Friday, November 05, 2010

FOLEY RESIGNS FROM CITY COUNCIL

FOLEY ANNOUNCES HER RESIGNATION FROM CITY COUNCIL
As many folks know by now, this afternoon Costa Mesa City Councilwoman Katrina Foley announced to the world via her Facebook page and a press release that she has decided to step down from the City Council to take the seat on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District School Board to which she was elected Tuesday. According to her announcement, which you can read in it's entirety HERE, she will step down from her council seat effective December 14, 2010 - the day she will be seated on the School Board.

HER CONTRIBUTIONS GREATLY APPRECIATED
For many of us here in the city who have appreciated her many times solitary voice of reason on contentious issues for the past 6 years, this is a major loss. Whether she had a chance to influence the vote on issues or not, she could always be relied upon to present a clear, well-reasoned opposing view to be considered.

NO REAL SURPRISE HERE
Certainly, not many of us thought she would actually be able to fulfill the requirements of a council seat and one on the School Board simultaneously, plus run her law firm and provide enough time to her husband and sons. We're happy she made her decision, even though our council will basically be left without a moderate voice.


HER TIMING IS INTERESTING
An interesting sidebar of this announcement is the timing. The new Costa Mesa City Council will be certified and seated on December 7th - a week before Foley departs. She will be part of the process of deciding the new mayor and mayor pro tem, since the meeting on the 7th will be the final scheduled meeting of the year. The council will next meet on January 4, 2011.

SELECTION PROCESS TO REPLACE FOLEY?
Al
so up in the air is the process by which a person to replace her will be selected. There is no official city policy for this process. The last time it happened was when Karen Robinson was appointed to the bench. The process that was followed at that time resulted in Eric Bever and Mike Scheafer receiving two votes each, over and over. Bever finally withdrew and Scheafer was appointed.

COUNCIL COULD PLUCK A NAME FROM THE AIR

It is my understanding that the new council could simply pull a name out of the air and have that person appointed if there are three votes to do so. Any person who is appointed must meet eligibility requirements - be a resident of the city and a qualified voter. However, any of
the names being bandied about would meet that criteria because they are all currently city commissioners.

FREQUENTLY MENTIONED SUSPECTS

Those who are most prominently mentioned are Planning Commissioners Steve Mensinger and Colin McCarthy and, occasionally, Jim Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick may not be eligible because he was elected to a seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board last Tuesday. In fact, it's possible that he will have to resign his planning commission seat for that reason. Also being mentioned is Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jeff Mathews - a member of the Orange County Republican Central Committee and a guy who, despite pumping large sums into Allan Mansoor's Assembly campaign war chest, has kept a pretty low profile.

PLANNING COMMISSION OPPORTUNITIES
It's possible that there will be at least two, maybe three, slots open on the Planning Commission. I wonder just how many cronies Jim Righeimer has left to fill those slots?

COUNTING THE BATTLEFIELD DEAD AND WOUNDED

So, let's tally up the damage over the past couple weeks. Righeimer gets elected to the City Council; Wendy Leece also retains her seat, but is being threatened by Supervisor John Moorlach with a recall effort in a few months; Katrina Foley resigns form the City Council and takes her lone voice of reason with her; City Manager Allan Roeder resigns effective in March, taking with him three dozen years of accumulated institutional knowledge and management skill; the new city council will select a replacement for Roeder, plus a replacement for retired Fire Chief Mike Morgan. Plus, you can add to the mix the rumors I hear that we might see a mass exodus of senior city staffers in the first quarter of the year in anticipation of a Righeimer regime that will likely involve a full frontal attack on their wages and retirements. This is really grim.

TRIANGLE SQUARE IS BACK AGAIN

And did I mention that Triangle Square is coming back before the Planning Commission at a SPECIAL meeting on November 16th? Yeah, no mention of the LED lights, but the ever glib and former may
or Peter Buffa will put on his song and dance outfit again and ask for a couple variances for his clients as they try to resuscitate that dying municipal white elephant.

NO PEP TALK FROM ME - READ THE CHUCKMEISTER

And, lest I be tempted to leave you with some kind of uplifting, positive statement, let me, instead, provide you with a link to my pal, Chuck Cassity's blog entry at Chuckmeister Unleashed that addresses the result of the election Tuesday. It's depressing, but a very interesting read. Just click HERE.

PLENTY OF FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Have a nice weekend, everybody. You've certainly got plenty to contemplate.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

With Friends Like These...

SNUFF THAT PEACE PIPE, NEIGHBOR
So, all this talk about reconciliation following the election seems to have just been hyperbole. Late this evening the Daily Pilot published an article by Mona Shadia quoting Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach as saying regarding Wendy Leece, "She'll always be a friend, but she's not qualified to be a City Council member." You can read the entire article HERE.

RECALL FOR LEECE?
This is apparently his response when asked about the rumor of a planned recall effort to remove Leece from her recently-re-acquired seat on the Costa Mesa City Council where she currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem. According to Shadia's report, "Moorlach said it was too early for him to entertain support for a recall effort, but that removing Leece from office was something he would consider backing in the future." Yeah, with friends like Moorlach Wendy sure doesn't need any enemies.

WENDY DID HER JOB - AND NOW PAYS THE PRICE
This is just the latest in what is obviously going to be an orchestrated attack on Leece because she did the job the voters of this city hired her to do - use her vote to make the best choice possible based on the facts as she knew them regarding the modifications to employee contracts. Those votes saved the City $3.7 million dollars in this fiscal year. Even with those contributions by the employees and the voluntary re-negotiation by the firefighters which provided more than $600,000, the City remains in the hole roughly $6 million.

BAUGH BLASTED LEECE

Scott Baugh, Chair of the Orange County Republican Party was the most vocal critic of Leece following her vote. He and his band of lock-step lemming thugs did there very best in the
short time available to them to sabotage her campaign. Fortunately for the residents of Costa Mesa, their best efforts were not good enough.

MORE OC GOP INTERFER
ENCE
According to the article, a
ny recall effort must begin no sooner than 6 months from now and must be started in Costa Mesa. You can bet, however, that Baugh and his bullies will be solidly behind any such effort, attempting to insert themselves even further into Costa Mesa politics. They are so angry at Leece that they will likely pull out all the stops to punish her for doing her job, not the bidding of the OC GOP.

PEELING OFF SCABS...
On this blog and elsewhere following the election there have been calls for moderation of rhetoric - to try to get along after the most rancorous campaign in my memory. This initiative by Moorlach and his pals in the OC GOP leadership will do NOTHING to heal the wounds torn open during the campaign. Quite the contrary, it likely will make any overtures for conciliation fall by the wayside as the new council is seated and the agendas of those sitting on the dais become clear.

TO BAUGH: DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE BUTT!
To Scott Baugh and his band of thugs I offer this suggestion: Drag your arrogant,
interfering fanny out of Costa Mesa and let the residents go about sorting out our problems. We don't need or want you and your pals threatening our elected leaders and trying to influence their votes on municipal issues. We don't want you to attempt to make this city Ground Zero for state-wide pension reform. We don't want you or your "mini-me", Jim Righeimer, to destroy this wonderful city by making it the tip of the spear in your own, personal little battles. Find another city to dismantle!

***
SCHAFER TRAILS SHEAFER

The vote count continues and most of the races remain pretty much as they were percentage-wise. In the race for the final of three seats on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District President Arlene Schafer still trails former Director Mike Scheafer by 213 votes as of 5 p.m. tonight.


FISLER GAINS ON WORTHINGTON AGAIN

Over at the Mesa Consolidated Water District race incumbent Jim Fisler picked up another vote on Dan Worthington and now trails by only 22 votes. The counting should be done by tomorrow evening.



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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Let The Healing Begin...

DRUGS ARE GOOD!
Ah, drugs! Although I voted NO on Prop. 19, I do value the occasional influence of drugs in my life. Like today, for example. After dealing with a cold that teased me a week ago by almost disappearing, it returned with a vengeance last Friday and knocked me to my knees a punch-drunk prize fighter for several days. Finally, my doctor prescribed some medication for me and the first couple pills have begun to take their effect.

LET'S SEE WHAT THE GOP DOES WITH THIS OPPORTUNITY
Yesterday, as if the election wasn't enough to make me ill, I spent the entire day trying to avoid coughing up a lung while eagerly watching election results. Nationally, I'm generally happy with how things went. Let's see if my party can do something constructive with this opportunity.

A LITTLE
BIT OF EACH
Locally, it's another matter. Costa Mesa will be saddled with carpetbagger Jim Righeimer for four years. On the positive side, we also have a re-born Wendy Leece on the dais for her final term as a council member. I doubt very much that the flogging she received from Righeimer's buddies, Scott Baugh and the other thugs that form the power elite of the Orange County Republican Party, will soon fade from her memory. I suspect the recent shift in her positions on important issues will take on a more pronounced look of independence now. No longer will she have to be looking over her shoulder, wondering what the good old boys in the OC GOP will think about her decisions on the dais. Our city will be better for that independence.

WHAT IS RIGHEIMER'S PLAN?
I wonder just exactly what is Jim Righeimer's "plan" for pension reform in our city. Will he force a crisis so he can demand that the bargaining units must return to the table? Many wise souls are now calling for reconciliation between Righeimer and the public safety unions. Of course, that would be best for the city, but I suspect our friends on the CMPD are still waiting for that other shoe to drop.

MEASURE "L" WILL HELP
I was pleased to see that Measure "L" passed, even though Righeimer and his minions actively campaigned against it. It's that kind of short-sighted, rigid dogma that got us into this fiscal mess in the first place. If the economy stays at it's current level of vitality we could see an additional $750,000 in revenue during the second half of the fiscal year due to that change. That won't "fix" our budget dilemma, but it will help.


FISLER CL
OSING ON WORTHINGTON
The most recent election numbers were posted at 5 p.m. today. The next update is schedu
led for the same hour tomorrow. I'm not going to post all of them again for you. If you're interested you can view them yourselves HERE. I did notice, though, that a couple of the races are tightening up. Jim Fisler, in the race to retain his appointed seat on the Mesa Consolidated Water District Board, is now within 23 votes of long-time activist and Minuteman experimenter, Dan Worthington. One thinks a recount may be in order for that race.

SCHEAFER HOLDS SLI
M MARGIN OVER SCHAFER
And, in the race for a seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board my friend, Mike Scheafer, holds a 231 vote lead over long-time board member, current President of the Board and former mayor, Arlene Schafer. Pretty tight.



COSTA MESA COUNCIL RACE NUMBERS ABOUT THE SAME

The Costa Mesa City Council race remained about the same, with Righeimer still holding about a 1,000 vote lead over Wendy Leece and Chris McEvoy about 700 or so votes behind her.


MC EVOY NOT HAPPY, BUT WILL REMAIN ENGAGED

I spoke
with Chris McEvoy tonight. He's disappointed with the outcome, but doesn't see himself as a career politician. He's happy with the campaign he ran. He was not unhappy that Sandra Genis' PAC, Costa Mesa First, decided to give him some support, but he didn't ask for it and he feels beholden to no one. He told me he plans to continue to attend important meetings and to speak out when he has questions or criticisms of issues in the city. That's good news for the rest of you who don't bother to step up and speak up.

WHAT NOW, KATRINA?
The next big question requiring an answer pretty soon is the future of Katrina Foley. Now that she has handily won a seat on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board, will she abandon her city council seat? Is there a legal requirement for her to do so? If not, and she decides to do both jobs
, will she find enough energy left to actually do justice to both positions, plus those other things in her life - her business and her family. Life is seldom simple.

THANKS TO THE VOTERS

Before
I close tonight and try to get some sleep to fight off what's left of this cold, I want to thank all of you who voted yesterday for your participation in the process. Way, way too few people eligible to vote do so - yesterday was a case in point. In a city of over 100,000 residents, around 10,000 people gave us Jim Righeimer on the city council.

THANKS FOR THE COMMENTERS HERE

I also want to thank all of you who engaged in the discussion held here over the past few
weeks. To say they were spirited doesn't even come close do describing the debates. I'm happy to provide a forum for discussion of important issues and am willing to permit opposing viewpoints - even though I don't like some of them.

TIME TO MOVE FORWARD? PROBABLY...

My friend, Bruce Krochman, suggests that we now move forward and find common ground to resolve the very difficult, important issues facing our city. I agree with him. It will take a lot of listening by both sides and I hope we all are up to it.

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Preliminary Election Results

AT LAST!
Well, it's finally over! All that remains now is for the provisional ballots to be counted and we won't have any idea how that's going until 5 p.m. tonight. In past elections it has taken several days for those to be counted.


THE MOST RECENT RESULT
S
As of the most recent count, with all precincts counted, the following are the results shown for local elections o
f interest. I'm going back to bed to try to get rid of this cold, but will offer my views soon. The next official update by the Neal Kelley, the Orange County Registrar of Voters, will be at 5 p.m. today.

68th ASSEMBLY DISTRICTApparently, between the two candidates, Allan Mansoor and Phu Nguyen, nearly $700,000 was spent on this campaign, with Mansoor having spent $371,000! I hope the broom closet he will have as an office in Sacramento will have been worth it.
COSTA MESA CITY COUNCILIn the nastiest campaign I can remember, carpetbagger and Orange County Republican Party darling Jim Righeimer has won a seat on the city council and, despite the best (worst?) efforts of the OC GOP at the last minute to defeat her, Wendy Leece has been re-elected. That's going to make for a very interesting dynamic on the dais. Young Chris McEvoy fought a good fight, stayed focused when Righeimer's minions tried to destroy him. I don't know what his plans are, but I hope he remains engaged in municipal activities.
MEAS
URE "L"The 2% increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax narrowly passed, but it did pass. Although it won't solve our budget dilemma, it will help. We'll see how those numbers shake out by next June. Thanks to those of you who voted in favor if this measure.

COSTA MESA SANITARY DISTRICTThis was a
n interesting race. Incumbent Bob Ooten was re-elected, newcomer Jim Fitzpatrick and former District Board member Mike Scheafer were also elected. Long time Board member and former Costa Mesa mayor Arlene Schafer went down to defeat.
MESA CONSOLIDATED WATER DISTRICTBoard
President Shawn Dewane was returned to office and, in the closest local race, it looks like long-time activist Dan Worthington narrowly defeated appointed Board member Jim Fisler.
NEWPORT-MESA UNIFIED SCHO
OL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Incumbent Judy Franco, with three decades of service, was returned, defeating challenger Loretta Zimmerman.
Costa Mesa City Councilwoman Katrina Foley handily defeated incumbent Michael Collier. Now the BIG question - will she abandon her city council seat or not? Personally, I think we need her on the council now more than at any time in the past. We'll see..
COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Incumbent Jim Moreno defeated Shana Jenkins and former OCC President David Grant held off the "hanging judge", Lynne Riddle.
NEWPORT BEACH CITY COUNCIL
Incumbent Leslie Daigle easily defeated ch
allenger Mark Tabbert and Rush Hill defeated Ed Reno. They join the unopposed incumbents Nancy Gardner and Mike Henn in victory.
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESEN
TATIVES
It was no surprise that both Dana Rohra
bacher in the 46th District, and John Campbell in the 48th won handily. In the 47th District, where incumbent Loretta Sanchez had a tough battle with Van Tran, it looked like it was going to be a close race. Tran was running neck in neck with her in the early counting, but Sanchez pulled steadily away and won with a solid margin.
NOW WHAT?
The most interesting result, of course, was Righeimer's election to the Costa Mesa City Council. Because of his strong, confrontational position on employee salaries and benefits fireworks are guaranteed in the months ahead as he tries to "fix" the problem and, as former mayor Sandra Genis warned, "use Costa Mesa as a petri dish for state-wide pension reform." Costa Mesan Bruce Krochman posted a comment on this blog late last night that says as follows: "So it looks like we will have Jim and Wendy seated on the council. It is time for me to stop politicking and start working with our elected leaders. To that end, Jim and I have agreed that communication is key. I will continue to express my opinions while supporting the leaders that my community has elected." That sounds like a good start for all of us.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

A Few Words From Officer Rob Dimel

SOME PERSPECTIVE FROM ROB DIMEL
In recent weeks Costa Mesa Police Officer Rob Dimel (shown here on the left discussing issues with activist Phil Morello at a recent council meeting) has posted some interesting comments on some of these threads. He's tried his best to provide some first-person perspective in the "Righeimer vs. The Cops" drama that's been unfolding since August. He's provided us some snippets of information in response to criticisms of the police position on the whole "pension reform" issue. Those little bits of perspective have been welcomed by me and, I think, more than a few of the readers here.

HIS WORDS, MY FORMAT
Tonight, on the eve of what might be the most important municipal election in our city in two decades, Rob Dimel has provided us with more than a few words to add to our understanding of this issue. I've taken those words he provided, massaged them, not for content, but to fit my format. The paragraph titles are mine, the rest is his.

A REAL COP
Rob Dimel is a career law enforcement officer. Except for the 6 years of active Army service, he has lived in Costa Mesa two dozen years. He's been a police officer for 18 years, beginning with time at the Orange County Sheriff's Department jail - just like our lame duck mayor. As a member of the Costa Mesa Police Department he has been a Patrol Officer, Gang Investigator, SWAT Officer, Detective, Field Training Officer and, currently, is one of the pilots who flies the Eagle helicopter, keeping our city safe from on high - you know, a REAL cop.

Without further fanfare, the thoughts of Officer Rob Dimel:

***

"US" VS. "THEM"

In this contentious political season, angst regarding public employee compensation has become the beckon call. The economy and some political candidates have created “us” and “them” camps. While not recession proof, public services, and public safety tend to be more recession resistant. Police and fire services are something that will just never go away, regardless of what the economy is doing. People who were working in industries that were booming just a couple of years ago, are now looking at the relative stability of public safety employees and saying “I don’t have that”. When people working in the mortgage and real estate industry were flying high at the height of the housing bubble, no one cared what a cop or firefighter was getting paid, or how their retirement worked. Now, those same people who were doing so well just a couple of years ago are coming after public employees with torches and pitchforks. The City of Bell scandal only muddied the waters. It’s become the poster child of those calling for public employee pension reform.


GROUND ZERO FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

Much as Costa Mesa became ground zero for the immigration reform battle cry, there are forces at work, who would like to have made Costa Mesa the lab rat for pension reform. In reality, both amounted to little more than political pandering for politicians trying to play on the public fervor over the issue of the moment. Is it any coincidence that the politicians behind both issues here in Costa Mesa are political cronies? Mayor Mansoor’s “Rule of Law City” never amounted to much, although he will claim it as a victory. No officer was ever trained to screen arrestees for immigration violations. An immigration officer was placed in the city jail for a period of time, but that has since ended. In fact, immigration officers have routinely screened arrestees at the Costa Mesa jail for about 20 years. Long before Mayor Mansoor pulled his stunt. It was a lot of rhetoric, public outcry on both sides of the issue, and what was the overall outcome? It was like a dog on linoleum; a lot of frantic movement with no progress.


RIGHEIMER'S "PENSION REFORM"

Enter Jim Righeimer. Mr. Righeimer decided to make public pension reform his platform for his latest attempt at city council. He has polarized the citizens and the employees that serve them. He has tried to use the public’s discomfort with public employee pensions to somehow shame our employees. Never mind that he has completely misrepresented the numbers, the issue and his ability to do anything about it, even if he were to be elected.


REFORM IS NECESSARY - MUST START AT STATE LEVEL

Let’s just agree that some level of reform is going to be required. However, that reform must take place at the state level. Costa Mesa does not manage the retirement plan, the state does. The city and its employees are merely contributors and end users of the product. The employees that are currently enrolled in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) are essentially locked into the retirement formula they entered into upon employment. It would not be legally possible to change their retirement formula regardless of what Mr. Righeimer says.


A TWO-TIERED PLAN?

A two-tiered plan could be adopted. New employees could come on under a different formula, while existing employees are “grandfathered” into their existing plans. Again, there are some legal considerations there. It’s not just a stroke of the pen to change the formula as Mr. Righeimer would have the voter believe. The city is under contract with PERS for the existing plan. In any case a two-tiered system would have no effect on the city’s current budget issue. The city is leaving positions unfilled, so there are no new employees coming in.


RIGHEIMER MISREPRESENTED THE PENSION NUMBERS

In his community commentary in the Daily Pilot, Mr. Righeimer stated that a public safety employee could retire as early as 50 with 98% of their salary. That’s patently false. Again, he twists the numbers to fuel the animosity against the employees. No one can earn more than 90% of their salary upon retiring. The “trigger mechanism” for that full 90% benefit is not age 50. It’s 30 years of service. The “3 at 50” plan is 3% of salary per year of service. Age 50 is the minimum age to collect. Since one cannot become a police officer until age 21, the earliest an officer could retire with full service retirement is age 51. In reality, officers are not often getting hired at 21. Most are coming on the job in their mid to late 20’s now. Thus, they cannot get the full service retirement benefit until their mid to late 50’s. Take our mayor as an example. He was under the 3@50 program at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He “retired” with probably 17 years of service. He is 46 years old, so he can’t collect on his retirement for four more years. When he does turn 50, he will only get 51% of his salary, since he didn’t do 30 years of service.


RIGHEIMER MISREPRESENTED THE SALARY NUMBERS

Mr. Righeimer presented some salary figures and makes the claim that officers are earning 200k per year. That’s just not true. There are some in management who have a total compensation figure at 200k per year. However, that’s not salary. It takes into account unused vacation and sick leave time and gives it a dollar value. Those figures do not calculate into the retirement, as he would have everyone believe.


WHAT'S HIS PLAN?

What I have heard, is Mr. Righeimer rail against the public pensions and cry for reform. What I have not heard, is any actual ideas from him as to how we would accomplish that. How does he plan to bring this reform to fruition? I would love to hear an actual plan. “Reform” is just a word. It’s not a plan, it’s not a strategy. Mr. Righeimer has thrown the word out every chance he can. His entire platform is just another dog on linoleum.


***


THE FUTURE OF COSTA MESA LAW ENFORCEMENT?

Thanks to Rob Dimel for his views on this important issue. If Jim Righeimer has his way we would have to start from scratch with our public employees, casting aside all the years of compensation planning and contract negotiations. We would most likely not be able to attract employees like Rob Dimel and the other current cops who proudly serve and protect us despite the slings and arrows from political hacks and their hangers-on. For some perspective, I give you a short video clip that shows what our law enforcement staff might look like if Righeimer has his way. Please be sure to VOTE tomorrow.


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Sunday, October 31, 2010

If You Really Want To Know...

NOT THAT IT MATTERS TO YOU, BUT...
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 - th
e 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 summ
er 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.

MEASURE "L"
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 Repub
lican, 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 vot
ed 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 COLLE
GE 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 i
ncumbent 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 i
n 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.


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