Benito Acosta Is Still There!
Do you remember how difficult it is to get a wad of gum off the sole of your shoe? No matter how hard you try to scrape it off, it just stays stuck down there. It's a distraction that seems to never go away. That pretty much describes Benito Acosta. I've written about him many times on this site. You can do a search using the search box at the top of the page if you're interested.
You will recall that early in 2006, shortly after then-mayor Allan Mansoor announced his plan to install ICE agents in our jail to facilitate the extraction of illegal aliens (we can't call them that anymore, can we?) from our society and send them back from whence they came, Benito Acosta stepped to the speaker's podium to address his grievances with the city council. You can watch the entirety of that encounter - including him being dragged from the chambers and the subsequent raucous singing and chanting that followed, in the 5:07 YouTube video clip below. Be sure to look for a prominent Republican - head of the Costa Mesa Republican Assembly - "singing" at the top of his lungs, trying to shout down the others right at the end of the clip.
BENITO ACOSTA BEING TOSSED, 1/6/06
"INSOLENT" IS THE WRONG WORD, 9/12
This case has been processed through the courts for many years. You may recall that last September, HERE, we discussed the previous court ruling where it decided that the word "insolent" needed to be stricken from our Municipal Code Section 2-61. We made light of it at the time.
THE ENTIRE SECTION IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, 5/13
Friday, May 3rd, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yet again on this case. This time, though, they ruled that the entirety of Section 2-61 is unconstitutional, but that then-police chief John Hensley and the other officers involved were correct in removing Acosta from the council chambers because of the disturbance he was causing.
READ IT FOR YOUR SELF
You can read a summary of this decision from Courthouse News HERE and the full decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals HERE.
NO COMMENT YET FROM THE CITY
I immediately contacted Costa Mesa Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch when I saw this ruling and asked for his comments. Because this ruling was brand new, and he had not yet had a chance to consult with contract City Attorney Tom Duarte, he was unable to provide me with a comment. When they do comment I'll report back.
TEXT OF 2-61
Here is the text of the section of our Municipal Code that is apparently unconstitutional based on that court decision: (click on the image to enlarge for easier reading)