Friday, November 06, 2009

Vandersloot, Bookfair and Fairgrounds

DR. JAN VANDERSLOOT, RIP
First, a brief comment on the unexpected passing of Dr. Jan Vandersloot yesterday. Anyone who has been involved in development and/or environmental issues knows the name and would certainly recognize Vandersloot's commanding presence. He has been THE voice of the local environmentalists for years.
Although I didn't know him well, our paths would occasionally cross and we'd discuss our views on whatever the issue of the day happened to be. You can read Brady Rhoades column from the Daily Pilot on Vandersloot's passing HERE. The following is the comment I posted online:

This is very sad and surprising news. Although I knew Dr. Vandersloot only casually, when our paths did cross he was eager to engage me in discussions about our environment and the politics thereof. His bearing was almost regal and his passion for all things nature was clear. I find myself wondering who, now, will pick up the b
aton for this fine, fallen man. Condolences to his family and many friends - and to every patch of weeds he tended, every chunk of tideland he nurtured and every tree he hugged. He will be missed.
(photo courtesy of Daily Pilot)

BOOKFAIR REMINDER
First, don't forget the Costa Mesa Library Foundation Bookfair this weekend. You can read all about it again, HERE. It's still in full swing today, Friday, through Sunday. Do some Christmas shopping and support a very worthy cause.

FAIRGROUNDS MEETING MONDAY

On Monday, November 9th, Assemblymen Solorio and Tran host a public hearing at the Costa Mesa City Council Chambers beginning at 9:00 a.m. through 11:30. Here's a list of the anticipated panelists:


State Assemblymember Jose Solorio

State Assemblymember Van Tran

Katrina Foley, Councilmember, City of Costa Mesa

Kimberly Brandt, Development Services Director, City of Costa Mesa

Kristina Dodge, Board Chair, OC Fair and Event Center

Steve Beazley, CEO, OC Fair and Event Center

Randy Cheek, SEIU Local 1000

Bob McKinnon, Supervising Real Estate Officer, State Department of General Services

Rick Hanson, Manager, Orange County Fairgrounds Equestrian Center

Originally Jeff Teller from the Orange County Marketplace was scheduled to attend. At publication his participation is not firm.

Reservations are required. Call John Nam at Solorio's office to RSVP at 714-939-8469.

GENIS IS BACK!
Incidentally, this issue has revitalized former mayor Sandra Genis, who has spoken before recent council meetings with wit, intelligence and passion. She has begun posting on her blog, La Femme Wonkita, again, too. So, I've re-linked to it over there on the right. I suggest you visit her recent posts on the Fairgrounds issue.

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT...
And, just to remind you what this is all about, here's a little video clip for your viewing pleasure this weekend.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

BYE, BYE, BANNER!

CITY: "MR. MONAHAN, TEAR THAT BANNER DOWN!"
Just in case you were wondering, city officials advise me earlier this week that the "Sunday Football" banner plastered across the Newport Blvd. frontage of Councilman Gary Monahan's pub is, indeed, illegal. A representative visited the site on Monday and measured the offensive
banner and found it to far exceed the dimensions permitted by our municipal code. As would be the case with any other such banner in violation, Monahan will be sent a notice to remove the sign no later than next Wednesday.

EXAMPLE OF ARROGANCE

This banner, in my opinion, is just another example of Monahan's arrogance and his abuse of his position in city government. You will recall that he recently requested the City Council to cut business some slack in the enforcement of such offending signs
and banners, citing tough economic times. That overture was soundly rejected by his peers on a 4-1 vote. Monahan apparently decided to ignore his colleagues and went right ahead with the banner. He actually complained about their decision again at the most recent council meeting during a discussion of youth group banners, all the while displaying an illegal banner at his gin mill.

DIRECTLY-ELECTED MAYOR SCHEME

As I've mentioned before, I fully expect Monahan to resurrect the issue of a directly-elected mayor for Costa Mesa early enough next year that the issue could be placed on the ballot next November. This, of course, would be so he could get himself elected mayor for life and stay perpetually bellied-up to the municipal trough. When he last proposed this move it was without term limits. I guess he sees himself as an emperor-in-waiting - kind of like Idi Amin Dada.

KID IN A CANDY STORE
The city does not need a directly elected mayor, and certainly not one without term limits. Allowing Monahan to pull that off would be like giving a kid the keys to a candy store, for goodness sake. If he does bring this issue up again it should be summarily rejected as a self-serving, bad idea.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bookfair Reminder

SUPPORT THE LIBRARY FOUNDATION
Just a reminder.... Tomorrow, Thursday, November 5th, is the first day of the Barnes & Noble Bookfair, benefiting the Costa Mesa Library Foundation in it's efforts to build a new Costa Mesa Main Library. I wrote about it in a post last week, which included a copy of the flier and samples of the vouchers - neither of which are necessary to participate in this wonderful fund raising effort.

BOOKFAIR THURSDAY - SUNDAY
The Bookfair takes place from the 5th through the 8th, with special events at the Barnes & Noble store at Metro Pointe. You can make purchases at ANY Barnes & Noble store, though, and get credit applied to the fund raising effort by simply giving the clerk the ID number, 10008878, at the time of purchase.

INFORMATIVE EMAIL FOLLOWS
I've attached a copy of a recent email sent by the Library Foundation that explains the program in detail. Please take advantage of this opportunity to help a very worthy cause and buy some of your Christmas presents this weekend.

To all Costa Mesa Library Foundation Friends, Family, & Supporters:
The CMLF is having our 1st Annual Barnes & Noble Book Fair fundraiser this Thursday through Sunday at the Metro Pointe B&N location. Please join us for one or all of our events and make sure to do some shopping!

How it works:
Visit the Costa Mesa B&N (or any other B&N location) between November 5 and November 8 and almost anything you buy will support our efforts to build a new central library in Costa Mesa. All you need to do is show them a flyer, voucher, or give them our ID # (10008878) to make sure we get credit. As a bonus, if you show your receipt to the CMLF staff after your purchase, you will be entered to win a basket with $200 worth of books, audiobooks, and gift cards!

What counts:
You can buy magazines, books, calendars, food, sandwiches, coffee, DVDs, music, and just about any other tangible item for yourself or as a holiday gift. If you usually use the library to check out books, support the CMLF by grabbing your morning coffee and a pastry and or stop by later for a sandwich and some holiday shopping. As long you supply a flyer/voucher or our ID #, we will get credit for your purchases.

Events at the Metro Pointe location:
November 5-8th:
Members of the CMLF will be staffing a table at the top of the escalator and will be handing out free wristbands, bookmarks, and pamphlets about our foundation and discussing the need for a new library.
November 7th, 12:00pm:
Peter Rabbit story time with characters in costume!
November 7th, 2:00pm:
Notable children’s author, Gillian Lee Hutshing, will read and sign copies of Sparky the Wonder Fish. If you have kids or grandkids in the area, bring them in for this special treat and they can take part in a free coloring session. More info: http://sparky-events.blogspot.com/
November 8th, 1:00pm:
Award-winning audiobook narrator, Rosalyn Landor, will talk about her recent recordings and shed some light on the audiobook profession. A half-dozen of her titles will be on hand should you want to have your copy signed.
If you’ve already done your holiday shopping or will be out of town, please forward this message to any friends or family who can attend. We are really hoping for a great turnout!
As always, your support is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Costa Mesa Library Foundation Board
P.O. Box 2864

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The Fairgrounds Beat Goes On.. And On..

COUNCIL DIRECTS STAFF TO STUDY THE ISSUE AND REPORT
OK, the Costa Mesa City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to direct the staff to research the issue of placing the Fairgrounds specific plan on the ball
ot... no surprise there.

WHICH CHOICE IS BEST?

Despite a lot of con
versation it's still not clear to me whether having the council, of it's own volition, place the issue on the June ballot is a better idea than Jim Righeimer's citizen initiative to accomplish the same thing.

GENIS: CITI
ZEN INITIATIVE MIGHT BE BEST
Former mayor Sandra Genis opined that there may be a difference between the two choices when it comes to the ability
of a future council to undo the decision. Her thought was that a future council may not be able to make changes to the results of the initiative if it was citizen-generated, but may be able to change it if this council had it placed on the ballot. We hope the City Attorney will consider that element among all the others as they go about doing their due diligence.

LEGAL LIABILITY?
And, we still don't have a clear idea about any legal liability the city might incur by placing a restriction on the use of the property on a June ballot when the bids must be submitted by January 8th. It seems to me that this is where the rubber meets the road with our contract City Attorney group. We hope they are up to the ta
sk. Ironically, the same day of the public hearing Allan Mansoor will be in Federal Court, being defended against charges filed by the ACLU on behalf of Benito Acosta.

"THE MOUTH" BLUSTERS

We didn't hear many negative voices - except for that blowhard, The Mouth From Mesa North. He was in full-pontifica
tion mode tonight and managed to anger a couple council members - at least - to the point that they felt it was necessary to rebut some of his bluster. For example, early in the proceedings he was berating the council for deciding to choose a Huntington Beach vendor for some service and included in his rant the fact that every stitch of clothes he was wearing, including his glasses, were all purchased in Costa Mesa. His thought was that if it was good enough for him it ought to be good enough for the city. He had to be reminded that the city is obliged to accept the lowest bidder on our purchases - to save the city money and follow the state law! Incidentally, those clothes he was wearing have not changed in many, many years. You can go to the city archives and find that very same black shirt draped on his racist back years ago. I guess that 99 Cent Store stuff really lasts.

"DIRECTION", NOT ACTI
ON
Earlier we were told the council "gave direction" but took no action on the closed session items, one of which appeared to involve planning for the purchase of the Fairgrounds.

LOTS OF GROUPS...

So, the beat goes on. We have the City Council instructing the staff to research the ballot issue. We have Jim Righeimer trying to generate enough interest in a citizen-generated ballot issue under
the name of "Save the Fair". We have another flock of folks trying to get the whole thing killed under the name of "Derail the Sale". And, we have a lot of other people running around, wringing their hands and moaning about the sale of the Fairgrounds but accomplishing not much. Somehow these groups need to start pulling together - soon.

SOLORIO/TRAN HEARIN
G MONDAY
Next Monday we have the Sol
orio/Tran public hearing in which the panelists might outnumber the folks in the audience. Fewer than 50 people had RSVP'd late Tuesday.

TOO MUCH SPEED?

It seems to me that the pace of this process may create problems. Remember Ben Franklin's old homily - "Haste makes waste"? Well, I'm just a little worried that we're being rushed to make a decision that might come back to bite us. If, for example, we do manage to place an issue on the June ballot that restricts in perpetuity the uses of the Fairgrounds property to only those specific uses that exist today, that is potentially going to prohibit the city from taking appropriate actions in the future if the opportunity presents itself. We could be painting ourselves into that proverbial corner.

WOULD THE FAIR LEAVE?

For example, say the City and/or County do find a way to acquire the land. There really is nothing to keep the Fair at that site if a better offe
r comes along - like from The Great Park, for example. This is the tack The Mouth was taking tonight, and he may be correct. The Fair is at it's current location because the State owns the land. If that changes, what keeps the Fair at this site? Nothing, as far as I can tell. Then what?

WHO MANAGES THE PROPERTY?

If the property is sold, who manages it? Right now the Fair Board - all political appointees - make the decisions. But, their responsibilities are for the Fair, not the Fairgrounds if sold to another entity. It would be completely appropriate for them, in the administration of their fiscal responsibilities, to consider other options.

LOOK BEFORE WE LEAP

I think our elected City officials better be sure there's a net before jumping off this cliff. Otherwise, we might have the Fairgrounds but no Fair.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fairgrounds Future On Council Agenda - Again

CITY TO BUY FAIRGROUNDS?
Today the Costa Mesa City Council will wrestle with the issue of the future of the Orange County Fairgrounds and Events Center. As I mentioned earlier, they will first discuss this subject in a closed session, apparently in the context of whether to - and how to - go about purchasing that 150 acre site to retain it as a Fairgrounds. We may, or may not, find out what went on behind closed doors when the regular meeting convenes at 6:00 p.m.


BALLOT MEASURE?
Near the end of the meeting we're supposed to get the report from the City Attorney regarding the possibility of placing the issue on the June, 2010 ballot to further insure that the Fairgrounds remains as such.

REGISTER ARTICLE TODAY
Orange County Register reporter Ellyn Pak has a pretty good summary of events today, HERE. About the only thing she didn't mention is Jim Righeimer's effort to place the issue on the ballot. Quite honestly, because of the tight time constraints involved, it's going to be very difficult for Riggy to pull that off. The above-mentioned possibility of the council placing it on the ballot seems to have a better chance if it's not burdened with significant legal liability for the city because of the potential financial damage it could cause to the successful bidder.

OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES ON AGENDA
In between those two items the council will actually do the rest of the city's business. Among the important items to be discussed will be the revision of Aquatics Program fees; changes to Title 13 of the municipal code related to alcoholic beverage sales; another change to Title 13 regarding changes to the approval process for density of affordable housing projects and yet another change to Title 13 regarding temporary signs and banner use by Youth Program Group Users.

HEARING NEXT MONDAY
And, don't forget about the group hug to be hosted by Assemblymen Jose Solorio and Van Tran in the Costa Mesa City Council Chambers next Monday, November 9th beginning at 9:00 a.m. Reservations for seats are required, although fewer than 20% of the seats have been reserved as of yesterday morning. You can call John Nam in Solorio's office at 714-939-8469 to confirm your attendance. So far the panel that will present views include, in addition to Solorio and Tran, Costa Mesa Councilwoman Katrina Foley; Costa Mesa Director of Development Services Kimberly Brandt; President of the Orange County Fair and Events Center Board Kristina Dodge; Fair CEO Steve Beazley; Jeff Teller, representing the Orange County Marketplace; Rick Hansen representing the Equestrian Center; Bob McKinnon, head of the Real Estate Division of the State General Services Department and Randall Cheek representing the SEIU. I'll let you know if I have further news and will post a reminder of the meeting later.

CMTV TO TELEVISE IT LIVE AND ON STREAMING VIDEO
That hearing will be televised live on Channel 24, CMTV, which will also appear on Channel 99 on AT&T's Uverse system. It will also be shown live on streaming video, available on the city web site. It will also be placed in the rotation for later viewing on CMTV.

MANSOOR IN COURT?
By the way, I don't expect to see Mayor Allan Mansoor at this meeting - his trial brought by the ACLU for Benito Acosta is supposed to begin that morning.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Scarier Than Hobgoblins!

HALLOWEEN'S BEHIND US!
Hope you all had a fun Halloween. Seems like we've had fewer and fewer trick-or-treaters the past couple years. I'm down from my high of 11 bags of candy five years ago to around three this year, and that's including giving each little hobgoblin a fistful of individually-wrapped, concentrated sugar and chocolate.

LOTS OF FUN CHARACTERS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
I was quite disappointed - not one single "Octomom" showed up on my doorstep begging for sweets! Bummer. We had plenty of other creative little critters wandering around, though, escorted by flashlight-toting parents - always a good thing.

SCARIER THAN HALLOWEEN CHARACTERS
The real scary part of Saturday for me was the absolutely horrendous post that appeared on one local blog - the one authored by Costa Mesa's racist laureate, our old pal, The Mouth From Mesa North. I've thought long and hard about whether to provide the text of part of that post and finally decided that it would so contaminate this page that I might never get the stench out. Instead, I'll leave you with a link to it, HERE, and let you deal with the foul content as you choose, in it's original form.

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
There might be some who will say, "Hey, Potstirrer, what's the big deal? He's just trying to make a point!" OK, but is it REALLY necessary for him to use those seven incendiary words? I don't think so. I think he just needed to vent and, in the process, gave us a little peek into his perverted, alleged Mensa mind.

PERVERTED INFLUENCE
This is how the mind of The Mouth works - that mind that has been influencing local politics for almost a decade and that is responsible for the emergence of local elected officials who share his views on social order and demographic priorities. This is the mind that, from time to time, has used the swastika as an adornment on some of his any essays published on far, far right web sites.


WATCH HIM IN ACTION AND CRINGE

I hope, as you read the text of his blog posting, you'll consider the source and understand that members of the majority on the City Council and some of the commissions have followed his lead for years and still use his "guidance" when making very important decisions that affect each of us. Scary, indeed.

OH, PUH-LEASE!
Incidentally, in his most current post Sunday The Mouth is now puffing about his "performance" in the 1974 movie, "The Second Coming Of Suzanne" - probably the worst movie I've ever seen, and I see a lot of movies! He tells us that "Richard Dreyfuss and I acted together in...". Yeah, well, I've seen all 19 seconds of his performance and not one of them was on-screen with Dreyfuss or any other actor of any significance. This is such a "great" movie that you can snatch up a used VCR of it on Amazon.com for under a buck. That's right - five minutes ago they had four copies for sale as low as $.96. Such a bargain! I feel ripped-off - I spent $1.24 several months ago for my collector's copy... This guy is just pathetic!

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