Mansoor To Run For 68th Assembly Seat - Big Whoop!
THE "TERM LIMITS" TWO-STEP
Here in Costa Mesa our young jailer/mayor announced recently that he's going to be a candidate for the California State Assembly seat currently occupied by Van Tran. That seat, which represents the 68th District, will be vacated because Tran is termed out in 2010. Mansoor is termed out of his Costa Mesa city council seat at the same time.
NO SURPRISE - ONLY DISAPPOINTMENT
Those of us who keep an eye on Mansoor are not surprised by this announcement. He actually made it in a taped interview on Costa Mesa Television, Channel 24, last month. There had been much speculation over the past couple years about Mansoor's political future at the end of his term in Costa Mesa. Some of us who have watched him closely ever since he was first elected to the city council hoped he would pack it in and not infest yet another political position with his presence. Alas, it is not to be.
Mansoor is no slam dunk for the 68th Assembly seat. Even though he's been the darling of the Orange County Republican Party hierarchy ever since he decided to mount an anti-immigrant campaign in Costa Mesa, the constituency he would represent in the 68th has a much broader ethnic diversity. He will almost certainly be opposed by at least one strong candidate from within the Vietnamese-American community in the district. It also has a significant population of Latino voters, which will cause him some trouble.
INFLEXIBLE BIAS ON DISPLAY
An Orange County Deputy Sheriff in his "day job", Mansoor has demonstrated an inflexibility and cultural bias through his actions over the past almost 7 years. He became a national poster boy for the anti-immigrant sentiment that swept across the country a couple years ago. His smiling face was all over the media, where his mantra gave folks all over the country the impression that Costa Mesa was a haven of redneck bigots, intent on running every brown face out of town.
So strong was his presence in that movement that he was anointed an honorary "Minuteman" by the Grand Pooba of the Minuteman Project organization, Jim Gilchrist, who also became a major player in Mansoor's run for re-election. He, and other frothing Minuteman activists stood before the Costa Mesa City Council meeting after meeting, praising Mansoor's "brave" stand. Wackos from Alta Loma, Upland and other parts of the hinterland trekked to Costa Mesa to support Mansoor's philosophy.
BOIL BURSTS IN JANUARY, 2006
That festering boil came to a head at the City Council meeting on January 3, 2006, when Mansoor violated the rights of Latino activist Benito Acosta by cutting his time short of the normal 3 minutes, not permitting him to finish his comments and by refusing to permit his followers to stand and be recognized - a courtesy he had afforded Gilchrist just a brief 30 minutes earlier. The meeting deteriorated as Mansoor called a recess and then-police chief John Hensley directed that Acosta be dragged from the podium and out of the auditorium. Criminal charges were filed against Acosta, but were subsequently dismissed when the city attorney botched his job. The civil trial ACLU filed on Acosta's behalf is pending, scheduled now to begin in July. That case could end up costing the city a judgment in 6 or 7 figures.
STUBBORN FISCAL IRRESPONSIBILITY
Mansoor has demonstrated a stubborn, irresponsible anti-tax streak which, while admired by some, has put the city into a terrible financial condition. Last year he led the majority on the council as they chose not to present to the voters on the ballot a chance to increase the city's Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). Presently, at 6%, Costa Mesa is far and away the lowest in Orange County and the state. The average TOT charge in Orange County is just over 10%. By bumping the tax to that level the city could have realized an increase in revenue of around $4 million annually. That number would have made our current budget crises a little easier to manage.
REJECTED BUSINESS LICENSE FEE INCREASE, TOO
He also brushed aside discussions of increasing the city's business license tax, currently also among the lowest in the county. Right now the business license fee is capped at $200 - a laughable number when compared to neighboring cities. Even local business owners chuckle when they think about it.
HE GREASED THE SKIDS OF OUR FINANCIAL CRISIS
His short-sightedness has greased the skids of financial instability for our city and certainly raises questions about his worthiness for even higher office.
HISTORY OF INTOLERANCE
Mansoor has shown signs of intolerance for years, beginning when he, as a member of the city's Human Relations Committee, posted controversial anti-gay entries on a local web-based bulletin board. So vile were some of the posts on that site that the Orange County Human Relations Commission got wind of it and stuck it's nose under the tent. They began monitoring the posts on that site and, when combined with a three-part series about the site by the Daily Pilot, the operators of the site couldn't take the light of day and decided to shut down.
"HUMAN RELATIONS" UNIMPORTANT TO HIM
Subsequently, as a member of the city council, Mansoor spearheaded the disbanding of the Human Relations Committee - a group of volunteers who had served the city with distinction for nearly two decades. The council first de-funded the committee, then - without notice or a simple "thank you" for the service provided - disbanded the committee.
DON'T BOTHER HIM WITH REPORTS
Each year the Orange County Human Relations Commission reports to the City Council on the status of intolerance within the city. This is simply an advisory presentation, usually made to the council at the beginning a meeting. Following the most recent presentation Mansoor stated emphatically from the dais that he wasn't interested in hearing any more of those reports. Such is the mindset of our young jailer/mayor.
MANSOOR AND LOYALTY? HA!
Today the City of Costa Mesa sent out a press release telling us that Mayor Mansoor has proclaimed May 1st as Loyalty Day in Costa Mesa. This is a day when residents are encouraged to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States and recognize the heritage of American freedom. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't help but smirk as I read Mansoor's name in the same sentence with "loyalty". This is the same guy who, following his re-election, turned his back on loyal "improver" foot soldier Paul Bunney who had applied for a seat on the Planning Commission. Instead of appointing Bunney - a long-time supporter - he rejected his candidacy not once, but three times and then appointed carpetbagger Jim Righeimer instead. Righeimer, some will recall, had only moved to Costa Mesa a few months earlier and was a good buddy of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher - a huge supporter of Mansoor's re-election campaign. It was a profound act of political pay back and a clear act of disloyalty to a long-time friend and supporter.
FAULTS AND ALL?
I, for one, think Mansoor's candidacy for the 68th Assembly seat will be an interesting race to watch. Will the OC GOP - assuming they've got a malleable, not-too-bright guy that they can manipulate whenever they choose - overlook his limited education, lack of intellectual horsepower, questionable judgment and poor political instincts and still lavish him with support? It will be interesting to see. I suppose there will be things to write about on this race over the next couple of years.