Friday, May 27, 2011

More On Pham's "Cocaine Use"

Sometimes when bad news happens it just keeps on coming. That is the case with the story that appeared Thursday in local newspapers online and in print Friday morning announcing that the toxicology report for Huy Pham, the young man who leaped to his death from the roof of Costa Mesa City Hall on St. Patrick's Day after he was called in to work from a medical absence to receive one of the 213 6-month layoff notices that day, showed that he had traces of cocaine in his blood. The amount was .44 milligrams per liter of blood.

The articles in both the Daily Pilot and the Orange County Registe
r produced blistering comment threads and I wrote about it in my earlier post, HERE.

This afternoon the Register produced two more articles on this subject. Jaimee
Fletcher, tells us HERE that a doctor specializing in drug detoxification is apparently convinced that the results of the toxicology report make it clear that Pham had been using cocaine. He dismissed the possibility that the number shown on the report might be the result of pain medication being taken due to his broken ankle. He is further quoted as saying, "Cocaine gets you excited, agitated and some people even go into hallucinations, but eventually it drops you down. People can get suicide depression when they use any type of drug, especially cocaine." If his assessment of this situation proves to be valid, it's a very disappointing finding.

In another article, columnist Barbara Venezia did a follow-up on her article yesterday, HERE, describing in greater detail her calls for comments to several Costa Mesa officials, some of whom she re-contacted again this morning.

Among those with whom she spoke was Costa Mesa Interim Polic
e Chief Steve Staveley, who described the substance shown on the report and referred her to Wikipedia for a more thorough understanding. She quotes Staveley as saying, "Someone needs to get this information out for this man's family."

Throughout the comment threads in both the Daily Pilot and Orange County Register writers complained that this information was "leaked" to the press in response to the favorable Register column published by Frank Mickadeit on Billy Folsom earlier in the week. That seemed callous, even for those who might have had a hand in doing it. So I did some checking.

The story I have
is that the toxicology report was completed earlier this month and a copy was mailed to Pham's family on May 11th and was accompanied by a message left on a family member's voice mail alerting them to the results. It's my understanding that the Daily Pilot's Joe Serna, reading the Mickadeit column, was jogged to followup on the toxicology report and called the coroner's office. He was told that it had been available to the public for two weeks, so he drove up to Santa Ana, paid $1.50, got the report and wrote his article.


At this point we have the fact that a substance was found in Pham's blood that is a byproduct of cocaine use and an "expert" opinion confirming that it likely did not come from some other substance Pham had ingested. I don't know if there are any "official" evaluations in the works for the results of the report. If not, we are left only to conclude that Pham, indeed, used cocaine sometime prior to jumping to his death on March 17th this year. If this is the end of it - if no other experts are called upon to evaluate and comment on this report - it makes an already-tragic event even more so and leaves an indelible stain on the collective memory of this young man.


And the caustic comments continue to be posted in both local newspapers and I ful
ly expect to see letters to the editor in print within a few days, too. Almost lost in all this drama is the fact that, on Tuesday, the Costa Mesa City Council will hold another study session in which the Expenditure side of the budget will be discussed. This will be the meeting at which cuts necessary to squeeze out at least $3.3 million from the 2011/2012 budget will be hammered out. It's not going to be a pretty sight and the revelations of Pham's alleged cocaine use will certainly make nerves raw on both sides.

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Anonymous "Sorry" seems to be the hardest word said...

So where does the line start for all of the people who need to apologize to Righeimer, Monahan and Mensinger? C'mon now, folks, set an example for kids - be the big people you need to be and say you're sorry for accusing them of causing his death.

5/28/2011 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Inquiring Mind - Investigation? said...

Anyone else wondering how Billy Folsom knows that shoes were left on the roof?

Has anyone seen that published? I don’t think he was there. Maybe the motorcycle cops told him when they were changing their oil?

It will be interesting to see the full CMPD investigation once it is final. Anyone taking odds on how the CMPD performed after losing an employee?

5/28/2011 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

The propaganda continues.

If Huy Pham jumped because of drug use or emotional or mental instability or some combination thereof, the fact will always remain that the layoff scheme created the TRIGGER for this horrible act.

5/28/2011 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Kent Morrow said...

It seems like Costa Mesa Interim Police Chief Steve Staveley is picking through the toxicology report like a defense attorney. But I could be wrong.

5/28/2011 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Judy Lindsay said...

To "Sorry", sorry no apology from me. The city employees knew for weeks there would be lay offs and pretty much knew what departments would be hit. The lay off notices were a legal formality. Let Hue rest in peace, the reason and motivation for his act may never be known or understood. But I can assure you the citizens of Costa Mesa know and understand the motivation behind Righeimer, Monahan and Mensinger decisions to decimate our city. And to "Inquiring Mind", Billy worked closely with Hue. Why question how he knew, what he knew is that really so important.

5/28/2011 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous I'm Wondering - Big Time said...

Inquiring Mind:

Yes, I've been chewing on Billy's knowledge of those shoes for weeks. There are only 2 ways he could have gained that information. Either a cop told him, .... or he was there. If a cop told him, why wasn't that information released to the public?

Another thing, anyone wanting a murder to look like a suicide could get the shoe suicide angle from the Internet. The union crowd was acting crazy at that time, looking for anything they could hang their hats on to stop the layoffs.

Inquiring minds definitely want some answers.

As for Billy, he is doing a lot of damage to Costa Mesa. He certainly doesn't represent the average Costa Mesa resident, nor do I think he even owns a home in Costa Mesa.

5/28/2011 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous TV makes u dumb said...

All of you who care about the shoes it was published a few weeks ago in a newspaper article. STFU and move on sorry to disappoint but the only conspiracies going on involve the council and their schemes.

5/28/2011 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Industrial Ave. printerguy said...

What was the deal w/ the TOTAL BUZZ disclaimer?

It's not like Martin Wiskol all of a sudden got a dose of Jounalistic integrity! Could it be he was scared somehow it was percieved he was taking the wrong side?

That whole post:

Just seemed weird.


It's sobering, with a lot of room for discussion and debate. the questionable death of a low level employee should not be part of this debate, no matter how tragic.

5/28/2011 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

"I'm Wondering"......Billy Folsom is damaging the city????? Really?????

That isn't just a bit far fetched. That is just off the wall nuts.

Sorry Geoff. I know and agree that name calling isn't really the way to handle things but that poster is just a special kind of idiot.

5/28/2011 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Sorry seems to be... said...

Joe and Judy Lindsay: So you really lay the blame for the suicide at the feet of the city council majority? That is as twisted as the suicide itself. People lose their jobs every day, and most them - nearly all of them, - don't use coke and don't commit suicide... They get on with their lives. Clearly, this was a troubled young man. The sad part is that you are using him for your own purposes. The man was depresses, used drugs to counteract that but could not handle the same news that has affected millions during the recession. Shame on you.

5/30/2011 08:43:00 AM  

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