Thursday, September 03, 2020

COSTA MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT STANDS TALL


TO THE MEN AND WOMEN (AND DOGS) OF THE CMPD
For the past few months our nation has been racked by violence unseen for a half-century.  The deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers has ignited demonstrations, riots, looting, arson and murder to the point where many Americans wonder what has happened to their country, and what the future holds.  The demonstrations in the name of men -  convicted criminals - who were apprehended for yet another crime and refused to follow the instructions of police officers on the scene and subsequently died as a result of their belligerence are, at best, misguided and, most likely, politically motivated by well-funded anarchists.

NOBODY SAYS THANKS
At the same time the deaths of police officers of all races have gone relatively unnoticed.  Nobody will paint a wall in their city with their likeness even though they gave their life to protect the citizens of that city.  Nobody will thank the officers responding to the riots for trying to maintain peace while not receiving support from their local or state officials.  Nobody will explain why they were ordered to abandon a police station to rioters who burned it to the ground.  Nobody will thank them for dodging bricks, rocks, bottles of water and condoms filled with feces as they try to protect lives and property.  Nobody is marching in their memory.  It tears my heart out.

THEY HAVE STOOD TALL
Through this all the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department have followed their training and their leadership and maintained relative calm throughout our city.  Regardless the number of people at demonstrations, the men and women of the CMPD have stepped up, held their ground and used outstanding judgment to resolve the issues.  The "law" would have permitted them to approach these situations much more aggressively - to issue citations, book violators, etc.  Instead, they choose, generally, to be the face of calm authority.  They chose to advise the demonstrators of the rules and encouraged them to follow them.  In most cases that mature approach worked.

HONORED TO KNOW THEM
I have been honored to know many members of the CMPD and their leadership.  I am proud to say the I'm personal friends with many of them and know what it takes for a law enforcement family to survive and thrive.  I know a little of the history of the organization and the trail of good men who have led it - and some who were not so good.  As a long-term resident I am proud of the leadership over the years that was forward-thinking - the A.B.L.E. helicopter program certainly comes to mind.  I'm proud that, for many years, the CMPD was the go-to place to work for good cops.  I took the photo at the bottom at the 60th anniversary celebration a few years ago.
WHAT WE DON'T KNOW
We don't know what the next couple months hold for us as the rhetoric ramps up in anticipation of the November 3rd elections.  We don't know how much the Trump/Biden rancor will spill over into local races.  We don't know whether we will see more boneheads chanting at Mayor Katrina Foley from her driveway, as has been done at least 3 times as I write this.  We don't know whether this tactic - by imported, well-funded outsiders intent on impacting our elections - will be expanded to the front lawns of other elected leaders or the steps of City Hall.  We don't know if the demonstrations in our city will degenerate into the kind of things we've seen in Seattle, Portland, Kenosha and other cities.

WHAT WE DO KNOW
What we DO KNOW is that the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department will continue to do their job to keep us safe.  Despite being understaffed by at least 20%, despite having a city leadership in recent years past that despised the men and women of the CMPD and did everything they could to cripple and discourage their members and despite having had leadership changes over the past couple decades that hampered their effectiveness, we know they will honor their motto to "protect and serve" us.  We know the current CMPD leadership is strong and supportive.  We know the current city leadership supports the CMPD 100% and, as budget constraints permit, will recognize that support in a more tangible way.  I just want them all to know that we appreciate them and support them... and to say THANK YOU for strapping on that belt, pinning on that badge and and honoring their oath of office.

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

WHO IS QUENTIN PULLEN AND WHAT DOES HE STAND FOR?

DISCLAIMER
Ever since he declared himself a candidate for Mayor of Costa Mesa earlier this year I have been attempting to have a conversation with Quentin Pullen - unsuccessfully.  I've reached out several times and, in fairness to him, I told him from the beginning that I was voting for Mayor Katrina Foley, but was eager to hear his ideas about what he thinks it takes to be the mayor of this city.  It's very possible he decided he had nothing to gain by chatting with me.  I get that.

STILL, I'M CURIOUS
Mr. Pullen is a Marine veteran, a trainer who markets himself as "Coach Q" and tells us he's a long-term Costa Mesa resident who has lived in several neighborhoods throughout the city.  His Facebook page is nice and he's produced a bunch of YouTube videos superficially speaking about specific issues in our city.  He also has a bunch of nice endorsement videos by friends.  It's a nice touch.

BUT... PRIORITIES AND SOLUTIONS?
As I told him in my last communication with him, I'm very curious about what he, as a black man in a city with fewer than 2% black population and considering the current incendiary racial atmosphere in our country, hoped to accomplished as Mayor of Costa Mesa - specifically.  I want to know what he thinks are the most pressing issues in our city in his order of priority.  I want to know what his ideas are about solutions to those problems.  We get no clue from his website nor his videos.

HOMELESSNESS
I want to know what his views on our homelessness issue.  Does he agree with the tactics the current council has taken to resolve it?  If not, what are his ideas?

COVID-19
How does he feel about the management of the COVID-19 pandemic by our current council? Is it good, bad or somewhere in between?  What would he do differently?

ECONOMY
The COVID-19 pandemic created a tremendous economic problem for our city and every other city.  What are his thoughts on this issue?  He tells us in one of his videos that he has not been able to operate his business since March of this year.  How has he managed to survive?  What does he want the city to do that it has not done?

HOUSING
In one of his videos he addresses the need for more housing, but seems to be unaware of recent efforts to provide it and of the state mandate to produce nearly 12,000 more housing units in the very near future.  What are his plans for solving this issue?

BLACK LIVES MATTER
Because he displays a huge Black Lives Matter banner in his garage workout studio I presume he is sympathetic to that organization.  I very much wanted to talk with him about that, to get a sense of just why he supports it and how that supportive feeling might affect his performance as Mayor of my city.  I want to know how he feels about the ongoing demonstrations and riots taking place in the name of that organization around the country.  I want to know how he feels about the societal unrest, and what, as mayor, he thinks he can do to manage it should it become an issue in our town.

NO PARTY PREFERENCE
Since he tells us that he is neither a Democrat nor a Republican - he says he's an American - I find myself wondering how he plans to carve out alliances as one vote on a seven-member city council?  Yes, the council is supposed to be non-partisan, but that ship sailed two decades ago when Chris Steel and Allan Mansoor were first elected and partisanship was amplified during the Jim Righeimer/Steve Mensinger era.  I want to know what kind of a consensus-builder he is.

I WOULD PROBABLY LIKE HIM, BUT...
Based only on the little I know about Quentin Pullen I think I would like him.  I think he's probably sincere about wanting to help our city.  However, it's unclear that he really understands the complexity of municipal governance and what kind of negotiations are necessary to accomplish things - even if he has them clearly defined.  I fear he's just the latest in a long line of well-intentioned residents who want to "do something", but who don't take the time to study and grasp the issues.  I'm sorry he has chosen to not chat with me.  Perhaps he will address these issues for the voters to see... somewhere.

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