Friday, August 28, 2009

Ellie Greenwich, Rest In Peace

NO HOMEWORK FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND
Instead of provoking you to try to figure out why Marc Puckett is no longer the Finance Director in Costa Mesa, or who the City Council might appoint to replace Jim Fisler on the Planning Commission, I'm letting you off the hook this weekend.

THE PASSING OF ELLIE GREENWICH

Instead, I want to give you a couple nibbles of some of the music I grew up with, written by Ellie Greenwich, who passed away at age 68 last Wednesday. Ellie was a remarkable talent who joined with her then-husband, Jeff Barry, to compose some of the most memorable music of the 50s and 60s. In later years she also produced albums and songs for some terrific musicians, and is credited with discovering Neil Diamond. For a list of her accomplishments visit her web site HERE.

Take your time and enjoy some of the music of my youth.

Da Do Ron Ron - The Crystals



Chapel of Love - The Dixie Cups




River Deep, Mountain High - Tina Turner




Leader of the Pack - The Shangri Las




Be My Baby - The Ronettes


Labels:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Marc Puckett Is Gone - Why?

MARC PUCKETT ON LEAVE
It was with great pain that I read in the Daily Pilot online edition, HERE, today that City of Costa Mesa Finance Director and City Treasurer,
Marc Puckett, is on leave from the city for, as the Pilot article says, "an undisclosed reason."

NO FINANCIAL MALFEASANCE INVOLVED
The article by Alan Blank goes on to quote City Manager Allan Roeder indicating that Puckett's absence has "nothing to do with financial malfeasance." I know Mr. Roeder to be a man of integrity and honor, so I take him at his word.

HELD IN HIGH REGARD FOR A DECADE

Puckett has been with the city ten years, coming to Costa Mesa from Flint, Michigan, where he was Director of Finance. He has been held in high regard not only by members of our city and staff, but by the wider financial community, too. In the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy he formed the Lehman Brothers Working Group, which now includes 1500 agencies from 21 states.

HE RESIGNED FROM CMTA THIS MONTH

Because city officials are playing this subject very, very close to their vests, we have no idea why he left, how long Puckett will be absent, nor if he will return to his job at all. I do know that he wrote a letter on August 18, 2009 to the President of the California Municipal Treasurers Association - a group in which he was a member of the Executive Board and the President-Elect - resigning his position on that board. That act alone would lead one to believe that Puckett may never return to his job in Costa Mesa.

PUCKETT ALWAYS A PRO
Over the past few years I've had frequent contacts with Marc Puckett, usually during the budget planning process. I always found him to be a very responsive and intelligent public servant. He clearly knew municipal finance inside and out and was eager to impart knowledge to those who asked.

THE QUESTION IS - WHY?

Because this is a "personnel matter" the city is apparently obligated to keep the reason for his absence quiet so it leaves us all to engage in what I refer to as "speculosis" - the affliction of speculating on the reasons for an event or situation. I sincerely hope that Puckett's absence will not adversely affect the city's ability to go forward with the very difficult budget planning issues that are ahead.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL, INCLUDING PUCKETT

In the meantime, I wish the city finance staff and the senior management well as they try to sort out whatever the issues are. And, I wish Marc Puckett well, too. Until we know more, he deserves that...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Daily Pilot Changes

ANOTHER PILOTEER DEPARTS
Well, another y
oung reporter on our newspaper of record, the Daily Pilot, has decided to depart for greener pastures.

ALAN BLANK HEADS EAST

Alan Blank, who has been the Daily Pilot Costa Mesa reporter for the past couple years, is throwing all his earthly possessions into his car and heading east. His last day at the Pilot will be Friday, August 28th. A week from Monday he will become the Press Officer for engineering and physical sciences at the University of Rochester, a small, but renowned university in Rochester, New York.

THE RIGHT SKILL SET
Blank, a local Costa Mesa product, graduated from UC Santa Cruz two years ago with a degree in physics. His education acquired as a Banana Slug (yes, that's the UC Santa Cruz mascot) and the skills he's developed as a reporter on the Daily Pilot seem to dovetail perfectly for this new assignment.

HE WILL BE MISSED

The son of local lawyer and community activist Chris Blank, he has become a good reporter, covering all the Costa Mesa bases at a time when resources at the Daily Pilot and most other newspapers have been diminishing. His amiable, easy-going style will certainly be missed.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'
So, when you read the upstate New York weather reports this winter, think of Alan Blank, with his thin California blood, shivering with teeth chattering as he tries to explain to his cohorts that he'd be out surfing in January if he was home in California. We wish Alan all the best in this next big step in a very promising career.


*****

DAILY PILOT TO BE "DAILY" ONCE AGAIN

Daily Pilot Editor Brady Rhoades let the cat out of the bag on his blog the other day when he referred to his goal of having a columnist reporting on Latino issues "on Monday, A1". When I wrote to remind him that they don't publish on Mondays he acknowledged that he probably should have mentioned that he hopes to get the Daily Pilot back publishing daily again in the very near future. He subsequently posted a follow-up entry confirming that the Daily Pilot will be providing us with important local news seven days a week within a few weeks. That's good news for all of us.

Labels: ,

Changes at Mesa Consolidated Water District

SCHOENBERGER AND FISLER APPOINTED
At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Mesa Consolidated Water District last night former board member Paul Schoenberger was appointed to the position of General Manager and Costa Mesa Planning Commission Vice Chairman Jim Fisler was appointed to the Mesa Consolidated board.

SCHOENBERGER'S CONTINGENT ON HEALTH

According to sources within Mesa Consolidated, Schoenberger's appointment is contingent upon some technicalities - like passing a physical exam, for example.


MESA'S SPENDING PLAN
Mesa Consolidated Water District Director approved a budget earlier this year with a spending plan of nearly $28.5 million and has been a strong advocate of water conservation.


FISLER RESIGNED THIS MORNING
Fisler's appointment is contingent upon him resigning from the Costa Mesa Planning Commission - which he apparently did in an email (Oops. Fisler advises he resigned by letter to the city clerk. My error, based on faulty original information.) this morning. He was apparently among twenty applicants for the position. He will join current board members Shawn Dewane, Fred Bockmiller, Jim Atkinson and Trudy Ohlig-Hall.

COUNCIL WILL CONSIDER THE OPENING ON TUESDAY

This now creates an opening on the Costa Mesa Planning Commission. My understanding is tha
t the City Council will most likely have this an agenda item at their meeting on Tuesday, September 1st.

HOW TO FILL FISLER'S SLOT?

When inquiring of city officials to determine the options open to the City Council I was told that the council could open up this opportunity to the public and solicit inquiries from interested parties or they could simply just appoint someone to fill Fisler's remaining term - through 2010.

BIGGER JOB, MORE BUCKS
Congrats to Mr. Schoenberger and to my old buddy, Jim Fisler. I'm sure Mesa Consolidated Water District will benefit from Fisler's work ethic and tenacity on issues. And, Fisler will also benefit, since the members of the board receive a stipend of $200 per meeting to a maximum of 10 meetings per month. As a member of the Planning Commission he's been receiving $400 per month, regardless the number of meetings attended.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mansoor Withdraws MOU Review Request

Breaking News!!

NO REVIEW OF FIREFIGHTER MOU
Mayor Allan Mansoor today withdrew his request to re-hear the decision made by the Costa Mesa City Council on the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the firefighters union.

REVIEW WOULD CREATE CHAOS

Mansoor and Eric Bever voted against the MOU and Mansoor subsequently requested a re-hearing. I posted a blog entry on it, HERE, expressing concern that this would create chaos in the system, since both parties to the agreement had signed it and were well on their individual ways to making it work.

MANSOOR ACTED ON ADVICE THAT CHANGED

According to City Manager Allan Roeder, Mansoor was advised originally by city staff that it was appropriate to request a re-hearing. Upon further legal review, however, it was determined that the city might not be on solid ground and they advised Mansoor today. He then withdrew his request. Much as I would love to gloat about Mansoor messing this up, he didn't. He followed the procedures, received advice, acted on it but the advice changed upon further review.

TIME TO MAKE THE PLAN WORK

Now both the city staffers and the members of the firefighters union can move forward with the plans they had made as a result of the signed MOU and try to make this element of the 10-point plan to balance the budget work.

OTHER EMPLOYEES GRUMBLING

In the meantime, there are still the not-to-subtle grumblings from other city employees and their representatives about the deals they made with the city. As I've said before, if they are unhappy with the negotiations conducted by their representatives they should take it up with them and perhaps consider changing their representation in the future.

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mensa Metamorphosis?

"YOUR NEIGHBOR" REDUX
You all know
the high regard I have for our old buddy, "Your Neighbor" (The Mouth From Mesa North), or as he has referred to himself in the past, "Mr. U. Know-Who". I've written many, many times about him and his insidious influence on our city and his warped "if-it-ain't-white-it-ain't-right" philosophy.

THE BRAIN WHO ATE COSTA MESA
I've written that I thought he has a prodigious intellect, but that it's been wasted on his attempts to sway public opinion against those who are not white. I've acknowledged that he's one smart fella, ( He purports to be a member of Mensa, among other things) but that his views are twisted by his obvious racial bias. He and I seldom agree on much. In fact, back when our local newspaper of record, The Daily Pilot, was publishing his submissions they would occasionally publish our separate views juxtaposed on the same page. That was fun.

SPEWING VENOM
Our old pal continues to stand before our city coun
cil and other public bodies and spew his venom about whatever his cause du jour happens to be. And, it appears, he does continue to influence a few folks around town, including some elected and appointed officials. It's sad..

METAMORPHOSIS

Lately our pal
seems to be undergoing a metamorphosis. You know that word, right? One definition of that word is, "A change in an animal as it grows, particularly a radical change, such as the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly." In my view, though, this metamorphosis is more likely to result in a cockroach than a butterfly.

SHIFTING GEARS
Our old buddy seems to be shifting gears these days. His pathetic blog, the CM Press, has become a kind of Drudge Report wannabe - an aggregator of "news"
. Except our buddy has chosen to insert radical racial articles that support his warped view of the world into his aggregations. Rather than focus on local news he's taken to trying to solve the world's problems as a blog poster.

"OUR WAY FOR OURSELVES ALONE"
Even more interesting is a site I discovered that he's been authoring for many mo
nths. Here's a link to it. Before you go visit this site, understand that it appears to be a "work in progress" - well over 40,000 words so far, and counting! I visit it every now and then and it seems to be in a constant state of flux. My take on this lengthy bit of propaganda is that our pal has finally gone off the deep end and now actually believes he's a deity! Yep, God, himself!

NOT THE "GOD" YOU HOPED FOR

Of course, that explains a l
ot of what he writes and says. Except, he's not the benevolent "God" one hopes for - he's an impatient deity, who suffers no fools. That must make it tough for him, because he apparently views every other human being to be inferior to him. As he stands before the city council, for example, he will frequently refer to them using such terms as "stupid", and other terms of endearment.

WHY WRITE ABOUT HIM?

So why, Potstirrer, do you write about this guy? Glad you asked. Un
der most circumstances I would simply ignore his perverted pontifications. I wouldn't give a hoot that David Duke, former head of the KKK, thinks he's a great writer - which he does, according to his web site. I wouldn't care about the hundreds of essays he's had published online on sites like the New Nation News web site, HERE, and many others over the past decade. I wouldn't give a second thought to the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers him a dangerous fellow and has developed a sizable file on him and his writings. After all, he's just one pathetic, misguided guy, wasting his prodigious intellect trying to spread hate in the world.

HIS INTIMIDATING INFLUENCE IS SIGNIFICANT
Except - and that's a BIG EXCEPT - his vile pronunciations contaminates my city. When he growls like an angry gorilla before our city council about issues using all his skills developed as an ac
tor - which are not much, believe me - he does influence decisions made by our leaders. When he was appointed by his sycophants on the council to the powerful 3R Committee he was able to manipulate the process used to distribute government funds to charities in our city to the detriment of those that serve our large Latino population.

PAULARINO PARK
When he decided that he didn't want hard-working Latino men kicking a soccer ball around a neighborhood park near his home he raised the specter of children being injured by errant balls, ad
ult men defecating in the bushes, etc. Sure enough, even there was no evidence that this was happening, he frightened enough people that he successfully had the park turned into a passive park - where no one can actually go to engage in active recreation. If you want to go sit and watch grass grow, Paularino Park is the place for you.

ORANGE COAST COLLEGE SWAP MEET
Several years ago he was almost successful in his move to abolish the Orange Coast College Swap Meet - a weekend venue of low-end commerce frequented by many of our Latino neighbors. He painted a picture of invading hoar
ds of terrible Santa Ana residents, driving on our streets and wearing them out. It almost worked until wiser minds prevailed and his move, championed on the city council by then-rookie councilman Allan Mansoor, went down in flames.

AZTEC BASKETBALL LEAGUE

More recently his bleating before the Parks and Recreation Commission about a contract with the
Santa Ana-based Aztec Basketball League in which he painted a similar picture for them of gang-bangers and ex-cons invading our Downtown area every Sunday, terrorizing our women and children caused the commission to turn to stone when it came time to vote on the contract. Only after much community outcry did the commission re-hear the issue and the contract was approved. That only happened after the issue was passed upstream to the City Council and Mansoor required the owner of the league to change the name of his business to eliminate the offensive "Aztec" reference. Such is his influence over some of our weak-minded leaders.

THE REASONS FOR HIS HATE?

Those are just a few of the reasons I've written this little essay. I could write about many, many more - and may do so one day. I don't know why "Your Neighbor" has such a strong, deeply-rooted hatred for people of co
lor, but his actions clearly tell us he does. Perhaps he or a member of his family has had a bad experience with a member of a minority group and that has caused him to spew his hatred for so many years. Perhaps he views Costa Mesa as a place where insufficient intellectual horsepower is found in our elected leaders, which makes it easy for him to sew his seeds of intolerance. Maybe it's all of the above and more.

STAND UP TO HIM!

Whatever the reasons for his actions, it is my opinion that his ongoing presence in municipal matters is an insidious influence on our city. It does not serve the residents of our city well. I can only hope that the current council - at least a majority on the council - will finally have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to this bully, and that future elected leaders will do the same.

Labels: , ,