Sunday, January 06, 2008

Roasting Foley Plus The Invisible Bever


One of the interesting by-products of the recent musical chairs game played by the Costa Mesa City Council in which former mayor Allan Mansoor's pal, Eric (short fuse) Bever, was hoisted onto the throne by Mansoor and Wendy Leece is that much ado is being made by the majority's supporters concerning the
whereabouts of councilwoman Katrina Foley during that meeting.


The Daily Pilot blog has been white hot with criticism of her for being absent from the meeting, even though her presence would have had no effect on the outcome of that election. The die was cast before the meeting, with Mansoor nominating Bever and their echo, Leece, guaranteed to go along with the ploy.


Of course, Foley - fulfilling her most important duties a
s a wife and mother - was on a winter vacation with her teacher husband and school-age boys. The election of officers was placed on the agenda after her vacation was planned and paid for. She did what any of us would have done - particularly since her vote wouldn't have mattered anyhow - and proceeded with her vacation.

That didn't matter to those gutless anonymous posters (GAPS), whose putrid prose infects th
e Daily Pilot blog with their mindless pontificating. Anyone watching realizes that this is pure political posturing to continue their drumbeat of anti-Foley rhetoric, which will doubtless continue from now until the first week of November. Much, if not most, of the rants on the Daily Pilot blog are the handiwork of one guy - the same guy who, using his blog, began attacking Foley the day after the election in 2006. He recognizes that Foley is one of the few people with enough intellectual horsepower and inclination to stand toe-to-toe with him as they debate the proper direction for our city in the future.


In the meantime, our new mayor managed to be a no-show at an important event recognizing several Costa Mesa Police Officers just a couple days after his election. In fact, Foley - home, but still on vacation - was the only council member to attend the packed-house meeting in the council chambers. If Bever misses events like this, one wonders just what he thinks is important in our city. Even our ex-mayor and current mayor pro tem - the young jailer Allan Mansoor - was absent. Of course, he was probably at home, pounding out blog entries on the Daily Pilot blogs now that he has the time. Clearly, his priorities continue to be askew.


It's no wonder that the rank and file among the CMPD have lined up in the past to support Foley and those candidates she endorsed. The officers care about her because she obviously cares about them and t
he outstanding job they do making our streets safer. The alleged "law and order" slate of Mansoor, Bever and Leece talk the talk but don't walk the walk. It's easy to understand why Mansoor acts this way - he's demonstrated in the past that he's completely out of step with his law enforcement brethren and their leadership. One can only assume that Bever is just too politically inept to understand the importance of establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with our public safety officers. Ignoring this celebration does not bode well for that relationship.


As I said immediately after Bever was elected, the next few months are going to be very interestin
g in Costa Mesa. We now have as mayor a man who thinks clever one-liners are more important that good policy. He thinks it's appropriate to threaten business owners with eminent domain, then laughs about it, saying he was only joking. That business owner promptly sold his business and severed all ties with our city. Can you blame him? Is that what Bever wants? Will he use the sledgehammer of eminent domain again with other business owners that don't choose to have their rights abridged?

I've warned you in the past that the current majority - guided by those self-anointed "improvers" that form their core constituency - are willing to play fast and loose with the rules and more than willing to trample individual rights along the way. Watch your back!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Change Of Command? Really? If You Say So...

Well, it's been a very interesting 24 hours here in good old Goat Hill. Nothing like a change of command to spark controversy and provoke comments from unusual sources.

As announced earlier, Mayor Allan Mansoor jumped down off his throne and handed control of the dais to his running buddy, Eric Bever. Bever then returned the favor by handing Mansoor his warm Mayor Pro Tem seat. It was almost one of those, "You first", "No, you first" kind of situations with the swing vote on both decisions, Wendy Leece, sitting off to the side sharing inside jokes with City Manager Allan Roeder.


Bever, who has been recognized by Daily Pilot columnist Jim de Boom first as an "eagle" for stepping aside to permit Mike Scheafer to be appointed to the City Council a few years ago, then as a "turkey" for his performance once he won his own seat, now assumes the mantle of mayor at the beginning of a year in which he will launch his run for re-election. Interesting timing, huh?

Some folks have speculated about the possibility of Brown Act violations because of the way the change was orchestrated. Clearly, Bever knew what was coming because he read a prepared statement while nominating Mansoor as Mayor Pro Tem. The question is, did Wendy Leece know of the plan ahead of time? If so, how did she hear of it? The law is quite clear on the subject of discussions among council members off the dais. If she didn't know ahead of time, we will simply assume she was maintaining the role for which she was tabbed as Mansoor's running mate last year - that of a rubber stamp for their decisions.

Katrina Foley was absent from last night's brief council meeting and the usual brainless yappers on the Daily Pilot blog mercilessly flogged her for choosing to spend the Christmas break with her family instead of attending this meeting. It's easy to argue her choice, but fruitless because they simply don't care. It's all part of their campaign to oust her from the council next November.

Another interesting sidebar has to do with a fellow mentioned here in my previous entry and the speculation that he might be launching his own campaign for council. Following those comments and the reference to his campaign platform, the Daily Pilot simply asked him, here, if he was running. He denied it, then followed up that denial by publishing a supplement to his platform in a subsequent blog entry, here. Methinks he doest protest too much.


And, in a move sure to further drive a wedge between the council majority and the Daily Pilot, publisher Tom Johnson wrote a clever column speculating about whether there will really be a change in control or not that will appear on Friday in print and can be viewed here. Johnson's handiwork is funny and probably accurate, but Mansoor and Bever won't like it at all. Since they've gone on record previously swearing off the Daily Pilot (but still keep posting comments on it's blog), I'm not sure exactly how this will affect their relationship. It sure won't help it. I must admit that the images conjured up by Johnson are hilarious.

So, as rain clouds form over southern California, storm clouds of rancor float above our city with no signs of clearing in sight.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Adios, "Young Jailer/Mayor" (Amended)

OK, my friends, we've all had our New Year celebrations and, hopefully, are all ready for the year ahead. If recent pronouncements are any indication, the local campaign season ahead of us promises to be one filled with more noise than light, but should give
us some excitement. So, gird your loins and get ready.


Tonight our young jailer/mayor - sadly, this blog entry will probably be the last time I'll be able to call him that - will abdicate his throne and the betting is that Eric Bever will become the next mayor of Costa Mesa. I'm sorry, but I can't help but wince when I type those words. I wrote a commentary on Mansoor's decision that the editors of the Daily Pilot felt was worthy of publication yesterday. You can read that commentary, which the editors entitled "Mayor's act of largesse is political maneuvering", here. I think it's quite possible that we'll see Wendy Leece, Mansoor's hand-picked running mate last year, selected as Mayor Pro Tem, which will require some musical chairs on the far right side (as you face it) of the dais. (Well, I was wrong! Imagine that! Just before 7:00 tonight Bever was selected as Mayor and then, instead of the majority nominating Leece as Mayor Pro Tem, Bever nominated his pal, Mansoor! He used as an excuse that fact that "the mayor and mayor pro tem need to work closely together." Duh! I guess he didn't think he could "work closely" with any of the ladies on the dais - no surprise there. So, the boys just swapped seats and kept on truckin'. What a sham!)

While I hope Bever will throw off the mantle of court jester he's wo
rn since taking his seat on the dais, I'm not sure it's possible. I keep hoping he will realize that when one sits in a position of authority and is, in fact, a voice for our city, those snappy one-liners and other pitiful attempts at humor are completely inappropriate. I hope he finds a way to comport himself with dignity during this next eleven months until the election, but I fear I might turn blue waiting for that to happen. Only time will tell.

Yesterday my
friend, Byron de Arakal - in his now-weekly Costa Mesa Unplugged column for the Daily Pilot - presented us with an absolutely spot-on description of the metamorphosis of Allan Mansoor. You can find that column, entitled "Regretting Mansoor's reversal", here. I agree completely with Byron's assessment of the changes we've seen in our young jailer/mayor since he was first elected. I recall Mansoor at our first meeting during a candidate forum in his first campaign as a nice, earnest, sincere young man who, in addition to taking the oath to protect and defend us in his day job as a Deputy Sheriff, was willing to make a further commitment to the improvement of our community by seeking elective office. I'm pre-disposed to think kindly of those who serve us in public safety jobs and was looking forward to his performance as a councilman. I've been disappointed.

I recall how u
neasy he was during those first few months on the dais, looking very much like a fish out of water. Of course, that might have been because he was sharing space with the chronically inept Chris Steel. Regardless, I watched as he groped his way through the learning curve and developed meager political instincts.

I was deeply saddened when he and his majority decided to close the Job Center - a facility that had served this community well for nearly two decades and solved the problem of loiterin
g day workers throughout the city. I was very distressed when that Mansoor-led majority decided, in a complete blind-side, to first defund, then disband, the city's Human Relations Committee without so much as a thank you to the volunteers who spent countless hours attempting to provide a forum for mediation of problems that existed between factions within our city. That kind of callous heavy-handedness was an omen of things to come.

I've watched as Allan Mansoor morphed from Opie into a petty tyrant, guided by his core constituen
cy of self-anointed "improvers" who seem determined to blame the latinos in our city - which represent a third of our population - for every ill within our borders. He became an easily-led pawn for any number of persons and entities, including the Orange County Republican Party hierarchy, Minutemaniac Jim Gilchrist and his band of merry nuts and the aforementioned "improvers". Over the past two years since he attempted to convert every Costa Mesa police officer into an immigration screener, we've seen his face on national television, where puffed-up talking heads pontificated about his "bravery" and "leadership" and stroked his growing ego. He was no longer that nice young guy from a few years ago.

Among that "improver" group is one guy - heck, he may be your neighbor - who has received muc
h electronic ink in this space and seems to be gearing up for a run for a council seat of his own. When goaded by my commentary in the Daily Pilot he published an entry on his "little newsletter" which, while denying any interest in elective office, provided us with his campaign platform. You can read that manifesto here. When I first read it I found myself wondering why he wasted all those words when he simply could have boiled it down to one phrase, a thread common to most of his entries - "To solve all our problems, expunge all the latinos from the city, regardless of their immigration status". That seems to sum up his view.

When I think of the specter of this fellow as a member of our city council it makes me want to puke. He is my worst nightmare for this city. Even though he consistently provided the intellectual stimulation for the so-called "improvers" for the past decade, if he were to hold a council seat and have his way, the bulldozers would already be plowing through the Westside of our city and eminent domain would be the order of the day. Actually, though, I find myself anticipating his candidacy. It would require him to slither out from under his rock and give us more personal information than I think he would care
to do. It would also expose to scrutiny his underlying philosophy as expressed in his books, newsletter and hundreds of online essays. While he has consistently said he writes to be read, that view may come back to haunt him.


I don't think he'll dare to run. Instead, he'll continue to lurk in the shadows, spewing his venom anonymously using many pen names on the Daily Pilot blog. Should he decide to venture out from the shadows and actually run for office he can expect to be greeted by several folks more than willing to provide their views of his fitness for office in our city. I have a hard time believing the voters of Costa Mesa would seriously consider as a
candidate for a leadership position a man adorns his essays with swastikas and who is revered by Louisiana's David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan - an accolade the fellow uses as a marketing device for his books. One salivates at the opportunity...


So, dear readers, we say adios to "our young jailer/mayor" - the term, not the man. Allan Mansoor, who has looked a little weary recently, will remain on the council, marking time until termed out in 2010 - at which time the Orange County GOP leadership will likely have found another seat for him from which to exploit his naivetÈ. And the beat goes on...

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