Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Time for Daigle And/Or Foley?


AN "URGENT" REQUEST
Recently, while I was on my much-needed post-election vacation, I received an email from a friend requesting that I contact him on an issue of urgency. So, I telephoned him from a far-off location. It turns out that his idea of "urgency" and mine differ slightly.

DAIGL
E AS MAYOR
My friend, a well-connected person whose name you would recognize if I told
you - which I won't - wanted me to sign in on the issue of Newport Beach council member Leslie Daigle being passed over (maybe) for consideration as mayor. The editors of the Daily Pilot have already voiced their opinion that Daigle should be given her turn at the helm. My friend thought I should add my support for Daigle's selection.

MAYOR SETS THE TONE
Understand that, as a resident of Costa Mesa, I have no vested interest in who is selected as mayor of Newport Beach except - and that's a big one - the mayor sets the tone for how things happen in Newport Beach for his or her term of office. That includes the interrelationship with Costa Mesa on issues of common interest - li
ke John Wayne Airport, Banning Ranch and annexation of county land parcels, to name a few.

DON'T KNOW LESLIE
I don't kno
w Leslie Daigle. I've only been in the same room with her once - at the joint Newport Beach-Costa Mesa city council meeting recently, during which she was mute. I've not taken the time to review her performance as a council member ever since she was appointed and subsequently won her seat (because Barbara Venezia chose to drop out, some have said). I've read some of her commentaries published here and have not been particularly impressed.

DAILY PILOT ENDORSES DAIGLE

The editors of the Daily Pilot have voiced their opinion that Daigle should be the
next mayor, HERE.

DICK NIC
HOLS REDUX?
Some critics will point to her Dick Nichols-esque gaffe awhile back when she reportedly threatened to have a American citizen Latino employee of the school district "deported" because he cha
llenged her misuse of a field at Corona Del Mar High School. That event, if true, tells me much about how Daigle would use - or misuse - the power of her office.

PREVIOUS FEMALE MAYORS COMMENT

I read the comments in Briana Bailey's recent Daily Pilot article, HERE, which quoted previous female mayors. Quite honestly, I found their comments about Daigle as a potential mayor to be cautious, at best. That tells me a lot. In that same article Daigle is quoted as follows: “We have a time-honored tradition of rotation,” Daigle said. “Whether the mayor has done a good job or bad job, this is our system.” When I read that the first time I thought it was a strange comment from a person lobbying to become mayor, and still do.

'TIME' FOR AN
OTHER FEMALE?
My friend told me that it was "time" for another female mayor in Newport Beach - Jan Debay was the last one chosen, in 1996. Well, I don't buy that argument. Gender shouldn't play a part in the selection of mayor - leadership should be the issue. If her peers on the council feel Daigle can provide the leadership Newport Beach needs for the next year then she should be considered. If they don't think Daigle has what it takes, they should select another of their group to lead the city.

KATRINA'S "TURN"?
During the conversation with my friend I directed the discussion to the Costa Mesa c
ity council, pointing out that the self-anointed "improvers" now hold a Super majority, and speculated about Katrina Foley's role on the council. He told me flat out that "Katrina will never be mayor of Costa Mesa". As true as that comment may be, it still irritated me. Most folks know that I'm a big fan of Katrina Foley. She has worked tirelessly for our city, balancing the requirements of wife, mother, business owner and council member with the skill of a Cirque du Soleil juggler to help guide our city. Along the way her views have made her an irritant to the current council majority, especially Allan Mansoor and Eric Bever.

FOLEY WANTS THE JOB

In an article by Alan Blank in the Daily Pilot today, HERE, Foley is quoted as saying "I would be next in line in the rotation. Historically it's been a rotational type of appointment." Later in the article she acknowledges that it is "highly unlikely" that she will be elected.

FOLEY'S DEDICATION QUESTIONED BY HACKS

Partisan hacks have criticized Foley for choosing family obligations - she has two school-age sons attending Costa Mesa public schools - over council obligations. These same people conveniently forget that Foley, during con
valescence from a bout with cancer, arranged to participate in council meetings from her sickbed at home. No other council member in recent memory has demonstrated such dedication to the well-being of our city.

SHE'S STILL THE BRIGHTEST

In my opinion, Foley has consistently been the brightest bulb on the dais, presenting her views with skill and clarity. The recent election will not change my opinion. What will change is that her role will be even further marginalized and the nearly 16,000 voters who cast their ballots for her will have their voices muted by partisan politics. That's a shame.

TERM
OF MAYOR
The question of the term of mayor was addressed in articles about Daigle - the mayor of Newport Beach currently serves a one-year term. A couple years ago Gary Monahan, nearing the end of his 12-year tenure, orchestrated a change in Costa Mesa which made the term of mayor a two-year event. This effectively locks out many of the council members who might have eventually "rotated" up to that position. I thought at the time that Monahan was trying to
set the stage for a directly-elected mayor - an observation that appears to have been validated by his failed attempt to have that issue placed before the voters this year.

IN MY VIEW, ONE YEAR IS PLENTY

In my opinion, the position of mayor in both cities should be a one-year gig. If the incumbent does a superior job then he or she can be re-elected by the council for another term. The job is potentially much more time-consuming than that of other council members. Sometimes the requirements are too much for the individuals to handle, as witnessed by Eric Bever's failure, time after time, to present himself as the elected leader of our city at many events. He didn't even show up at the last couple candidate forums this year, for goodness sake.


BE CAREFUL WHAT Y
OU ASK FOR
So, to my friend I say, if the Newport Beach city council members feel Leslie Daigle has what it takes to lead Newport Beach then she should be selected as mayor. If her peers don't have confidence in her ability to fulfill the requirements of the job they should select another. To do less would be a disservice to those who elected them to make these kind of decisions.

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