Sunday, October 17, 2010

Is The Circus In Town?

If I had known the circus was coming to town I wouldn't have planned a vacation this weekend! "What circus?", you ask. Well, the circus must be in town because a car-load of clowns held a press conference in an empty lot yesterday morning!


At the time Jim Righeimer and John Moorlach held their presser in the weed patch at the corner of Superior and 17th Street Saturday I was a couple hundred miles away, heading north for what I thought would be a nice, relaxing, peaceful vacation. Wrong! My cell phone has been ringing it's little bell off and my email in box is clogging up.

I read the Daily Pilot article on the event and got more than a little upset. So, Eric Bever and Christian Eric felt "intimidated" by members of the CMPD when they were observed placing signs on the fence at that very same lot, huh? Bever said they were given the "stink eye" by the cops. Geez!

Among those clowns at the press conference was Righeimer's pit bull/lawyer/brother-in-law, Mark Bucher. If that name sounds familiar, it should. He's the guy who sent me, and some members of the CMPD, a letter recently demanding that I not mention three forbidden topics about his client/relative. I was threatened with legal action if I did. You will also recall that Righeimer, just a few hours later, mentioned one of them during a candidate forum. He has subsequently mentioned the other two, too.

"Intimidation"? I can tell you about that word. Intimidation is being told that if I exercise my right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution I will be sued... that's "intimidation".

Now that the candidate forums are over and Righeimer will not have a formal venue from which to spout his anti-union venom, he and his strategists apparently have decided to create these opportunities with bogus claims like this one. I guess it doesn't surprise me - that's what a bully does, after all.

So, now we have Righeimer involved in yet another "investigation" involving the Costa Mesa Police Department. I find myself wondering just how many of the voters are being fooled by these tactics? This kind of mud-slinging maneuvering are the acts of a desperate man - one who sees his almost-guaranteed seat on the city council slipping away. One can almost hear his thoughts, "How can I, after spending all this cash and laying the groundwork for this victory, lose to THAT guy?"

"That guy", of course, would be Chris McEvoy - Costa Mesa's Everyman - who seems to be gaining steam in his campaign despite being defamed with bogus reports of a DUI conviction. Righeimer and his supporters continue to spread that false story, but no lawyer has yet braced them with threats of a lawsuit, even though those false claims are every bit as egregious as those Righeimer seems so worried about. No, McEvoy continues taking the high road, addressing only Righeimer's points on issues, not his behavior, family or tactics. Sounds "statesman-like" to me.

It will be very interesting, indeed, to see just what kind of an investigation Chief Chris Shawkey completes with this complaint. And, when will we hear about it, since the clock is ticking and absentee ballots will be mailed during the next week or so. I certainly hope the voters can see through this smoke screen and consider just what kind of a man you'll be placing in a seat of power in our city if they vote for Jim Righeimer. As has been said many times, Character Counts...


Just a little reminder... the Costa Mesa City Council will hold their regularly schedule meeting on Tuesday, October 19th. This one promises to be full of fireworks and might be a long one. Besides having a half-dozen items to be discussed in Closed Session (including several law suits), they will address the Garcia Recycling issue that was pushed out a few meetings ago. The staff report on that one alone is formidable.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., but the Closed Session will likely push that out at least a half-hour - probably more.

So, I'm still on vacation, so the responses to comments will be slow... be patient and your thoughts will eventually be posted.

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Blogger Flo Martin said...

In the dead of night, someone placed campaign signs on public property lining Fair Drive, just down the street from the Costa Mes PD headquarters. Riggy paranoia, anyone????? Guess who took them all down....

10/17/2010 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

I watched a video on this. Sorry I do not know the ladies name that did it.
Anyways... Bever has got to be the biggest wimp. He will stick his chest out, all puffed up, saying the police came around several times. But, then, Tuesday night he wont even show up to the council meeting. His protectors are nowhere in sight. This video enrages me. A city council member should not ever create the image that he is against the police like that. In my opinion, this is creating a poor image of Bever and the city as a whole.
When can we recall him?

10/17/2010 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Kent Morrow said...

Don't be intimidated. Publish. He's got lawyers, you have the chiefs. We need Chris to protect the salaries and pensions of the public employees.

10/17/2010 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Kent, I'm sorry, but the existing public employee pensions are safe. That rhetorical dog won't hunt.

Defined benefit pensions funded solely by taxpayer dollars should end for all newly hired public employees, as they are just not sustainable. Local and state governments across the nation are facing unfunded pension liabilities in the trillions of dollars, and if you honestly believe that taxpayers should dig deeper to fund lavish pensions for public employees while taxpatyers are left to fend for themselves with 401k plans or nothing at all, then we literally have nothing to talk about.

10/17/2010 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Geoff, Chris Eric is a man of integrity who would not have spoken up unless he legitimately felt intimidated.

10/17/2010 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob, I'm not questioning Chris Eric's integrity - I'm questioning the manipulation and "staging" of this event. They're pulling out all the stops... I won't be surprised to see Dana Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh come out with some fabricated issue in support of Righeimer next! If he loses this election too he might as well have a capital "L" branded on his forehead and give up all his appointed positions in the OC GOP.

10/17/2010 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Phillip said...

So Geoff, answer a simple question. Do you think it is okay for an on-duty, taxpayer paid police officer to photograph campaigning for his own personal benefit? That camera belongs to the taxpayers. He was doing personal, political activities in his patrol car on the clock. He should be immediately fired. Case closed.

10/18/2010 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Phillip, the answer to your question is also simple. How about we wait to see what the investigation shows? If there, in fact, has been police misconduct the appropriate discipline should be taken. I doubt giving someone the "stink eye" fits the definition of misconduct, though.

10/18/2010 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

Phillip, clearly you are not a reasonable person, so I am not certain you will eve get this. That aside, here goes:

You want the officer(s) fired? Really? On what grounds? Because he/they drove by (albeit more than once) and allegedly took a photo? I'm not certain what grounds in any of that scenario would be grounds for termination. If there was any impropriety, certainly SOME MEASURE of discipline could be in order.

However, what was the intent of the officer? You alleged yourself, the alleged photo was for their own personal benefit. What would that be?

Has any photo surfaced anywhere for any purpose? It's not illegal to photograph anyone in a public place. If it was surveillance"..ummm, why be in a VERY distinctive marked black/white car in a uniform that clearly says "hey I'm a police officer".

How do you know a camera (if any was involved) belonged to the taxpayers? I will tell you that myself and my colleagues buy a lot of our own equipment that we use in the field. I carried my own digital camera, for efficiency, as it was not always practical to get CSI for every call. The department did not have enough cameras for every officer to carry one.

You really need to get over the "I'm a taxpayer, I pay your salary, you work for me" mentality. We serve EVERYONE. I serve the tourist who is passing through and needs my assistance (doesn't pay taxes here). We serve the crime victim who is an illegal immigrant (yeah I know, that probably makes you cringe)and likely pays no taxes. We serve unsavory types who themselves become crime victims (you know gang members, known criminals). Do we not investigate a crime because we do not like the victim? Absolutely not.

Your logic and thinking are ridiculous.

I pay taxes too. you just are not that special, because you pay too.

10/18/2010 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Phillip said...

Officer Dimel, is it acceptable for you to fly in your helicopter and photograph people while on duty for your own personal use? If so, please let me know so I can erect a large tent over my entire property. Is that what we pay you $176,000 a year for? You don't understand how much damage in the public the PD is doing to this community.

The reality is that Reickhof is a horrible mouthpiece for your movement. It is backfiring. People are seeing the PD Union's actions and thinking of Bell. The days of 3% at 50 are coming to an end. Even Mayor Villarigosa in LA has come out today with a major pension reform plan. Liberals get it, Conservatives get, why can't you? We simply can't afford the status quo. The days of the Clay Epperson's, retiring at $146k for the rest of his life with full, free healthcare, are ending. You have to start contributing to your retirement and your health plans like every other American does. I love our Police, but they have made it an "us against them" game.

Regardless of the outcome of these elections, the wheels are in motion. The change is coming and most Californian's are looking forward to it. If you don't like it, come to the private sector. Find me a line of work in the private sector that will pay you guys anywhere near what you make now. Please, tell me. I'm all ears!! How many Costa Mesan's make $176k a year??

10/18/2010 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Rex Reame said...

Seems to me a very simple issue. According to the story, they have id'd the officers. If there was a legitimate investigation, requiring the photographing of these folks, no issue. If there was no investigation and it was personal use, discipline is in order. Am I missing something? This isn't about the politics of the candidate. If it was McEvoy they were surveiling this blog would be going off. But since it's Righeimer, it's no big deal for the cops to do this. What a double standard. Will Geoff West be calling daily about this one like he did for the DUI checkpoint? This one implicates far greater civil liberty and government intrusion issues.

10/18/2010 02:35:00 PM  
Anonymous steve said...


Hate to break it to you but you’re putting your support behind an unelectable candidate, mcevoy. His childish antics at the candidate forums showed he's not ready to represent anyone including himself when it comes to campaigning.

On the issue of intimidation it's not surprising you don't see it. You rely on intimidation on many of your blog entries to make points. If you couldn't see the error in your own ways how could you possibly see the error in someone doing the same?

"Rob Dimel said...
If it was surveillance"..ummm, why be in a VERY distinctive marked black/white car in a uniform that clearly says "hey I'm a police officer"."

It was done under the guise of official police business.. hence the claim of intimidation. Think than type.

10/18/2010 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous MikeK said...

"The stink eye", really?

Please don’t tell me that some of the individuals that claim to represent our city held a News Conference only because their apparent paranoia allowed them to perceive that someone looked at them accusingly.

The OC Register's link to the YouTube video of “Barbara's Bits: Righeimer accuses union of voter intimidation” has as of this afternoon been viewed 4,300+ times already in the few days it has been made available. This looks like it will probably be easily 10 times the normal views that Barbara’s Bits has every received on any of her reports.

If Mr. Bever and Mr. Righeimer can’t come to grips without an emotional collapse with something that they wish to characterize as "The stink eye", I can’t possibly fathom how they can come to grips and handle any situation with any type of business acumen when it has to do with city business.

Tip to Supervisor Moorlach, your stature as an effective politician has dropped in my personal polls.

The comment made by someone at the YouTube site with the Nom de Plume of “offthechimney” said it best for me, “Wow, I can't believe I just wasted 6 minutes of my life listening to grown men whine...”

10/18/2010 04:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Likes police AND Righeimer said...

Rob Dimel: You appear to be a CMPD officer. If so, thank you for your service. As a resident of this city for over 20 years, I am disturbed at the campaign the police union is waging against Righeimer. It has no place in the city. I also don't think it will matter much if he loses. The city is broke and I don't know where the union expects the money to come from. The firemen and teachers have all made concessions and I'm wondering what the police can do to help us out at this time. Thanks again.

10/18/2010 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Longtime CM resident said...

Officer Dimel: What Phillip said is exactly how many of us feel. It has nothing to do with Righeimer. The economy has changed and it is not likely that the good times will return anytime soon. He's right on about Reickhof - the guy has led you down the wrong path because even if you win, you lose. CM residents are upset over the campaign he's conducting.

10/18/2010 06:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

Phillip et al:

First off, I DO NOT make 176K per year. If only I did. I am completely open to showing you my pay stub or W2,to show you what I ACTUALLY get paid. I said that on another entry in this very blog. I want to see how they calculate the total comp figure. Other than base pay,plus retirement etc, I still don't come up with 176K.

The PD HAS made concessions. We voluntarily opened up our contract last year (a year early)to enter into a side agreement to take a 5% pay cut via furloughs. That side agreement expired when our contract did about a month ago. Hence, we have no current concessions. We will, but I do not know what they are as yet. If I did, I could not share them until it was made public anyway.

Phillip, I never said the status quo must stand. In fact I have said REPEATEDLY there will be some change coming. I just don't know what it will be. The police association is not fighting that in the least. We just want a reasonable discussion. When a candidate comes out firing off, and grandstanding about going after our livlihood as his political platform, he better be prepared for a reaction from the employees. It is absolutely two-faced and disingenuous to say on one hand; that the job our officers do is not worth what we get paid. Then, on the other hand say that public safety is of the highest importance to the the city. Our officers have always had a good relationship with the community and we want that to continue. It has been all the political grandstanding by our elected officials that has damaged that over the last few years. Remember the whole "Rule of Law" proclamation? A completely political move that accomplished what? Other than to alienate immigrant crime victims and witnesses. People we need to help actually solve crimes.

We have been "bleeding" officers to other cities over the last couple of years. Why? Because they could make more and get a better benefits package in places like Anaheim, or Irvine. When the economy turns around, how do we try to retain the talent pool we have? It's not cheap to recruit and train new officers. We get recruitment announcements weekly for other agencies looking for lateral entry officers. Many have similar or better pay packages than we have. We are not remarkable here. We are average. I think you get better than average service here.

In fact I know WE do. In case you missed it, I live here in town too. I have called Costa Mesa home, for 31 years (except for 6 years active military service). So,I'm not some guy coming on here trying to look out for my pay and pension. I think I have a pretty good grasp of things here.

10/18/2010 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Nodoginthisfight said...

It isn't the first time that people have accused the CMPD of intimidation. Here is a story on the police allegedly intimidating and surveilling day laborers.

10/18/2010 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Crooked badge said...

Whatever happened to the costa mesa officer who used dept. equipment to monitor and stalk an ex-girlfriend?

10/19/2010 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Ironic pointing out the police intimidation of day laborers - that all points back to Mansoor and his 'rule of law' nonsense - they were doing it at the behest of the council majority - the same people now trying to get Righeimer elected. The wheels on the bus go round and round...

10/19/2010 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Lets talk about the real circus in town.

The Daily Pilot reported on the questions regarding Phu Nguyen's residency, noting the fact that he "...may have committed perjury on his voting affidavit and on his nomination papers, and may have voted fraudulently."

Despite this, and NO resolution of the issue, Phu Nguyen receives endorsements from the associations representing Costa Mesa firefighters, Orange County sheriff's deputies and firefighters, and Costa Mesa police officers.

I'm sorry, but this just stinks. I don't care what your politics are, endorsing a candidate who has not been cleared of allegations of lying and committing perjury in order to get elected is totally bogus.

10/19/2010 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous folkinhippy said...

just like i said over at the pilot, i was part of an antiwar movement in oc for 5 years that was taped and intimidated by police in just about every city in the county. politicians like beaver scoffed at the idea of things like police videotaping permitted marches. all of a sudden the first amendment is under siege? sorry, eric, but that dog don't hunt.

and speaking of the first amendment, wasnt beaver on the council when a certain mayor silenced a public commentator he disagreed with for something as banal as asking for a show of hands by summoning... wait for it... the POLICE to remove him?!? i'm sure beaver spoke eloquently against such suppression of political expression. wait, he didn't? or was it that he wasnt at that meeting, either?

10/19/2010 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike Hawk said...

So let me get this straight.

This incident allegedly took place on the 14th.

The signs allegedly disappear over night.

Some calls are made on the 15th (the same day they scheduled a press conference)

Then on the 16th they hold a press conference.

Now WE the public are supposed to think these allegations are legit?

This whole incident was most likely nothing more than another chance for name recognition much like the DUI fiasco.



10/19/2010 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

The dirty folkin hippies were right....

10/19/2010 07:21:00 PM  
Anonymous A Resident said...

Rob Dimel states that when he adds up his base salary, retirement, and everything else it doesn't add up to what the city officially reports him to be receiving in total compensation. Where is this money disappearing to? Do we have an larger issue here?

10/19/2010 11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

A Resident:

We worked the numbers up, and to get it even in the ballpark, we had to assume a cash value for my accrued sick and vacation time. I don't use much sick time, and I haven't had a "real" vacation in a couple of years,so my time banks have reached their "hard cap". So, if we were to extrapolate those into some cash value based on the number of unused hours, it gets us in the ballpark.

It's a two edged sword though. the city assumes no "cash value" for those banks for purposes of negotiation, or retirement etc. That's fine, so long as when they report their numbers, it also still assumes no cash value.

We did do a random sampling of various officers numbers as were reported on the aforementioned web site. We found a number of errors in what is reported. The figures are inaccurate to say the least. They make a lot of assumptions based on those "cash values", and some were just flat out wrong.

The city only applies those cash values as a means of budgeting their total liability. An officer can not cash out his/her sick or vacation bank in lieu of taking the time off. There are a couple of exceptions with regard to vacation (to be fair and accurate). If an employee wants to cash out SOME vacation time (there is a limit), they have to take an equal amount of vacation time off within a set time frame. From my understanding, that rarely happens though.

I don't think there is any shennanigans taking place, I think there is just a lot of confusion as to what rules and formulas were applied to arrive at the reported numbers. In fact, I believe there is even a disclaimer on the city's spreadsheet that says there are some "assumptions" that are made.

Mike McNiff, you are absolutely right. The officers assigned to that detail, were done so at the direction of council/staff. At the time, there was a lot of public comment at council meetings regarding day laborers, so it became a hot button issue. Believe, me, every single officer that had to work that detail was not overly pleased about it. That was all handled by the Special Enforcement Detail, and their stock and trade is career criminal types. They had bigger fish to fry.

And last but not least, Crooked Badge: That incident was not an ex-girlfriend as you state. In fact, I never really saw any accurate reporting of that. It was his wife/estranged wife (depending on which time frame you believe), and that officer is no longer with the department. The ex didn't want it criminally prosecuted. I would say that about handles it, wouldn't you?

10/19/2010 11:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Vote mcevoy said...

Mike McNiff

The subtle point you seem to be missing was many of the day laborers had already broken US law by entering the country illegally. I didn't make the laws but I know how to follow them.

The police treating law abiding citizens the same as criminals is a major issue.

10/20/2010 07:44:00 AM  
Anonymous folkinhippy said...

vote mcevoy,

you have broken the law at some point. you have either smoked pot, or run a stop sign, or written something off on your taxes for a slightly higher value than was reality, or something much bigger or much smaller than those things. it could have been intentional, or unintentional. it could have been deliberate breaking of a law you fundamentally disagreed with, or a calculated breaking of the law for person gain. if you deny this you either are the only one in the whole country, or a liar.

and this does not give the council the right to assign police detail to you.

connecting the dots between a city council that assigns such detail and then is incredulous when a cop looks at them must be done.

10/20/2010 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Interesting comment thread, folks. I've been out of town with only marginal internet access, hence the delay in posting comments. Thanks for your patience.

SPECIAL NOTE TO ROB DIMEL: Rob, I REALLY do appreciate your calm, reasoned responses posted on this thread and others. Realize, though, that many of the critical posters are not looking for logic or explanations - they are just spewing their venom. Your explanations made sense to me, but didn't fit their agendas. Thanks for taking the time to present your side.

10/20/2010 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Curious george said...

10/21/2010 08:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Nathan Daniels said...

I think Rob Dickson could use a box of tissue.

10/21/2010 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Nathan Daniels

Rob Dickson and I agree on as many topics as we disagree on, but one thing that I admire Rob for and commend him on is his honest attempt to keep the debate on issues and not personal.

When someone works at keeping the discussion at a higher level, you should at the very minimum try to the occasion.

10/22/2010 09:42:00 AM  

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