Friday, August 31, 2007

Feeding Time for Costa Mesa Latinophobes

Here's a little red meat for all you latinophobes out there.

My Google alert system coughed up an interesting item under "Costa Mesa" this morning. Usually I see news items, or someone's blog comment about some place in Costa Mesa... pretty bland and, quite honestly, uninteresting. They usually get a rapid "delete". This morning, though, was different.

I found a link awaiting me from the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader which provided a restaurant review for a Mexican restaurant in that heartland city called - you guessed it - "Costa Mesa". I've included a link to the story here. I'm sure all you rabid anti-latino folks out there are thrilled that our city has become synonymous for Mexican food in other parts of our country.

Then, the Orange County Register Immigration Blog provided us with a little interesting news, here. There's a report from the Department of Homeland Security that says illegal immigrants are spreading out, moving away from historical venues like the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas for locales north and east. As you'll read in their article, the unauthorized population rose 37% between 1/1/2000 and 1/1/2006, to 11.6 million. California's share of undocumented immigrants dropped from 30% to 25% due to the geographic dispersion.

If you visit this site you'll find a couple other links that will take you to the foundational report. It's interesting reading.

As you gnaw on these two items and feel your blood pressure rising, I hope you will have a safe and happy Labor Day holiday.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Your Neighbor" Blows A Gasket - Again!

Over at Hypocrite Central, the CM Press, the guy who very much resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor, published a long, vitriolic diatribe about a column written today by Tony Dodero, Director of News and Online for the Daily Pilot and the Daily Pilot management in general.

In response to recent and frequent critics - mainly in the Daily Pilot blog - Dodero goes to great le
ngths to explain the Pilot's position regarding the way they present news, rejecting the accusations of biased reporting. Typos notwithstanding, it was a good piece and certainly timely. I happen to agree with what he said.

However, the guy at the CM Press - a fellow I've described in the past as The-Brain-Who-Ate-Costa-Mesa - uses his pathetic pulpit to shred Dodero and publisher
Tom Johnson for his perception of their liberal bias. Keep in mind that this guy sits so far out on the right that ANYONE will seem liberal compared to him. This is a man who apparently has made it his life's work to spread his philosophy of racial intolerance as far as possible through his prolific internet essays, books and - closer to home - his crusade to expunge the Latinos from Costa Mesa's borders.

A truly smart guy, he wastes his prodigious intellect appealing to the most base of human emotio
ns. Every once in awhile he will come up with a good idea - like placing an airport at Camp Pendleton. However, discovering those infrequent good ideas is like digging through a pile of dog poo and discovering a diamond - the stench you must endure searching for it makes you retch and sticks with you a very long time. Apparently, though, there are more than a few folks in our town who don't mind all that doo-doo-diving - they just lap up (so to speak) the vile pontifications he purveys.

I'm not surprised he's used this opportunity to give himself a literary enema and dump out this pile of criticism of the Daily Pilot. He's been the subject of criticism by the editors in the past - well-deserved, in my view. When you read his rant you'll find a little comment about him having been selected as one of
the Daily Pilot 103 most influential persons last year. No matter what you think of his views - I actually detest them - no one in our city can refute the fact that he has been "influential" in matters concerning our town. That isn't necessarily good. But, as I wrote to the editors last year when I nominated him - the word "influential" is their word, not mine. To me, it's like saying Adolph Hitler was "influential" in world events in the last century.

He also mentions that he "appeared in a Woody Allen movie". Well, I've seen that "performance". Trust me, not only i
s this guy a "bad actor" when it comes to activities in this city, he's a bad actor, period.

In fact, it seems that he's had a trail of failure in his life, because he crows about having been, in
addition to an actor, a lawyer, real estate agent, author, Marine and who-knows-what-else. Perhaps that's why he seems to have chosen to become the reincarnation of the most despicable man in world history - he's looking for meaning in his life and has chosen the cause of Aryan purity. Perhaps he gets great satisfaction from being admired by the poster boy for racism in this country for the couple decades, David Duke. This quest has gotten him on the watch list of organizations that track hate groups - quite a badge of honor for him, don't you think? Yep, that's sure the kind of man I want "influencing" the future of our city!

In his diatribe he poo-poos the assignment of intolerant motives to actions he's taken or words he's w
ritten in the past. Well, my friends, if it waddles like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.... I don't know what he thinks, beyond what he writes and does. Actions certainly do speak louder than words, and this guy's actions scream racism at the top of their lungs. For those who follow his view, carrying that "duck" metaphor a little further, if you follow one long enough you will eventally step in some very gooey, slippery, nasty residue of his presence. Trust me, there is a great similarity between that duck and the guy at the CM Press. Watch your step.


The racist h
ypocrite ends his blog entry by asking several questions of his readers. Of course, he doesn't really care what they think. If he did, he would provide a venue for them to actually answer the questions - as I do here. No, this guy doesn't care - he has his own agenda and he's sticking to it. Just as he takes the coward's way out by posting comments on the Daily Pilot using several fake names, he won't give you a way to respond to his questions for fear that someone will tell him precisely what they think.


For my part, I'm grateful to the Daily Pilot management for providing us with consistently well-balanced reporting of important issues in our communities. They occasionally miss a story, and sometimes I disagree with an editorial position they've taken, but I still think they do an excellent job for us. I'm grateful to them for the opportunity to provide letters to the editor for their consideration and for the ability to post comments online. In that arena, they
have been particularly tolerant of opposing viewpoints, as The-Brain-Who-Ate-Costa-Mesa knows all too well.


As I read the pathetic rant by the guy at the CM Press I just have to shake my head. What a waste of an intellect. I find myself wondering if, once he's long departed from this earth, his children will sit back and say, "Yeah, I'm proud of my father because of the way he spread hate against everyone not white." That will be quite a legacy...

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Contemplating What Might Have Been

Thanks for the heads-up from our friends over at the Newport Beach Voices blog for this sad little bit of information. The Orange County Register Police Log contains the following entry:

W. Balboa Boulevard, 1300 block:
arrest, Aug. 26. Todd Marvin Marinovich, 38, of Newport Beach, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

Anyone who follows football, particularly those who are University of Southern California fans, know the name well. They also won't be surprised to see it on a police blotter.

There is probably no sadder story of unfulfilled potential than that of Todd Marinovich. While a pretty good summary of his life can be found on Wikipedia, the short version is that he was molded from birth by his father, former Trojan and NFL lineman Marv Marinovich, to become the perfect quarterback. Marv almost succeeded. He created a perfect physical specimen - a kid who was the best high school quarterback in the country while at Capistrano Valley High twenty years ago. He was an outstanding quarterback at USC during his brief career there. Somewhere along the way, though, Marv apparently forgot the mental part of his creation. He forgot to teach Todd that personal discipline is a cornerstone to a successful life, regardless the profession you choose.

Since leaving USC after his freshman year to sign with the Raiders, his career was marked by a couple brilliant moments, overshadowed by frequent mental and moral lapses.

As you read through his biography you cannot help wonder what might have been. While in high school he passed for nearly two miles - 9194 yards! In the twenty years since he left high school Orange County has produced many outstanding quarterbacks, including Trojan Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinert. Anyone who saw them all play would tell you that Marinovich was better than either one of them. If he had stayed at USC for a complete career - or even three years - he likely would have set collegiate records that would stand for decades. In the pros, you had visions of greatness for him.

For the past decade it seemed like the only time you saw his name in the newspapers was when it was linked to a drug arrest or other infraction. The above entry from The Register is just the most recent in this long, sad tale.

I'm sure there's a message in here for young athletes today. I suspect, though, that the broader message is for the parents of those athletes and deals with the priorities in their lives and those of their kids. I just know that every time I read about the most recent episode in Todd Marinovich's life I look around my neighborhood and am grateful for the wonderful parents who have given their children outstanding guidance. They've taught them that it's important to be a good person first, a good athlete second.

Todd Marinovich lived the first half of his life in the spotlight an athlete of his skills and potential deserves. He's spent the second half of it in a different spotlight - one that is also deserved. Each time he's arrested I shake my head and wonder just when the light will go on for this young man - and I, once again, contemplate what might have been.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Your Neighbor's Admirer

An activist in this city
- a man who very much resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor and to whom I have occasionally referred to as The-Brain-Who-Ate-Costa-Mesa - has exercised his influence over several past and current members of the City Council and their appointed surrogates on the Planning and Parks and Recreation Commissions. Much of what he has espoused from the speaker's podium and in correspondence in the local media and on his blog have a central theme - the expulsion of the Latino population from our city. Of course, he and his acolytes have denied this many times, but actions speak louder than words.


I pay attention to his postings on various white
supremacist web sites, painful as they are to read. This guy has frequently spouted that the essays in question are not racist, and that only those of small minds (he professes to be a MENSA member) would think that. We lesser beings lack the mental horsepower to really understand the depth of his message. Yep, I guess that's right - I don't understand that his mantra of racial purity is not really racism. I don't understand that his denigration of "lesser races" is not really racism.

Imagine my surprise (tongue in cheek) when I found, on the official web site of David Duke - former head of the Ku Klux Klan - this link, which carries the
most recent of Your Neighbor's essays entitled "White Buck Shoes and the North American Union". The text of this essay refers, once again, to the "blending" of the American populace - the homogenization of the races through interracial marriage. Apparently Duke, long the poster boy for racism in this country, thinks Your Neighbor's views are just dandy - so much so to feature them on his official web site.

So, as you read that essay and consider it's source, I hope you'll contemplate
the influence this man has had on your elected leaders and their appointees and what this means to the future of this city. Consider whether you really want the future of our city guided by the hand of such a man. I hope you'll consider how the radical right has taken over our city, as witnessed by the gushing support provided during the campaign to our young jailer/mayor and his barnacle, Wendy Leece, by Jim Gilchrist, Grand Pooba of the Minutemen and his frothing band of Minuteman Mob supporters. I hope you'll consider these facts when you think about the amount of out-of-town money that flowed into the mayor's campaign war chest and dribbled over into Ms. Leece's campaign, too. Some observers have said I give Your Neighbor too much credit for things that happen in our city - that he's really a smart, yet pathetic guy who has not found a positive way to direct his prodigious intellect. Well, maybe - but from where I sit (with my tin foil hat, tuna cans on my ears in my grungy skivvys, according to him), the trail is clear and his influence is obvious.


Mansoor and Leece r
ode to victory on the backs of the brown-skinned residents of our city, through the campaign contributions provided by outsiders and the support of those on the radical right. They've aimed our city down the road of intolerance, with Your Neighbor's hand firmly on the steering wheel. Eric Bever and perhaps others with similar views are poised to perpetuate this direction as they seek seats on the City Council next year. It's not too early to consider just what the perpetuation of this direction means to the city.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Changing The Rules Midstream - Righeimer's Retribution

While the debate about where to place the next skate park occupied a big hunk of the Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday night, there was an equally interesting item on the agenda. That item, the appeal of the Planning Commission's decision to chop developer Barry Saywitz' proposed condo conversion of a twelve unit apartment complex on Victoria Street on the Westside of town by 25%, will likely result in legal action by Mr. Saywitz against the city.


The project in question was in the pipeline before the City Council imposed a moratorium on any such projects and, based on the general understanding of the rules, was not restricted by the pending rules changes. Saywitz was not asking for any special treatment - he requested no variances from the guidelines. Regardless, during several sessions before the Planning Commissi
on and City Council Saywitz was forced to agree to an extraordinary number of "conditions of approval", several of which would prove costly to him as he attempts to help chip away at the renters/owners housing imbalance in this city. However, that apparently was not enough for some city officials.

You will recall that I've reported a couple times in the past that Saywitz has been harangued and harassed by rookie planning commissioner James Righeimer - the carpetbagger who landed his job on the commission in what certainly looked like pure political pay back because he's a pal of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher - a huge supporter of our young jailer/mayor and his barnacle, Wendy Leece, during the campaign last year. Riggy, as his GOP buddies call him, took Saywitz to task several times in a manner that was more inquisition than information gathering. At one point during a recent meeting his ant
ics incurred the wrath of the commission chairman, curmudgeonly ex-mayor Donn Hall, who looked like he was ready to take Riggy out to the woodshed for a good whuppin'.

It certainly does look like our city officials, Righeimer in particular, have changed the rules on Saywitz in the middle of the game. From all appearances, through all the harassment and appeals, he seems to have kept his head and tried to meet every demand made of him - regardless how unreasonable they might have been.

I, for one, will not be surprised if he seeks a legal remedy to this situation. If he does, the result can be laid squarely at Righeimer's feet. What ever personal problems exist between Righeimer and Saywitz, th
ey should be left outside the chambers. We, the tax payers of this city, should not be expected to foot the bill for Righeimer's personal vendetta.

Righeimer is a tough guy to figure out. First he's handed a plum job on the Planning Commission even though he'd lived in our city for a few months. Then he somehow manages to land a coveted assignment as a weekly front page columnist on the Daily Pilot, in which, we were told, he would provide a "conservative" view of the world in our area. Each of these roles provides him with a tremendous vantage point from which to present his philosophy and display his skills, not to mention a double spring boa
rd to whatever office he seeks to attain next year.

In my view, Righeimer has bungled both of these jobs so far. On the Planning Commission he has demonstrated a propensity to bully applicants - Saywitz is a perfect example - and a willingness to forego the common courtesy expected by a commissioner on the dais. From his bully pulpit (so to speak) of the Daily Pilot column he has managed to anger residents in both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach - not smart for a guy who expects to have a future in politics. He actually acts like a guy who th
inks he's got that next step on the political ladder locked up. I would urge restraint on his part - the electorate can be fickle.


In the meantime, I hope the City of Costa Mesa has set aside a war chest for legal matters - it looks l
ike they may have to dip into it very soon.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Skate Park? Not Quite Yet

Quick! Somebody check to see if hell has frozen over! It must have, because at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night local Habitat for Humanity honcho Mark Korando and an activist who very much resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor, agreed that Lions Park is not the best site for a new skate park. Korando expressed astonishment that he and the activist agreed on something. Politics does, indeed, make for strange bedfellows.

The short version of the discussion of the proposal to fund, to the tune of nearly $80,000, preliminary plans for a skate park up to 25,000 square feet at Lions Park is that it was spirited. The upshot was that Linda Dixon made a motion to put the plan on hold until October, for staff work with the contractor to provide an estimate on a smaller skate park at Lions Park that won't interfere with the pavilion, tot lot or airplane and to provide information about re-opening the Fairview Park master plan to consider the placement of a skate park and a dog recreation area at that venue. Her motion also included direction to consider closing a portion of Park Avenue near Lions Park.
The vote on Dixon's motion was 3-2, with our young jailer/mayor and his sidekick, the mayor pro tem, voting no. I was pleased that Wendy Leece took the initiative to pull this item from the Consent Calendar for discussion and lead that discussion to it's conclusion. Finally, an independent act.


Many residents spoke passionately on this subject. Several homeowners near Lions Park raised many good questions about the inappropriateness of a skate park at that venue because of loss of green space and other valuable park elements. Representatives of the skate community provided their special insights. I'd like to report that I watched former councilman Mike Scheafer wrap up the public comments with a rousing summation - but I can't. The feed from City Hall went black in the middle of his presentation for what seemed like an eternity. It was actually less than two minutes, including the time it took to get the audio back once the picture returned. Reports from those present advised me that Scheafer's presentation was excellent. I wish I'd heard it all.


During the discussion several speakers opined that, because Costa Mesa is home to many major players in the skateboard industry it should be on the forefront with it's skate park efforts. They spoke of a large, world-class skate park that would attract skaters from all over and perhaps become a venue for international competitions. That sounds like something worth considering, particularly as we've now put Fairview Park in play.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out this fall.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Stealth Skate Park Plans

According to the agenda for the Costa Mesa City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 21, 2007, there will be an item on the Consent Calendar to fund the design of a new skate park at Lions Park. This is a curious turn of events, since no official determination has been made yet as to the location of the new park. It's made more curious by this item being placed on the Consent Calendar, where - like a stealth bomber sliding under the radar - it might have slipped past unnoticed and been voted upon with all the other items on the calendar. I suspect now that it's very likely that someone will pull this item for separate discussion.

Almost everyone in town knows that former (and maybe future?) mayor Gary Monahan has be
en lobbying hard for the new skate park to be constructed at Lions Park, right on the spot where the Fish Fry is held each year. I wouldn't be surprised by a healthy turnout by members of the Lions Club to address this issue on Tuesday. After all, the Fish Fry is a tradition in this city going back more than a half century - one in which you can eat, have fun and see municipal leaders splattering hot grease on themselves while wearing those ego-busting fish hats!


I know there have been conversations among some of the movers and shakers in this town about relocating the Fish Fry, perhaps to Fairview Park. There has also been talk of resurrecting the parade that was once the high point of the annual event. Sure, there's plenty of space for the festivities at Fairview Park, but that location lacks some critical facilities necessary for the Fish Fry - like a kitchen to prepare and clean up for the meals being served, for example. I'm sure there are no problems that cannot be resolved, but the cost might be prohibitive.

Regarding Lions Park, do we really want to place a skate park at a venue presently inhabited by homeless, drunks and other derelicts to the extent that young mothers are reluctant to take their childr
en to the park? It's always struck me as curious that such a large number of those folks infest a park with a police sub-station right across the street.

I realize that simply authorizing a preliminary design of a skate park at Lions Park doesn't ne
cessarily mean one will be built at that location. However, with this expenditure of nearly $80,000 of taxpayers dollars by our "conservative" majority, it sure does look like a done deal to me. Of course, if you've got an unbreakable majority, you don't really have to worry about approvals in the future, do you? The least Mansoor and his pals could do would be to make it look like an above-board deal, for goodness sake. Hopefully, our young jailer/mayor has been practicing his skate boarding skills in the two years since the dedication of the Volcom Skate Park. Stiff legs don't get it.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bever - Master Architect - Strikes Again

The question for today is, "How much government is too much government?"

What brings this particular question to mind is one of the agenda items addressed by the Costa Mesa City Council in their study session on Tuesday, August 12, 2007. That item was entitled, "Standardized Plans For Freedom Homes Room Additions", which can be read in it's entirety here.

According to the staff report, this item was requested by Mayor Pro Tem Eric Bever, a man known for the occasional odd flight of fancy. This appears to be yet another one of them.

The first paragraph of the staff report states, "Pursuant to the Mayor Pro Tem's request, staff prepared a Request for Proposals (RFP) to create standardized plans for the most popular building additions to the Freedom Homes. The purpose of the standardized plans is to create a valuable resource for homeowners by providing basic design drawings that, homeowners may use or customize to suit their needs. In doing so, homeowners could reduce time and cost associated with planning/building room additions to their Freedom Home."

Further on, in the text of the Request for Proposals, under Scope of Work, the following statement is made, "The plans do not need to be structurally engineered, but should consider the zoning and structural issues relative to a typical existing property."

The RFP goes on to describe three distinct types of projects to be considered and provides specific guidance to the bidders as to what is expected as a work product. The staff estimates the cost of this project to be $10,000 - $15,000.

It seems to me that this is micro-managing of the worst kind. Why in the world should the city be involved developing specific plans for specific homes in a specific section of town? It's clear from reading the staff report that the plans anticipated will not be adequate for the homeowner to circumvent the need to hire an architect to create appropriately engineered plans for city approval. Basically, what will be produced under this plan is a set of architectural renderings - very much like the one shown at the top of my previous post about Triangle Square.

Yes, the Freedom Homes are, for the most part, cookie cutter homes - all have similar floor plans, or did when first built. They are fairly typical of homes built following World War II throughout Southern California. They were intended to provide affordable housing for our returning warriors and their families, where emphasis was placed on providing basic shelter and lots of space outside to play. Times have changed and the emphasis a half century later is to larger homes with smaller outside areas. Now the only exercise many kids get today is on their thumbs as they text message back and forth.

It seems unlikely to me that any Freedom Home homeowners intent on performing a major remodel of their homes would choose to perpetuate the cookie cutter approach by utilizing a government sponsored "look". If they wanted that they could have moved to Irvine, for goodness sake.

If this is a good idea for the Freedom Homes, what about College Park or Mesa del Mar? Do we really want our government to design our homes for us? I think not! There are already plenty of constraints on homeowners who wish to remodel or rebuild in our city. City government should not be in the business of designing home remodels.

I think this pipe dream steps way beyond the boundary of government intrusion and is a waste of government funds. For such a proposal to come from a man who touts himself as a "conservative" is astonishing. Quite honestly, it sure looks like Bever is pandering to his core constituency in that section of town in anticipation of a re-election campaign next year. Many folks in his "improver" base live in that neck of the woods. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at such a blatant move - such poor judgment is typical of Bever and displays yet another reason he shouldn't be re-elected.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Triangle Square Resurrected - Again?

The local media is all a'twitter with reports that the most recent ownership consortium - in a long line of owners - of Costa Mesa's municipal oxymoronic white elephant, Triangle Square, is all ready to present to the city a plan for the revitalization of this near-dead shopping mall. It's about time! This thing has been brought back from the grave way too many times, only to resume the dying cockroach position because of misguided management and/or a lack of action on the part of the ownership.


Those of us who have lived in this town for awhile recall that this was the first big redevelopment project - one that promised a wonderful shopping venue in a rehabilitated downtown. It was to be anchored by major retailers and have a market in the lower reaches - a plan that turned out to be a disaster. Few women returned to the market, even though the vendors changed a couple times. They were uncomfortable about the dark, dank parking venue and just plain afraid to go back.


Ownership changed again and again but there never seemed to be a clear vision for the mall. In the past couple years the major anchor retailers - Niketown, Virgin Megastore and Barnes and Nobel Booksellers - all bailed out. Other smaller, yet prestigious, retailers like North Face had pulled out earlier. The family-oriented shops and restaurants left and the Edwards theaters have limped along, probably not making enough to cover their overhead. According to the reports, the mall is only 40% occupied now.

So, as I read the media accounts of this latest plan I found myself with more than a few questions.
For example, how does the Great Tunnel that Mayor Mansoor and his majority are proposing to bore under Newport Blvd. from the terminus of the 55 Freeway to the Newport Beach city limits to take most of those 100,000 cars each day that pass the intersection of Newport Blvd. and 19th Street underground figure in the plans of the Triangle Square ownership? Are the businesses they hope to locate in their building going to be dependent on those potential shoppers? If so, is the plan viable without them?

The rendering provided showed no bridge across Newport Blvd. If bridges were built - similar to the bridges that link South Coast Plaza across Bear Street and Bristol Street - to span both Harbor and Newport Blvd. from Triangle Square to the adjacent shopping areas, it might eliminate concerns about the traffic problems.

What kind of businesses are going to be compatible with the current mix of businesses located there? These include three gin mills, one of which apparently has one of the highest calls-for-service rates by the Costa Mesa Police Department.

The new owners plan 120 dwelling units, a few of which will be live/work units. I find myself wondering just who will live in this place. Certainly, no families with children will choose to try to raise them in a cramped place with no area to play, surrounded by three of the busiest streets in Orange County. It seems likely that the residents will be single people or childless couples.

And, are these proposed to be rental units or owner-occupied condos? The location seems perfect for apartments, except our city leaders say they want to reverse the upside-down renter vs. owner ratio in our city. It will be very interesting to see how this shakes down.

Also, adding 120 residential units - which will likely dump 200-300 trips per day out onto Newport, Harbor and/or 19th Street - will only exacerbate the pending traffic snarl to be created by the nearly-complete 147 units at the 1901 Newport Plaza condo development across the street. What's the plan for this additional traffic at one of Orange County's busiest intersections?

Another interesting sidebar of this process will be the position the mayor takes. He and his cronies were highly critical of Mike Scheafer and Bruce Garlich for their position on the aforementioned condo development during the campaign last year. Will they support this project at Triangle Square when they feigned such opposition to a similar development? Or, was all that rhetoric last year pure politics? I'll bet we can guess the answer to that one.


Don't get me wrong. I'm all for a change at Triangle Square to finally make it the thriving entity once anticipated when it was conceived almost 20 years ago. If the new ownership can pull this off, Triangle Square could become the perfect gateway to a revitalized Westside - something most Costa Mesa voters hope for. What remains to be seen is whether our current city leadership is smart enough to figure a way to make this work. Keep your fingers crossed, but don't hold your breath.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Revelations And Frustrations in Costa Mesa Nation

The Costa Mesa City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 7, 2007 was yet another interesting adventure. I'm not sure what was up with the mayor, but it seemed like every time I looked up at the picture on my television screen he was absent. Every once in awhile he would pop up and dash off the dais like he was trying to make the council meeting an aerobic event.

During the public comments segment an interesting event occurred. One speaker - a regular attendee before the council who resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor - who uses his three minutes to provide direction to the council, made a couple of very telling comments. First, he told us that he is able to recognize gang members on sight, and described some of the physical attributes on which he bases his opinion. It sure sounded like racial profiling to me. Now, if this guy can actually identify gang members from among other members of the community on sight I think we need to draft him into the Gang Enforcement Detail of the Costa Mesa Police Department to facilitate the eradication of gangs from our city. Since he's been a frequent loud critic of gangs and a strident advocate for safety of our residents, I'm sure he would acquiesce and perform this public service for the safety of all Costa Mesa residents.

This same fellow also mentioned, in the same context of the gang problem, that he has been a frequent visitor to crime scenes in our city, and that he has also taken his family with him to these locations. This only affirms the mental image I've had of him, squatting in his bunker in Mesa North, listening to his police scanner, ready to dash out to view some violent event in our city. It's my understanding that he has at least one small child - the one endangered by marauding soccer players in Paularino Park - so I find myself wondering just what kind of a parent would drag a small child to a bloody crime scene. Good Grief! This certainly confirms some of my opinions of this man.

As most have already learned by reading the Daily Pilot coverage, here, the question of placing of the fireworks issue and a 2% increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on the November 2008 ballot were both laid to rest by the Mansoor majority. I found it interesting that they would choose to forbid the voters of this city the opportunity to express their view on these two issues at the ballot box. A 2% increase in the TOT would mean an additional $2 million in revenue to the city - money pitched into our coffers like coins tossed into a wishing well by visitors just passing through. That lack of foresight represents a lot of public safety staff members not hired and a lot of potholes not being repaired. I suppose, if enough voters were interested, either item could be placed on the ballot by the initiative process. That might be interesting.

Among the other items mentioned during the meeting was the possibility of resurrecting a parade in conjunction with the annual Fish Fry at Lion's Park. Councilwomen Katrina Foley and Wendy Leece are scheduled to meet with the City Manager and former councilman Mike Scheafer to discuss it.

Oh, yes. As predicted, the fellow mentioned early in this posting was all over Tony Dodero for his commentary published in the Daily Pilot Wednesday. It sure does seem that he's become our young jailer/mayor's biggest supporter. Maybe it's because the mayor seems to jump every time this guy snaps his fingers.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Diving Back Into The Ooze

After spending a wonderful, relaxing, fun-filled long weekend out of town celebrating the aforementioned anniversary, I returned home late Monday to find a mountain of emails and some very interesting blog entries.


I was amused by Jim Righeimer's column in Saturday's Daily Pilot, here, in which he, once again,
took our neighbors in Newport Beach to task about their plans for a City Hall. He's trying to use logic on that issue and, from a guy who has been beating that drum for a couple years now, I can tell you that it doesn't work. The sides are polarized on the issue based on pure emotion - you just cannot have a rational discussion with a group that is devoted to the perpetuation of a weed patch in the name of environmentalism. I wish old Riggy well as he keeps chucking those stones over the border, but I doubt he's going to have any influence on the decision, however it's made.

Then I fo
und myself chuckling at our young jailer/mayor's latest contribution to the municipal enlightenment in the form of a letter to the editor in the Daily Pilot, here, also on Saturday. Didn't the mayor swear off contributing to the Daily Pilot not too long ago? That's what I thought. Guess he changed his mind.

The mayor's first sentence expressed "disappointment in the double standard put forward by the Daily Pilot." This, of course, is a real joke. In it's news articles the Daily Pilot has consistently presented a balanced view of the issues. I think the mayor just doesn't like the editorial position taken by the newspaper on issues that are near and dear to him. He and his cohorts gripe when the editors chose to publish a viewpoint from residents that differ from theirs, yet ignore the many times when the mayor, or Eric Bever or Wendy Leece or others among the outspoken so called "improvers", like Christian and Kathleen Eric and Judi and Mike Berry, have their views published.

In this particular epistle our young jailer/mayor chose to put spin on the subject of the Paularino Park debate at a recent council meeting - that he didn't attend, by the way. His suggestion that Linda Dixon's question to the City Attorney about what other types of activities would be forbidden by the proposed designation of the park as a "passive" park was "over-the-top antics" misrepresents the facts. Dixon asked the question. Kim Barlow answered it by indicating that tossing baseballs would, indeed, violate the rules.

Mansoor criticized the Daily Pilot editors for their opinion expressed here that the motivation regarding Paularino Park might be race-based. Again, the mayor ignores the facts. This was a non-issue until o
ne resident - a man well known for his racist essays and books and an outspoken critic of the immigrants among us - first raised the issue a couple years ago. Until he fabricated this issue there was no outcry by the Mesa North community. He's used this issue to fan the flames of intolerance in that part of town and the current council majority have been more than willing accomplices. The mayor can deny it all he wants, but facts are facts.

I was pleased to see columnist Steve Smith - a man with whom I've had more than a few disagreements - decided to point out many of the mayor's errors in his letter, here. Then, in a commentary of his own, Tony Dodero, the Daily Pilot's Director of News and Online, signed in with a response to the mayor in Wednesday's Pilot, here.


The man mentioned above, predictably, was all over Smith in his blog posting Tuesday. Without a doubt, he'll rip Dodero's piece, too. I've decided to stop providing links to his stuff because it leaves a stench here on the blog. You'll just have to find it yourself.

I suggest the mayor simply stop reading the Daily Pilot, as he threatened to do so many months ago. Until he does, he should be grateful that the editors and publisher provide him a forum to berate them on their own pages... it's much more than he would do if the shoe was on the other foot.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Four Decades of Wedded Bliss

This weekend my beautiful, lovely and patient wife, Susan, and I will celebrate 40 years of marital bliss - quite an amazing benchmark when you think about it. In an era when half of all marriages end in divorce, we just keep chugging along, enjoying our life together and having fun along the way.

Of course, you can see why I was so smitten by her four decades ago. She was a gorgeous bride, wasn't she? She still is! Not only that, but she was the sweetest, kindest person I'd ever met - and still is. I can remember
thinking what a lucky guy I was to have found my perfect bride that day when I waited for her at the front of the church sanctuary while she was escorted down the aisle by her father, I was right. I was, and am, an extremely lucky guy.

These forty years together have
been a wonderful, exciting adventure, beginning with our first date on New Year's Eve of 1966. When we got married eight months later we had no idea what was ahead as we drove in my Volkswagen through the desert heading east. Back in those days gas was cheap - it cost us $29.00 to drive across the country and included a stop at Niagara Falls.

Our first half dozen years together saw us move five times, traveling around the country like a couple of gypsies because my employer chose to move us from assignment to assignment as I climbed the corporate ladder.
During those years of bouncing around my wonderful wife supported every move we made. She actually loved the excitement of flying to the new locations to look for housing. In those days the company flew us first class, where salads were prepared at your seat, your meal was served on real china plates and you ate it using honest-to-goodness silverware. Ah, the good old days!

Finally, in the summer of 1973, we realized that we would eventually end up back at the corporate headquarters in New England again - we'd already been there twice - and made the decision to take a deep breath and jump off that safe career path and return "home". We've never looked back on that move and have remained anchored in our current home for nearly thirty-four years.

More than a quarter century ago, when I decided to strike out on my own and opened my consulting practice, she took another deep breath, crossed her fingers and supported me in that giant step. We were not sure that, when I jumped off that cliff, the parachute would actually open - but it did and we've had a lovely ride ever since. Then, a few years ago when I began writing my opinions to the local newspapers and, later, in this blog, she was completely supportive. She became the Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder, offering the occasional observat
ion and catching the frequent typo.

This weekend we will celebrate forty years of wedded bliss by visiting some of our favorite places, remembering the wonderful times we've had with our families and friends and be grateful that we found each other. Talk about a lucky guy! My sweet wife hates to shop and can actually still wear clothes she had when we got married. I'm a blessed man.

Sometimes folks will ask how we managed to stay together so long. I think they might mean, "How did she stand you so long?" But, assuming their question is legitimate, we tell them what we tell all young people we know who are getting married - usually in the form of a poem in their wedding card, which includes the phrase, "for a long happy life, as husband and wife, always be willing to go more
than half way." What we mean is, if you only go half way on an issue you have no common ground, no place to find a resolution. You just stand there, nose to nose, breathing on each other. However, if you each are willing to go more than half way, there's a little spot of common ground on which you both can carefully maneuver - kind of like a tango. Got the picture? Are you smiling? Me, too.

Oh, yes, it also helps if you remind your wife every single day just how much you love her.

Happy Anniversary, Honey... off we go, heading for 50!

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