Caspa On The Radio and Mickadeit on White Supremacists
MEDIA DAY AT THE CAULDRON
The day is still young and it's already very interesting. First, I listened to Dr. Humberto Caspa speak about his book and his view of conditions in Costa Mesa during a fifteen minute interview this morning on KPFK radio, public radio in Southern California. In an unfortunate bit of programming, his fifteen minutes of fame, literally, followed a prolonged rant by a rabid Palestinian supporter. I'm not sure how many people hung around for Caspa's interview - besides me, that is.
CASPA NAMES NAMES - AND SPELLS THEM, TOO
Caspa had the opportunity to expand on the thesis of his recent book, "Terror in the Latino Barrio: The Rise of the New Right in Local Government". He emphasized the influence of one local activist, not only naming him, but spelling it for the audience to be sure they got it. I couldn't help but smile. You can hear Caspa's segment on KPFK HERE.
FRANK MICKADEIT TODAY
Then I grabbed my copy of the Orange County Register and began reading the headlines, looking for issues that interest me. I came across columnist Frank Mickadeit's contribution to the "Local" section of the newspaper - an entry entitled, "Racism, bullying top ADL agenda", HERE. I like Frank's work, which ranges from the politically relevant to flights of fancy, depending on his mood.
HITTING THE BRAKES
As I quickly scanned down the single column I came across the name of Costa Mesa Police Lieutenant Clay Epperson, so I jammed on the brakes, backed up and began reading more slowly from the top.
ADL ON WHITE SUPREMACIST GANGS
The focus of Mickadeit's column is a recent dinner hosted by the Anti-Defamation League in which the subject of white supremacists in Orange County was discussed. He quotes Kevin O'Grady, director of the local ADL office as saying, "Southern California does have more white supremacist activity than the rest of the U.S., and (within Southern California) Orange County has the most". Yikes!
His mention of Lt. Epperson was in the context that he and Orange County probation officer Lowell Smith were honored because they, according to Mickadeit, "independently did groundbreaking work studying, documenting and suppressing white racist gangs".
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 1 DISCUSSED
Mickadeit goes on to discuss what he describes as the local gang of greatest concern, Public Enemy Number 1, about whom the ADL has produced a 12 page brochure. He mentions that Orange County is the hotbed of PEN1 activity and includes Costa Mesa as one of the four cities, along with Anaheim, Garden Grove and Huntington Beach, in which it is flourishing.
Why do I mention Caspa's interview on the radio and Mickadeit's column on white supremacists in the same posting? Funny you should ask...
DENIAL AND RACISM
In our city there are those who deny the presence and influence of white gangs, focusing, instead on Latino gangs. Some of these same people - the guy mentioned by Caspa during his interview, for one - are also holocaust deniers. All credible law enforcement sources admit that white supremacist gangs - with their violence, drug manufacture/sale/use and their identity theft activities - are a big problem in our city. During a sweep 18 months ago, when nearly 60 white supremacists were snatched up throughout Orange County, a third of them - 20 - were apprehended at 17 locations in Costa Mesa. To this date our then-mayor, Orange County Deputy Sheriff Allan Mansoor, has never uttered a public comment about that sweep - a fact made even more difficult to understand because one of the reasons for the sweep was because those miscreants had put out "hits" on law enforcement personnel, including sheriff's deputies and prosecutors! How do we explain his silence on this issue when, at the same time, he was jumping up before the media every time a person of dark skin was arrested for any kind of crime? How do we interpret this curious double standard?
FORCING LATINOS OUT
Personally, I think the denial of the impact of white supremacist gangs in our city, coupled with the obsession about Latino gangs, is indicative of the influence one man has had on the leaders of our city. It's clear to me, and to Dr. Caspa based on his views presented in his book, that the emphasis on the Latinos among us is a racist effort to expunge men and women of color from our city.
A CAMPAIGN ISSUE, FOR SURE
This will be an issue during the upcoming campaign season, regardless who runs for City Council. Members of the current majority - Mayor Eric Bever, for example - and others that follow the drumbeat of intolerance in our city who chose to run for City Council, will be subjected to intensive interrogation on their position about race in our city throughout the campaign.