Saturday, September 25, 2010

Righeimer's Outlandish Obfuscation(Corrected)

I was going to let my two previous posts Friday ferment over the weekend so you could just relax and not worry too much about your blood pressure. Then, late that afternoon, the editors of the Daily Pilot published a commentary by Costa Mesa Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer, first on the OC Now blog, then shortly thereafter on the Daily Pilot blog. It will appear in print in the Daily Pilot Saturday morning. You can read the full text from the OC Now blog HERE, which includes my knee-jerk reaction in the form of a comment.

Before I dissect Righeimer's drivel for you I must make a general comment. This is the worst piece of self-serving obfuscation I've ever seen published by a local public official. It's clear from reading Righeimer's rant that he's throwing up a smoke screen to try to distract Costa Mesa voters from his misbehavior at the DUI checkpoint a week ago. That being said, let us move forward.

Right off the bat Righeimer begins with a lie. He states, "At 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 3,200 commuters sat in an unnecessary traffic jam because the Costa Mesa Police Department decided to run a sobriety check point at a primary intersection to the off-ramps of the San Diego (405) Freeway at Harbor Boulevard." Well, Righeimer had the date off by a full week! That DUI checkpoint occurred on Thursday, September 16th, 2010. And his assertion that it was "unnecessary" is not for him to say - it's up to the city management and the police department, not some frustrated, multiple-loser hack politician. NOTE: I received a telephone call from the editor of the Daily Pilot at 9 a.m. Monday informing me it was THEIR fault that the date was incorrectly stated in Righeimer's article. Righeimer apparently said "last Thursday" in his submission and the Associated Press Style Book requires them to use the actual date, so the editor got it wrong. I apologize to Righeimer for saying he lied about this date.

He goes on to gripe about being delayed getting to the Estancia High School football game, which I can certainly understand. However, he didn't have a son playing in the game and his inconvenience that evening was no greater than the other 3200+ drivers slowed by the checkpoint. And yet, he was the only one who felt he should attempt to exert his "authority" by jumping out of his car and confronting the officers on duty there at the time.

In his fourth paragraph he states, "I decided to ask some difficult questions of the officers conducting this ill-advised check point. They are not used to citizens questioning their authority, which I think is a healthy thing to do." Just who does Jim Righeimer think he is, for goodness sake? That paragraph alone - and there are many more to come - demonstrates an almost unbelievable arrogance. Sure, if a resident is upset at an event like the checkpoint he can certainly make his views known through the proper channels - which does not include haranguing officers on duty. He can contact the Watch Commander or the Chief of Police and vent his spleen, but for him to interfere with officers performing their duties is well beyond any authority his warped little mind perceives himself to have. He's the Chairman of the Planning Commission, not the heir to a throne! He's lucky the police didn't slap cuffs on him for interfering with officers in the performance of their duty and throw him in the back of a police cruiser!

Then he says, "My concern for the public's safety has become a political toy for our police union." Horse manure! The police union representatives have every right to call him out when he interferes with operations in progress.

Then Righeimer begins to blow the smoke. He tries to convince us that he's being persecuted by the Costa Mesa Police Unions because he's against their salaries and pensions. Clearly, this is an attempt to deflect attention to his transgressions that evening.

He tells us that he "received dozens of calls and emails from people who were tied up in the traffic jam. They witnessed near-collisions of automobiles." Well, according to the police logs for that evening, there were NO traffic collisions at that site during the checkpoint.


He asks, "If former police chief Dave Snowden had pulled over to question a DUI checkpoint at rush hour next to the freeway, do you think we would be having this conversation?" Well, of course not! Chief Snowden is an outstanding law enforcement leader, held in high regard for his nearly 20 years of service in Costa Mesa who now holds the same job in Beverly Hills. He wouldn't charge up to officers doing their job and start yapping at them. Trust me, Mr. Righeimer, I know Dave Snowden and you're no Dave Snowden!

Further on he asks, referring to Police Union President Allen Rieckhof, "Would Rieckhof have orchestrated a bunch of cops at last week's council meeting to speak out against me?" Yet another lie from Righeimer! Rieckhof spoke to the council about Righeimer's behavior and the Vice President of the Police Union, Dana Potts, delivered a very touching account of his painful, personal loss - of his fiance and their unborn daughter - to a speeding drunk driver two decades earlier. That's it - TWO police officers spoke on this issue, not "a bunch". Yes, there were around a hundred officers in the auditorium, but they were there, dressed again in white t-shirts, to show solidarity during the current budget negotiations. You can watch the streaming video of that meeting by clicking HERE, then selecting the City Council meeting of September 17th. Rieckhof's and Potts' comments come early in the "public comments" segment.

Righeimer then tells us that he has a meeting scheduled with the City Manager AllanRoeder and Police Chief Chris Shawkey Monday morning to "find a solution for when and where to place DUI checkpoints that are both safe and productive." Talk about nerve! What gives him the authority to demand such a meeting and, particularly, since the City Attorney is investigating his behavior at the checkpoint at this time? It seems to me that the City Manager and the Police Chief need to cancel that meeting until the full facts of the incident at the checkpoint are sorted out. Otherwise, it certainly looks like Righeimer is getting preferential treatment - something he obviously expects.

It is a truly bad idea for Roeder and Shawkey to meet with Righeimer on this issue. Instead, based on the volume of comments on that particular DUI checkpoint that have been published in the local media, I suggest that a Town Hall meeting be held, open to all Costa Mesa residents who wish to express their views on the subject in general - to provide guidance to our elected and appointed leaders. Righeimer's voice is no more valuable in this discourse than yours and mine. Clearly, many of the other 3,200 people delayed in that particular checkpoint will have a view to present.

He goes on to tell us of his familial connections to law enforcement - as if that might somehow mitigate his behavior. Sorry, Mr. Righeimer, you have to earn the authority you seek - it is not some kind of Midwestern birthright.

Then, after a couple paragraphs providing more smoke in the form of alleged pay and pension numbers, and considering that we're talking about a DUI checkpoint here, he begins another paragraph with this outlandishly ironic sentence: "Someone must have been drunk when they negotiated Costa Mesa's current pension deal." Now, that might be something he'd mutter to a crony while sucking suds at Gary Monahan's pub, but for a city official to make such an outlandish, demeaning published public statement only demonstrates the desperation he's feeling and the complete lack of common sense, maturity and responsibility one expects - no, demands - from a person in his position. Shame on you, Jim Righeimer.

Before blowing more smoke about pensions costing after school programs he says the following: "Here is the bottom line. This is not about a DUI checkpoint. It's about the public employee benefits and overtime and out-of-control pensions." Again, horse manure! This issue IS about the DUI checkpoint. Righeimer is only trying to cover up his actions by changing the focus of the discussion.

I know we have problems with our current municipal budget. Negotiations continue - and a special city council meeting has been called for 5:30 Monday, September 27th, for a closed session discussion by the council on that very subject. The city is in a very deep hole again this year - we are more than $9 million short of balancing the budget. All the meat has been trimmed from our municipal skeleton and now we are forced to decide the painful question of which extremities must go - an arm, hand, foot, leg - to keep our city solvent. Righeimer's self-serving, dishonest and inflammatory rhetoric at this point in time only makes those negotiations more difficult.

This whole "DUI" issue, and Righeimer's response to it, only drives home more clearly just why voters in this city and others, election after election, have found him unworthy of being elected to public office. Even though the candidate pool for the Costa Mesa City Council race is thin this time around, I will NOT vote for Jim Righeimer. I'd much rather take my chances with a smart, honest, dedicated, hard-working neophyte like Chris McEvoy than a self-serving, conniving, dishonest, carpetbagging political hack like Jim Righeimer, who feels somehow entitled to a seat at the big table because he's part of the Orange County Republican hierarchy, is Dana Rohrabacher's sidekick and was a supporter of Mayor Allan Mansoor. Nope, Righeimer's delusions of grandeur and his arrogant abuse of power are not for me, thanks.

I'm about half-surprised Mr. Righeimer didn't flash a bogus "Mike Carona sheriff's badge" and pull a gun on the police that night and demand they withdraw from the checkpoint. I know he used to have a concealed weapon carry permit at one time, plus was one of Carona's badge-carrying "favored few".

My suggestion to Mr. Righeimer is to take his lovely wife, beautiful daughters and warped visions of a political dynasty and haul his political gypsy caravan out of Costa Mesa. He needs to find a place where he thinks he can get away with public misbehavior, lying to the public and abuse of power and bulldoze his way to a seat of authority there.

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Blogger Gericault said...

Righeimer went out and lost his temper again. I’ve seen him do it before. During the Great fairgrounds swindle . of which Jim had a huge part in. It was before a Fair Board meeting back in Nov. 2009. He screamed at me and pulled his, “Im the Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner” …..I replied , “Good,…than you serve me”, because I’m a Costa Mesa resident. That calmed him down somewhat.
Obviously, though he didn’t learn anything from it because he went on and bullied others throughout the city using the same ploy.

Then he pulls it on uniformed police performing thier job. This had nothing to do with Union pensions. This had everything to do with Righeimer demanding what Righeimer wanted , using bullying, threats, and his self. assumed position of power. Screw him .

You vote for Righeimer and this city will be held hostage. We will be ruled by the political programs dictated by outside political PACs and interest groups, with little regard for this cities governance or benefit.
It’s what they do……….Research the Family Action PAC led by one of it’s founders Jim Righeimer. Check out the Education Alliance PAC that resulted in the Capo Unified School strike , founded once again by Righeimer. There is a reason he lost against Harman for the 67th assembly seat. Righeimer fought that one all the way to the CA. supreme court. Then he ran for the Fountain Vally city council …..but those voters said NO! too. Then he moved to Costa Mesa and ran for our city council but once again ,the voters said …NO!…….Now he’s running again….only this time he has $75,000 in his campaign war chest funded by……. you guessed it……..Action PACs! I guess this three time loser , thinks money will make the difference.

Costa Mesans of all political persuasions……I implore you. Say NO! to political interests groups taking over our city. Say NO to Righeimer!

9/25/2010 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger mesa verde madman said...

He is the biggest gas bag around... I sure hope he loses AGAIN. If this isn't about the checkpoints but pensions, etc., as he proclaims, then his behavior at the checkpoint was clearly a political ploy, and now look at all the free pub he's garnering because of said actions. He's really a piece of work, as my old man would say.

9/25/2010 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gericault, thanks for the summary - an excellent amplification of my opinion.

Mesa Verde Madman, your old man would have been right about Righeimer.. :-(

9/25/2010 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Humberto said...


As you know, I don't live in Costa Mesa anymore, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about this city. On the contrary, Costa Mesa is so close to me and deeply in my heart. As far as Righeimer, I think he's got way too far. I really hope Costa Mesa voters, both democrats and especially republicans, realize on time how horrible he would be if he gets a seat in the Council. He's got an authoritarian-like political mentality. If compromise has been a problem in the City Council today, tell me about it with him in it

9/25/2010 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Kent Morrow said...

Has Riggy ever won an election where he, himself is the candidate?

9/25/2010 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous No RIggy for CM said...

I have a feeling had Snowden been there or was still the chief of CMPD we would be looking at Righeimer's booking photo.

9/25/2010 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Humberto, you are correct... it will (would?) be a disaster for our city.

Kent, not to my knowledge.

No Riggy For CM, it's just to delicious to contemplate! Riggy in cuffs, doing a perp walk at the city jail! :-)

9/25/2010 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Seriously,....Geoff, when is Barlow going to release the tape?

We need a "by when". She is becoming the reason why cities elect their attorneys.

9/25/2010 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gericault, no idea. She's "had the case" since the 17th... no word yet. It's completely inappropriate for Righeimer to meet with Shawkey and Roeder Monday if the case is still under investigation. I'll try to get more info Monday.

9/25/2010 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry Alston said...

I do not have a dog in the Costa Mesa City Council fight but if I had one in it I would be somewhat chagrined by Eric Bever's and Jim Righeimer's new campaign modi operandi.

But first, I feel badly about Mr. Righeimer’s previous financial difficulties; perhaps if he had paid more attention to his finances and his web site and less to party politics, self promotion and interests that interfered with his family and financial life he would be in a better position to offer advice on financial matters and community standards or serve in elected office. He seems too busy to devote much quality time to city matters when Sacramento or Washington might be on his horizons. Should I mention that a confrontational disposition toward things about which one is uninformed and unknowing are not recommendations for taking public service positions? If I project just a bit, perhaps Mr. Righeimer is bothered that the public employees were still on payrolls while he was in the throes of getting his life back in order.

Mister Righeimer sees the Costa Mesa Police Department (or at least its leadership) as his political adversaries. However, the stink in this Rigo v. Police mess goes back to Mr. Righeimer’s ill-advised decision to insinuate himself into a CMPD -- CMVC sobriety [DUI] check point brouhaha of a few weeks ago. After that Friday evening’s incident, Mr. Righeimer stated to the press that he was justified in his actions because citizens have the right to speak to public officials, although he identified himself to the peace officers at or near the site as a CM Planning Commissioner, not as a citizen, and being unable to persuade the OIC to break down the check point, Mr. Righeimer requested a meeting of relevant parties to discuss the matter later. Where, when and how the Daily Pilot got the story is not clear, although one item is plain: Mr. Righeimer said to the Pilot reporter that the Police Association was attempting to smear him as a council candidate because of his political position “regarding benefits and pensions of public employees.” I suppose that explains everything then: knowing that Mr. Righeimer would be in a hurry to reach the Estancia High School Football game (because they have a file on him) the evening of the DUI check point, the police set up the check point in order to provoke him into a confrontation with them so they could ratchet “up its rhetoric against his candidacy” for council. Of course, he is entitled to his personal opinion, but that doesn’t make him right.

Mr. Righeimer has managed to promote his interpretation of the council race smear into its third week in the newspaper, and now Eric Bever has been drawn into the fray through the innocence of his remark at a council meeting about postponing contract negotiations with employee unions until after the election, which suggests to me that CM public employees may take exception to any proposed eleventh hour change in the negotiation agreement. To exacerbate the feud, Mr. Bever allows that he has been “stink eyed” by passing officers in police vehicles and he would be apprehensive to call the police should he have the need to avail himself of their services. But being “stink eyed” is just being observed with disdain. On a daily basis, I am passed by peace officers patrolling local streets and I see them observing their surroundings and environment for questionable activities. If people are assembled on street corners and I pass them I become a Lookie Lou just like my neighbors and other citizens. Isn’t that what police officers do? That seems to me to be in their job descriptions.

So two CM City Council candidates posit that the police are out to get them, and since it is impossible to prove otherwise we are invited to believe their fallacious arguments. Their remarks are hogwash!

10/19/2010 12:55:00 PM  

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