AND ON, AND ON....
COUNTING THE COST OF ACOSTA
This morning Alicia Robinson reports in the Daily Pilot, here, that the City of Costa Mesa has spent $32,000 prosecuting the case against Benito Acosta so far, and the meter is apparently still running.
She quotes City Attorney Kim Barlow as saying the case could be appealed to the State Supreme Court.
Let me ask you - what is the return on investment in this case? Is it really worth $32,000 plus to convict Acosta of two misdemeanor charges and gain the fine of $1,000? I don't think so. It looks to me that what's going on here is that a petulant council majority, led by Mayor Allan Mansoor, is trying to "get even" with Acosta - to teach him a lesson for being rude and disrespectful before the council.
HOW'S IT GOING TO LOOK?
Here's another question for you. How do you suppose this is going to appear when presented in the federal civil rights case Acosta and the ACLU have filed against Mansoor, former Police Chief John Hensley and the city? How will it look when the court is told that the Orange County District Attorney's office declined to prosecute this case more than a year ago? How will it look when the court is told these charges were filed only after Acosta filed his case? And, how will it look if the city - in yet another boneheaded move - actually does appeal this case to the State Supreme Court? Add that to the obvious double standard Mansoor used on January 3, 2006 and it's going to look like the leaders of our city are inept, vindictive and prejudiced.
SMALL PEOPLE IN BIG JOBS
In my opinion, this is exactly what happens when you elect small people to big jobs. Mansoor and his majority have consistently ignored the advice and counsel of each of their most recent top law enforcement officers - men who, between them, have had nearly a century of experience. This is the kind of trouble that lack of regard for folks with wisdom and expertise can create for the city.
THE FINAL COST
It is not unreasonable to assume that Acosta and the ACLU will prevail next spring, and with their success will come not only a huge financial hit to the treasury of this city, but to it's image, as well. I do not take joy in pointing this out, contrary to what some bloggers have said in the recent past. I'm not happy we have a city led by people without the vision to see the quagmire they are dragging us into. Their stubborn short-sightedness is going to cost us a bundle.
Over the past week or so, as stories of this case and it's dismissal by the judge have dominated the news, some Daily Pilot bloggers have suggested that our young jailer/mayor should be recalled for this monumental gaffe. At that time I said it was a bad idea. It would cost the city a lot of money and, more important, would only serve to further divide us as a community. I must say, though, that if this plays out the way it appears that it might, and ends up costing us a lot of money and tarnishes our image among the community of cities, the voters of this city should weigh their choices next November very carefully to avoid perpetuating this kind of narrow-minded folly in the future.
$32,000 AND COUNTING - WHEN WILL IT END?
In my view, the city should cut it's losses. It should cease any further consideration of an appeal and immediately begin negotiations to settle the federal case out of court, if possible. The longer this drags out the worse we are going to look and the more it's going to cost.