Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Well, I'm back.
After enjoying a wonderful holiday hiatus I just couldn't stay away. And you thought you wouldn't hear from me until after the New Year!

...AND B
While gone I did stay abreast of things here in the Newport-Mesa, including reading the rambling rants of Costa Mesa's racist laureate - The Mouth From Mesa North. I'm trying to figure out whether he has the hots for Katrina Foley or Wendy Leece - or both. The poor, deluded guy just can't seem to get those two blond ladies out of his head! Even when he fabricates issues - like his inference that the miscreants who attacked the homeless fellow with paint ball guns earlier this week were Latinos simply because the crime occurred in an area of town where some Latinos live, even though there has been no evidence or official speculation to that effect - he still finds a way to insert Katrina Foley into the story. Ain't love grand? Yeah, I know he's "married with children", but he's also a big fan of plural marriage, so....

As the New Year arrive
s I've been thinking a little bit about what stands ahead for Costa Mesa and Newport Beach in 2009. In both cities there will be difficult issues, many of them controversial, that will face their elected leaders and their city staff.

In Newport B
each, the new City Hall is a biggie, as is the ongoing discussion about the proliferation of Rehabilitation Homes in that city.

Both cities face the uncertainty of the economy and it's impact on munici
pal budgets. Even though our state bureaucrats have dragged their feet for six months on a budget, both are already making adjustments and planning for more within the next couple months.

Our anonymous friend over at the CM TRUTH blog recently broke the story that the Costa Me
sa Police Department folded it's Narcotics Unit into the Special Enforcement Detail (SED), delayed some promotions and reassigned officers into existing vacancies in an attempt to reduce costs. We hope that's all that will be necessary right now, but we won't know until we see the post-holiday sales tax numbers. Predictions are bleak. Automobile dealerships along our Harbor Boulevard of Cars are suffering the worst downturn in memory.

Some dealerships have already disappeared and others
consolidated operations to reduce costs. Of course, the elephant in the room is the future, or lack thereof, of the Big Three American automobile manufacturers. If GM, Ford and Chrysler are, in fact, forced into bankruptcy, the "ripple" that will go through all phases of our economy will be more like a tsunami. Predictions of millions of workers facing lay-off as a result is very unnerving. Locally, it could mean the demise of several dealerships in our town, which will result in a major punch in the gut to our municipal budget.

Our big sales tax generator, South Coast Plaza, seems to
be doing OK this holiday season, if packed parking lots are any indication. We'll know in January.


Other shoes waiting to drop in Costa Mesa include the on-going drama of the Benito Acosta affair. The criminal case filed by the city has, once again, been rejected by an appeals court. The civil suit filed by the ACLU on behalf of Acosta against the city is pending, with the trial scheduled to start in February. In my opinion, the city should instruct Jones & Mayer, our contract legal counsel, to stop any further action on the criminal case and find a way to settle the civil case before goes to trial. If we don't, it's very likely that the ego of Mayor Allan Mansoor will cost our city dollars in seven figures - something we certainly cannot tolerate in these difficult financial times.

In January the widening of SR 55, Newport Blvd. as
it passes through the Downtown section of Costa Mesa, will commence. This construction will be a short-term solution to a growing traffic congestion problem. Unfortunately, even though most of the work will be done at night, cut-through traffic adjacent to the construction area will almost certainly increase.


Councilwoman Wendy Leece's on-going interference in the operations of the Senior Center is sure to get much ink in the press as she continues to let the unfounded gripes of a couple seniors drive her own personal agenda and keep
the center in a state of turmoil. She has recently complained about being "out of the loop" on issues, yet conveniently didn't mention that she has not attended six of the last seven meetings of the Senior Center Board.

As mentioned above, the budget will be a huge concern for the "new" City Council. Of course, none of the members are actually "new" - they've all got at least 2 years experience under their collective belts. That doesn't necessarily mean they're smarter. They just have a lot of tenure between them. We'll see how the new majority will use the power they have as a group, and how much they try to marginalize Katrina Foley's contributions.

The conditio
n and use of school playing fields will also be a big issue to be tackled by the Costa Mesa City Council. We'll find out whether our current council plans to take a constructive, conciliatory role in this issue, or if they will attempt to bully the school board into following their requirements.

on will also be another big issue. We'll find out, for example, whether Gary Monahan has moderated his position on this subject from his last term on the council, when he exhorted his peers to "play hardball" with Newport Beach on this issue. I thought at the time, and still do, that it was a strange position to take, since Newport Beach held all the cards.

Regarding Monahan specifically, we'll also find out if a faltering business - he told us he had to lay off a few people this summer - and participation on both the Sanitary District Board (where among his first acts a couple years ago was to vote himself a raise) and as a city council member will stretch his limited skills too far.

The future of Banning Ranch continues to churn. Will it be developed? How much of it? By whom? What will the impact be on Costa Mesa?

What does the future hold for the Daily Pilot, our local newspaper
of record for a century? The bankruptcy chaos continues at the Tribune Company, owner of the Los Angeles Times who, in turn, owns the Daily Pilot and her sister community newspapers. Staff cuts over the past year have severely impacted the news gathering and dissemination by the Pilot. Chops at the top - publisher Tom Johnson and Director of New and Online Tony Dodero - are two very significant losses. Will the Pilot survive? I sure hope so.


And, will Tom Johnson and former Daily Pilot editor Bill Lobdell succeed in their recently-announced plans - a story broken here first - to launch an online newspaper to compete with (or replace) the Daily Pilot? According to their web site, HERE, they plan to use the VoiceOfSanDiego publication as their model. As I've said before, my preference would be for them to acquire the Daily Pilot and morph it into the model they have in mind - online first, with a once-a-week print edition. Time will tell.

It's going to be very interesting to watch to see just h
ow much influence the guy mentioned in the second paragraph above will continue to have on the policies and actions of the "improver" council majority. His warped agenda has been a driving force for the past decade and has resulted in a definite anti-immigrant slant on many things proposed by the majority.

Right from the get-go 2009 is going to be a very interesting year here in the land of Newport-Mesa. The very first Costa Mesa City Council meeting on January 6th promises to launch the new year with controversy if rumors about pending agenda items are true.

Thanks for reading my take on these issues. I hope you'll find your way back to these pages in the coming months.

We wish you all a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


As we here at A Bubbling Cauldron bank the fires for the holidays and turn the old pot d
own to simmer, we want to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year.

I know things are bl
eak this year. We have the highest unemployment in decades, banks are folding up all around us and the domestic automobile industry is teetering on the brink of collapse. Our state legislators seemed determined to further complicate things with their chronic mismanagement of our state finances. It seems that the only news we see these days is bad news, and it probably would be worse except the news media seems to be withering before our very eyes, including our very own Daily Pilot.

That being said, I'm s
ure you need a little nudge getting into the old Christmas Spirit, so I hope these photographs help with that process.

We have a friend who, every other year, creates the most ma
gnificent Christmas Tree I've every seen in a home. She only erects it every other year because it is so full of ornaments and lights that it takes most of a week to put it all together and another week or so to dismantle it and store it away. There are so many lights on the tree that it takes two electrical circuits - one in the garage and one in the house - to power them all. We can practically hear their electric meter spinning all the way to our house!

Look closely at these pictures. Th
ere are well over 3,000 ornaments on this ten foot tree! Every one of them is placed with great care for the greatest impact. You can spend hours looking closely at this tree and probably would still miss hundreds of ornaments.


Thanks to our friend for her contr
ibution to the spirit of the season. I hope seeing her handiwork helps bolster yours.


Last year at this time I wrote a blog entry about the Elephan
t Seal colony on the Central California coast, above San Luis Obispo, near Hearst Castle. I wanted to remind you again because it's the beginning of Prime Time with the critters again - pups are being born as I type this. Click HERE to read that entry again.

This is the time of the year to
surround yourselves with those you love. Enjoy their company, share your gifts, stuff yourselves with holiday goodies and take a few moments to remember the reason we celebrate this holiday in the first place.

We'll be back next year - maybe sooner - with more observations to get your attention, provoke your thoughts and encourage your involvement in community affairs. Until then we leave you with these "touching" lyrics, extracted from the 1958 Stan Freberg holiday classic, GREEN CHRI$TMA$...

We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And please buy our beer!

A Very Merry Christmas To You All


Monday, December 22, 2008

Brown Act Violations Already?!

The beginning of the Ralph M. Brown Act, enacted in 1953 to guarantee the people's right to know, states the following. The added emphasis is mine:

"54950. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created."

Why do I mention this? Well, read on and you'll understand

As we approach the new year, and the opportunity for the new City Council to make appoint
ments to commissions and committees, we keep our ears open for any new speculation about possible candidates.


One tantalizing bit of information just floated over the transom today having to do with the up-coming appointments to commissions in Costa Mesa. My source, a very well-connected person in civic affairs who prefers to remain anonymous, tells me that the two openings on the Planning Commission have already been determined. According to the source, current commissioners Donn Hall and Eleanor Egan are out and Steve Mensinger and Colin McCarthy are in.


This is very in
teresting for several reasons. First, Mensinger, President of Costa Mesa Pop Warner Football, is a business associate of current Planning Commissioner Jim Righeimer. Colin McCarthy, a lawyer, has been the president of the Mesa North Homeowners Association and has been known to echo The Mouth from Mesa North - the blogger who exercises significant influence over the current council majority.

My understanding from this source is that current Parks & Recreation Commissioners Mark Harris and Bob Graham are out and one of those seats will be filled by frequent commenter here and on the Daily Pilot blog, Rob Dickson, who has been cozying up to Mansoor in recent months.

The biggest question about this turn of events is not so much about the individuals selected. The issue here is how this seems to have been decided before the completion of the open application period next month and without any public hearing on the candidates. If these decisions have been made now- without any public discussion or input - it smacks of major Brown Act violations. It is against the Brown Act for council members to meet as a majority except in a public meeting. It is also against the Brown Act for them to have what is known as a serial conversation. Say council member A speaks to council member B on a subject - his choice for a commission appointment, for example - who in turn speaks to council member C on the same subject. That's a "serial conversation" and is against the law.

I'm not at all surprised if this is the case. Eric Bever alone has demonstrated a willingness to play fast and loose with the Brown Act during his tenure. I guess this is how the city's business is going to be conducted now - behind closed doors, in someone's living room or while sitting at the bar at a local pub. Not only is this illegal, it's a breach of faith with the electorate and terrible public policy.

So, I guess we'll just have to wait and see who the City Council appoints to the commissions on January 20th. If it turns out that Mensinger, McCarthy and Dickson are appointed, then my source was correct. And, if the source was correct a month ahead of the selection date, what does that tell us about transparency in our government and the honesty of our elected officials?

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Friday, December 19, 2008

A Very Sad Anniversary

(This is an updated reprise of an entry I wrote three years ago to mark the anniversary of the passing of my best friend.)

Today I'm taking a little break from the regular political stuff you've gotten used to reading here to pay homage to Larry Moore, a man who had been my best friend for more than a half century. No man ever had a more loyal friend tha
n I had in Larry Moore.

Five years ago today, December 19, 2003, my best friend since we both were five years old passed away as a result of injuries he received in a motorcycle accident on a lonely desert road near the California/Nevada border early in November of that year. He was on his way home from Las Vegas after a visit with friends and decided to avoid the busier, more dangerous interstate highway and take the road less traveled.

We'll never know what caused his accident, although we can speculate that he just momentarily lost focus and didn't see a clearly-marked turn coming up. Whatever the cause, he ended up in a crumpled heap on the side of the road and would have died on that spot if not for the fortuitous arrival and quick action of foreign tourists immediately after the crash. They flagged down a railroad work crew, who used their training and wisdom to call the right people at the right time and my friend was helicoptered to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas - the best trauma center in the
western United States.


For six weeks he received the best possible care from the staff in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit. His injuries were so severe - it was as though he had been beaten with a baseball bat - that the staff juggled treatment with skill to first keep him stable, then to bring him back to us. They almost succeeded. Finally, after six weeks, an untreatable blood clot took him from us.

During the month and a half my friend was in the hospital I was at his side, making decisions about his care as required by my designation as his power of attorney for health care. Together, my friend and I rode a roller coaster. Time after time he would rally, then regres
s. Each night I would return to my hotel room and report via email to friends who were eager for good news. At first there were just a few, but near the end hundreds of people received those nightly reports, each looking forward to reading a glimmer of encouragement. Right up to the end we had hope, and were making plans for his rehabilitation. Sadly, it was not to be.

During my time at his bedside I had a chance to conte
mplate our lives together, and how much we each meant to each other. Growing up as friends, closer than some brothers, we shared our lives. Our birthdays were two weeks apart, so we celebrated together whenever we could. We attended some of the same schools, were Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts together. We dated the same girls, were teammates in college, reveled in each others accomplishments and agonized when things were not going well. He was my best man at my wedding. My wife and I are god-parents to his youngest daughter.

In our youth Larry used to compose and perform song
s - even though he couldn't read a lick of music. I remember sitting in his tiny bedroom as he would hammer out his latest creation - usually a ballad of sorts dedicated to his current girlfriend at the time. He was pretty darn good at it, too. He formed a band that performed at local venues and actually cut a couple of records. In fact, if you do a Google search you might find the lyrics of his song, "Hooray for Weekends" out there in the ether. One night he was the opening act on a local television show when a couple other young musicians, who were just getting started, performed. You might remember them - The Righteous Brothers. Ironically, my last email to my friend - which he never received - was to tell him of the passing of Bobby Hatfield the day before Larry crashed.

Larry spent more than 30 years as a proud member of the Los Angeles Police Department, a job he loved and through which he made thousands of friends. At his retirement celebration a few years ago I watched as man after man stood and told the assembled guests that Larry had been his best friend. That was the kind of man he was - one who was considered by many as thei
r best friend.


The last half of my friend's career was spent as the Athletic Director at the police academy, where he created and oversaw fitness programs for the officers during training and after they began their careers on the job. He coached and participated on the swimming and water polo teams, played on their football team and became a mentor to many along the way. He and his partner at the academy, Chuck Foote, created and conducted the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay - the premiere team relay race in the world - in which teams comprised of thousands of public safety representatives from around the world competed. He passed away a few months before the 20th running of that race.
After his passing an award recognizing the most dedicated volunteer was created in his name. I found it ironic that his life ended in Las Vegas, the site of so many of his successes.

He was a member of the Board of Directors of the California Police Athletic Federation, which conducts the Western States Police and Fire Games and the World Police and Fire Games. That role took him around the world, helping to conduct those festivals of athletic prowess. As part of this role he created an event he initially called the Toughest Cop Alive (TCA). This event is similar to a decathlon, except all the elements are completed in one day - a true test of skill, strength and stamina. Included in those elements are eight separate tests in which competitors must run, swim, li
ft, climb, throw and complete an obstacle course. That event, with a bow to political correctness, is now called the Toughest Competitor Alive, has been named for him - "Larry Moore's TCA".

At Larry's funeral, on that dreary morning just few days after Christmas five years ago, I tried in the brief time allotted to me to tell the crowd in the packed church a little bit about my friend and our relationship. I did my best, but found it impossible to compress more than a half century of admiration, love and friendship into a few moments of dialogue.


At that service we listened to his eldest daughter, who followed him into a career with the LAPD, speak of him in terms of loving admiration even though they had been estranged for a decade. During his hospitalization she made several trips from her home in the Los Angeles area to Las Vegas to see him. Her final trip was a spontaneous dash across the desert which resulted in her arrival at Larry's bedside shortly before dawn on a day when a conscientious nurse had modified his medication to raise his level of consciousness. Even though he could not speak, he was
able to communicate through the firm squeeze of his hand, the nod of his head, crinkling of his brow and tear-filled smiles. In the pre-dawn hours that morning, in the trauma intensive care unit in a hospital in a city far from home, he reconciled with his daughter.


Today, as I remember my friend and what he meant to me throughout my life, I leave you with this thought. Life is too precious and precarious to leave unfinished issue
s with your loved ones. Don't wait until it's too late, as my friend almost did. On this road of life you just never know what awaits you over that next hill. The road on the other side may be wide, smooth and straight, or it might hold a hidden turn, as it did for my friend. As we approach Christmas, do yourself and your loved ones a big favor. Remember my friend, Larry Moore, and make a resolution you can keep - resolve to tell those you love just how you feel. Do it now.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Operation Local News

As reported in an earlier post, two former Daily Pilot honchos have joined forces to create a brand new news source for the Newport-Mesa area. Former publisher Tom Johnson and former editor Bill Lobdell sent the following letter out yesterday announcing their venture:

Dear Friend and Neighbor,

For some 100 years, the Daily Pilot has acted as a watchdog and uniting force for our communities. Recently, however, newspapers have come under financial siege, including our local paper. The Tribune Company, owner of the Pilot, recently has filed for bankruptcy, and the Pilot’s staff has been cut to the bone.

As the days go by, we have become concerned about the Pilot’s future. We’ve asked if the Tribune Company would be willing to sell the Pilot, but received no response. So we’ve decided to explore what we believe is a very viable and exciting alternative.

Simply put, we want to create a daily community newspaper that would operate online and in-print as an independent nonprofit. Believe it or not, it’s being done in other markets (including a very effective operation called the Voice of San Diego that has returned quality local journalism to that community; you can read a New York Times story about the Voice of San Diego here).

We have put together a business plan. The idea is to generate revenue through two means: advertising sales and donations. It’s a financial model based on National Public Radio and PBS.

Our plan calls for a news operation that would effectively cover this community in more depth and creativity than ever before. You’d get everything you’d expect and more: your favorite columnists, community watchdog coverage, opinions and editorials, a complete community calendar, local sports, photos, videos and more.

Together, we took the Pilot from its dark stages in the early ’90s--when the paper was losing $250,000 a month--to its being a financially viable operation, a focal point of the community, and honored as the best community daily in California. We believe we can do it again and better with this new product.

We need your help in two concrete ways. First, help us spread the word locally by forwarding this e-mail to your friends and neighbors. It’s important we get the word out.

Second, let us know if you’d support us as a non-profit in this venture. We’re looking for corporations, foundations, and individuals to make an annual pledge. In addition to $200,000 in start-up costs, we’ll need to raise about $200,000 a year outside of advertising to provide Newport-Mesa with a first-rate news gathering team. (Our ultimate goal is to create a local media nonprofit that can live on through an endowment long after we are gone.)

To review, please forward this e-mail to everyone you know and hit the reply button on this e-mail (here’s the address,, if you’re reading a forwarded copy) and make a pledge--or an appointment for us to show you our business plan.

In the spirit of this new enterprise, we’ve started a website called Operation Local News to allow the community to watch our progress and to contribute the ideas on everything from coverage to the paper’s name. We’ll also keep an ongoing tally of the dollar amount of our pledges. Everything will be transparent.

It’s our guess that the Newport-Mesa community would support a quality news operation, and this is our chance to prove it. If the money isn’t raised, Newport-Mesa will likely end up with, at best, an anemic non-daily paper. That would be a sad day, and it doesn’t have to happen.

Yes, we know. It’s new, it’s different, but it’s also very exciting and the future.

Thanks. Tom Johnson (former publisher of the Daily Pilot/17 years)

Bill Lobdell (former editor of the Daily Pilot/10 years)

As I've said before, my personal preference would be for them to find a way to acquire the Daily Pilot, including its archives, and then morph it into this new model. One would hope that is not a dead issue.

However, Johnson and Lobdell are moving forward. I hope you will forward this link to others who may be interested in this new, exciting venture.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


As an old coo
t I find myself getting joy in small ways - a magnificent sunset, the smiles of the beautiful children in my neighborhood and the way my heart pounds when my wife comes home from work each night. These kinds of pleasures bring as much joy as would winning the lottery - although I'd like to test that theory one of these days, just to be sure.

Today another event occurred that brought a big smile to my face. A loyal reader pointed out that the
Daily Pilot - our newspaper of record for a century - deleted the CM Press from it's roster of community blogs. I'm sorry, but I just can't stop smiling.

For years the relationship between the author of the CM Press, Mr. U. Know-Who, and the management of the Daily Pilot have been strained - to say the very least. For years he would submit commentaries, some of which would be published and some would not. He never failed to express his displeasure when one of his "Mensa meanderings" didn't make the editorial cut and has threatened legal action when he disagreed with characterizations in the Pilot.


There was a time when, I'm sure to provoke controversy, the editors would publish letters from Old Grumpy and
me side-by-side. I thought it was fun. Old Grumpy was ticked off to have his "stellar" work appear beside the feeble efforts of a guy who spends his days living in a cave, wearing a tin foil hat - according to him. That made it even more fun.

Recently Mr. U. Know-Who - who apparently views himself as Jimmy Olson because he played a reporter (badly) in a terrible movie 35 years ago - has decided he knows all there is to know about publishing a local newspaper, so he's begun using his pathetic blog to instruct the editors of the Pilot
on what they need to do to save the paper. I'm sure those comments endeared him to them.


For a guy who tells us he's very smart, he sure doesn't act that way. I mean, does he really think he's going to get a receptive ear from the editors of the Daily Pilot when he perpetually pokes them in the eye wit
h a sharp stick? Not likely.

Or, maybe the editors decided to de-link his blog because they didn't think their community newspaper serves it's readers well by linking to a notorious right-wing extremist who uses the esteem in which he is held by KKK poster boy David Duke as a tool with which to market his pathetic books. That seems like a good reason to me.

So, Mr. U. Know-Who has been expunged from the roster of community bloggers on the Daily Pilot pages and I find myself wondering how he likes it. After all, he's been trying to expunge the Latinos from our city for most of this decade. I wonder how it feels for him to be the "expungee" instead of the "expunger"? In my humble opinion, it's long over due.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mr. U. Know-Who Gets It Wrong - Again!

Over a
t the CM Press this morning, in entry #554, Mr. U. Know-Who - the racist goof ball that pretends to be a reporter just because he played one (badly) for 19 seconds in a terrible movie 35 years ago - demonstrates to his readers just what a pathetic and unreliable "news source" the CM Press really is.


In addition to his abnormal fixation with Katrina Foley and his perpetual pusillanimous pontification about the Daily Pilot, today he again criticizes the Costa Mesa Senior Center Board of Directors for the position some of them apparently take regarding his "golden girl",
Wendy Leece and her desire to be a real, voting member of the board, going so far as to list them by name on his blog. Here's his list, as published on #554:

Executive Committee of Board
Mike Scheafer, President
Joan Weeks, Vice President
Ronald Frankiewicz, Treasurer
Bruce Garlich, Secretary
Del Heintz, Past President

Board Members
Pastor Bill Gartner,
Phyllis Daugherty,
David Kinkade,
Gwyn P. Parry, M.D.,
Scott Roberts,
Byron de Arakal,
Dan Worthington,
Arlene Flanagan,
Marty Burbank

Only problem here is that he continues to use an old web site, which lists a previous iteration of the board! If he were just a little more conscientious he'd be able to provide accurate information to his readers to supplement his biased rants. Here's the actual roster of directors from the correct web site:
Executive Committee of Board
Arlene Flanagan
Joan Weeks
Vice President
Ronald Frankiewicz
Bruce Garlich
Mike Scheafer
Past President

Board Members
Phyllis Daugherty
Judy Lindsay
Patricia Linsky
Gwyn P. Parry M.D.,
Dan Worthington

I guess when you're a member of Mensa, as he tells us he is, people will automatically accept what he
says as gospel. Ha! What a joke! Anyone who has read his rants for awhile understand that they are nothing more than his opinions, founded in his beliefs that the Aryan race is doomed unless all real "white" people go forth and reproduce.


Now, we know Mr. U. Know-Who over at the CM Press reads these pages because he vents his spleen frequently on his site about things that have been written here. Too bad he doesn't pay attenti
on to what appears here, though. If he did, he would realize that we provided the link to the current Costa Mesa Senior Center web site, which included the current roster of directors. Here's the link, again, to the correct web site. We tried to make it easy for old Mensa Marty, but he just didn't take the hint.

Mr. U. Know-Who continues to mislead his readers with "facts" that he makes up to fit his bias. Certainly, at least a few of them are smart enough to realize how he's trying to m
anipulate them, right? Maybe not...

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Leece Disrupts Senior Center Tranquility - Again

Perhaps the biggest hub bub here in Costa Mesa this past week was the revelation by recently crowned Mayor Pro Tempore Wendy Leece that she, as the liaison to the C
osta Mesa Senior Center, felt "out of the loop" and wanted to be appointed by the city council as a voting member of the Senior Center Board.

To that we say, " Well, duh, Wendy!" How could she
not feel "out of the loop" when she's missed six of the last seven meetings of the board?

Some will recall that Wendy created much turmoil earlier in the year when, at a time when she actually did attend meetings, she listened to the gripes of two members of the Senior Center - women apparently with axes to grind with th
e Director of the center - and immediately launched into an inquisition. She demanded answers to a long list of nit-picking questions, ranging from the petty to the preposterous, which took up hours and hours of staff time to prepare responses.

Apparently now Ms. Leece - a woman who apparently has made a career of rattling cages during her tour on the school board and now on the city council - wants to displace two highly competent volunteer members of the board appointed only last year and replace them with two council members. Those council members would be herself and one other.

As one might expect, this has created more turmoil at the Senior Center. Many of the current board members are livid at her intrusion.

The yapping hyena over at the CM Press has picked up on this issue and published two recent posts commending Leece for her bull-in-the-china-shop stampede through the Senior Center. That bozo - who fancies himself a newsman just because he played a reporter (badly) in a terrible movie 35 years ago - posted a link purportedly to the Senior Center Web Site. Only problem there was he was using a link to a now-defunct site. That's typical of this guy, though. He never lets facts or
accuracy in reporting get in the way of his opinions. HERE is the link to the correct site.

In fact, trying to make his point that Leece's crusade is perfectly appropriate as a watchdog for our municipal finances, he dredged up a 13 year old web article about the death of Stephen Wagner, the man who embezzled major bucks from the school district and was sent to jail for his crimes. Wagner died of AIDS-related causes in prison. I'm still trying to figure out what the hyena was trying to prove with that one...


So, shortly after the first of the year you can expect the ruling junta on the Costa Mesa City Council to pick up Leece's banner and charge ahead, fully disrupting the Senior Center and it's members. I guess it's never too soon for Leece to start padding her resume for a run at re-election in 2010. Next time around, though, she won't have Allan Mansoor's coattails to ride on.

So, now that the attack on Costa Mesas Latinos seems to have simmered down a little, it looks like the Mansoor-led majority are going after the seniors in our city, using the vacuous Wendy Leece as their point person. You will recall that I've warned you about this many times in the past.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Widening of Newport Blvd. On Schedule For January

When checking with Peter Naghavi, Public Services Director for the City of Costa Mesa, earlier this week he informs me that the approved and funded widening project for Newport Blvd. south of 19th Street is all ready to go. Construction begins on January 9, 2009.

You will recall that a new 4th full lane will be installed northbound from 17th Street to 19th Street and a short southbound lane will be installed from 19th Street to Broadway, adjacent to Triangle Square. There will also be a new right turn lane added southbound at 17th Street. These are short-term solutions to one of the busiest stretches of roadway in the county.

Naghavi tells me that most of the work, roughly 80%, will be done at night - 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. - to provide for the least amount of interference with daytime traffic. There will be times when nighttime work doesn't get completed, in which case it will extend past the 6:00 a.m. target.

This is a good step for those of us who live in this end of town. It will not solve the cut-through traffic issues and is not a long-term solution to the crowded condition of Newport Blvd. as it passes through Costa Mesa's Downtown area, but it's a start. And, as is always the case with road construction projects, it will test the patience of all drivers in the area.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


On Monday the Orange County Register, as part of
their series "Changing face of O.C.", published statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau that were based on surveys done from 2005 through 2007 for Costa Mesa. I won't begin to attempt to provide all those interesting numbers. The link to the Register article is HERE, if you're interested in sifting through them yourselves.

I did want to tease you with a few of the numbers, though, to provoke you to seek out the report and dig deeper.


For example, according to the report, Costa Mesa now has 107,820 residents, of which 79,002 (73.30%) are "white". Hispanic or Latinos account for 35,551 (33.00.%). Now, before you go berserk and tell me the numbers don't add up, understand that "white" includes Hispanic and Latinos for the purposes of census reporting. Don't go all apoplectic on me.. more numbers to come. The important thing to know here is that nearly a third of our population is Hispanic or Latino (you can pick the your term of choice, I guess).

Among those Hispanic and Latinos, 29,759 (27.60%) are Mexican - no surprise there.

According to the report, 72,269 (67.00%) Costa Mesa residents are classified as "Not Hispanic or Latino", and 59,559 (55.20%) are classified as "White alone".

1,867 (1.70%) are "Black or African American".

Old Grumpy, Your Neighbor over in Mesa North, can begin to grouse about the fact that 2,105 (2.00%) of Costa Mesa residents are reportedly comprised of "Two or more races". Oh, no! There goes the gene pool, Marty!


Back to the report... Costa Mesa apparently has a total of 40,888 housing units, of which 38,665 (94.60%) are occupied. 15,588 (38.10%) of those housing units are detached homes. 9,655 (23.60%) have 20 or more units.

Of those 38,665 occupied housing units, 15,773 (40.80%) are "Owner-occupied", while 22,892 (59.20%) are "Renter-occupied" - including the one occupied by our young jailer/mayor.

More than half of the housing units - 51.60% - were built before 1970. 944 (2.30%) of the housing units are "Mobile Homes".

Of the 11,937 owner-occupied housing units with a mortgage, 7,688 (48.70%) pay $2,000 or more per month.

Of the 22,892 renter-occupied units, 10,723 (46.80%) pay between $1,000 and $1,499 per month and 7,749 (33.90%) pay $1,500 or more.

Most of the 38,665 occupied housing units, 27,263 (70.50%), are heated by utility gas. However, somewhere in town there apparently are 48 housing units heated by wood! 83 units lack complete plumbing facilities!

Of the 38,665 households in Costa Mesa, 23,074 (59.70%) were "family households" and 15,591 (40.30%) were "non-family households".

Of the 71,064 residents 25 years and older 83.7% are high school graduates or higher and 31.4% have bachelor's degrees or higher.

Of the 85,821 people described as "Population 16 years and over" - theoretically the "labor force" - 59,890 (69.80%) were actually "In labor force" and 25,931 (30.20%) were "Not in labor force". Of those "In the labor force", only 2,724 (3.20%) were unemployed at the time of this survey.

Of the 56,820 persons described as "Civilian employed population 16 years and over", 20,527 (36.10%) perform "Management, professional, and related occupations". 15,365 (27.00%) work in "Sales and office occupations".

Of the 54,967 commuting workers 16 years or over, 40,978 (74.60%) drove alone. Another 5,902 (10.70%) carpooled and only 2,111 (3.80%) used public transportation.

The median age of Costa Mesa residents is 33.7 years. 9,366 (8.70%) are 65 years or over - geezers, like me.


Of the 2,019 women 15 to 50 years old who had a birth in the past 12 months, 660 (32.70%) were described as "Unmarried women (widowed, divorced, and never married)

Of the 44,886 MALES 15 years and over, 19,908 (44.40%) have never been married; 19,697 (43.90%) are now married, except separated; 693 (1.50%) are separated; 535 (1.20%) are widowed and 4,053 (9.00%) are divorced.

Of the 42,124 FEMALES 15 years and over, 14,131 (33.50%) have never been married; 18,592 (44.10%) are now married, except separated; 1,301(3.10%) are separated; 2,278 (5.40%) are widowed and 5,822 (13.80%) are divorced.

In Costa Mesa the median household income was $61,075. The median family income was $67,947. The per capita income was $29,893. 12.9% of our population lived with an income below the poverty level.

75,740 (70.20%) Costa Mesa residents claim to be native born. Of the 32,080 residents who are "foreign-born", 21,505 (67.00%) are not a U.S. citizen. Of the foreign-born population, 20,063 (62.50%) come from Latin America and 7,333 (22.90%) from Asia.

One interesting number that jumped out at me was the fact that, of the 107,820 residents in our city, only 2,279 (2.10%) described their ancestry as "American". 9,836 (9.10%) claimed English ancestry. A similar number, 9,856 (9.10%) said Irish and 13,258 (12.30%) claimed German ancestry.


Well, I hope that has piqued your interest enough that you'll go back to that link I provided at the top and check out the rest of the numbers yourself. I think they provide you with a little better view of just who those people are that you rub shoulders with in this wonderful city.

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