Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Righeimer Snowball Grows(Amended)*

Today at 11:00 a.m. Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer continued his march to emasculate the public employee unions when he held yet another press conference at City Hall.  The event drew members from most of the Los Angeles-based electronic media outlets - Channels 2/9, 4, 5 and 11 were all represented with film and stand-up staff.  Radio stations of note were also in attendance, as was the local print media, The Daily Pilot and the Orange County Register. 
Righeimer brought with him a cadre of local politicians to augment his complaints against the "police unions", the guy who called 911, Chris Lanzillo,  and the law firm of Lackie, Dannmeier and McGill.  Those present were Buena Park Mayor Jim Dow, Buena Park councilman Fred Smith, Fullerton councilman Bruce Whitaker and Irvine councilman Jeffrey Lalloway.  His sidekick - and candidate for city council in November - Steve Mensinger was also in attendance - no surprise there.  Righeimer also apparently convinced his buddy, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, to attend and voice his views of the issue.  Righeimer said many other officials from throughout Southern California hoped to be there - he mentioned supervisors John Moorlach and Shawn Nelson specifically - but their schedules didn't permit it.

A sidebar... shortly before the press conference the Daily Pilot posted an article about an interview they had with Lanzillo.  You can read it HERE.  During the press conference Channel 2/9 reporter Michele Gile read most of it verbatim and asked Righeimer to comment on it.

Righeimer mentioned that a current Costa Mesa police officer, Damian Stafford, was also an employee of the law firm associated with Lanzillo and, until late last week, represented the Costa Mesa Police Officers AssociationLackie, Dammeier and McGill.  He handed out a biographical summary apparently extracted from the law firm's web site outlining Stafford's background and his association with the firm.  That document implied that he participated in negotiations that resulted in Costa Mesa Police Department being one of the highest paid police departments in Southern California.

The press conference, which lasted most of an hour, included stories from Dow and Smith that raise the hackles on the back of your neck.  Smith spoke of the harassment he's been receiving from members of HIS police department and later showed media members text messages with threats to him.


Dow, who is termed out this year after a dozen years of service on the Buena Park City Council, told the assembled throng that he was in fear for the safety of his family based on threats from his police department that he moved them all out of state.  He went on to tell us that he had his home of 32 years on the market and will join his family at a location 1,500 miles away where they can live safely.
Whitaker, whose city has had it's own police problems recently, was there to support Righeimer and to address their problems with the law firm.

Lalloway, who lives in the paradise called Irvine, is a Republican party faithful and was there to talk about Righeimer's difficulties.

Mensinger took this all-too-convenient opportunity to hype his "COIN" policy that was discussed at the last council meeting, explaining how it would resolve all the problems in the city.  He sounded VERY much like a guy on the campaign trail practicing his stump speech.  I guess we'll find out tomorrow night at the first candidate forum.

Rhorabacher, who apparently blew off the Republican National Convention to attend this important event, was a welcome participant as far as I was concerned.  Otherwise, I might have been the sloppiest dresser at the event.  Rhonda needs to take him shopping for a suit or at least a sport coat... soon.  He did make his presence felt, though, when he threatened to unleash the full power of the federal government to investigate the things discussed at the press conference.  He cited unfair labor practices
and the intimidation of elected officials as a primary concern.
This press conference will be all over the media this evening.  On the way home I heard Righeimer live with Bill Carroll on KFI radio not 30 minutes after the press conference closed. 

 *NOTE:  Righeimer was on the John and Ken Show on KFI again in the 4:00 p.m. hour.  You can hear him - and their rants - again, HERE.  Righeimer had sent them the pay schedule for all Costa Mesa employees, so John and Ken, once again, went nuts!

One interesting sidebar.  Following the press conference I wandered around, listening to real reporters ask follow-up questions of several of the speakers, trying to fill in the blanks of my knowledge.  This meandering brought me to Buena Park Mayor Jim Dow, who was standing alone, leaning on the podium, just taking things in.  So, I stopped and we chatted about his circumstances, including those that caused him to relocate his family to southern Idaho.  We joked that northern Idaho is widely known as LAPD-north.  We spoke about his dozen years in office and how things have changed.  He brought up the Brown Act, indicating that he understood why it was enacted, but he bemoaned its negative impact on city government.  He said to me, "Yeah, I miss the good old days when you could just bribe a guy and get things done."  He wasn't kidding... I smiled, because that very simple, straightforward statement provided a new, and very relevant context to the issues at hand. Very shortly thereafter he was summoned by Righeimer who, I suspect, chastised him for speaking with me.

It was also interesting to note that Kimberly Edds, former ace reporter and columnist for the Register and the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs since January, was also in the audience taking notes.  Her organization is NOT represented by the law firm at the center of this storm.  In fact, when the Register published the link to the now-infamous "Playbook" that Righeimer refers to all the time, her organization issued a scathing denouncement of those tactics and the law firm.  She was at this event to gather information.
Members of Costa Mesa For Responsible Government (CM4RG) were also in attendance, listening intently to the speeches and providing information to members of the news media.

So, the beat goes on.  Several times over the past few days I've found myself thinking that, if all is as it appears to be in this situation, Righeimer may be the luckiest guy in Costa Mesa.  He's clearly the guy you want to be standing beside in a lightning storm.  I keep thinking that there is almost no way - almost - that you could actually orchestrate such a fortuitous event.  Apparently this thing will be turned over to the District Attorney Tony Rackaukas for investigation very soon.  This cannot happen soon enough.

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Anonymous J. Edgar Boozer said...

Looks like a bunch of old washed up hacks getting up there to complain. What a bunch of little cry babies.
I'm sure we'll get the Feds coming in and poking their noses around City Hall, right after Dana returns that horrible shirt back to Bever.
Maybe it'd be a good thing to have some G-Men looking around, they might dig up some dirt on our crooked City Council boys.

8/28/2012 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelly's Army said...

Whitaker should have been booted from that City Council just as fast as the other losers who tried to cover up the Kelly Thomas death. What a sad sack, but at least he comes out to show support for his drinking buddy Riggy.

8/28/2012 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

That would be good...be careful what you wish for, Mr. Righeimer! You just might get more attention than you wanted!

8/28/2012 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Nothing New said...

Throughout history, bad men have stood in front of tens, or even hundreds of thousands of people who cheered for them. Riggy and Mensy have had a lucky run here in Costa Mesa, but in the final analysis they are weak and incompetent. Just be patient.. :)

8/28/2012 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Righeimer is representing whom? The citizens of Costa Mesa? He hasn't. He did run on a platform of fiscal responsibility, and he is anything but responsible fiscally.

Riggy continued to pull in campaign contributions well after his election, and used the money to go to China. How responsible is that?

Maybe we should unleash the full extent of the Feds on him!!!

8/28/2012 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Also, Riggy said on the John & Ken show that the police were not paying anything into their retirement. THAT IS A LIE! They are paying 5%.

And these two are just the lies I've come across today.

8/28/2012 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Can't stand that picture of Riggy....put a hairnet on him and he looks EXACTLY like the mean Cafeteria lady I had in high school. She had that exact same look....like she just spit in your Thursday Casserole Surprise.

8/28/2012 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Confused said...

Great post Mr. West, but we can't tell if these photos were taken on the set of "Deliverance," "Dukes of Hazzard," "True Blood," or there was a mass escape from Fairview this morning..

8/28/2012 09:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Topsoil said...

Snooki had a baby but she's still Snooki.

Riggy got to milk an incident but he's still a worm living in Dana's garden.

Real leaders will be listened to while he rants to a smaller and smaller group of supplicants.

8/28/2012 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark S said...

Topsoil, I think you're right. I listen to a lot of different people in the community as part of my job. Some people are buying into it, but even people who were sympathetic yesterday are saying he doth protest too much. He has all the signs of an insecure peson who needs constant attention.

Even if his outrage is justified, he's already begun to overplay it. Even if he was set up, people feel like they are the ones being played now. It’s everyone’s favorite soap opera/guessing game of the moment, but somewhere today he wore out the sympathy factor. I noticed the turn this afternoon. Jim always underestimates how intelligent Costa Mesa people are. He thinks people are easily manipulated and therefore looks down on them. The public is fickle, not stupid.

8/28/2012 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Roy Taylor said...

I find two things curious. A lot of rants about personalities and such, but little to no discussion of the recent episode, that is suspicious at the very least. Put yourselves in Councilman Righeimer's shoes for a moment - if you had been subjected to this sort of threat and harassment, would you just take it lying down, or would you be hopping mad, as I believe Councilman Righeimer is. Would you not want to expose this sort of thing in the widest / broadest manner possible, in part as a defense mechanism to keep eyes and ears on the situ in hopes nothing even remotely similar happens again?

Secondly, what's with all the pseudonyms here - is this crowd afraid to state their real names? It's pretty easy to lob personal attacks behind an anonymous keyboard, it's a bit more challenging to step out into the light of day in the matter of public discourse. Let's be "transparent, shall we?
Roy Taylor

8/29/2012 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Billy Flynn does it again said...

How convenient that the register had a major expose on Lackie et al just days before this DUI thing went down. Everything here is just fitting together too well. Why isn't anyone talking about that? The more I think about it, the more I think Righeimer OCGOP or someone related to them set this up themselves to create the circus. Seriously William "Billy" Flynn couldn't have done this better himself...

Did you fight him?

[BILLY (as Roxie)]
Like a tiger.

He had strength and she had none.

[BILLY (as Roxie)]
And yet we both reached for the gun
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes we both
Oh yes we both
Oh yes, we both reached for
The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun
Oh yes, we both reached for the gun
For the gun.

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes they both
Oh yes, they both
Oh yes, they both reached for
The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun,
Oh yes, they both reached for the gun
For the gun.

Understandable, understandable
Yes it's perfectly understandable
Comprehensible, Comprehensible
Not a bit reprehensible
It's so defensible

How're you feeling?

[BILLY (as Roxie)]
Very frightened

Seriously I'm going to go watch the movie.

8/29/2012 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Roy's Tailor said...

"what's with all the pseudonyms here"

We don't want to be set up by Righeimer or his gang.

8/29/2012 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Rob, good questions. On the face, you'd think, yeah, he should be mad. But...how long does it have validity? How many people are stopped by cops on the road, warned, and let go? Was he really hurt? No. Inconvenienced, maybe. Upset that he got targeted...YES. Such is politics. I'm not condoning the events, not at all. In fact, I hope they do get to the bottom of it, no matter who it is. However, you can only milk something so much before you start to become not the victim, but ther perpetrator. He has, without any evidence whatsoever YET, slandered the police association, the police, a lawfirm, and degraded the people that oppose the city council in general with his comments.

Also, many people here, do not want their names posted, as there is a real threat of retaliation from at least one member of the council followers. Anonymity is sometimes warranted.

8/29/2012 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Geoff, thanks for the very informative coverage. The remarks provided were very telling. Thats how this gang gets things done. But remember, if it goes to the DA, Tony R is their buddy, as was ex-sheriff Carona. So don't expect too much.

8/29/2012 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Quote from _Ghosts of the Titanic_, by Charles Pellegrino:

"Perhaps the most important question facing our civilization over the next forty years is not how inadequate leaders become inadequate leaders, but what characteristics of human nature cause us to so consistently choose the most inadequate among us and elevate them to positions where they can inflict the greatest harm." --pg. 149.

'Nuff said.

8/29/2012 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

No problem, Roy.

My username contains my first two initials and my full last name. There's little anonymity there.

This entire charade is suspicious.
Lots of blame and accusations have been thrown around, with little to no evidence to back up any of his claims.
Gee- when have we heard this before?
I would like to see the results of a full investigation, not involving Rohrbacher at all- he jumped the shark years ago along with his credibility.
Do I trust the PI?- No Do I trust Righeimer?- Hell no!
He has turned this event into a media circus, alerting the media everytime he wants to spout something
He wants the attention-He wants to cast aspersions-
Damn the consequences of his actions.

8/29/2012 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Hey, Roy Taylor--
Council makes major noises about how their SUPPORTERS fear to stand up at the podium for fear of ridicule. THEY hide behind the anonymity of non-appearance. Their DETRACTORS speak out. Says something about courage and standing behind what one says, no?

My name's real, though one or two of the gutless posters here have included it in their pseudonyms, specifically to cry, "neener, neener, neener".

I should point out that my favorite synonym for "courage" is "balls", but it has other connotations.

8/29/2012 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Honeyman said...

I am in agreement with Roy Taylor. I have zero trust for Riggy and the other stooges, but this thing has a real bad smell to it. There are just too many "coincidences" to believe if you want to make Rioggy the fall guy here. I known he'll milk this dry to get as much political mileage as possible and distort fact after fact unassociated with this epiisode, but I personally believe he was set up here. I just hope this is not something thta might sway the election in the stooges favor.

8/29/2012 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I have zero trust for our Police in this whole thing until they prove me otherwise. Does Damien Stafford work for Lackie Dammeier? If so, why does he earn $187k also working for the CMPD. Will he be terminated? Do we get a fair shake in our contracts when the union negotiator has our paid cops on their payroll. Something stinks and it's seems to be the PD and their union.

8/29/2012 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Stafford no longer works for Lackie, etal. Has not for a couple years according to CMPD sources.

8/29/2012 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Smell Test said...

Honeyman, did you see the Daily Pilot Story on the trash lobbyist that is contributing to the Sanitation District campaigns for the guys who refuse to bid the trash contracts?

He also called the fact that he is CR&R's Lobbyist and that his contributing a "coincidence" .

Ha. Out of towners really think we are stupid in Costa Mesa.

8/29/2012 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Honeyman, I'm starting to think that was the plan all along. I didn't buy it at first, but if it was a set up by the law firm or the CMPA, why would they have the investigator point the finger back to them immediately? That just doesn't fit. As the investigator said, he cannot divulge his employer or his assignment. He had no problem divulging he worked for the lawfirm. Its very curious. but he won't give up his real client. Lets see what transpires here. This will be very interesting.

8/29/2012 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Honeyman said...

Agree, jw. There is a lot that doesn't add up...on both sides of the coin.

Lanzillo appears to be a bit of a nutjob lacking ethics, so it's totally conceivable to me that he took his power a little...check that, a lot too far. And it doesn't make sense to me that the CMPA would be that brazen to construct this in this manner when it was sure to come back to them.

And while we both agree that Riggy is an untrustworthy worm who will do or say anything to ge this way, I just feel in my gut that Riggy's reaction was honest in the sense of a man who was being targeted.

But then again I am still nagged about the whole receipt thing. Why would he get billed for 2 Diet Cokes...no free refills? Did he hang on to it to bill the city and then the oom-pah-loom-pah gets a cool $5.75 profit?

Again, I am only concerned on how this plays in November. If Riggy is looked at as a victim who is targeted by the big, bad unions and the votes come in for the three M (for mistakes), the city is sunk. I would like ther truth to come out as everybody else.

8/29/2012 01:58:00 PM  

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