Thursday, May 06, 2010

Just Wondering About Eric...

JUST WONDERING..
Did you ever have one of those "just wondering" moments? Me, too. I had one today that I'll share with you.

WHAT'S UP WITH ERIC?
Today I was wondering what Costa Mesa councilman Eric Bever was doing on the dais during the deliberations of the purchase of the Orange County Fair and Events Center last Tuesday night?

ANOTHER INFANTILE MOVE
You may recall that, in one of his typical infantile fits of pique, on April 23, 2010 he authored an "Open Letter" to his peers on the City Council with copies to the Daily Pilot and the City Manager stating unequivocally that he was withdrawing his "support for continuing on the current path with the State of California."

WHINING ABOUT TIME
In his letter he whined about the short time-frame the State imposed on the City - his word was "excruciatingly short" to describe the time alloted by the State.

HE SAID HE'S OUT!
He went on, blah, blah, blah, and ended by stating, "Last Tuesday I reluctantly agreed to support this process however, given the new timeframe we are new expected to meet in naming a "partner", I cannot in good conscience continue to support this process." If you really want to, you can read the whole pathetic letter HERE.

WE GOT IT, ERIC
OK, Eric - we get it. You don't want to be a party to a process you feel may fail. You clearly didn't respect the hard work and long hours being performed by the Costa Mesa team in an attempt to make this process work. You felt so strongly about it that you just had to jump up on your soapbox and tell the world you were bailing out of the proceedings instead of simply expressing your concerns privately to the council. Nah, you had to go with the grandstanding approach instead. We know you can't help yourself - it's a character flaw that you just can't control.

SO, WHY WERE YOU THERE?
So, what the heck were you doing taking up oxygen on the dais last Tuesday night? Why didn't you just excuse yourself when the item came up at the end of the meeting and head home for an early night's sleep? You certainly didn't contribute anything of consequence and, quite honestly, having you out of the loop would have been wonderful as things turned out. The vote to place the "new sets of eyes" - including Righeimer - onto the negotiating team would have failed without your vote. Thanks for nothing!

CHRONIC CHARACTER FLAW ON DISPLAY
I guess it takes more character than you have to stand by your opinion. But, then, that's really too much to expect from you, isn't it? What a hypocrite!

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Government By Ambush


AN APPROPRIATE TERM
Yep, that's what my friend, David Stiller, calls it. He coined the phrase a few years ago when he thought there was insufficient notification on an issue to be heard by the City Council. Last night's council meeting was the perfect example of what he meant.

SENIOR CENTER CONTRACT
New Business #3 - which the council very kindly moved from the back of the agenda to the front to accommodate the many seniors in the audience - is the agreement between the City and the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation regarding the operation of the Senior Center for another 5 years, plus the possibility of extending the agreement for three more five-year terms.

RESULT OF TASK FORCE
The staff report originally posted online represented the hard work over many months by the special Senior Center Task Force, formed to address the renewal of the contract and some specific issues that had arisen over the past couple years. Mayor Allan Mansoor and Councilman Gary Monahan were on the task force, which also included Senior Center members Arlene Flanagan, Judy Lindsey; Senior Center volunteer Anna Kozma; Chamber of Commerce nominee Patty Mason and community member, former mayor Mary Hornbuckle. Senior Center Executive Director Aviva Goelman and Costa Mesa Recreation Manager Jana Ransom were non-voting members.

ORIGINAL CONTRACT UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED
This task force worked diligently over nearly a year, addressing the boilerplate issues of the official agreement and ancillary issues and, earlier this year, produced the document to be considered last night. That document had already been approved unanimously by the Task Force and the Senior Corporation Board of Directors.

LATE ADDITION
However, at the very last minute - late last Friday night - "someone" requested that an additional paragraph be inserted into section 8, Programs and Services. This addition only appeared in the staff report at that time, with no prior or subsequent notification to the Senior Corporation Board. The additional paragraph reads as follows:

TEXT OF THE ADDITION
"Tenant has the right to reasonably control disruptive behavior at the Senior Center, but recognizes that the Senior Center is a public building and place of public accommodation. Tenant shall not discriminate against qualified users of the Senior Center on the basis of their first amendment protected activities or on the basis of their viewpoint."

USURPING AUTHORITY
In the view of many who read this quick-pitched entry into the previously-approved version, this seemed to be a clear attempt by someone - I suspect Wendy Leece - to usurp the management authority of the Executive Director of the Senior Center and her bosses, the Senior Corporation Board.

ANOTHER MANSOOR SNEAK ATTACK
Then, during the deliberations, Mansoor attempted to slip into the agreement a requirement for the Senior Center to submit to an audit whenever the whim struck the City Council - another item that had not been approved by the Task Force nor the Senior Corporation Board.

"A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM"
President of the Senior Corporation Board, Bruce Garlich, addressed both issues. During his presentation he explained that the Task Force had worked for many months on the agreement and the Task Force and the Senior Center Board unanimously approved it as presented. He said the proposed amendment (above) has had no review by the Task Force and seemingly little review by the city staff. He called the timing of it's inclusion "suspicious and disrespectful to the Task Force and the Senior Center staff". He said it was "a solution in search of a problem."

NO RECORD OF FIRST AMENDMENT VIOLATIONS
Garlich went on to say that, "to the best of his knowledge, at no time had the Senior Center staff been made aware of any complaint from any Center user that their first amendment rights had been discriminated against." He explained that, if such an event occurred, there is a protocol to resolve it via the Executive Director and the Senior Board. He reminded the council that, if it chose to include the added language it would be in violation of Section 9 (d) of the agreement, which states in part that "Tenant is and shall act as an independent agency and not as an officer, employee or agent of the City."

NO ADDITIONAL AUDIT NECESSARY
Garlich also objected to the language Mansoor tried to insert during the discussion dealing with an audit. Section 9 (c) provides for an audited financial report requirement, which, in Garlich's view, should be sufficient.

TASK FORCE NEVER CONSIDERED AUDIT
Mansoor was part of the Task Force and, according to sources familiar with their deliberations, the issue of yet another audit - a "forensic audit" - was not discussed nor approved by the Task Force. In fact, there has been no definition of exactly what a "forensic audit" is supposed to be - that was a term tossed out quite casually by Leece during the council meeting. Springing this on the Senior Corporation Board without notice is just another example of "Government By Ambush", and a pretty crappy way to do business.

BEVER WOKE UP A LITTLE
Eric Bever's "contribution" to the discussion was to gripe about there not being any language in the agreement that dealt with what he called "dispute resolution. He said, "Our only option was to say, 'Ok you guys, you're fired'". He asked the City Attorney to provide him with a list of options for the council to consider. That will be considered at a future date.

DELAY MIGHT CREATE BIG FINANCIAL PROBLEMS
The upshot of this debacle was that, because of the requirement for the amended agreement to be, once again, considered by the Senior Corporation Board, there 's a good chance that it might not make it back through the system in time to be approved before the budget is approved to go into effect July 1. If that's the case, no checks may be issued to the Senior Center until the agreement is completed and approved.

PETTY GRIEVANCES CREATED TASK FORCE
I'm not a Senior Center insider and don't have personal knowledge of all the circumstances that led to the launching of the Task Force in the first place. I do know what has been public knowledge. A small band of malcontents - some of whom were not members of the Senior Center - decided that they were not getting their way so went to Leece and griped about it. She, unable to sort important issues from petty grievances that should have been resolved under the roof of the Senior Center, began a witch hunt. As a result, the Task Force was created and did a terrific job of sorting out the issues and making their recommendations.

DISRESPECTFUL BLINDSIDE
The blindsiding of the Senior Corporation Board with these items as the council was about to vote on them reeks of petty politics and, as Garlich stated a couple times during his presentation, is disrespectful of the Task Force and the Senior Center management.

BACK TO THE SENIOR BOARD
Fortunately, the council voted to approve the original agreement without the offending language but did add a few words requiring the ability for the City to pay for a "forensic audit" during the term of the contract. This hiccup will now require the entire agreement to be re-considered by the Senior Corporation Board and, depending on how their deliberations go, may delay the final approval of the contract.

INTELLECTUAL AND ETHICAL SHORTCOMINGS
This disregard for the process they established caused more than a few observers to lose confidence in some members of the council. It's a miserable way to do business and demonstrates the intellectual and ethical limitations of some of our elected leaders. It's a shame.

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Marathon Meeting Ends With A Thud

WHAT POLITICAL INFLUENCE BUYS IN COSTA MESA
Well, at 11:35 Tuesday night we saw just what political influence will buy you in the City of Costa Mesa. Last night it bought Jim Righeimer a place at the negotiating table with the City team trying to put together a deal to buy the Fairgrounds.

ONE OF A TRIO OF "SETS OF EYES"
Righeimer was one of three men proposed by Gary Monahan to provide unpaid consultive expertise during the negotiations - to add more "sets of eyes" to the process. The other men were Costa Mesan Rick Kapko and Newport Beach resident David Ball.

FOLEY CONCERNED ABOUT RIGHEIMER
Although the need for any more "eyes" in this process is not clear to me - we're already paying a consultant to represent our interests - Righeimer's presence on the list was fraught with controversy. Questions about possible conflicts of interest were raised and dismissed. Finally, as it appeared that the vote was about to be taken and after apparently exhausting all other avenues available to her, Katrina Foley let the council and the members of the public in attendance know what was really on her mind - why she opposed Righeimer's nomination.

A BOMBER IN THEIR MIDST
Foley told the council and audience that Righeimer had, in private communication with her, expressed such disappointment at being excluded from this process that he felt like "blowing up" the whole deal! As if there were not enough complications in this process already, having an active participant who has openly expressed a willingness to destroy the plan seems just plain stupid to me. It's kind of like inviting Timothy McVeigh to the table!

PURE POLITICAL PAYBACK
To me, having that knowledge and still moving ahead with the authorization to retain Righeimer as an unpaid consultant certainly calls into question the wisdom and motivation of at least a couple council members. Allan Mansoor, for example, was quick to leap to the defense of Riggy's choice. This is the same Jim Righeimer who is Dana Rohrabacher's right-hand campaign guy. Rohrabacher has supported Mansoor in his last two elections and the payback for that support was the appointment of Righeimer to the Planning Commission despite being a Costa Mesa resident for 7 months and submitting his application after the deadline.

NOW IT'S UP TO FOUR "SETS OF EYES" - MAYBE
Foley offered the council the opportunity to move forward with the other two gentlemen, dropping Righeimer from the list, but that was rejected. Finally, clearly outnumbered, she suggested adding another player - the Segerstrom's Barney Page - to the mix. That may have been her attempt to show just how capricious this process was, but the council went along with it. She still voted "no" when the vote was taken and infuriated Mansoor.

ONE POSITIVE PITCH BY AMERICAN FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
This was a disappointing end to an otherwise positive presentation about the Fairgrounds acquisition process. Following City Manager Allan Roeder's presentation on the process so far we heard a very positive pitch from one of the two remaining entities negotiating with the City to become a partner in the Fairground process, American Fairs and Festivals. Their group includes several current vendors at the Fairgrounds, so they certainly bring institutional knowledge about operating successfully at that venue. No position was taken by the council on either of the remaining groups.

MORE MIDNIGHT OIL
The clock is ticking on this process. Roeder indicted that a special council meeting will be called next Monday to further discuss the Fairgrounds. The City must present the State with it's proposal by the end of this month. More midnight oil ahead for the staff...

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Daily Voice, Adieu & "Mansoor's A Liar", Too

DAILY VOICE BECOMES "INDEPENDENT"
Well, it's official, I guess. Today Tom Johnson announced in the Newport-Mesa Daily Voice that his fledgling publication is no more. It will morph into the Newport Beach Independent. Although we covered this story almost two weeks ago, HERE, you can read Johnson's official announcement HERE. A print product will begin publication on June 4th - one day a week on Fridays.

COSTA MESA ABANDONED
With the launch of the Newport Beach Independent Johnson and his Firebrand Media partners will abandon Costa Mesa for the time being. Quite honestly, unless there's another Police Department scandal, every day is going to be a slow news day for Johnson and his team. In the past couple years Costa Mesa has generated far more newsworthy stuff.

TOUGH CALL FOR JOHNSON
I suspect this is going to be a very big deal for Tom Johnson. Ever since he took over the Daily Pilot as publisher he has been deeply involved in Costa Mesa. He has been a true civic leader, involved in many charities over many years.

GOOD LUCK, TOM
We do wish him well in this most recent new endeavor.

MANSOOR'S FIRST LIE THIS CAMPAIGN SEASON
Yesterday I received my sample ballot for the primary election next month and with it I hold in my hands the evidence of the first big lie told by Allan Mansoor during this election season. Well, maybe not the first, but the only one in print that he authorized that I know of.

HE'S NO LONGER A DEPUTY SHERIFF!
Yep, next to his name on the ballot it shows his designation - Mayor/Deputy Sheriff. Funny thing is, he's not a Deputy Sheriff any longer. According to his pal, Jim Righeimer, Mansoor left the Sheriff's Department as of 12/31/09. He alluded to no longer being a Sheriff Deputy at his press conference last week, too. The ballot language had to be submitted by March of this year, which means that our mayor intentionally lied about who he is on the ballot - probably hoping nobody would notice. Ha! Fat chance of that, Mr. Mayor.

ONLY THE FIRST OF WHAT MAY BE MANY
Now, this might not be the very first lie Mansoor has told, but it certainly is the most flagrant. Of course, following right on the heels of those whoppers he told at his press conference last week, it's not really a surprise. You remember those lies, right? When asked if his immigration scheme announcement was in any way a result of the new Arizona law he said "No." When asked if it had anything to do with his campaign for Van Tran's Assembly seat he said "No." So, that's three lies in less than a week. I supposed we should really start counting them now.

POLLY WANT A CRACKER?
Speaking of counting, let's play a game while watching the City Council meeting tonight. Every time the mayor says, "These are complex issues", shout out the number. The first time shout out "One!" The second time he says it, shout out "Two!", and so forth. That's the phrase implanted in his skull by his political handlers for when he gets into trouble. He, like a parrot wanting a cracker, just repeats the phrase instead of answering the question. All together now, "Squawk, these are complex issues." "Three!"

HE MAY BE THE "PERFECT" ASSEMBLYMAN
So, dear neighbors, that's what you're going to get with Allan Mansoor - fabrication of issues for political expediency and flat-out lies. Come to think of it, he might just fit in perfectly in Sacramento. He's a guy with no leadership skills, limited intellectual capacity, no history of accomplishment and a liar, to boot. Perfect!

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Monday, May 03, 2010

More Light Shed On Fairgrounds Acquisition Plan

A VERY LATE AGENDA CHANGE
Very late Monday night, tonight, the City issued a new, updated agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting which contained a new staff report for New Business #2 dealing with the acquisition of the Orange County Fair and Events Center. I'll try to summarize this document for you, but you can read the whole thing HERE.

TIGHT TIME LINE REQUIRED CREATIVITY
The report, authored by City Manager Allan Roeder, begins by providing a brief history of the process to this point and emphasized the extraordinary nature of this negotiation. As mentioned by Councilman Eric Bever when he went into his pouty sulk recently, there didn't seem to be time to properly address all the complex facets of this process based on the time constraints imposed by the State.

TASKS COMPLETED BY FIRST DEADLINE
Here are the tasks completed by the initial deadline of April 21, 2010:

1. Preparation of proposed Terms & Conditions for the Sale & Purchase Agreement;
2. Legal research regarding options and authorities for City purchase of the OCFEC;
3. Detailed review of OCFEC finances, lease commitments, capital investment and operating expenses;
4. Review of options to acquire the property without financial obligation or risk to Costa Mesa residents; and
5. Solicitation of private sector proposals to operate the OCFEC on a contract basis.

That's an astounding amount of work to be completed in such a short time.

NORMAL "REQUESTS FOR PROPOSAL" PROCESS
Roeder explained that, under normal circumstances, the process of drafting an appropriate "Request for Proposals" for a private sector operator would take a minimum of six months. Accordingly, the City contacted all the firms who previously submitted bids - certainly not a standard practice by any means.

FOUR BIDDERS EXPRESSED INTEREST
Of the firms that made proposals in the early negotiations with the State for the purchase of the Fairgrounds, four responded to the City's RFP - Craig Realty; American Fairs and Festivals, Inc.; Advanced Real Estate Services, Inc. and Facilities Management West, Inc. Craig Realty eventually withdrew. Advanced Real Estate Services went into partnership with American Fairs and Festivals and Facilities Management West remained interested.

TWO ENTITIES INVITED TO MAKE PRESENTATIONS
Both of the remaining entities were invited to make fifteen minute presentations to the council Tuesday. Only American Fairs and Festivals/Advance Real Estate Services accepted. Facilities Management West declined and submitted a written proposal. You can view that as an attachment to the staff report. In a nutshell, it DOES NOT anticipate public ownership of the Fairgrounds. Their organization would purchase the property and run it.

LONG AND INTERESTING MEETING GUARANTEED
As I said in my previous post, Tuesday's council meeting may be a long one and it most certainly will be an interesting one. I don't recall in recent memory a meeting with the potential to have so many "meaty" discussions in one sitting. We'll report on it later.

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Another Fun Council Meeting on Tuesday

IT COULD BE A LONG ONE
Tuesday's Costa Mesa City Council meeting has all the earmarks of being another of those long, controversial events.

LOTS OF CLOSED SESSION STUFF
First, it will likely not get started at the scheduled time of 6:00 p.m. because there are four items on the Closed Session agenda that will take a lot of time. They are two separate lawsuits by medical marijuana dispensary operators; a lawsuit on behalf of day laborers and a meeting with the negotiators for the purchase of the Fairgrounds. I'm guessing that, unless they begin the closed session earlier than normal, we probably won't see the council's smiling faces on the dais until 6:30 or later. But, then, one never knows... You can read about a recent judges decision to reject a temporary restraining order request in one of the above cases in an article from the Orange County Register, HERE.

MANSOOR MAY ASK FOR STUDY SESSION ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
Once those get vetted the open session will commence. During the Council Members Comments section I fully expect Mayor Allan Mansoor to ask the council to place on the agenda for the next study session on the 11th his bogus scheme to resurrect the illegal immigration issue. Based on his recent press conference, that could make for an interesting study session. The anticipation of Mansoor's probable action may conjure up many folks for the Public Comments segment, too.

FIREWORKS COME EARLY IN THE MEETING
Then, the very first item under Public Hearings addresses Gary Monahan's request to extend the hours of sale for fireworks on July 4th and to approve the renewed sale of handheld devices. That should be interesting and may generate much community response.

CDBG FUNDS - MORE FIREWORKS
The next items on the agenda will deal with the distribution of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to organizations within the community. I expect that an angry old fellow in a black shirt will stand before the council and rant about how the funds are distributed - again. Giving funds to organizations that provides services to Latinos in our community doesn't fit his template for "improving" the city. His philosophy is, "If it ain't white it ain't right. If it's brown, throw it out of town."

SWEETENING THE RETIREMENT POT
Under Old Business #1 the council will consider sweetening the retirement pot for Firefighters, from 3% at age 55 to 3% at age 50.

CITATIONS AND CONCERTS
They will also vote to modify the administrative citations procedure and authorize steps necessary to provide staff time for summer concerts.

RENEW BIA FUNDS
Under New Business things get interesting. Item #1 will re-authorize the Business Improvement Area (BIA) funds.

FAIRGROUNDS - FINANCING, OWNERSHIP AND CONSULTING
Item #2, for which there are no staff reports available on sections (a) and (b), deals with the potential acquisition of the Orange County Fairgrounds. Item (a) is a presentation of Ownership and Financing Strategy and (b) is a Fairgrounds Management Proposal. I'm very disappointed that no staff report is available on these items. It's difficult to be an informed voter when such things are kept behind a veil until the last minute. They might get a staff report ready by meeting time, but that won't help those of us who prefer to observe via television or streaming video.

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM HERE?
Segment (c) deals with the modification of the Standard Professional Services Agreement to accommodate three volunteers who hope to provide "expert advice and consultation". You'll be happy to know that those three fellows are Costa Mesa residents Rick Kapko and Jim Righeimer and Newport Beach resident David Ball. Apparently all three balked at the standard agreement and the first cut at modifying the agreement. It will be interesting to hear what this is all about.

SENIOR CENTER AGREEMENT SHENANIGANS
Finally, probably well after the normal bedtime for most seniors, the council will hear about the agreement hammered out over several months for the operation of the Costa Mesa Senior Center. This will be especially interesting because of a clause added to the agreement at the very last minute Friday night. The Senior Corporation Board, the entity that operates the Costa Mesa Senior Center, had not seen the added language and, naturally, had not approved it. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few members of the Senior Center speak up on this issue. That may make what one might expect to be a pretty routine vote take on a more heightened intensity.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Scrat Mansoor Reprised

LIKE AN OLD CLOSET...
From time to time I go rummage around in the archives of the first 18 months of this blog. The link is over on the right side of this page. For an old guy with too much time on his hands clicking through those essays can refresh my memory of events in our recent past.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Today I present for your reading pleasure (or not) something I wrote four years ago, on May 2, 2006, that seems particularly relevant today. It's not too long, so give it a read and let me know what you think... have things changed in four years? Take a peek at the video clip at the end and tell me if you see any similarities. (Here's a hint: Before you read further, slide over to the links at the right and scroll down to the title for this one and click on it, then continue. That will allow you to view the movie clip, below, without the background clutter of my archive links.)

Tuesday, May 2, 2006
"Scrat" Mansoor - Prehistoric Acorn Juggler

Do you remember the trailer for the movie, "Ice Age"? It portrayed a goofy, pre-ice age rodent named Scrat trying to bury a huge acorn because of the impending "winter". At one point he attempts to stomp the acorn into the snow, which results in a crack forming. The crack expands and expands and expands. Finally it causes a glacier to fracture and tumble toward Scrat.

He begins to escape, then remembers the acorn and dashes back to retrieve it. This whole trailer is all very Indiana Jonesesque as Scrat stubbornly refuses to let go of his acorn and skitters from catastrophe to calamity trying to evade the onslaught of the falling ice that he started. At the end of the trailer he ends up being inadvertently stomped into the dirt by a Mammoth, who tells him "You're an embarrassment to nature - you know that?"

I was thinking just how much Scrat reminds me of our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor. Several months ago he hatched his plan to cross-designate Costa Mesa law enforcement officers to become immigration screeners. That was his "acorn" - a nut almost too much for him to carry. Despite the fact that every other law enforcement official in Orange County has rejected his idea as a bad way to go, he stubbornly juggles this "acorn" against the elements - and the wisdom of real leaders.

As he tried to stomp that acorn into the snow, our young jailer/mayor created the crack in the ice that has become the huge demonstrations on the immigration issue we have seen in recent weeks. Yesterday, for example, literally millions of demonstrators marched in cities large and small across this country. Mansoor's truly bad idea was the flash point, the catalyst for the demonstrations, as he preened before the cameras on national television and had his ego stroked by those on the radical right.

His plan has made Costa Mesa a metaphor for intolerance as he and his cronies persist in juggling this acorn. He stubbornly continues along this path even though the jagged ice shards are falling around him.

I suspect the mayor may find his own "mammoth" - the electorate. In November he may find the voters of this city telling him, "You're an embarrassment to Costa Mesa - you know that?"

SCRAT - GONE NUTTY


HAS HE CHANGED?

So, what do you think? Has our mayor, "Scrat", changed in the past four years? Is he still in his own special "Ice Age", in pursuit of that darn acorn? Has he "Gone Nutty"?

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Things I've Learned This Week...

FACEBOOK IS JUST TOO CHATTY!
Well, first, I learned that Facebook is turning this into a much-too chatty world. For example, I learned last night from her Facebook page that Daily Pilot Newport Beach reporter, Brianna Bailey, has given her two weeks notice yesterday and is apparently returning to Oklahoma and will go to work for the Journal Record, reporting on the energy industry. OK, I understand the need to share this good news, but this old geezer is having a hard time adjusting to this information being broadcast to the world via Facebook. Oh, well... we wish Brianna well - she's done a good job here.


KATRINA IS OMNIPRESENT
Facebook also affirmed for me that there are actually six Katrina Foley's running around these days. There simply is no other explanation for the number of events she attends. Either that or she is a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower. Perhaps she is the Energizer Bunny incarnate. Whew!

MANSOOR JUMPS ABOARD IMMIGRATION - AGAIN
Early in the week I learned that Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor, ever the opportunist, has decided to jump back on the old "immigration horse" that got him re-elected four years ago. Yep, he called a press conference Tuesday to announce his new initiative to crack down on illegal aliens in our midst - again - denying all the while that neither his campaign nor the recent Arizona law had anything at all to do with the timing of his announcement. Those who were around these parts in the middle of the last decade will recall that he pulled this stunt before, trying to get all Costa Mesa cops designated as immigration screeners. For months it seemed that every wacko on both sides of the issue descended on our town, demonstrating and disrupting council meetings, including the incendiary event of Benito Acosta's arrest. That little judgment lapse on the part of Mansoor ended up costing the City over a half-million dollars in legal costs. Now he's at it again, trying to find a campaign platform in his run for the 68th Assembly District seat in Sacramento. What does he care if this, once again, polarizes the city and leaves an irreparable rift in our communities - one way or the other he's not going to have to deal with the problems he's creating.

BEVER IS UNSUITED FOR OFFICE
I learned, or, rather, had reaffirmed, that Eric Bever is intellectually and emotionally unsuited for public office. His infantile publication of an "open letter" to the City Council by way of the Daily Pilot in which he renounced his support of the City's on-going project to acquire the Orange County Fair and Events Center because Governor Schwarzenegger didn't give the City enough time to get the job done properly was akin to some spoiled little brat, flailing around on the floor screaming, No! No! No! because he was being asked to do something he didn't want to do. This, of course, is vintage Bever - a man who clipped his waist-long pony tail before he ran for office to disguise who he was. This is Bever, who missed many of the important meetings on the issue and has for the most part restricted his contributions during the discussions to lame quips and other failed attempts at humor that have become his pathetic trademark.

"CHUCKMEISTER" IS A HOOT
I learned that my old buddy, Chuck Cassity, is one funny dude. I'm sorry, but he just cracks me up. Last week he published a couple blog entries on his "Chuckmeister Unleashed" blog that address the immigration issue. You can find them HERE.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND
We've got an interesting city council meeting coming up on Tuesday - could be a long one. I'll write about that on Monday. Have a great weekend and don't get caught in the Orange County Marathon traffic on Sunday.

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