Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eastside Annual Picnic Sunday!

Just a reminder from our friends at the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group that they will be hosting their annual community picnic this Sunday, August 2, 2015 at Harper Park from 1-5 p.m.

This is always a great, family-friendly fun event, so mark your calendar and come meet some of your neighbors and maybe win a cool prize.  Here's their flyer... click on it to enlarge it.

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Happy Birthday, Larry... Mi Amigo

Those of you who are long-time readers of this blog know that each year on this date know that I mark this day, July 30th, with a remembrance of my dear friend, Larry Moore - my best friend for 57 years until a tragic accident took him from us eleven and half years ago.
I've written many, many times about him and our friendship and love for each other.  You can read other entries HERE and HERE... and there are more.  Type his name in the search block at the upper left corner of this page to find more entries on my friend.
Suffice it to say that I still miss my pal after all these years.  I can still recall spending six weeks at his bedside in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit of the University Hospital in Las Vegas, trying to help keep him with us after he crashed his motorcycle on a desolate road on his way home from that city.

I recall the many trips his former wife and two daughters made across the desert to visit my friend, to hold his hand and talk to him although he couldn't respond.  He was proud of them both.  His eldest daughter, Kara, became a detective with the LAPD.
I can still recall as though it was yesterday driving out to that site and seeing the skid marks caused when my friend tried to navigate the 90 degree turn he didn't see coming.  I can still recall the memorial my wife and I built alongside that road in his honor so many years ago.

I can still recall returning to that site and, quite by accident, coming across the railroad work crew that a few weeks earlier had rushed to his aid and the training and wisdom to call the Life Flight helicopter to whisk him to the hospital, and having the chance to personally thank those men for their quick action that gave us a fighting chance to save Larry's life.
And, I can still remember the steady stream of friends who traveled across the desert to see their friend, even though for almost all that time he was not conscious and couldn't acknowledge them.  Because of his 31-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department and in his role as Athletic Director of the Police Academy for the last half of it, he knew thousands of cops from all over the world.  The emails I sent out each night - which began as short notes to a half-dozen friends and ended up being distributed to more than 1,000 people each evening near the end - struck a chord with those folks from as far away as Antarctica.  He was a man much admired and much loved.
Today my friend would have been 74 years old.  He briefly knew his grandson - a spitting image of his grandfather and who just graduated from high school - and never knew his granddaughter.  He left us all much too early and is missed every day.  Happy Birthday, Amigo.... I miss you still...


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Independence Day Holiday After Action Report

The "after action" report, prepared by the Costa Mesa Police Department and the Costa Mesa Fire Department, covering their activities and the results thereof over the multiple-day Independence Day holiday this year is available at the City website, HERE.

The following two charts summarize some of the activities over the holiday.  Click on the image to enlarge if necessary.
Please take a few minutes to read the comprehensive report.  It provides not only a clear overview of this year's activities, but also a list of 13 recommendations for future years.  That list appears here (click on the image to enlarge it):
Thanks to the men and women of the Costa Mesa Fire Department and the Costa Mesa Police Department for their diligence again over the past Independence Day holiday.  The fireworks exploded for a couple weeks before and a couple weeks after the already too long period allowed by law.  Pets were terrorized and, I am told, veterans suffered, too.

Perhaps, one day the residents of this city will come to their senses and celebrate this holiday with one, big community fireworks extravaganza instead of permitting the so-called safe and sane fireworks to be fired-up for several days.  Next week the holiday falls on Monday, so I won't be surprised if we see a week of safe and sane fireworks, culminating on that day.  Too bad for us all.

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Snowden Retires, Lands A New Gig

Earlier this week it was announced that Dave Snowden - who served Costa Mesa with distinction as Police Chief for almost seventeen years, then retired and moved on to become Police Chief of the Beverly Hills Police Department until he recently retired from that position - has accepted a new senior advisory position with Englander Knabe & Allen, a Los Angeles-based Public Relations agency.

We here at A Bubbling Cauldron wish our friend, Dave Snowden, all the best in this new job.  From the description provided, this seems to be a perfect fit for him.  You can learn more about that organization HERE.  The following is the text of their press release.
EKA PR logo
Retired Beverly Hills Chief Dave Snowden joins 
Englander Knabe & Allen

Los Angeles, July 27, 2015 - Retired Beverly Hills, Costa Mesa, and Baldwin Park Chief of Police Dave Snowden has joined Englander Knabe & Allen as a senior advisor and will head up the firm's new Law Enforcement Executive Search and Training Practice.  Mr. Snowden will also work in the firm's existing law enforcement practice group as well as work on crisis management, media training, and consulting on pension issues.

Mr. Snowden grew up in Montebello and attended California State University Fullerton. He began his law enforcement career in Montebello in 1966. For the past eleven years, Mr. Snowden had been Police Chief for Beverly Hills, and on June 13 he retired from law enforcement.  Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Snowden has been a valuable public safety asset for the cities of Montebello, Baldwin Park, Costa Mesa, and Beverly Hills.  After only six years into his law enforcement career Mr. Snowden attained the rank of sergeant.  In 1980, Mr. Snowden was selected Chief of Police for Baldwin Park and served as Chief until 1986 when he was selected as Chief of Police for Costa Mesa.

"Dave's extensive experience as a law enforcement veteran and as head of several police departments brings a unique perspective to our firm.  His expertise and knowledge are a welcome addition to our team. Although he will not be involved in anything in Beverly Hills, Dave is uniquely suited to head up our newly created Executive Search and Training Practice and work on various pension and crisis management issues and provide media training for our clients.  I am delighted he joined the team at EKA", said Managing Partner Harvey Englander.

With over 38 years of experience in leadership management and public safety, Mr. Snowden is a respected member of the Southern California law enforcement community.  Mr. Snowden was President of San Gabriel Valley and LA County Chiefs Association, Orange County Chiefs and Sheriff's Association, California Police Chiefs Association, the League of California Cities Police Chiefs Department, and Beverly Hills Police Foundation, and director for California Police Chiefs Association and Los Angeles County Peace Officers Association.

For 12 years in a row, Mr. Snowden was voted as among the top 103 most influential people in Orange County by the Daily Pilot newspaper and voted volunteer of the year in Orange County, 2003. Mr. Snowden is a recognized public figure who works within his community on several charitable organizations such as USO Metro, PenFed Foundation, Hoag Hospital, Orange County Blind Children's School, and the Beverly Hills Active Adult Club. Mr. Snowden has several years of leadership volunteer experience for groups such as the Hoag Hospital. Mr. Snowden served as President for the Hoag Hospital's 552 Club and the President's Circle and as director for the Hoag Hospital Foundation.  Lastly, he is an active volunteer for New Directions for Veterans.  

Dave can be reached at or (213) 741-1500 Extension 595.

About Englander Knabe & Allen
Englander Knabe & Allen is a strategic communications firm specializing in Lobbying, Public Affairs, and Issues and Crisis Communications and Litigation Support. The Los Angeles Business Journal consistently ranks EKA as among the largest Los Angeles Based Independent Public Relations Agency. For more information visit

Contact: Eric W. Rose (805) 624 - 0572

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Smoking Lounge Rules Heads To City Council

Before more than 170 people in City Council Chambers last night, the Costa Mesa Planning Commission spent nearly ninety minutes discussing changes to certain codes affecting the way so-called "Smoking Lounges" are managed within the city before voting unanimously to move the item to the City Council.  I thought it was interesting that there was no sign of the Hookah Lounge folks, since it was their issue that started the whole thing more than a year ago.

I knew it was going to be an interesting evening when I arrived at City Hall thirty minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin and found several dozen people milling around outside in groups, vaping away - sucking on all manner of strange devices and blowing mist out into the air.
Although there seemed to be no official uniform for these folks, many of the men wore some form of black outfit with a variety of logos on their t-shirts.  Peeking from beneath the shirts and shorts were examples of body art - tattoos - and many wore baseball caps with flat bills, just ever-so-slightly askew.  Mixed in among them were young men I might describe as almost "Ivy League" in their attire, plus several young women, some of whom also sported body art.  And, I'm told, a few audience members wore sober living home identification.
About 5:45 little gaggles of those folks began to file into City Council Chambers and found seats scattered around the auditorium.  Within five minutes three-quarters of the seats were filled and more folks straggled in after the proceedings began.  And, I must observe, the combination of fragrances of whatever they were sucking on out in the parking lot stayed with them as they filed into the room - to the point that some of the non-vaping members of the audience had to excuse themselves and leave the room a couple times during the meeting to get some fresh air.
For the first time in recent memory the Sergeant-at-arms took it upon herself to define the rules of behavior in the chambers before the meeting began.  Instructions were given to those who wished to speak to fill out the appropriate card and to maintain decorum.  As it played out, that admonition probably wasn't necessary, but we'll never know.  The crowd was quiet for the most part and respectful during the meeting.  And, thank goodness, most of them chose not to speak on the issue.

At 6:30 the commission began hearing this issue, Public Hearing #2, HERE.  Right off the bat, before Planner Stephanie Roxas could make her presentation, newlywed Vice Chair Jeff Mathews asked for confirmation that the commission was dealing with only lounge uses, not retail sales of the products in question - which was affirmed.  It was later affirmed that they were also dealing with the USE of these products in public places, like parks.

Following Roxas' presentation and a few questions Amy Buck, representing the Orange County Department of Public Health, gave a presentation.  The following slides formed the core of her presentation and, I believe, will be self explanatory.  Click on the images to enlarge, if necessary.

A total of nine (9) people stepped up to speak on this subject.  The first one was a fellow named Austin Hopper, who was up and down so quickly that I couldn't get my camera up fast enough to get a photo.  I did, however, find this one online.  When he was asked who he was earlier by a member of the audience before the meeting began, he said his name and "Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce".  During his brief time at the podium - maybe fifteen seconds - he praised the small business owners selling these products.  However, further investigation turns up he is actually an officer of a vaping company who has been involved in the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce in the past.

It was interesting to note that many of the speakers chose not to identify themselves, although Doug Hughes did identify himself as a representative of a vaping trade group and presented public relations information about vaping, including claims that vaping helps with smoking cessation.  A later speaker - unidentified - asked the crowd how many were former smokers and more than 100 people raised their hands.

Mary Spadoni spoke briefly, congratulated the staff for the hard work and urged the commission to maintain the 17/1000 parking space requirement.  She also asked of the highly-touted new Live/Work units being built might be a locale for a vaping shop.

Ann Parker spoke and thanked all the young people for showing up and encouraged them to become involved in broader issues in the city.  I had the strong sense that most were not interested in anything else except this particular issue.

Other speakers opined that vaping has nothing to do with tobacco use, although a quick check online finds many vaping outlets advertising tobacco on their sites, too.

One speaker was concerned about customers not being about to have personal interaction at vaping shops, and not being able to sample the products.  She expressed her opinion that, without that personal touch, their customers would just buy online and significantly damage "these small, local businesses."  Later commissioner Stephan Andranian expressed confusion about that fact, wondering why - if the local businesses were providing such an essential service - would anyone buy online? Uh, huh...

The final speaker was a man named John Cavanaugh, who identified himself as an owner of three vaping businesses in the "Newport-Mesa" area - two in Costa Mesa and one in Newport Beach.  He said, "in fact, half of the people here work for me." - and that explained the turnout.

During the discussion Chairman Rob Dickson addressed Spadoni's concern about the live/work units, indicating they were only authorized for specific uses... but I don't remember that being the case.  Examples of SOME types of businesses have been mentioned, but I don't recall uses being restricted.  In fact, since most of the work elements of the live/work units are 250 square feet and the "sampling area" could only be less than 100 square feet, it seems like a very good question.  A retailer of this kind of product could "sell" it in the first-floor work space and just carve out a little cranny in which folks could do their "sampling".

In any event, just before 8 p.m. the commission voted, 5-0, to move this issue on to the City Council for discussion and approval.  Some language changes were made further fine-tuning some of the definitions to tighten up the process.  Now we'll see what happens from here.  After the rest of the meeting ended about 40 minutes later there were still knots of folks in the parking lot talking and vaping.

In other news of the evening, Public Hearing #3 was continued to the next meeting, on August 10th.

 Public Hearing #1, the nice little project on Merrill Place presented by architect George Seitz was approved after a short discussion.

The final item on the agenda, Public Hearing #4, the request for a sales facility near the Hilton Hotel on Bristol Street at the site of a recently-relocated high-end furniture store was approved with a few conditions attached involving signage, test drive routes and special events approvals.  During the discussion I was amused by Dickson's concern that this facility might devolve into "low-end, high-end" car sales, and used as a point of reference a 1978 American Motors AMX.  I smiled. 

During her comments Assistant Director of Development Services, Claire Flynn, told us that a "packed" joint study session with the City Council is being scheduled for September 8th at which possible revisions to the Urban Plans and the Land Use Element of the General Plan would be discussed, so the Planning Commission's meeting planned for August 24th would likely be cancelled.  Dickson adjourned the meeting to August 10th and, we were actually out of the auditorium before 8:30 p.m.  Yea!

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