strong with animosity and venom it goes well beyond the position of a paper and into personal vendettas. At least now I know why I like to read what you write, you do so eloquently put down words. Cheers mate!

8/18/2007 06:55:00 PM  

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