COSTA MESA VS. COYOTL - FINALLY
COYOTL'S DAY IN COURT
Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 25, 2007, at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, the trial of Benito Acosta - a self-professed native American who also uses the name Coyotl Tezcatlipoca - will finally stand trial on the charges filed against him following his expulsion from the Costa Mesa City Council meeting on January 3, 2006.
You may recall that Acosta was one of dozens of speakers before the council that night addressing both sides of the plan by Mayor Mansoor to cross-designate every Costa Mesa police officer as an immigration screener. When Acosta encouraged his supporters in the audience to stand and show their support Mansoor cut him off even though he still had 30 seconds left on his three minute allotment of time. Acosta was subsequently dragged from the council chambers by several Costa Mesa police officers and arrested.
MANSOOR'S DOUBLE STANDARD
I'm not sure how this is going to play out, but it certainly did appear that our young jailer/mayor applied a double standard that evening. For example, his sponsor as an honorary member of the Minuteman Project, founder Jim Gilchrist, spoke earlier and did exactly the same thing - he requested his "5 or 6 dozen supporters" to stand and be recognized. (The adjacent photograph shows Gilchrist motioning to his supporters in the audience) Mansoor did not demand that his supporters cease and desist. Quite the contrary, he encouraged Gilchrist to have them stand. And, Gilchrist was permitted to speak 20 seconds beyond his allotted time.
BREAKDOWN OF ORDER
I've watched the city tape of this event several times. I've also watched video from other sources, which showed the breakdown of order following Acosta's forcible removal from the council chambers, with members on both sides of the issue singing at the top of their lungs. It was not a pretty sight, although some of Mansoor's "improver" buddies can be heard chuckling in the background of one tape.
It certainly appeared that Acosta was complying with the directions of the officers as he left the podium before then-Chief of Police John Hensley directed the officers to remove him. I don't know the law on this issue. I do know that I expect our leaders to apply the rules evenly - that didn't happen on the evening of January 3, 2006.