Friday, October 19, 2012

Tom Johnson Makes His Picks For Costa Mesa

For those of you who don't subscribe to the Orange County Register, or those of you who may have overlooked The Current in the Friday edition, tonight I'm going to provide a little help for you.

First, some history... Tom Johnson is the former publisher of the Daily Pilot - the competitor of the Orange County Register's The Current.  He left in a huff several years ago when the Daily Pilot's parent, The Los Angeles Times, and ITS parent, The Tribune Companies in Chicago, were going through some very tough financial times that resulted in bankruptcy of the Tribune.

Johnson and Bill Lobdell, currently the Director of Communications for the City of Costa Mesa who had worked for Johnson at the Daily Pilot, began a new venture - The Daily Voice,  an online-only newspaper.  That didn't go well, Lobdell left and Johnson folded his paper into what is now the Newport Beach Independent, which he ran for several months.  He then left that operation.  Around a year ago he made an agreement with the Register to run The Current, and did so for many months.  Then he left and is an occasional contributor - like the articles today.

Johnson, while at the Daily Pilot and ever since, has been deeply immersed in the Newport-Mesa community.  He's been on many boards and has been an extremely positive presence in our communities - a community leader in every sense of the word.  I say that because, even though he was very critical of me not too long ago, I still admire him and consider him a friend. Which leads us to his two articles in The Current today.

First, click HERE.  After a couple seconds necessary for some software to open you'll be taken to an e-version of The Current, the weekly supplement for Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.  On the front page you'll find Tom Johnson's article titled, "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... Costa Mesa politics" - and boy, did he get that right!  Double-click on that title and you'll get a text file of the article, in which you'll find his picks for the three seats available for the Costa Mesa City Council on November 6th.

His first choice, Steve Mensinger, didn't really surprise me.  He's VERY tight with Mensinger through his association as a board member of Costa Mesa United.  It's amusing to me, though, that he says that Mensinger's "strength is being the "bull-in-china-shop."  I don't know about you, but that image - of uncontrolled chaos, mayhem and destruction of precious items - isn't really what I want in a person charged with the well-being of my city, although I concur with Johnson's assessment of Mensinger and his performance in city government since he was appointed to the City Council 22 months ago.  Still, Johnson's loyalty to Mensinger is not a surprise to me.

Johnson's second choice is Sandy Genis for her combination of experience and education.  I agree that Sandy should definitely be one of the three choices any of us make.

His third choice(s) will surprise practically everyone!  He made it a tie between John Stephens and Harold Weitzberg and suggests that the loser of those two spend some time on the Planning Commission before running again in two years.

The stunner - he shunned two of the three M's - Colin McCarthy and Gary Monahan.  I'm not going to paraphrase him here - read the article.

Back to the front page, down at the end of Tom's article there's a link that says "See POLITICS page 13".  Click on that and you'll be taken to his second article Friday, "Perspective of Costa Mesa council candidates on local issues", in which he provides position statements attributed to each of the major candidates for Costa Mesa City Council seats.  Double-click the title and read the text box that appears.  Very interesting stuff.

I encourage each of you to spend a few minutes reading Johnson's articles.  He's a man with deep professional and emotional roots in our area who has been deeply immersed in Newport-Mesa organizations and issues for decades.  You don't have to agree with his choices - I don't, in the case of Mensinger - but his opinion and reasons are valuable to us all.

Back on page 1 you'll also find Barbara Venezia's latest column, "For Measure V, pick your boogeyman".  Double-click the title to read the text of her article, which provides a summary of her recent Feet To The Fire Charter Debate between Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and former councilwoman Katrina Foley.  Good reading all around.  And, if you want to view the debate on streaming video it's available HERE.  You can also watch it on CMTV, Channel 24 (Time Warner Cable) or Channel 99 (ATT U-verse) on this schedule from now until November 6th:
(click image to enlarge)

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Blogger Joe said...

Many of us have decades in Newport-Mesa and lots of knowledge, but loyalty to family and friends has to trump everything. I still don't understand why Johnson turned on you last year. Maybe it seemed "fashionable" as you sounded the alarm about Righeimer and his schemes.

Events have proven you right. Hopefully Johnson will at least acknowledge this at some point.

Speaking of Das Register, despite widespread coverage of Bever's soup kitchen PR disaster in the L.A. Times, I didn't see anything substantial in the OCR about it. Intentional blackout?

Is Bever really this clueless, or is he acting as a lightning rod to take attention off Riggy and the boys for some reason?

10/20/2012 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

If he is, it didn't work. Riggy is busy himself making negative news, i.e. the attack on the Eastside people after they spend all that time and effort putting on the great candidate forum.

Bever hasn't got even one sign up in anyone's yard, all are placed in public places. Interesting.

10/20/2012 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Pleasantly surprised! said...

I have been able to watch all the debates, except the charter one, and it's obvious the 123 CMRG3 candidates have dominated.

Weitzberg has been the biggest surprise. I finally got to meet the man at the last forum and to me he has become my favorite of the bunch. He is friendly, smart, articulate and he has ideas and the right approach. Plus his successes are exciting and I look forward to casting my ballot for this man.

Had this guy already been a council member we would have had reasonable pension reforms approved already with our employees a longtime ago saving this city money. There wouldn't be this divisiveness throughout all aspects of our city.

He can restore the good name of Costa Mesa as he is an expert in this field.

He will not allow developers to take over Costa Mesa while at the same time supporting reasonable and beneficial development in our city.

Harold Weitzberg has moved from my I hope he is good list to my favorite candidate.

10/20/2012 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Peter Principle is Mensinger said...

While I think Mr. Mensinger is great for Pop Warner and youth sports I can not support his council candidacy.

Mr. Mensinger shows he can bring consensus to youth sports but he totally fails in that ability regarding city issues. There he is divisive and it's his way or the highway and that doesn't work in a diverse city where issues are often critical and divisive themselves.

He can rally the troops to get this building painted, a new weight room here, grass seed there and workers for the snack bar and that's awesome. But the city is whole different animal and on another level.

In youth sports what's good for the organization is pretty clear. Everyone knows a new snackbar would great, better fields benefit all etc. Yes there are disagreements and issues that not all agree with but not on the scale of an entire city.

Our cities especially Costa Mesa are diverse in make-up and therefor also on issues. These issues even though I love Pop Warner, are much more critical. They can pit nasty battles even legal ones between homeowners, the city and other entities. Development, parks preservation and uses, employee pensions and salaries, staffing numbers, ordinances, city services, the list goes on and on and creates situations where we need reasonable people making these decisions.

Mr. Mensinger has exhibited unfortunately a sense of he knows all and everyone needs to accept things his way. Basically it comes across as if you disagree with him and Mr Righeimer you are just noise. They even say that from the dais about residents it's just noise.

Even when he is sometimes right he has a hard time pulling people together.

The pension issue is an example. Even the 3 CMRG candidates know the pensions need reforms. The citizen know it and all the employee groups have shown they know it too. Yet Mr. Mensinger has been part of this team that took a consensus issue and made it so divisive there is now legal action against the city.

The charter is another example. Many people aren't anti charter. In fact done the right way a charter my have sailed through easily. Maybe it could have even taken some current council members in on it's coattails. But these guys decided we know what's best and so we are going to ram this down your throats Costa Mesa.

So basically I love what Mr Mensinger does for youth sports but not what he has done to our city. It's kind of the Peter Principle working here folks, so let's put Mr. Mensinger back where he does the good stuff and what he is good at and get him off this council before the damage is too great to recover.

10/20/2012 03:32:00 PM  
Anonymous SHOCKED!!! said...

WOW. I never would have thought that would happen in a million years.

This confirms what a talented group of candidates is running against the current regime. Stephens, Wietzberg and Genis are an incredible slate of canbdidates.

On a side note I would advize Mr. Johnson to look out over his shoulders. We saw how the regime acts when things don't go their way. The berating of the Eastside Groups was horrible, unmprofessional and childish to say the least. Because they performed terribly they attacked the group putting on the forum.

How could anyone after that display vote for any of these guys.

10/20/2012 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Footloose. said...

Council Member Mensinger is misleading Tom Johnson. He says to Tom Johnson he has worked to get a sustainable 2nd tier in place for our City Employees and Fire Fighters.

It's sad there is no fact checking in Costa.

CMCEA and the City Council agreed to the 2nd tier for general city employees during a special council meeting on OCt. 26, 2010. Here is a link...

Mensinger nor Righeimer were part of that council. Negotiations had been going on for a while before that too without the input or help of Mr. Mensinger.

It is outrageous he would claim what he does and try and take credit for anything regarding CMCEA agreement with the city.

What they did do while Mr. Mensinger was part of council is hire just a few weeks before the plan was implemented both Lobdell and Joyce at the old unsustainable rate.

Considering their salaries are much higher than most of the general employees this seems outrageous when they were screaming and demonizing city employees for outrageous pensions.

They could have kept them on as contract employees another few weeks and then saved the city a great deal of money hiring them at 2 @ 60 instead of the 2.5 @ 55 they snuck them in at. That would have been an immediate savings folks.

Really this is the type of character Tom Johnson endorses.

Not me. I want truth and honesty out of my council members not one who continues playing fast and loose with the truth.

Just the fact these clowns were screaming about the high 2.5 @ 55 pensions and then sneaking in Joyce and Lobdell weeks before the change to 2 @ 60 should say these guys are full of it and will play favorites and partake in cronyism.

10/20/2012 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous SHOCKED!!! said...

It kills me to read both Monahan and Mensinger while campaigning telling Johnson how great they are that they have negotiatied a 2nd tier for general city empoyees. Why?

Have you ever seen them acknowledge how great the general city employees are for doing this 2 years ago? Nope. they demonize the city emplyees and point them out at meetings saying we can't afford your pensions.

McCarthy apparently still doesn't know according to his comments to Johnson city empoyees have already agreed to the 2nd tier 2 years ago.

10/20/2012 08:56:00 PM  
Anonymous robutto said...

the demonizing of city employees is all in your head. the council has repeatedly said they appreciate them.That their over the top pensions for safety personnel was not their fault, it was negotiated and now needs to be renegotiated downward. Voters across the nation agree. Stating that some are overpaid/pensioned is hardly demonizing. It is stating a fact. Do some research on the contracts and all the benefits. It is truly outrageous. take away their boxcutters too.

10/21/2012 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Colin Isn't Ready For The Big Leagues said...

McCarthy is a non-factor in this election, he hasn't done or said anything that demonstrates he is capable or ready to be on the City Council. Maybe he should stay in the minor leagues of the planning commission for a little longer.

10/21/2012 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous They are just noise said...

robutto, it's not the comments about the pensions being too high. It's comments like employees are bleeding the city dry, holding the city hostage and much more that demonizes them.

This council says a lot of things and then turns around and does the exact opposite. They cry for civility and then turn around and exhibit uncivility.

They say they listen to residents and then call them just noise and we all know they don't really listen.

You can keep touting what they say I will keep slamming what they do that is contradictory to what they say. Actions speak louder than words robutto (Mensinger)

10/21/2012 07:18:00 PM  

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