Friday, October 05, 2007


It has been an interesting week here in Cauldronland. The trial of Benito Acosta see
ms to have sucked most of the available energy from readers of the Daily Pilot and the bloggers who post their views online. There apparently is no spleen left unvented. Well over 150 - and counting - comments have been posted on the several articles on this subject, which can be read here, here and here. As I type this, the most recent article this morning, here, announces that the appeal of the decision by Judge Kelly MacEachern to dismiss the case late last week has been denied. So, this part of the Benito Acosta adventure is over.

On the horizon, apparently set for a spring start, is the federal civil rights case filed by the ACLU on behalf of Acosta against the city. That one has the potential, should it be resolved in Acosta's favor, to reach into our city coffers and extract very significant dollars. And, as painful as the financial part of it would be, even more destructive will be the cost to the city's reputation, which is rapidly becoming one of a bastion for intolerance.

Of interest is the fact that the word "recall" has been bandied about on the blog, postulating that the way Mayor Allan Mansoor handled the events of the City Council meeting on January 3, 2006 is worthy of being recalled
from office. Even though he clearly demonstrated bias - some would say prejudice - in the way he handled Acosta versus the way he permitted his sponsor, Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist to permit his "5 or 6 dozen" supporters to stand when he spoke to show their support of his views, I don't think that mistake is sufficient cause to try to recall our young jailer/mayor. Mounting a recall effort is costly, both in terms of dollars and community harmony. The mayor and his running mate, Wendy Leece, gained sufficient votes last year to make me believe that a recall effort would fail.

There may be
no bigger critic of the mayor and his majority in this city than this writer. I think his actions, supported by his majority, have caused Costa Mesa to become known as a city without a heart. I think their attempt to create their own foreign policy by advocating the designation of every Costa Mesa police officer as an immigration screener destroyed the bridges built over the previous two decades between city government and the Latino community - one third of the population of our town.

Under the guise of making Costa Mesa "a safer place", they have created an atmosphere of fear and apprehension on the Westside of our city. I, for one, don't feel much safer knowing that the bible teacher who was snatched up for riding his bicycle the wrong way has been deported. Nope, that doesn't make me sleep any better.


Each month, when the Costa Mesa Police Department presents their crime figures - which now include statistics for those arrestees who have been screened by the agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) presently assigned to our jail - anti-immigrant activists crow about how much safer our streets have become. I have seen no statistics that tell us how many of those detained by ICE are actually convicted of a crime and subsequently deported. Along with that information, I'd also like to know how many previously deported criminals have been re-arrested, having returned to our city following deportation.

In my view, until and unless the federal government secures the border, anything done by ICE in Costa Mesa is only window dressing. Yes, I certainly do want dangerous felons - that's how the mayor
described his target group when he first proposed having all the CMPD officers designated as immigration screeners - off the streets and kept off. This present program doesn't seem to be doing that.


Rather than waste fiscal resources and emotional energy on a doomed recall effort, I suggest those in our community who have had enough of the mayor's heavy-handed style of governance begin right now to find candidates to change the power structure on the council. In just over 12 months we will elect three council members - a majority - so the opportunity is there for a chan
ge for the better. However, the only probable candidates in addition to Katrina Foley that I see poised for a run are sycophants of the mayor and his current majority. Assuming our resident court jester, Eric Bever, chooses to run again, it's likely he will be joined by one or more self-described "improvers" in the race for the three seats to be contested.


I've even heard rumors that turncoat Gary Monahan, the termed-out twelve year, pension-eligible
former councilman and mayor might run again - apparently hoping to add years to his pension pot. You may recall that it was Monahan who, inexplicable, changed direction and joined Mansoor and Bever to form the first majority that began directing this city onto it's current path of intolerance. For that move he found immigrant's rights activists camped on the doorstep of his business for several weeks, chanting epithets at him and disturbing his customers. With that as a backdrop, it's unlikely he would view the plight of the Latino community with much sympathy should he regain a seat on the council.


Unless new candidates surface who represent a more balanced approach to the governance of our city, we will be doomed to be under the thumb of this narrow-minded group of anti-immigrant activists for the next decade. Unless we are able to shift the power from those who seem destined to encumber this city with legal and fiscal penalties for their missteps, we will continue to see our precious resources used not to hire more police officers and fire fighters, nor to repair our crumbling streets, but to pay settlements and fines for their sledgehammer approach to governance.

Now it the time to begin returning this city to the right path - the one that will take it back from the dark forces of intolerance.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fear replaces harmony? Hardly. The majority of Costa Mesa citizens were not well represented by past councils and Snowden regarding illegal aliens. We were far from feeling harmonious with the invasion of our city. So we worked hard, formed the improvers and are finally getting some positive results concerning illegals. It may have been hard to notice us in the past as we didn't stage massive rallies or disrupt council meetings. We first spoke in 1994 with the immensely popular Prop.187 and have used the ballot box since, respecting the rule of law.
Also, ICE is not Mansoor's policy. It was never enacted. In fact, many Latino voices called for the FEDS to do something, not our local police. They got their wish. Maybe they should have supported Mansoor's more limited policy? They have also called for more action against employers. Well it is coming, hope they like it!
Improvers anti immigrant? Uh, no. Insert the word illegal immigrant and you have it right.

10/05/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Ah, Commissioner Jim, welcome back. I guess you plan to use this site as a campaign venue for the next year, huh? OK, when you have something relevant to say - and maybe when you don't - I'm always happy to hear from you.

I won't attempt to debate the value of Chief Snowden's contributions to the well-being of this city for almost two decades. Obviously, we differ on that subject.

Of course, "ICE" is not a Mansoor policy - it's a federal organization and, as such, the appropriate organization to do the immigration screening. Mansoor's policy, even the diluted version proposed by Gary Monahan, was the flash point for all the turmoil that led to, among other things, the disturbance at the council meeting on January 3, 2006. Thank you for playing in my sandbox.

10/05/2007 10:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Fisler,

What have these so-called improvers done with our youth in our community? 13 years of talk and we have closed Boweling Alleys, Movie Theaters and an Ice Rink. Not to say, the lack of youth sports fields. There is more to our community than this illegal immigrant issue. To have a vibrant and harmonious community one must reach out to a broader range of citizens. I don't see this with the current council majority.

10/07/2007 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it is time for less talk and more action.
You should start a petition for Mansoor's removal.
I hear of other cities doing this (Lynnwood)
Maybe their is some momentum in the air to get these idiots out of office before they do more damage.
I will be the first to sign the petition.
Scott Mc.

10/09/2007 11:47:00 AM  

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