Another Parolee Arrested In Costa Mesa
According to the Costa Mesa Police Department, shortly after noon on Saturday - as my wife and I were preparing to head on over to the 60th Anniversary Celebration - a 34-year old parolee named Osvaldo Castro walked into the Metro PCS store at 1175 Baker Street holding what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun. He approached the service counter, pointed the gun into the face of an employee and attempted to fire it. The weapon malfunctioned and he fled the scene.
FAST WORK WITH AN ASSIST FROM "DUKE"
Quick work by the CMPD, with a big assist from the Orange County Sheriff's Department helicopter "Duke" coordinating the search Castro was located near Mission Drive and Mendoza Drive and was arrested. A replica handgun was found nearby.
According to the press release, Castro was booked and later transported to the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana. Here are the final words from the press release:
"Costa Mesa police embrace a zero-tolerance approach towards all acts and threatened acts of violence. Costa Mesa Police Department works with neighboring agencies and the District Attorney's Office to hold suspects accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
Great job by the CMPD and the Sheriff's helicopter. You remember what a police helicopter is, right? We used to have THE BEST municipal law enforcement helicopter program in the country until our Mayor got peeved at the CMPD because they opposed his candidacy for office, so he spear-headed the movement to close down the A.B.L.E. program. So, while the mayor and the rest of us were partying Saturday, the CMPD, with the help of another entity's helicopter, snatched up a parolee intent on committing a serious crime in our city and aimed him back to prison.
Sometimes listening to Righeimer is kind of like watching one of those Holiday Inn Express commercials on television. He's not a police officer, but he's related to one! Under his short-sighted "leadership" the CMPD has been intentionally gutted and one of the most effective law enforcement tools, the A.B.L.E. program - which served our REGION, not just our city, with distinction for four decades - was cast aside like a basket of rotting fruit.
Righeimer has vindictively forced staffing levels to fall below where they were twenty years ago and refused for more than a year to permit the Chief of Police to hire replacements for departing officers while crime is on the rise. He ignored the staffing recommendations of his own consultants and those of then-Interim Chief Steve Staveley - a man with decades of law enforcement leadership experience who proudly served us as Interim Chief twice in recent years.
OVERTIME CRITIC - HE CAUSED IT!
Under his "leadership" the Costa Mesa Fire Department was forced to operate significantly understaffed, including at the highest leadership levels in the department, for two years. This created mandatory overtime for most of the fire department staff, for which members were criticized by Righeimer from his bully pulpit on the council dais. His "leadership" stalled the implementation of Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold's plan to redeploy the available staff for a more efficient operation, which conveniently kept one of his major campaign contributors in business in the city.
Righeimer crows about saving money by shuttering the A.B.L.E. program, yet spends that money on parties to distract the residents from what is really happening in our city. Sure, we all have fun at Christmas with the Snoopy House on the City Hall lawn. But it costs money. Sure, we all had a great time with the 60th Anniversary Celebration - but the City spent maybe $200,000 on it, and that doesn't even count thousands of staff hours spent on it. (By the way, a big chunk of that money went to a company operated by his pal, Scott Baugh) We're going to spend tens of thousands of dollars sprucing up the City Hall lobby - a completely unnecessary expense, but another "feel good" shiny object to distract us from the fact that crime is on the rise.
We're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars every year now on public relations staff! You only hire PR people when your organization needs public relations help - somebody to spin the facts to distract the public and deflect criticism. You hire party planners to make the residents feel good. The phrase, "Nero fiddled while Rome burned" keeps rattling around in my head.
I'D RATHER FEEL SAFE, THANK YOU
I don't know about you, but I'd much rather feel safe. We should be putting more public safety boots on the ground instead of throwing feel good events every few months. But then, that paragon of law enforcement knowledge, Mayor Righeimer, tells us frequently that more cops doesn't mean we'll have less crime. I've never seen a man so willing to demonstrate such a combination of arrogance and ignorance before!
CONTEMPLATE YOUR SAFETY
So, while you're shooting off fireworks for three nights, not one, this year - it's "all about the kids", right, Steve? - contemplate your public safety and what Righeimer on the council has REALLY meant in this city over the past few years.