Costa Mesa resident, prolific writer and gadfly M.H. Millard - a man who very much resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor - provided us with a view into his mind with his recent Mailbag contribution. ("Fix holes in city structure, not holes in the road," Feb. 20). You can read his comments HEREGUARDED PRAISE, THEN MARCHING ORDERS
Millard begins by cautiously praising the current council majority, Eric Bever, Allan Mansoor and Wendy Leece, for their efforts, then proceeds to criticize them for not doing enough to implement "structural change" in the city. He then provides them with a blueprint for that change, including reduction of industrial zoning, primarily on the Westside, removal of what he calls "barracks-style apartments", also predominantly on the Westside. He also suggests a change in the owner vs. renter ratio in Costa Mesa, which currently has 60% renter occupied housing and bemoans his perception that Costa Mesa looks more like Santa Ana than Newport Beach - literally.CHANGING "COMPLEXION"
Millard's message, as usual, is directed specifically at the one-third of our residents of Latino ancestry - and I don't mean only those here illegally. For nearly a decade he has been leading the charge to dislocate and cause discomfort to the Latinos among us. In addition to those subjects in his current column, the closure of the Job Center, his attacks on the charities on the Westside and his attempt to have the Orange Coast College Swap Meet shut down are among the many attempts he's tried to orchestrate to expunge the Latinos from our midst. His ideas of "change" in our city are anchored in changing the "complexion" of our residents - fewer brown faces, more white ones.INSTITUTIONALIZING INTOLERANCE
He has been trying to institutionalize intolerance in our city since the late 1990s, providing the song book for "improver" elected leaders and chiding them from the speaker's podium when they don't toe his line. It's clear that most are listening to him because they echo his comments from the dais frequently.MANSOOR'S EXAMPLE
There may be no better example of the pervasiveness of this institutionalized intolerance than the comments uttered by former mayor, and current mayor pro tem, Allan Mansoor at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 19th.HEAD IN THE SAND - OR WORSE!
Following the brief presentation by a representative of the Orange County Human Relations Commission - a group that tracks hate crimes and provides tolerance training throughout the county - which reported to the council recent activities in our city, Mansoor used part of his "council member comments" time to state categorically that he wasn't interested in hearing any further reports from the Commission. Apparently inflamed by unsubstantiated critical comments directed at the Commission by one Costa Mesa resident, he seemed angry that "some council member" invited them to speak. He wasn't any happier when told by the City Manager that, as a matter of practice, the Commission speaks before all city councils each year to report on instances of hate crimes in each city. Mansoor said that he won't support further reports to the city by the Commission, which tells me he is either ambivalent about hate crimes in our city or, even worse, supports them.NO SURPRISE
As distasteful as Mansoor's statement was, this is no surprise, since he led the move to unceremoniously disband the Costa Mesa Human Relations Committee not too long ago, ending nearly two decades of work done to mediate conflicts between factions in our city.HISTORY OF INTOLERANCE
For nearly a decade M. H. Millard has been the source of racially intolerant views in this city. He is an articulate, persuasive speaker who rants before the city council and other official government bodies frequently. His local web log is widely read by many elected and appointed officials.INSIDIOUS INFLUENCE
Millard has become an influential person in our city, a fact recognized by the Daily Pilot which has named him one of its 103 most influential persons two years running. He has been an insidious activist, wheedling his way onto important committees - like the 3R Committee, where he used his influence to attempt to de-fund charities on the Westside. In 2006, when his activities on that committee became widely known, he resigned under a cloud - apparently not wanting to hamper Mansoor's re-election campaign.HIS REPUTATION
Millard's prolific writings on far-right wing web sites have been embraced by such notorious racists as David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, who publishes and praises Millard's work on his own web site. The New Nation News web site archives hundreds of his repugnant essays written over the past decade. Millard has been tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a purveyor of hate for a decade - ever since one of his essays bemoaning the dilution of the American populace through racial interbreeding, creating what Millard referred to as "Tan Everyman", was widely denounced. I've read many of his essays - they make you want to puke.WILLING PAWNS
I wonder how many of the residents of this city are comfortable knowing their elected leaders not only follow the drumbeat of intolerance as practiced by M. H. Millard, but seem eager to actually institutionalize the practice in our city. It's as though they've become willing pawns in Millard's plan to recreate our city into someplace found in the deep south during the middle of the last century, when intolerance was a way of life. What a sad commentary this is about our city - that we would elect leaders so easily led by the intolerant among us.HANGING OUT WITH THE "WRONG PEOPLE"
Remember when your parents used to caution you about hanging around with "the wrong people"? They were concerned that those "wrong people" would lead you astray and get you into trouble. Someone should be warning our elected leaders similarly.HOPE FOR ENLIGHTENMENT AND REPUDIATION
One can only hope that most voters will see through the veil of Millard's rhetoric, understand the underlying motives and repudiate them. One way to demonstrate this repudiation is at the ballot box next November.
Labels: intolerance, Mansoor, Millard, Your Neighbor