Mensinger On The Attack!
Last weekend a friend forwarded to me an email apparently sent by rookie Planning Commissioner Stephen Mensinger - an "Open letter to Council Members and Community Leaders" - in which Mensinger ripped Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece and the city staff for their presentation at a recent council study session regarding a proposed tax on fireworks sales to fund the enforcement of our laws regarding illegal fireworks use in our city. Mensinger's epistle was nearly 700 words long and included the staff report from the study session - another 1800 words. The Daily Pilot will carry an edited version - just under 500 words - of Mensinger's rant in print tomorrow, the 18th. Here's the link to the online version.
COSTA MESA ONE OF ONLY 5 CITIES PERMITTING FIREWORKS
Costa Mesa is one of only 5 of the nearly three dozen cities in Orange County that still permits the sale and discharge of so-called "safe and sane" fireworks. Each year for the past half dozen there has been public outcry against the sale of such fireworks, which in every case was overwhelmed by the response from the youth group leadership who benefit financially from the sale of fireworks. Many youth and school groups - primarily sports teams - receive much, if not all, of their annual funding from such sales.
I'M AGAINST FIREWORKS, BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT
Personally, I'm against fireworks - except those that are part of a professionally-produced fireworks show. I think the "safe and sane" fireworks are neither and their sale and use in our city only encourages and camouflages the use of much more dangerous illegal fireworks. I acknowledge that I'm in the minority on this subject, including in my own neighborhood. That's OK. And, it's not really the purpose of this entry.
Mensinger's email amounts to a threat against Leece and any other person who opposes the sale of fireworks in our city. His sophomoric message - someone should introduce him to his spell checker - is full of invective, innuendo and just plain dumb statements.
For example, at the end of his second paragraph he says, " However, I oppose the use of smoke and mirrors to mask what does not exist." What?! How does one mask something that does not exist?
"MINORITY DRIVEN"? WHAT?!
In his next paragraph he says, "For many years, Costa Mesa has struggled to find ways to keep our youth involved in our own city's youth sports organizations. Why? Well, simply put, our council spent more time on traffic timing and trip fees than they did on developing ways to attract and keep families in our City. Here we are again focusing energy on an issue that divides and is largely minority driven." What?! Minority driven? Do we have a little latent bias on display here? And, he's wrong! In recent years the City Council, staff and residents have worked tirelessly to develop more playing fields and youth sports venues, such as the Volcom Skate Park, adding lights to The Farm Sports Complex, Jim Scott Stadium and the new fields adjacent to the Fairview Developmental Center. The city recently spent a pile of money to acquire a school site adjacent to Brentwood Park and has plans to expand that neighborhood park. That sounds pretty darn family-friendly to me!
"ASHAMED" OF WHAT?
He goes on to say, "At the direction of our staff, I watched with disbelief as Police and Fire put forth expenditures that were patently phony, simply to justify a tax. Candidly, I was ashamed!" Oh, really? Ashamed of what? Were you ashamed of the public safety organizations? Are you saying they were lying? It sure sounds like it. That's an interesting tactic - accusing those men and women sworn to protect and serve us of being liars.
NOT ALL OF US, STEVE
He continued, "Under the logic presented in the recent study session, we will soon see restaurants and bars taxed for the cost of St Patrick's Day police overtime to identify and arrest people who choose to drink too much. When Fire claimed that having overtime with an additional fire truck saved a trash can fire from growing out of control, my contempt was complete. I can only conclude that those that serve us believe we are ignorant." Well, maybe not all of us, Steve, but they may have you pegged.
MENSINGER TO LEECE - "SHUT UP!"
He goes on to say, "I will not only vehemently oppose any efforts to penalize those that use legal fireworks, I will organize and lead the effort to oppose and remove elected and appointed officials who support these kinds of misuse of power." OK, Steve, we got it. You're PO'd at Leece and are sending a message to her that you'll oppose her re-election in 2010 if she doesn't shut up about fireworks. Could you be any more of a thug?
RAGE + BRAIN FADE = TYPOS
In his last two paragraphs Mensinger, apparently so filled with rage that he either cannot think clearly and/or type accurately, says, "I am reaching out to those like Council Person Leece to put forth energy in solving the real issues in our community that affect all of us the other 364 days a year. For starters lets balance our budget and cut the waste. Then I would suggest focussing staff on our roads, infastrucuture and those issues that attract new families to our great City." So, Steve, are you saying that our public safety staff should just ignore violations on that 365th day? Should they just "phone it in" on July 4th?
He then closes with, "I believe the faithful day that an elected decided to once again address the wrong issue illistrates the need to choose our leaders more carefully in the future." And then signs it, "Respectly, Stephen Mensinger"
HE'S A BULLY!
The point of my entry today is not fireworks, although I don't support them. The issue is Mensinger. As reported earlier, he has begun to demonstrate a tendency to bully people and this email is just the most recent example of that characteristic. In my opinion, bullies have no place in a position of power in our city, like the Planning Commission. I do agree with him, though, when he opines that there is a need to select our leaders more carefully. That certainly applies to those appointees, as well.
MENSINGER SHOULD STEP DOWN
I think Steve Mensinger is a loose cannon. If he remains on the Planning Commission he will create difficult situations for our city. Now that he's gotten a little taste of the power he has on the dais it looks as though he really likes it. He has a history of abuse of power, HERE, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if his behavior leads the city into yet another legal quagmire down the road. In my opinion, he should be asked to step down from the Planning Commission and, if he refuses, the City Council should remove him.