Friday, June 27, 2008

Judge MacEachern Bounced From Bench!

In a bit of news that is sure to raise some eyebrows in the land of Newport-Mesa, the Orange County Register reports HERE that Judge Kelly MacEachern has been removed from the bench by a judicial commission, apparently for falsifying expense reports and lying about it. She apparently plans to appeal the removal,
which will become permanent in 30 days, to the State Supreme Court.

Observers of all things Costa Mesa will recognize MacEachern's name as the judge who dismissed the criminal case filed by the City of Co
sta Mesa against Benito Acosta last fall because the prosecutor, Dan Peelman, had not been properly sworn in before he took the case to trial. I suspect there are smiles all around at the offices of Jones & Mayer, the legal firm which provides the City of Costa Mesa with City Attorney services in the form of Kimberly Hall Barlow and where Peelman also works. MacEachern's decision to dismiss the Acosta case is under appeal by Peelman - at the expense of Jones & Mayer, not the City of Costa Mesa.


It's unclear if MacEachern's removal from the bench will have any impact on the Acosta trial at this
point. Obviously, if her removal is upheld and Peelman's appeal of her decision on the Acosta case is allowed, another judge would have to hear the case. That would mean more dollars from our municipal coffers to try a case that should never have existed. And, of course, still pending is the civil trial Acosta filed against Allan Mansoor and the city. That case potentially represents more dollars - a lot more.

Who ever said things are dull around these parts just isn't paying attention!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008


Photo courtesy of Daily Pilot

Just a reminder....

Tomorrow, Friday, June 27, 2008, is the Grand Opening of Angels Playground, Costa Mesa's first universally-accessible playground.

Festivities begin at 3:00 p.m., rain or shine (according to the flyer Angels Charities Founder Doug Hansen sent to me).

The location is at TeWinkle Park, 885 Junipero Drive, Costa Mesa. For more information contact the Costa Mesa Recreation Division at 714-754-5300.

This wonderful facility, which has been in the works for several years, is yet another example of why Costa Mesa is such a terrific place to live, work and play. Thanks to the Hansen family, former councilman Gary Monahan and all those dedicated workers on the city staff who made it possible.

Please join the entire Hansen family and city representatives at this event tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Register Drops Another Shoe

The media, print and visual, is all over a story from the Associated Press published in the last 24 hours, which c
an be viewed HERE on the Sacramento Bee online site, that chronicles the plan for the Orange County Register to begin outsourcing the copy editing and page layout for one of their community newspapers to a company in India. This purported one-month trial isn't the end of the world, but is very likely an omen of things to come.

The Register has been under the gun, as have all print media outlets, to adapt or die in the current environment. Every local outlet has experienced layoffs and the situation is exacerbated in the case of the Los Angeles Times family of newspapers by the acquisition of The Tribune Companies - the Times parent - by Sam Zell
not too many months ago. Zell is busily squeezing that organization like a handful of Nutty Putty and will soon be selling off the pieces to pay down more than $13 billion in debt.

The Register's move - portrayed as a trial move to see how it works - makes me very nervous. It's yet another example of farming out important functions to vendors on the other side of the world. This has happened in our manufacturing businesses and service organizations, too. Today, instead of talking to a service representative in Sacramento or Harrisburg, PA when I have a problem with my internet service provider, Earthlink, I now speak first with someone in The Philippines and, if the problem doesn't fit their template, am referred on to someone in India to fix it. Seldom do the problems get resolved the first time aroun
d any more. It's very frustrating.


The pressure being brought on the "old" media by the "new" media - the electronic form of which this blog is a part - is tremendous. Mountains of resources are being spent to create and maintain an online presence to remain competitive. It won't be long, I'm afraid, until we see print media outlets drop like flies because their management have been unable to shake the old ways. This is not good news, in my opinion.

Such a catastrophe will leave those of us interested in current events at the mercy of bloggers. I mean, can you imagine having such biased publications as this one and the CM Press, for example, as your primary sources of "news"? Gad!

Quite honestly, I hope this little experiment of the Register's fails. I don't like the idea of farming out control of how the content is presented and edited to some guy in New Delhi. What makes our local newspapers so valuable to me is the local influence over the way they present the news. I fear that, if the Register's experiment is successful from a financial standpoint, this concept will spread throughout the industry and we will begin to lose control of our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press.

Time will tell....

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Remembering Tim Russert

On Friday, the 13th, NBC commentator and host of Meet The Press, Tim Russert, collapsed and died at his desk in Washington, D.C. I wrote about his passing briefly in my Father's Day entry last week.

In the ten days since Russert's passing there have been non-stop stories lauding him as a
great commentator, father, husband, son, friend and colleague. His memorial service at Lincoln Center in Washington was attended by thousands.

During the day on the 13th, as I was making what turned out to be a much-longer-than-expected drive north, I had the opportunity to hear many, many speakers comment on Russert. Many addressed his strong family ties and mentioned his two books, the first of which chronicled his relationship with his father, "Big Russ". Others spoke of his relationship with his son, Luke, who had just graduated from Boston College.

It is hard not to admire a man who has obviously touched so many people so positively. Those he interviewed with tough but fair questions praised him. Those who worked with him revered him. Through all these accolades comes the prevailing thought - Tim Russert was a good man.

The best piece I've read about Russert was published in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal on Saturday by author Peggy Noonan, a frequent contributor to the weekend pages. Her piece, entitled, " A Life's Lesson", spoke of the many other tributes paid to Russert over the previous week, and during his memorial service just a day before. To avoid the risk of mis-quoting Noonan, let me provide you with a couple excerpts from her column:

After Tim's death, the entire television media for four days told you the keys to a life well lived, the things you actually need to live life well, and without which it won't be good. Among them: taking care of those you love and letting them know they're loved, which involves self-sacrifice; holding firm to God, to your religious faith, no matter how high you rise or low you fall. This involves guts, and self-discipline, and active attention to developing and refining a conscience to whose promptings you can respond. Honoring your calling or profession by trying to do within it honorable work, which takes hard effort, and a willingness to master the ethics of your field. And enjoying life. This can be hard in America, where sometimes people are rather grim in their determination to get and to have. "Enjoy life, it's ungrateful not to," said Ronald Reagan.

Tim had these virtues. They were great to see. By defining them and celebrating them the past few days, the media encouraged them. This was a public service, and also what you might call Tim's parting gift."


"One of the greatest statements, the most piercing, was something Chuck Todd said when he talked on a panel on MSNBC. He was asked more or less why Tim stuck out from the pack, and he said, "He was normal!" In a city, Washington, in which many powerful people are deep down weird, or don't have a deep down, only a surface, Tim was normal. Like a normal man he cared about his family and his profession and his faith. Pat Buchanan later said they're not making them now like they used to, Tim's normality is becoming the exception. The world of Russert—stability, Catholic school, loving parents, TV shows that attempted only to entertain you and not to create a new moral universe in your head—that's over, that world is gone. He had a point, though it's not gone entirely of course, just not as big, or present, as it used to be."

Russert, a bear of a man, was devout, loyal, dedicated to his friends, family, profession and his beloved Buffalo Bills - a man any of us would do well to emulate. I cannot count the number of speakers and writers who, when bemoaning his passing, mentioned that the current political campaign season will not be the same without him.

I will miss Tim Russert, my Sunday morning companion who used his Meet The Press pulpit to gently strip away the pomposity and superficiality of many politicians, leaving them bloodied but somehow grateful for the shellacking they'd just endured. I will miss his unabashed enthusiasm for his job, his family and, oh yes, those Buffalo Bills. I will do my best to follow the instruction he frequently left ringing in the ears of his friends - "Go Gettem!"