Saturday, September 18, 2010

Our Rules Vs. Riggy's Rules

Last Thursday night, while apparently on the way to the Estancia High School football game, Costa Mesa Planning Commission Chairman - and multiple-attempt City Council candidate - Jim Righeimer was among more than 3200 drivers passing through a DUI checkpoint conducted by a Costa Mesa Police Department. Of that number, just under 500 were actually stopped and questioned. Most, including Righeimer, just moved right through without complication. However, he apparently was the only one, according to Joe Serna's Daily Pilot article on the event, HERE, to leap out of his car and confront the officers conducting it.

According to Serna's coverage, after Riggy moved through the checkpoint without being stopped, he parked in the nearby McDonald's parking lot, walked over to the police and questioned the wisdom of conducting the checkpoint at that time of day - around 6:30 p.m. According to Serna's report, officers on the scene felt that Righeimer "tried to flex political muscle because he was inconvenienced by the traffic the checkpoint created." Also according to Serna's report, Righeimer threatened to call Police Chief Chris Shawkey to get him to remove the checkpoint immediately.

Quite honestly, this doesn't surprise me at all. During the brief four years he's lived in Costa Mesa, and particularly during his tenure on the Planning Commission, he's demonstrated many times that he feels the rules we all follow are not for him - that he somehow has some kind of divine dispensation from following the rules. Time after time I've seen him attempt to change ordinances from his perch on the planning commission dais and browbeat applicants before him if they don't follow his direction.

While the City has been in very delicate negotiations with it's public employee unions in an attempt to get the budget balanced, Righeimer launched his council campaign by making it clear that he's going to go after Costa Mesa employee's salaries and benefits once he's elected. His pointed comments at the first candidate forum last month to that effect, while looking directly at members of the public safety unions present, certainly didn't endear him to our cops and firefighters and certainly didn't make on-going negotiations any easier for our elected representatives and management staff. Because of his outspoken opposition toward public safety compensation it's widely assumed that those city employees will actively campaign against him this fall.

Which makes Thursday night's event all the more ironic. I suspect that the officers in at the checkpoint, fully aware of the poor relationship between Righeimer and their rank and file, handled that confrontation with a very delicate touch. I don't know that for a fact, but hope to find out soon. As you will read in Serna's account, we do know that Righeimer's account of the event and those of officers present differ dramatically.

Today, Saturday, I emailed Chief Shawkey and City Manager Allan Roeder, asking for direction on how to obtain copies of any and all audio and/or video recordings of this event. Shawkey replied tonight that my request would be forwarded to the City Attorney. Roeder, for his part, apparently told Serna that there is an investigation taking place and that all documents and recordings would be gathered and delivered to the City Attorney. I don't know how that will affect my request. I wouldn't be surprised if the Daily Pilot makes a similar request.

Those of you who read this blog frequently know that Riggy's not my favorite guy. He landed in town during the middle of Allan Mansoor's re-election campaign at a time when Representative Dana Rohrabacher was actively helping Mansoor with his run for re-election. Righeimer was Rohrabacher's campaign manager at the time and is part of the Orange County Republican apparatus - sharing quarters with OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh for a while, for example.

Riggy was appointed to the Planning Commission following Mansoor's re-election despite only having lived in our city for a few months and filing his application after the deadline. During the appointment session Mansoor brushed aside the nomination of long-time fellow Westside Improver and very long time city resident Paul Bunney not once, not twice but three times - appointing Righeimer instead. Political payback...

I've been critical of Righeimer frequently as he pontificated from the Planning Commission dais, abusing applicants and trying to make up new rules as he went. Thursday night's event may be the best example of his disregard for the rules and the arrogance that makes him think he can run roughshod over residents and city employees with impunity. It's yet another reason for me to suggest you very seriously consider whether this is the guy you want to have with his hand on the tiller of our city for the next at least four years. I sure don't.

Stay tuned to this one... more to come.

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Anonymous MVMike said...

I was at the Estancia game and personally applaued Mr. Righeimer for asking questions about the stupid checkpoint. Why was it done at the middle of rush hour. 500 cars to get 2 possible DUI's? Under that logic, you could hold one anywhere, anytime to arrest someone. The PD has gone too far and we need to stand up for our rights. This is purely payback by the PD for Righeimer asking tough questions about our out of control pensions. Good for him! By the way, after 4 years is he still a carpetbagger? What about 2 of the City Council candidates who have lived here for 3 months?? Can't wait until November!

9/19/2010 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

MVMike, are you suggesting that the CMPD placed the DUI checkpoint to delay Righeimer?

If Righeimer was so inconvenienced by the checkpoint and in a hurry to get to the game, why did he take the time once through it to confront the police and interrupt them in the performance of their duties? You're one of the only people I've seen to actually complain when the police do their jobs - trying to intercept and remove dangerous drivers from our streets.

Sure, if Righeimer felt the checkpoint was ill-placed then he, as any resident can, ask questions about it - but at the appropriate time and place. In the middle of the process IS NOT the time nor place. Sure, he can ask Chief Shawkey about it, but not threaten the officers with a call to the Chief at that instant.

Riggy was unhappy that HE was inconvenienced. Funny, you'd think a man of his age and experience would realize that the world does not revolve around him. It's easy to see why the electorate has never chosen to elect him to public office.

9/19/2010 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Has the city posted their salaries yet? If they have,I haven't been able to find them.

The only thing online is a chart referring to "Median Salaries", which tells taxpayers exactly nothing.

9/19/2010 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gail, I don't find it either... I'll find out Monday. Thanks for asking.

9/19/2010 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous 148a said...


148. (a) (1) Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician, as defined in Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code, in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

9/19/2010 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Kent Morrow said...

No doubt this incident will cause him to lose the election.

9/19/2010 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Instead of "blowing up this deal', looks like ol' Riggy chose to "suicide bomb" on Harbor blvd.

Unions must be behind this.....

9/19/2010 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Righton said...

Is Segerstrom aware of the implecations of Righeimer gainning control of Costa Mesa

9/19/2010 11:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Norm said...

You're one of the only people I've seen to actually complain when the police do their jobs - trying to intercept and remove dangerous drivers from our streets.

Try looking in a mirror. Did you forget the tune to your anti-hispanic chant? Or do you only use it when it benefits your position?

9/20/2010 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Norm, can you be just a little more specific?

9/20/2010 08:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Nick said...


Who would win Batman or Superman?


9/20/2010 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger mesa verde madman said...

Yeah, MVMike, I'm sure the cops knew Riggy would be coming through the checkpoint.

9/20/2010 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

It seems odd that Righeimer would oppose a traffic stop for people entering Costa Mesa from Santa Ana that checks for insurance and drivers licenses.

9/20/2010 02:56:00 PM  

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