Sunday, March 02, 2008

Life in the World of Editors

This morning the Daily Pilot, our local newspaper of record, published a commentary I submitted t
o them several days ago in response to one published in that fine newspaper by M. H. Millard, local activist, gadfly and publisher of his own blog, CM Press. You can read that commentary HERE. You may read M. H. Millard's commentary to which I was responding HERE and the commentary by former mayor Allan Mansoor that Millard was addressing HERE.

As occasionally happens, the editors of the Daily Pilot found it necessary to slice and dice my submission, eventually printing just about half of it. For those of you that might be interested, I've provided the entire submission as it was sent to the Daily Pilot. The text the Pilot used is in green. The unpublished remainder is in purple.


Costa Mesa resident, prolific writer and gadfly M.H. Millard provided us with a view into his mind with his recent Mailbag contribution. ("Fix holes in city structure, not holes in the road," Feb. 20).

Millard begins by cautiously praising the current council majority, Eric Bever, Allan Mansoor and Wendy Leece, for their efforts, then proceeds to criticize them for not doing enough to implement "structural change" in the city. He then provides them with a blueprint for that change, including reduction of industrial zoning, primarily on the Westside, removal of what he calls "barracks-style apartments", also predominantly on the Westside. He also suggests a change in the owner vs. renter ratio in Costa Mesa, which currently has 60% renter occupied housing and bemoans his perception that Costa Mesa looks more like Santa Ana than Newport Beach - literally.

Millard's message, as usual, is directed specifically at the one-third of our residents of Latino ancestry - and I don't mean only those here illegally. For nearly a decade he has been leading the charge to dislocate and cause discomfort to the Latinos among us. In addition to those subjects in his current column, the closure of the Job Center, his attacks on the charities on the Westside and his attempt to have the Orange Coast College Swap Meet shut down are among the many attempts he's tried to orchestrate to expunge the Latinos from our midst. His ideas of "change" in our city are anchored in changing the "complexion" of our residents - fewer brown faces, more white ones.

He has been trying to institutionalize intolerance in our city since the late 1990s, providing the song book for "improver" elected leaders and chiding them from the speaker's podium when they don't toe his line.
It's clear that most are listening to him because they echo his comments from the dais frequently.

There may be no better example of the pervasiveness of this institutionalized intolerance than the comments uttered by former mayor, and current mayor pro tem, Allan Mansoor at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 19th.
Following the brief presentation by a representative of the Orange County Human Relations Commission - a group that tracks hate crimes and provides tolerance training throughout the county - which reported to the council recent activities in our city, Mansoor used part of his "council member comments" time to state
categorically that he wasn't interested in hearing any further reports from the Commission. Apparently inflamed by unsubstantiated critical comments directed at the Commission by one Costa Mesa resident, he seemed angry that "some council member" invited them to speak. He wasn't any happier when told by the City Manager that, as a matter of practice, the Commission speaks before all city councils each year to report on instances of hate crimes in each city. Mansoor said that he won't support further reports to the city by the Commission, which tells me he is either ambivalent about hate crimes in our city or, even worse, supports them.

As distasteful as Mansoor's statement was, this is no surprise, since he led the move to unceremoniously disband the Costa Mesa Human Relations Committee not too long ago, ending nearly two decades of work done to mediate conflicts between factions in our city.

For nearly a decade M. H. Millard has been the source of racially intolerant views in this city. He is an articulate, persuasive speaker who rants before the city council and other official government bodies frequently. His local web log is widely read by many elected and appointed officials.

Millard has become an influential person in our city, a fact recognized by the Daily Pilot which has named him one of its 103 most influential persons two years running. He has been an insidious activist, wheedling his way onto important committees - like the 3R Committee, where he used his influence to attempt to de-fund charities on the Westside. In 2006, when his activities on that committee became widely known, he resigned under a cloud - apparently not wanting to hamper Mansoor's re-election campaign.
Millard's prolific writings on far-right wing web sites have been embraced by such notorious racists as David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, who publishes and praises Millard's work on his own web site. The New Nation News web site archives hundreds of his repugnant essays written over the past decade. Millard has been tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a purveyor of hate for a decade - ever since one of his essays bemoaning the dilution of the American populace through racial interbreeding, creating what Millard referred to as "Tan Everyman", was widely denounced. I've read many of his essays - they make you want to puke.

I wonder how many of the residents of this city are comfortable knowing their elected leaders not only follow the drumbeat of intolerance as practiced by M. H. Millard, but seem eager to actually institutionalize the practice in our city. It's as though they've become willing pawns in Millard's plan to recreate our city into someplace found in the deep south during the middle of the last century, when intolerance was a way of life. What a sad commentary this is about our city - that we would elect leaders so easily led by the intolerant among us.
One can only hope that most voters will see through the veil of Millard's rhetoric, understand the underlying motives and repudiate them. One way to demonstrate this repudiation is at the ballot box next November.

I have no reason to think my submission was so severely edited other than for space reasons. Regular readers of this blog know that no one will ever accuse me of using too few words. I'll let you be the judge.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering why you didn't mention shutting down the Costa Mesa Human Relations Committee! It turns out you didn’t disappoint after all, the DP editors did.

There are a couple of edits that I think were not motivated by space, but then I don't always see eye to eye with the DP editors (as you know) so maybe I am wrong.

Overall, nice Op Ed piece. Thanks!

3/03/2008 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Bruce, there was no need to remove the darn CONTEXT! The way it was published made it seem more personal than topical, and did away with the connection between his column and your article.

I am glad that they published one of our commentaries! Good job!

3/03/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's assume is was due to space. What is interesting about your article and mine, which was published last week (not complete version), is that we don't usually hear comments from the people located in the middle of the political spectrum. It was a good article by the way. Its missing some important pieces. I guess my book, "Terror in the Latino Barrio: The Rise of the New Right in Local Government," will provide that.

3/03/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well folks, the assumption that it was due to space was blown out of the water this morning when we see an enormous number of column inches graciously donated to Millard by the DP editorial staff.

3/04/2008 09:17:00 AM  

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