A Look Back In Time....
Four years ago, February 22, 2006, I wrote the following long-winded essay. At that time I was using a different blog host and it didn't accommodate "comments". And, at that time, only a handful of folks were reading the blog.
A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR OF LIFE
With the events of yesterday still making me wince I thought it would be an interesting exercise to take a look in the rear view mirror and re-visit those days of yore. So, today I present it to you unedited for the passage of time, without any cute images to entertain you, to let you contemplate how little things have changed in our city in four years. For your reading pleasure... "What Is Costa Mesa?"
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
What Is Costa Mesa?
What kind of a community is Costa Mesa? This simple question is a real enigma for me.
There was a time not to very long ago when our city seemed like a pretty nice, peaceful, comfortable place in which to live and raise our families. That was before we elected leaders who pander to the vocal, disgruntled few among us to the detriment of the broader community. Today Costa Mesa is a city in turmoil.
We have nearly thirty public parks, yet seem to be determined to limit their use by people who don't meet our demographic preferences. No longer can kids just go to the park and play a pick-up game of touch football or soccer or bat a baseball around without fear of being cited by a Park Ranger.
We have elected leaders who seem determined to expel hardworking, peaceful residents - the Latino folks - from our city while welcoming an over abundance of half-way houses and recovery facilities.
We try to force charities from our borders by reducing funding for their efforts, yet we are home to nearly 100 registered sex offenders.
We tout ourselves as the "City of the Arts" and proudly wear the assumed mantle of sophistication that title implies and yet, in some parts of our city, we have six times the number of bars and liquor stores than our zoning should permit.
We say we take pride in the diversity of this city, yet our leaders have encouraged the participation of racists among us on influential city committees.
Our mayor says he only wants to remove criminals from our streets with his plan to have our local police become trained to enforce federal immigration screening, but his plan has polarized this community. He says there will be no sweeps, yet revels in the embrace of the leaders of the radical Minuteman Project and was recently made an honorary member. He, in just a couple short months, has managed to undo the trust and faith in government among the Latino community that has taken decades to build.
Our streets are crumbling beneath our tires and major intersections suffer from gridlock, yet we continue to approve projects which triple or quadruple the density in our neighborhoods.
We have people in the community who decry the many industrial businesses on the Westside and their supposed negative health affects on local residents, yet our leaders approve the construction of condominiums across the street from a foundry.
Our leaders ignore the recommendations of the committee appointed to hammer out a workable, acceptable solution to the perceived decay on the Westside and, instead, implement a plan that will certainly result in all industrial uses being squeezed out, taking with them the jobs and tax base on which this city was built.
The beginning of that process can be seen as approvals are currently being sought for a residential development which will be virtually surrounded by industrial businesses. This is the crack in the dike.
Our leaders squabble over nickel and dime issues on the budget, yet seem more than willing to burden our residents with over a billion dollars to place utility wires underground.
We share a big hunk of our infrastructure and a school district with Newport Beach, yet our leaders seemed determined to spit in their eye any chance they get.
Nearly two decades ago our leaders used the sledgehammer of eminent domain to redevelop what became Triangle Square and now the current group seems more than willing to watch that white elephant wither and decline - a monument to failed vision at the gateway to our downtown.
In my opinion, all this and more is a result of failed leadership. We elected people to our City Council who are just too small for the job. We elected people as our "leaders" who bring no leadership experience to their positions. We elected leaders who don't understand the concept of leadership. Some of our elected officials seem overwhelmed with arrogance - they seem to feel they know it all and shouldn't have to take the time to consult with their constituents on major issues. We elected "leaders" who jeer and taunt concerned speakers from the dais and trade epithets with demonstrators outside their business.
In my opinion, these are signs of small people in big jobs. We, the voters in this city, are responsible for this mess - we elected the City Council. It's up to us to fix this problem in November, when we have the chance to return this city to the hands of mature, seasoned leaders - those who will work hard to do what is right for the community as a whole, not just the vocal, angry few.
3:57 pm pst
Labels: Costa Mesa