Friday, October 24, 2008

Daily Pilot Unveils DP 103 for 2008

(Photo by Mark Dustin
Photo Illustration by Hamlet Nalbandyan)


FAVORITE EVENT

One of my favorite events each year is the annual presentation by our local newspaper of record, the Daily Pilot, of their so-called DP 103 - a list of 103 (actually many more) people, entities, groups, etc. that influence the lives of the lucky folks who live, work and play in the Newport-Mesa area.

PRODUCED UNDER PRESSURE
We're especially lucky this year to have this edition because the Daily Pilot has seen better days. Since the acquisition of the Tribune Companies - the parent of the Los Angeles Times and Times Community Newspapers, of which our Daily Pilot is a part, there have been draconian cuts in staff. In fact, as the DP 103 was being "put in the can" long time staffer, Tony Dodero, was laid off - a truly tragic blow to the Daily Pilot and our community. Still, the staff soldiers on, producing the best product possible under the circumstances.

LINK TO THE LIST
This year's edition has many familiar faces and some new ones. This link, HERE, will take you to the proper page online so you can scroll down and select your favorites to read what the editors and reporters of the Daily Pilot think about your friends and neighbors who made the list. I'm not going to try to write about all of them, but there are a few that I do want to mention specifically.

NUMERO UNO (S)
I cannot comment on this edition without giving my opinion of the choice for #1, Frank Barbaro and Scott Baugh. These two gents are the top dogs in the Orange County Democrat and Republican parties, respectively. They call the shots for their parties in all things political. In Baugh's case, that apparently means their attempt to virtually colonize Costa Mesa and use it as in incubator for their political fetuses. I'm not happy about that. I must say, though, that City Editor Paul Anderson's article on them is an interesting read.

NAGHAVI AT NUMBER 10

Perhaps my favorite choice among the top selections is Costa Mesa Director of Public Works, Peter Naghavi. He was appointed to his current assignment this year following a long and, yes, illustrious career as the city's head traffic guy. Over the years Peter has worked his magic, trying to keep residents happy with traffic issues, but not always successfully. It seems that some people will never be satisfied, regardless the number of solutions presented to them. Still, Peter keeps on smiling and, with an excellent staff to support him, he just keeps on making sure the streets are paved and clean and our parks are in good shape. His recognition is certainly well-deserved.

VOLUNTEERISM PERSONIFIED AT NUMBER 46
Scattered throughout the DP 103 are local and regional politicians, but tucked into the #46 slot, not quite half way down the list, are two women who have made community activism an art form. Cindy Brenneman and Robin Leffler are Costa Mesa residents who take community involvement very seriously and have demonstrated that individuals can, indeed, make a difference. I'll let you read Michael Alexander's summary for more information. Congratulations, ladies, for having your efforts recognized in the DP 103.

PAUL AND MELANIE - FAR FROM IRRELEVANT AT NUMBER 68
I cannot scroll down past #68 without comment. Paul Salata and his daughter, Melanie Salata-Finch, run Irrelevant Week, that Paul started more than three decades ago. What began as one old NFL player trying to give the last man chosen in the draft each year a little fun and recognition has become a huge, nationally-recognized event. This honor - which, like Irrelevant Week has become an annual affair - is well-deserved. Thanks to Paul for the idea and to Melanie for the hard work. In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that Paul and I attended the same high school, but at different times. I did, in fact, attend with his "baby brother", George. Well done, fellow Panther.

THE LION KING AT NUMBER 77
On down the line at #77 is my friend - the ultimate Lion - Mike Scheaffer. I think there has never been a day in his life when Mike has not been a Lion - it's in his genes. He's known, of course, as "Mr. Fish Fry", for the efforts he and his Lion compatriots put forth to conduct the annual event at, surprisingly, Lions Park each spring. There's more to Mike's life than fried fish, though. He is knee-deep in many other volunteer activities, including the Senior Center and the Boys and Girls Club. He grew up here, has a business here and raised his family here. Mike lives and breathes Costa Mesa and I'm proud to call him a friend. This recognition is certainly appropriate and much deserved.

THE MOUTH AT NUMBER 93
Did you ever wish you could undo something you did? Well, that's how I feel when I scroll down to #93. If I had just kept my opinion to myself a couple years ago Old Grumpy might never have made this list, much less three years in a row! Back then the editors of the Daily Pilot solicited input on possible DP 103 candidates. I submitted a list that included most of the "usual suspects" and, at the end, I included this guy. My reasoning was that their standard for consideration was that the person had to be "influential", and this person certainly fit that description. They didn't say "positive influence"... This fellow has influenced politics in Costa Mesa for most of this decade, taking credit, for example, for getting the perpetually inept Chris Steel elected to the city council and then - when Steel turned his back on him - getting him un-elected. I hold this guy largely responsible for the policies and practices that make our Latino community uneasy. However, what is, is. He's still spreading his racist drivel and I'm stuck with having to write about it... Oh, well

CLEANSE YOUR PALATE WITH NUMBER 94
Fortunately, it's nice to be able to cleanse one's literary palate with the next selection, #94. The two women recognized in this slot, Karen McGlinn and Jean Forbath, could be considered the antithesis of the previous person. Their organization, Share Our Selves (SOS) is the gold standard for helping others in our area. We should all be proud of the fine work they do helping their fellowman - I am.

MY MUSE AT NUMBER 102
I cannot close without acknowledging my buddy, Byron de Arakal, who made the list at #102. When I contacted him to congratulate him for this fine award he commented that he was last on the list, #103, about 10 years ago, so he hoped to break into the top 10 sometime after he's been in the ground for 20 years or so. What a guy! Byron is the reason you're reading these words - it was a column of his in the Daily Pilot almost ten years ago that caused me to write my very first Letter to the Editor, which was published. I thought, "Heck, that was easy!", and kept on writing, which eventually evolved into this little old blog. The little blurb that accompanied Byron's photo outlined his contributions to our area as a member and Chairman of the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission, which were prodigious. His personal focus has always been on the kids of our community. I cannot get him to slow down in his consulting practice so he can run for City Council - maybe some day.

KUDOS, ONE AND ALL
Again, congratulations to every one of the people and entities honored by the Daily Pilot as members of the DP 103 for 2008. I love reading about the contributions of so many of my friends and neighbors, and those of folks I've never heard of before. This special section will have a long "shelf life" online, so take your time and read about all these wonderful people who make the Newport-Mesa such a terrific place in which to live, work and play.

THANKS TO THE DAILY PILOT STAFF

Thanks to the men and women of the Daily Pilot, now headed up by Brady Rhoades, for persevering under very trying circumstances to produce this fun, informative Special Section. I'm sure it will remain on coffee tables and in book racks in homes around the Newport-Mesa for a long time. Congratulations for a job well-done.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Well Done, Halecrest and Mesa Del Mar!


BIG SUCCESS IN HALECREST
Last night's Costa Mesa City Council Candidate Forum hosted by the Halecrest Community Association
and the Mesa Del Mar Homeowners Association was a big success. Congratulations to the organizers for a job well done.

A GOOD TURN
OUT, INCLUDING MR. U. KNOW-WHO - BRIEFLY
Held in an un-air conditioned room - with lots of open doors and fans - it got off to a slightly delayed start, but moved briskly thereafter. The venue was just right for the crowd - probably around 80 residents showed up for this event, including one old grouch from Mesa North who made what he must have felt was an obligatory appearance, then skulked away at least an hour before the event ended. Perhaps sitting on the far LEFT side of the room gave him vertigo - who knows?



BEVER A NO-SHOW - NOBODY CARED

Eight of the nine candidates made it to this event. Mayor Eric Bever failed to show, which is getting to be a habit with him these days. You'll recall that he didn't show up for the Daily Pilot interviews recently, either. I'm thinking
he may have finally run out of jokes or "clever" quips, so felt that he would be making an appearance "unarmed" - like a gunfighter without his pistols. Or, perhaps, his unwarranted arrogance just got the better of him and he didn't feel it was necessary to make another appearance before the voters of this city. He wasn't missed.

EXCELLENT QUESTIONS AND ENOUGH TIME TO ANSWER
Each candidate was given two minutes to introduce themselves - that worked out just fine. Having been to most of these events, I heard nothing new, but many of the attendees were first-timers. From that point on the hosts asked questions that were important to them and their communities, ranging from their approach to balancing the city budget; alleviating speeders in neighborhoods; the vacant property where Kona Lanes once stood; high density apartments in Mesa Del Mar; Banning Ranch and Undergrounding utilities. They each had two minutes to wrap up at the end.

FIREWORKS - THE QUESTION
Along the way Bill Sneen cleverly managed to slide the subject of Fireworks into the discussion, to which several of the ca
ndidates chimed in during responses to other questions. Suffice it to say that Daily Pilot columnist Steve Smith, who was sitting directly behind me, and I were the only two people in the room who have taken the position that neighborhood fireworks are a bad idea. We both slid down in our respective chairs as the discussion went on, and on, and on...

GENERALLY CIVIL PROCEEDINGS
The proceedings were quite civil - more so than in previous forums. Bill Sneen came armed with a few big expensive fliers for Righeimer, Monahan and Bever and commented on them in contrast to his campaign. Monahan took a couple mild backhand swipes at Katrina Foley again, but generally it was a pretty darn civilized exchange of views all evening.

REEDY REVVING UP
Lisa Reedy, o
n her home turf and before a home crowd, took a much more affirmative and active role in the discussions tonight. I found myself wishing she had launched her campaign more aggressively earlier.

UNDERGROUNDING UTILITIES BURIED
I thought it was interesting that, during the discussion of Undergrounding the utilities, all the candidates thought it was a good idea, but too expensive, yet none of them put forward what that cost would be. I expected Foley or Monahan - or both - to tell the assembled crowd that Allan Mansoor's pipe dream of undergrounding the utilities throughout the city would cost more than $1billion and take at least a generation to complete - those were the last numbers we heard when this was being considered. Yikes! And those numbers do not take into account the cost to the individual property owners, who would have to pay to get the utilities from the curb to their homes. In my case, for example, I received a couple estimates in the $11,000 - $15,000 range. Those costs will have certainly gone up since then. That subject is dead and "buried" - sorry, couldn't resist.

BANNING RANCH - YES, AND NO

To no one's surpr
ise, opinions varied on Banning Ranch. Chris Bunyan - who again lead the field in snappy one-liners - is leading the charge to keep Banning Ranch open space. Jim Righeimer, a developer, is more realistic - citing the fact that this is really Newport Beach's issue because the ranch property is within their sphere of influence. He pointed out that Costa Mesa must work with Newport Beach and the developer to obtain funds to mitigate the impact on our streets and other infrastructure during the process.

STRONGER CODE ENFORCEMENT

On the subject of the high density housing in the Mesa Del Mar area, there was unanimous agreement that stronger code enforcement is necessary. Several candidates thought stronger codes were necessary in addition to stronger enforcement of our existing rules. Foley and others felt that stronger positions should be taken with the property owners, including those owning the underlying property in the case of land leases. Monahan opined that eventually those units would simply just be "scraped" and new, upscale housing built in place.

BALANCING THE BUDGET - TOT OR NOT TOT

The issue of balancing the budget resulted in two sides of the issue - those who thought an increase in the Transient Occu
pancy Tax (TOT) should have been presented to the voters this year and those who thought ANY tax increase, regardless who was being taxed, was a bad idea. Most felt some belt tightening was necessary. There was talk about using the $14 million in emergency reserves, but Foley set the record straight on that issue. The council MAY NOT use the emergency reserves except in the case of a disaster - earthquake, hurricane, etc., and then it takes a four-fifths vote of the council. Chris Bunyan once again quipped that he'd forego his council salary if elected. Monahan didn't make such an offer...

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF....

There were several amusing moments tonight. One came from Nick Moss, the youngest of all the candidates at age 28. During the ad hoc discussion of Fireworks, he talked wistfully about how much he and his neighbors enjoyed the safe and sane fireworks, he said, "We have a blast." and never batted an eye. I'm still not sure he realized the humor in his comment.

ONE MORE FORUM TO GO

So, neighbors, one
more forum to be held next Tuesday, the 28th, at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, on Fairview next to the Farm Sports Complex. That event begins at 6:30 according to the revised schedule. I find myself wondering whether Bever will ignore this group, too. Is it too much to expect that the mayor actually attends these things when he's running for re-election? I don't think so. In any event, I'll remind you about that last forum as the date approaches.

BUMBLING BE
VER'S BUFFOONERY
As an aside, at the end of the last council meeting on Tuesday Bever demonstrated just what a chucklehead he really is when responding to City Manager Allan R
oeder on the subject of shopping in Costa Mesa. Roeder, making light of a comment made earlier by the Mesa North Mouth that folks could soon visit the new Trader Joe's in Huntington Beach, indicating that we should be shopping at our own Trader Joe's on 17th Street. Bever, in an unnecessary and flippant reply, said the one in Huntington Beach was closer and it would take too much gas and he would pollute the air too much if he drove "all the way" over to 17th Street. Yes sir, that's your mayor - advocating driving out of town to do your shopping. "Clueless" is much too kind a word for him.

ELECTION DAY COUNCIL MEETING CANCELED

By the way, during the last council meeting after about five minutes of discussion the council decided to simply cancel the November 4th meeting. That's election day and most of them will be preoccupied one way or the other. The next scheduled City Council meeting will be on November 18th.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halecrest Forum, More Dodero and Candidate Intimidation



SEE YOU THERE
Just a reminder... the next-to-last Costa Mesa City Council Candidate Forum will be held tonight. Wednesday, October 22, 2008 the Mesa Del Mar Homeowners Association and the Halecrest/Hall of Fame Community Association will jointly host a candidate forum at the Halecrest Community Center, 3107 Killybrooke Lane, from 6:30-9 PM.

TIME CHANGE ON NEXT WEEK'S FORUM

Incidentally, the start time for the final forum next Tuesday, the 28th, has been pushed back. I've been advised that it will begin at 6:30 PM, not 6, as previously reported. I'll remind you next week.


****

DOD
ERO DEPARTURE, PART 2
A little more news on the departure from the Daily Pilot yesterday of Tony Dodero, Director of News and Online. I imagine the management of the Times didn't just push him off a cliff. I don't know, but I suspect he was able to participate in a buy-out of sorts that may provide a small cushion as he takes this next step in his life. That would be consistent with the way The Times treated folks pitched out onto the streets since Sam Zell began his ham-handed "massaging" of the Tribune Companies.

OC WEEKLY ON DODERO
The OC WEEKLY, those good and prescient folks that recently recognized this humble blog, had an interesting piece on Tony's
departure in their Navel Gazing segment. Here's the link to that article, which includes a very interesting comment from Bill Lobdell, former Editor of the Daily Pilot, who recently found himself in similar circumstances.

WE WISH HIM WELL

Again, we here at A Bubbling Cauldron wish Tony Dodero and Lana Johnson, who also was shown the door this week, all the be
st. Katrina Foley put it so well last night when she paid much-deserved tribute to Tony during her council member comments, indicating that he was an important member of our community beyond his role at the Daily Pilot. He will be missed.

****

A REMINDER AND T
HREAT FROM "THE MOUTH"
One more thing... thi
s morning the yapping hyena over at the CM Press reminded us all of his involvement with the perpetually inept Chris Steel with this little bit of prose:

"A few years ago we helped elect a politician who did say one thing and do another. That politician even said he believed that we were the reason he got elected.

However, he apparently forgot that we do pay attention and we do attend most meetings and we do listen and we do watch. As soon as it was clear that this politician wasn't walking the walk and was blowing smoke, we began working to make sure he would not serve another term. We went from being his biggest supporter to being his biggest opponent."

A CLEAR THREAT
This should be a reminder to all those he supports in the election that he believes he has the power to get you "un-elected" if you fail to toe his line. Are you listening, Eric, Gary and Jim? You should be!

VOTERS BEWARE!
It should also be a reminder to the voters of this city of just why perpetuating an "improver" majority on our council is not good for this city. It puts them under the thumb of man admired by David Duke, former head of the KKK, for goodness sake. Is this the image you want for your city?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We Bid A Fond Adieu To Tony Dodero


SAD "LA" TIMES
I've written from time to time recently about the sad days at the Los Angeles Times and it's covey of community newspapers, including the Daily Pilot - our newspaper of record for a century.

ZELL, THE DESTROYER
Sam Zell bought the Tribune Companies, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs and Wrigley Field, plus other media assets - like our local KTLA, Channel 5. Ever since that acquisition Zell, who has no clue about how to actually run media companies, much less in these perilous times, has begun a herky-jerky process of devaluing those assets. I'm not sure how that makes any sense, but that's what he's doing.

PRUNING WITH A CHAINSAW
For example, a year ago the Los Angeles Times newsroom was staffed by 1200 writers, editors, photographers and others so essential to the gathering and presentation of the news. Today it is under 650, with another 200 people to be turned loose this week.

ADIOS, TONY...
Among those dedicated news folks being released this week is my friend, Tony Dodero, Director of News and Online at the Daily Pilot! After 18 years with the organization, Tony will walk out the door today for the final time and into a future with great uncertainty. Sadly, he's not alone in this situation these days.

LOYALTY REPAID WITH A KICK IN THE TEETH
You will recall that when Publisher Tom Johnson resigned in protest of the draconian cuts being manifested on the Times and it's subsidiaries earlier this year it was left to Dodero to grab the helm of the Daily Pilot and it's sister publications to try to keep them focused and functioning. He did a great job with a very difficult situation. His reward for this loyalty is a pink slip. Such is life at the Los Angeles Times these days.

NEARLY TWO DECADES OF SERVICE
Tony began at the Pilot as an intern for a few months almost 20 years ago, was offered a full-time job and progressed through the ranks as his talents were recognized. Over the years he's moved around through the Los Angeles Times organization with stops in Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Santa Monica. He's built new organizations - the Times Community Newspapers were a group of 23 individual newspapers at one time. He became Editor of the Daily Pilot in 1999.

GOOD NEWSMAN AND FRIEND
Throughout his career in the Los Angeles Times organization he became known as a tenacious reporter, excellent writer and editor and a superior manager. Along the way he has also become known as a good friend to many who have worked for and with him.

CREATED AN EXCELLENT ONLINE PRESENCE
When it became obvious that the Daily Pilot needed to develop a better, more professional online presence Tony was the "go to" guy and he responded by creating an online entity that is excellent and serves it's readers well.

RECOGNIZING AND DEVELOPING TALENT

Throughout his career Tony has hired and nurtured some excellent young reporters and editors, most of whom have moved on to bigger things after earning their spurs at the Daily Pilot. This skill for recognizing and developing talent is one of Tony's strengths. For most of this decade he has taught a Beginning Journalism course at Orange Coast College, where he encouraged and educated young folks with an interest in journalism.

HE'LL MISS THE PEOPLE
During a conversation today Tony told me that he will miss the people the most. He said he's enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful people over the years and especially enjoyed serving our community.

INEXPLICABLE CALLOUSNESS AT THE LA TIMES
As if pouring that last grain of salt in an open wound, the powers-that-be at the Los Angeles Times have refused to let Tony write a parting column - a courtesy he, as Editor, has provided to many former staffers as they moved on. It's a shame they chose not to permit him to say thank you to the readers after all his years of exemplary service.
This is a perfect example of the callousness of those in charge of a once-great newspaper.

GOOD-BYE TO MY FRIEND
Since I began writing Letters to the Editor to the Daily Pilot early in 2001 I've gotten to know Tony Dodero and consider him a friend. He's blessed with a cadre of caring, supportive friends and a wonderful family. We know Tony will land on his feet. We thank him for his contributions to our community and wish him, and his family, only the best as he steps off into a new direction in his life.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

OK, Now It's My Turn...

STRAP YOURSELF IN...
Fasten your seat belts and get comfy... this is going to be a long one... I had planned to publish my choices for Costa Mesa City Council a little closer to the election, but the Daily Pilot forced my hand today. Originally, I thought I would wait until after
the next two candidate forums on the 22nd and the 28th, but many will be mailing absentee ballots soon and - unless one of the candidates really steps in it over the next couple weeks - I already know how my votes will be cast, and why.

DAILY PILO
T CHOICES
In the Sunday, October 19, 2008 edition, the Daily Pilot editors provided readers with their choices for the open City Council seats in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. In both instances there were surprises. I'm not going to address the Newport Beach selections - I've only followed them peripherally and I don't have a dog in that hunt. Costa Mesa, however, is another question.

READ THEIR VIEWS, SEE THE VIDEOS

The Daily Pilot editors chose to endorse Katrina Foley, Jim Righeimer and Gary
Monahan from among the nine candidates for three seats available. You can read the reasons for their selections HERE. You can also view the video of portions of their interviews HERE, which may help you with your own decisions on November 4th.

BEVER REJECT
ED - WISELY
The editors, wisely, chose not
to support first-term councilman and current mayor, Eric Bever for re-election. Some will speculate that they did so because he snubbed them during their interview process. I seriously doubt that's the case, but even if it is, it would be understandable. Bever has proven to be a petulant, arrogant and capricious member of the city council, more concerned with providing a smug quip for every event than exercising sound judgment in the administration of our city. I concur with the editor's choice to ignore Bever . I will not vote for him because our city deserves much better.

KATRINA FOLEY FIRST
I agree with
the Daily Pilot that Katrina Foley, through her citizenship and service to this city as both a planning commissioner and council member over the past nearly a decade, has earned the right to be returned to the dais for another four years. As the editors stated, she seems to be omnipresent, representing our city government at almost every event of significance throughout her term - the only council member to do so. Foley has clearly been the smartest, best prepared of the current council members and, although consistently outnumbered on important votes, she nonetheless has provided solid reasoning and an essential counterpoint to the sometimes-irrational views and votes taken by the current majority. As the candidate who captured the most votes four years ago, she has done an excellent job of insuring that all sides of an issue were heard, giving voice to many residents who's opinions would otherwise have been ignored by the majority. As a business owner/lawyer, wife and mother, she has demonstrated boundless energy and a very special ability to juggle the demands of job, family and city. I whole-heartedly support returning Katrina Foley to the city council.

EXTRAORDINARY POOL OF CANDIDATES
From here on it gets a little sticky for me. This cycle the voters have had an especially unique group from which to choose their next leaders. In my more than three decades in Costa Mesa I don't recall a panel with so much relevant experience. This year we have three previous council members, including two with mayoral experience, and an uber-operative of the Orange County Republican Party who makes the word "connected" sound strangely inadequate. Combine those with a previous candidate who has become a dedicated activist, two mature, solid citizen business leaders and two bright young men with strong futures in civic affairs and you have an extraordinary group from which to choose.

RIGGY AND MONAHAN
I have been, and
continue to be, critical of both Righeimer and Monahan, but for very different reasons. I'll discuss them individually, even though they are being presented to the voters, along with Bever, as a de facto slate. As a check of your mailbox each day will illustrate, the three of them are beneficiaries of mountains of money being spent by the OC GOP on their campaign.

A CARPE
TBAGGER AND SO MUCH MORE
I have described Jim Righeimer as a carpetbagging opportunist and well-connected political operative who chose Costa Mesa as a safe haven in which to perch awai
ting a higher office to open up. I have described him as impatient, to the point that he has verbally abused applicants before the planning commission during his brief tenure. I have described his appointment to the commission by Allan Mansoor, after having resided in Costa Mesa for only a few months, as an act of political payback for the help Congressman Dana Rohrabacher gave to Mansoor and Wendy Leece two years ago in their campaigns. Did I mention that Righeimer is Rohrabacher's campaign manager? I have also said that I don't really believe he has a long-term commitment to Costa Mesa. I still believe all of the above.

PART OF OC GOP PLAN
I also don't like the fact that he appears to be a big part of a grand plan by the Orange County Republican Party - my party - to take over the government of Costa Mesa and use it for an incubator in which their cadre of political fetuses will grow.

ON THE OTHER HAND...
All that being said, there can be n
o dispute that Righeimer brings almost unprecedented experience for the voters to consider. As a developer, he has a very special perspective on those kinds of issues that is especially valuable in our city at this time. Beyond that, he has exceptional experience in regional organizations and all the important contacts that go along with them. He is an articulate, clever guy who knows how to "sell" his point of view. He's a personable fellow with plenty of charm and a beautiful family, which we've all seen in the numerous political mailers stuffing our mailboxes these days.

CROSSING MY FINGERS AND VOTING
So, keeping my fingers crossed until they turn white due to lack of circulation, I'm prepared to vot
e for Jim Righeimer and hope he will, as he promises, become a voice of mediation on the council. I'm prepared to vote for him, then stand back and hope it doesn't blow up in my face. I'm prepared to vote for him, then call him out if he strays from the promises he's been making to the voters in our city. Ouch, my fingers hurt!

WHAT A
BOUT MONAHAN?
I understand why the Daily Pilot editors chose to support Gary Monahan's return to the City Council. Simple logic tells you that someone with a dozen years on the City Council previously, including a third of that as mayor, should be a good move for our city, right?
During his campaign Monahan has consistently touted his vast experience on various agencies and boards that were part of his previous council terms. That should be important, too, right?

I REMEMBER GARY...

Well, I watched Gary Monahan during most of his previous tenure on the council and those memories have left a very unpleasa
nt after-taste. I've watched him evolve from a rank neophyte with limited political skills into a cunning, and sometimes conniving, operator with a very unbecoming streak of vindictiveness. I saw him become the very reason the voters of this city passed a term limits ordinance.

MAYOR FOR LIFE?
I also watched as he stood before the city council
a year ago as a private citizen and lobbied hard to get them to place the issue of a directly-elected mayor - without term limits - on the ballot this November. As he stood and spoke as if he was still a council member, pushing hard for this issue, I found myself thinking that he was attempting to become "mayor for life". Allan Mansoor supported Monahan, but Eric Bever's choice not to support this subject killed it - for the time being. There is no doubt in my mind that, if re-elected to the city council, Monahan would quickly launch yet another move to have the position of mayor become directly-elected, and without term limits. In my view, this would encourage corruption, perpetuate mediocrity and would certainly be bad for our city.

WHY RUN AGAIN?
Having watched Monahan at the end of his previous term, it was clear that he had lost interest and he stated, as he stepped aside from a leadership role to make room for the Mansoor/Bever team, that he needed to spend more time with his prodigious family and his business. All of us can understand that, but I wonder what has changed? The size of his family has not, and his business - like many today - probably needs even more of his attention in light of the downward spiral of our economy.


HOLDING A GRUDGE?
I remember Mona
han during the rancorous days when his restaurant was being picketed by activists opposing Mansoor's bogus immigration screening plan. He's bitter to this day about that, as evidenced by his comments at candidate forums this year. I wonder how that animosity toward Latinos in our city will translate into even-handed governance in the future?

WEARY OF THE PROCESS?
I also remember Monahan's growing impatience with the process of governing - something that happens to folks that have become weary of a "job". I recall with crystal clarity one evening when he admonished his peers on the council, while discussing the subject of annexation of portions of the county coveted by both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, that they should "play hardball" with Newport Beach representatives, even though Newport Beach held all the cards in that game. That's the kind of attitude we can no longer afford as we deal with our neighboring cities. We need cooperation, not confrontation, as we move forward on issues like John Way
ne Airport, the SR-55 solution and Banning Ranch, just to mention a few.

BACK TO THE MUNICIPAL TROUGH
It is my understa
nding that, if elected to the city council, Monahan will remain on the board of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District, where he will be entitled to draw over $1300 per month, depending on the number of meetings he attends. Combine that with the honey pot he will have as a council member - $952 per month, plus expenses and the availability of excellent medical benefits for his family and the opportunity to pad his pension, and I just cannot help but think that he's in this for Gary, not for the city.

THANKS, GARY, BUT NO THANKS...

I will not support Gary Monahan for re-election because I think he's weary of the job. He has worn out his welcome and is just trying to elbow his way back to the municipal trough. Thanks for your prior service, Gary, now please step aside.

THE REMAINING FIVE
This leaves us with five candidates for the remaining choice on my ballot - Lisa Reedy, Chris McEvoy, Nick Moss, Chris Bunyan and Bill Sneen.

NOT REEDY'S TIME
I think Lisa Reedy - a woman with excellent business and leadership skills - has not gotten serious enough early in her campaign and it shows in her performance at forums. I hope she decides to run again in two years. I'm grateful to her for making this run and hope she will do so again soon. I cannot vote for her this time around.

MC EVO
Y SHOWS ENTHUSIASM AND PROMISE
Chris McEvoy is a delightful, refreshing young man to whom the future of this city belongs. He has some unique ideas about solutions to city issues and promises to stay involved in civic issues following the election. I hope he does
, and that he returns as a candidate again soon, but I cannot vote for him this time.

MOSS IS STILL LEARNING
Nick Moss is another young man who is still on the steep part of the learning curve on municipal issues. I hope he finds a way to stay involved, but this is not the right time for him on the council. He won't receive my vote this time.

BUNYAN AND SNEEN
That leaves us with Chris Bunyan and Bill Sneen, both of whom I like very much as individuals and as candidates.

BUNYAN'S BACK AND FOCUSED
Chris Bunyan ran two years ago and finished last. This year, with saving the Banning Ranch as a cornerstone o
f his campaign, he seems to be working much harder and has been making inroads. His comments at the recent forums consistently drew the best responses, so he does strike a chord with voters. I think he can continue to make significant contributions to our city. Should he somehow manage, in the face of such stiff competition this time around, to round up enough votes to land a seat on the council I would not be unhappy, but I will not vote for him this time.

SNEEN HAS THE
SKILLS, SMARTS AND ATTITUDE
As he said at a recent forum, Bill Sneen has lived in Costa Mesa twenty years longer than Jim Righeimer and is a business executive, community activist and family man. He is the husband of recent school board member, Linda Sneen, and the father of two college-age sons - both Eagle Scouts. He and his wife have been active in school issues for many years. He possesses excellent business leadership experience and the intelligence, maturity and work ethic so necessary to make solid decisions for our city. He has worked harder than any other new candidate trying to prepare for the forums this year, interviewing many senior city staffers and former municipal leaders and residents. From all I can discern, his slogan, "Costa Mesa First", accurately describes his commitment to improving our city for all residents ahead of any personal political ambitions. By any definition of the phrase, Bill Sneen is a "solid citizen" and precisely the kind of person we should hope to elect to our city council. For all of these reasons he has earned my remaining vote.

FOLEY, RIGHEIMER AND SNEEN
So, there you have it. I will mark my ballot for Katrina Foley, Jim Righeimer and Bill Sneen because 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.

REMEM
BER "44 VOTES" - MAKE AN INFORMED CHOICE
Don't take my word for it. Do your own homework. Watch the video clips of the three forums available to you on CMTV or the city web site and view the individual clips on the Daily Pilot web site. Read what the candidates have written, consider their backgrounds and motivations. If you use comments offered by bloggers like me, remember to consider the source. There's one guy in town who has very clear ulterior motives - something that should be important to you as you weigh his words. With apologies to my cousin Jerry for the use of his jersey as an illustration, remember that in the election four years ago only 44 votes separated Eric Bever and Bruce Garlich. Whatever you do, make an informed choice when you mark your ballot. Two weeks to go and counting...

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