Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Time to Break This Game of Nine Ball!

OK, folks, one last reminder...

Tomorrow, Thursday, August 21st, the first Costa Mesa City Council Candidate Forum will be held at the Neighborhood Community Center at Lions Park. The event, hosted by our good neighbors of Mesa Verde Community, Inc., the Mesa Verde homeowners association, commences at 6:00 p.m. with an opportunity to meet and greet the candidates, followed promptly at 7:00 for the formal forum program. The moderator of the forum will be former council member Jay Humphrey, who still keeps his oar in the water on important civic issues.

This forum, which in years past has consistently been the best-attended, best-run and most enlightening, should be a worthwhile expenditure of a few hours of your time.

This year's field of candidates is very special and, in many ways, unique. There are three seats open this time around, those of Mayor Eric Bever and Councilwomen Katrina Foley and Linda Dixon. Dixon has decided not to run again, even though she is eligible for another four-year term. Bever and Foley will be fighting to retain their seats on the dais.

Joining them on the forum dais will be twelve-year councilman (and multi-term mayor) Gary Monahan; Planning Commissioner Jim Righeimer; Business executive Bill Sneen; Mesa del Mar homeowners association President Lisa Reedy; Hair salon owner Christopher Bunyan; Teacher Christopher McEvoy and Computer guy Nicholas Moss.

Of these, Sneen, Reedy, Moss and McEvoy are neophytes, having held no elective office that we know of. Bunyan ran previously in 2006 and finished last in that race.

Moss, McEvoy and Bunyan have apparently chosen not to provide a candidate's statement for the voter's pamphlet. It's hard to imagine anyone running a serious campaign choosing not to present their qualifications in the only document guaranteed to land in the hands of every voter.

Katrina Foley has served on the council since elected in 2004 and served with distinction on the Planning Commission prior to that, including a tour as Chair of the commission. She's a wife, mother of two sons, successful owner of a law firm and involved in so many community activities that it makes one's head swim just thinking about it. As a member of the minority on the dais with Dixon for the past four years, she continued to present positive initiatives even though many were guaranteed to fail for lack of support from the Bever/Mansoor/Leece majority.

A review of the candidate's ballot statements has proven to be interesting. For example, on Gary Monahan's statement he lists himself as "Father/Restaurant Owner", and goes on to list the name of his restaurant as, "Skosh Monahan's Family Steakhouse". When I visit the web site I find the name listed as "Skosh Monahan's Steakhouse and Irish Pub". I guess old Gary decided that the voters might get the wrong idea and not return him to yet another tour at the municipal trough if he listed himself as a pub owner. But, then, it's politics, where you're warned to believe very little of what you see and none of what you hear.

Similarly, Eric Bever's statement provides some interesting fiction, too. He tells us that he "initiated many continuing improvement projects." He begins with this statement: "Developing solutions for the SR-55 terminus and associated cut-through traffic." Well, that, of course, is hogwash. He and his buddy, Allan Mansoor, ginned up this issue so Bever would have at least one plank in his campaign platform. Nothing of consequence is going to come of this activity for a generation - if then.

He then takes credit for the Residential Remodeling Incentive Program (RIIP), which waved fees for home improvements and, he says, resulted in $35,000,000 in improvements since 2005. What he doesn't tell you is that it also resulted in a loss of revenue to the strapped city coffers of well over $1 million!

Then he takes credit for "plans to create a new 10 acre sports complex". This is also a bogus claim. He jumped the gun with a press release of a program initiated by officials in Newport Beach which has almost certainly made it more difficult for Costa Mesa to do business with our contiguous neighbor. There is an essential element of trust necessary between city officials - he violated that trust.

Bever then takes credit for the Westside overlay zones. What a crock! Those were the result of thousands of hours of hard work by several dozen residents, hammered out over nearly a decade by several city committees of which he played a tiny part! Again, truth is in short supply in a campaign.

Finally, he says he "increased residential street paving". Will someone please call me if they've seen our mayor out spreading asphalt lately?

One more thing... Bever lists several very recognizable people as those who endorse his campaign. Among them he lists past mayor "Hammet". I'm sure the honorable Jack Hammett would have preferred to have his name spelled correctly. Oh, yes... his web site link doesn't work, either.

Jim Righeimer presents us with a pretty generic Conservative statement, the cornerstone of which is his statement that he will "never raise your taxes". Riggy's statement is not a problem - his history is, though. He moved to Costa Mesa just 25 months ago and was, amazingly, appointed to the Planning Commission by Allan Mansoor a few months later in an obvious act of partisan political payback for the help Mansoor got from Dana Rohrabacher during the campaign two years ago. Riggy is Dana's buddy and is running his re-election campaign. In my opinion, Righeimer is just using Costa Mesa as a place-holder until a slot further up the Orange County GOP food chain opens up - maybe Van Tran's State Assembly slot, for example. He's a smart guy, but I'm just not comfortable with him using Costa Mesa as a temporary stopping point.

In his statement, Bill Sneen tells us he's a resident of Costa Mesa for more than 2 decades and a happy family man. He lists for us several organizations in which he has been active in our city since 1981. He also tells us about a career involving more than a quarter century of successful business leadership. His credentials are solid, but the competition is tough.

Lisa Reedy is a name familiar to many folks who have followed civic issues for the past couple decades. She is presently the President of the Mesa Del Mar homeowners association and has a long and diverse history of volunteerism in our city. She, too, is a successful businesswoman and would bring some much-needed maturity to the dais. Again, the competition is tough this time around.

This forum should be a very interesting event and will be the first time we, as voters, can calibrate the individual candidates and begin to form opinions about just which three of these nine will serve the interests of all Costa Mesa residents the best over the next four years. It will be a chance to sort truth from fabrications. See you there.

If you miss the forum, I'm told that the city will tape the proceedings for replay on Channel 24 on Time-Warner Cable. I suspect it will also be available for viewing on streaming video on the city web site. There's a link to it on the right side of this page.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Sneen is a very good personal friend of mine. He was active in Scouting as a volunteer and served with me on the Costa Mesa High School Foundation.

I will be strongly supporting him for council. He is wise, level headed, very business savvy and has a vision for managing Costa Mesa's affairs from the dais in a professional manner.

I won't get into his specific take on pressing issues as that would take away from the forum tonight.

His website is here:

Perhaps Geoff would consider adding the candidates' websites to his links section.

8/21/2008 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce, that's a great suggestion. I'll wait until after tonight's forum and try to get some literature from each candidate, which may have the web site addresses. So far, Bever's doesn't work... an interesting metaphor... :-)

8/21/2008 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Active in Scouting and good personal friend of yours are great indicators!

I look forward to hearing specifics from him regarding the issues CM faces. I'll be at the forum tonight.

8/21/2008 01:41:00 PM  

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