Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Tomorrow the City Council Candidate Forum at City Hall, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, Churm Media and the Daily Pilot will hold the feet of the candidates to the fire on live television - CMTV, Channel 24, will televise the event beginning at 6 pm - by asking some tough questions.


One of the interesting elements of this forum will be the chance for each candidate, for the first time this year, to ask one question of another candidate. This is a great idea for several reasons, although I suspect it might result in some ganging up. For example, Jim Righeimer, Eric Bever and Gary Monahan are running as a de facto slate, and are being touted by another blogger
here in town as the only way to "improve" our city and save us from rampant crime being perpetrated on the populace by illegal aliens. Hogwash!


But, despite the constant drumbeat of denigration by a local blogger who supports the troika, incumbent councilwoman Katrina Foley poses a very real threat to this group, so it wouldn't surprise me at all to see all three of those men, when given a chance to ask a question, attack Foley. They'd better tread carefully, though. Foley, a successful lawyer, businesswoman, wife and mother, has a tremendous record of accomplishment in this city, so an organized a
ttack on her may just backfire for those who participate.

When I heard that each candidate will be able to grill one other on the dais I started thinking about just what kind of questions I might pose to some of the candidates if I were sitting up there - which I am not. Here are a few:

For Jim Righeimer - "As a long time political op
erative you failed in an attempt in your run for State Senate against Tom Harmon. You then moved a couple miles from Fountain Valley to Costa Mesa during the 2006 campaign season. You are Dana Rohrabacher's campaign manager and are joined at the hip with Scott Baugh, President of the Orange County Republican Party. You were appointed to the Planning Commission by Allan Mansoor after you lived in our city only a few months in a very clear act of political payback for Rohrabacher's support. Why should the voters in Costa Mesa believe you are not just a political opportunist, simply using our city as a safe haven - a place to roost while awaiting bigger and better political opportunities?"

For Gary Monahan - "During your previous twelv
e years on the City Council we watched you evolve from a political neophyte simply trying to save his job to a cunning, if clumsy, politician with his finger perpetually in the air to see which way the wind was blowing. After two years on the Sanitary District Board you wish to return to the City Council, even though your performance at the first forum showed little grasp or interest in current municipal issues. Costa Mesa voters, some of whom believe you are running for City Council again simply to further pad your pension and to become eligible for city medical benefits, want to ask you the following question: You attempted to have the issue of a directly-elected mayor - without term limits - placed on the ballot last year. If elected, will you resurrect this issue and attempt to have the City Council approve placing this subject on the ballot? If so, why?

For Eric Bever - "You were elected four years ago b
y a thin 44 vote margin - hardly a mandate by the voters at that time. Since that time you have demonstrated a tendency to play fast and loose with the rules - many close calls with Brown Act violations, for example. Last year former mayor Monahan and your friend and benefactor, then-mayor Allan Mansoor, attempted to have the issue of directly electing the mayor placed before the voters in this city. Your position on that issue stopped that move. What is your position on that subject now?"

For Katrina Foley - "Despite being the biggest vote-getter four years ago you and Linda Dixon - who received the second highest number of votes - were marginalized, both literally and figuratively, by the current majority on the City Council. You were outnumbered on many important votes. With the strong possibility that you will be the lone voice of op
position on the dais following this election, why should the voters of this city choose you instead of the troika of Righeimer, Bever and Monahan?"

For Bill Sneen - "Although you and your family have been deeply involved in school issues for many years, your breadth of involvement in broader city issues has been limited. You've been spending time with many city officials, past and present, and other civic leaders since you decided to run for City Council, trying to get up to speed on the important issues facing our city. Based on what you know right now, what will be your very first short-term goal if elected next month?"

For Lisa Reedy - "As a long time resident of this area with strong leadership experience as the President of your Homeowners Association and in business, you've spoken out during this campaign for more harmonious relationships among council members. If elected in November, what specific initiative will you recommend to accomplish that increased harmony?"

For Chris Bunyan - "As a second-time-around candidate - who finished last in the voting two years ago - you've worked hard on city committees and other civic activities to become more conversant with important issues facing our city since then. What do you feel is the single most important issue facing our city and what, specifically, is your plan to fix it?"

For Chris McEvoy - "As an educator and a young man who has spent most of his life in Costa Mesa you have attempted to be elected to City Council without spending any significant amount of money. You've hand-made your signs and stood along main streets to attract voters to your campaign. With the full knowledge that you have a slim chance of winning a seat on the dais in this election, what is the lesson you have learned that you will tell your students following this campaign?"

For Nick Moss
- "You've mounted basically an invisible campaign and have demonstrated only a very limited grasp of important issues in the city. You have virtually no chance in this election. What have you learned from this experience, and do you plan
to be involved in civic issues in the future?"

Those might be my questions... maybe they will be posed by others tomorrow night.


So, don't forget. Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 6-9 pm in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive. This event will be televised live on CMTV, Channel 24 and will also be replayed later on tape for easy viewing.



Blogger Chris McEvoy said...

I will tell my students that I have learned two things. First, not enough people are involved with our local government and it has been my over whelming experience that when they find out where the city is headed, they are not happy. Second is Katrina Foley is an asset to the city.

10/14/2008 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geoof, all good questions. Do you know if audience questions will be entertained?

10/14/2008 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Chris, sounds like two good observations. I agree on both counts.

Rob, it is my understanding that there will be no questions from the audience Wednesday night.

10/14/2008 10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks! Unfortunately, I will have to watch this one on TV. I look forward to your commentary.

10/15/2008 01:45:00 PM  

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