Barlow Releases Righeimer Tapes (Updated)
In response to my Public Records Request a week ago, this afternoon Costa Mesa City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow released three audio tapes from the encounter Costa Mesa Planning Commission Chairman (and City Council candidate) Jim Righeimer had the evening of September 16th, 2010 at a DUI checkpoint on Harbor Blvd. near the 405 Freeway. The tapes were also released to Daily Pilot reporter Joseph Serna who published a report just before 3:30 this afternoon, HERE.
TWO ARE NOT HELPFUL
One of the tapes is only 4 seconds long and has no audible voices on it. The second is 47 seconds long and seems to be recorded from near proximity to the conversation captured on the third, but with much less clarity.
ONE GIVES A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT HAPPENED
The third tape, which is one minute sixteen seconds long, contains what appears to be a segment of a conversation between Righeimer and as-yet unidentified police officer and appears to begin shortly after the two began talking. There are a couple segments that, despite repeated replaying and fiddling with the sound quality, I'm still not 100% sure of what was said. I've indicated those segments in the transcription below.
WOULD RATHER HAVE HAD VIDEO
As I listened to the tape it's clear that Righeimer was agitated and unhappy. That's understandable, since he'd spent some time in the checkpoint and, although he didn't get flagged, he was off his schedule to attend the Estancia High School football game that evening. However, he still took the time to encounter the officers conducting the checkpoint, so he couldn't have been too concerned about his tardiness at the game.
THROWING HIS WEIGHT AROUND?
There is one segment, at 0:21, where Righeimer greets someone (unidentified loud voice), identifying himself as "Jim Righeimer, planning commission". That voice was identified by Serna as Sergeant David Makiyama. My calls to Sergeant Makiyama for confirmation this afternoon went unanswered.
***SPECIAL NOTE: Late this evening Daily Pilot Web Editor Jamie Rowe provided a link to the actual audio tape. You can reach it HERE.***
0:01/0:02- Righeimer - I understand sir, I was stacked up onto the freeway.
0:02 - Officer - Uh-huh
0:02 - Righeimer - This is not a good idea...
0:05 - Officer - OK
0:05/0:13 - Righeimer - OK? Who do I have to talk to? Shawkey or who? This is unbelievable. I cannot believe at this time of day in rush hour traffic.
0:14 - Officer - (garbled) we're trying to educate people
0:16 - Righeimer - But this is not education. This is blocking traffic all the way back...
0:21 - Righeimer - (greeting someone) Jim Righeimer, planning commission.
0:22 - Unidentified loud voice - Hey, how ya doin' ?
0:23 - 0:29 - traffic noise, officer in the background (muffled)
0:30 - Righeimer - We need, we need to talk... we need to have a meeting tomorrow.
0:32 - Officer - I'm off tomorrow.
0:33 - Righeimer - OK, when can we have a meeting?
0:35 - Officer - Ah, I have to check my schedule
0:36 - Righeimer - OK, let me, give me your card?
0:40 - Righeimer - This is not gonna happen anymore.
0:43 - Righeimer - This is ridiculous.. closing down (muffled) traffic right after rush hour.. Friday night, Saturday night is understandable.. this is outrageous.
0:51 - Righeimer - It's not your fault, you're doing your job, I understand..pardon?
0:55 - Officer - (muffled)
0:56 - Righeimer - Thank you
0:58/1:16 - street noise - no audible voices.
WHY DID RIGHEIMER STOP?
The questions remain... should Righeimer have interfered with the police officers at the checkpoint? Apparently none of the other 3,200 other drivers felt so motivated.
WHY DEMAND A MEETING?
What makes him think he needs to demand a meeting with the officer - or Chief Shawkey and Allan Roeder, as was the case - in any event? That meeting, which Righeimer mentioned in his Daily Pilot commentary, was canceled. Good move on the city's part.
WAS THIS JUST PART OF A POLITICAL PLAN?
Was Righeimer just looking for an opportunity for a confrontation with the CMPD because he knew their union was actively campaigning against him? Was this actually a set up by Righeimer to get positive publicity for his campaign?
Or, was Righeimer simply a concerned citizen with no particular ax to grind?
LOOKING FORWARD TO HIS INTERROGATION TOMORROW
If I was not so technologically-challenged I'd figure a way to attach the audio clip on this site so you an hear it for yourselves. Perhaps one of those stalwart news hounds on the panel at the Feet To The Fire Forum tomorrow evening will get Righeimer to shed more light on this subject.