Saturday, July 19, 2008

Only Two Running, So Far

TWO HORSES IN THE STARTING GATE - SO FAR
The last word I had from the City Clerk last week is that, so far, only
two candidates had actually pulled the necessary papers to run for City Council in Costa Mesa this year - Councilwoman Katrina Foley and former councilman, mayor and current Costa Mesa Sanitary Board member Gary Monahan.

FOLEY - BACK INTO THE BATTLES
Foley was the highest vote-getter in her run for city council four years ago and, although usually
on the short end of many issues because she and Linda Dixon must frequently butt heads with the Mansoor/Bever/Leece majority, Foley continues to force important issues into the arena of public debate.

MONAHAN - FOR HIMSELF FIRST
Monahan - a t
hree-term council member before being termed out in 2006 - will attempt to again elbow his way back to the municipal trough. You may recall that he is the only council member to ever qualify for a municipal pension. Right now that amount would be minimal, but another couple terms would go a long way to make his declining years as a pub owner and father of six more comfortable.

LET US COUNT THE WAYS

When considering candidates this year Monahan makes it pretty easy. All you have to do i
s remember that he thinks of himself first. Those of you paying attention will recall that a year ago he stood before the council and lobbied hard for the issue of a directly-elected mayor to be placed on the ballot. He was joined by then-mayor Allan Mansoor, who refused to even consider term limits for the position. Wisely, that scheme died on the vine. I think both Mansoor and Monahan envisioned themselves as "mayor for life". You may also remember that he campaigned for his current seat on the Sanitary District board as a guy who saw the need for reforms and would immediately move to make them if elected. Well, he did. He immediately moved to give himself and the other board members a pay raise and you, the rate payers, a rate increase. As I said, Monahan thinks of himself first...

BEVER AND DIXON
?
The next few weeks should show us more candidates for the three positions on the city council this year. It is assumed that Eric Bever will run a
gain - more's the pity for the city. His inept attempts at combining the job of mayor with that of a stand-up comic is getting pretty old. Linda Dixon is playing her cards very close to her vest. She may have had enough of having her position on the dais marginalized by the majority that has done everything possible except locking Dixon and Foley out of the chambers to ignore their presence and votes.

FISL
ER HAS TIME TO CAMPAIGN AGAIN
Rumors persist about Jim (I'm a realtor here in town) Fisler, current Vice Chair of the Plan
ning Commission, occasional commenter here on this blog and part of the self-anointed "improver" group is going to run again. We have to assume he will make that decision within the next couple week. With the real estate market doing as poorly as it has been lately, Fisler will have plenty of time for municipal duties.

BUNYAN, AGAIN?

Former candidate Chris Bunyan has immersed himself in civic activities since he last ran and is presently immersed in saving Banning Ranch. In fact, he's footing the bill for a workshop on that subject from 6:30 - 8:30, Monday, July 21st at the Neighborhood Community Center near Lions Park for that purpose. He's been an off-again, on-again potential candidate. The last word I had from him was that he was not going to run... we'll see...

WHAT ABOUT R
IGGY?
And then there's Riggy, the carpetbagging Planning Commissioner and Orange County GOP good old boy Jim Righeimer... we don't know if he's going to toss his hat into the ring this time around. If he does, that would make the election very interesting. He would undoubtedly get a lot of support - that means bucks - from the OC GOP. Riggy has said he's not running. If he did, he'd have to give up his weekly column on the Daily Pilot - a forum he's used to attempt to present "conservative views" to us all - when he's not pillorying applicants before the Planning Commission, that is. (Sorry, a smaller photo wouldn't accommodate his ego.)

NEWBIES?
I find myself wondering if we're going to see any new faces this time around. I hope so, although I'm not sure what a ballot with a dozen candidates will accomplish except to confuse the electorate.

THE FLAG GOES UP IN AUGUST
By the middle of August we'll know for sure who wants to compete for the opportunity to shape the city for the next four years. Then the fun begins... Stay tuned...

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

White Gangs, Aliens on Bikes and a Windbag

OOPS, THERE REALLY ARE WHITE GANGS IN COSTA MESA!
Despite what you hear from certain venues in the north side of our town, there really are white gangs in our town. One local blogger - an obnoxious windbag who does his literary pontificating from a cave in Mesa North - specifically ignores that fact during his many frequent rants about gangs in our city. I wonder why that is?

VICIOUS BUFFOONS
Daily Pilot reporter Joseph Serna wrote a fascinating story yesterday, HERE, in which he tells us about the arrest of three purported members of Public Enemy Number 1 (PEN1) following an unprovoked attack on a Latino man who was driving along Bristol Street. I'll let you read the story yourself - it's very amusing - particularly the part about how the woman in the trio was apprehended. Obviously, gangsters are not rocket scientists.

IGNORE THE LYING WINDBAG
The point here is that this is just one of many examples of the existence of predatory, vicious white gangs in our city, despite what the windbag says. You will recall that we've written a few times about the county-wide sweep a couple years ago that landed 20 White Supremacists at 17 locations in Costa Mesa. That sweep snagged nearly sixty White Supremacists county-wide. That a third of them were found in our city is very relevant.

MORE "DANGEROUS CRIMINALS" OFF THE STREETS
Further on the law enforcement front, Orange County Register reporter Niyaz Pirani, in his periodic police report, tells us that at 5:20 a.m. on Saturday, July 12th a 37-year-old gentleman named Gerardo Cardenas of Costa Mesa was arrested on suspicion of a traffic violation and riding without a bicycle headlight on Paularino Avenue and is currently being held on an ICE hold.

Looking further in the summary of crimes in Costa Mesa we found Mario Munoz-Tonix, 26, also of Costa Mesa, arrested at 8:40 a.m. on July 9th under suspicion of riding a bicycle without a license and is on an ICE hold.

We also found that 36 year-old Sergio Estrada Estrada was arrested at 10:20 a.m on July 11th on suspicion of riding a bicycle without a license and is currently on an ICE hold.

And, I'm sure we all recall the first "dangerous bike rider", the Sunday School teacher who was snatched up for riding his bike the wrong way on a residential street, taken to the jail and deported.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE "DANGEROUS ALIEN FELONS"?
You will recall the hoopla by then-mayor Allan Mansoor a couple years ago when he told us his ICE proposal was intended to remove dangerous alien felons from our streets. You may also recall that I told you at the time that his proposal was just a smoke screen to expunge brown skins from our city. Well?.....

DO YOU FEEL SAFER NOW?
Let me ask you... do you feel a whole lot safer tonight knowing that those dangerous bicycle riders, Cardenas, Estrada and Munoz-Tonix, are off the streets? Will you now be able to walk the streets safely with those men - who were likely riding the bikes to their jobs - incarcerated and awaiting deportation?

WHAT ARE THE CMPD'S MARCHING ORDERS NOW?
I find myself wondering just what the marching orders are that the good men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department are working under that would prompt them to snatch up bicycle riders? And, are they looking at every bicycle being ridden through our city for licensing violations? Do they stop the kids on the way to Newport Harbor High School or Horace Ensign Middle School? I think we know the answer to that question.

POLICE STATE ESTABLISHED
As I predicted, the so-called "improver" majority - Mansoor, Bever and Leece - have permitted this city to become a de facto police state. They, through their actions, have polarized members of he Latino community in our city - egged on by the windbag mentioned above. I'm not proud of the course being followed in our city. I'm not proud that it's been turned into a bastion of intolerance.

***

PROFESSOR WINDBAG BELCHES
As I was about to publish this entry I notice that the windbag mentioned above has posted another rant on his blog. This time he's instructing the Daily Pilot on how to run their business. This "wisdom" was obviously gleaned from his wonderful experience playing - quite badly, by the way - an anonymous reporter in a mid-70s cult movie that sold five or six tickets and may be had for two bucks at Amazon.com.

SELF-SERVING HYPOCRITE
Scattered through his list of suggestions to the management of the Daily Pilot are a few that are quite obviously self-serving. He suggests, for example, that the editors accept "short, anonymous comments" on their articles. Ever since the Pilot began requiring registration this guy - apparently unwilling to be identified with his comments - lost a forum for his vicious, irrelevant mini-rants which he would post under many "pen names", sometimes on the same comment thread, in an attempt to fool readers into thinking his views were widely held.

WANTING IT BOTH WAYS
After embracing anonymity, in the next suggestion he turns around and complains about the Pilot linking to Community Blogs that are published anonymously. These, of course, have been very critical of him and his blog. He can't have it both ways...

DEMANDING "ICE" COVERAGE
And, in his last suggestion, he would require the Pilot to provide more ICE and immigration coverage - no surprise there.

OH, YEAH!
I'm sure the editors of the Daily Pilot will give his suggestions all the attention they deserve...

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No "TOT" Increase - Elections Cloud Judgment


GUTLESS "RECEIVE AND FILE"
Tuesday night the Costa Mesa City Council voted unanimously to simply "receive and file" Linda Dixon's request and accompanying staff report requesting that an increase in the Transient
Occupancy Tax (TOT) be placed on the November ballot. That means no further action will be taken on this subject this time around - again. That motion was made by Allan Mansoor and seconded by Eric Bever.

BYRON NAILS
IT - AGAIN
Byron de Arakal, in his column today on this subject, really nailed it. You can read it HERE.


BRIEF RE-HASH

I won't go into the details of this issue - I covered it in my previous entry and many people chose to provide their comments on it - except to observe that
the staff presentation was a shorthand version of the discussion held at the Study Session last week. I doubt that audience members not previously privy to the details of this subject would have understood what this was all about from tonight's presentation.

THE MAJORITY IGNORES THE PROFESSIONALS - AGAIN

Once again, the majority on the City Council have chosen to ignore the wise counsel of their senior city staff, including City Manager Allan Roeder and Finance Director Marc Puckett, on an issue that will have a long-term impact on the future of our city. Roeder and Puckett and their staffs have, for decades, effectively played a shell game with the city's finances, using the Fund Balance from the previous year's budget to balance the new one. Don't get me wrong - that's not a criticism, it's a statement of admiration. It's hard for me to imagine a municipal budget being
more effectively managed.

DECLINING R
EVENUES REQUIRE ACTION
However, with the decline in sales tax revenue and the uncertainty of the property tax revenue stream because of the current worsening loan crisis, it is clear from all indicators that those two segments of our municipal revenue stream will fall well short of their budgeted levels. The two segments combined make up 70% of our municipal revenue stream.

TOT INCREASE WOULD HAVE EASED THE IMPACT
The proposal by Dixon, which was heartily supported by Roeder and his staff, to place before the voters a modest increase in the TOT in November would have - if approved - dovetailed nicely in the sp
ring with the anticipated decline in revenues. The TOT is a tax felt only by visitors to our city and ours is currently the lowest in the county.

POLITICS FIRST
When it was clear that the Bever-led majority was not about to approve placing a TOT increase on the ballot, nor were they interested in tinkering with the business license fees, Katrina Foley and Dixon voted with the majority to blow off this plan. It is an election year, after all... I find it very curious that the city council had such low regard for the opinions of the voters that they wouldn't trust them to make a wise decision on this tax increase in November, so they just refused to place the question before them.

CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST IN THE SPRING

Next spring, as the city begins preparing it's next budget, the chickens will come home to roost. It will be very interesting to see what kind of a waltz our elected leaders do to shrug off the responsibility for the difficult financial times ahead. I'll remind you of their vote tonight when the time is appropriate. As Allan Roeder reminded the council tonight, when revenues fail to materialize it won't be a matter of simply tightening the municipal belt - that's the way he and the staff run our city in the normal course of doing business. No, it will mean deciding which services and improvements will not get done. When unfilled potholes begin occurring on your street, remember this vote.

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