Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dictator Rising

Those of you who are frequent readers of this blog will recall that I've warned that our young jailer/mayor is methodically attempting to turn Costa Mesa into a dictatorship. Some of you scoffed at that claim, accusing me of being too dramatic. Well, tonight's City Council meeting gave you yet another example of why I feel the way I do.

During the Public Comments portion near the beginning of the meeting several parents and residents of our city stood and spoke against what they perceived to be a pending violation of their rights and those of their children. They referred to a daytime curfew that was mentioned last week as part of the Gang Intervention program discussed at the Study Session. I understand their concern, since such a curfew reeks of some authoritarian regimes in the past. I suspect those concerned parents might not have been as worried if the mayor hadn't demonstrated a tendency to play fast and loose with individual rights.

Then, at the end of what turned out to be an abbreviated council meeting, the much-anticipated seating arrangement changes were discussed and the Mayor Mansoor demonstrated for us that he is, in fact, well on the way to becoming a dictator in our city. Despite the guidance provided to the council by former mayor Sandra Genis - who twice stood before them and read some very relevant passages from The Federalist Papers, gave some biblical quotes, and provided some history of previous council procedures - the mayor and his majority voted to force Linda Dixon to swap seats with Wendy Leece beginning at the next meeting. Dixon voted "No", but Katrina Foley abstained, stating that she didn't think this issue was appropriate business for the City Council.

Prior to the vote Dixon read an email, apparently the one mentioned in a late post on Itchingpost.com this evening, in which Leece apparently asked the City Manager to make the seating change. That message provided a cc to the mayor. We join Itchingpost.com in being more than a little curious about the faulty recollection on Leece's part, since she feigned ignorance of how this issue was brought up when interviewed by the Daily Pilot. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one, but since she showed us a willingness to bend the truth during her campaign, I think it's likely she's fibbing again.

The mayor took one more step to consolidate his iron grip on our city when he moved not only to force Dixon to give up her seat to Leece, but also included a proviso directing that steps be taken to codify his authority to choose who sits where without having to consider any view except his own. Actually, this is pretty much how he operates on most issues, so it was no surprise to me.

Those of you who voted for Mansoor and Leece last November based on their position on illegal immigration will soon find that the mayor is more than willing to mess with your rights, too.

Watching the mayor in action over the past few years makes me nervous. This apprehension is only exacerbated by the pervasive rumor that he might be investigating a change to directly elect the position of mayor. That sure sounds like a guy trying to solidify his position as dictator, not at all unlike Uganda's Idi Amin Dada - the Dictator For Life. As each day passes he demonstrates an unwillingness to be accountable to anyone for his actions. Such a direct election scheme would compound that problem.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The seating on the dais is a minor point in my mind, but I do find the process that Mansoor followed troubling. When you add this to his propensity to shoot from the hip on subjects such as the committees he has disbanded, the ICE proposal, the youth in government proposal, the South Coast development vote, one just has to worry about someone who believes he is right and has no need to consider or even listen to other points of view.

I predict that with this seating change we will see a tendency on his part to turn his back, quite literally, on Dixon and Foley and completely ignore them during council meetings.

3/21/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Sadly, I think you've got it right. Mansoor obviously doesn't really care what opinion Foley and Dixon have on any issue. It's likely that Eric will now become the center of dialogue on the dais. The guy over at the CM Press had it right when he gloated that now people have only to place a hand over their left eye to avoid seeing the two members of the minority.

I thought Sandy Genis was priceless last night.

Thanks for writing.

3/21/2007 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in this fine city for more than thirty years and only recently began paying attention to how it's being managed. That's probably because it was being managed pretty well, thank you very much, and nothing major showed up on the radar. That was then. This is now. Now we're being treated to a virtual sitcom about once a month by our proudly dysfunctional City Council. And, remarkably, they manage to one-up themselves each time. I for one am wondering, what's next? I can hardly wait to find out.

3/21/2007 12:23:00 PM  

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