Thursday, September 03, 2009

With Gratitude...

(Photo courtesy of Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times)

THANKS TO THE FIREFIGHTERS
Getting an early jump on the weekend, so I won't be too at
tentive to comments posted here, but I didn't want to begin my serious R&R without mentioning, again, the fantastic job that has been done by firefighters from all over the state and country in trying to wrestle the current horrendous southern California fires into submission.

THE BIGGEST, AND GROWING
The last numbers I he
ard included well over 4,000 firefighters working on our fires and doing a darn good job of it. The big one, the Station fire, is now being described as the largest blaze in Los Angeles County's modern history - 144,000 acres and is still growing.

ROAST ARSONISTS!

Two of the fires near Yucaipa are apparently the result of arson. Fortunately, they were attacked quickly and efficiently and are now under control. Idiots who intentionally start forest fires should receive punishment that suits the crime. I suggest trussing them up, tying them to and spit slow-roasting them in their own j
uices...

AIR ASSETS AMAZING

The "air force" that has been fighting these fires has been something to watch. The 747 that drops 20,000 gallons of retardant or water is an amazing machine to watch operating. The DC-10 drops a little less and the Martin Mars Flying Boat seems to have barely enough power to stay airborne, but does the job. And, the helicopters are magnificent. The precision with which those brave pilots do their jobs is truly amazing.

THE WINGS COME OFF
I leave you with these two clips for your viewing pleasure. The first is a short one that shows just how dangerous flying into these fire situations can be. It's not from our current fires.




FIREFIGHTER TRIBUTE - LOS ANGELES BURNS

The second is a tribute to firefighters - one of many available for viewing on youtube. This one, however, is pretty darn area-specific. Thanks, again, to all the firefighters who have risked their lives to protect us all.


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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

White Supremacist Gangs In Costa Mesa?

PHILLIPS AND EPPERSON RETIRE FROM CMPD
This morning the Daily Pilot will carry an excellent article by Joe Serna discussing the retirement of two Costa Mesa police officers - Bob Phillips and Clay Epperson. You can read Serna's piece HERE.
(photo courtesy of Daily Pilot)

WHY BRING IT UP?
So, what's the big deal about two cops retiring, you ask? Wel
l, both men are taking advantage of the recent retirement incentive program, but that's not why I'm writing this tonight.

WHAT WILL "THE
MOUTH" SAY?
Nope, I writing this to specu
late about what kind of a response it will generate over at the Mesa North repository of hate, the CM Press.

FLUSHING OUT WHITE SUPREMACIST GANGS
Epperson is quoted by Serna as saying that his greatest accomplishment during his 29 ye
ar tour with the CMPD was working with detectives while on the Special Enforcement Detail to "kick out white supremacist gangs." He went on to say, "Those are some really evil people that do severe harm to the communities they're in."


NO WHITE GANGS?
From time to time our racist laureate at the CM Press has vehemently denied that there is a white gang problem in our city, preferring, instead to berate the CMPD for his perception that they don't do enough about Latino gangs
.

WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?

So, who's word will you take? Will you listen to an internationally notorious racist with a long career publishing anti-anything-but-white tripe and who has demonstrated a clear pattern of behavior designed to disenfranchise and dislocate the Latinos
who make up approximately one-third of our population? Or, will you listen to a decorated police officer with almost three decades serving our city, trying to make it a safer place to live, work and play? Gee, I think Epperson's got my vote.

Let's see what the CM Press has to say...

THANKS, AND GOOD LUCK
Regardless, thanks to Phillips and Epperson to their years of dedicated service to our city. They both deserve a happy, safe retirement.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Short Night, Red Lights And Senior Fights

The Costa Mesa City Council meeting tonight, while less than two hours long, was not without it's moments.

FEENEY ATTACKS THE SENIOR CENTER MANAGEMENT - AGAIN
It s
tarted out with some unanticipated fireworks when resident Ernie Feeney - a grumpy person about my age - decided to attack the operations at the Costa Mesa Senior Center again. This time she was griping about a new policy regarding the use of the van that is used to take seniors to doctor visits. As usual, she launched her attack before the council during her 3 minutes of public comments time without having first looked for a resolution from the Senior Center Board.

SHE JUST WOULDN'T STOP!
She rattled on and on and finally used up her time. Mayor Allan Mansoor advised her that her time
was up, but she demanded another 15 seconds. Mansoor was adamant that she had used up her time and asked her to step away. Feeney, part of a geriatric scrooge team with her husband, John, refused and said she was going to stand right there for the entire meeting to get an answer to her questions, if necessary.

REMEMBER BENITO ACOSTA?
Let me pause here to remind the readers that a few yea
rs ago another speaker, one Benito Acosta, objected when Mansoor cut his speaking time short. While he didn't refuse to leave the podium, he was dragged bodily from the chambers and arrested. His trial against the city and Mayor Mansoor begins in October.

MANSOOR CONTINUES TO APPLY A DOUBLE STANDARD
So, Mr. Mayor, do we assume that your friend, Ms. Feeney, is entitled to preferential treatment? She was even more obstinate than Acosta, yet you just let her stand there, defy your authority and interfere with the proceedings. Why didn't you have her dragged out of the chambers and arrested? I suppose a good lawyer will make a note of tonight's even
t for use in your trial.

LEECE BAILS FROM SENIOR CENTER LIAISON JOB
The next big item t
hat came up was Mayor Pro Tempore Wendy Leece's announcement that, because of her busy schedule and job requirements, she is resigning as the council liaison to the Senior Center. I'm sure that news was met with a hearty round of cheers by many seniors in our city. During her tenure in that roll she has been an instigator of much unrest at the Senior Center. It looks like Ernie Feeney may have taken that baton from her, though. It will be interesting to see which council member is placed into that hot spot. It could be Katrina Foley, since she no longer has a business conflict.

"THE MOUTH" DEMONSTRATES HIS INFLUENCE

The Mayor and Leece, once again, sh
owed just how they bow to the instructions of our city's racist laureate, The Mouth From Mesa North. During a discussion of some stimulus funds available for providing immediate relief for homeless renters, The Mouth told the council they shouldn't agree to the proposal and, bingo!, Mansoor and Leece indicated they were not going to vote for it. Since Eric Bever was absent from yet another meeting that would have meant a 2-2 vote - a de facto denial. Monahan saved the day when he made a substitute motion to bring the item back at the next meeting when all five members would be available. Mansoor demonstrated his Latinophobia again, when he expressed fear that these funds might be used for illegal aliens. What a guy - an easily-led guy.

RED LIGHT CAMERAS ON THE WAY OUT?

The council also heard from the Costa Mesa Police Department on the subject of red light cameras. After a long, but excellent, report everyone in the chambers understood that it would be the police depart
ment's choice to cease operating the red light cameras and ramp up targeted enforcement utilizing motorcycle officers instead. Very revealing statistics were used to support that choice. The council asked for this item to come back at a future meeting - probably the next one, depending on how the receivership hearing for the current vendor, Nestor Systems, goes on the 8th.

FISLER'S REPLACEMENT PROCESS DISCUSSED

Also discussed was the method of replacement for departed Planning Commission Vice Chairman Jim Fisler, who left last week when he was appointed to the Mesa Consolidated Water District Board. The staff will bring back a recruitment action plan for the council to consider. It sounded like Fisler's seat might not be filled until October.



LATEST FIRE NEWS

(Photo courtesy of Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times)

MORE FIRE INFORMATION
Finally, fire officials seemed cautiously optimistic in the most recent briefings. Even though one fire alone, the Station fire, is over 200 square miles, the firefighters have big guns in their arsenal and progress is being made. Today we saw the DC-10, the 747 and the Martin Mars Flying Boat in action, joining dozens of helicopters and fixed wing assets. The Canadian Super Scoopers may be in action tomorrow. The Governor told us, one more time, that the state has plenty of money to spend on fires... good thing, since there are 8 separate fires burning throughout the state - most of which are within 200 miles of my house!

LOCAL TV DID A BETTER JOB TODAY

Local television outlets did a much better job of providing information today. I guess they're worried about being knocked off the air if their antennae on Mt. Wilson are overrun by the fire. This afternoon that big Martin Mars Flying Boat made several passes, dumping thousands of gallons of water on the foliage surrounding the peak.

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The Threshold Of Hell

(Photo courtesy of Dave Banks via the Los Angeles Times)

ALL THIS AND NO WIND... YET
As I type this local television is reporting that the Station fire is now over 121,000 acres and containment isn't expected until September 15th! Yikes! And, we've been "lucky" so far because the winds have been calm. I shudder to think what this might have been like with Santa Ana winds! In addition, there are five other identified fires burning in Southern California and another half dozen burning throughout the state.

LA TIMES PHOTOS
The Los Angeles Times has a collection of breath-taking photographs from the fires. Click HERE to view them, plus excellent reader photos, too.

LAOBSERVED STANDS TALL
A big tip of the hat to Kevin Roderick over at the LAObserved blog for providing outstanding coverage of the southern California fires over the weekend. While the local television outlets virtually ignored the explosion of fires on Saturday and Sunday Kevin stayed at the helm of his blog and provided excellent coverage and links. Go to his link and scroll down through the first three pages for excellent coverage and links.

TWO GREAT TIME LAPSE VIDEOS
Two of those he provided are shown below. The first, by video producer Eric Spiegleman, gets your attention. The second, by Dan Finnerty, shows more flame.

Time Lapse Test: Station Fire from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.



Station File Time Lapse #4 from Dan Finnerty on Vimeo.



COSTA MESA COUNCIL MEETING A YAWNER?
Tonight's Costa Mesa City Council meeting could be a real yawner. The decision of how to proceed with the replacement for Jim Fisler on the Planning Commission may be continued until Eric Bever, who is expected to be absent tonight, is able to participate. We'll report on the proceedings tomorrow.

RED LIGHT CAMERA PROGRAM
There is one item on the agenda that might make for some interesting discussion. The council will hear from staff about the Red Light Camera program. Reading the staff report, it sure does sound like the program should be abolished and more police officers assigned to snag violators. The staff report indicates that you get more bang for your buck that way. Besides, the vendor is in receivership and doesn't appear able to complete it's contractual obligations with the city.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight!

courtesy of David Simms via CBS

ABOUT THOSE FIREFIGHTERS PENSIONS...
So, shall we all complain at once about the "outrageous" pensions we provide to our firefighters? No? I didn't think so. Two firefighters lost in the Station fire - so far...


LOCAL TELEVISION FAILS WITH COVERAGE

What a weekend! The only thing that might have made it more harrowing would have been some actual television coverage of the fires that are
burning around southern California. All our local stations chose to provide us with sports and infomercials instead of giving us coverage of those fast-growing fires that have threatened thousands of homes in Los Angeles County. KCAL Channel 9 is doing a good job providing coverage Sunday night, but dropped the ball along with all it's peers earlier in the weekend. Every one of those stations should have their licenses reviewed!

JPL courtesy of Erik Brandon via CBS

FRIENDS IN JEOPARDY
I know the area
of The Station fire very well - it's my old stomping grounds when I was a kid - a long, long time ago. In fact, my best friend - about whom I've written frequently - lived in the Briggs Terrace section of La Crescenta that was threatened over the weekend.

Phoscheck Bomber courtesy Keith Bohanan via CBS

MT. WILSON THREATENED
As I type this Sunday night the communications towers and observatory on Mt. Wilson are threatened - one briefer said it's possibl
e we will lose them tonight because that peak is being approached by fire on two sides! If that happens not only will most local television networks go dark, but many police and fire communication networks will be severely hampered. Monday could be very interesting.

FREEDOM COMMUNICATIONS TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting today, Sunday, that Freedom Communications, the parent of our very own Orange County Register, will file for bankruptcy later this week. That really doesn't come as much of a surprise - they have been in free-fall for more than a year. If they do, in fact, file for bankruptcy they will join our other print news source, the Tribune Company, in that condition. The Tribune Company is the parent of the Los Angeles Times and Times Comm
unity Newspapers (The Daily Pilot).

DAILY VOICE TO SHIFT PLATFORMS

Speaking of local new
s, our friends over at The Newport-Mesa Daily Voice announced over the weekend that they are shifting platforms for their fledgling online publication. In fact, they will be using the same platform that is utilized by the Daily Pilot. It will be interesting to see how that move goes.

HOW TO REPLACE FISLER?

This week brings us another Costa Mesa City Council meeting on Tuesday. Although the meeting may turn out to be brief, among the things to be discussed will be how to replace Planning Commission Vice Chairman Jim Fisler, who resigned last week when he was appointed to the Mesa Consolidated Water District Board of Directors.

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