Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Huy Pham Remembrance At City Hall Monday

 A SMALL, RESPECTFUL CROWD 

Five dozen or so people - employees and residents alike - gathered at the employee entrance on the east side of the Costa Mesa City Hall Monday afternoon for an unscripted memorial remembrance for Huy Pham, the young maintenance worker who leaped to his death at that very spot three years ago.  They gathered around the small memorial collage created at the site to quietly share stories about their departed friend.
SOME DEPARTMENT HEADS
Council members Sandra Genis and Wendy Leece, Police Chief Tom Gazsi, Fire Chief Dan Stefano and Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz were in attendance.  Former Director of Development and Deputy CEO Peter Naghavi also attended.

OTHER STAFFERS, TOO
I saw employees from Human Resources, Public Services, Finance, Police, Fire and other departments at the gathering.  I saw no representatives from the Executive Offices, although Assistant CEO Rick Francis did walk through the thinning crowd as it began to disburse.
RETIRED EMPLOYEE LEADERS
Several retired employees, including Helen Nenadal and Billy Folsom - both active in the Costa Mesa City Employees Association during their tenure as employees - chose to come honor Pham's memory.
RESIDENTS SPOKE
Activists Cindy Brenneman, Sue Lester, Robin Leffler and Harold Weitzberg were among those who spoke briefly after Chief Gazsi led the assembled group in silent prayer. 
JUST ME...
I saw no members of the media present.

A DATE TO CONTEMPLATE
This was a sad day - marking the third anniversary of an event that certainly will not soon be forgotten.  Pham's death was the exclamation point to a day that saw more than 200 layoff notices delivered to employees and marked the beginning of a long, bitter legal battle that to this day remains unresolved.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

I think Cindy Brenneman said it best when she said this was a remembrance of Huy Pham and an opportunity to tell those employees who remained that we were a community and they were appreciated.

And I thank Harold Weitzberg for for reminding us all to look for the signs of depression and despair and reach out to those who exhibit them. We can all help.

Like a Phoenix rising from ashes, this young man's tragic end helped to resurrect a strong and compassionate community spirit and we will remember that sad day as a new beginning.

I hope next year, we reach out to Huy's family so they know their son is not forgotten.

Thanks to all who arranged this.

3/18/2014 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Thank you, Geoff.
It was a beautiful tribute to Huy Pham from coworkers and residents alike.
I echo MaryAnn's sentiments.
We should get the word out sooner next year so more people can attend. We should reach out to Huy's family. They are also in our thoughts and prayers.
We will never forget Huy Pham.

3/18/2014 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

I wondered why the Daily Pilot had published forceful commentaries by “black hats” Righeimer and McCarthy in the Sunday edition, and Tim Sesler online the very next day – an unusual political trifecta for such a small newspaper.

Then Monday, as I stood among the crowd near the spot where Pham died, a pattern fell into place. People who would fool you, such as magicians and pickpockets, use the “Big moves cover small moves” strategy to distract you from perceiving what’s really going on. A pickpocket will forcefully bump into you while, with the lightest of touches, he gently lifts your wallet.

This threesome of commentaries just might have served to distract the public just prior to the anniversary of Huy Pham’s suicide.

Perhaps the Establishment mounted some “big moves” to distract people from fully recognizing Huy Pham’s life and recalling the circumstances of his death?

3/18/2014 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Byron de Arakal said...

Which would make John Canalis a co-conspirator. Please, Tom...

3/19/2014 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

There are a couple of considerations at work here, Byron.

The first: The time for playing pattycake is over. For three long years after riding into town, the black hats have been shooting it up, disrespecting and terrorizing the townsfolk, and basically laying waste to the city we’ve laboriously stitched together over the past six decades. It’s time for the white hats to take off the polite gloves.

The black hats have never played nice: right from the start, they’ve jumped on a sociopathic steamroller –boldness, disinhibition (e.g., poor impulse control including problems with planning and foresight), and meanness (e.g., lacking empathy and using cruelty to gain empowerment) – and tried to flatten any obstacle standing in the way of their agenda. Buy-in by the residents is apparently not valued.

The second: The Establishment is anyone who aids and abets the dismantling of Costa Mesa, or, equally important, doesn’t lift a finger to protest. Former President George W. Bush provides ample precedent for this definition. In an address to a joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11 he stated, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Two months later he filled in the gap with, "Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity."

The Establishment includes, of course, the active black hats. But it also includes the silent ones. The silence is deafening from those who built Costa Mesa … the business, political, and philanthropic leaders. Can they be happy with what’s been done to their careful construction?

Even the Great Recession has contributed. Pre-recession news articles were longer; they quoted citizens speaking in opposition to the council. Consequently, both sides of stories were told, and democracy was incrementally refreshed in each edition. Now only the council’s point of view is generally presented.

As for political leadership, it has been handed over to outsiders. The agenda of Costa Mesa’s black hats is congruent with that of the Orange County GOP Central Committee. Witness Chairman Scott Baugh’s speech to a Tea Party audience (caught on tape at http://vimeo.com/21546191) where he brags on Righeimer and Mensinger for being at “ground zero.” Was it a Freudian slip, given that “ground zero” is the point on the earth’s surface closest to a nuclear detonation?

And the beat goes on …
• Witness the national trade group, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), whose lobbyist came down from Sacramento to try to influence us into having a charter.
• Witness the American City County Exchange (ACCE) – the new, local-oriented version of the notorious American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – that intends to turn ALEC’s guns on “villages, towns, cities and counties.”

Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their … city.

3/20/2014 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Byron de Arakal said:
"Which would make John Canalis a co-conspirator. Please, Tom..."

Canalis is a good guy. de Arakal is a Righeimer enabler.

3/20/2014 05:42:00 PM  

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