Thursday, December 07, 2006

Freedom - Never Forget

"Yesterday, December seventh, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."

Those words, spoken by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on December 8, 1941 about the attack on Pearl Harbor, launched our country into World War II, to fight enemies in Europe and Asia and defend our freedom and way of life. Today, December 7, 2006, is the 65th anniversary of that attack.

Our world today faces similar threats to our safety and way of life. On September 11, 2001 we saw attacks on our homeland - the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers and the attack on the Pentagon - that took more American lives than the Pearl Harbor attack more than a half century ago. Since that date our leaders have been attempting to thwart the threat posed by radical factions in the Middle East, to, in their words, "fight them over there now instead of having to fight them here later."

Our country is in turmoil about the progress of the War on Terror. Political opportunists on both sides of the aisle have attempted to make political hay at the expense of the men and women in our armed forces who face an ethereal enemy every day and suffer casualties in the defense of our freedoms. Such relentless criticism is, at the very least, a distraction from the conduct of the war. At worst, it gives comfort and encouragement to those enemies who have stated their intent to destroy this country - to wipe it from the earth.

Today I ask each of you to look around you and view all the things we take for granted. We complain about traffic and the cost of fuel, but forget to be grateful for the opportunity to own a car and to travel wherever we choose in this country.

We complain about the rising cost of homes, yet forget to be grateful for the opportunity to purchase one, period.

We complain about our leaders, yet forget to be grateful for the opportunity to vote them out of office if we choose to do so.

We complain about our government and our leaders, yet forget to be grateful for the ability to do so.

Today I ask you to look at the image at the top of this page. It is the cross on Mt. Soledad, in San Diego, and the adjacent American Flag. This cross, which sits as the centerpiece of a memorial to veterans of our many wars, has been under attack for nearly two decades. To me, that attack symbolizes the attacks on our country here and afar. I took this photograph last spring during a visit to the memorial and view it frequently as a reminder of what a wonderful country this is and what we, as citizens, must do to protect it.

On this day, an anniversary of a day of "infamy", please join me as I repeat the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag:

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Thank you for reading these pages, and for commenting on them when you are moved to do so. This is just one more freedom worth defending.

I'll leave you today with one more quotation, from a man who did as much as any other in the middle of the last century to defend our country and the freedom of the world:

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fortress Costa Mesa

Well, that certainly didn't take long! I had speculated about how long it would take for the new city council majority to show it's intentions. It took one meeting.

At Tuesday night's City Council meeting - after all the
well-deserved accolades were heaped upon termed-out councilman Gary Monahan and the tears from his send-off were barely dry - the new council majority wasted no time in showing us just how they plan to operate.

Allan Mansoor and Wendy Leece were sworn in and perched on the dais, then the new majority showed us it will be business as usual by re-electing Mansoor as mayor and his glib buddy, Eric Bever as mayor pro tempore. This was an omen of things to come.

First, on an item plucked from the Consent Calendar, they debated for nearly an hour on whether or not the City of Costa Mesa should partner with the City of Santa Ana on a study funded by the OCTA regarding methods of getting residents to the MetroLink station in Santa Ana. What evolved was a clear case of Santanaphobia. The Mayor and his buddy, Bever, clearly didn't have any interest in being associated with Santa Ana on this issue - and probably not on any issue, for that matter. Their position was fueled by comments from several activists, including one particularly vitriolic guy who writes a local blog and has demonstrated his racial preferences for years. They decided not to move forward with the proposal and, as a result, may miss the opportunity for the utilization of $100,000 in OCTA funds.

It looks to me as though the new majority will continue to spit in the eye of neighboring cities to the detriment of Costa Mesa residents. They obviously intend to continue to operate this city as a stand-alone fiefdom with as little interaction and cooperation with neighboring cities as possible.

This observer came away from viewing this meeting with the impression that, with their "mandate" firmly in hand, the new majority fully intends to run roughshod over the residents of this city. The mayor, in particular, showed even less patience with differing viewpoints than in the past. He showed that he continues to be willing to quash comments by other council members - particularly when he's apparently already made up his mind.

For example, in the case of the request by Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) for permits to film two special events outside on their property this month despite the fact that they had a request for a minor conditional use permit denied by the council in the past, Mansoor very obviously had his mind made up before any kind of discussion took place. With the majority now in place without the bothersome occasional voice of mediation previously provided by Monahan, he will be hard pressed to even go through the formality of debate before calling for a vote. Does the word "dictator" sound familiar?

You will recall that I speculated about how long it would take for this crew to begin stomping on resident's rights. Last night we found out.

So, to the 10,122 voters who cast their ballots for Mansoor, I urge you to watch your back... your rights may be next.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Costa Mesa Heads Over The Brink

Well, in less than 48 hours the winners of the recent elections will be seated, new municipal officers will be elected and the new majority will take charge of Costa Mesa.

I suspect the council chambers will be filled to capacity on Tuesday, the 5th, by supporters of our young jailer/mayor and his running mate. I expect to see all of the "usual suspects" - the gaggle of "improvers" who have strutted, gloated and "rejoiced" (as one recent writer to the Daily Pilot put it) ever since November 7th, including one very controversial activist who has used his blog to bray away about what the "mandate" the Mansoor/Leece victory represents.

I won't be surprised at all to see Jim Gilchrist, the Grand Poobah of the Minuteman Mob, and some of his frothing out-of-town followers stand at the speaker's podium and praise Mansoor and Leece as "true patriots" and "brave leaders".

I also won't be surprised to see several of the folks who, for a year, have stood in opposition to the mayor and his motley crew and criticized him for his ICE plan and his tactics. It could be a very interesting evening on Tuesday.

I don't think I'll attend this particular meeting. If I'm going to up-chuck my dinner listening to fawning followers gush about their victory I'd rather do it at home.

Six months ago I looked forward to December 5th, 2006 as a date when we could, indeed, celebrate the return of thoughtful, intelligent, reasonable leadership to Costa Mesa. Sadly, that is not to be. Instead of electing leaders who have proved their dedication to this city through decades of service and demonstrated their skill any number of ways, a slim majority of voters chose to perpetuate the divisive and narrow-minded forces that have ruled this city with an iron hand for the past two years.

No, December 5th will not be a day of celebration as far as I'm concerned. I will mark it on my calendar as the day a small, angry group of people, guided by a very unsavory philosophy spewed by one twisted activist, kicked this city over the brink. I don't see a way to stop the slide.