Friday, May 09, 2008

Does Bever Want The Job Center Back?

The Daily Pilot this morning brings us an article by Alan Blank that discusses a forum in which Costa Mesa Police Chief Chris Shawkey participated that apparently addressed the subject of day laborers. The article, HERE, doesn't tell us who the other participants in the forum were, but quotes Shawkey and Ma
yor Eric Bever extensively - Bever and Wendy Leece attended the forum.

According to Blank, Shawkey apparently told a story about an email he recently received which complained about loitering day laborers and used a bogus photograph - one taken years ago - to illustrate it's point. Shawkey is quoted as saying, "People are out there trying to generate issues that aren't even there."

Gee, no kidding, Chief! I've been saying that for years. There is at least one "activist" (that word just seems too benign when describing this guy) in our town who has a long and dark history of fabricating issues to
inflame residents against our Latino population. "Marauding" soccer players at Paularino Park comes to mind. Although I don't know this reference by Shawkey was about him, I sure wouldn't be surprised.


Further bolstering that
thought is his blog entry, HERE, published at the crack of dawn this morning which leaps to solicit current photos of loitering day workers as specific locations around town. He was in such a hurry to pound out this entry and use "Return to Reason" as an epithet that he mis-identified the author of the Daily Pilot article as his father. Methinks thou doest protest too much... Beware of skulking "improvers" with cameras as you stop at your local 7-11 lest you be recorded for posterity as a "loitering day worker"!


The Daily Pilot article, as you will read, also carries an interesting quote attributed to Eric Bever. W
hen addressing Costa Mesa's approach to managing day laborers he is quoted as saying, "Our strategy is lacking some regards. Closing our job center detracted from our ability to enforce," If that quote is accurate, Bever is acknowledging what I've said since the closure of the Job Center was first proposed - that it provides an effective method to manage and control the day laborers in our city. It solved a problem back when it was opened in the late 1980s and became a model program other cities followed, including our neighbors in Laguna Beach.

So, Mayor Bever, are you REALLY saying that we should open the Job Center again? That will certainly make for an interesting plank in your re-election campaign platform.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mansoor, Money and Whining Wendy

The Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night provided us with some more interesting insights into the minds of those sitting o
n the dais.

Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor demonstrated, once again, that he's not about to let facts interfere with his opinion. During the
discussion of the Community Development Block Grant distribution for the Costa Mesa Senior Center he interrogated Executive Director Aviva Goelman, who had referred to an article in the Daily Pilot that morning the headline of which read, "Senior funds could be cut". Mansoor, admitting that he had not seen the article in question, called it "sensationalism and speculation". It was obvious to those observing that Mansoor was on another of his frequent "anti-Daily Pilot" rants. When Mayor Eric Bever leaned over and pointed out that funding for a Senior Center program was, indeed, being reduced, Mansoor persisted with his "sensationalism" comments.

The council voted to f
und the Senior Center programs as recommended by the 3R Committee, which included a reduction of $2,000 in a food distribution program.

An interesting sidebar to that issue can be found in the Daily Pilot online. In the comment thread of the article mentioned above, the first comment is by resident, f
ormer Daily Pilot columnist and college instructor Flo Martin. It reads as follows:

Flo Martin wrote on May 6, 2008 9:43 AM:

" I am constantly reminded of how stingy the average Orange Countian is. Our rate of charitable giving ranks among the lowest in the nation. Let's dig into our wallets and support the Costa Mesa Senior Center. I'm going to call the Center this morning and chip in the $2000 difference between last year's city funds' allocation and the measly sum the Costa Mesa City Council plans to consider tonight. Who will join me? "

Well, a little bird told me that, true to her word, Flo Martin jumped off her couch, dashed to the Senior Center and delivered her check for $2,000 to supplement the shortfall anticipated by the council action. Way to go, Flo!


During the deliberations regarding the Senior Center funding councilwoman Wendy Leece, who has recently been skulking around the Senior Center, digging through the trash, interrogating the staff and listening to a couple malcontents, defended her actions and said that, if anything, her recent up-close-and-personal inquisition at The Center caused her to consider the funding recommendations more closely. If you say so, Wendy, but you've still created turmoil and discontent among our seniors at a time in their lives when they need peace and harmony - and adequate food. That same little bird that told me about Flo Martin's response to the funding reduction told me that, as a direct result of Wendy's unwelcome interference and the Daily Pilot article about the funding reduction, some other generous benefactors immediately stepped up and dropped a couple sizable checks on The Center.

Oh, by the way, the council also later voted to follow all the 3R Committee recommendations for funding other worthy causes. The "book" provided to the council which included the reference material must have weighed 10 pounds! Thanks to the good folks on the 3R Committee for their good work.

Further on Allan Mansoor... Yesterday my voter pamphlet for the primary election on June 3rd arrived in the mail. As I perused the pamphlet and carefully checked out the "Republican" section - where I will be marking my ballot - I scanned down the list of twelve candidates for "Member, County Central Committee, 68th Assembly District"and found a familiar name - "Allan R. Mansoor"! Yep, lest there be any doubt about just how immersed our young jailer/politician has become in Orange County Republican politics, this entry confirmed it.

I guess riding the backs of immigrants to re-election a couple years ago has provided him with enough notoriety within my party - he was anointed "Local Elected Official Of The Year" by the party not too long ago - that some actually think him worthy of a seat at the big table of power. Geez, is that depressing! I guess all it takes to attain a leadership position in my party these days is a big, vacuous smile, half a brain and the willingness to oppress members of the minority community in the city you are elected to govern. It makes one understand why smart folks like my pal, Byron de Arakal, chose to become a "decline to state" voter.

And, as part of the normal programming, one local blogger vented his spleen a couple times before the council, accusing them of not doing the job. This is the same guy who recently posted his campaign platform on his blog and ranted almost uncontrollably today. I guess he's ticked off because he's obviously losing his grip on the council majority. Some would say he's losing his grip, period. It's just too delicious! We here at A Bubbling Cauldron would welcome his candidacy for a council seat in the fall. But, as we've said in an earlier post, we doubt he has the "package" for such a campaign. It would permit us to expose him, so to speak, for what he is and give us a peek into his otherwise secret personal life. We'd find out where he gets his money, including the stipends paid for his racist rants on right-wing web sites, like David Duke's web page, for example. I'm salivating like Pavlov's Dog just contemplating it...

Just another normal evening at the best show on TV...

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Terror or "Error"?

As promised,
over this past weekend I read Dr. Humberto Caspa's new book, "Terror in the Latino Barrio: The Rise of the New Right in Local Government". It's been 50 years since I've done a book report, so I'm not going to try to give you all the gory details. I'll just give you my opinion of the book. If you really want to try to find out if your name is in it you'll just have to shell out $17.00 or so at the local bookstore later this month or order it on Amazon. com.

Let me start right off by telling you that in my opinion Dr. Caspa, whom I consider a friend, did not write a great book. He wrote a good book, full of authenticated facts, plenty of names, a pretty good time line of events and a lot of passionate opinion. He wrote a book that chronicles events in Costa Mesa over the past few years and draws conclusions from his analysis of those events. In most cases I agree with his conclusions.


Unfortunately, although he holds a PhD, Dr. Caspa still has some difficulty with the nuances of the English language - don't we all? And, there are just enough typos and malapropisms sprinkled throughout the book to make his critics - particularly those of the Mensa persuasion - salivate about ways to use them to reject the premise of the book. That won't work, because his premise is rock-solid and amply documented.


One example of an entry that brought a smile to my face is on page 76, where Dr. Caspa addresses the loitering day-workers at Lions Park. In his attempt to provide his readers with an image of Lions Park in their mind he includes the following description: "On one corner of the park, there is a barbed-wired baseball field on which city administrators organize softball and baseball tournaments." I'm sorry, but while this is no big deal in the grand scheme of things, the mental image of our kids playing softball in a field surrounded by barbed-wired cries out for comment. He, of course, probably meant "chain link fence", not barbed wire. I suspect you're smiling, too.

Dr. Caspa's critics will certainly try to refute some of his allegations - that's to be expected. He did a good job of documenting statements on which most of his opinions are based. There will be those who will attack his work as fiction - it's not. He headed off those critics with thorough documentation and attribution. Some will reject the title of the book, saying there is no "terror" in Costa Mesa. Those folks will likely not be members of the Latino community in our city, who today walk the streets very carefully for fear of unwarranted apprehension and deportation. This fear was exemplified by a young woman who raised her hand during Dr. Caspa's recent presentation at OCC to say that she never leaves her home without her green card for fear of being stopped for some minor infraction and summarily deported.

Throughout the book Dr. Caspa attempts to provide the reader a chronology of events and introductions of main players in this little drama that we call Costa Mesa. He has done exhaustive research toward that end, all of which is footnoted for your reference. Quite honestly, while the information is there, I sometimes found the flow of the book a little herky-jerky.

Dr. Caspa discusses the various organizations, groups and individuals that have come and gone in the quest to "improve" the Westside of our city. He names names, lists accomplishments and those events for which some of the players should receive credit or blame. Many of the names will be familiar to those who follow city politics - Mansoor, Bever, Leece, Monahan, Steel, Robinson, Davidson, Egan, Bunney, Elmore, Garlich, Scheafer, Dixon, Foley, Roeder, Morello, Turpit, Burciaga, Johnson, Dodero, Berry, Snowden, Hensley, Acosta... the list goes on and on. Heck, he even mentions me a couple times.

Dr. Caspa discusses in detail the events of the past couple years, ever since Allan Mansoor attempted to deputize all Costa Mesa police officers as immigration screeners, including the unfortunate arrest of Benito Acosta. He does a good job of laying the groundwork so the reader can understand the evolution of events that set the stage for Mansoor's actions.

The common thread throughout the book is the reference to one local activist and his pervasive influence on people and events in our city. This person has been called "Your Neighbor" on this blog and has named himself "Mr. U-Know-Who" on his own. Caspa makes very clear, unequivocal references to him by name throughout his book, pointing out in great detail what he perceives to be his unmistakable footprint on politics in this city for nearly a decade. Mr. U-Know-Who will not be a happy camper when he reads the book. That, alone, is enough to bring a smile to my face.

One interesting sidebar is that Mr. U-Know-Who implied in a very recent blog entry that he's upset with his hand-picked city council majority - he says they don't have the "gonads" to get the job done quickly enough - and indicated that he just might run for city council this year. He
provided his list of goals should that happen. Apparently he feels HE has the testicular fortitude to get the job done. Many of us would relish having him in the race, but I doubt he has that equipment he seeks in others to do it.

Is Humberto Caspa's book worth reading? Absolutely! Much of what he says will come as no surprise to folks who have been following events in our city since the late 1990s. In fact, much of what Caspa says in his book has been chronicled on these pages since I launched A Bubbling Cauldron nearly three years ago - and before that in letters to the editor.

As I said, I agree with much of what Caspa says in his book - particularly his reference to the influence and impact of Mr. U-Know-Who on contemporary events in our city. Those of you who doubt such influence will have, in the form of Caspa's book, all the reference material you need to validate it as fact.

Buy the book or go to the local library and check it out. I'm sure there will be folks who deny Caspa's thesis. I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say. This blog can be a forum for that discussion if they choose to avail themselves of it.

I admire Humberto Caspa for having the passion and courage to write this book. It took uncommon courage, for a lot of reasons, to present this view at this time in our city. I think it is a chronicle of an important time in the evolution - some might say regression - of our city and should be required reading for all those seriously concerned about the future of Costa Mesa.

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