Friday, October 10, 2008


It's seldom possible to surprise a guy of my advancing years, but I was pole-axed this afternoon when a friend sent me a link, HERE, to a page in the current edition of the OC Weekly. Here's what I found when I arrived at the link:

Best Blog! Wow! This is pretty darn heady stuff for a geezer who just writes the occasional entry in his little old blog and hopes a few people will find it interesting and/or informative. When I began publishing this blog in July of 2005 my goal was to provide information and opinions on issues I thought were important to Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. If I could entice a few more people to pay attention and get involved in community activities I'd be a happy guy. Well, I'm a very happy guy, because that's exactly what has happened.

I guess the folks at the OC Weekly enjoy the sparring that goes on between this blog and another blogger here in town. He's been the subject of many articles on their pages over the years. They even proclaimed him "one of Orange County's most frightening people", which he uses as a marketing tool to hustle his books. He and I have gone toe-to-toe on important issues for almost a decade now. I don't think he likes me very much and I sure don't like his racist philosophy... We've even made up pet names for each other. I refer to him as "Your Neighbor" or "The Mouth From Mesa North" or "The Brain That Ate Costa Mesa" - deference to his purported Mensa membership. He even made up a name for himself - "Mr. U. Know-Who". He refers to me as "Lonely Old Man" and, most recently, "two-footed maggot". I especially like the last one - shows a lot of class, don't you think? And, so it goes...


However, a couple new entrants in our little local blogosphere, CM Truth and CMunimPRESSed, have picked up the baton and have engaged that other guy recently. They rebuff his falsehoods with facts and jeer at him for his absurd comments. It's nice to no longer be alone in this fray. Links to those blogs are on the right side of this page.


So, a big Thank You to the folks at the OC Weekly. I'm grateful for the recognition and especially so in light of the competition here in Orange County. I don't really try to compete with the OC Blog, the Liberal OC Blog or the Orange Juice Blog, but it's nice to be included with them. I just sit here in my little corner of the world, paying attention to what's going on, offering the occasional opinion and stirring the cauldron...

Thanks, also, to my buddy, Byron de Arakal, whose commentary in the Daily Pilot many years ago provoked me to write my very first letter to the editor. That letter was the acorn from whence this pitiful, gnarled old oak tree evolved. If you don't like what you read here, blame Byron - it's all his fault.

Now, onward and upward... I've got an election to deal with!


Remaining Candidate Forums

With the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors forum now behind us and a big success, there remains three forums to be held before the election on November 4th. Based on the information currently available to me, the following is the schedule of events:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008, the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive, from 6-9 PM. This event will be televised live and replayed on tape through the election on November 4th.

Courtesy of Google Maps

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 the Mesa Del Mar Homeowners Association and the Halecrest/Hall of Fame Community Association will jointly host a candidate forum at the Halecrest Community Center, 3107 Killybrooke Lane, from 6:30-9 PM.

Courtesy of Google Maps

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant will host the final candidate forum this year. This event, will be jointly sponsored by the Orange County Community Congregation Organization (OCCCO) with the participation of other churches in our community. According to organizers, the event will be held in the Fellowship Hall located at 2850 Fairview Road and will start promptly at 6pm and last from one to two hours. This event will be moderated by Jim de Boom, Executive Director of the Interfaith Council and Daily Pilot columnist.

Courtesy of Google Maps

Those of who vote using absentee ballots will still have time to get them in the mail following the last forum, so you may wish to wait to hear how the candidates respond to the questions posed to them that evening before sending your ballot in.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Two Down, Three To Go!

Tonight's Costa Mesa City Council Candidate Forum, hosted by the fledgling Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group was a rousing success. Thanks to President Jeff McConville and his group for doing such a fine job of hosting such an event for the first time. The schedule was tightly followed and the limited time made available to the candidates forced a crispness that made a few of them have to down-shift fast to complete their thoughts.

(President Jeff McConville flanked by board members
Bunker Hill and Syndy Neyland)

Moderator Marnie Primmer did an excellent job of keeping things moving - so much so that all the questions had been asked and answered by 8 p.m. - an hour earlier than expected. I suspect they would tinker with their format a little the next time, but it went really well for a first-time event. Primmer could be a budding star in civic affairs.

(Moderator Marnie Primmer)

The turnout was excellent, too. My guess, confirmed by others, is that around 140 of our neighbors made it to the event. For those who missed it, Costa Mesa TV, Channel 24, covered the event and will televise it on the following schedule from now until the election:
Tuesdays: 8:30 pm
Thursdays: 12:00 pm
Saturdays: 6:00 pm
Sundays: 8:30 pm
Monday Nov. 3rd: 7:00 pm
Tuesday, Nov. 4: 2:00 pm

As was the case with the first forum this year, it may also be viewed on streaming video on the city web site by going to the CMTV link and follow the links to the proper program.

(Happy Attendees)


The questions at this forum were specifically directed at issues that affect those of who live on the Eastside of our city. Emphasis was on quality-of-life issues like cut-through traffic in Eastside neighborhoods. The group was looking for solutions to these issues both currently and when anticipating the affects of changes in the works for Newport Blvd. as it passes through our Downtown area from the present terminus of the Costa Mesa Freeway at 19th Street to the city limits a
t Industrial Way. You can read Alan Blank's coverage of the forum in the Daily Pilot HERE.

How did the candidates do? Well, not unexpectedly, most of them chose to answer questions
not asked. For example, most of them dodged questions about how they would address the immediate problem of current cut-through traffic, choosing, instead to talk about the future of the SR-55 Freeway. Katrina Foley gave them the only real honest answer on that issue - that any real solution would require inconvenience and sacrifice on the part of the residents to implement any real reduction in cut-through traffic.

(Katrina Foley, Lisa Reedy and Linda Sneen)

Chris Bunyan evoked a huge laugh from the crowd when, responding to a point made earlier by Gary Monahan when he complained about taking longer to get to work at his gin mill, Bunyan suggested that Gary ride a bicycle. Actually, that's a pretty good idea, except that the Costa Mesa
Police Department seems to have decided to stop male bicycle riders to check them for a license on the machine. Sure wouldn't want to see Gary stopped on the way home and have him hauled off to see the ICE agent! Sorry, I just couldn't resist that one. Bunyan seemed to be a crowd-pleaser tonight, offering interesting observations and appeared to have gained some ground.

(Chris Bunyan talks "green"
with voter Jim Erickson)

As anticipated, the veterans did the best tonight. In my opinion, Katrina Foley led the pack again, with crisp, honest answers.

Jim Righeimer was in his element. As a politician and developer, he had a chance to make strong points on issues related to his profession. His impatience with process came through, loud a
nd clear. For example, he consistently stated that it's possible to build the Cut and Cover solution to the SR-55 in 5 years despite all expert testimony over the past few months that doubled or tripled that time frame. In fact, impatience seems to become his watchword these days.

Gary Monahan seemed more engaged this time around. He looked prepared and, unlike the first forum, he didn't look as though he just wandered over from his
bar. He emphasized that, as an Eastside resident, he understood better than most the nature of the problems. No one asked him why he didn't get them fixed during his first 12 years on the council. He also showed the flashes of the "old" Gary - the man who encouraged his peers on the council a couple years ago to "play hardball" with Newport Beach on annexation issues. At the time it was a curious admonition, since Newport Beach held all the cards. We all know how well that turned out.

The "old" Gary surfaced more than once as he took the opportunit
y to shoot barbs at Katrina Foley, who handled it with grace and poise. At one point, when other candidates were advocating a conciliatory approach to our dealings with neighboring cities, he said we should "go to battle" for our city. This is typical of Monahan and is a great example of just why the wise voters of this city chose to impose term limits on our elected leaders. Monahan has made his contribution to this city and obviously would only be a point of divisiveness if elected again for another term at the municipal trough.

Eric Bever attempted to puff up his contributions to the city and frequently praised Allan Mansoor - in the audience - for showing leadership. His performance was weak.

New guy Bill Sneen showed that he'd been doing his homework since the previous forum. He continues to show maturity and leadership on the issues tossed to him by the moderator. His previous public service experience and industry leadership was very evident.

(Bill Sneen greets fan)

Lisa Reedy, who has been slow to get her campaign ramped up, handled some of the questions well and, once again, demonstrated much needed maturity.

Chris McEvoy, who is running a bare-bones campaign, showed spunk on the dais and gave some non-traditional responses to some of the questions. He's a very engaging young man who promises us he plans to become more engaged in city activities regardless the outcome of the election. That's good news for the city.

(Team McEvoy)

Nick Moss demonstrated only the most superficial grasp of some of the issues. He's a good guy, but certainly not prepared for this challenge at this time.

So, we have two candidate forums behind us, with three more ahead. As I indicated previously, next week the Chamber of Commerce will host a forum on Wednesday, the 15th which will be televised live from City Council Chambers. The following Wednesday, the 22nd, the Halecrest and Mesa Del Mar groups will jointly host a forum at the Halecrest Community Center.

Tonight I heard that the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant will be hosting the final forum at their facility on Fairview, near Costa Mesa High School, on Tuesday, October 28th. Details are skimpy, so I'll get more information soon and post a complete schedule for the remaining forums in a day or so.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Double-Header Thursday Evening!

Thursday, October 9, 2008, provides an opportunity for civic-minded Costa Mesans to cover two bases in one evening.

First, The Costa Mesa Library Foundation is holding a fund raiser at Ruby's Diner on 17th Street to raise money to help fund the effort to bring a first-class library to Costa Mesa. You may dine-in from 4pm to 9pm and bring a flyer so the library gets credit for the meal. Go the the Library Foundation's web site, HERE, to read more about it and to download the pdf file and print the flyer. This is certainly a great cause and the foundation needs your support.


Then, after you eat a quick and delicious meal, you can
dash right over to the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue (Lions Park) and attend the Costa Mesa City Council Candidate Forum being hosted by the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors group. That event begins with a "meet and greet" from 6-7pm, followed by the formal forum from 7-9.

This forum will be taped by CMTV for viewing later if you miss it in person. The schedule will be posted within a day or so following the forum.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 06, 2008

Council To Hear SR-55 Report Tuesday

At its meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, October 7, 2008, the Costa Mesa City Council will receive the initial screening report on the SR-55 Access Study, at which time they will very likely request that the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to fund and initiate the next phase of the study.

This report is the result of many meetings and workshops held with officials and the public in both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach and has distilled down the viable alternatives to the continuation of the Costa Mesa Freeway through or past Costa Mesa's "Downtown" area - from it's current terminus at 19th Street to the city limits at Industrial Way.


This issue, one of the "Hey, look what I did!" planks in Eric Bever's campaign platform, is critical to many residents on the Eastside of our town because the more than 100,000 cars that travel past 19th Street and Newport Blvd. each day generate significant cut-through traffic into otherwise calm residential neighborhoods. Noise, safety and pollution are all concerns expressed by our neighbors living in those communities.


Two days later, on the 9th, many of those neighbors will hold a candidate forum at the Neighborhood Community Center - see previous post - at which this issue will almost certainly be presented for comment to each of the nine candidates for City Council next month. All the more reason for concerned residents to attend the forum to hear the solutions presented by our potential future leaders.

Labels: ,