Friday, September 12, 2008

Mansoor and The Three Amigos

In an amazing twist of irony, Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor's commentary in the Daily Pilot on September 11, 2008, "Three candidates will continue changes", HERE, appears in the same edition as the article by Joseph Serna entitled, "Costa Mesa
loses appeal in Acosta case", HERE.


According to Serna, the Orange County Appellate Court upheld the lower courts decision to dismiss the criminal charges against Benito Acosta because the prosecutor from Jones & Mayer had not been sworn in as a public prosecutor - an oversight that turned out to be a major gaffe.

Acosta was charged with the crimes involved only after he filed a civil action against the city for the events that occurred January 3, 2006, when he was dragged bodily from the courtroom by members of the Costa Mesa Police Department after he protested then-Mayor Mansoor's decision to forbid his friends from standing to show their support for Acosta a
fter having given Minuteman Grand Pooba Jim Gilchrist permission to do that very thing earlier.

I'm not happy that the city had to spend precious resources on this whole Acosta affair - the civil trial is still pending - and lay the blame directly at the feet of Allan Mansoor for his decision to attempt to
cross-designate every Costa Mesa police officer as an immigration screener. That move turned this city upside down and pitted Mansoor's supporters, including Gilchrist and other outside agitators, against the Latino population - roughly one-third of our residents. It also made Mansoor the poster boy for the anti-immigrant movement in this country and even got him anointed as an honorary Minuteman by Gilchrist and his mob. That notoriety made Costa Mesa look to outsiders like a teeming cesspool of illegal immigrants - not the kind of image one expects the mayor of your city to project to others.

Today t
his is a very different city than it was just three years ago. Because of Mansoor and his ilk, Latinos in our community walk the streets of this city in fear. Today we have men riding to work being stopped by the CMPD for riding an unlicensed bicycle and, if unable to provide identification, are hauled off to the jail and screened by the ICE representative for deportation. Three years ago this kind of stop was unheard of.

Now Mansoor, in his commentary, touts his three buddies in the city council race, Jim Righeimer, Eric Bever and Gary Monahan, as men who will "continue the change". Just what we need - more anti-immigrant moves fostered by the radical right!

Righeimer - a smart and very politically connected fella - moved to Costa Mesa at the beginning of Mansoor's re-election campaign just over two years ago and was given a plum assignment on the Planning Commission by Mansoor after residing in our city for seven months as pure political payback for the support Righeime
r's buddy, Congressman Dana Rohrabacker, gave to Mansoor and Leece during their campaigns. Righeimer is Rohrabacker's campaign manager this year.

Mansoor stepped aside as mayor early so his buddy, Bever, could assume that high-profile position to facilitate his re-election campaign. During Bever's tenure he has demonstrated that he's not big enough for the job many times over, including some precarious dances with Brown Act violations.

Monahan, to his credit, headed off Mansoor's original immigration screening debacle, but later supported his moves that have gotten us into this fix now. He and the Latino demonstrators have gone toe-to-toe at Monahan's restaurant not too long ago. If his bored, lack-luster performance at the first candidate forum is any indication, Monahan is simply trying to shove his way back to the municipal trough. His responses at the forum were half-hearted at best and more than a few of them showed that he was focused on two-year-old issues, not the current problems the city faces.

In his commentary Mansoor goes on to denigrate councilwomen Katrina Foley and Linda Dixo
n - the two highest vote-getters in the election four years ago who the Mansoor-majority literally shoved aside on the dais by juggling the seating arrangement to put them completely out of the picture when issues are discussed. Dixon, of course, has chosen not to run again this year. Foley, though, is running to retain her seat and certainly poses a great threat to Mansoor's pals in this election.

Mansoor also chose to disparage candidates Bill Sneen and Lisa Reedy. Mansoor must think Sneen - a business leader with strong community service credentials who has been working hard since filing his papers to get up to speed on the important issues facing us all - presents a threat to the stranglehold he plans to impo
se on our municipal government by getting his three amigos elected to join him and Wendy Leece to form a de facto junta.

Similarly, he mis-characterizes the position Lisa Reedy holds on important issues. Reedy, president of the Mesa Del Mar homeowners association, has long been a community activist and has exceptional business and leadership skills. Again, these are threats to his favored troika on the ballot.

As the election season now swings into high gear you can expect Mansoor and his cronies to attempt to discredit any and all candidates by hook or crook - just as they did two years ago with Bruce Garlich and Mike Scheafer.

Each voter should ask themselves what Mansoor has to gain with his commentary. His term expires in two years, at which time his buddies in the OC GOP hierarchy may have big plans for him - something that might pry him out of his cushy job in the Orange County Jail.


If Mansoor and his pals are successful in achieving a 4 (or 5) person majority on t
he council they will have absolute control of the city. It won't be a council, it will be a junta. With four members in it's pocket will have a super-majority - the votes necessary to cast aside previously appointed commissioners, for example, and fill those slots with cronies.

The voters of our city deserve to have a city not controlled by the Orange County Republican Party, as will certainly be the case if any of Mansoor's pals are elected, much less all of them. The voters of this city owe it to themselves to make an informed choice when they step into the voting booth on November 4th.

I submitted a nearly identical commentary to the Daily Pilot the night I read Mansoor's, but I doubt it will see print. It's too long and too true...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That MacEachern's ruling was upheld is proof enough for me that CM City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow and Dan Peelman (both Jones & Mayer employees) blew it. I like Kimberly, but on this one she stubbed her toe. Given this outcome, Costa Mesa should immediately begin closed session discussions to renegotiate the J&M contract, or cancel it all together and find a new firm. Morever, the city should seek reimbursement of the legal fees it paid to J&M to prosecute the Acosta trial. If we stick with J&M, the new contract must prohibit J&M's role as both City Attorney and Prosecutor. My preference would be that we retain one firm to act as City Attorney, and another to prosecute cases the City Attorney decides to try.

9/12/2008 09:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geoff, I hope the Daily Pilot publishes your letter. While we disgaree on the Acosta matter, many share your opinion. Hopefully the Pilot provides your counterpoint - the public needs to hear all sides in order to make a sound decision.

9/12/2008 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Byron, seems like it's almost time to take out of mothballs...

Rob, thanks for the thought, but I don't see it happening.

9/13/2008 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the voters discard term limits and Monahan gets back to the municipal trough, there is going to have to be periodical vermin checks.

9/13/2008 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Here's an even worse scenario for you, Kent. Monahan stood before the council a year ago and hyped the concept of a directly-elected mayor - without term limits! Mansoor supported it, but Bever (wisely) didn't. With an "all improver" council, watch for that move to happen early next year. I think Gary wants to be "mayor for life", kinda like Idi Amin (DaDa).

9/13/2008 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob, OK, so I was wrong.... the Daily Pilot did publish most of what I wrote. :-) :-)

9/14/2008 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Byron, I like the idea of separation of responsibilities. For instance, how is our city attorney supposed to provide unbiased counsel on this issue when it is her firm involved?

Geoff, you were wrong! Glad the Pilot had the good sense to air another viewpoint.

In general I am very concerned about the old boys club that is running Costa Mesa politics now. With Righeimer on the council, I predict more decisions made for the good of GOP candidates' future political viability instead of the best interest of Costa Mesa's citizens.

9/14/2008 09:44:00 AM  

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