Sunday, October 31, 2010

If You Really Want To Know...

Not that it should make much difference to you all, but more than a few people have asked how I voted on some the important issues on our ballot this year. As you know, I mailed my ballot in last week, so I hope Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley will soon find it in his in box and count it.


Over the past few months I've given you plenty of clues about some of the races I feel are important, and have not mentioned others at all. I'm not going to cover ALL my votes here - just the ones that are primarily Costa Mesa-centric. Here goes:

For Costa Mesa City Council I voted for Wendy Leece and Chris McEvoy. Leece earned my vote - one that I wouldn't have thought she'd get even a year ago - by moderating her position on some very important issues and standing her ground against unbelievable political pressure applied by the Orange County Republican Party at what will almost certainly be a significant political risk for her. She's a conservative Costa Mesan first and clearly will not blindly follow the mantra of the OC GOP purely for partisan political reasons. I've disagreed with Leece on many issues in the past, but I've seen a maturing of her approach and a willingness to listen to all sides before making a decision - a rare quality among her current peers. I was happy to cast my vote for her this time around.


Chris McEvoy also earned my vote - th
e old fashioned way. True to his word after the election two years ago, he has stayed involved in local issues and attended most City Council and Planning Commission meetings. He studied the staff reports and offered good questions for our leaders to consider. He did his homework and offered solutions. McEvoy finished 6th two years ago - his first ever campaign. At the very beginning of that campaign he developed Dystonia, a nerve disorder that affects how his tongue works. A high school math teacher, he found a way to deal with that affliction, finished the school year and ran a frugal, but effective campaign. This year he also is running a bare-bones campaign and still has the physical problem, which he has learned to manage effectively. This time around his appearance is hindered by his long, sometimes kind of straggly, hair. He could have clipped it for the campaign, but had previously made a commitment to grow it as long as possible until after the first of the year, at which time he will be shorn and his hair will be donated to Locks of Love, a charitable organization that provides hairpieces to severely ill young people. This year he has become a threat to Jim Righeimer, so he's been the target of malicious lies and misrepresentations. A young man of great character, he kept his eye on the prize, took the high road and commented only on the issues - he didn't engage in any personal attacks.

I've referred to McEvoy as Costa Mesa's Everyman. He comes from a family of educators, works a second job during the summ
er at the Frog House - the almost-defunct surf shop in Newport Beach - and loves Costa Mesa. He doesn't want to see massive changes - development of the Banning Ranch, huge LED lighting displays at Triangle Square, etc. - in his home town. He's a smart young man of great character with a keen analytical mind and an eagerness to help his city. Is he the strongest candidate we've ever had running for City Council? No, I don't think so. However, I can think of very few before him who have displayed the strength of character and tenacity in the face of such malicious adversity. He will have a steep learning curve, but will be a fine representative for our city. And, he will be beholden to no one - no special interests nor political parties have massaged and manipulated him in this campaign. Isn't that refreshing?

I DID NOT vote for Jim Righeimer for the reasons I spelled out in an earlier post. Sue Lester is a bright gal - another carpetbagger who moved to the city and immediately signed up to run for City Council. She denies being a single issue candidate and has tried to immerse herself in broader issues than her Medical Marijuana industry. She's smart and, if she remains involved in community issues, perhaps there is a council seat in her future downstream. Chad Petschl is a charming guy, but has absolutely no idea of the important issues in our city. He sealed his fate when he suggested we add runways to John Wayne Airport.

You already know that I voted YES on Measure "L", the 2% increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), or bed tax as it's known elsewhere. At 6%, Costa Mesa's current rate is the lowest in the county by far and nearly the lowest in the entire state. The modest increase to 8% - not enough, in my opinion - will still not bring us to the county median of 10.25%. This tax will affect no Costa Mesa residents and can bring upwards of $1.5 million in additional annual revenue to our General Fund. This increase has been overdue for more than two decades. Now is the time to make this change and help our city on the road to financial stability.

I, a lifelong Repub
lican, voted for the moderate Democrat, Phu Nguyen for many reasons, some of which have less to do with him than his opponent, Allan Mansoor. Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant who had a difficult time just surviving to reach America, has led an exemplary life. He has worked hard, gotten an excellent education, operates a very successful business and is a family man. He easily bridges all cultures found in his district. I've met him several times and found him to be a bright, focused and hard-working young man who will certainly make a difference in Sacramento. His opponent, the under-educated, under-achieving former jailer for the Orange County Sheriff's Department until he quit last December, Allan Mansoor, is termed-out as a city councilman. It's a good thing, too. During his 8-year tenure he has been a divisive figure in our city, making himself the poster boy, and Costa Mesa the flash point, for racial disharmony as he pandered to the worst side of our populace. He has proven to be a dullard on the dais, unable to form even the most basic of arguments for his positions and completely lacking in any consensus-building skills. His mantra has been "I've got concerns" when asked about issues. However, he never articulates what those concerns are so they can be resolved. Actually, it's just a lame cover-up for his pattern of voting the party line. He's been a puppet for the Orange County Republican Party since his first term and continues to be one today. He would be in so far over his head in Sacramento that he would likely drown under the weight of his insignificance. Phu Nguyen is my choice. This video clip may be helpful to you:

I vot
ed for Katrina Foley and Loretta Zimmerman. Both women bring a fresh perspective to this organization - a revitalization that is overdue. Foley is a known commodity - a bright, tireless public servant, lawyer and mother of two sons in the district schools who consistently goes well beyond the parameters of her assignments. As the Energizer Bunny of the City Council for six years, she has usually been a minority voice, trying to bring reason to arguments cast in stone by her peers. Even so, she has been extremely effective and will bring the same vitality and spirit to the School Board. Zimmerman, a no-nonsense numbers person, would replace Judy Franco, who has served with distinction for 30 years. As she made her remarks during the joint School Board/City Council forum sponsored by Costa Mesa United she was showing a weariness that lingering too long on a job can bring. She should be thanked for her long and exemplary service, but it is time for a change.

With three seats open, my choices are Arlene Schafer, Bob Ooten and Mike Scheafer.
Schafer and Ooten are incumbents who have done a good job for us. My friend, Mike Scheafer, has served this community proudly and well in leadership roles in many organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club, The Lions Club, the Senior Center, as a Council Member, a Parks and Recreation Commissioner and also on the Sanitary District previously. He has been elevated to leadership positions in every volunteer organization he's been a part of for the past three decades. He grew up in Costa Mesa, operates a business in our city, raised his sons here and now is helping coach his grandchildren in baseball - in this city. Mike is a very special lifelong public servant and will add leadership to the Sanitary District. I DID NOT cast one of my votes for Jim Fitzpatrick because I'm very disappointed in the path he seems to be taking. He's become the lapdog for Righeimer and his pals on the Planning Commission, Steve Mensinger and Colin McCarthy and is developing some unpleasant habits. Some refer to him as a "bully-in-training".

I voted for Shana Jenkins and David Grant. Jenkins brings a youthful vitality to this assignment - a reminder to the others on the board of just who this district serves. Grant, a legend at OCC, is a former President of the college and crew coach extraordinaire! He brings leadership, wisdom, maturity and a decades-long dedication to the college district that will serve us all well.


I voted for i
ncumbent President Shawn Dewane. He has demonstrated leadership of that organization and deserves to be returned to his seat. I also voted for him for a seat on the Orange County Water District Board. I couldn't vote for the other seat open, but if given the opportunity I think I would vote to retain appointed Director, Jim Fisler. He has been a Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner and Parks and Recreation Commissioner in the past. He's probably the best choice of the three contenders for that seat.

I voted for Meg Whitman. I like her experience and success. Jerry Brown, a man i
n his 70s, has never strayed far from the public trough his entire adult life. He doesn't have a clue about what it takes to make a payroll, having spent his life living on the family trust fund. I've lived through his last tour as Governor. He was a disaster then and would be again. The only way I would vote for Jerry Brown is if he was running against Allan Mansoor.

That's it.. for the rest of the ballot you're on your own. There are plenty of resources available to you. Study the sample ballot and the voter guide; go online for newspaper editorials on issues. Take a look at the four candidate forums available on Costa Mesa Television - Channel 24 on Time Warner Cable and 99 on ATT UVerse. You can also see them on streaming video on the city web site. I've provided links and viewing schedule on an earlier post for your viewing pleasure. Please make an INFORMED choice on each item on the ballot.

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Anonymous MikeK said...

"The only way I would vote for Jerry Brown is if he was running against Allan Mansoor."

If those 2 were the only candidates running, wouldn't that be reason enough for a "None of the Above" box to be mandatory on all CA ballots?

Thanks for the chuckle on a Sunday evening.

10/31/2010 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

MikeK, I think you've got it! :-) You're welcome.. off to bed for both of us!

11/01/2010 12:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Honeyman said...

Always appreciate your insight on CM politics and your time involved with this blog, Geoff. But I am dumbfounded how any sensible, thinking human being can cast a vote for Meg Whitman. Certainly, vote for third party if you can't pull the trigger for Brown...but to say you like her experience is pathetic. She didn't register to vote until her late 40's for crissake! A pathetic choice to lead this state and a downright disgusting candidate. You should be ashamed of your party that that is the best they could run for the head of the largest state iof the union.

11/01/2010 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Honeyman, Opinions are like.... well, you know...

Actually, several years ago a friend, who is pretty well-connected in GOP circles, told me "they" were going to run Arnold for Governor and I thought he was just putting me on - making a joke. I mean, who in their right mind would run the Kindergarten Cop for Governor? No, he - they - were serious.

Silliness in politics is nothing new and is pervasive at every level. Mansoor and Bever are examples of bad jokes played on the public.

Thanks for playing in my sandbox...

11/01/2010 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Lester for Council said...

How can anyone ever support Chris McEvoy. He says he's clean-doesn't accept money, yet he hasn't said 1 word about the tens of thousands of dollars the union PAC Costa Mesa First has poured into his campaign. McEvoy has outspent all Council candidates combined! He is the dirtiest of them all. Vote Sue Lester!! She stays true to her words!!

11/01/2010 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

You didn't even metion the judges! I voted YES for Dave Sills. One of my favorite people in Irvine.

11/01/2010 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Humberto said...

I don't live in Costa Mesa any more, but it seems like I do. I have not been able to absorb all the issues in my new city, Irvine, though I'm still doing my duty as a conscious citizen. So I'm voting. However, if I were to vote in your district, I think my voting ballot would look a lot like yours, except in a few areas. If everything goes as planned, we might have a huge event to celebrate. Saludos.

11/01/2010 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Max said...

Actually, McEvoy didn't accept money. Lester needs to come back again after proving she has more than just ambition. She doesn't have a clue about our city. She's no better than Chad Petschl.

11/01/2010 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Mothers Against Lester said...

How can anyone vote for Sue Lester? She's a drug dealer!!!

Our children are on the receiving end of her marijuana dealership.

11/01/2010 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Robert T. said...

My ballot will be somewhat similar, but my Council votes go to Lester and Righeimer. Lester knocked on my door and actually talked with us. I think she has some good ideas for our City. Righeimer gets my vote because he is the 1 candidate with financial smarts to fix our City. I drowned out all the other stuff about him. Should be interesting races all around.

11/01/2010 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Maybe Chris is saying something but because he won't take any money you can't hear him above the him up and talk to

11/01/2010 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous stop the silliness said...

To Lester for Council -
I think you are a plant from another campaign (JR). To my knowledge, McEvoy did not ask for these group's support or their money and has no control over it. What is he supposed to do, tell people not to support or vote for him based on what someone else is saying/doing? As for Lester, she seems like a fine person, if you get past the marajuana issue, maybe even the next Katrina Foley. But she is a johnney come lately and should have sat this one out. All she's going to do is "steal" votes from Chris and JR is in.

11/01/2010 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Lester for Council said...

Stop the Silliness, I feel bad for you. You clearly have never spoken with Sue or you would understand her ideas for attracting business to this City. It's also too bad this blog has simply become a pro-McEvoy, anti-Righeimer sounding platform. There are other candidates. I think you will be surprised at her showing on Tuesday.

11/01/2010 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

People keep talking about Riggy's 'financial smarts' - isn't this the same guy who managed several businesses and his own finances poorly, to be generous? They must be hitting the pot dispensaries.

11/01/2010 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Lester for Council, this blog is what it is - a place where I can vent my spleen and provide readers with my opinion and a place to present theirs - like yours.

I didn't vote for Sue Lester because, as one writer accused me of being, she is a one-trick pony. She comes flying into town to run a medical marijuana dispensary and decides to move into an apartment here so she can qualify to run for city council. I don't have a problem with that, except that she clearly is not up to speed yet on broader issues. I've consistently said she's a smart gal and looked forward to her participation in government. Now is not her time.

However, if she does surprise us tomorrow and manages to ride the coattails of Prop. 19 and get enough votes to snatch one of the two seats, that wouldn't be the end of the world. She seems willing to study the issues, but doesn't have enough institutional knowledge to put them into the proper perspective.

11/01/2010 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous GoJimGo said...

Yeah this blog is as hateful and biased as the CMPRESS only Geoff West will not admit it. He donated money to mcevoy's campaign, uh em, sorry the PAC called "Costa Mesa First' which should really be titled "Costa Mesa Last." West has a horrible track record picking candidates to win, furthermore, I would say that West's endorsement is a kiss of death-- just ask Garlich, Scheafer,Sneen, and Righeimer; West endorsed Righeimer in 2008. Leece and Righeimer will win tomorrow. "Costa Mesa First" is really a watered down version of "Return to Reason." Also, you have characterized McEvoy as being the "everyman" candidate, well, not everyman is like him thank god. I don't drink then drive, smoke weed, mumble at city council meetings, agitate others, and I also shave daily and keep my hair cut to military length standards. McEvoy looks like a washed-up version of Chris Steele. They almost look like twins. I'd rather have Steele back than MvEvoy. Vote Jim Righeimer on Nov 2 as he can lead us out of this financial crisis. God bless America!!!

11/01/2010 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

GoJimGo, there really is a big difference between me and that racist puke at the CM Press... I let blithering fools like you post your comments here! You're welcome! Like the rest of the Righeimer supporters who post here and elsewhere, truth is not something with which you have personal knowledge. If Righeimer thought he had this wrapped up he wouldn't give a second thought to Chris McEvoy. By the way, fool, that's Chris Magee Steel, no dangling "e". But then, why would accuracy be important to you. Go take your meds and enjoy the football game.

11/01/2010 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Mothers Against Lester said...


With regard to Marijuana Sue, you stated:

"She comes flying into town to run a medical marijuana dispensary and decides to move into an apartment here so she can qualify to run for city council. I don't have a problem with that."

You MUST be smoking weed too Geoff!

I read somewhat that Sue Lester came to town, just this summer, rented an apartment and then had the nerve to run for the city council before she even got settled in. She obviously had an objective, and I'm fairly certain it isn't the betterment of Costa Mesa. More than likely she's trying to put herself in place to solidify the saturation of Costa Mesa with marijuana.

Why aren't you ranting and raving about Marijuana Sue being a carpet bagger? Wasn't that your #1 problem with Jim Righeimer? That's always been your primary complaint against Jim. In his case he isn't renting an apartment, but instead purchased himself a beautiful home in Mesa Verde. Jim is a far better candidate for city council than Sue, Chris or the other newcomer. He has a reason to care about our city.

The next city council should pass a resolution that only homeowners can run for any elective city office. People that don't care enough about Costa Mesa to buy property here shouldn't be permitted on the council.

11/01/2010 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

I have had personal experience with Leece, McEvoy and Righeimer.
We had a granny unit that was in the transaction of our eastside purchase. We wanted to remodel the main house. From the beginning of the process Righeimer was absolutely against us even thinking of bringing the granny up to code, he told us on the phone after the first PC meeting, and ultimately tearing it down. He was always brash, and on his high horse of power stating that he would make sure it would never pass. We thought because it would compete against his rentals. But as time went on we could see, as we were told, that it was completely political. Righeimer went as far to say to me that he had the power to get his way or make it happen. he lost my vote from that very first phone call.

McEvoy showed up to several CC meetings with insightful questions for the CC to ponder to make this a win win. It showed that he had one citizen on his mind, he didnt have to say anything. As a doctor, I understand people have to live with what life gave them. Chris has my respect for not shelling up. I could give a rats ass if he is not "Military clean". Appearances do not make the person, the heart does and Chris has a heart for this city.
Leece fought her tail off for our granny unit, along with Katrina. She truly cares about CM and the citizens. She cares about the history of this town and trying to preserve it as well as move CM forward. Wendy could have thrown in the towel at points of her life. She doesnt complain, and when I see her kids call her their hero, that speaks volumes too!

Lester- Well I do not know anything about her except the marijuana dispensary. But when I see the supporters I think of Righeimers supporters. Please do not give her the "next Katrina Foley" accolades just yet. Katrina rules this community with how much of her time she gives. What time has Lester given?
Thanks Geoff for the transparency.

11/01/2010 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Mothers Against Lester, so, you'd exclude Mansoor and Chris Steel from eligibility for public office in Costa Mesa, huh? Very nice! Do you realize that there are more renters in our city than homeowners - by far!? No?

I don't like ANYBODY coming into town and immediately trying to take over the political process. However, there's no law against it. Righeimer's situation was clear to anybody observing his situation.

You had your two votes - if you already voted, good for you. If not, don't forget to show up at the polling place tomorrow. Maybe if you're nice they'll let you vote for Righeimer twice! :-)

11/01/2010 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rich, as you know, I followed your situation through all those hearings before the Planning Commission and the City Council. What happened to you and your family is a perfect example of Righeimer's heavy hand and agenda. Your granny unit was hurting nobody - all your neighbors spoke in your support.

Yes, Sue Lester is a long, long, long way before she can be compared to Katrina Foley. I don't know many people who could keep up with Katrina. Wendy has shown how strong she can be in the past few days and it's coming back to bite her by Righeimer and his pals in the OC GOP.

Thanks for your comment...

11/01/2010 07:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Folkinhippy said...

Not an endorsement if sue, per se, but what is wrong with a renter on the council? I'm glad Jim bought a house in Mesa verde, but Mesa verde homeowners aren't the city majority. Renters are. We should have at least one person on the council with their perspective.

And to the mother against sue, relax. As a father of a three year old, I'm much more concerned about our citys concentration of liquor stores than dispensaries, and if any disagreement of that is based on fear or ignorance of the facts. This is coming from a guy that likes beer and can't even stand the smell of pot. Educate yourself past what tour high school health class told you.

11/01/2010 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous MesaVerde Disgust said...

Mothers against Lester is a crack head!

I find it EXTREMELY funny that the Righeimer camp finds it necessary to tamper with the NO Righeimer signs.

Even funnier is the fact it's mainly happening in Mesa Verde and near Fitzy's neighborhood. HMMM

Nothing better than grown ass men actiing like 5yr olds.

Righeimer & friends win or lose your still a loser!!!

11/01/2010 07:57:00 PM  
Anonymous MV Disgusted said...

Mothers Against Lester said...

How can anyone vote for Sue Lester? She's a drug dealer!!!

Our children are on the receiving end of her marijuana dealership.

I hope Sue sues you for making blatantly false statements!

11/01/2010 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous folkinhippy said...

also, and again, not necessarily a push for lester, but geoff and everyone else calling her a one issue plank... didnt gary originally run on a issue of save my bartending job at goat hill?
1. single issue candidates can often be great leaders and
2. im sure goat hill is a greater nuisance than any given dispensary.

again, not to stump for lester but most of the arguments against her seem a little hypocritical, if not at the very least short sighted. saying you're against her stand on banning, for instance, as misguided as it may be, would be at least consistent with, say, a vote for riggy.

11/01/2010 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have spoken personally will Lester and like Geoff says, she is a smart woman and I was very shocked by her. However, she is very new to the city and she needs to learn more about the major issues before she will be a great member of the council. I honestly believe that. The idea that she will want more dispensaries is wrong because those would compete with her dispensary and be bad for business.

I have also personally spoken with McEvoy and he was great as well. He has a good grasp of the issues and I believe he will consider each one in the context of what is best for the city as a whole. McEVOY DESERVES EVERYONE'S VOTE!

I have also spoken with Leece, with whom I share very few viewpoints. I honestly thought that the fight to get "in god we trust" in the chambers ridiculous. However, she has proven her decisions come from her heart and she does what she feels is right for the city. LEECE DESERVES OUR VOTE FOR HER ABILITY TO VOTE COSTA MESA NOT OC GOP.

I have never spoken with Jim Righeimer because I cannot get past the arrogance that he exudes. NOBODY SHOULD VOTE FOR THAT DONKEY FOR THE SAKE OF ALL OF US.

11/01/2010 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

jim, thanks for your passion. I offer only one small correction. Righeimer isn't really a donkey - that's the other party's mascot. He's an elephant. However, if you were looking for an appropriate epithet and still wanted to cross party lines, the word "Jackass" comes to mind. :-) :-)

11/01/2010 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Geoff...

I did not mean to offend any democrats in my last post... I am sorry for that and as such I have come up with some alternate animal names for Righeimer that seem appropriate:

snake, cockroach,cuckoo bird (extinct), domestic turkey, weasel

11/02/2010 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

The more I think about the Phu Nguyen/Allan Mansewer race, I feel I need to vote for Allan. He will not get anything done by himself. But I am hoping the Reps will take over the assembley. I do not like allan, but he is my 67th ass. vote.

11/02/2010 08:57:00 AM  

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