Friday, December 23, 2011

Try To Have A Merry Christmas

Well, folks, it's time to turn the old Cauldron down to simmer again for the holiday. I'm not sure how much I'll be posting between now and the new year, but, before I bank the fire and let the embers retain the heat, there are still some things that need to be said.

It's been a very stressful year in Costa Mesa, my hometown for the past 38 years. None of the other old-timers that I've spoken with can remember anything like this in the past. Not even in the days of crazy Dave Wheeler or the bumbling Chris Steel were things in such tumult. Steel's term almost a decade ago should have been a clue for us because he's the first sitting councilman to overtly politicize his affiliation. That was the start of the takeover of this city.

r city has experienced a de facto palace coup, with Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger leading the takeover, compliant Gary Monahan just going with the flow and the lamest of lame ducks, Eric Bever, refusing even to bother going through the motions anymore. Those latter two should get an "F" for Attendance on their report cards! Monahan, in particular, should receive much of the blame for what's happening now. He's basically abdicated his position as Mayor - perhaps as early as that ill-fated St. Patrick's Day, when he chose fun and profit over the responsibilities of his job - and permitted Righeimer to take over.


We've got ourselves saddle
d with a majority on the City Council that is clearly trying to destroy the government of our city. They're operating like a junta. They've shown, right from the start, that they are chronically impatient and have no interest in following the rules. Effective governance requires both patience and a willingness to work within the established framework. It's become so extreme now that they actually want to sell the voters on backing a Charter for our city created by one man - Righeimer, performing as a snake oil salesman - for the sole purpose of benefiting his life as a political gypsy. He has no long-term ties to our city and is only using it as a stepping stone for higher office. He's trying to show his pals in the OC GOP that he actually CAN accomplish this takeover so they'll support him in future runs for bigger political jobs. He won't care one iota that he'll leave carnage in his wake.

We can only hope that the voters of this city finally wake up and realize that they are being played and vote against the Charter scheme. If this is a good idea, then it's one that SHOULD NOT be rushed. We're talking about the foundational document of our city government here. We should not permit a carpet-bagging political opportunist to simply snatch this city away from the people like a purse-snatcher on a crowded street.

To the loyal, hard-working and beleaguered employees of the City of Costa Mesa, I wish you some peace and tranquility as yo
u take a few days off. I want to thank those of you who have remained, despite all the uncertainty and turmoil swirling around you, for your loyalty and perseverance. Although you've seen your livelihoods placed in jeopardy and many of your fellow-employees chided, threatened and berated by the elected and appointed leaders of this city, you've managed to keep your shoulder to the wheel. You've seen the leaders of our city ignore the best professional advice on staffing and organization available to them and move forward with their own pre-determined, ignorant ideas, but your continued to soldier on. Many of you have been required to prepare the documents that would be used to possibly outsource your jobs, only to see that work effort eviscerated by the elected leaders for no good reason. Although you've seen drastic changes in senior leadership - not one person remains in the job they held a year ago - and you've suffered the tragedy of one of your own leaping to his death from the City Hall roof, you've tried to stay the course. Thank you for that...


At this point in time we don't know the outcome of the ill-advised outsourcing scheme launched by Righeimer and Monahan after who-knows-how-many meetings at Monahan's gin mill and over how many adult beverages. We don't know anything about those meetings because they won't tell us. We do know that they launched that scheme without sufficient thought and violated the council rules doing so - a clear case of premature initiation. We do know that the trial is scheduled for April of next year and can only hope for a positive outcome. We do know that they're spending precious city resources on legal fees at a rate previously unseen in this city.

We've seen a decent man, my friend Bill Lobdell, hired as a spinmeister an
d under his leadership a facade of transparency has been erected. We have more "information" available to us than at any time I can remember - and that's a good thing. For example, the CEO E-briefing is an excellent communication tool with which Tom Hatch has provided excellent information to the readers, including some essays from Michael Josephson's "Character Counts" series.

What is t
ruly ironic is that some of our elected leaders don't bother to read those essays. We've got this "transparency" thing going on - kind of like a back lot at a movie studio where building fronts are constructed to give you the illusion of a neighborhood - but the REAL work of the city is being done elsewhere, maybe at the glitzy bar at the Gulfstream or in that shabby little pub on Newport Boulevard. Behind the scenes deals are being made out of the view of the public, many of them to the personal benefit of one or two council members - ego boosters for those with an already over-inflated sense of self-worth.


The only way to repair the damage being done to this city is to vote the politic
al opportunists and egomaniacs out of office and return the governance of this city to the real residents - the folks who will dedicate themselves to the well-being of our city FIRST. We need to identify those folks who are willing to make a difference and encourage them to run in November, even though a campaign against the OC GOP machine will likely be a tough, nasty, expensive battle. And, in the meantime, we need to actively oppose the systematic dismantling of our city so there is something left by next Christmas.


I want to give you a big pep talk... you know, "Buck up! Things will be better next year." and all that kind of stuff. Sadly, I don't really see light at the end of this long, long dark tunnel. I just see more tunnel. All I can do is tell you to use this holiday season to surround yourselves with the people who love you and gain strength from that love. We're all going to need it in the months ahead.

In case you missed it, the Daily Pilot published another of my commentaries. It's online now and should be in print on Christmas Eve. You can read it now HERE.

We hear at A Bubbling Cauldron wish all of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. Here's a little something that will make you smile. We'll be back soon.

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Blogger Joe said...

And thank you Geoff!

12/23/2011 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

Geoff, you may want to check your thermometer... the simmer button doesn't seem to be working.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah

Oh,and Feliz Navidad to our little xenophobic buddy... Martin.

Eric, I hope your tree dies early and the lights don't work... we all know there are no balls hanging ANYWHERE in your house; so I can't wish for them to break.

Also, I hear Santa's got a lump of coal for all you little liars out there.

12/23/2011 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...


Now THAT'S funny! Your short comment brought belly laughs and firmly pushed my Reset button; I just may be able to make it through the next week+ with a happy attitude.

Goodonya, Mate, and thanks!

12/23/2011 08:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...


A great post! You gave a masterful recounting of the precipitous descent of our city to a little city of horrors from one of stability and caring libertarianism. And, more importantly, you perceptively tapped into the emotions and reactions of the people to this accelerating horror.

You've done such a good job, I could forward your post to distant friends and relatives and they would instantly comprehend the hell I've
been moaning about since the last election. But, in this season of peace and tranquility, I'll let them remain blissfully unaware.

On the other hand, it might be a good idea -- after the holidays, of course -- to broadcast this post to the world. The whole world should be reminded of the dangers of electing anyone who doesn't own a home in town, and whose M.O. has been to slavishly do the Party's bidding. Which brings to mind a verse of Sir Joseph's ditty in H.M.S. Pinafore:

I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

Come to think of it, one, or two, or three can even own a home in town and still vote at his party's call.

So how can we protect ourselves in the future?

12/23/2011 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is to......

Stop the 19th st bridge from ruining the Westside
Stop Target from ruining Halecrest
Stop the theft of TeWinkle Sports Park( Mesa del Mar)
Stop the Variance code violations in Mesa Verde
Stop the "one man cut and paste" Charter from ruining the entire city...
Stop the layoffs.....

Naughty know who they are.....

Merry Christmas everyone......y Prospero Ano Nuevo.

12/24/2011 08:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry said...

Hmmm. Balanced budget. Stop to draining our receives. Acknowledgment of out of control pension obligation. Taking City back for residents from unions. I'd say this has been a good start for Costa Mesa. Look forward to fighting to keep it for residents that way in 2012. Happy New Year!

12/26/2011 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

"Stop to draining our receives"? Lay off the holiday liquid refreshment before posting, please.

12/26/2011 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Mic Check.........................................................................................just seeing if the blogs a'workin......

12/26/2011 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Oh, yeah... the blog's working - I'm not! It's a holiday!

12/26/2011 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous X said...

of course gericault is a mic check fan.. intolerance and rudeness

12/27/2011 06:26:00 AM  
Anonymous New Style said...

X said...
of course gericault is a mic check fan.. intolerance and rudeness

Yea- Chest-bumping and fake badges are the only proper behaviors in modern day Costa Mesa.

12/27/2011 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous All I Want said...

Hey Gericault -

All I want is for you to buy a house in Costa Mesa. Something tells me that's never going to happen. Big mouths should have big houses. Right?

12/27/2011 11:15:00 PM  
Anonymous New Style said...

All I Want said...
Hey Gericault -
All I want is for you to buy a house in Costa Mesa. Something tells me that's never going to happen. Big mouths should have big houses. Right?

Wrong. Big mouths like Gericault have a right to speak out against idiots regardless of whether they own real estate.

I'd like you ("All I Want") to buy a house in North Korea or Iran where your methods are acceptable. In the USA they just don't fly.

12/28/2011 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

Eloquent as usual, Tom Egan perfectly described this post as a masterful recount of the precipitous descent of our city over the last year. I took Geoff’s advice and did try to have a Merry Christmas, and you know what, it was great. Not long ago we saw a commentary in the Daily Pilot from a resident who said if he had known what Jim really stood for he would not have voted for him. I've heard from many others who feel the same way, but this was the first who was willing to proclaim it publicly loud and clear. I got a belly laugh from OC Longhair's comment; it's a classic. Gericault's mic........ check was clever, as he usually is. I'm glad Geoff is kickin back and chillin out; he's provided some incredible public service all year. Joe said it first. I'll say it again: Thank you Geoff! You are a very tolerant host; free speech is obviously a threat to the blogs who support the council majority. And the poor dear shill is getting shriller, another good sign.

Happy New Year to our blog community, even X with his strange nonsequiturs and our MPD shill. Although I know the people of Costa Mesa are more intelligent than you two think we are, and I expect utter failure of your plans, I extend a year end greeting to you in goodwill because whether you like us or not you are part of those who populate this blog and keep the comment lively and entertaining.

12/28/2011 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Not Surprised said...

I am confused here. The County of Orange Assessor's office shows that the Ridge's own a house on the Westside off Victoria. Is there two different places at the County to research property ownership in Orange County? Not that it matters one way or another.

12/29/2011 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous It doesn't matter, unless... said...

Not Surprised, it shouldn't matter who owns what. But what matters is when poltical hacks try to influence public opinion by employing the cynical philosphy that if you repeat a lie often enough the public will start to believe it. It's a tactic often used by the gang of four and their groupies. Why they think it will help their cause to claim Greg Ridge doesn't own a home in town mystifies me.

The truth about property ownership can be verified easily enough. Orange County records show that the Ridges own a Westside house. Records show a very strange arrangement for Jim Righeimer's house, unclear whether he has a real property interest in Costa Mesa or not. He does not have title to the house he lives in, the buyer (unidentified) will not obtain title until the final payment on the installment contract is made.

12/29/2011 11:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Nice Try Greg said...

There is only one place to look for property ownership. It is the County Assessor's Office. Their records CLEARLY show that Greg Ridge owns no property on the Westside, or in Orange County.

Not Surprised, ... perhaps you need new glasses.

12/29/2011 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

You know, y'all can keep punting this "home ownership" ball back and forth if you wish, but I'm trying to figure out the relevance to ANYTHING going on in Costa Mesa. Approximately 60% of Costa Mesa residents rent. Several council members have been renters, including Allan Mansoor and the infamous Chris Steel, who rented a room in town somewhere.

Whether Righeimer owns property in our city or not doesn't change the fact that he's a carpetbagging political opportunist trying to find a foothold in our city to launch himself to higher office.

Whether Greg Ridge owns his home or not doesn't change the fact that he's a concerned resident, ready, willing and able to speak out on issues about which he feels passionate.

12/30/2011 12:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Nice Try Greg said...

Jim Righeimer definitely owns his home in Costa Mesa. He has what's known as a Grant Deed. It doesn't get any better than that.

Greg Ridge, on the other hand, neither owns a home in Costa Mesa, nor does he pay rent. Therefore, what right does he have to constantly complain about Costa Mesa governance? He pays no property taxes, nor rent to cover same, yet he's the #1 complainer about everything that goes on in Costa Mesa.

Constant whining about Costa Mesa's governance only serves to reduce our property values. That's the relevance Geoff.

12/30/2011 01:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Nice try Greg....So in your world if I happen to be fortunate enough to have family or friends that allow me to live for free at their residence in CM, I am not allowed to voice an opinion on city issues? Property owners only? Humm, seems some pilgrims hundreds of years ago crossed the Atlantic specifically to get away from governance by a King and land owners only. Is that your better vision of the world? It says more about you and your side than it does about Ridge.

How do you view business owners who rent or lease space, but live in Irvine, Newport, Fullerton or wherever? Are they allowed a voice? Come on, I'm dying to hear a response.

12/30/2011 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Not Surprised said...

I actually went down to the County Assessor's office and did some research. The Ridge's do own a house on the Westside. I would put the address here, but I would not want to subject someone to harassment at his front door. Like I said it really does not matter one way or another.

12/30/2011 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous County Employee said...

Greg Ridge owns no property anywhere in Orange County. Lying about that fact won't make it so. All you clowns are doing is making a fool out of him (not that he doesn't do so himself on a regular basis).

There is no way you can defend Greg without further hurting him. He is what he is. Get over it.

Wyatt Earp, people who foot the bills in Costa Mesa are entitled to complain, not scavengers looking for free room and board. Grow up!

Not Surprised, I will be happy to post Greg's address if you don't wish to do so.

12/30/2011 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

County Employee, glad to know you only value those with property, etc. Again, it says more about you and your side than it does about Ridge or anyone else.

But, one little small detail still persists. Costa Mesa gets a cut of any sales tax revenue generated in the city. So, if Greg Ridge buys gas, beer, food or anything else in Costa Mesa, he is in fact "paying the bills". So your argument has just been shot dead in the water. Sorry to ruin your night so close to the new year.

Don't forget to tip your waitress.

12/30/2011 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous County Employee said...

In order to purchase gas, beer, food or anything else in Costa Mesa Wyatt, you must first have a job! Living on the public dole doesn't count, nor does sponging off your relatives.

Sorry about that, but I don't make the rules.

12/30/2011 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

County Employee, is that what you are insinuating about Ridge? Or or you just like all other Righeimer sycophants, you must destroy the messenger because you can't destroy you opponents message?

12/31/2011 07:52:00 AM  

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