Friday, July 13, 2012

A Few Minutes With John Stephens

After several false starts, last week I was finally able to spend some time with recently-announced Costa Mesa City Council candidate John Stephens at his offices in Newport Beach.  We met after hours so the normal hub-bub of a busy law office wouldn't distract either of us from our conversation.  His office looks out across John Wayne Airport toward Costa Mesa.

As most now know, Stephens is one of 9 announced candidates for one of the three seats on the Costa Mesa City Council being contested in November.  It is widely assumed that this will be a nasty race - a "us versus them" battle, with the OC GOP-supported slate of incumbents Steve Mensinger, Gary Monahan and Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy being challenged by six others so far.

I know quite a bit about most of the other candidates, having seen them in action before the council or through private conversations with them.  All I knew about John Stephens was that he joined former councilwoman Katrina Foley in a legal challenge to keep Jim Righeimer's Charter off the June ballot when a clerical error caused the filing deadline to be missed.  They were successful in that challenge, which they mounted on their own, without compensation from anyone.  I also knew a little about him from things he's written for local publication recently and from the times he's stepped to the speaker's podium to deliver an opinion to the council.

You can read Stephens' assessment of himself at his web site, HERE.  That will give you the nuts and bolts of his very significant background in Costa Mesa for the past two decades.  You'll find references to his professional accomplishments, his education and his family.  You'll also find information about his activities with youth sports which, in some circles, seems to be all one needs these days to become a candidate for city council.
One of the concerns I always have about folks who think they want to run for city council is whether they've really thought this through.  I always wonder if they will be able to carve out enough time to do justice to the job.  Yes, it's a part-time job, but anyone watching council members in action realizes that very few only spend 20 or so hours each week fulfilling the responsibilities of the assignment.  Stephens has that issue resolved - if elected he will give up some of his other community activities to make time for his council responsibilities.

It is unlikely that Stephens would be running for office if he was happy with the direction the city was headed.  He shares that concern with many other folks in the city - and most of the other candidates for council.  I'm not going to put words in his mouth on this issue.  As the campaign season moves forward and we progress to candidate forums we all will be able to hear his reasons and goals in person.

Stephens has become affiliated with the grass-roots organization, Costa Mesans For Responsible Government, HERE.  Some of the opposition will attempt to use that as a negative element during the campaign.  This campaign is going to evolve as the "us" - the OC GOP-sponsored group - versus "them" - everybody that's not "us".  Well, CM4RG is a group of diverse individuals from all political stripes who share a common bond of concern for what is clearly a take-over of our city by extremists from the far right - my Republican Party.  I didn't ask Stephens his party affiliation because it's irrelevant - these seats are supposed to be non-partisan.
Will I vote for John Stephens in November?  Maybe.  I like what I heard from him and will pay close attention to how he handles himself during the campaign.  I'm REALLY looking forward to the candidate forums because they will test each candidates knowledge of critical city issues and flush-out their solutions to some of the very significant problems we face.

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Anonymous Isnt it obvious said...

It looks like he is a Dem - just like his pal Foley. No surprise.

Always out to support the union and associations that want to control our city.

7/14/2012 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Stephens will be an excellent council member. The talking point the extremists are using against him is that he and Foley "sued the city." This new lie won't fly.

Righeimer and his 3 stooges continue to underestimate the knowledge and intelligence of our citizens.

7/14/2012 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

To "Isn't it Obvious": There are many people opposed to the current council that are not Dems. As stated, it doesn't matter. You are mouthing the old, tired over used and not proven line, that everyone that isn't OCGOP is a union supporter. You couldn't be more wrong. All residents are sick and tired of the mistreatment of the OCGOP extremists.

Stephens appears to something the current city council members lack: intelligence!

7/14/2012 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Loser Patrol said...

Absolutely right “just wondering”! My guess? The person who is responsible for the majority of the repetition on this blog is none other than the unemployed Jim Fitzpatrick (using many different names, of course). Clearly, he has the time, not to mention the proven track record of repeating the same crap over and over again whether in person or in print, i.e. trash contract, personal attack, vendettas, etc. What a tool! He thinks he is great and can easily win, so how come OCGOP isn’t backing him for a City Council seat?

7/14/2012 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Gone Fishin said...

Fitzy has been fishing. He is out of range for communications.

But nice try you moron.

Fitzy you mock. Bit Fitzy is making this City a better place.

Go make dun of the CM4lol, it OS a lot easier, more relevant, and fun.

7/14/2012 02:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Isnt it obvious said...

To "JustWondering"

Geoff couldn't bring himself to ask or even guess his (Stephens) party affiliation...

Geoff says -- "I didn't ask Stephens his party affiliation because it's irrelevant - these seats are supposed to be non-partisan." Ha-Ha - Very funny.

I guess it is only an important piece of information if the CC members are aligned with the GOP? Then it seems to be a important piece of info as evidenced all over this blog.

You may have noticed how the heavly Dem loaded Sacramento legislature, in lockstep with the public and private unions, has created our current dire financial situation in our state. Maybe political affiliation really does matter. (Sometimes - not always, eg., Wendy Leece and Geoff West).

At least our City Council is trying to address the problem in our city.

7/14/2012 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Loser patrol said...

Excuse me? I wasn't speaking about this post, you moron. Read again. I said this blog! Doesn't surprise me, you're probably a tool as well.

7/14/2012 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Isn't he "Oblivious?....Council races aren't supposed to have party affiliations, but now that you mention it.
Many other cities are moving away from a GOP controlled stance for local races because it is "poisoning the well". Regard the "Movement to the Middle" happening down in San Diego. Seems the herd of elephants have said "enough is enough" and are going rogue.

7/15/2012 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike M said...

It looks like he is a Dem? You can tell just by looking? Why, he doesn't have enough chins to be a Rep? You guys are nuts.

7/15/2012 08:33:00 AM  

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