Mensinger/Flores Drama Continues...
The drama swirling around the alleged incident between non-elected City Councilman Steve Mensinger and Estancia High School English teacher Joel Flores continues to accelerate like a Disneyland Tea Cup out of control.
CANALIS & MICKADEIT HAD THE STORY
This story apparently broke around 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 24th when Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis published a story about the incident in the O.C. Now blog, HERE. That was followed by another story around 8:30 p.m. by Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit, who is tight with Mensinger and other members of the power elite, published a column about the incident, HERE. Since it has since been updated the original publishing time stamp has been replaced, but the first comment in the long thread was published at 8:52 p.m. on the 24th.
CHEST-BUMPING & THREATS?
According to those reports, Mensinger "chest-bumped" Flores at Estancia High School on Saturday, April 23rd, where both were volunteering for a community run event. Opinions diverge as to the actual circumstances and what precisely was said between the two men, but Flores did file a police report on the encounter on Saturday.
OCEA FANNING THE FLAMES?
Apparently PR representatives from the Orange County Employee's Association heard of the encounter and began calling media representatives, who, in turn, began calling Interim Director of Communications Bill Lobdell about it on Saturday. According to Lobdell, he and Hatch received a copy of the police report shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. He forwarded the report to Mensinger at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday and the media reports mentioned above were published Sunday evening.
In published reports Mensinger is quoted as saying, "This is the kind of thing that occurs when outside interests attempt to take control of local government. They will do anything to disparage our city leaders, even if it means fabricating incidents. No matter what they do, I remain committed to balancing our budget." Some of us who have been following events in this city closely found that statement truly ironic, since Mensinger and his pal, Jim Righeimer, have been following the lead of the Orange County Republican Party and its President, Huntington Beach resident Scott Baugh.
MENSINGER COMPLAINT DISMISSED
On Monday, according to a report by Lauren Williams in the Daily Pilot, HERE, Mensinger filed a conduct complaint with the Newport Mesa Unified School District, apparently indicating that Flores confronted him Saturday, boxed him in making verbal threats and making him feel uncomfortable. According to subsequent reports, the School District has dismissed this complaint, citing that it had no jurisdiction because it occurred while Flores was not acting in his capacity as a teacher.
MENSINGER "UNCOMFORTABLE" - REALLY?
Permit me a little editorial comment here. If you've actually seen Steve Mensinger and Joel Flores you'd realize how disingenuous and hollow Mensinger's complaint really is. Shown here with Righeimer and ABLE Commander Tim Starn on St. Patrick's Day, 2011, he towers over Flores and probably outweighs him 50 pounds. I'm trying to imagine just how "uncomfortable" Mensinger felt on Saturday.
FLORES "INTIMIDATED AND PETRIFIED"
This morning blogger Kathy Findley, a Westside Costa Mesa resident, posted an entry on the LiberalOC blog describing her conversation with Flores at a meeting last night. You can read it HERE. In a nutshell, she describes a very nervous young man, concerned about this situation and his personal safety. Findley also relates a story Flores told her about an incident involving students at school this week. Scary stuff, for sure. An observer privy to Findley's conversation with Flores described him as intimidated and petrified.
CM PRESS INCITING CONFRONTATION
Findley describes what appears to be a campaign by The Mouth From Mesa North, our community racist laureate and supporter of the Mensinger/Righeimer cabal at the CM Press, to incite a confrontation with Flores at the Open House at Estancia High School this evening. He's written about it twice in recent days, suggesting that concerned citizens attend the open house and confront Flores to "try to find out whether Flores' is spreading his lefty political/social view in the classroom." It's easy to understand why Flores is concerned about his safety.
BULLYING BEHAVIOR MUST STOP!
I don't know how this issue is going to eventually shake out and what the police investigation will turn up, if anything. One thing becomes more clear each day, though. Steve Mensinger does not like to be challenged on any issue and will use and abuse his authority against those who express an opposing viewpoint, including chiding fellow council members and members of the public from the dais. This heavy-handed behavior, which he apparently is used to being tolerated in private industry to some extent, is completely unacceptable when demonstrated by a member of a government body that has control over so many elements of individuals lives. This is bullying carried to the extreme and must not be condoned. If he is permitted to continue this abusive behavior he's going to cost the City of Costa Mesa, and its residents, a lot of money in legal fees and in judgments paid and will discourage families and businesses from considering Costa Mesa as a place in which to settle.