Quashing Criticism Advocated By Mensinger!
It seems like there has been so much "stuff" swirling around in Costa Mesa ever since Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger landed on the City Council that it's sometimes difficult to wrap one's arms around it all
The adversarial relationship those two men have established with the employees is very disheartening and frustrating. They've created a toxic employment atmosphere in the City that permeates every nook and cranny of government life. Employees at every level are constantly looking over their shoulders, waiting for the next bad-news-shoe to drop. The fifth floor - the "Executive Offices" - seems to have become a bunker, secured from prying eyes or inquisitive residents. Cameras, where none existed before, now record every movement in the building and other city facilities. Staffers worry about their every word being monitored, whether via telephone or electronic mail. Thirty-nine police officers are among the dozens of employees who have left Costa Mesa since those guys took over!
WRONG "BUSINESS SKILLS"
We now have an ongoing array of scandals and lawsuits when those kind of events were extremely rare in years past. Righeimer and Mensinger theoretically bring their business expertise to their city jobs, which apparently include a willingness to file or incur lawsuits as simply a cost of doing business. When, for example, was the last time you heard of two seated council members - the top to slots in city government - actually suing their police department?
ANGRY SPEAKERS ARE VILIFIED
By their actions - which are now too numerous to list here - they have incurred the wrath of many residents. Some of those, who actually pay attention to civic matters and take the time to study issues and spend their precious personal time standing before the City Council to express their concerns and offer potential solutions, are frequently vilified by council members from the dais and in the public press. We're talking about a broad diversity of backgrounds - Republicans and Democrats and folks who decline to state, as well. Business owners, educators, retirees and young folks, as well as the normal parade of special interest groups, all step up and speak up and, many times, tell the council things they don't want to hear. That, of course, is a big mistake.
MINDS MADE UP FIRSTThe council majority - you have to lump too-long-at-the-trough Gary Monahan with them because he seldom votes against Righeimer and Mensinger - seem to have their minds made up on almost every issue BEFORE they hear from the public, and brush those views aside when they eventually take the time to hear them.
ONLY "YES MEN" NEED APPLYRigheimer and Mensinger simply don't like criticism of any kind from anyone, period! That's clear at almost every opportunity they have for interaction with the general public, not just the little gatherings of their like-minded sycophants who nod their heads like a flock of boot-licking bobble head dolls.
BORING, BUT DANGEROUSThis attitude has recently become exacerbated by the advent of a new blogger in town. Resident Dennis Popp, whose blog was recently portrayed in a Daily Pilot article as a "kinder, gentler blog", seems to have become the latest internet mouthpiece for the council majority. I don't talk much about his blog because, quite honestly, it's too darn boring. However, over the past couple of weeks he's taken a much more negative stand and it just cries out for response.
LOCK THEM OUT!In his current offering to his few readers he, once again, takes critics of the City Council to task because he feels the expression of their constitutionally-guaranteed right of free speech keeps the council from "doing things". In fact, the last few words in his latest online rant in which he bemoans the presence of "rude jerks" says the following:
"Perhaps the rude jerks should be uninvited from Council meetings, too. It might give doers an opportunity to get the job done."
MENSINGER'S COMMENTAnd, as if there's any doubt about what kind of influence he has over members of the City Council, Steve Mensinger echoed that statement in an online comment and added, "I would second that motion."
MUZZLING THE PUBLIC
Such is the state of municipal affairs today in Costa Mesa where the Mayor Pro Tem overtly advocates blocking residents and others from expressing opposing views because it theoretically hampers them from "getting the job done"!
This kind of overt admission by a top elected official should send a chill down the spine of EVERY resident of this city. These men apparently view themselves not as public servants, but as members of a junta, ruling with an iron hand and willing to abridge the rights of the citizens of this community to force their will upon them.
HERO OR NOT...
I've heard Dennis Popp referred to as a "war hero". I have no knowledge of his record during "our war" - the Viet Nam Conflict. I don't really care, either. I do know that he and I shared service to our country at approximately the same time. I find myself wondering how he squares that time in our lives - when we both took an oath to protect our country from enemies, foreign and domestic - to the current date, when he advocates dictatorship over democracy. Regardless what his service record was, I find his current views abhorrent and, even worse, that they are obviously shared and advocated by people in power that can use them to continue to do much to damage our community with those attitudes.
A YEAR AND A WEEK...
In fifty-three weeks we will enter the voting booth to decide who will help guide the future of our city. Do we perpetuate the right-leaning, lock-step march toward a society akin to Nazi Germany or do we select people to lead our city with a view of the democratic process more in line with the views of our founding fathers? Do we want our city to return to being a shining example of a well-run community where all voices are welcome and loyalty among employees is appreciated or will we let it continue to decay into a politically-driven bastion of far right-wing authoritarian oppression? The voters will decide.