Daily Pilot Editors Get It Right On Aztec Basketball
EDITORS PUT IN THEIR TWO CENTS ON AZTEC BASKETBALL
The editors of the Daily Pilot, our local newspaper of record, used their bully pulpit last Sunday to chime in on the issue of renting the Costa Mesa Downtown Recreation Center basketball court to an outfit called the Aztec Basketball League. You can read that editorial, entitled, "Leave hoops league to city staff", HERE. That league, owned and operated by Sergeant Rigoberto Baustista - a National Guard recruiter - has operated successfully and trouble-free for years out of Santa Ana, but was recently displaced by renovations at their facilities.
BAUTISTA JUST WANTED COURT TIME
Bautista approached the City of Costa Mesa a couple months ago requesting the opportunity to rent our court on Sundays, for which he was willing to pay our top rates. By utilizing the court 8 hours a week - all day Sunday - the Aztec Basketball League would displace fewer than two dozen drop-in players, some of whom are probably Costa Mesa residents, who played basketball and volleyball in the facility. The difference in revenue to the city will be almost $40,000 if the league rents it.
"THE MOUTH" INFLUENCED THE COMMISSION
At first, when this issue came before the Parks and Recreation Commission, it seemed to be getting favorable consideration until one local loudmouth, our old pal, The Mouth From Mesa North, stood and raised the specter of marauding ex-cons invading our city and terrorizing our women and children. When Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Kurt Galitski moved to approve the request you would have thought the remaining commissioners had turned to stone. Not a peep could be heard from them, much less the necessary second to Galitski's motion. The issue died a painfully peaceful death.
COMMISSION PASSED IT UNANIMOUSLY
Then, in response to much community uproar - including comments that their decision, or lack of one, was racially motivated - Vice Chair Mike Brumbaugh brought the issue back for re-consideration at their next meeting. This time Sergeant Bautista was present to plead his case. The short version is that the commission approved the contract unanimously.
BIZARRE BEVER BROUGHT IT UP
Then, for whatever reason he might have had in his strange brain, City Councilman Eric Bever brought the issue to the City Council for review, which launched one of the most bizarre discussions I can recall. For example, as part of his discussion Bever suggested that we should negotiate a higher rate from Bautista, even though he was willing to pay our top rate. What do we call that - a Mexican surcharge?
BAUTISTA HAD NO CHOICE
Mayor Allan Mansoor - already running for Van Tran's Assembly seat - apparently had some contact with Sergeant Bautista and managed to convince him to change the name of his organization. Apparently he was concerned that Costa Mesa residents might feel that they were not welcome into a league that sounded too Mexican. Mansoor proposed that the contract be let to Bautista, who would manage the "Costa Mesa Basketball League on Sundays". Councilwoman Katrina Foley - aghast that the mayor had the nerve to require a business owner to change the name of his business - tried to get the mayor to respond to her questions. He simply - that's the only way he operates - restated his motion.
For those of us who have watched Mansoor in action for most of this past decade, his intent was clear. He didn't want a business that reeked of Latino roots to be doing business in our facility. He didn't want Costa Mesa residents to be confused about the name and, hence, their opportunity to participate. This pronouncement was in spite of the fact that many Costa Mesa residents and teams already participate in the Aztec Basketball League.
THE EDITORS GOT IT RIGHT!
In their editorial, the Daily Pilot editors drive right to the heart of the issue. Their last paragraph begins with this sentence: "This is micromanaging on a level that's beyond comic." They finished their piece with this sentence: "Best to leave the management of basketball leagues to the Parks and Recreation Commission and the city staff." I couldn't agree more!
It has become increasingly more clear as time passes that Mansoor - and to some extent Eric Bever and Gary Monahan - have become afflicted with BenitoAcostaPhobia - the fear and loathing of anything sounding Mexican. It's obvious that it continues to cloud Mansoor's judgment, just as it was clouded that fateful evening when he violated Benito Acosta's rights as a speaker before the City Council that has resulted in a lawsuit against him and the city.
WHAT WILL HIS NEW CONSTITUENTS THINK?
I find myself continuing to wonder how his new constituent base in the 68th Assembly District will interpret his anti-Latino actions. Will the large Vietnamese-American group wonder how broad his racial bias goes? They should. The Latinos already know how he feels about them...
CHANGE THE CITY AND OTHER BUSINESSES?
The editors suggested, I'm sure tongue-in-cheek, that, following Mansoor's logic, we should change the name of our city from Costa Mesa to Coastal Table - to avoid sounding too Mexican. In a blog comment in the Daily Pilot I recently wondered if the mayor will require Mi Casa, El Ranchito and Acapulco restaurants to change their names because people might think they are exclusively for people of Latino heritage. This is how ridiculous this issue has become.
STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES
The residents of this city are poorly served when it's highest elected official - the mayor - so flagrantly exercises his own racial bias in the conduct of his job. The mayor and his former pal, Bever, should be ashamed of themselves. The voters of this city deserve much, much more from it's elected leaders. It's one thing when they display their stupidity - they can't help that. It's an entirely different story when they blatantly display their racial bias...