Friday, August 22, 2008


Thursday night nearly 200 interested observers took the opportunity to see the nine Costa Mesa City Council hopefuls strut their stuff. No, they were not walking the runway at a strip club - they were lined up on the stage at the Neighborhood Community Center fielding questions from rookie moderator, former councilman Jay Humphrey.

The proceedings were cordial, with all the candidates acting almost like statesmen (and women). No cheap shots. No backhanded remarks. It was almost boring - almost.

I came away with some initial impressions of our candidates this year. First, the heavy-hitters - Foley, Bever, Monahan and Righeimer - provided the most thorough answers to the questions they handled. This was not unexpected. They all bring years of experience in municipal activities to the table. Because of the format chosen, not all candidates had the opportunity to answer all the questions.


Second, the newcomers, Nick Moss, Lisa Reedy, Bill Sneen, Chris McEvoy have a tough road ahead, as does 2006 candidate Chris Bunyan. Sneen has obviously done his homework on many important issues. Reedy demonstrated maturity when she decided to pass on a question she didn't know enough about. Bunyan appears to be willing to ride the Banning Ranch issue in this campaign, because he persistently found a way to fold the subject into questions where it was barely marginally relevant. Nick Moss showed up full of passion but unprepared to answer most of the questions. It's clear that he really doesn't have a grasp of how the city works.

The most pleasant surprise for me was the performance of high school teacher Chris McEvoy. Although he apologized at the beginning for a physical condition that affects his speech, I found it not to be a problem at all. He's going to run a bare-bones campaign, but was quite refreshing as he attempted respond to many of the questions. Following the forum he told me he's in this for the long haul and, if he doesn't get elected this time around he'll be back in 2010. I hope so.

Most of the candidates provided us with literature and some have prepared web sites which can be visited to review their qualifications and positions on important issues. I've decided, based on a suggestion by a loyal reader, to provide links to all candidate's web sites over on the right side of the page. A few of the sites are not yet operational, but I'll provide the links once they actually work. I'll provide the links through the election.

So, after the first week of the campaign season - and before some of the candidates are actually in campaign mode - here's my take on how they stack up:

Katrina Foley provided the best answers to most of the questions tossed her way. Clearly, she was the best prepared and was able to articulate her views the best.

Jim Righeimer, while only a resident of Costa Mesa for 25 months, showed strength on development-related issues. Of course, he should - that's his profession. When, in his wrap-up, he told the crowd that he planned to "live and die" in Costa Mesa I thought it was a little over the top. Personally, regardless what happens in November, I fully expect him to seek higher office when his buddies at the OC GOP decide it's his turn again.

Gary Monahan, as he certainly should, showed good knowledge of most, but not all, issues. I kept finding myself wondering why, after 12 years on the city council previously, is he back here again? Cynic that I am, I'm thinking that some issue that has percolated to the forefront - like the future of the 55 Freeway - may have prompted him to jump back into the fray to protect his business, which is located where the freeway currently ends. At one point he seemed determined to keep the open sore of illegal immigration festering in this campaign.

Eric Bever, despite his term on the council and on the Planning Commission before that, continues to demonstrate weakness, which he tries to cover up with ill-timed humor. And - in typical Bever fashion - in a response to a question about the possibility of a new library, he misrepresented the facts of the ownership of the land near City Hall that has been earmarked for the new library. Supporters of the library were fuming at that bit of misinformation following the forum. He won't get one of my votes this year.

Bill Sneen was the strongest of the second tier candidates. He's been making the rounds of city officials and staffers and former civic leaders since he filed his papers to run, trying to get up to speed on important issues. He's still got a lot of work to do, but his maturity and business leadership skills would certainly be welcome on the dais.

Lisa Reedy, with more than two decades of community activism behind her and solid business credentials, is just getting started in this race. She's willing to admit when she doesn't have an answer, but she's going to have to do some serious studying as the campaign moves forward if she hopes to be a factor in this race.

Chris Bunyan, if he expects to be taken seriously in this campaign, is going to have to broaden his platform. He will not be able to ride the Banning Ranch to victory - not with the slate of candidates he's facing this time around.

Chris McEvoy is a very refreshing change - a bright, young guy who has called Costa Mesa his home and who knows it's his town for the future. He likely won't spend much money on his campaign, so probably doesn't stand much of a chance when competing with the first four listed here. That being said, his presence in this campaign should help it from getting stale. I'm looking forward to watching him evolve...

Nick Moss, while young and passionate, really has no clue about how our municipality works and doesn't appear to have done much homework to find the answers. His responses were generally naive and, quite honestly, clueless. In my view, he should drop out of the race now.

Thanks to our good neighbors in Mesa Verde as represented by their homeowners association, Mesa Verde Community, Inc., for sponsoring and producing yet another fine forum. Thanks, also, to Jay Humphrey, for keeping the candidates focused and the agenda on schedule.

For those who couldn't attend, Costa Mesa TV was in the house, taping the proceedings for future viewing beginning early next week. The forum will also be available for viewing via streaming video on the city web site.

So, they're off and running. Now let's see who has the tenacity to make it around the first turn in this race. It will be very interesting to watch this race take shape as nine people compete for three seats. I fully expect Righeimer, Monahan and Bever to get the backing of well-heeled Orange County GOP officials and for them to put on a full-court press attacking Katrina Foley. I expect them to spend $100,000 each in that effort.... we'll see.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blatant plug for Bill Sneen:

We need level headed people that care and will do the research necessary to do a good job, not just make a decision based on their electability for Assembly.

Having said that, I think your analysis is pretty spot on.

What I still want to know is if Monahan gets any special bump in benefits due to his years of service if elected. I have heard a rumor that he gets some type of benefit (maybe health insurance?) for life when he passes a certain threshold that this term would provide.

Riggy claiming he is in Costa Mesa for life seemed a bit like political hyperbole to me as well. Can we get that signed in blood?

8/22/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Geoff,

Do you know whether it is true that Riggy has/had one of the 'friends of Corona' badges?

If so, do you know anything about how it came to be given to him? If he "lost" it or returned it?

Thanks again for a great blog

8/22/2008 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce, you pose a good question. I do know that the more years Monahan puts on the council the greater his retirement benefit grows. I don't know about the medical benefits, but that's certainly something to follow-up with next week... which I will do.

8/22/2008 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Alex, I don't know if it's true, but the Daily Pilot reported on August 20th that he, in fact, had been the recipient of one of the 429 badges and that he had returned it to the Sheriff. Righeimer is quoted in the article as saying, "A lot of people are upset about this. They’re taking the badges and trying to impugn 500 people who volunteer." The article also indicated that Righeimer had donated to indicted former Sheriff Mike Carona, but that he couldn't remember how often nor how much.

According to the article by Alan Blank, records show that Righeimer is a member of the organizations "Leadership Council", which requires him to dedicate two to three hours a month to the program. Apparently, also according to the article, he volunteered 75 hours each year for a bicycle safety program that was funded by Carona's foundation and is now obsolete following his resignation.

I know that the CM Watchtower was salivating all over itself on this issue, but I wouldn't give that too much credence. Whomever writes that blog tends to not let facts get in the way of their opinion.

8/22/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scoring some choice quotes from the candidate forum:

Chris Bunyan - “I pledge once again that if elected I will give my salary for a library.” - That's it?! Who the hell cares? How about you donate your council stipend AND $10 of every haircut tab toward the purchase of Banning Ranch, if that's your main issue.

Eric Bever - “I would not support in any case using eminent domain to take over private property. I think it’s been shown over and over again that it’s not a good way to get things done.” Good for you, Eric. By the way, was that Martin in the back to whom they were administering CPR when you said that?

Gary Monahan - “If we were to do a second skate park — and I’m saying if — the best location has always been Lions Park.” An old subject, Skosh. I'd like to see a second park, too. But there's no consensus on a site. Pick a different topic.

Lisa Reedy - “I’m not a politician. I’m a proud resident of Costa Mesa. I pledge to be respectful and listen to other people’s contributions.” Blah, blah, blah. Other than that, Lisa, you're running for office. That makes you a politician.

Jim Righeimer - “We need to put in a plan for infra- structure.” OK, Rig. But instead of suggesting we need to put a plan in place, how about suggesting a plan...and how you'll (er, we) will pay for it.

Bill Sneen - “I’ve talked with some of the Westside business owners. We have land owners in the city that are noticing added value because of the closeness to the beach.” Glad to see those Real Estate 101 classes are working for ya, Bill. Have you noticed, too, that the sun surfaces in the East?

Nick Moss - “I think all our city departments are very capable of operating with a small budget cut considering how much of a substantial increase they’ve received over the last few years.” That's fine, Nick. So, name the percentage. 2%? 3%? More?

Katrina Foley - “I’ve made public safety my top priority. I have lead the effort for a gang- elimination program.” I give you credit for that, Kat. But you haven't convined a majority of the council that you need a carrot to go with the stick. You need to argue - credibly and with facts - why a "stick-only" approach has limited effectiveness.

So, where's Joe Erickson when you need him?

8/22/2008 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Flo Martin said...

Can you imagine electing a bona fide developer to our City Council? Here comes the "fox" just salivating over our "chicken coop."

Riggy is an opportunistic, self-serving and ambitious young man---not to mention abrasive. I cringe at the though of him sitting on the City Council! Riggy care about Costa Mesa? NOT! Bill Sneen, on the other hand...impressive!

8/23/2008 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger CMTRUTH said...

Riggy is a joke, anyone who had a badge from Carona, nuff' said.

Monahan, of course he's worried about his business, just like in the past when he's complained about DUI checkpoints near his eatery . Guy is a joke of monumental proportions.

Beaver and his claims to rid the city of gangs, no city council member can rid the city of anything, thats the PD's job who by the way actually has the qualifications to get the job done. I would be willing to bet not one member of the council could even name CM's gangs, unless of course they read my blog such as that blowhard clown from mensa north.

8/23/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geoff, I ahve been slammed and unable to comment in detail on the forum, but will.

CMtruth, for one who constantly takes people to task for assuming things based on appearance (tagging vs. gang graffitti) you really, seriously stuck your foot in your mouth with your badge comment. In fact, you owe Riggy and the other 400 plus PSRs an apology.

I work with a very fine gentleman who has been a PSR for years. He does it for all the right reasons, and has volunteered countless hours of his time. The same can be said of the hundreds of PSRs who DID NOT get into the program for nefarious, self-serving reasons.

Riggy was praised by CURRENT Sheriff's Dept. leadership for his work on a bicycle safety program - 75 hours a year - so your flippant comment is way out of line.

Like Riggy or not - at least be fair and honest. That's what you demand from everyone else on gang issues.

8/23/2008 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

It's too late to deal with this in much depth - and the USA vs. Spain basketball game is about to start - but regarding Sheriff Hutchens decision to pull ALL the badges - I think that was the correct move. Clearly, there were more than a few of those badges that were provided for less than noble reasons. Riggy may, in fact, been one of those wonderful volunteers that Rob Dickson mentions, but pulling all the badges was the most effective way to yank back those provided to Carona cronies and campaign financiers.

Those who protest a lot may cause eyebrows to raise. Others, men and women who did the good works that the badges represented will most likely simply continue to do that work - badge or not. If it takes a de facto "get out of jail free" card to entice them to "volunteer", then they don't deserve them.

Rob, did "your guy" decide not to volunteer anymore?

It's tip-off time...

8/23/2008 11:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for your thoughtful comment. My co-worker never once carried the "badge" and could care less about it. He continues to volunteer and supports Sheriff Hutchens's actions - as do most of the PSRs he knows.

8/24/2008 02:06:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I forgot to respond to Byron's post.... I know exactly where Joe Erickson is. He's living happily right around the corner from me, enjoying watching his four great kids thrive and reaping the benefits of this wonderful city he helped nurture and grow. Through the wisdom and foresight exercised by him and his peers on the City Council during his terms this city evolved into the wonderful place it is today. Through their leadership and that of the excellent staff, lead by Allan Roeder, they found creative solutions to problems that worked until the present junta began dismantling them over the past few years. Joe paid his dues, but we sure could use him again today.

8/24/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geeze! Did Byron fall out of the wrong side of the bed or what?

One problem with the forum was that they didn't get very many questions asked. I have to wonder why the questions about density and height even made the cut. They were so ambiguous and general that they really could not be answered with any real specificity.

8/24/2008 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Bruce. I am a little bitchy these days and I'm retaining some water. While I wasn't at the forum (working, as usual), I heard from several folks that it was a snoozer. The quotes captured by the Pilot were just so much nothing. Sigh.

8/24/2008 07:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee Byron, you were not at the forum? So you said all those mean and nasty things by just reading the quoutes? I hope you look deeper into the details of each and every candidate and issue on the ballot this year. Scary to see that someone like yourself flies off the handle by just doing a drive-by reading of the newspaper. As for the water retention, well, it happens to us all. I enjoy your "Unplugged" article.

8/24/2008 08:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's OK Byron, the whole thing was in fact a snoozer I will admit. If MHM had in fact suffered a heart attack when Bever disavowed eminent domain tactics, there would at least been some excitement.

God forbid any physical harm to Martin of course.

8/24/2008 08:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Dickson, does your friend have the same kind of influence as riggy does and run in the same circles of people? i see what your saying and my post is vague, I will wait until an upcoming story breaks and will run a feature when it does.

8/25/2008 12:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CMTruth, different kind of influence - he has his own credentials that are quite significant. Point is, relationships or not, means of appointment aside - what one does with the opportunity is the point, and Carona was the GOP golden child back in the day. If you were to tarnish everyone involved in any way with Carona, that is a wide and indiscriminate net -
hey, kinda like all Latinos in Costa Mesa are illegals or all taggers gang members!


Riggy is connected via Rohrabacher - big deal. He then went on to actually do some good with the opportunity.

Unless the breaking story has something specifically to do with Riggy - you should not allude to wrongdoing just because you don't like his politics.

8/25/2008 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your reading into what i wrote, it's ok though. I'm not alluding to anything, we will wait and see, im not gonna jump the gun, just gonna sit back and watch it all unfold.
But anyone who though Carona was a golden child as you say was definitely on the outside of the situation at hand, guy was a crook.

8/25/2008 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CMTruth, obviously (it would appear), everyone had it wrong regarding Carona. But no one except Haidl/Jaramillo, etc. could have known (if their testimony is factual/true - a jury has not yet weighed in). C'mon, be honest about that.

Remember - innocent until proven guilty. Carona jumped on the Samantha Runnion case and became "America's Sheriff." How in the world would anyone not on the VERY inside have any clue about what was ALLEGEDLY going on?

Innocent until proven guilty - an incovenient reality to you, CMTruth, it appears.

In fact, Carona is still innocent. Only after a trial and conviction would he actually be "guilty."

No opinion whatsoever on Carona, simply fact. Facts are facts, after all - and this one is without any possible doubt...

8/26/2008 12:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr. dickson, he will be found guilty due to the fact he is.
the first clue about him being corrupt should have been very evident when he was hanging out with known mob figures and dirty business men such as haidl and many many others who he gave badges for political gain.

8/26/2008 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CMTruth, would you say the same thing about a young Latino man wearing "gang" attire and hanging out with others similarly clad, perhaps "mad-dogging" passer-by?

Look, I know it is a blatantly provocative statement, but I work in the legal field, and it REALLY irritates me when people disregard the basic tenets of our legal system. Carona asserts he is innocent, and has not been convicted. Therefore, he is, in fact, NOT GUILTY.

Guilt by association is a societal evil. Let's not go there. Again, Carona has been indicted, so there is much more than speculation involved, but you CONTINUE to associate the PSR badges with wrong-doing. Check the news - Hutchens is bending over backwards to acknowledge the good deeds done by the VAST MAJORITY of PSRs.

8/26/2008 11:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Was the Register examination of PSR timesheets the story you were referring to?

If so, you really do owe Riggy an apology - he was one of PSRs who actually put in a lot of hours helping the community. To quote the Register:

"In 2007, the documents show, 256 of the 410 PSRs didn’t donate a single hour.

Zero. Zilch.

The 150 or so folks remaining accounted for all of the 16,941 hours donated by the group.


OC Watchdog thinks they more than make up for all the zeros."

The timesheets are available here:

I'd be curious about how the timesheet reporting works - is it mandatory or voluntary? That fact should be determined before any real conclusions are made regarding those with no reported time.

8/27/2008 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes mr. disckson the majority of badges were legit, never said they were not, and yes Carona is "now" innocent, but mark my words he is a cooked goose. And would i feel the same about a young latino, yes if the facts were as strong as they are against Carona i would.

8/27/2008 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


No argument here. Thanks for the honesty.

I still think you owe Riggy an apology...

8/29/2008 12:04:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home