Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sign Vandal Identified As City Employee

Orange County Register columnist Barbara Venezia and her colleague, reporter Mike Reicher, reported tonight in an article HERE, that the person captured last weekend on video tape vandalizing campaign signs is a Costa Mesa Maintenance Worker named Steve White.  According to the article, councilman and candidate for election, Steve Mensinger provided the identification to the press.

The Daily Pilot, in an article this evening by Bradley Zint and Lauren Williams, HERE, also identified him as a city employee, but withheld his name "because he has not been arrested or charged with a crime."  Of course, that seems to be the prudent course to take.

There seems to be some confusion about just who did the video taping last weekend.  Proponents of the 3Ms and Yes on V have identified the videographer as a "campaign volunteer", but the press release issued by the Costa Mesa Police Department identified him as a Private Investigator hired by a councilman who was running for election.  It is widely assumed that councilman is Mensinger.
I view this information with mixed feelings.  First, I'm glad the vandal has been identified.  As I've said many times here, the vandalism of campaign signs is a stupid, petty and ineffective act that's been going on with too much frequency by parties on both sides of the issues.  I'm glad someone has been apprehended and hope it will cause others to cease these acts.

I'm saddened, however, that it apparently turned out to be a city employee because it will be like  tossing gasoline on an already-roaring campaign fire.  According to the Register article, Maintenance Services Manager Bruce Hartley confirmed that White had been placed on paid administrative leave and is under investigation.

I'm sure soon-to-be-former Sanitary District Director and current President of the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association, Jim Fitzpatrick, will be giddy at the press conference he's called at City Hall tomorrow at 10:00 to address this issue.  Sadly, his circus will be held at the same time the ceremony for retiring legendary School Resource Officer Jess Gilman is being held in council chambers.

I'm concerned about the propriety of a sitting councilman, Mensinger, announcing to the press the name of a city employee who has not been charged with a crime in this matter.  This is unacceptable, unethical behavior on Mensinger's part and is only the most recent example of his disregard for the rules that govern council members' behavior.  His premature public identification and condemnation of White may jeopardize any prosceution and/or any administrative punishment that might be levied on him by The City.  Remember Tom Johnson's recent description of Mensinger as a "bull in a china closet"?  This is a perfect example of what he may have meant. This behavior should make every employee and voter shudder when considering him in office if Jim Righeimer's Charter passes.  That document is virtually a blank check for malfeasance, with insufficient controls to prevent these kinds of acts.

Just when you think things can't get any more bizarre in Costa Mesa during this campaign season, something like this pops up.  It's bad enough that the OC GOP and developers are pumping thousands of dollars into the campaigns and outside unions doing the same.  They all just need to butt-the-heck-out of our city and let us sort out the issues without their interference.  Of course, that's not going to happen.

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Anonymous Robin said...

Here’s an update of what I posted in the last thread. A few days ago a CM4RG member recognized the man in the video and contacted the police. It was the responsible thing to do. He feels that as long as it is an investigation it is not appropriate to reveal names, so I wont confirm or deny the reports in the press, except that he did confirm he recognized the man was a city employee.

Meanwhile I would love to find the Anti-American enemies of free speech that are vandalizing and stealing our signs as well. It doesn’t matter who is doing it, it’s wrong. It is certainly happening against both sides. We of course can’t afford PI’s to drive around the city in the wee hours, but if anyone has seen anything, please contact us through our website at . More than 500 of our signs have been stolen, some ripped up and scattered on lawns, shoved under bushes or pieces tossed in the street. Ironically, Monday evening when I got home from talking with the Channel 5 reporter, I found the No on V sign in my yard gone and two No on V signs at homes on the other side of Mesa Verde Drive had been damaged and knocked down.

The same weekend the signs on Fair drive were vandalized, all the No on V signs on Mesa Verde drive were stolen -the street was completely stripped of No on V! All weekend long, we put them up, they stole them again. By the time our volunteers picked them up Sunday evening, we had lost about 40. Some thefts happened in broad daylight, someone had to see something.

Anyway, can we all just cool it? Appreciate the rights of free speech that we have, celebrate democracy! Leave the signs alone, and get back to focusing on the real issues of the campaign.

Robin Leffler

10/25/2012 01:47:00 AM  
Anonymous unionquiltersforleece said...

oh no, not a Wendy "bestest". Go slow. We dropped a stitch reading this.

10/25/2012 06:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Riggy's Boy said...

The Stockton Sadsack (mensy) was able to track down someone allegedly defacing 50 cent signs.

For his next trick, maybe he can track down jobs for himself and Fitzy and give their wives a break.

Is this a city leader or a petty little property manager?

10/25/2012 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

The guy did a very unwise thing. But frankly, I think everyone in the city is sick and tired of the damned signs, and would probably really like to buy the guy a beer. Bad of him to do it, but it makes Mensinger, et al, really look bad for whining and crying and threatening litigation.

10/25/2012 06:59:00 AM  
Anonymous cm frog said...

jw is right. threatening litigation is hardly ever done around here. buy the union thief a beer !

10/25/2012 07:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNutt said...

What if we all just take down all of the signs, everywhere, from both sides? Just get rid of them. I think at this point, everyone's mind is made up.

10/25/2012 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Employee Compensation Truth said...

It was wrong to destroy those signs. It's wrong for their supporters to steal no on V signs too. But I am more appalled about the deceitful misrepresentations of Rob Dickson and Jim Fitzpatrick.

Kent Mora in response to Fitzpatrick and Dickson's hit piece of city employees states in the private sector on a 65k a year job there is about 30-35 percent compensation increase getting to about 87k. That's the private sector keep in mind.

Now go to the city employees compensation page. Compare those general city employees they attack and those who have layoff notices because they are bleeding the city dry whose base salaries are at 65k. Not public safety or dispatchers where huge overtime cost factor in just the average city employee. It's basically the same as the private sector. Yet we have vilified these hard workers receiving about the same pay as the private sector as bleeding the city dry and given them layoff notices.

Here is one example of the general average city employee

Check out employee number 371 equipment mechanic
Base salary 65k total comp 88k.

So according to Mr Mora who rails against the high pensions of city staff the people under the most attack and those with layoff notices for contracting out make almost exactly what the private sector does.

Yet you hear over and over like from Rob Dickson and Fitpatrick how outrageous the city employees salaries and pensions and are.

The general city employees pay and compensation does not bleed the city dry as some try to imply. Dickson, Fitzpatrick and others should be ashamed at their attempts to create anger and hate toward general city employees.

In fact look at every general city employee on that page whose base salary is near or below 65k, they are all near or below 88k in total compensation making that entire page of general city employees total compensation on same level as what Mr Mora says is par for the private sector.

Utterly disgusting what some try to do when you look at the REAL FACTS and not their BS.

10/25/2012 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Employee Comp: I hope you post that in response to their rants in OC Register. You are corrrect. the 65K is what a good secretary makes at a corporation. I know, I did HR for many years at a large corporation.

10/25/2012 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Employee Compensation Truth said...

I condemn the sign destruction but I can understand the desire to rip up signs or throw them in the bushes when Pro Charter people write these total misrepresentation pieces in their local tool the Daily Pilot. This is purely an effort by Fitzpatrick and Dickson to create rage and anger amomgst the residents toward city employees. So i can understand the rage by city employees and others against them too.

They use the salary and compensation of public safety to make it look like your average city worker makes around $144K per year. Dickson and Fitzpatrick should be condemned for misleading the public about the average city workers salary.

Let me tell you the average general city employee salary is nowhere near $144K. In fact if you take out the
salaries of Hatch, Lobdell, Joyce, Francis and Naghavi and use only the salaries of those who are targets, the workers with layoff notices and the ones always under attack you'd see reasonable salaries with reasonable compensation.

As Mr Mora pro v commentator said on an average $65K salary in the private sector the compensation would be about 30-35 percent added making total compensation for that private sector employee about $88k per year.

The general city employees who make $65K per year their total compensation is right on par with the private sector according to Mr Mora. Yet these are the workers who got pink slips, layoff notices and are said to be bleeding the city dry and bankrupting it.

If that is the case then maybe Mr Mora it could be said and his salary helped crash the economy!

Bottom line is the demeaned and targeted general city employees pay and compensation is in line with the private sector and yet we get Righeimer and his little tools like Fitpatrick and Dickson attacking them and trying to raise anger against them.

They are totally disgusting human beings to do this. If public safety compensation is too high then let's have that debate and figure out what is reasonable. Public safety personnel risk their lives and deserve higher pay and are on a different level of service so to equate all city employees with such shows the level of deceit Rob Dickson and Jim Fitzpatrick will stoop.

10/25/2012 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Employee Compensation Truth said...

I do not have a facebook account. If some one wants to post that information they have my blessing.

10/25/2012 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Fonz said...

Why are we even discussing what Mora says? He's just a bankrupt shill living behind city hall.

He rides the underemployed golf cart along with the other losers..

10/25/2012 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Employee Compensation Truth said...

Also look at employee #255 on the compensation chart.
A skilled positIon at $98K. The city pays a little over 18 percent of his salary toward his Pension. $18k.

Keep in mind this is the highest levels the city has ever had to pay. For years the city actually paid a lot less.

Now compare that to the private sector. Colin McCarthy who founded the CMTAX organization because of these outrageous compensations being paid by the city has told us at a council meeting previously his employer pays 6.5% of his salary toward social security and another 10% into a 401k. So Mr. McCarhty by his own admission admits his employer contributes almost the same percentage 16.5% toward his retirement as the city does 18% to it's general city employees. Yet he rails on city employees compensation as outrageous.I Also note this is less than a few years ago because before the recession the social security employer rate was 7.5%. They dropped the rate during the recession.

Of course public safety is different. Their jobs have risks that many think they deserve better compensation. That can be discussed but the point is that the most maligned group, the group with layoffs and called out at council meetings as tone deaf is right in line with the private sector in compensation and retiremtn if Mr Mora and Mr McCarthy tell the truth.

You wont hear the truth though from Rob Dickson or Jim Fitzpatrick because that truth doesn't suit their purpose.

10/25/2012 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Mensinger on the loose said...

Mensinger doesn't care about rules, proper ways of doing things, he does't care if he chest bumps his way through.
He will ignore rules, rights and civility.
If he were to be elected this city had better be ready.
He will be impowered to bully, develop Fairview Park open space into sports fields and parking lots. He will run the city like a business, right into the ground.
Vote this Charter in and he will have free reign to make a rule change a rule ..good luck

10/25/2012 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous aquestion said...

i think the outrage should be at public safety personnel pensions. unsustainable and bleed money away from city improvements. the average employee at the city does get a better pension than most but salary is not outrageous. a few extra days off than the private worker too. and a lot more job security. the problem is how do we take care of police and fire in middle age? hard to do the job in your 50's but certainly should not be getting 30@50 pensions either. maybe pensions don't kick in until fifteen years later and they need to go get another job after retiring? the will just have to go into the job knowing that they will probably have to make a career change in their 50's. that won't be appealing. solutions to this? anyone? perhaps 2@ 55?

10/25/2012 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Knight to Rook said...


Hope your friend isn't counting on collecting the reward from CMTAX...that was just another red herring or shiny object...

The guy is a city employee? Well then I bet you the truth is the cops had him identified from the beginning and the PI either couldn't or wouldn't identify him from photographs the cops put together. That's the process. If they could have made an arrest to resolve it, I'm sure they would have. Remember this is a misdemeanor crime they cant enforce on their own. This doesn't bode well for prosecution, but sure makes it easy to publicly plaster a wanted photograph or video, seeking someone who can "identify" doesnt it?

I'm guessing that video was posted before it ever made it to the cops because they knew all along who they had. It should have been given to the cops and let them do a press release if they need to in order to identify...which tells me they (the M's) either had him identified already, or the video was leaked before turning it over for cops to investigate, or both. Posting the video prematurely can jeopardize an investigation, and that should be the Police's calculated decision based upon consideration of the facts of the case. Once the DA files charges it is public record, so the information would still have gotten out. So what's the end game prosecution (justice) or publicity?

On CMTAX website, there was another photo of what appeared to be a guy possibly stealing the signs for the metal there video on that somewhere and a press conference on that one I missed?

To me, the question of the PI or volunteer is a matter of credibility. If this goes to court, someone has to stand up and establish the video's authenticity. A suspect has the right to confront his accuser right? I don't doubt the guy did it, and he should be accountable, but its removing one sign and tearing one sign. Not buying that a barefoot guy with a dog in tow is the lone suspect, though now they have him on video, and he's an employee, I'm sure they'll make him out to be.

Listen up- any employees who disagree and live in the city or nearby, you should assume you are or have been watched. I'm sure they were hoping it was some on duty cops or ff's, but they'll settle for this. Too bad with one act of anger or frustration from one person will allow these guys to continue to paint all the employees with the same brush and mantra as "Union thugs". Yes, address this one guy and his actions, but I hope others see through this charade.

Cant wait to get to Nov. 7 one way or the other...

10/25/2012 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Randall said...

Well at least the guy is being paid his full salary. Wonder if he'll claim OT for taking the signs? After all, isn't he protecting the citizens of Costa Mesa?

10/25/2012 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Why did Mensinger and Fitzpatrick apparently lie or withhold the truth about it being a private investigator that they hired? I think the private investigator watched the suspect go into his house. I think the investigator knew who it was but Mensinger and Fitzpatrick wanted to capitalize on the situation by organizing the media and offering the reward. Also, if they are so upset about this being a free speech issue, why didn't the investigator catch the people stealing the No on V signs? Mensinger and Fitzpatrick clearly can't be trusted. No one should steal signs but clearly Mensinger and Fitzpatrick aren't on the up and up and giving us the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

10/26/2012 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

And....has anything come of this - except juvenile press conferences and whining, ranting and raving, and finger pointing? Hmmmm....Sound familiar?
And all the while, signs for their opposition are being stolen too. Kettle calling the pot black in juvenile press conference tantrums. Hmmmm!!
Because they have nothing positive to run on, they try to distract with this sort of nonsense. Just like the distraction that their opposition is getting money from outside special interests, namely unions. What about all the outside special interest money the yes on v, the (b)ms, the bever, and your sanitation guys are getting/taking?? ocgop (these elections are supposed to be non-partisan), all of the ocgop shill groups, your ABC buddies... All these groups have no business in our local elections and that includes unions. The citizens of CM already know the one man's "charter", the (b)ms, the bever, and your sanitation guys are bad for us, bad for OUR city. Do you really think the citizens of CM are that stupid that they don't see right through the wool you think you are pulling over our eyes?
NO to the (b)ms and NO on V and YES to Stephens, Genis, and Weitzberg!

10/29/2012 11:09:00 PM  

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