The Home Stretch!
With the elections only a couple days away and the finish line in sight, not much that happens regarding the local campaigns surprises me. My mail box continues to overflow with the effluent of political campaigns, each one more blatant than the last, extolling the virtues of one or more candidates, trying to convince undecided voters that their guy (or gal) is the best, hands down.
I HATE POLITICS
I really do hate politics because of what it does to people during campaigns - which sometimes begin immediately after they are elected the first time. It makes some of them even more brazen than they've been in the past. Minor character flaws seem to get amplified, much like the old Steve McQueen horror movie, "The Blob". Their audacity just seems to grow and grow and grow until it threatens to envelope everyone and everything around it.
WHENCE THE "GOOD OLD DAYS"?
I don't much like what it does to me, either. Sometimes I long for the good old days - those nearly three decades when we first lived in Costa Mesa and paid only peripheral attention to local politics. I just knew that we were in good hands - or so I assumed. Unless someone tried to take my home via eminent domain or the public safety folks failed to respond, I thought things were just dandy. I suspect I was not unlike most folks, even today.
I BEGAN PAYING ATTENTION
However, at the beginning of this decade I began paying attention and, much to my chagrin, found many things that seemed curious - including some of the folks that were running for office. So, I began paying attention more closely and began writing letters to the editor when I thought something was particularly strange. That's how this whole "blog" thing began - with letters to the editor.
MY VIEWS PUBLISHED
Cut to this year. We have a very, very interesting race for the Costa Mesa City Council this time around. I've discussed this previously several times. I formed opinions about all the nine candidates and recently wrote a letter to the editor to the Daily Pilot providing my views and choices for this election - nearly 1500 words worth of opinion - and the editors published it last week. I'm always very grateful when the editors of the Daily Pilot deem anything I submit worthy of publication. Sometimes they will eviscerate my submissions - this time they published every word and made it better, to boot. That letter is HERE.
FULL "MAILBAG" TODAY
Sunday they published eight letters in their Mailbag section, including a couple that addressed the local city council race, one of which was directed specifically at me. That entire section may be read HERE.
"IMPROVER" DUO PENS RETORT
The letter in question was penned by long-time residents and Westside "improvers", Kathleen and Christian Eric. Both are lovely people. Chris has lived in this city all his life. Both have been leaders in the self-named "improvers" group that has taken over our city government this decade.
CITY TAKE-OVER BY SELF-NAMED "IMPROVERS"
They, the "improvers", have boasted about getting their candidates elected to the city council, including current members Allan Mansoor, Wendy Leece and the incumbent mayor Eric Bever. They neglect to tell their readers about their first "victory" - the perpetually inept Chris Steel. Old Chris - I can call him that because he's my age - ran unsuccessfully for city council nine, count 'em, nine times before the angry knot of "improvers" snatched him up and made him their candidate. While no evidence exists to prove it, many suspect bullet voting achieved what the wisdom of nine previous electorates had fought off - Steel was elected.
STEEL'S TERM A DISASTER - ALMOST
His term was a disaster. He demonstrated the wisdom of those previous electorates when he showed up at council meetings completely unprepared for the agenda items. Not only was he a clumsy politician, he was incompetent, too. However, he did do one thing right - he turned his back on one of his biggest supporters - the racist who authors the CM Press blog. That move got him "un-elected" the next time around - a fact that the aforementioned author gloats about frequently. More on him later...
$7,000 STILL UNRESOLVED - WHY?
In their letter the Erics take me to task for supporting Katrina Foley, Jim Righeimer and Bill Sneen for the three open seats this year. The focus of their rant is to bolster support for Bever and twelve-term councilman Gary Monahan. I've explained at length here and in my Daily Pilot commentary just why I think neither of these men should be returned to the dais. In Monahan's case, that decision became even stronger recently when the story of his apparently mis-applied $7,000 consulting fee ended up as a line item on his Form 460, Campaign Contributions list. That story has still not been satisfactorily resolved.
MONAHAN IS IN IT FOR HIMSELF - PERIOD!
The Erics paint a word-picture of Bever and Monahan that would have the readers believe those men can actually walk on water. Nothing could be further from the truth. Monahan has evolved from an unskilled, politically inept neophyte when first elected 14 years ago into a cunning, conniving political operator who is in it for what he, personally, can get out of it. The $7,000 fiasco is a perfect example. When termed out of the city council two years ago he successfully ran for a seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board and immediately initiated a move to give that board a pay raise. A year ago, when it looked like he might be angling for a way to get back to the municipal trough again, he stood before the city council as a private citizen and lobbied long, loud and hard for the issue of a directly-elected mayor to be placed on this ballot we face in two days. Although that move was vigorously supported by then-mayor Allan Mansoor, the council chose not to present the issue to the voters. Monahan's plan would not have placed the directly-elected mayor under any kind of a term-limits rule - I assume he viewed himself as "mayor for life". Monahan has worn out his welcome and should not be considered again this time around. He's in it for himself, not for the city.
BUFFOON IN MAYOR'S CLOTHING
Bever has demonstrated time after time that he's a frustrated stand-up comedian. He has played fast and loose with the rules of conduct imposed by the Brown Act - passing notes around on the dais to influence votes, for example. He is arrogant almost beyond belief, as witnessed by his flagrant disregard of public opinion when he didn't show up for the Daily Pilot interviews of the candidates - the only one who didn't show up - and failed to make the final two candidate forums. He continues to feel he is above the law by displaying illegal campaign banners throughout the city, refusing to remove them when contacted by the city code enforcement officials. The rules apparently are for someone else.
SHOVING THE MINORITY ASIDE
The arrogant Bever and his "improver cohorts", Mansoor and Leece, have overtly taken steps to marginalize the voices and opinions of both Katrina Foley and Linda Dixon - the two highest vote-getters four years ago. They not only consistently ignore them, they voted to physically shove them off to the side so they don't even have to look their way during debates of issues.
"LIVELY"? - PUH-LEEZE!
The Erics frame the resultant frequent rancorous discussions as "lively". Give me a break!
WHY DID THEY IGNORE RIGHEIMER?
I found it very interesting the Erics failed to mention Jim Righeimer's name at all in their little rant. Righeimer, Bever and Monahan are running as a de facto slate this time around, with many, if not most, of the heavy hitter endorsers supporting all three of them. I wonder why that Kathleen and Chris ignored him?
MR. U. KNOW-WHO IS BACK
I also must mention that another letter among the eight in the Mailbag was apparently penned by that self-same author of the CM Press - one M. H. Millard. Yes, old Mensa Marty once again appears on the pages of the Daily Pilot and, once again, rips his comments directly from the pages of his blog.
MENSA MARTY SAYS "ANYONE BUT FOLEY"
Old Marty makes no bones about his choices this year - he recently posted a blog entry that said, basically, "anyone but Foley", who he has ridiculed and denigrated non-stop since she was elected four years ago. Old Marty is an influential guy here in town. He was again named to the Daily Pilot's DP 103 - number 93 this time as he slides down the list and, hopefully, into oblivion next year. It's too bad the editors of the Daily Pilot didn't include the caveat that nominees for it's list must be a "positive influence", instead of simply "influential". It's truly sad that so many of our local elected and appointed politicians take their marching orders from a nationally notorious White Supremacist - a man who uses the fact that the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, considers him "one of the most brilliant writers and analysts in the European American civil rights movement" to market his pathetic books.
Old Marty continues to try to scare the voters by using falsehoods, fabrications and flat-out lies in his publications and public pronouncements. Unfortunately, some folks will believe him - he's a persuasive guy - until you understand his underlying motivation, that is.
MY CHOICES - FOLEY, RIGHEIMER AND SNEEN
So, dear friends, I will tell you one more time. I voted for Katrina Foley, Jim Righeimer and Bill Sneen because, as I've said in the past, I think the combination of skills, experience, and leadership they individually and collectively bring to the dais may go a long way to moderate the divisiveness and rancor that has existed over the past few years. The challenges that face Costa Mesa in the near future will require a city council that can set aside individual bias and make decisions that serve all the stakeholders - residents, business owners and visitors, alike. I think Foley, Righeimer and Sneen can be the nucleus of that team.