The Visionary Next Door
One of the things that has bugged me about Costa Mesa - my home for more than half my life - has been the lack of vision by it's elected leaders for the past decade or more. With very rare exceptions, no elected leader, or any candidate for elective office for that matter, has stood before an assembled group of voters and articulated a clear vision for our city.
POTHOLES AND POLICE
Yes, some have addressed "problems" with ideas to solve them, but that doesn't meet my definition of "vision". Most candidates for the City Council, for example, stick with the tried and true, "potholes and police" mantra.
Costa Mesa has visionary people - Henry Segerstrom, for example. His vision for the bean fields in the north part of town has created a retail and arts complex of world renown. His vision has been for his property, appropriately so, and we all should be grateful to him and his family for the good works they've done in and for our city.
WATCH THIS VIDEO
Tuesday, in the OC NOW blog, Daily Pilot reporter Mike Reicher, provided a brief report on a fund raiser that Newport Beach City Council candidate Rush Hill held at his home, and included a 5 minute video clip. Hill will be competing with Ed Reno for the seat being vacated by Walkin' Don Webb. I hope you'll take the time to view that video clip now. As I said, it's short...
WERE YOU IMPRESSED?
OK, are you back? Were you impressed with Hill's delivery of his vision and priorities for Newport Beach? I was. And, as I watched that clip, I couldn't help but think about how sad it is for Costa Mesa that we just don't seem to have folks with the vision and, for lack of another description, "command presence" of a Rush Hill running for public office.
WHO WILL RUN?
Monday was the first day candidates for City Council could take out papers for the election in November. As I write this I have not heard of any candidates for Costa Mesa City Council who have actually taken that step. I understand that Wendy Leece will attempt to retain her seat and young Chris McEvoy will run again this year. I suspect it almost goes without saying that perpetual election loser Jim Righeimer will also run, hoping to snag the seat being vacated by Allan Mansoor.
VOICES OF MODERATION NEEDED
With the likelihood of Katrina Foley being elected to the School Board in November and having to abandon her City Council seat, there's a chance for this city to place a new majority on the City Council - one not driven by a divisive agenda. Even if Foley loses her bid for the School Board, there are two seats up for grabs in November, so it is possible to select people to lead this city for most of the rest of this decade who have a more moderate, sensible view of how this city should be managed.
EXTREMISTS NEED NOT APPLY
No, I didn't say "liberal", "progressive" or Democrat, just as I didn't say "conservative" or "Republican". I don't think folks at the extreme ends of the political spectrum are good for our town, as witnessed by the past decade when knee-jerk, far-right wing conservatives have called the shots. We need to push partisan extremism out of our local politics. I think it's important for us to select smart, well-educated, articulate, committed members of the community, regardless their political persuasion, to chart the course for our future - folks who can stand toe-to-toe and/or shoulder-to-shoulder with men like Rush Hill and help chart the course for our shared concerns - like the airport, for example.
LEADERS WITH VISION
I think it's important to elect leaders who actually understand that Costa Mesa is not an island, that it's part of a regional community of cities who share many common interests. In the case of Newport Beach, we share a common border, a school district and the impact of the airport, for starters. Instead of approaching every issue as an adversary, as has been the case in the recent past, we need smart folks who can grasp the importance of working together for the good of both communities. With the very obvious exception of Foley, none of our current crew seems to get it. We need leaders with vision - those who can look beyond the end of their noses and guide our city into the future.
LOOKING FOR BETTER CANDIDATES
So, we're off into a new campaign season. Before too long your mailboxes will be stuffed to overflowing with slick propaganda pieces designed to mislead you on important issues and misrepresent opponents views. It's up to us to find those good folks in our community with the skills to serve and convince them to give it a shot. We deserve much better than we've gotten lately.
To all you graduates of the excellent "Leadership Tomorrow" program I say, " tomorrow is today"! It's time to step up and demonstrate that training you received. It's time to lead our community - today!