Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Mouth Is Mute On White Supremacist Trial - Why?

JOHNSON GUILTY - NO SURPRISE
Well, the trial of Costa Mesa white surpremacist Billy Joe Johnson wrapped up late Wednesday with a guilty verdict and the penalty phase is set to begin next week. You can read R. Scott Moxley's pithy account in the OC Weekly HERE.

WHY THE SILENCE FROM "THE MOUTH"?
Does anyone else think it's just a little bit curious that The Mouth From Mesa North - who purports to be a law-and-order guy and who jumps out of his bed in the middle of the night when his scanner alerts him to what might be a jaywalking Latino so he can report that "crime" - has been totally mute on this subject? I mean, if one is seriously concerned about crime in our city, wouldn't you think the trial of a multiple-murderer would at least draw a passing comment?

FOR THE SECOND TIME...
This is the same loud-mouth who went curiously mute a couple years ago when the biggest crime
sweep in recent city history - the arrest of 20 white supremacists in 17 locations around our city as part of a sweep that snatched up nearly 60 people county-wide - made all the news outlets. In fact, his buddy, Mayor Allan Mansoor, has never uttered a single public comment on that sweep - not a single word - and he's a member of law enforcement!

ISN'T THIS IMPORTANT NEWS?

I just find it strange that the trial of Johnson - who's presently serving a sentence for another murder - receives no coverage by our "ace crime reporter" from M
esa North. Johnson, along with many of the criminals snatched up in Costa Mesa in that other sweep, belongs to the white supremacist organization, Public Enemy Number 1 or PEN1, as it's known. The current trial is for his part in luring one of the founders of that organization - for participating in a news interview - into a situation where two underlings gunned him down. Johnson, according to information coming out of the trial, was angry that they didn't shoot the guy in the face. Johnson's lawyer has admitted his part in the crime - he's just interested in keeping him off death row.

KINDRED SPIRITS?

I guess I really shouldn't be surprised, since The Mouth has published essays for more than a decade supporting the vile philosophy that those criminals follow. In fact, he's become internationally noto
rious for many of them. His silence in this matter makes one wonder if he might, perchance, have ties to that organization. Seems like a good question to me.

HIS INFLUENCE CONTINUES

And yet, members of our current City Council listen to this guy's bilge at meeting after meeting and quote him verbatim from time to time. To say he has influence ov
er some members of our municipal government doesn't even come close to describing the situation.

THANKS A LOT!

So, a big tongue-in-cheek "thank you" to all the voters of this city who electe
d Mansoor, Bever and Leece to the City Council and perpetuated the influence of the The Mouth From Mesa North - our racist laureate - on municipal decisions. You must be very proud...

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Coach Wooden

SIMPLY THE BEST
Today we celebrate the 99th birthday of Coach John Wooden, legendary coach at UCLA, arguably the best coach ever and maybe one of the best human bein
gs ever to walk the earth.

UNFORGETTABLE
If you do a simple Google search using only his name it will generate over 10 million hits. Many young people today have no clue about John Wooden because he retired from coaching more than three decades ago. Those of us who saw him in action will never forge
t the legacy he left, not only to college basketball and coaching, but to our society.

99 THINGS TO CONSIDER
Today, in the Los Angeles Times, writer Mike Penner provided us with 99 things to consider on Coach Wooden's 99th birthday. You can read Penner's column HERE.

IN HIS OWN WORDS

Dozens of books have been written about John Wooden capturing his philosophy and style. You can read the Wikipedia biography of him HERE. You can find dozens of video clips about him or by him on YouTube. This is one of my favorites because it extends beyond mere coaching.





PYRAMID OF SUCCESS
Coach Wooden developed his Pyramid of Success as a coaching tool and life guideline. Some have described it as simplistic and not applicable to the current times. Horse Manure! As you look this pyramid over, reading from the bottom up, you realize that it provides the building blocks for success in any endeavor.




HAPPY BIRTHDAY, COACH
I'll leave you with this poem from Coach Wooden himself. Happy Birthday, Coach.



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Monday, October 12, 2009

Indecision And Vacillation Prevail

TOO MANY DEVELOPERS MEANS TROUBLE
Tonight's Cos
ta Mesa Planning Commission meeting demonstrated, loud and clear, the difficulties that can arrive when the commission is dominated by developers - a fact that is exacerbated by the fact that the commission is running with only four members following Jim Fisler's resignation in August. The City Council has not yet selected a replacement for Fisler, which makes the commission even-numbered and can lead to the inability to make a decision. That was not the case tonight, however.

BUFFA'S SLICK PRESENTATION
After listening to a very slick presentation by former mayor Peter Buffa on behalf of the current owners of the withering South Coast Home Furnishing
s Center requesting approval of significant changes in the center, including the use of LED signs, it was clear that all members of the commission wanted to find a way to make this plan work. One might have been apprehensive about this project when they recalled that Buffa was part of the City Council during the creation and approval of our current municipal white elephant, Triangle Square - a center that has been in trouble since the day it opened and, except for a couple gin mills, is a virtual ghost town.

TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE IT RIGHT

However, residents of the "state streets" turned out in large numbers - more than 50 residents were there hear the issue and to speak - to protest the plan. It seems that when the original project was processed those folks - who live directly across the 405 freeway from the development - were never consulted nor pr
ovided an opportunity to express an opinion on the signs that were erected. Those signs make a significant impact on the neighborhood in the form of lighting overflow that has been distressing for many of the residents since the center was built. The signage was handled at a staff level - a fact that was acknowledged by the senior staff member present on this subject. Neither the Planning Commission nor the City Council addressed the sign in the approval process. The neighbors were at the meeting tonight to be sure that slight wasn't perpetuated this time around.

INDECISIVE - WHY?

After several hours of discussion and speaker comments the Planning Commission failed to make a decision! Commissioner Colin McCarthy was on the right track - to deny the project as presented. That move would have given the applicant a chance to pro
mptly appeal it to the City Council and, in the interval, address the items that were clearly problems for the commission and residents. No, the majority - Chairman Jim Righeimer, Vice Chair Sam Clark and Commissioner Steve Mensinger - chose to kick the can down the street to a special Planning Commission meeting next Monday. One can only hope for an even greater turnout of residents to voice their concerns - again.

COMMISSION AND CLARK BACKHAND RESIDENTS

This is a real slap in the face of the residents that took the time to present their very valid concerns and will likely not accomplish a thing. The Planning Commission in the past has complained that important items heard the the commiss
ion have evoked virtually no community interest, but then a large number of people subsequently turned out if the item made it to the City Council. Tonight the commission virtually turned it's back on the residents who did turn out and commented. Not only that, but Clark admonished the attendees that, although they had every right to speak on an issue, they should really pick one or two spokespersons. In my view, someone should remind Clark that he's up there to hear the people, not chide them!

THE PROCESS WILL NOW DRAG OUT
The applicant -
who has an anchor tenant for the new, improved center, on the hook and is trying to reel it in - expressed concern about delaying the process, which will now happen because this issue cannot possibly be posted for a hearing before the next council meeting on October 20th. It will be lucky to make the cut-off date for the meeting on November 3rd.

WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?

Personally, I don't understand the problem... All the commissioners acknowledged driving the neighborhood in question, to experience the light issue first hand. They all also acknowledged having separate, private conversations with the applicant or his representative. One would have thou
ght that many, if not most, of the issues would have been at least preliminarily discussed during those contacts.

RIGGY AND STEVE

From my view, Righeimer and Mensinger were bending over backward to help the developer to the detriment of the residents. McCarthy understood the issue and was on the right track. It's going to be very, very interesting to see how th
is pig moves through the snake...


MENSINGER THE PIT BULL

On another note, later, while addressing another issue on the agenda, Mensinger put on his pit bull hat and, several times, wondered out loud what it takes to get Public Services Director Peter Naghavi to do his job! Those were his words! One such comment would have been too many, but repeating it several times was completely inappropriate. He frequently forgets that he's not President of the Planning Commission - he can't bully people like he can in his business or on the Pop Warner football field. Someone needs to remind him of his role, which includes the requirement to treat people with civility - particularly the hardworking members of the beleaguered city staff. What a jerk!

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Packed Agendas May Equal Bad Decisions

It's going to be an interesting week in Costa Mesa...

PLANNING COMMISSION HAS FULL AGENDA MONDAY

In the City Council chambers on Monday evening, beginning at 6 p.m., the Planning Commission will hear several items requesting extensions to their project time lines - not unexpected considering the state of our economy. However, they will also discuss a couple other very interesting items that have the potential to affect serious change in our city.

MANAGING LIQUOR SALES
The first is the consideration of a new ordinance that significantly tightens-up the way businesses that sell liquor are managed in the city. I suspect this one will sail right through the Planning Commission and the City Council this year without much difficulty.

DENSITY OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS

The second deals with a new ordinance that, in the words of the staff report, will "exclude the density of affordable housing projects from being subject to discretionary review during the Design Review process". I'm going to be very interested in the discussion on this item...

There are a few other items on the calendar Monday, so it looks like it might be a long meeting.

CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION AGENDA ON TUESDAY IS PACKED, TOO
Then, Tuesday afternoon in Conference Room 1A, the City Council will hold a study session with what appears to be a packed agenda. These meetings usually run from 4:30 to 6:30, but the number of items on the agenda - 6 - and the probability of extended discussions on five of them makes me think they may not make it through this agenda in the alloted time.

MESA WEST BLUFFS URBAN PLAN

For example, right off the bat, they will review the Mesa West Bluffs Urban Plan - which has been the subject of some lengthy debates in recent council and Planning Commission meetings.

PROTECTING OUR TAX DOLLARS
Then they will discuss the "1A Securitization Program" - a method of securing the $3.3 million the state is "borrowing" from us in this fiscal year to try to balance their budget. This one looks like a long discussion, too.

STREET SWEEPING
Then a presentation will be made regarding potential privatizing of our street sweeping operations. Based on the staff report, it looks like that would be an expensive change in our operations, so it might not get too much discussion.

DOG POOP BAG SPONSORSHIP PROGRAMS

Then they will discuss a sponsorship program for bags to clean up dog waste around our city. Resident Judi Berry stirred up this issue and may, in fact, have forced some good programs to be considered. This probably will be a long discussion, too.

TEWINKLE SPORTS FIELDS MANAGEMENT
What may be the most lengthy discussion will be the proposal for private management of the TeWinkle Sports Fields. The proposal by the contractor is 19 pages long.

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

At the very end they will consider candidates for Employee of the Month.

TOO MANY BALLS IN THE AIR
I just don't see how they will get through the agenda in the time normally provided. The scheduled Redevelopment Agency meeting that was planned for 6:30 in the council chambers has been canceled, so that leave an open end to the proceedings. We'll see...

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