Our Rules Vs. Riggy's Rules
Last Thursday night, while apparently on the way to the Estancia High School football game, Costa Mesa Planning Commission Chairman - and multiple-attempt City Council candidate - Jim Righeimer was among more than 3200 drivers passing through a DUI checkpoint conducted by a Costa Mesa Police Department. Of that number, just under 500 were actually stopped and questioned. Most, including Righeimer, just moved right through without complication. However, he apparently was the only one, according to Joe Serna's Daily Pilot article on the event, HERE, to leap out of his car and confront the officers conducting it.
FLEXING POLITICAL MUSCLE
According to Serna's coverage, after Riggy moved through the checkpoint without being stopped, he parked in the nearby McDonald's parking lot, walked over to the police and questioned the wisdom of conducting the checkpoint at that time of day - around 6:30 p.m. According to Serna's report, officers on the scene felt that Righeimer "tried to flex political muscle because he was inconvenienced by the traffic the checkpoint created." Also according to Serna's report, Righeimer threatened to call Police Chief Chris Shawkey to get him to remove the checkpoint immediately.
NO SURPRISE TO ME
Quite honestly, this doesn't surprise me at all. During the brief four years he's lived in Costa Mesa, and particularly during his tenure on the Planning Commission, he's demonstrated many times that he feels the rules we all follow are not for him - that he somehow has some kind of divine dispensation from following the rules. Time after time I've seen him attempt to change ordinances from his perch on the planning commission dais and browbeat applicants before him if they don't follow his direction.
RIGGY AFTER PUBLIC EMPLOYEES PAY
While the City has been in very delicate negotiations with it's public employee unions in an attempt to get the budget balanced, Righeimer launched his council campaign by making it clear that he's going to go after Costa Mesa employee's salaries and benefits once he's elected. His pointed comments at the first candidate forum last month to that effect, while looking directly at members of the public safety unions present, certainly didn't endear him to our cops and firefighters and certainly didn't make on-going negotiations any easier for our elected representatives and management staff. Because of his outspoken opposition toward public safety compensation it's widely assumed that those city employees will actively campaign against him this fall.
AN IRONIC EVENT
Which makes Thursday night's event all the more ironic. I suspect that the officers in at the checkpoint, fully aware of the poor relationship between Righeimer and their rank and file, handled that confrontation with a very delicate touch. I don't know that for a fact, but hope to find out soon. As you will read in Serna's account, we do know that Righeimer's account of the event and those of officers present differ dramatically.
REQUESTING COPIES OF RECORDINGS
Today, Saturday, I emailed Chief Shawkey and City Manager Allan Roeder, asking for direction on how to obtain copies of any and all audio and/or video recordings of this event. Shawkey replied tonight that my request would be forwarded to the City Attorney. Roeder, for his part, apparently told Serna that there is an investigation taking place and that all documents and recordings would be gathered and delivered to the City Attorney. I don't know how that will affect my request. I wouldn't be surprised if the Daily Pilot makes a similar request.
MY VIEW OF RIGGY WELL KNOWN
Those of you who read this blog frequently know that Riggy's not my favorite guy. He landed in town during the middle of Allan Mansoor's re-election campaign at a time when Representative Dana Rohrabacher was actively helping Mansoor with his run for re-election. Righeimer was Rohrabacher's campaign manager at the time and is part of the Orange County Republican apparatus - sharing quarters with OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh for a while, for example.
POLITICAL PAYBACK FOR CARPETBAGGER
Riggy was appointed to the Planning Commission following Mansoor's re-election despite only having lived in our city for a few months and filing his application after the deadline. During the appointment session Mansoor brushed aside the nomination of long-time fellow Westside Improver and very long time city resident Paul Bunney not once, not twice but three times - appointing Righeimer instead. Political payback...
I've been critical of Righeimer frequently as he pontificated from the Planning Commission dais, abusing applicants and trying to make up new rules as he went. Thursday night's event may be the best example of his disregard for the rules and the arrogance that makes him think he can run roughshod over residents and city employees with impunity. It's yet another reason for me to suggest you very seriously consider whether this is the guy you want to have with his hand on the tiller of our city for the next at least four years. I sure don't.
MORE TO FOLLOW
Stay tuned to this one... more to come.