Aztec Basketball Revisited
In his Daily Pilot column this week, Steve Smith - nanny to us all - ripped the scab off the dormant issue of the failed plan for the use of the city's Downtown Recreation Center basketball courts on Sundays by an outfit called the Aztec Basketball League. You can read Smith's column HERE.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Let me refresh your collective memories on this subject. This whole thing began last May when the Recreation Division Staff brought the subject of the Aztec Basketball League to the Parks & Recreation Commission for approval - although it was clearly within their purview to approve it without the commissioner's OK. The contract would have netted the city approximately $40,000 in revenue. The initial discussion proceeded very briskly and positively and seem likely to win approval until one resident - a man who is known internationally for his racist views, our old buddy, The Mouth From Mesa North - stood and raised the specter of marauding ex-cons and child molesters terrorizing the Downtown Recreation Center.
COMMISSIONERS TURNED TO STONE
Then, when chair Kurt Galitski made a motion to approve the proposal, the other four commissioners looked like they had turned to stone - not a peep! No second was made, so the motion died and the potential for nearly $40,000 in much-needed dollars was lost to the city coffers. Then, in response to community outcry, the following month Vice Chair Mike Brumbaugh brought the issue back for consideration and it was approved, although "provisionally", until the staff could prepare a Request for Proposals to see if there might be other "bidders".
BEVER AT HIS WORST - WE HOPE
Then, municipal court jester Eric Bever, brought the subject before the City Council in July because he was worried that this league might be placing undo wear and tear on the basketball court! It's hard to imagine a more laughable, bogus reason, even from Bever. He also wanted to negotiate a higher rate, although the applicant - Army Staff Sergeant Rigoberto Bautista - had already agreed to paying our highest rate! It was at this meeting where Mayor Allan Mansoor, citing potential confusion by Costa Mesa residents who might want to participate but would assume it was a league for Latinos only, extorted the promise from Bautista to change the name of his league to the "Costa Mesa Sunday Basketball League". Apparently the word "Aztec" conjured up too many memories of Benito Acosta for him. The city and Mansoor were still in the middle of the civil lawsuit filed by Acosta and the ACLU.
BIAS FROM THE DAIS
This episode may well be the most egregious of the many such events in recent city history that demonstrate what I have referred to in the past as "bias from the dais". At every turn city officials threw up barriers in front of Sgt. Bautista - a decorated Marine and Army veteran and recruiter - and every time he met their unreasonable demands with dignity and compliance. They may be no better example of how the racial agenda of one man in this city has affected the way our elected leaders conduct themselves, as they march to his tune and cost our city money and stature among the community of cities in our region.
Today I spoke with Sergeant Bautista at his job in Santa Ana where he works as an Army National Guard Recruiter. I wanted to know what happened last summer after it appeared that the city had finally approved his use of our Downtown Recreation Center gym for his basketball league. As I suspected, Sgt. Bautista finally just gave up after all the hassles he experienced. His job required him to travel for a couple months late last summer so he couldn't attend any further meetings required by the city. He found a temporary home for his league on the far west side of Santa Ana - almost in Fountain Valley and Garden Grove - where it will be conducting it's championship tournament this week.
SANTA ANA VALUED BAUTISTA'S LEAGUE
Personally, as a resident of Costa Mesa, I'm ashamed of the way Sgt. Bautista was treated by our elected and appointed leaders last year. Bautista served this country for a dozen years as a Marine, then became a recruiter for the Army National Guard and will soon complete his 16th year of military service for our country. He formed the Aztec Basketball League and has operated it for several years in Santa Ana without problems. He has been a good and valued tenant for the city. Santa Ana bent over backwards to find a temporary venue for Bautista until the new gym is ready in April.
COSTA MESA TREATED HIM POORLY
Costa Mesa elected officials, on the other hand, did everything possible to make him feel unwelcome. While the city staff was working hard with Bautista to make a deal for the use of the Downtown Recreation Center court, our elected and appointed officials were listening to our racist laureate, The Mouth From Mesa North, and his unfounded rants about ex-cons and child molesters that would be invading our city. People have pooh poohed my suggestions that he calls the shots in this city. Well, this is a perfect example of exactly how he affects the agenda in our town. Until he stood before the Parks and Recreation Commission that May evening they seemed ready to approve our deal with Bautista. His rant before them completely turned them around. Only the public outcry that followed the meeting prompted Brumbaugh to bring the issue back for a re-hearing.
SHAME ON THEM!
Shame on our city for it's treatment of Bautista and his league. Shame on Mayor Mansoor and his cronies for allowing their personal racial bias to deprive the city of almost $40,000 in much-needed revenue. And, shame on them for demonstrating to the world once again that the City of Costa Mesa is a bastion of intolerance, where the agenda is driven by one man - an internationally notorious racist. Shame on them all and shame on us, the voters of this city, for electing people of such low character to public office.