FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE...
Today the editors of the Daily Pilot, our newspaper of record for more than a century, chose to publish a letter I submitted to them last week. Well, most of it. They edited my composition and removed around 100 words, some of which may have been inflammatory in their view. They retained the message and the resultant editing made my letter better, as is always the case. However, some of you apparently cannot access the Daily Pilot online, so I've reproduced my composition here for you. For those who can access that fine newspaper, you'll find this letter HERE. Enjoy.
This year, as is the case every even-numbered year, Thanksgiving Day follows an election earlier in November. Depending on the results, you either celebrate with gusto, or begrudgingly gnaw on a turkey leg and grumble about what might have been. Despite the controversy in the national election results, this year I join many other Costa Mesans smiling as we salivate over that dinner to come.
This election season was full of surprises, none more dramatic than Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton. Locally, though, we've had results that were similarly surprising. For example, as I type this a week before the holiday, and not all of the Orange County votes counted, it looks very much like Costa Mesa Mayor Steve Mensinger will not be returned to the City Council by the electorate. At this point, incumbent Sandra Genis and lawyer John Stephens, who teamed with former councilman Jay Humphrey as a slate, are neck-and-neck with a large lead over returning former mayor, Allan Mansoor, who, in turn, holds a lead over Mensinger for the third seat available this cycle.
Humphrey trails Mensinger by a small margin. This was a surprising result, so it seems appropriate to look for a reason. We don't have to look very far. In addition to the 17 statewide issues, there were eight local measures on the ballot facing Costa Mesa voters, two of which were citizen-generated initiatives addressing Growth and Fairview Park. Measure Y, the so-called Smart Growth Initiative, and Measure AA, designed to protect Fairview Park from development, were placed on the ballot after more than 7,000 signatures of registered Costa Mesa voters were obtained for each and qualified for the ballot.
However, Mensinger's City Council majority decided they couldn't trust the electorate, so they cobbled together two separate competing measures. The voters saw through that and both Measure Y and Measure AA are passing by astounding margins, at least 2-1.
These measures, and the campaigns of Genis, Stephens and Humphrey, were largely the result of grassroots efforts by hundreds of residents who pounded the pavement for months, knocking on doors, spreading about truth of issues and candidates, one voter at a time. At the same time, Mensinger and his campaign machine, which apparently was funded in great part by out-of-town developer money, flooded our mailboxes with a torrent of negative fliers denigrating the candidates and initiatives.
The final straw for many voters may have been when they attacked members of the Costa Mesa public safety organizations, many of whom supported the Genis/Stephens/Humphrey ticket. We don't know who chose that path, but it certainly was ill-advised and it backfired, because angry voters turned out in droves and made a statement at the polls; they've had enough.
If the trends hold, we can anticipate a new, more conciliatory atmosphere once the new council is seated. We can expect the return of study sessions, where pithy issues are fleshed out in public. The wisdom of all council members will be considered, and decisions made by the council will place the best interests of all Costa Mesans ahead of out-of-town developers. It will be fun to watch.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL
We here at A Bubbling Cauldron hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year we have much for which we can be thankful.
Labels: 2016 Election, Daily Pilot