Contemplating Calamity In Costa Mesa
A few hours have passed since the Righeimers'/Mensinger lawsuit story broke and I've used that time to think about this situation a little more. Actually, I'm still reeling as I contemplate our two highest-ranking elected officials suing the police officers of this city. It's mind-numbing...
An ironic twist is that, as it was breaking I had just finished a meeting at City Hall in which Mayor Jim Righeimer was a participant. We got sat near each other and got along just fine. I should have known something was up! Sure wish I'd known about it then - we could have had a really interesting conversation.
As more than a few folks have speculated in the past couple hours, the timing of this event is VERY interesting. Was the news released today through Righeimer's pal, Frank Mickadeit, as a premptive strike on news he may have about status of the criminal investigation into that matter? Did fellow Republican big wig District Attorney Tony Rackaukas let him know that it's going to be dropped?
EMPTYING THE WAR CHEST?
More than a few people this evening have speculated that this is just a move to drain the CMPOA of financial reserves - dollars that might have been used to campaign against Righeimer's re-election next year. Actually, with the benefit of hindsight, that doesn't seem far-fetched at all. The CMPOA will have to pay for their defense and the plaintiffs will have to pay their own costs. The City should NOT be on the hook for any of that stuff.
WHAT'S UP WITH MENSINGER?
And why in the world did Steve Mensinger insert himself onto this law suit? He wasn't involved in the event except that he was at Monahan's bar sharing liquid refreshment with Righeimer just before the event occurred. The reports say that he feared he might be set-up by the CMPD. Good grief! This comes from a guy who treats traffic laws like they are merely suggestions. Then, again, he treats most rules like that - if he doesn't agree with them he just doesn't follow them.
WHAT WILL THEY SAY?
I wonder just what Righeimer and Mensinger will say about this lawsuit? Will say that the CMPOA left them no choice? If so, will they remember those words as uttered a couple years back when the CMCEA had no choice but to file suit against the city to protect their rights - because they feared for their jobs. Is that so different from this situation? Will they see the irony in that?
Another interesting question posed to me tonight by more than one person - will both Mensinger and Righeimer have to recuse themselves from ANY discussions about labor negotiations involving the CMPOA? Will they be forbidden from having ANY contact with ANY member of the CMPOA, including the sergeants-at-arms during council meetings? I'm thinking "ride-alongs" are over for those two guys.
WHAT ABOUT GARY?
Oh, yes... what about Gary Monahan? According to the reports, he was the target of the private investigator, Chris Lanzillo, in the first place. If that scenario was perpetrated by the CMPOA, is Gary in fear of being set up? If so, why is he not included in this lawsuit? And whatever happened to that "big-busted babe" that was theoretically set to entrap him?
WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE EMPLOYEES?
All of our employee associations - they're NOT unions despite the fact that Righeimer, Mensinger and their sycophants constantly refer to them as such - are already feeling a lot of stress because of these two men. What will THEIR reaction be to this news? Will they feel equally threatened by by the fact that the mayor and mayor pro tem sued employees?
WELCOME BACK, TOM
And how will the senior staff management deal with this situation? CEO Tom Hatch just returned from a much-needed vacation to find the 60th Anniversary issue waiting for him and now this.
And what will Police Chief Tom Gazsi and the folks in Human Resources do now as they try to recruit new officers to fill open slots and anticipated openings later this year. If you're a young recruit - or an old hand seeking a lateral move - will you want to join an organization that is being sued by the mayor and his pal? Duh! I can hear the telephone calls to HR tomorrow as candidates call to withdraw their applications. And the city becomes a little less safe...
WHO DO THEY CALL?
And, who will the mayor and his buddy call if there's a problem in their neighborhood - Ghostbusters? Seriously, will they have to call the Sheriff's Department for problems in their neighborhood. Righeimer has already mentioned a "problem home" close to him... will he call Costa Mesa Police Dispatch for help?
I EXPECT DEPARTURES TO ACCELERATE
As most already know, several departures are scheduled within the Costa Mesa Police Department before the end of the year. Many very senior officers have chosen to retire and others are moving on to what will obviously be greener pastures. I fully expect, in light of this news, that more seasoned Costa Mesa Police Officers will choose to depart rather than remain in what has become the most hostile of environments.
JUST A DISTRACTION?
In the meantime, some folks around our community are suggesting that this may just be a big distraction to divert attention from the growing possible corruption investigation taking place at City Hall, and also from the newest problem - the installation of that decomposed granite path through a federally-protected vernal pool adjacent to Waldorf School in Fairview Park. THAT one could bring the wrath of the federal government down upon us and actually severely diminish the City's ability to do ANYTHING in the park.
A SAD DAY...
I've been in this city for four decades and cannot remember anything like this happening before. Thanks to the lawsuit filed by our mayor and mayor pro tem, today I became a little less proud to be a Costa Mesan.
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