If You Really Want To Know...
Not that it should make much difference to you all, but more than a few people have asked how I voted on some the important issues on our ballot this year. As you know, I mailed my ballot in last week, so I hope Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley will soon find it in his in box and count it.
I'VE GIVEN YOU CLUES
Over the past few months I've given you plenty of clues about some of the races I feel are important, and have not mentioned others at all. I'm not going to cover ALL my votes here - just the ones that are primarily Costa Mesa-centric. Here goes:
COSTA MESA CITY COUNCIL
For Costa Mesa City Council I voted for Wendy Leece and Chris McEvoy. Leece earned my vote - one that I wouldn't have thought she'd get even a year ago - by moderating her position on some very important issues and standing her ground against unbelievable political pressure applied by the Orange County Republican Party at what will almost certainly be a significant political risk for her. She's a conservative Costa Mesan first and clearly will not blindly follow the mantra of the OC GOP purely for partisan political reasons. I've disagreed with Leece on many issues in the past, but I've seen a maturing of her approach and a willingness to listen to all sides before making a decision - a rare quality among her current peers. I was happy to cast my vote for her this time around.
MC EVOY ALSO EARNED MY VOTE
Chris McEvoy also earned my vote - the old fashioned way. True to his word after the election two years ago, he has stayed involved in local issues and attended most City Council and Planning Commission meetings. He studied the staff reports and offered good questions for our leaders to consider. He did his homework and offered solutions. McEvoy finished 6th two years ago - his first ever campaign. At the very beginning of that campaign he developed Dystonia, a nerve disorder that affects how his tongue works. A high school math teacher, he found a way to deal with that affliction, finished the school year and ran a frugal, but effective campaign. This year he also is running a bare-bones campaign and still has the physical problem, which he has learned to manage effectively. This time around his appearance is hindered by his long, sometimes kind of straggly, hair. He could have clipped it for the campaign, but had previously made a commitment to grow it as long as possible until after the first of the year, at which time he will be shorn and his hair will be donated to Locks of Love, a charitable organization that provides hairpieces to severely ill young people. This year he has become a threat to Jim Righeimer, so he's been the target of malicious lies and misrepresentations. A young man of great character, he kept his eye on the prize, took the high road and commented only on the issues - he didn't engage in any personal attacks.
COSTA MESA'S "EVERYMAN"
I've referred to McEvoy as Costa Mesa's Everyman. He comes from a family of educators, works a second job during the summer at the Frog House - the almost-defunct surf shop in Newport Beach - and loves Costa Mesa. He doesn't want to see massive changes - development of the Banning Ranch, huge LED lighting displays at Triangle Square, etc. - in his home town. He's a smart young man of great character with a keen analytical mind and an eagerness to help his city. Is he the strongest candidate we've ever had running for City Council? No, I don't think so. However, I can think of very few before him who have displayed the strength of character and tenacity in the face of such malicious adversity. He will have a steep learning curve, but will be a fine representative for our city. And, he will be beholden to no one - no special interests nor political parties have massaged and manipulated him in this campaign. Isn't that refreshing?
I DID NOT VOTE FOR...
I DID NOT vote for Jim Righeimer for the reasons I spelled out in an earlier post. Sue Lester is a bright gal - another carpetbagger who moved to the city and immediately signed up to run for City Council. She denies being a single issue candidate and has tried to immerse herself in broader issues than her Medical Marijuana industry. She's smart and, if she remains involved in community issues, perhaps there is a council seat in her future downstream. Chad Petschl is a charming guy, but has absolutely no idea of the important issues in our city. He sealed his fate when he suggested we add runways to John Wayne Airport.
You already know that I voted YES on Measure "L", the 2% increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), or bed tax as it's known elsewhere. At 6%, Costa Mesa's current rate is the lowest in the county by far and nearly the lowest in the entire state. The modest increase to 8% - not enough, in my opinion - will still not bring us to the county median of 10.25%. This tax will affect no Costa Mesa residents and can bring upwards of $1.5 million in additional annual revenue to our General Fund. This increase has been overdue for more than two decades. Now is the time to make this change and help our city on the road to financial stability.
68th ASSEMBLY SEAT
I, a lifelong Republican, voted for the moderate Democrat, Phu Nguyen for many reasons, some of which have less to do with him than his opponent, Allan Mansoor. Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant who had a difficult time just surviving to reach America, has led an exemplary life. He has worked hard, gotten an excellent education, operates a very successful business and is a family man. He easily bridges all cultures found in his district. I've met him several times and found him to be a bright, focused and hard-working young man who will certainly make a difference in Sacramento. His opponent, the under-educated, under-achieving former jailer for the Orange County Sheriff's Department until he quit last December, Allan Mansoor, is termed-out as a city councilman. It's a good thing, too. During his 8-year tenure he has been a divisive figure in our city, making himself the poster boy, and Costa Mesa the flash point, for racial disharmony as he pandered to the worst side of our populace. He has proven to be a dullard on the dais, unable to form even the most basic of arguments for his positions and completely lacking in any consensus-building skills. His mantra has been "I've got concerns" when asked about issues. However, he never articulates what those concerns are so they can be resolved. Actually, it's just a lame cover-up for his pattern of voting the party line. He's been a puppet for the Orange County Republican Party since his first term and continues to be one today. He would be in so far over his head in Sacramento that he would likely drown under the weight of his insignificance. Phu Nguyen is my choice. This video clip may be helpful to you:
NEWPORT-MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES
I voted for Katrina Foley and Loretta Zimmerman. Both women bring a fresh perspective to this organization - a revitalization that is overdue. Foley is a known commodity - a bright, tireless public servant, lawyer and mother of two sons in the district schools who consistently goes well beyond the parameters of her assignments. As the Energizer Bunny of the City Council for six years, she has usually been a minority voice, trying to bring reason to arguments cast in stone by her peers. Even so, she has been extremely effective and will bring the same vitality and spirit to the School Board. Zimmerman, a no-nonsense numbers person, would replace Judy Franco, who has served with distinction for 30 years. As she made her remarks during the joint School Board/City Council forum sponsored by Costa Mesa United she was showing a weariness that lingering too long on a job can bring. She should be thanked for her long and exemplary service, but it is time for a change.
COSTA MESA SANITARY DISTRICT
With three seats open, my choices are Arlene Schafer, Bob Ooten and Mike Scheafer. Schafer and Ooten are incumbents who have done a good job for us. My friend, Mike Scheafer, has served this community proudly and well in leadership roles in many organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club, The Lions Club, the Senior Center, as a Council Member, a Parks and Recreation Commissioner and also on the Sanitary District previously. He has been elevated to leadership positions in every volunteer organization he's been a part of for the past three decades. He grew up in Costa Mesa, operates a business in our city, raised his sons here and now is helping coach his grandchildren in baseball - in this city. Mike is a very special lifelong public servant and will add leadership to the Sanitary District. I DID NOT cast one of my votes for Jim Fitzpatrick because I'm very disappointed in the path he seems to be taking. He's become the lapdog for Righeimer and his pals on the Planning Commission, Steve Mensinger and Colin McCarthy and is developing some unpleasant habits. Some refer to him as a "bully-in-training".
COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
I voted for Shana Jenkins and David Grant. Jenkins brings a youthful vitality to this assignment - a reminder to the others on the board of just who this district serves. Grant, a legend at OCC, is a former President of the college and crew coach extraordinaire! He brings leadership, wisdom, maturity and a decades-long dedication to the college district that will serve us all well.
MESA CONSOLIDATED WATER DISTRICT
I voted for incumbent President Shawn Dewane. He has demonstrated leadership of that organization and deserves to be returned to his seat. I also voted for him for a seat on the Orange County Water District Board. I couldn't vote for the other seat open, but if given the opportunity I think I would vote to retain appointed Director, Jim Fisler. He has been a Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner and Parks and Recreation Commissioner in the past. He's probably the best choice of the three contenders for that seat.
OH, YES - GOVERNOR
I voted for Meg Whitman. I like her experience and success. Jerry Brown, a man in his 70s, has never strayed far from the public trough his entire adult life. He doesn't have a clue about what it takes to make a payroll, having spent his life living on the family trust fund. I've lived through his last tour as Governor. He was a disaster then and would be again. The only way I would vote for Jerry Brown is if he was running against Allan Mansoor.
YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN FOR THE REST...
That's it.. for the rest of the ballot you're on your own. There are plenty of resources available to you. Study the sample ballot and the voter guide; go online for newspaper editorials on issues. Take a look at the four candidate forums available on Costa Mesa Television - Channel 24 on Time Warner Cable and 99 on ATT UVerse. You can also see them on streaming video on the city web site. I've provided links and viewing schedule on an earlier post for your viewing pleasure. Please make an INFORMED choice on each item on the ballot.