Thursday, July 09, 2009

Some Things Just Don't Change...

With all the hoopla surrounding the Independence Day holiday and the budget issues swirling around, I neglected to mark the anniversary of this blog. Yep, 4 years ago today - July 9, 2005 - I launched this blog as a place to vent my spleen unedited. Today, with hundreds of posts, thousands of words and two blog hosts under my belt, I wish I had figured a way to get paid for each word. Yikes! $$$$$

As I do from time to time, I revisited my archives - you can do so, too, by clicking on the link on the right side of the page - to revisit issues. Sometimes things have changed, but most o
f the time they have not.

For example, a couple weeks after launching the blog I wrote the following entry bemoaning the demise of the Costa Mesa Human Relations Committee. Most of the players on the council then are the same today, except Wendy Leece has replaced Linda Dixon. I think you might find this entry of interest:


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Human Relations Committee - R.I.P
Well, the deed is done. As predicted, the Human Relations Committee is history.

When, during the council meeting July 19th, Mayor Mansoor used as part of his smokescreen for disbanding the committee the fact that no council member had volunteered to be the liaison to the group, up jumped
councilwoman Linda Dixon, who called his bluff. She volunteered not only to be the liaison, but to use her discretionary budget to fund the committee's activities if the council was reluctant to restore the funding it cut in June.

There was no stopping the male majority on the council, though. After councilwoman Dixon made a motion to not disband the Human Relation
s Committee and for the council to restore funding in the amount of $4,000 per year - a motion that was seconded by councilwoman Foley - Mansoor made a substitute motion to disband the committee. That motion passed, 3-2, with Foley and Dixon voting no.

So, after almost two decades of serving this city, the Human Relations Committee is gone. The Mansoor-led council, in the same callous style they used when they de-funded the committee in June without any advance notice to the members, cut this group loose without any kind of acknowledgment of their service - no "Thank You", no nothing. It was like they were trying to shake dog poop off their shoe.

This is just another example of where this council, under Mansoor's leadership, is taking this city. It loo
ks like they are intent on extracting from government any element that does not involve fixing potholes or public safety. It seems to me that they are methodically draining the heart out of this town. Don't be surprised if we next see a full-on attack on other, in their view, questionable functions - the Recreation Division, for example. They have already shown their attitude about that organization by chopping $100,000 from it's budget last spring.


As you can see, some things just never change. At that time I predicted an attack on the Recreat
ion Division and now, four years down stream, that's exactly what we've seen over the past month.


Some will recall that Allan Mansoor was a member of the Human Relations Co
mmittee before being elected to the city council. He was also the prime mover to first de-fund it, then disband it four years ago. Before his election, and while he was on the committee, he was a lightning rod for controversy when he posted an anti-gay entry on the the Concerned Costa Mesa Citizen's web site. That entry, and a few others by people with strong right-wing leanings - including The Mouth From Mesa North - provoked such a controversy that the Lolita Harper - then a crack reporter for the Daily Pilot - did a three-part series on the web site and the Orange County Human Relations Commission got interested and began monitoring the site. Very shortly thereafter the operators of the site shut it down and the most egregious posters on it scurried back under their rocks.


However, many of those associated with that site, including The Mouth, continue to be active in C
osta Mesa politics. Some of them were self-anointed Westside "improvers" - folks who have spent much of the last decade trying to "improve" that part of town. In many cases that "improvement" meant trying to make life miserable for the Latinos who live there although they represent the predominant ethnic demographic group in that part of town. By some estimates the Latinos represent 65% of the population of the Westside.


Several groups - city-sponsored and otherwise - were formed to address the concerns of the "improvers". They had various names - CRAC, WROC, etc. - but the efforts culminated in several "plans" to modify the zoning of segments of the Westside. One common element in each of them was that it would become much easier to facilitate a demographic change by implementing them. Had the economy not gone south it's very likely that we would have had developers standing in line to snap up some industrial land and turn it into residential enclaves.


So, I guess my message here is that the drumbeat of "improvement" continues throughout our city. Unfortunately, the definition of that word for the most part means "get rid of the Latinos". It pains me to see such overt attempts to cause discomfort to those in our community with brown skins. It really pains me to realize that the leader of the band in that movement, The Mouth From Mesa North, is an internationally infamous racist - a man whose essays have become rallying points for the radical right in this country. He's a favorite of David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, for example. It's a very sad commentary on our city that so many of our elected leaders march to his tune - very sad, indeed.

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