Monday, April 30, 2007

Cha, Cha, Changin'

Good Grief! I take a little relaxing weekend out of town and return to find my world turned upside down!

First, on Thursday the Daily Pilot editors published a submission of mine
, including a two-year-old file photo, that capsulized my recent rant about Jim Righeimer's shredding of developer Barry Saywitz last week. (here) Of course, all the usual suspects who post anonymous comments in the Pilot online have taken their shots at me. I love it.

Then, on Friday, Daily Pilot Publisher Tom Johnson announced wide-reaching changes at our local newspaper of record. This was followed up with the introduction of the "new" Daily Pilot in a piece on Sunday which outlined some of the changes in detail.

Among these changes is the fact that old pal and muse, Byron de Arakal, has returned to the fold as a regular columnist for the Daily Pilot and, as a result, has placed his blog,, into a self-induced coma! No one knows whether it will ever return. This is a mixed blessing. It's great that Byron will be rotating with the ever-feisty Barbara Venezia, writing a Costa Mesa-centric column every other week. His perception and wit have been sorely missed on those pages. Even though has racked up over 19,000 hits since the counter was installed, Byron's views deserves a much larger audience. He will get that kind of audience the first time his words hit print in a couple weeks. The community will benefit from his contributions because no local writers have demonstrated his skill at dissecting an issue and reaching straight to the heart of the matter. His ability to slice and dice the clowns among us is unparalleled. I can hardly wait.

The changes Johnson announced are much more than a little botox injection - there is some major nipping and tucking going on. Another of those changes is the announcement that carpetbagger Jim Righeimer, our guy Riggy, will have his very own column every Saturday - purportedly to present his view of "conservative issues". I wonder what those might be? The War? Abortion? Illegal Immigration? Why do I care what a rookie planning commissioner thinks about those issues? Maybe because he's being groomed by the Orange County Republican hierarchy for bigger and better things?

Righeimer, who has lived in Costa Mesa only since last July, is a very smart guy, with strong political connections within the Republican Party. He's Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's protÈgÈ, hence his placement in his planning commission seat as pay back for Rohrabacher's support of our young jailer/mayor in the last election. He's an articulate fellow, but apparently not blessed with the burden of patience. And, based on his attack on developer Barry Saywitz last week, may be a guy who holds a grudge, too. If so, I guess I'm in big trouble, huh?

Riggy's column may shut up those yapping yorkies who write anonymously in the Daily Pilot griping about what they perceive as the "liberal" view expressed by that newspaper. We'll see. For my part, I don't care what those cowards who won't attach their real names to their comments think. They may be writing from Rancho Cucamonga or Laguna Beach, for all we know.

Another plus is that Steve Smith, who has been attempting to influence our morals and television habits twice a week for years, will be reduced to only one shot a week at us. This is good news, even though some of his recent columns have been less offensive and vacuous than previous ones. He will be addressing education-related topics - probably a good fit for his style.

"Your Neighbor" - The-Brain-Who-Ate-Costa-Mesa over at the CM Press - launched into Johnson's announcement with a couple entries that set a new low for coarseness, even for him, (here) and (here). I guess for his loyal readers who just can't get enough of his rants, this kind of "humor" was just fine and dandy. Every time I read that kind of literary vomit I find myself wondering what his young son - whom he frequently mentions in his blog and before public forums - thinks of his father's work. It's surly not the kind of stuff I would want my young relatives to read.

So, the jury is still out on the Daily Pilot re-vamp. Change is inevitable and, from the sound of things, the Pilot will be a much more readable, informative daily community newspaper. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product as it evolves.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Riggy on a Rampage

In the immortal words of those one-hit-wonders, the Baha Men, "Who let the dogs out?! woof woof, woof woof"

Planning Commissioner James Righeimer - the carpetbagger who holds his seat because his buddy, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, boosted our young jailer/mayor's campaign last year - showed us the real "Riggy" at the Planning Commission meeting on Monday, April 23rd. He slipped his leash and went straight for the throat of an applicant who was attempting to get approval for a condominium conversion project in our city.

Righeimer, in what fellow commissioner Eleanor Egan would later refer to as a "cross-examination", read developer Barry Saywitz the riot act with a level of aggressive rudeness not seen in this city in recent memory. Watching "Riggy" in action, it's clear that he's been watching too many "Law and Order" re-runs, and that patience is not his long suite.

From Righeimer's very first question, "Mr. Saywitz, what does "intention" mean to you?", you knew Saywitz was in trouble. That was the start of an interrogation that questioned Saywitz about his "intentions" for this project and his veracity. Righeimer questioned his management skills and strongly suggested Saywitz fire his property manager at the location in question. He nit-picked the project to pieces like a man looking for a golden needle in a haystack - chaff was flying everywhere!

At the end of the discussion, after Righeimer flexed his muscles and berated Mr. Saywitz mercilessly for the best part of an hour, the Planning Commission approved the project, but only after they "conditioned" it to reduce 3 units from the proposed 12 unit project. It sure seemed to a few of us watching the proceedings that Old Riggy seemed determined to be sure Mr. Saywitz was going to have a hard time making a profit on the project. I found myself wondering if Righeimer might have a ax to grind with Mr. Saywitz beyond this project. It's difficult to explain his conduct otherwise.

Later in the evening the commission declined another condo conversion project outright, despite the fact that the developer was already underway with significant improvements. Unless the applicant appeals to the City Council and the denial is overturned, this project will remain apartments.

I've got strong mixed emotions about what I watched last night. There is no doubt in my mind that we need to upgrade our requirements for the conversion of apartments to condos as we try to encourage greater home ownership in this town. However, as Commissioner Egan so eloquently put it last night, if we think people are going to buy high end homes in that neighborhood (referring to the Saywitz project), we'd better think again. Developers are pretty savvy guys. They're not going to spend a pile of money on a product that won't sell.

Of greater concern for me is the attitude of Commissioner Righeimer. To approach this developer, or any developer, with virtual brass knuckles and berate and belittle him from the dais is well beyond the normal bounds of civility I expect from those on our commissions. Mr. Saywitz had, as far as we know, given Mr. Righeimer no reason for such belligerent behavior. After the dust settled, almost every issue Righeimer rattled on and on about had already been addressed by Saywitz and/or were included in previously agreed-to conditions. Righeimer's pontificating about his 28 or 29 years (he used both numbers) as an owner/developer/manager of "hundreds of units" as he flailed Saywitz looked at the time - and even more so with the passage of a few more hours and a review of the tape - like political posturing. Hmmm, isn't that interesting? A political pay back appointee posturing like a potential candidate for "something". We already know he was a candidate for the state Assembly - the seat Van Tran holds. It looks to me, as I've said in the past, that Old Riggy was given a high visibility perch from which to squawk as the clock ticks until the next round of elections.

Sandwiched between the deliberations of the two condo conversions was a request by a resident, Mr. Hernandez, to build a large home on the Westside. Many of the neighbors stood and complained about the size of the proposed building, fearing that it would be out of scale with the community. During the discussion, rookie commissioner Sam Clark speculated about the future use of this home ten years downstream "when all the kids are gone". He speculated that it might become a "group home for (pause) 20 college students or God-knows-what, I can't predict the future." He made a motion to reverse the planning staff's approval based on the fact that it's not compatible nor harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood. Even though the plans met all city requirements and was recommended for approval by the staff, Egan seconded his motion and expanded the findings which seemed to have a vague inference that she was afraid of it becoming a 5,000 square foot flop house for illegal aliens. Riggy chimed in, trying to establish new guidelines without agendizing the question first. He was on a roll, for sure.

As we know, the City Council passed an urgency ordinance this month to put a moratorium on all condo conversions in the city until tighter standards are established. This is in the wake of their "ready-shoot-aim" approach to the redevelopment of the Westside, where, because of the lack of vision on the part of the council majority, the floodgates of development were opened without proper consideration being given to the result. Now they've forced all the developers to mark time while they try to figure out exactly what they want. This lack of foresight is typical of small people in big jobs.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Costa Mesa's Image Trashed

I plunked down on my couch Sunday morning and began working my way through the three local newspapers, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and, of course, the Daily Pilot. I'd already completed my "prep" - going through each one and discarding the advertisement sections - does anyone really read that stuff?

About a third of the way through the Times I picked up the new Opinion section and began thumbing through the pages when an article entitled "The ugliest building in town" caught my eye. This is allegedly written by two guys who write a blog about Los Angeles architecture. They took a poll of folks in that business to determine the ugliest structure in Los Angeles and when I read down the article, which described opinions of many well-known and some not-so-well-known buildings, I came across this comment: "
Nominations ran the gamut, from the '80s-style corporate glass towers — exemplified by the Directors Guild of America building on Sunset Boulevard, which was likened to a "Costa Mesa bank building".

I was really ticked off! Now my hometown is being used as a benchmark for bad architecture!

Those of you who read this blog frequently probably saw the comment reader Len Bose posted on my entry entitled, "Mansoor Creates Gang Haven", posted 4/18/07. It read as follows: Yesterday while at a Pizza party with my seven year old, in Huntington Beach, the subject of trains was brought. I asked the six year old “have you ever been over to Fairview Park and seen the Train Station?” Not one but two of the HB mothers over hearing me said “ Its not safe in THAT part of town”.

I really don't like to see Costa Mesa referred to in such disparaging terms. This town is arguably the center of culture and retail in Orange County. The performing arts complex can measure up against any venue in this country and the whole South Coast Metro area, including South Coast Plaza, is a destination for shoppers from around the world.

However, over the past few years, the actions of the Mansoor-led majority on the city council have created a world-wide image of Costa Mesa as a slum and haven for violent illegal aliens. Instead of pumping up the attributes of this city, the mayor and his cronies seem determined to be sure Costa Mesa is viewed by outsiders as a terrible, unsafe place to live, work or visit.

When Mansoor launched his bogus plan to cross-designate every Costa Mesa cop as an immigration screener a couple years ago he created a firestorm of controversy, which saw demonstrators being dragged from the City Council chambers and arrested- an image beamed around the world. When he was embraced by Jim Gilchrist and his rabid supporters and named an honorary Minuteman, Mansoor instantly became a national celebrity, appearing on television to spout his "I just want to enforce the law" tripe. People watching his act around the country got the impression that Costa Mesa was a teeming cesspool of violence!

Personally, I'm sick of Mansoor and his mob denigrating this city. The relentless drumbeat of negativity - orchestrated primarily by The-Brain-Who-Ate-Costa-Mesa over at the CM Press - has become so virulent that it's drowned out any attempts by others to tout the positive aspects of our city. I'm disgusted by Mansoor's transparent attempt to further his own political career at the expense of the reputation and image of our town.

Every time he and his majority ignore the expert opinion of his senior staff on critical issues in this city and use only their own, narrow, bigoted views to establish public policy they do tremendous harm to our city.

By their actions they have initiated an exodus of the very kind of folks most cities hope to attract - young, upwardly-mobile professional men and women looking for a safe place to live and raise their families. If the residents of this city don't wise up and demand that he begin acting like the mayor of a thriving, vibrant city instead of a ego-centric dictator, the legacy Mansoor will leave behind will be a city in ruin.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ironic Timing

Ah, the world if full of ironies. One day following the City Council Mansoor-led majority's decision to ignore the advice and counsel of their top law enforcement officers and trash can the intervention and prevention elements of the CMPD's gang initiative, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a sweeping new initiative in that city which includes - here it comes, folks - a significant element dedicated to intervention and prevention!

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Villaraigosa's plan was applauded by Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton. Bratton is quoted as saying this about the plan, developed in concert with police, gang experts and neighborhood leaders, "Mayor Villaraigosa's $168 million for gang prevention and intervention is the vital component missing from the city's gang plan."

In the article Villaraigosa is quoted as saying, "Take it from a former high school dropout: Fighting gangs is fundamentally a question of putting people on a path to a productive life."

Hello! That's precisely what Chief Christopher Shawkey and Captain Ron Smith attempted to tell the council last Tuesday night. When asked specifically whether, in their best professional opinion, resolving the gang problem in Costa Mesa was possible without the intervention/prevention elements of their proposal, both men replied unequivocally that it was not. Using Captain Smith's analogy, no matter how fast you drain the tub of gang-bangers, unless you turn off the spigot to stop the flow of new members into the tub, you will never win the battle. And yet, in a snit about how the Newport-Mesa Unified School District manages it's money, the Three Stooges who form the majority on the council gave our top cops the stiff arm and rejected that part of their proposal. They also dismissed, without debate, any consideration of the Truancy Ordinance that was included in the CMPD's proposal.

I don't know Antonio Villaraigosa, but I do know that he's an effective politician. His ideology, in a broad sense, is far from mine. It wouldn't surprise me if he becomes the next Governor of this state. I do know Chief Bratton, though, and respect his skills as one of the top law enforcement officials in this country. I agree with Bratton that this proposal is a giant step in the right direction for the City of Los Angeles, and the entire southern California region.

The timing of Villaraigosa's announcement couldn't have been better - unless your name is Allan Mansoor, Eric Bever or Wendy Leece. It emphatically points out the lack of understanding of the problem by our city council majority. Our young jailer/mayor continues to display an amazing lack of understanding of actual law enforcement, despite being a Deputy Sheriff for fourteen years. Bever seems intent on righting wrongs he experienced as a whippersnapper, growing up in a gang-infested neighborhood. Whatever affronts he experienced as a kid - maybe he was harassed about his pigtail hairdo - he seems determined to take it out on the budding Costa Mesa gangs by authorizing only ramped-up use of force instead of a plan designed to seriously address the deeper issue of how to nip the gang growth in the bud - by intervening with the at-risk kids in their early school years.

Leece, who seemed to be sympathetic to the intervention plan during the discussions, turned out to be merely pathetic as she read her prepared statement before the vote. Obviously, these three "leaders" have no interest in hearing from residents nor their senior staff - they already have their minds made up before they get to the meetings.

Like Bever, I, too, grew up in a part of Los Angeles that had a significant gang population. That part of the city was the focus in a recent series done by the Los Angeles Times. The predominant gang way back then was Los Avenues, which is still the largest gang in Los Angeles. It is now in it's fourth generation of gang-bangers - a systemic problem no matter how you cut it.

In their presentation before the council Chief Shawkey and Captain Smith said that Costa Mesa's gang problem is not "generational". The word that was missing was "yet". If nothing is done to divert the young people at risk from becoming gang members I fear we will be seeing the same kind of generational infestation in Costa Mesa that Los Angeles is currently attempting to resolve.

Residents of this city should put pressure on the council majority to re-consider their rejection of the intervention/prevention element of the CMPD's proposal. The majority should get over their snit with the NMUSD and do what is right for this city, instead of fanning the flames of discontent. I stated in an earlier post that I thought they actually wanted a gang problem in this city to help meet their broader goal of the removal of all Latinos from our borders. One way for them to prove me wrong is to institute the intervention/prevention element and let the police do their job.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mansoor Majority Creates Gang Haven

I'm still reeling from watching the City Council meeting Tuesday night. After many hours of watching and cogitating I've had an epiphany. Here's what happened:

In their deliberations on the Gang Initiative last night, the Allan Mansoor-led City Council majority chose to send our law enforcement officers into the battle blindfolded, with one arm tied behind their backs. They chose to approve only the enforcement element of this plan. Despite the specific, unequivocal statements by the Chief of Police, Christopher Shawkey and his strong right arm, Captain Ron Smith, that the intervention/prevention element was critical to the success of the program and despite the fact that it had been funded in the last budget session, the majority vetoed that segment.

Additionally, although several residents, including some students, rose to speak against the Truancy Ordinance and the police department recommended that element be referred to a subsequent study session so it could be thoroughly vetted before a decision was made, the majority ignored the recommendation, thereby pitching it into the trash can. I wasn't surprised about that, since both Mansoor and Bever had written publicly in the Daily Pilot indicating their displeasure with such a plan. Instead of taking the opportunity to hear more testimony on the subject by staff and residents they ignored that idea and chucked the whole thing. Their minds were already made up.

I listened as Chief Shawkey and Captain Smith presented their case to the council and answered questions posed by individual members for clarification. It didn't take long to see that Mansoor and Bever were opposed to the intervention segment. When Jane Garland, author of a recent Daily Pilot commentary and school district employee in charge of Project ASK, stepped up at the request of Katrina Foley to correct mischaracterizations by perpetually ignorant resident Mike Berry and to answer questions for the council about the interface between the district and the CMPD, it was clear that Mansoor and Bever view her as an antagonist, not a partner in the resolution of our common problem. I hoped Wendy Leece would understand the importance of the intervention segment, particularly when the chief and one of his top men stated emphatically that they felt it was essential to the success of their plans to eradicate gangs from our city. She didn't. When the votes were finally cast and only the enforcement element was passed I kind of just rocked back in my chair in disbelief.

This is the third straight police chief a Mansoor-led majority has rebuffed emphatically. Two years ago they rejected then-Chief John Hensley's ideas on the immigration screener scheme. A year ago Mansoor jumped the gun on the reward issue when Chief Staveley was on board and now Chief Shawkey has some idea of why he's the third Police Chief in the City of Costa Mesa in two years. This council majority, led by our young jailer/mayor, has no respect for the opinion of their highly skilled senior law enforcement leaders. Their idea of enlightened law enforcement is simply getting a bigger stick and swinging it harder and more often. Bever apparently is trying to right wrongs he experienced as a youth in a gang-infested neighborhood. You could see the bile boiling as he spoke about it.


As I sat here mulling over tonight's events a light went on. I've finally figured it out! Mansoor and his cronies don't really want to resolve the gang issue! They don't want to follow the advice of their top cops and include an element in their plan that can actually get to the root of the problem and nip the gang problem in the bud. They want this problem to persist because it gives them the wedge issue they need to expunge every Latino from this city! If you "fix" the problem through education and intervention that means that many young Latinos will be saved from a life as gangsters and will thrive in our city. That is precisely what Mansoor, Bever, Leece and their yapping cadre of followers do not want. They want the Latinos out and the gang issue can be the tool they use to accomplish that. They want more gang crime, because it will make the remainder of our citizens fearful and more susceptible to their plans for the ouster of the Latinos.

In my opinion, this is a very sad day for our city. The elected majority on the council seem determined to grind this city into the dust with their arrogant "I-know-best" attitude.
I give Shawkey two years, max, before he realizes that his position is one of supreme futility and he bails out. I sure hope he didn't buy a house yet. With this action tonight, by virtually spitting in the eye of our top cops, the Mansoor-led majority has insured the on-going departure of experienced cops from the CMPD. What honest, hard-working career officer will want to work in this city - where the marching orders are given by a bunch of racists?


Without a change of direction this city is doomed to be known as a bastion of intolerance. Soon few people will wish to enter our town because the leadership has intentionally permitted it to become a dangerous locale. More bright, young families will seek homes and educational opportunities for their children elsewhere, leaving behind those of us who are too old, too poor or trapped by an equity imbalance to seek greener pastures. Thank you, Allan Mansoor, Eric Bever and Wendy Leece, for greasing the skids of this city. Your legacy will be the demise of this town.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tragedy and Leadership

Today, as I write this piece, I can't get the tragic events at Virginia Tech yesterday out of my mind. The convocation from that stricken university is on the television behind me, where speakers, including President Bush, have expressed many of our thoughts. It's hard to comprehend how such a terrible event could occur.

It's impossible to fathom what was in the mind of that troubled young man, Cho Seung-hui, as he methodically went about slaughtering those innocent people. Once again, this kind of event has reached out and grabbed this country by the throat. The images and sounds of that day were looped endlessly throughout the day yesterday, making it impossible to avoid the agony being felt by those in Blacksburg. Many of us look around and say to ourselves, "If it can happen there, it could happen here, too!"

Tonight our City Council will debate a program addressing the growing gang problem in Costa Mesa, trying to decide which path our city will take on this difficult issue. Some apparently feel that only enforcement is necessary control this problem, giving no credence to the experts in this field that tell us a comprehensive program of prevention and intervention is essential to nip gang involvement at the roots.

Some will say that the Truancy Ordinance, which is presented as an important segment of the CMPD's plan, is draconian - a step that will only alienate the broader community in an attempt to control the actions of a relative few. I'm still willing to hear the reasoning behind this plan before offering a final opinion. If the leaders of our police department feel this program has critical value in our fight against gangs, I'm willing to hear their views. I expect to hear residents, including some parents and students, speak on this subject tonight and I hope our elected leaders will listen and deliberate before stating their decision.

Tonight will be another test of the leadership of this city. Tonight we find out if they will, in fact, be the leaders most hoped for when they were elected, or will they pander to the vocal, intolerant few among us. Will they listen to the testimony of their experts and of the concerned residents of this city before making the decision? We'll see.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Mansoor - Spreading the "Wealth"?

As if he didn't have enough to do trying to tear Costa Mesa apart, it seems our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor, has been broadening his reach by inserting himself into the debate in Santa Ana about the Orange County Academy, a proposed "hybrid" charter school in that city.

The image above is a slide from a Powerpoint presentation made recently to promote the school. As you can see, Mansoor (or "Monsoor", as they misspelled his name) is the very first public official named as a supporter - ahead of the four county supervisors and members of congress and the state government.

My friends at the Orange Juice! blog are curious about why our mayor is inserting himself in the politics of their city, since he has only expressed disdain for anything going on in Santa Ana in the past. What's the deal, Mr. Mayor? Don't you have enough on your plate with the city and your day job in the jail? More than a few people in Santa Ana would just as soon your kept your nose out of their business.

Some will recall that a few years ago, when the mayor was a "newby", sharing the dais with the chronically inept Chris Steel, he made a push to close the Orange Coast College Swap Meet. At the time he cited major traffic on our streets caused by "people coming down across our northern border" to attend the swap meet - read that Hispanics from Santa Ana. This move, orchestrated by The-Brain-Who-Ate-Costa-Mesa over at the CM Press, was rejected, but not without some very rancorous debate. However, that was before Mansoor held a death-grip on the majority on the council.

It sure does look like our young jailer/mayor is attempting to raise his profile in anticipation of a run for higher office. It might be interesting to foist off this guy onto somebody else - like the State Assembly, for example. He might just fit in up in Sacramento - he could get lost in the herd and fewer people would notice his lack of performance.

Mr. Mayor, I think you've got your hands full with our own municipal issues. Until you land a seat on the Board of Supervisors, I suggest you butt out of Santa Ana politics. That's a rough and tumble group up there and, quite honestly, I don't think you have what it takes to mix it up with them.

By the way, I noticed that several months ago Debbie Schlussel - the author of a very conservative web log - referred to our mayor as a "Patriotic Arab American". Funny, that's the first time I've seen his ancestry mentioned that way. It's relevant only because he continues to make a big deal of his heritage, and the fact that he's a first generation American and the son of legal immigrants. The fact that he's half-Egyptian is completely irrelevant to anything going on in Costa Mesa as far as I'm concerned. In my view he's as American as any other child born in this country - including those children of immigrants on the Westside of our town. You remember those children, don't you? They are the ones he and his pals are trying to expunge from our city.

So, Mr. Mayor, as you go around proclaiming that you only want to enforce "all our laws", remember that those children are American citizens, too, and are entitled to the same benefits and protections under the law that you enjoy. When your cadre of supporters - that pack of yapping pit-yorkies who write supporting you in the Daily Pilot blog - advocate stripping those children of their citizenship and "sending them back" to the homeland of their parents, be advised that move is but the first step on a very rocky path. Where would it stop? Will your pals not be satisfied unless all recent immigrants are expelled, including their American citizen children? How many generations back would they want to go before our society is "cleansed" of the "impure" bloodlines? Do they want to go back one, two, three generations? They only have to go back one generation to send you packing, Mr. Mayor.


From "The Book Of Useless Information" comes the following entry - something to consider the next time you slather ketchup on your french fries: "Ketchup is excellent for cleaning brass, especially tarnished or corroded brass."

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Salivating "Junkyard Dog" Attacks!

On Tuesday our old buddy over at the CM Press published a pre-Study Session essay as an instructional tool for his majority on the City Council to use as they considered the subject of Community Development Block Grant funds during their meeting that afternoon. From the tone of his little essay, it's clear that he feels he may be losing his grip on them and needed to reinforce his position by providing "enlightenment" to them before they stray too far off the reservation.

It was amusing that the image he used to illustrate his essay was that of what he referred to as a "junkyard dog" - a tattoo-wearing ugly bulldog, draped in an American Flag. He also referred to himself in the text of his message as a "junkyard dog". And, in his subtitle, he says parenthetically that "junkyard dog has the scent". Well, I have to agree - and I can smell that "scent" from here!

You will recall that this fellow was appointed to the 3R Committee until he resigned under fire because of his overt racist leanings. During his tenure he was a tenacious advocate of de-funding any of the charities on the Westside of our town and conjured up all kinds of myths with which he attempted to convince his peers on the committee to join him in his attack. His current essay attempts to do the same thing.

His attacks on the charities is a transparent attack on the Hispanic population in our city. He uses the specter of the illegal aliens as a smokescreen to do what it takes to expunge all Hispanics from our city. If one reads his essays in venues such as the New Nation News and other far-right wing sites his motives become crystal clear.

I've not seen the tape of the Study Session, so I don't know how the dialogue went on Tuesday yet. It wouldn't surprise me if he used a piece of the Public Comments section to instruct the council on their responsibilities as he views them - he does that all the time. Sadly, his view of things harkens back to the deep south in the middle of the last century.

So, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if he still has the influence he once held over the council. Their actions will speak volumes.


I recently discovered a clever book entitled "The Book of Useless Information" and will, from time to time, provide an excerpt from it for your enjoyment/edification. Here is the first one: The most difficult tongue-twister is "The sixth sick Sheik's sixth sheep's sick." Try to say that one three times fast!

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Gutter Scum Hits The Daily Pilot

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, provided an interesting, ironic sequel to my posting on that day. Early Sunday morning one - maybe two - people who can best be described in the immortal words of Yosemite Sam as pusillanimous polecats, managed to slip a couple of foul comment posts past the editors of the Daily Pilot. I suspect the editors were not looking for objectionable material in the pen names of the contributors, but were on the alert for bad language, innuendo and foul statements in the comments submitted. So, the contributors of these two putrid submissions took advantage of that focus and slipped their vile entries past the editors, who dutifully approved the postings, which sat there online for all to view for 24 hours before they were finally removed.

No, I'm not going to tell you what they said. That would just give these pukes more space. Suffice it to say that the names they contrived would usually be seen scratched on toilet stalls or heard on late night HBO comedy specials.

In my view, this is a very large problem for the Daily Pilot management. On one hand, their willingness to permit the posting of very divergent viewpoints as comments in their online version demonstrates that they truly want to provide a forum so the debate of important issues can be facilitated in nearly real time. In concept, this a great idea. We have seen some truly insightful comments offered on a variety of issues over the past couple of months.

On the other hand, the abuse by those who choose to use this excellent forum as a venue for, as my pal, Byron de Arakal so cleverly put recently, booger-throwing, diminish the debate. Now, in this most recent event of abuse, the effluent in question came from the other end of the alimentary canal and is completely unacceptable in any kind of civilized discourse. It demonstrates that some folks with the intellectual capacity of a Neanderthal are happy simply to disrupt a debate instead of contributing their views.

We've all known these kinds of folks in our lives. Sometimes they manifested themselves as playground bullies, who were content to steal the ball so other children couldn't play with it instead of getting in the game themselves. Those thugs grew, at least physically, into adults who are ill-equipped to rationally discuss an issue, so they try to drag the debate down into the gutter, where they attempt to shout-down their opponents instead of trying to convince them of the validity of their views. It's all bullying.

In my view, the management of the Daily Pilot needs to tighten the reins on their process and require a method of identification - at least to them - of those who wish to publish comments. They do that with letters to the editor, so their standards shouldn't be loosened just because the comments are online. If they don't do that, their credibility is at risk.

Those of us who already identify ourselves online won't have a problem with such a requirement. I suspect, however, that some of those anonymous cowards who hide behind the bushes and spit venom might be reluctant to participate if they knew someone would know their identity. Based on my read of most of those kinds of comments, and especially this most recent pair, the loss of their participation would be inconsequential and would probably enhance the debate by their absence. Who knows, maybe one or two of them might conjure up enough fortitude to actually use their own names and participate openly. I doubt it - it's not their style.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Predators Post And The Holy Ghost

You know, if you only got your local information by reading the online version of the Daily Pilot and the comment threads attached to the articles, editorials and commentaries included therein you could be convinced that there is no problem in Costa Mesa that is not the directly related to those darn illegal aliens! Yes sir, according to some folks who write comments on those pages, if we can just somehow shove all the Latinos out of our city all our problems will be solved.

Reading those comment threads has been a very interesting and enlightening experience over the past couple of months. There's a small group of people - or maybe it's just one person posting under numerous names - who jump from article to editorial to commentary like a pack of hyenas dashing from carcass to carcass, yapping and laughing while trying to tear the innards out of the content of the piece. Typically, they offer no relevant information, only criticism of other commentors who are attempting, with their 100 word limitation, to enhance the debate of the issue at hand. Rather than using whatever limited intellect they might possess to logically move their viewpoints forward, they usually spend their time nipping at the haunches of other commentors, trying to deflect attention from substance of the issue by attacking the messengers. And, of course, they do this from behind the shield of anonymity - the coward's way.

Although I have no way to know how many comments the editors of the Daily Pilot reject, it appears that they try to let the dialogue flow, regardless how inane and vicious some of the postings might be. To their credit, they seem willing to let fools be fools, knowing that, in order to make their point, other folks with something important to contribute to the debates will put a clothes pin on their nose and wade through the steaming piles of rhetoric those predatory naysayers deposit along the path. As a result of the persistence of those with substantive views, most of the time both sides of the issue seem to get a pretty thorough airing. Many times, though, it's akin to trying to have a quiet conversation while walking through an animal shelter - dealing with the ambient noise of yapping mutts, who wet themselves and climb all over each other to see who can say nothing the loudest.

As one who has gotten more than his share of drool sprayed on him by those slobbering mongrels, I can tell you it's not an enjoyable experience. A few weeks ago I tried to box myself into a situation where I committed to keep the dialogue at a higher level. That didn't work. Although others have been successful at keeping a calm demeanor, I found it tough to compete with that group of howlers whose mantra seems to be "Pump Up The Volume!, Pump Up The Volume!" I'll try to do better, but I'm comforted that there are others picking up the slack, including some who post thoughtful comments on this site.

It's interesting that two of our elected "leaders" - the court jester, Eric Bever and his pal, our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor - have recently begun posting comments on the Daily Pilot threads. This is curiously amusing, since both men swore off the Daily Pilot in the recent past. Now they seem determined to come to each other's defense in the Daily Pilot online. Mansoor apparently has misplaced his spell checker because in a recent post he, ironically, misspelled the word, "intellectual". I'm sorry, but when I saw that I just had to chuckle.

In Bever's case, you have a man chopped off his pony tail to run for office and it seems to have done something to him. For one thing, he seems to have no shortage of hubris, which my online dictionary defines as "overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance". As he pompously pontificates, both verbally and in his writing, he frequently steps past the boundaries of propriety, as was the case last week when he criticized a Costa Mesa police lieutenant for supporting candidates opposed to his pal, the mayor, and his running mate, Wendy Leece. The list of his transgressions is much too long to repeat here.

Both the mayor and Bever have made it clear through their actions and public pronouncements that they don't intend to clutter up their decision-making process with input from the residents of this city - with the exception of those comments whispered to them by their small cadre of salivating supporters. This was driven home in their recent comments posted in the Daily Pilot, where both were quite specific that they would not support a Truancy Ordinance, even though such an ordinance has not yet been formally presented to them, nor has it had the benefit of a public hearing where residents with views on both sides of the issue can make them known. As I said, they don't care what we think - they've already made up their alleged minds.

Over the past couple of years I've watch men and women of faith stand before the City Council and use their "moment of solemn expression" to encourage our leaders to be wise and fair as they govern our city. That doesn't seem to have worked. On this Easter Sunday - when many will pause to reflect on their God and the sacrifices made for them by his son - for some of our elected leaders it will be business as usual. At a time when many will take a knee and pray for the well-being of his fellowman, some of our leaders will continue to seek ways to oppress, repress, distress and displace some of the most vulnerable among us. On this day, when many raise their arms to embrace their God, some of our leaders and their slobbering sycophants seem intent on going a different direction, following a darker path.

Perhaps it's time for folks on this side of the equation to "Pump Up The Volume", too. So, as you celebrate this day I encourage you to focus your thoughts and prayers on this city, and on those who are leading us down the wrong path. Perhaps it's not too late for some of them to realize the damage they have done, and are doing, to the soul of this city. Perhaps.....

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Bever Steps Beyond The Bounds Of Propriety - Again

Yesterday, April 5th, the Daily Pilot published a Community Commentary by Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Eric Bever entitled, "Comments on anti-gang proposal ignore real issues", in which he criticizes the proposed Truancy Ordinance proposal made by the Costa Mesa Police Department as one tool in the fight against the growing gang problem in our city.

Daily Pilot Publisher Tom Johnson, in a column today entitled, "The great, communicating councilman", rips Bever for his commentary. It was delicious and very appropriate.

Bever has, once again, demonstrated that he is unfit for the office he holds - one that he apparently is already jockeying to retain in 2008. In his own special smug, arrogant way, he manages to step beyond the line of propriety by criticizing a city employee, Costa Mesa Police Lieutenant Clay Epperson - one of the architects of the overall anti-gang program and advocate of the Truancy Ordinance - in the public press. It was moronic, despicable and absolutely inappropriate for Bever, as a sitting council member, to publicly criticize Epperson, who was just doing his job. If he has a problem with Epperson's performance, that is a matter to be discussed with the City Manager - not blasted all over the newspapers.

In fact, I suspect Bever doesn't have a problem with Epperson's job performance - he just doesn't like his political choices. Epperson - reportedly the highest ranking officer in the Costa Mesa Police Department who actually lives in our city - supported candidates who opposed Bever's buddy, Mayor Allan Mansoor and his campaign barnacle, Wendy Leece, in the last campaign. So Bever, in a petty, classless move, uses his bully pulpit as an elected official in this city to attack one of the finest officers on the CMPD. This is just one of innumerable instances when Bever has used terrible judgment in the performance of his job.

In the more than two years since he's been on the City Council - and before that as a Planning Commissioner - Bever has frequently tried to circumvent proper procedures on any number of issues. One of the most flagrant was his quick-pitch of the process on the Westside Improvement issue, where he ignored the hard work done by the members of the Westside Revitalization Oversight Committee (WROC) and expanded and manipulated the area to be covered. Of course, we all recall the infamous "note passing" incident, when Bever tried to circumvent the Brown Act by passing a note to Mansoor and then-councilman Gary Monahan to influence the debate of an issue. These are but two of many times he's chosen to bend the rules.

It must be especially challenging for members of the CMPD to work in this city today. It must be hard for those sworn to uphold our laws to work in an environment that is very obviously targeting one demographic group - the Latinos among us. It must be hard to work for a city in which top elected leaders propose policies that smack of racism.

If I were a city employee today, having seen Bever attack a fellow employee in the public press, I'd be very nervous. If, instead of addressing concerns about my job performance, a council member chooses to make a point of my performance in the press, I think I'd be considering other options. If I were one of the many silver-haired senior employees watching this kind of malicious buffoonery, I suspect I'd be investigating my retirement options.

These are the kind of things that happen when the voters of this city, so afraid of a perceived "alien invasion" as peddled by our local politicians and their mouthpieces, elect leaders who lack the wisdom and good judgment so necessary to effectively manage our city. This is what happens when you open the door to racists and let them take control. What a shame.

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Neighborhood Traffic Management Program

Thursday evening I, along with a couple hundred other Costa Mesa residents, attended a Town Hall Meeting which introduced the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program. The meeting was conducted by Transportation Services Manager Peter Naghavi, who did a good job of explaining the various charts posted around the room and the thrust of the program.

This meeting was the first step in a comprehensive plan to improve traffic within the various neighborhoods throughout the city. This purpose was to gather data from residents - concerns they have about traffic and suggestions they have for mitigation of the problem areas.

Among the city officials in attendance were the City Manager, Allan Roeder, Assistant City Manager, Thomas Hatch and members of Naghavi's staff. I also saw Planning Commissioner Sam Clark and two Parks and Recreation Commissioners, Terry Shaw and Mike Brumbaugh. Curiously, I did not see any member of the City Council present, which I thought was just a little unusual, especially since members of the majority profess to be all about fixing potholes and improving our infrastructure. I guess, since you can't blame the traffic on the Latinos among us, they didn't see any political wheat to be harvested, so were not interested.

The meeting, scheduled for two hours, stretched to three, the last half of which was taken up with questions and answers by residents and staff.

Although Naghavi sent out 42,000 letters a month ago, only two hundred or so people showed up. This, of course, is the beginning of spring holidays for many people in town. Regardless, those folks who did show up were attentive and active participants.

The upshot of this meeting will be an accumulation of the information provided by the comments and questions from the audience plus those observations they included in the survey forms passed out at the meeting. Subsequent meetings will take place with homeowner associations around town during which more questions and answers well be compiled until, at a point in the future, a plan will be presented to the City Council for approval and funding.

It was interesting that, even though this meeting was held on their front porch at the Neighborhood Community Center near Lion's Park, I didn't see any of the "usual suspects" - the yapping, self-anointed Westside "improvers" - at this meeting. Neither did I see that intrepid reporter from the CM Press - traffic must not be an issue in his part of town. I suspect these folks stayed away for the same reason no council members were present - no Latinos, no issue.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Your Neighbor " Burns and Wendy Turns

Our old pal over at the CM Press is fuming - again. In his most recent post he provides his loyal readers another statement of his displeasure with the city council. I'm sorry, but I just can't help but smile.

It seems that the majority on the City Council are still just not jumping high enough or fast enough when he tells them to! Now he's referring to them as "Eunuchs", and bemoans the fact that - in his view - once elected "these individuals" become part of the status quo establishment. Awww, what a shame! The translation is that once elected, the politicians realize they have responsibilities broader than Your Neighbor's narrow, bigoted plans and, on occasion, act accordingly. However, it's apparent that our old buddy isn't happy about it. The next thing that he will do is, once again, threaten them with "un-election", the way he did with the pathetic Chris Steel.

During his rant in the Public Comments section he misquoted former Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Byron De Arakal on the issue of neighborhood parks. Of course, that doesn't surprise me, since this guy has never seen a truth he wouldn't bend for his own purposes. If you believed him, every small, neighborhood park in the city is overrun with marauding soccer players, crossing the border from Santa Ana to accost our residents as they peacefully meander through the parks. What a crock!

There were a few high points last night. For one, Wendy Leece stood up to the pressure applied by Mansoor and Bever on the moratorium on residential condo conversions. She stubbornly, and rightly, fought off Bever's attempt to include eight of the twelve projects already in the pipeline in the moratorium. After much arm wrestling and debate the issue finally received the 4/5ths vote necessary because it was an urgency ordinance. Katrina Foley was absent, which gave Linda Dixon some serious power for a change. She and Leece had the guys boxed in and the vote finally went their way and the dozen projects in the hopper are excluded from the moratorium. Because of the stalemate, the only other options were to either just receive and file the report, quashing the moratorium or to continue the issue until Foley returns.

As an aside, there was a little poetic justice on the dais last night. When the council was seated Dixon took her new "seat in exile" on Mansoor's right hand side. Leece took the seat between Bever and City Manager Allan Roeder. All night long Leece continually leaned and twisted to hear what was going on and had a real struggle communicating with the City Attorney, Kim Barlow. It was a perfect example of the old adage, "Be careful what you ask for!" Also, the lighting on that side of the dais is such that it cast Leece in a very unfavorable light, so to speak.

Also, there were some strained words between Dixon and Mansoor, who snapped at her when she pointed out that he was ignoring her requests to speak. Of course, how could he have known she wanted the floor when his back was turned to her much of the time as he chatted with Bever and Leece!

And, at one point when our young jailer/mayor was having time keeping track of exactly how many projects would be included in the moratorium - I think he ran out of fingers - he said, " I'm a politician, not a mathematician." Funny, I thought he was a deputy sheriff and jailer who dabbled in politics. Guess he has a different view.

Stay tuned. It's very likely that Your Neighbor will be so angry at one of these meetings that he may just explode, his head bursting like those Martians in "Mars Attacks". Ack... Ack, Ack, Ack!

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Clowns Abound In Our Town

Back to the business at hand after a day of fun yesterday. Did I have you going with my little April Fool's Day spoof?

As I perused the agenda for the City Council meeting Tuesday, April 3rd, I noticed that buried way down at the end of the Consent Calendar at item number 21 is the proposal for new City Council Policy #000-13, "Dais Seating For City Council". The policy states: "Authority is hereby delegated to the Mayor to assign seats at the dais."

The procedure for such decisions is prescribed as follows:

"1. Immediately following the meeting at which the declaration of the municipal election results is made and the City Council has chosen one of its members as Mayor, the newly selected Mayor shall solicit input from the remaining Council Members as to seating preferences.

2. Prior to the next regular City Council meeting, the Mayor shall provide the City Council with the new seating arrangements."

What a colossal waste of time and money! All this expenditure of staff time to simply satisfy a petulant petty tyrant on a power trip! And, you'll notice that there is no restriction in this policy for a particularly abusive mayor to make the council swap seats any old time he wants.

Speaking of petulant petty tyrants, our old pal, The-Brain-That-Ate-Costa-Mesa, on his "little newsletter", the CM Press, had an interesting weekend skulking around our city, looking for violators of whatever law he had in mind at the time. In two separate postings Saturday he did his best "Ace Reporter" impression as he cruised the area of The Farm Sports Complex, looking for illegal aliens making their way to an event at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in which representatives of the Mexican Consulate were supposed to be distributing Mexican Matricula Consular identification cards. This "heinous act" had our old buddy all in a tizzy.

Based on his reports, I have this image of him ducking from tree to tree, counting heads as they came and went from the church. What a schmuck! Of course, he also reported that a flock of Minutemen vigilantes and other "concerned citizens" were on hand to "peacefully" demonstrate against these meetings. A separate report on this subject indicated that the event was poorly attended and ended early.

Coincidentally, I also read that a funeral service was being conducted simultaneously at that same church for a woman named Bunny Richards, who apparently was famous as a "visiting clown", performing at any number of events over many years. News reports and photos showed several attendees attired in their clown costumes to pay homage to Ms. Richards. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't help thinking how absolutely appropriate it was that our old pal from the CM Press and those other Minutemen clowns were lurking around the premises while clowns in costume made their way to the service. I found myself wondering if any of those demonstrators had even the slightest twinge of remorse for demonstrating outside a church during the funeral service. I suspect not.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Light Went On

This has been a day of enlightenment for me. After much contemplation and introspection the light bulb finally went on and I've decided that our Mayor, the Honorable Allan Mansoor, and his supporters have the right idea. I now understand that their systematic approach to the discomfort and dislocation of the Latino population is, indeed, the solution to every problem facing our city - underperforming schools, gangs, blight - you name it.

Yes, it's true. You can teach an old dog new tricks. I've been swayed by their persuasive rhetoric and logical, even-handed approach to governing our city. I'm ashamed of having supported people who ran against the mayor and Ms. Leece in November when it was clear that they didn't have the right ideas. I should have understood that their moderate approach was wrong for our city. What could I have been thinking?

So, I humbly request that the mayor and his followers forgive my persistent and the outspoken manner in which I responded to their moves. I hope they will forgive the many, many times I took advantage of small and large missteps on their part to point out their errors to the readers of this blog.

I hope they will mark this date, April 1, 2007 as the day I saw the light.

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