Friday, August 15, 2008

Barking Dogs & Erasing Riggy's Shadow

Well, my friends, if you've got a neighbor who has a pooch that makes too much noise for you that problem is about to be solved. The Costa Mesa City Council, at it's meeting on Tuesday, August 19th, will have the second reading and probable adoption of a new "Barking Dog" ordinance - one
with real teeth in it. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one).

This subject has been under evaluation for months, ever since several residents complained about dogs in their neighborhoods that barked incessantly. At the time the County of Orange had just implemented an ordinance to address this kind of situation, so the council decided t
o ride it out for awhile, to see how the county ordinance worked out. I guess they are now satisfied that it works.

The new ordinance, which is modeled after the Orange County ordinance, defines what constitutes a "Barking Dog" and includes a fine schedule that is sure to get your attention. Depending on which alternative fine schedule the council chooses Tuesday evening, it will be possible for a police officer or animal control officer to levy a fine of $250 for the first offense and includes a sliding schedule up to over $400 for the sixth and subsequent offenses! Or, they might choose the alternative presentation, which starts at $100 for the first offense and jumps in two steps to $500! Yikes!! I guess the City Council has found a way to balance the budget after all!

The new ordinance adds language to Title 3 of the Costa Mesa Municipal Code by adding Section 3-8 to Chapter 1. The first part is reproduced here for your reading pleasure. I highlighted one section that may give you some apprehension, even if the remainder doesn't.

“Barking dog” means a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any noise audible beyond the boundaries of the property on which the dog is situated for an extended period of time to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night, regardless of whether the dog is physically situated in or upon private property. Such extended period of time shall consist of incessant barking, baying, crying, howling or making of any noise for thirty (30) minutes or more in any twenty-four-hour period, or intermittent barking, baying, crying, howling or making any noise for sixty (60) minutes or more during any twenty-four-hour period. A dog shall not be deemed a "barking dog" for purposes of this article if, at any time the dog is barking, a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property in or upon which the dog is situated, or when the dog is being teased or provoked.

The remainder of the proposed ordinance can be viewed on the agenda for Tuesday's council meeting. Just click HERE, then select the agenda item for 8/19/08

Tuesday is your last chance to address this issue. If you have a noisy pooch, or if you have a grumpy neighbor who thinks you have a noisy pooch, perhaps you should let the council know how you feel on this issue. If you're concerned about this new ordinance you can communicate with the city council at
the following email address:


Before I forget, I recently received a telephone call from Jim Righeimer, wanting to set me straight on the "bankruptcy" issue.

In a blog entry recently I said, when referring to Righeimer, "Despite his recent pontifications about fiscal frugality, rumors of bankruptcy in his past continue to shadow him". That statement, as far as it went, was true... rumors of bankruptcy do continue to
shadow him.

Riggy clarified the issue, though, and following our conversation I dug deeper into this subject. It seems Riggy, like many developers in the disastrous 1980s, got into big financial trouble. However, instead of simply filing for bankruptcy and letting others carry the debt, Riggy sold off properties, including his home, to pay off every debt. It took him nine years. He feels the rumors were generated by folks unhappy with his sponsorship of Proposition 226, which would have given union members the right to decide whether they wanted any part of their dues to go to political activities.

I asked Riggy point blank if he had EVER filed for bankruptcy. His answer was an emphatic NO! Unless some skeleton comes flying out of a closet to re-kindle this issue, I'm satisfied with his explanation and will no longer mention it.

This doesn't mean I agree with his ideas for balancing our budget, though. Tapping the emergency reserve, as he has recently suggested, is a truly bad idea and I'm disappointed that he and Allan Mansoor even consider doing it.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008


Well, it's official now... According to the City Clerk, late-comer Chris McEvoy returned his paperwork just before the deadline yesterday and, barring a rejection by the Registrar of Voters for insufficient qualified signatures on his petition, he's now in the mix, joining the eight other qualified candidates for Costa Mesa City Council.

Not much is known about McEvoy, and it may stay that way since he has apparently chosen to not provide a candidate statement for the voter pamphlet. That seems like a peculiar tactic for a virtual unknown, but it does cost money to place the statement.

So, here are your candidates for Costa Mesa City Council:

Eric Bever - Incumbent mayor, former planning commissioner, long time self-professed "improver", buddy of Allan Mansoor and - if you watch him in action on the dais - a frustrated stand-up comedian. He used to advertise himself as a graphic artist, but now we're told he's dabbles in antiques.

Katrina Foley - Incumbent council member, former planning commissioner, including a tour as chair of that commission. She's a lawyer, a mother of two boys, wife of Casey Swanson and full of good ideas and boundless energy.

Gary Monahan - Former 3-term councilman, multiple terms as mayor and the only council member to qualify for a pension. Pub owner, father of 6 kids, he's looking to return to the public trough. Last year he tried to get the issue of a directly elected mayor placed before the voters, apparently hoping to fill the slot as "mayor for life".

Jim (Riggy) Righeimer - Currently a planning commissioner and recent columnist for the Daily Pilot. He's a big time activist with the OC GOP, campaign manager for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's re-election campaign and defeated state Assembly candidate. He moved to Costa Mesa from Fountain Valley just two years ago and, miraculously, just a few months later found himself installed on the Planning Commission by Allan Mansoor - who had received much help in his re-election campaign from the above-mentioned Rohrabacher. This was pure partisan political payback. Riggy has demonstrated a lack of patience, frequently flailing applicants before the commission and having to be reined in by Chair Donn Hall. Costa Mesa is just a stop along the way for Riggy, who obviously has plans for higher office. Despite his recent pontifications about fiscal frugality, rumors of bankruptcy in his past continue to shadow him. He and Mansoor both recently suggested tapping the city's emergency reserve to pay our bills - a truly irresponsible idea.

Lisa Reedy - Currently President of the Mesa Del Mar homeowners association, she's a long-time community activist. She works as a strategist for a local pet products company and has a diverse business background. She is an articulate speaker and always seems prepared when she speaks before the City Council.

William Sneen - An executive for a food products company, Sneen has a track record of success in business. Father of two boys, both of whom have excelled in the Newport-Mesa schools and are Eagle scouts, he's the husband of former School Board Trustee Linda Sneen. His business acumen and experience with school issues should be an asset as a council member.

Christopher Bunyan - Operates a hair salon in town and is a published author. Ran in 2006, finishing last. Has become active in civic affairs by participating on city committees. His recent focus seems to be saving the Banning Ranch from development - to the extent that he underwrote a recent workshop on that subject.

Nicholas Moss - Who the heck knows about this man? He's young, works in the computer business and ???

Christopher McEvoy
- Again, who is this guy? A Google search indicates that he might be an athlete of sorts, but doesn't turn up much else.

Let's hope all nine candidates show up next Thursday so we can get to know them, hear what they have to say on important issues.


On a personal note, thanks to all of you who took the time to help me mark my birthday today. In years past I would bounce out of bed, ready to spring into action. Lately it's more like stumbling out and checking to make sure all essential body parts are still attached and functioning!

Two years ago, on a REALLY BIG milestone day, I celebrated surrounded by several dozen friends and family members. Those folks, and others who couldn't make it to the celebration, are what make my life so special and fulfilling. As time passes and those folks begin to leave us it becomes increasingly important to acknowledge those you care about. So, to all of you who take the time to comment here - whether you agree with me or not - thanks! You're participation keep the juices flowing.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kent Treptow's "City of Lost Children"

Photo courtesy of Kent Treptow

Shifting gears from the simmering political stuff for just a little bit, I want to draw your attention to the absolutely wonderful series presented in our local newspaper of record, the Daily Pilot, by photojournalist Kent Treptow.

Kent made a couple trips to Mongolia a few months ago and returned with a wonderful, yet painful, story entitled "City of Lost Children", which provides a poignant account of children he encountered who live in manholes below the city streets of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital city.

You can find this very moving story HERE. Once there, bookmark it for easy return to the site - you'll be glad you did. Please take some time to read the text and view the narrated slide shows. Doing so will change your lives.

The next time one of your kids complains about being asked to take the trash out, or whines about not having enough cell minutes to fully participate in the texting confab being conducted by their friends, plunk them down in front of your computer, click on the link to this story and tell them to view Kent's slide shows.

Congratulations to Kent Treptow on an outstanding piece of photojournalism, and to the editors of the Daily Pilot for publishing it. It is rare, indeed, to find such an outstanding piece of work in any community newspaper, but the readers of the Daily Pilot have come to expect such excellence. Let's hope they continue to raise the bar despite the turmoil swirling around them in the post-acquisition chaos created by Sam Zell and his mindless mercenary minions.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Late Added Starter!

Well, now, this is interesting. I understand that another person has pulled papers to run for a seat on the City Council in November!

Yep, someone named Christopher McEvoy pulled papers this week and, in order to qualify to be placed on the ballot, must get the required 20 (or more) valid signatures and get all the completed paperwor
k back to the City Clerk by Wednesday at 5:00.


I guess that means we might be back to nine people competing for the three seats available. I told you this was going to be fun.


We've already had Allan Mansoor and Wendy Leece chime in with their preferences and - no surprise here - The Mouth from Mesa North has regaled us with his choices, too. Funny, but they coincide exactly with those of Mansoor and Leece. Hmmmm.... And, of course, it's interesting that they made their choices known before the filing period had closed.



A reminder, in light of the previous confusion about the time and date of the first candidate forum... The first one will be hosted by Mesa Verde Community, Inc., the Mesa Verde homeowners association, and will be held on Thursday, August 21st at the Neighborhood Community Center at Lions Park across from the library. There will be a meet and greet event beginning at 6:00 p.m. and the formal program will commence at 7:00 and is expected to run for a couple hours. Mark your calendars, because this is usually the best of the forum series.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Mansoor and Leece Jump the Gun - Name Choices

This morning, in their online version, HERE, the Daily Pilot reports that Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor and his campaign barnacle two years ago, council woman Wendy Leece, have announced their choices for the three
contested seats in the November election.


To no one's surprise, they didn't choose Katrina Foley as one of their favorites. They did choose Mayor Eric Bever, former Mayor Gary Monahan and the carpet-bagger, Jim Righeimer.

Of even greater interest is the fact that they chose to make this announcement before the filing period has officially closed. Because Linda Dixon chose to "leave her seat open" ( a very unfortunate bit of headline writing on the part of the Daily Pilot), the filing deadline was extended until Wednesday at 5 p.m. It is still quite possible for other interest
ed parties to pull papers, acquire the required signatures, fill out the forms and return them.

It was a given that Mansoor and Leece
support Bever for re-election. Mansoor stepped aside so Bever could become mayor during this re-election year, providing him with a more visible platform from which to display his limited stand-up routine.

I'm also not surprised that they will support Monahan's quest for yet another turn at the trough. In the last couple ye
ars of his last and hopefully final term he shifted gears and joined Mansoor and Bever to form an unsavory majority. Gary has demonstrated more than once that he's in it for himself first, most recently when he proposed that the city directly elect the position of mayor. We assume he saw himself akin to Idi Amin Dada - Mayor For Life. Re-electing Monahan would not be in the best interests of the people of Costa Mesa although it would certainly enhance his pension and benefit package. You will recall that he's the only council member to ever qualify for a pension.


And then there's Riggy... This one was a slam dunk for Mansoor and Leece. Two years ago Congressman Dana Rhorabacher and OC GOP honcho Scott Baugh provided tons of support for Mansoor's candidacy and he dragged Leece along for the ride. She ran virtually no stand-alone campaign of her own. Mansoor began the payback process when he appointed Righeimer - who had lived in Costa Mesa only a few months - to the Planning Commission, rejecting long-ti
me "improver" foot soldier Paul Bunney three times. Supporting Righeimer - Rhorabacher's re-election campaign chairman, by the way - for a council seat is just more payback for the support that got them into office.

Electing Bever, Monahan and Righeimer to the council along with incumbents Mansoor and Leece would be disastrous for our city. There would be no divergent viewpoints on the dais - no way to keep them honest. I firm
ly believe that, before Mansoor and Leece's terms expire in 2010, we would see eminent domain imposed to grease the skids of redevelopment on the Westside, despite the fact that Mansoor has adamantly proclaimed he was against it many times. No, an absolute majority of "improvers" would turn our city into one governed by a virtual junta and guided, at least in part, by the ravings of a White Supremacist cave-dweller from the north part of town.

On that happy note, I will remind you that the first of what is expected to be several candidate forums is scheduled to occur next week. Mesa Verde Community, Inc., the Mesa Verde Homeowner's Association, will again host what has historically been the first and best of the forums on Thursday, August 21st at the Neighborhood Community Center at Lions Park near the library. The event begins at 6:00 with a brief "meet and greet" opportunity, with the formal program beginning at 7:00. This will be your first chance to meet with the candidates and to see them as they present their platforms for your consideration. Unlike Mansoor and Leece, I'm eager to hear what ALL the candidates have to say before anointing any of them. As they say, be there or be square.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008


Jeff Gross/Getty Images


I don't know about you, but I was mesmerized by the opening ceremonies at the China Olympics Friday night. In my lifetime I've never seen such a display of precision as was demonstrated in the choreography of those events. I was particularly impressed by the 2008 drummers who, regardless the camera angle used, were in sync, on beat and simply magnificent. It seemed at times as though the sweat was falling from their brows in unison!


Those displays of excellence go
t me thinking about what is possible when you get people all pulling together toward a single goal. It's certainly something I'm going to be giving a lot of thought as we now launch into our campaign season. I'm going to be interested to observe the various candidates to see which ones, if any, come across as true consensus builders. There has been so much rancor on the dais for the past half-dozen years that electing persons who will work hard to provide solutions to the many issues we face that meet the needs of all our residents, not just a favored few, will be important to me. I'll write more about that later.


In the meantime, we'll all just hold our collective breath to see if anyone else comes out of the woodwork as a late added starter since the deadline has been extended a few days because Linda Dixon chose to leave the dais next year.

Several months ago I provided a link to La Femme Wonkita, a blog authored by former mayor Sandra Genis. Following a very moving initial posting, she's provided new entries only sporadically. However, over the past week or so she's returned with a vengeance. I encourage you to slide your cursor over to the right side of this page, scroll down to her link and take a peek.

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