On this crisp, clear, sunny morning looking out at a perfectly flat Pacific Ocean with the television on in the background blaring out the pre-game prattle it seems like a perfect setting to contemplate those things for which I am thankful on this Thanksgiving Day 2010.
THE TOP OF MY LIST
Of course, I'm thankful for my lovely and patient wife of 43 years (and counting) who constantly amazes me with her capacity for love and understanding.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS, TOO
I'm thankful for my friends and family who support me in all segments of my life - including this meager effort to inform and entertain you all.
AND FOR YOU, TOO
I'm thankful for all of you who visit this site from time to time, and for those of you who participate in the discussion of important issues here. I frequently don't agree with you, but will let most of you use this forum to express your views.
ROEDER HAS SPECIAL PLACE...
This year I'm especially thankful for City Manager Allan Roeder and his staff for the excellent job they do. The past couple years have tested every one of them and they've all stepped up and continued to demonstrate excellence in the face of tremendous adversity. While dealing with the catastrophic budget problems and the turmoil that swirled around the sale of the Orange County Fair and Event Center simultaneously, Roeder, in particular, demonstrated every day why he has been arguably the best City Manager in our region for years. He will retire in March after 36 years with The City - 25 as City Manager - and will leave behind HUGE shoes to fill. As was stated in Jim deBoom's Daily Pilot column yesterday, Roeder is an Eagle - he soars above us all.
...AS DOES HIS TEAM
I'm thankful to the team Roeder has created and molded over the years - those men and women who just keep on doing their jobs and help make our city such a wonderful place in which to live, work, raise families and play. I'm especially thankful for the men and women of the public safety organizations, who saw their honor and dedication to this city questioned during the most contentious local campaign in my memory and continued to do their job - to protect and serve us.
NEW FRIENDS WITH A COMMON GOAL
I'm thankful for the new friends I've made during the Fairgrounds debacle. That issue brought together some very interesting diverse interests, some of whom will continue to be engaged in broader city issues and use their prodigious organizational and communication skills to help provide perspective to a new City Council that, depending on who replaces Katrina Foley, may end up being the most conservative group ever to occupy the dais in our city's history.
I'm thankful for young Chris McEvoy, who chose to run for a City Council for the second time this year and, for his trouble, saw his name smeared and his reputation sullied by partisan political hacks. Despite the vilification and lies Chris finished a strong third in the race while conducting a bare bones, honorable campaign.
I'm also thankful for the courage displayed by Wendy Leece late in the campaign, who voted her conscience instead of being bullied into following the party line. It placed her friendship with County Supervisor John Moorlach in jeopardy and probably cost her any future support from the Orange County Republican Party. I disagree with Wendy on issues but never doubt her motives - she wants the best for the people of Costa Mesa.
I'm thankful for the tenacity and intelligence Katrina Foley has brought to the City Council the past six years. She'll move on to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board in a few days and will leave a hole on the City Council dais that will almost certainly be filled by another lock-step lemming from the OC GOP. Her willingness to be the lone voice of dissent on important issues and the energy she displayed while serving the people of Costa Mesa has been admirable. She's a very special person.
Finally, I'm thankful for those brave men and women of our all-volunteer military who have chosen to serve their country in dangerous places around the world. We live in strange times, where we're engaged in a war with an enemy who fights for no flag, but for terrorism. Our soldiers have no nation to conquer, no "Mt. Suribachi" on which to plant our flag. Instead, they defend our interests from fanatics in the bleakest of venues, where battles are fought in caves and on the streets of third world cities where the enemy uses IEDs. I'm thankful for our brave men and women who place their lives in harm's way every day.