Who Is Running Next Year (Part 1)
Flipping my calendar over yesterday jogged my recollection that in 53 short weeks we will be voting to elect a majority on the Costa Mesa City Council. Oh, yeah, we'll be electing a President, too, but that's a subject for another time.
3 SEATS AVAILABLE
Next year there will be three seats up for grabs in Costa Mesa - those presently occupied by Eric Bever, Gary Monahan and Steve Mensinger. Jim Righeimer and Wendy Leece have two more years on their current terms.
WHO WILL RUN?
Over the next few months there will be much speculation about who might run for those seats and what it might cost to secure one, both in terms of personal and donated treasure and loss of personal privacy and reputations.
"ANYONE" IS NOT NECESSARILY BETTER
Bever, our termed-out, part-time, part-time councilman, holds the only seat guaranteed to not have the same fanny in the chair on the dais following the election. Since he seems to have been distracted most of the past year and has been absent from several important meetings and has said from the dais, "This is not what I signed up for!", it is assumed that almost anyone replacing him would be an improvement. Not necessarily so, grasshopper. It is possible to replace him with a more rabid member of the current power elite (using that phrase seems somehow very wrong) in our city.
MONAHAN HAS A LOT TO LOSE...
Monahan, in my view, has sold out to that very same group and, based on his despicable actions on St. Patrick's Day, and his apparent abdication of the real power on the dais to Righeimer, has worn out his welcome on the council. Running and winning again would fill out his pension game card, so this will be an important race for him. Heck, he's already begun raising campaign funds by holding an event at his gin mill - a double-header of sorts.... get folks slightly sloshed and they fork over campaign contributions. Heck, some of them might just think they were paying their bar tabs. Confusion about campaign contributions is not new in Monahan's life, as the Surat Singh episode revealed a couple campaigns ago.
WILL NON-ELECTED MENSINGER RUN?
Mensinger planted his posterior in Katrina Foley's abandoned chair after receiving a whopping three (3) votes - exactly 12,994 fewer than his pal, Righeimer, did in the last election. As an aside, Righeimer received three fewer votes the last time than he did two years earlier when he ran and finished fourth. I guess a couple people had already figured him out by then.
MAYBE "SPORTS CZAR" INSTEAD...
Back to Mensinger. I don't know if he's going to run for election - not "re-election" - next year. He seems not particularly temperamentally disposed to going to all that trouble and spending all that money - someone else's money, but money, nonetheless. I doubt he would put up with all the grief that young Chris McEvoy endured late in the last election, when the full force of the OC GOP landed on him. And, since he's demonstrated that he's not intellectually and emotionally suited for any job that includes the word "service" - as in "public service" - I could see him NOT running. That's OK with me. I'm tired of seeing him snidely berating speakers, chiding Wendy Leece from the dais and texting to his pals during meetings. He could return to being the Grand Poona of all youth sports in the city - maybe the council could create a "czar" position for him - where he can call the shots without criticism and have his supporters line up to kiss the hem of his robe. He likes that kind of attention.
SMARMY MC CARTHY?
Who, then, might run for those three seats? Well, it's almost a foregone conclusion that Planning Commission Chair Colin McCarthy - another of the power elite jockeying to take over the town - will run. Just watch the commission meetings to see him in action. Heck, as President of the Costa Mesa Taxpayer's Association, he may have already hit you up for a few bucks for that organization via the US Mail lately. Get used to it - that won't be the last time he comes knocking on your door, looking for bucks.
Who else? Here's one that you probably have not considered... termed-out County Supervisor John Moorlach. Yeah, a City Council seat means taking a pay cut, but Moorlach lives in Costa Mesa and has been part of "that group" mentioned above a couple times. And, he's fancied himself as another pension warrior - although his most recent battle ended up in a very expensive loss for the taxpayers of this county - so I could see him locked, arm-in-arm with Righeimer in Jim's ongoing attempt to destroy the public employee associations in our city.
Who else? Well, I'll stifle a chuckle as I write this one - Planning Commissioner, Sanitary District Board Member, moustache-grower and job seeker Jim Fitzpatrick. Yep, old JimmyFitzy seems poised to make the jump by gluing himself to the hip of Mensinger - you'll recall my Don Quixote/Sancho Panza reference from a few months ago.
Will Parks and Recreation Chairman Jeff Mathews toss his hat in the ring this time around? He's part of the OC GOP hierarchy - a member of the Central Committee - and seems eager enough. He certainly has been financially supportive of Righeimer and Allan Mansoor in the past, throwing lots of personal dollars at their campaigns.
And, what about young Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ethan Temianka? Is Righeimer's favorite little friend ready to step up, or will he be satisfied with a seat on the Planning Commission? He presented himself before the City Council Tuesday night to praise them for their "good" work. It was fanny-smooching at it's best - straight out of the JimmyFitzy play book.
MANSOOR AGAIN? ARRRGGGHHH!
And what about Allan Mansoor? "Are you nuts?" you ask. Well, maybe, but consider this. Mansoor has demonstrated NO skill in Sacramento. (No surprise to me) As a member of the minority party - and it ain't gonna get any better next time around - he has shown NO leadership. And, with the new Assembly District boundaries, he's going to face some VERY serious competition from other, much more well-heeled Republicans now that Newport Beach is part of his district. So, why not "come home", make another run for a council seat and, after four more years, retire on his nice, lucrative pension?
WHAT ABOUT THE "OTHER SIDE"?
You'll note that I've not mentioned any other folks who might run opposing the power elite. That's the subject for another entry. Quite honestly, we have MANY wonderful, concerned folks who would make GREAT council members - working for all the residents of the city, not just placating masters further up the GOP food chain. However, I'm not sure any of them will be willing to do battle with the folks in power, who have already demonstrated that character assassination and deeply personal attacks are part of their game plan. That being said, I'll address my "wish list" for the other side of the equation in the near future.