Thursday, January 03, 2008

Change Of Command? Really? If You Say So...

Well, it's been a very interesting 24 hours here in good old Goat Hill. Nothing like a change of command to spark controversy and provoke comments from unusual sources.

As announced earlier, Mayor Allan Mansoor jumped down off his throne and handed control of the dais to his running buddy, Eric Bever. Bever then returned the favor by handing Mansoor his warm Mayor Pro Tem seat. It was almost one of those, "You first", "No, you first" kind of situations with the swing vote on both decisions, Wendy Leece, sitting off to the side sharing inside jokes with City Manager Allan Roeder.


Bever, who has been recognized by Daily Pilot columnist Jim de Boom first as an "eagle" for stepping aside to permit Mike Scheafer to be appointed to the City Council a few years ago, then as a "turkey" for his performance once he won his own seat, now assumes the mantle of mayor at the beginning of a year in which he will launch his run for re-election. Interesting timing, huh?

Some folks have speculated about the possibility of Brown Act violations because of the way the change was orchestrated. Clearly, Bever knew what was coming because he read a prepared statement while nominating Mansoor as Mayor Pro Tem. The question is, did Wendy Leece know of the plan ahead of time? If so, how did she hear of it? The law is quite clear on the subject of discussions among council members off the dais. If she didn't know ahead of time, we will simply assume she was maintaining the role for which she was tabbed as Mansoor's running mate last year - that of a rubber stamp for their decisions.

Katrina Foley was absent from last night's brief council meeting and the usual brainless yappers on the Daily Pilot blog mercilessly flogged her for choosing to spend the Christmas break with her family instead of attending this meeting. It's easy to argue her choice, but fruitless because they simply don't care. It's all part of their campaign to oust her from the council next November.

Another interesting sidebar has to do with a fellow mentioned here in my previous entry and the speculation that he might be launching his own campaign for council. Following those comments and the reference to his campaign platform, the Daily Pilot simply asked him, here, if he was running. He denied it, then followed up that denial by publishing a supplement to his platform in a subsequent blog entry, here. Methinks he doest protest too much.


And, in a move sure to further drive a wedge between the council majority and the Daily Pilot, publisher Tom Johnson wrote a clever column speculating about whether there will really be a change in control or not that will appear on Friday in print and can be viewed here. Johnson's handiwork is funny and probably accurate, but Mansoor and Bever won't like it at all. Since they've gone on record previously swearing off the Daily Pilot (but still keep posting comments on it's blog), I'm not sure exactly how this will affect their relationship. It sure won't help it. I must admit that the images conjured up by Johnson are hilarious.

So, as rain clouds form over southern California, storm clouds of rancor float above our city with no signs of clearing in sight.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Adios, "Young Jailer/Mayor" (Amended)

OK, my friends, we've all had our New Year celebrations and, hopefully, are all ready for the year ahead. If recent pronouncements are any indication, the local campaign season ahead of us promises to be one filled with more noise than light, but should give
us some excitement. So, gird your loins and get ready.


Tonight our young jailer/mayor - sadly, this blog entry will probably be the last time I'll be able to call him that - will abdicate his throne and the betting is that Eric Bever will become the next mayor of Costa Mesa. I'm sorry, but I can't help but wince when I type those words. I wrote a commentary on Mansoor's decision that the editors of the Daily Pilot felt was worthy of publication yesterday. You can read that commentary, which the editors entitled "Mayor's act of largesse is political maneuvering", here. I think it's quite possible that we'll see Wendy Leece, Mansoor's hand-picked running mate last year, selected as Mayor Pro Tem, which will require some musical chairs on the far right side (as you face it) of the dais. (Well, I was wrong! Imagine that! Just before 7:00 tonight Bever was selected as Mayor and then, instead of the majority nominating Leece as Mayor Pro Tem, Bever nominated his pal, Mansoor! He used as an excuse that fact that "the mayor and mayor pro tem need to work closely together." Duh! I guess he didn't think he could "work closely" with any of the ladies on the dais - no surprise there. So, the boys just swapped seats and kept on truckin'. What a sham!)

While I hope Bever will throw off the mantle of court jester he's wo
rn since taking his seat on the dais, I'm not sure it's possible. I keep hoping he will realize that when one sits in a position of authority and is, in fact, a voice for our city, those snappy one-liners and other pitiful attempts at humor are completely inappropriate. I hope he finds a way to comport himself with dignity during this next eleven months until the election, but I fear I might turn blue waiting for that to happen. Only time will tell.

Yesterday my
friend, Byron de Arakal - in his now-weekly Costa Mesa Unplugged column for the Daily Pilot - presented us with an absolutely spot-on description of the metamorphosis of Allan Mansoor. You can find that column, entitled "Regretting Mansoor's reversal", here. I agree completely with Byron's assessment of the changes we've seen in our young jailer/mayor since he was first elected. I recall Mansoor at our first meeting during a candidate forum in his first campaign as a nice, earnest, sincere young man who, in addition to taking the oath to protect and defend us in his day job as a Deputy Sheriff, was willing to make a further commitment to the improvement of our community by seeking elective office. I'm pre-disposed to think kindly of those who serve us in public safety jobs and was looking forward to his performance as a councilman. I've been disappointed.

I recall how u
neasy he was during those first few months on the dais, looking very much like a fish out of water. Of course, that might have been because he was sharing space with the chronically inept Chris Steel. Regardless, I watched as he groped his way through the learning curve and developed meager political instincts.

I was deeply saddened when he and his majority decided to close the Job Center - a facility that had served this community well for nearly two decades and solved the problem of loiterin
g day workers throughout the city. I was very distressed when that Mansoor-led majority decided, in a complete blind-side, to first defund, then disband, the city's Human Relations Committee without so much as a thank you to the volunteers who spent countless hours attempting to provide a forum for mediation of problems that existed between factions within our city. That kind of callous heavy-handedness was an omen of things to come.

I've watched as Allan Mansoor morphed from Opie into a petty tyrant, guided by his core constituen
cy of self-anointed "improvers" who seem determined to blame the latinos in our city - which represent a third of our population - for every ill within our borders. He became an easily-led pawn for any number of persons and entities, including the Orange County Republican Party hierarchy, Minutemaniac Jim Gilchrist and his band of merry nuts and the aforementioned "improvers". Over the past two years since he attempted to convert every Costa Mesa police officer into an immigration screener, we've seen his face on national television, where puffed-up talking heads pontificated about his "bravery" and "leadership" and stroked his growing ego. He was no longer that nice young guy from a few years ago.

Among that "improver" group is one guy - heck, he may be your neighbor - who has received muc
h electronic ink in this space and seems to be gearing up for a run for a council seat of his own. When goaded by my commentary in the Daily Pilot he published an entry on his "little newsletter" which, while denying any interest in elective office, provided us with his campaign platform. You can read that manifesto here. When I first read it I found myself wondering why he wasted all those words when he simply could have boiled it down to one phrase, a thread common to most of his entries - "To solve all our problems, expunge all the latinos from the city, regardless of their immigration status". That seems to sum up his view.

When I think of the specter of this fellow as a member of our city council it makes me want to puke. He is my worst nightmare for this city. Even though he consistently provided the intellectual stimulation for the so-called "improvers" for the past decade, if he were to hold a council seat and have his way, the bulldozers would already be plowing through the Westside of our city and eminent domain would be the order of the day. Actually, though, I find myself anticipating his candidacy. It would require him to slither out from under his rock and give us more personal information than I think he would care
to do. It would also expose to scrutiny his underlying philosophy as expressed in his books, newsletter and hundreds of online essays. While he has consistently said he writes to be read, that view may come back to haunt him.


I don't think he'll dare to run. Instead, he'll continue to lurk in the shadows, spewing his venom anonymously using many pen names on the Daily Pilot blog. Should he decide to venture out from the shadows and actually run for office he can expect to be greeted by several folks more than willing to provide their views of his fitness for office in our city. I have a hard time believing the voters of Costa Mesa would seriously consider as a
candidate for a leadership position a man adorns his essays with swastikas and who is revered by Louisiana's David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan - an accolade the fellow uses as a marketing device for his books. One salivates at the opportunity...


So, dear readers, we say adios to "our young jailer/mayor" - the term, not the man. Allan Mansoor, who has looked a little weary recently, will remain on the council, marking time until termed out in 2010 - at which time the Orange County GOP leadership will likely have found another seat for him from which to exploit his naivetÈ. And the beat goes on...

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Wall Street Journal's Year-end Take on Immigration

With all that's transpired over the past 12 months, it's hard to imagine it was all crammed into a year and that we're staring another chronological milestone in the face tonight. Before I go further with this year-end entry I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year - we all deserve it!


As previous
ly reported, our young jailer/mayor dropped a bombshell to end 2007 when he announced last week that he's stepping down as mayor to "give others a chance". Yeah, right! I fully expect him to nominate his court jester, Eric Bever, as mayor Wednesday evening, and the ruling troika will consummate that move. And, there's no reason to think Wendy Leece, Mansoor's campaign barnacle last year, will not be elected Mayor Pro Tem. I expect Bever will attempt to use the position of mayor as a platform to victory in his run next year. He's already shown us through his most recent pronouncements that he's going to attempt to use the glow still emanating from Mayor Mansoor to enhance his campaign.

Speaking of which, the editors of the Wall Street Journal today provided us with a very interesting commentary, which they entitled "Keeping Book on Immigration". It appeared on page A12 and is worth a read by anyone seriously interested in the facts of the current immigration situation in our country. I'll try to paraphrase some of the important information provided therein.


The editorial begins by telling us that the population of the United States will hit 303.1 million tonight, representing a one-year increase of 0.9% and a 22% increase since 1990. They tell us that much of this growth was driven by im


Further, they tell us that pundits of all persuasion - radio hosts, cable newscasters and Presidential hopefuls - "insist that foreign nationals drive up crime rates, swell welfare rolls and steal jobs." They tell us, though, that the data provides a very different story.

The editors tell us, "
Between 1994 and 2005, the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. is estimated to have doubled to around 12 million. Yet according the Department of Justice, over that same period the violent crime rate in the U.S. declined by 34.2% and the property crime rate fell by 26.4%, reaching their lowest levels since 1973. Crime has fallen in cities with the largest immigrant populations -- such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami -- as well as border cities like San Diego and El Paso, Texas." That sure doesn't track with all the screaming we've been hearing from folks like Minutemaniac Jim Gilchrist and his cadre of loose nuts - including a few here in Costa Mesa.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal state that, "A recent paper by the Immigration Policy Center, an advocacy group, notes that 'Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native born.' Today, immigrants on balance are five times less likely to be in prison than someone born here." They further state that, "It's not because law-abiding foreign professionals from India and China are compensating for criminally inclined low-skill Latinos. Immigrants from countries that comprise the bulk of our illegal alien population -- including Mexicans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans -- have lower incarceration rates than the native-born." That emphasis is mine, but I think it's very important. The anti-illegal immigrant screamers, including our young jailer/mayor and his cronies, have pounded out the drum beat that it's those nasty, evil immigrants from south of the border that are the root of all problems in our country.

Another interesting fact provided by the editors in their piece today is, "Another popular belief is that immigrants come here to go on the dole. The data show that welfare caseloads have fallen as illegal immigration has risen. As Peter Wehner and Yuval Levin report in the December issue of Commentary magazine, 'Since the high-water mark in 1994, the national welfare caseload has declined by 60%. Virtually every state in the union has reduced its caseload by at least a third, and some have achieved reductions of over 90%.'

Apparently immigrants don't drive welfare caseloads anymore than they drive the U.S. crime rate. The authors go on to note that, 'Not only have the numbers of people on welfare plunged, but, in the wake of the 1996 welfare-reform bill, overall poverty, child poverty, black child poverty and child hunger have all decreased, while employment figures for single mothers have risen.'"

Well, now, that's an interesting revelation, don't you think? Particularly so when they continue, "For all the talk about the 'invasion' of million upon million of job-consuming immigrants, the unemployment rate stands at 4.7%, and job growth continues apace. Immigrants aren't stealing jobs but filling them. The economic activity they create as consumers and entrepreneurs contributes to the overall economic growth." Again, that emphasis is mine.

The editors recognize the significant impact of illegal immigration and the importance of finding ways to control and manage it. Their final two paragraphs state the following: "None of this is to argue that illegal immigration doesn't have costs, especially in border communities and states with large public benefits. In the post-9/11 environment, knowing who's in the country is more important than ever. That's an argument for better regulating cross-border labor flows, not ending them."

The editors continue, "The best way to reduce pressure on the border is by providing legal ways for people to come and work. With the Bracero guest-worker program of the 1950s, illegal entries from Mexico declined to a trickle. A similar program today could have much the same effect, while serving our homeland security and economic interests. On balance, the evidence shows that immigrants are still an asset to the U.S." Again, my emphasis. Thanks to the editors of the Wall Street Journal for this incisive bit of journalism with which to end this year.

As the national elections heat up, beginning with the Iowa caucuses this week, we're going to hear lots of contradictory rhetoric about the impact of illegal immigration in this country. For sure, we're going to hear more wailing and moaning by the usual suspects here in Costa Mesa, led by one prolific blogger who sets the tone for the rest of the "improver" mob.

Our young jailer/mayor and his running mate, Wendy Leece, rode to victory on the backs of brown immigrants last year. As I said at the top of this piece, I have no doubt Eric Bever will attempt to ride this municipal dead horse - illegal immigration - to do the same thing over the next year.


It will be very interesting to see just how much support he gets from the local GOP in his re-election run. I suspect the leaders of the party may have more trouble supporting Bever and his tendency to shoot from the hip and step on his lip with the frequency he has demonstrated since he's been on the council. Unless they, the GOP leadership, can find a way to tie down that loose cannon they may choose to simply back away and let him fend for himself. That would be fine with me. Unfettered, Bever's mouth will get him into all kinds of trouble.


Another interesting sidebar from the local rumor mill is that the blogger mentioned above - the guy who provides the intellectual stimulation (such as it is) to the self-anointed "improvers" - might also consider a run for City Council next year. That, my friends, would make for a very interesting situation, since campaign rules require disclosures that might prove complicated for him. Certainly, the complete body of his work would become subject of commentary and scrutiny. I'm not sure he will want those rocks overturned for fear of what might come crawling out. Then, again, maybe not. He's stated many times that he writes to be read. Be careful what you ask for, neighbor.

So, dear readers, I hope you'll return to this site often in 2008. A Bubbling Cauldron will do it's best to provide facts and insight on important issues in our community for your consideration and comment. Again, Happy New Year to you all.

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