Friday, October 01, 2010

Facilities Management West Announces New Bid


FMW CONFIRMS THEIR NEW BID
In a letter dated October 1
, 2010, Facilities Management West representative Guy Lemmon told Mayor Allan Mansoor and the City Council that his investment group submitted another bid for the purchase of the Orange County Fair and Event Center in response to the Request for Proposals (RFP) the State announced in August.

FMW HAD TO SUBMIT BID
In his letter Lemmon told Costa Mesa officials that they responded to the RFP because of the uncertainty surroundin
g their lease/purchase deal with The City. As readers will know, that deal is hung up in the legislature, which must pass enabling legislation to consummate the deal. At this time, chances of that happening are bleak.

STILL COMMITTED TO COSTA MESA
Lemmon mentions the hard work they've invested over the past nearly a year on the deal with The City and professed their commitment to the ownership principles being followed in that deal. We'll see...

MULTIPLE BIDDERS - NO OTHER INFORMATION
A call to the State Department of General Services turned up only the fact that The State has received multiple responses to the RFP by the deadline, yesterday, and that a bidder will be selected on October 14th. The number nor the names and details of those bids would not be divulged.

NO SURPRISE
HERE...
I'm not surprised that Facilities Management West submitted a bid to the new RFP. With all the energy and resources already devoted to this project, it would have been irresponsible for them not to do so. In fact, as I read that RFP, it could actually turn out to be a MUCH better deal for them than the one with The City. They have said from the very beginning that their choice would be to OWN the Fairgrounds site - the new RFP provides that opportunity.

THE CLOCK CONTINUES TO TICK
So, in what seems like a never-ending drama, we must now wait another two week before knowing the fate of the Orange County Fair and Event Center. More news as it happens.

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Toasted Toes All Around

FEET IN FLAMES
Well, now, that was interesting! Thursday night city council candidates from both Newport Beach and Costa Mesa were grilled by high-powered local media types for ninety minutes on what was supposed to be a menu of issues common to both cities. It didn't quite work out that way.

COSTA MESA CANDIDATES EDGED ASIDE
For the most part, Costa Mesa candidates Sue Lester, Chris McEvoy, Wendy Leece, Chad Petschl and Jim Righeimer were steamrollered by the sometimes agitated and boisterous exchange between Newport Beach candidates Ed Reno, Rush Hill, Mark Tabbert and Leslie Daigle and the panel of interrogators.

GOOD EFFORT
Before going furthe
r, I think most of us in the crowd at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center would agree that this was a good first effort at a combined forum. More than 100 guests seemed to enjoy the banter among the panelists and candidates - they may have even learned something. Vivacious moderator Barbara Venezia attempted to keep the panelists, Frank Mickadeit, Roger Bloom, Norberto Santana, Jr. and John Canalis, moving along with the questions. She could have used a whip last night.

MICKADEIT LIGHTS THE FIRE

Billed as the "
Feet To The Fire Forum", it did, indeed, begin that way when Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit launched right into Jim Righeimer on the DUI checkpoint issue and tried to get him to commit to a course of action to "fix" the problem. Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis followed that flurry of rights and lefts with a solid punch to the gut to Righeimer by asking him about "the letter" - the missive sent to me and some members of employee bargaining units demanding a cessation of questions on three issues Righeimer felt should be off limits. Joseph Serna has an excellent article in the Daily Pilot on that subject, which you can read HERE.

ALL BETS ARE OFF

During his long response, sometimes interrupted by Mickadeit and others, Righeimer mentioned at least one of the "forbidden topics", bankruptcy. As far as I'm concerned, that changes the rules of the public discourse of those issues. I was willing to abide by the demands of Righeimer's lawyer, Mark Bucher, and avoid any discussion of that issue and the others. But, if Righeimer feels this is a one-way street he's sadly mistaken. He can't have it both ways. He can't forbid critics, through threat of legal action, to discuss what he's uncomfortable with, then talk about the issue himself. As mentioned in my previous post, I discussed one of the issues a couple years ago. The shadow of "bankruptcy" hovered around Righeimer at the time. You can read my post on that subject HERE. I've not discussed it again.

RIGHEIMER CONTINUES TO PROVOKE
That discussion morphed into a broader discussion of police salaries and benefits, with Righeimer, once again, looking directly at the members of the Costa Mesa public safety bargaining units present in the audience as he continued his attack. His supporters scattered throughout the crowd gave him applause. Wendy Leece, for her part, tried to quell the frothing speakers by taking a more reasoned, mature approach by suggesting that we follow the process in place to reach agreement.

UH-HUH

A sidebar on Righeimer - a friend sitting near me rose to get a cup of coffee at this time, took my pen and scrawled a note on my pad - "He talks too much!" - referring to Righeimer's comments. I couldn't help but smile.

MCEVOY RE-DIRECTS THE DISCUSSION
Second-time candidate Chris McEvoy attempted to provide some perspective on the discussion of those "greedy unions" by suggesting firmly that we shouldn't ignore the impact of big businesses on elections - referring to their contributions that provide the fuel for campaigns.

LESTER, THE CANNABIS CANDIDATE

Canalis talked with Sue Lester about being identified as the "cannabis candidate", which morphed into a free-for-all discussion on medical marijuana and whether it should be dispensed without legal jeopardy. (Lester is the cover girl for the current issue of the OC Weekly. You can read the long article about her in that publication HERE.) Righeimer indicated he thought it should be regulated, taxed and sold at Walgreens. Chad Petschl and Chris McEvoy agreed. Wendy Leece said NO. This is not really a "Newport Beach" issue, but each candidate gave a view - Rush Hill said NO, Ed Reno was vague, but implied it should be fully regulated, Mark Tabbert went off on a homage to retired judge Jim Gray, then finally said he didn't have enough information and Leslie Daigle got off one of the best quips of the night when she said she was worried about whether people "should be able to ride bicycles on the boardwalk while using Medical Marijuana". She brought down the house and deflected the serious issue.

JOHN WAYNE AIRPORT

Conversation turned to John Wayne Airport - a s
ubject that affects both communities. The Costa Mesa candidates were kind of edged out of this one. This brief discussion got mired down in dates - when does the curfew expire, etc. I was disappointed in the brevity and quality of this discussion.

FAIRGROUNDS SALE
Voice of OC Editor Norberto Santana, Jr, launched the discussion of the Orange County Fairgrounds Sale, postulating to the Costa Mesa candidates that the process has been far from transparent. Wendy fought to support what has happened, laying blame on the State for it's imposition of unrealistic deadlines. Righeimer suggested that we just let it lie for now. (After the meeting uber political consultant Dave Ellis - Vice Chairman of the Fair Board - sought me out and told me he had heard that at least two bids had been received by Thursday's deadline for replying to the new RFP. Funny, Ellis doesn't really look much like the devil some portray him to be) Sue Lester pointed out that Katrina Foley had continually called for more deliberation before approving an obviously incomplete lease agreement. McEvoy expressed concern about the latitude the Joint Powers Authority will have in the future.

NEWPORT BEACH CITY HALL
Then the panel launched off into
a discussion of the Newport Beach City Hall - a fascinating subject, but not on the agenda of any Costa Mesa resident or council candidate. I suspect that subject was raw meat for the Newporters present. Actually, it was fascinating how little some of the Newport Beach candidates actually knew about this expensive project. Lots of misinformation was tossed back and forth until Rush Hill took charge and set the record straight. Daigle acknowledge the need for an overseer for this project, using her personal experience of replacing windows in her home as an example of her own, personal ill-preparedness for such a task. More chuckles. Ed Reno, Hills opponent, admitted he had attended exactly none of the 32 public meetings on the City Hall. Hill advised the group that the project was presently $5 million under budget. Great news, if true.

A FORUM UNLIKE ANY OTHER
This forum was a stark contrast to any other I've attended. To say it was conducted casually is a major understatement, particularly for those of us used to a much more structured, formal program. Mistress of ceremonies and moderator Barbara Venezia puts on a heck of a show. I kept waiting for performers from Cirque du Soleil to drop from the ceiling on ropes at any time. Because it was not tightly controlled - another understatement - they never did get to the Banning Ranch issue, which was too bad. It's a sore subject in both cities and deserved to have some vetting last night.

COSTA MESA TOOK BACK SEAT

I think, probably because of the strong Newport Beach orientation by the hosts, t
he Costa Mesa candidates got short shrift last night. Clearly, there were much stronger personalities on the Newport Beach side of the stage. I met Chad Petschl before and after the forum - he's a nice guy, but in way, way over his head. He's so new to our community that he simply has no grasp at all of major civic issues. I hope he'll stay involved, though. Chris McEvoy aggressively jumped into the discussion when he had a contribution to make. Sue Lester tried to demonstrate her breadth of interest beyond cannabis several times, while Wendy Leece just kind of waited to be asked questions. Righeimer, once out of his comfort zone attacking unions and discussing the Fairgrounds, contributed little.

A WORTHY EXPERIMENT - WORTH DOING AGAIN
This was a worthy experiment and actually came off better than I expected. I think there is real value to future joint forums, but they should be more tightly controlled so issues get fully vetted. At times last night I had the impression I was witnessing a bar discussion during half-time of an important football game. Then, again, I think that's the atmosphere Venezia was looking for. I hope future elections will see other joint forums between candidates from both cities.

NBTV
Newport Television taped the proceedings for later viewing. It's my understanding that a copy of their show will be provided to Costa Mesa Television for addition to the rotation on Channel 24 (99 on ATT UVerse). I doubt very much that we'll see it before next week some time. I'll let you know when I hear it's available for viewing - it's worth your time.


KUDOS TO ALL

Thanks to Barbara Venezia, John Canalis, Roger Bloom, Norberto Santana, Jr and Frank Mickadeit for grilling the candidates. Kudos to all.

FOLEY'S FLYING THUMBS
NOTE: If you're a Facebook Friend of Katrina Foley, go to her Wall and check out her real-time account of the action at the forum. She did a great job capturing the moments. Just watching her pound out the play-by-play made my thumbs hurt!



COSTA MESA UNITED FORUM NEXT

Next stop for the Campaign Express is Wednesday,
October 6th, also at the Neighorhood Community Center, when Costa Mesa United will host a forum with all the Costa Mesa City Council candidates as well as Newport-Mesa Unified School District candidates involved in contested races. That show begins at 6 p.m. and will run until 8 or 9, depending on which notice you read. I'll remind you next week. See you there...

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Righeimer Unleashes His Pit Bull

CHECKED YOUR MAIL LATELY?
When was the last time you received a surprise in your mail? Was it an unexpected birthday card? Your final release from military service? The deed to your house marked "Paid in Full"? Well, I've received all of those things - unexpected pleasures - in the mail over the years. What I received yesterday was NOT one of those.

SURPRISE!
Yesterday I received a letter in the mail from a law firm named Bucher& Pa
lmer, L.L.P. in Irvine. Recognize any part of that name? Hang on, you soon might. Here's a hint: the caption of the letter said, "Re: James Righeimer". The letter was signed by Mark W. Bucher, Esq. who, as it turns out, is Righeimer's close political ally and brother-in-law.

SHUT UP OR ELSE
The gist of the two-page letter was to warn me not to write about any or all of three forbidden topics related to Mr. Righeimer, which Mr. Bucher says are "demonstrably false and defamatory". He later went on to make this statement, "Some of these same statements were made the last time Mr. Righeimer ran for office but, as you may know, publishing a false and defamatory allegation under the guise that the statement as previously made is itself actionable."

PREEMPTIVE STRIKE - FREE SPEECH QUASHED
OK, I go
t it. This is a preemptive strike to keep me, and probably others, from openly criticizing Righeimer before the election. Yes, the letter is directed specifically at the three forbidden topics, but, when the word gets out, it will likely cause more than a few of Righeimer's many critics to pause before they rise to speak against him on any subject. It seems that Righeimer and his lawyer are quite content to trample on the rights of free speech guaranteed to us by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

YOU'LL HAVE TO SPECULATE
I
can't tell you what the three forbidden topics are because a lawyer friend suggests that by doing so I might violate the warning sent to me by Mr. Bucher. Keep in mind that I've NEVER addressed two of the three forbidden topics - heck, I didn't even know the issues existed - but wrote two years ago about the third after a long conversation with Righeimer. I understood his view and was satisfied that he answered all my questions and have not written about it since. Because I've been forbidden to write about those three topics I guess you'll just have to speculate among yourselves what they might be - I can't help you.

GENERIC THREAT

The letter, which may have b
een a kind of form letter, seemed to be aimed at a broader audience than just little old me. I've since learned that others have received the same or similar letter. It's my understanding that the Daily Pilot is investigating the issue and will soon have a report posted online.

"SLAPP" LAWSUIT COMING?
The letter I got may be a preamble to what is known in the legal trade a SLAPP lawsuit. That acronym stands for "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation" - a tactic used to quash criticism. Fortunately, California has enacted a law that protects folks like you and me from that kind of expensive legal harassment - Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16, which was enacted in 1993. According to some online resources on the subject, folks like you and me have been sued for things like simply writing a letter to the editor; circulating petitions; reporting police misconduct or speaking at a public meeting. That's why the law mentioned above was enacted.

MY OPINION OF RIGHEIMER IS WELL-DOCUMENTED
I've written many things about Jim Righeimer ever since he was appointed to the Planning Commission shortly after moving to Costa Mesa. I've written about his behavior on the Planning Commission - about his bullying tactics with applicants. All of that is well-documented.

THUG-LIKE TACTICS, DESIGNED TO INTIMIDATE
How
ever, this incident only affirms for me why Jim Righeimer is bad for our city and unworthy of a seat on the City Council. His willingness to unleash his lawyer to intimidate individuals in our city - including public employee groups - who are openly critical of him should send a chill down the spine of every single person who stands at the speaker's podium to offer criticism, writes letters to the editor, posts comments on blogs and newspaper comment threads or the social networks like Facebook. Every Costa Mesa employee should be concerned for their future. These are the tactics of a bully and a thug - as so accurately described by police union president Allen Rieckhof recently. If this is how Righeimer acts BEFORE he's elected, just imagine how he's going to govern our city once he's seated on the dais!

ONE MORE REASON I WON'T VOTE FOR RIGHEIMER

There are many reasons why Jim Righeimer has never been elected to public office - this is one of them.



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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Barlow Releases Righeimer Tapes (Updated)

BARLOW RELEASES THREE TAPES
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.***

MY TRANSCRIPT
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...
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.

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Feet To The Fire Forum Tomorrow


CAMPAIGN SEASON "HEATING UP"
The Newport-Mesa campaign season will "heat up" (sorry, couldn't resist) Thursday, September 30th at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue, Costa Mesa (Lions Park), when local media personalities grill city council candidates from both Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

MEDIA EGOS ON DISPLAY
The candidate forum, cleverly called the "Newport Mesa Feet To The Fire Forum" will have a panel comprised of representatives of local media outlets. Expected to participate are Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit; Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis; Voice of OC Editor Norberto Santana, Jr. and Newport Beach Independent Editor Roger Bloom. Vivacious Register columnist Barbara Venezia will act as mistress of ceremonies.

JOINT FORUM FOR THE FIRST TIME
To my knowledge there has never been a candidate forum that included hopefuls from both cities together, so this should be very interesting. According to information provided, topics will be those for which there is, or should be, joint interest by both cities. For example, expect to hear questions about Banning Ranch, John Wayne Airport, the school district, the 19th Street Bridge and others. I suspect the panelists are drawing straws for the chance to interrogate Jim Righeimer about his recent gaffe at the DUI checkpoint.

EVELYN HART LEADS PLEDGE
We're told that long-time Newport Beach community activist and council member, Evelyn Hart, will kick it off by leading the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.

NO TIES ALLOWED!
The forum, a "casual affair" according to Venezia, will begin at 7:00 p.m. - 9:00, with doors opening at 6:30. We're told that any neckties worn by gentleman participants will be snipped off with great hoopla. We'll see...

NBTV TO COVER
Newport Beach TV will cover the event for showing later on their cable channel. They will also provide a copy of their tape to Costa Mesa TV for showing on CMTV, channel 24 (99 on ATT U-verse)

MEET, GREET AND FIND A SEAT...
Be there early meet and greet the candidates and find a seat in what will likely be a packed house. See you there...

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Official - Eric Bever Is An Idiot!

HERE'S THE DEFINITION
According to Dictionary.com - Idiot: an utterly foolish and senseless person. Now, I ask you - doesn't that describe Eric Bever to a "T"? And, his performance at the Special City Council meeting on Monday demonstrates this fact perfectly.

DON'T BELIEVE ME? WATCH THE TAPE
But don't take my word for it. Take a look at the short - 15 minute - video clip from the beginning of yesterday's Special City Council meeting, HERE. Under normal circumstances this would simply be going through the motions - taking roll, reading the closed session items into the record and soliciting questions on those items only. They would then typically adjourn to the closed session for deliberations.

RIECKHOF REQUESTS TRANSPARENCY
However, it began with an aberration - police union president Allen Rieckhof stood and again requested a fair and transparent investigation into the Jim Righeimer/DUI checkpoint issue. Although his comments were inappropriate for this particular meeting, Mayor Allan Mansoor permitted him to speak.

REGISTER ARTICLE ANGST
From that point on Bever used his time to comment first on his concern about the recent Orange County Register article by Watchdog Teri Sforza regarding city finances that placed Costa Mesa at the bottom of that particular list for Orange County cities. You can read Sforza's article, HERE. If you DO go to that link, be sure to read the clarification at the bottom, published after all the hub-bub about Costa Mesa occurred. It was the original, un-modified, article that gave Bever an emotional wedgie.

SIMPLETON DEMANDS SIMPLE REPORT
During his little speech on that subject he attempted to get City Manager Allan Roeder to present, from memory, budget details - not Roeder's style, for sure. Bever was asking him questions that would have been impossible to answer because the current budget, although approved, is still a work in progress and fully dependent upon how the negotiations go with the employee bargaining units. He demanded a "simple" report from Roeder at a future date. I'm sure that's the only kind Bever could understand.

BEVER BOYCOTTING, DESCRIBES HIMSELF
Which led Bever to his real purpose - to announce to the world that he's going to boycott any further contract negotiations with the city's employee unions because a "majority on the council have conflicts". I'll let you watch the tape for yourselves, but he actually did get off one perfect phrase. When referring to continuing the negotiations he said to do so was "outstandingly stupid". Let me tell you, he couldn't have described himself any better if he tried!

WON'T LET FACTS CONFUSE HIM
Despite attempts by Wendy Leece and Katrina Foley - Gary Monahan was absent and never did show up at the closed session - to help Bever understand just what was at stake with his position, he apparently held firm and later bugged out of the closed session when the subject of the negotiations began. Come to think of it, "idiot" is a generous description of Eric Bever. In the words of General Honore in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when describing some of the things that had happened in New Orleans, some people are just "stuck on stupid". That's Eric Bever.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Bever Bails - Negotiations In Jeopardy?

BEVER LEAVES CLOSED SESSION IN A HUFF
Word around town tonight is that Costa Mesa City Councilman Eric Bever abandoned the closed session meeting Monday evening as negotiations with the employee bargaining units were under discussion. Although it's not clear what was on his alleged mind, we're led to believe he plans to boycott further negotiations "because there is an election pending". What? The election is five weeks off and the new council won't be seated for several weeks after that! Is he trying to stall the process until a new council is seated?

THIS ACT TAKES THE CAKE!
During Bever's almost 6 years on the City Council, and his time on the Planning Commission before that, we've seen him do some goofy and just plain stupid stuff, but this one takes the cake! Without further information we are left to engage in my favorite past time - speculation!

WHY, ERIC?
Let's try to figure out just why Bever would turn his back on his municipal responsibility. The city - in the midst of the worst financial crisis in it's history - is currently trying to negotiate with the employee unions to help solve the $9 million plus shortfall we will have in the 2010/2011 budget. Last year at this time, through intense negotiations, the employees agreed to furlough days to help the city through that time. This year our municipal predicament is even worse. Without a new contract the previous one continues on - a major problem for us budget-wise.

RIGHEIMER BEARING DOWN ON THEM
And, there is the specter of that runaway freight train, Jim Righeimer, heading down the track toward the employees with the promise to "do something" about what he perceives to be excessive salaries and benefits. I'm sure it's difficult for the employee representatives to stay focused on the business at hand with the thought of Righeimer on the other side of the bargaining table soon.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR HIM?
If Bever has, indeed, decided to abandon his responsibilities as an elected councilman, we wonder why? What's in it for him? He's only got two years left on his term in office. Is it possible that he might be maneuvering for some kind of consideration once he leaves the city council? After all, Righeimer has LOTS of connections in the Orange County Republican Party. Might there be a seat on the OCTA Board in his future, for example? Gives us all something to think about.

EXPLAIN AND/OR RESIGN
In the meantime, I think Eric Bever owes us all an explanation for his actions. If he's unwilling to perform the requirements of his job, then he should just resign - the earlier the better, thank you very much.

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