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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