Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Election, Predictability, Cows, Budgets, Heart and Gas Attacks

Well, in case you
hadn't noticed, yesterday there was an election in these parts. I say it that way because, according to the the final returns today by the Orange County Registrar of Voters, of the 1,566,951 registered voters in this county only 274,541 (17.5%) chose to exercise that precious opportunity and of those 172,525 (62.8%) chose to vote by mail. The remainder of you just blew off this election.

"So what?", you say. "The Presidential Primary was held months ago, so what's the big deal?"

Well, for one thing, this election gave you a chance to express your views on Propositions 98 an
d 99, which took separate stabs at what I've referred to in the past as the sledgehammer of eminent domain. According to recent news reports, it looks like Prop. 98 was crushed and Prop. 99 will probably carry. If you didn't vote I don't care what your opinion was on these measures. In Orange County it looks like Prop. 98 carried by a thin 3,000 vote margin, while Prop. 99 held a greater than 30,000 vote margin affirmatively.

If you didn't vote you missed the chance to have a say in which judges will be seated. If you didn't vote you missed the chance to be one of the 7,489 votes cast for Allan Mansoor for a seat o
n the Republican Central Committee. You Democrats should be giggling - and we Republicans should be shuddering - at the specter of Mansoor having a voice at the table deciding the future of the Orange County Republican Party. Who would have thought that he could ride this far on the backs of brown-skinned immigrants?

Last night's Costa Mesa City Council meeting was almost over before it began. About a third of the meeting was spent on p
roclamations and presentations - all well-deserved. They had to do a tap dance for a few minutes, stalling until the magic hour of 7:00 arrived so they could begin with public hearings. The whole thing lasted about 90 minutes.

As predicted, one local guy stood before the council and yapped about what a bad idea it would be to place one of the new red-light cameras at the intersection of Harbor and Baker. Appar
ently he makes several runs each day through that intersection - I wonder how many times he blows the light? - and thought it would be unsafe for there to be a red-light camera placed in that location. Well, my friend, what's good for the goose.... What a cry-baby! I was pleased to see that the council ignored him on that issue.

Curiously, in yet another example of him ignoring the recommendations of senior law enforce
ment staff, Mayor Pro Tem Mansoor voted against the motion to place the new cameras. I guess he might have been distracted about the election and the possibility of winning the seat on the Central Committee.

Or, maybe, he was worried about his future with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. News earlier in the day told us that the Board of Supervisors had just distilled the candidates for our new Sheriff down to two candidates - Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters and retired
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Division Chief Sandra Hutchens. Both these candidates know that the situation with the Orange County Jails is a nightmare and needs prompt, decisive action. Mansoor and his brother have been growing mold in their jobs as jailers for several years. I suspect Mansoor is worried about actually having to go out into the field and, for the first time in his 14+ year career, actually be a law enforcement officer.


On the positive side, we found out that we will be having another cattle drive in conjunction with this year's Orange County Fair. The route was announced - it's the same one as last year.

Just a reminder, next week the City Council will hear the presentation of the new city budget at their study session on Tuesday, June 10th at 4:30 in Conference Room 1A. Public attendance and comment is invited. Later that week, on Thursday, June 12th at 6:00 a public budget workshop will be held in the same venue, but withou
t the attendance of the council. I've attended these presentations for the past several years - I've been among the two or three of us who did so. It's a great way to get some understanding about how "your" money is being managed. In years past the excellent city staff - they've got a whole trophy case full of awards for their budget presentations in past years - has patiently gone through their presentation and, because of the small size of the group, answered any and all questions. We really do have a chance to influence the budget process in this workshop - the final budget will be voted on during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 17th. Put the workshop on your calendar. I'll remind you again next week.


In case you don't subscribe to the Press Releases from the City of Costa Mesa, here's a link to one that just came in over the transom regarding the city's new Public Access Defibrillation Program. I won't re-state the information - it's clearly presented if read the release, HERE.


The Daily Pilot online is reporting this afternoon that the much-delayed demolition at El Camino Center in Mesa Del Mar was halted today when a demolition worker punctured a natural gas line. Several neighboring homes were evacuated for fear of an explosion. Geez, will we ever get that place leveled?! Check the Daily Pilot for updates.

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Blogger Humberto said...

The way the Republican Party is turning out in OC, with Mansoor in (looks extreme now), I would be concerned about being part of it. The Demos have a lot of room for you and other good-minded moderates. To tell you the truth, I wasn't surprised by the latest results in the Rep. Party. Having Millard in the Central Rep. Comm., that would be surprising.

6/04/2008 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...


Thanks, but I'm not THAT desperate - yet! :-) :-)

6/04/2008 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


IMO, Red Light Cameras are unconstitutional. We have a constitutional right to confront our accusser in a court of law. You don't get that right when a ticket is issued via the camera. There's gotta be a better way to police dangerous intersections than these cameras.

6/04/2008 11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Bartlett,

I generally agree with you, and wrote about my concerns when the red light camera program was first proposed. My letter was published and I ended up talking to a CMPD Sgt. about the issue. When I participated in the CMPD Citizens Police Academy, I was given a detailed demonstration of just how the red light camera system operates.

The cameras in CM are incredibly sophisticated, capturing vehicles on video and still both before, during and after they traverse an intersection. Additionally, you DO have the opportunity to challenge a red light camera ticket in Costa Mesa by making an appointment with the CMPD to review the camera footage. I know first hand that CMPD will not process the ticket unless they have positive identification and a clearly proven violation.

In many ways, the camera system is more foolproof than an officer's naked eye observation. With the red light camera, there is an independent video and photographs of the violation (not just of the driver/license plate) as opposed to the word and eyesight of an officer. CMPD officers are not dishonest in my experience, but they are human and cannot possibly cover an intersection as comprehensively as these camera systems. While an officer may think somebody ran a red light, the camera can demonstrate conclusively just where the vehicle was when the light turned red.

6/05/2008 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Regarding the punctured gas line, perhaps the demolition crew was just trying to speed things up a bit?

6/05/2008 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...


Add to the equation the live electric wires the firefighters discovered as they responded to the site of the gas line break and you've got a formula for very cost effective (to the developer) demolition. If the place goes Boom! and burns to the ground they would certainly meet their June 19th deadline for having the place cleaned up. I don't really suspect that was intentional. I think the developers probably found the cheapest demolition guys and turned them loose.

6/05/2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob Dickson,

Thanks for your very comprehensive response to Allan Bartlett.

6/05/2008 10:14:00 AM  

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