Saturday, April 07, 2012

Leslie Daigle's Tough Night

It's been more than 30 hours since I posted my sleep-deprived report on the recent Feet To The Fire Forum last Thursday evening at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center. If you really want to, you can read it again HERE.

The local print and online media did a good job of covering the event and provided us with several different versions of what actually happened that night. Mine was only my take on it. Here are some links to some of the stories for your reading pleasure and further edification.

  • Joe Serna's Daily Pilot account of the evening HERE.
  • Nick Gerda's story in the Voice of OC HERE.
  • Sara Hall's coverage in the Newport Beach Independent HERE.
  • Ron Winship's opinion in the Orange Juice Blog HERE.
  • Barbara Venezia's Orange County Register first-person report HERE.

In my view, the big story of the evening was the poor performance by Newport Beach councilwoman Leslie Daigle. She was clearly the most tense person on the dais right from the beginning. I had high hopes for her in her battle to win the primary election against Allan Mansoor because he makes such an easy target. He brings to the race a record of virtually NO accomplishment during his term in Sacramento representing a different district and also lugs with him the baggage of his 8 years on the Costa Mesa City Council. It should have been easy pickin's for Daigle, but it wasn't.

I knew that there was the potential for fireworks because Daigle has a "history" with a couple of the interrogators - hostess and moderator Barbara Venezia and new Daily Pilot "conservative" columnist Jack Wu. Venezia ran against Daigle for a seat on the Newport Beach City Council several years ago and that race turned nasty when Daigle's camp decided to go after the business her husband had recently sold to his employees. Rather than subject those folks to the unpleasantness Venezia dropped out of the race. That wound, while old, still festers a little.

Wu has been critical of Daigle quite recently in his Daily Pilot column, HERE, and, earlier, as a columnist for the Newport Beach Independent. I expected friction - and Daigle should have as well. Knowing that potential was there, she should have been better prepared to deal with it - but she wasn't. Wu did go after her but Venezia did not.

I said in my report that I felt Daigle finished third that night. In my view, newcomer Bob Rush - a freshly-minted Democrat - handled himself the best, appeared to be the least uncomfortable and gave good, crisp answers. Mansoor, in my view, came in second - but well ahead of Daigle.

Quite frankly, I was disappointed with the results. I was hoping for Daigle to make a good showing. She didn't, and I'm beginning to understand why.


Immediately after the meeting - within a couple hours - she sent me a short Facebook note wondering what I thought of the forum. I didn't see it until several hours later because I was working in the wee hours of Friday morning trying to get my post published. When I finally did see her message I simply replied with a link to what I wrote.

Later she replied with this message: "One of the journalists told me about the kool-aid you have now clearly drank.", which was a curious response to a guy she'd been courting for support for several months.

A couple hours later, when I finally woke up, I saw that comment and replied to her with this observation: "Really? You're blaming ME for last night? I sat, watched and listened like everyone else and I was far from alone in the view that, if scored on performance, you would have finished third. In my opinion, if you're going to be on the ballot in November you're going to have to really pick up your game." That's what I thought then, and still do now.

A few hours later she replied with this: "It was low turnout. People perceive the forum as the jerry springer show." And, since I didn't reply immediately to that one, four hours later - in the middle of the night - she sent this message to me: "The promoter lost credibility....invites participates to be interviewed by journalists then tries to spice it up with a discredited opinion columnist ("not a journalist")... its leaked the theme is make bob rush look viable...embarrassingly low turnout.... forum is jerry springer cuz' the format is a joke...promoter is syncophant GW a pre-packaged storyline.. promoter does a wicked rant which is viewed as she harbors bitterness."

Around noon Friday I sent her this message: "Leslie, did you actually read those last two entries before you posted them? I thought 150 people was a pretty good turnout for this race. Most of the folks I spoke with who attended liked the spirited discussions. Yes, they ganged up on you, but YOU made that possible with your evasive answers and poor preparation.

NOBODY gave me any kind of a storyline, pre-packaged or otherwise. I came, sat, watched, listened and wrote my views of the night. Quite frankly, I was VERY disappointed that you didn't do better against Manso
or - he's an easy target.

I was ready a
nd eager to support your candidacy and, even after the forum, still had hope that you could elevate your game. However, this exchange here on Facebook has changed my mind. If this is your typical reaction when faced with adversity, then you're really not the kind of person I want to see in Sacramento. "

This morning she sent the following message to me: "The few people who attended have created the buzz that few people attended (the room was half empty chairs). The forum crashed this year because of its poor format and the inclusion of non pro journalists."

I saw it and fired this one back to her: "Leslie, before you ever contacted me I'd heard mutterings about your "style", but I was more than willing to listen to you and, as you know, have treated your contacts with respect and decorum. I WANTED you to be a good, strong candidate to replace Mansoor. Sadly, this episode has affirmed those things I'd heard about you.

You blame your poor performance on sparse attendance. It wasn't sparse and it wouldn't have made any difference. You would have bombed whether the room was packed to the rafters or was empty - it wasn't the room, it was YOU!

I acknowle
dge that you had folks up on the stage with you who arrived that night with preconceptions about you. That's life, kiddo. Knowing the players, you should have been even BETTER prepared for the questions. You were NOT.

I don't know what to expect at the next forum, but I'm planning to be there. I hope you do better with pre-packaged questions to which you can read answers.

Stop blaming everyone and everything except yourself for your miserable performanc
e. "

A couple minutes ago - early afternoon Saturday, she sent me this final comment. As you can see, it's only an echo of what she said before. "Geoff, you have been cordial towards me. You are hyping a forum that wasn't professionally conducted. Attendance was low because people perceive it to be Jerry Springer-like. That happens when you have opinion columnists on stage instead of pro journalists. Then a promoter who lashes out at candidates for talking too long but has no set rules on time allowance. Geez."


That's where we stand at this point and, under the circumstances, I doubt I'll hear much more from her. And, you're probably wondering why I gave you the text, verbatim. I could have just paraphrased our exchange for brevity, but I thought the tone of her messages - and mine, too, for that matter - was important. Clearly, she's not facing the reality that it was HER bad performance Thursday night - not the venue, the interrogators or the crowd - that caused her to have such a poor showing. It's REALLY going to take some convincing for me to support her candidacy now.

Quite frankly, this leaves me with a dilemma. I know I'm not going to vote for Allan Mansoor. I know too much about him as a council member in Costa Mesa and his track record in Sacramento is one of abject failure.

So, I'm going to get to know Bob Rush a little better and see how that goes. He may have been right on target with his response to a question Tom Johnson posed to the panel, asking what it will take to get effective representation for the 74th Assembly District in Sacramento. Rush blurted out, "Elect a Democrat". As a life-long Republican - I've been voting for a half-century - I can't remember EVER voting for a Democrat in a partisan race. Today I find myself wondering if a moderate Democrat, working with the Democrat majority in the Assembly, might not provide our district with more effective representation than sending a lock-step lemming, hard-line, ineffective Republican back up there.

In fact, because ANY Republican representing the 74th Assembly District will be fighting an uphill battle dealing with the overwhelming Democrat majority, maybe it's not such a bad idea to have an incompetent but malleable Republican sitting up there. I mean, why waste a "good Republican" in that seat? Our recent history shows that they are hard enough to find in the first place. In fact, now that I think about it a little more, maybe that's what Scott Baugh and his cronies in the OC GOP had in mind when they supported Mansoor for his current Assembly seat and are supporting him for this one.

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Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


I am putting on my Carnac the Magnificent hat and I see a nasty gram in your future...


4/07/2012 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

"A" nastygram? Likely more than one, my friend. ;-) Reaping what we sow...

4/07/2012 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike M said...

Wow, what thin skin... she's got no chance, and doesn't strike me as worthy anyway. Then again, I'd say the same of Mansewer.

You know what they say about excuses - I won't lay it out, but she's full of them.

4/07/2012 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

With age often comes maturity. The fact that, even after 50 years, you would consider voting for a Democrat, tells me there is always hope... :)

4/07/2012 04:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Rush is the only candidate to have actually succeeded in getting things accomplished (stopping the drug rehab proliferation)despite not even being elected to a political office. Mansoor's biggest claim to fame after a career in politics is the destruction of Costa Mesa's finances and a bill in the state that never got passed.

4/07/2012 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Really? said...

Another self centered politician with an ego bigger than the moon.

Daigle lost.

Thanks for the info, Geoff.

4/08/2012 07:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Poems by Wendy said...

Yes, I can now see why our Wendy endorsed Daigle.

4-1 Leece has a thing for the wacko underdog

Think about all the others Weathetvane Wendy associates with, affiliates with, "listens" to.

Daigle is a friend of the Unions, so OS our Wendy.

Maybe our Wendy can teach Daigle how to screw up poems on the dias.

4/08/2012 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

Pot Stirrer:

I know a politician should assume everything out of his/her mouth or keyboard may end up on the front page of the newspaper and, nowadays, blog, so you didn’t necessarily need to get Ms. Daigle’s permission to publish her communications to you. Especially since she knew you are a reporter for your blog.

I do hope you got permission to quote her, though.

My habit is to never forward, or otherwise quote, something that anyone has sent to me without getting their permission. I got stung once by someone who forwarded without my knowledge or permission, and ever since I’ve tried to respect the implied confidences in such communications. To me, it’s like recording phone conversations … illegal in America without permission.

This sort of thing incentivizes politicians to be opaque and reveal as little as possible, something just the opposite of what we citizens want.

Which brings me back to what Daigle and Mansoor said (and didn’t say) at the Forum. It was clear to me that they are practiced in the art of safely speaking in public. That is what was so frustrating to the audience. But I understand the legitimate place they are coming from: self preservation.

4/08/2012 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Just Sayin said...

Point of clarification for Tom. You CAN record a phone conversation if you have permission for EITHER party including yourself....just sayin...

4/08/2012 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Tom Egan,
She's a long-time politician communicating with a guy who reports on politicians and there was no assumption that our communication was "off the record".

As I said, I could have paraphrased her in the interest of brevity - something you and I have not mastered yet - but felt the actual text provided insight into her - and to me, too.

If that was a mistake, well, today we celebrate the last guy who didn't make one... so be it.

4/08/2012 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seem to remember her getting very angry at being told not to run on the CDM campus on weekdays, am I mistaken could be. She looks awfully unhappy in the pics.

4/08/2012 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

To "Just Sayin"

If it's true that the law supports the assertion "You CAN record a phone conversation if you have permission for EITHER party including yourself ..." then it's a meaningless law, because the person recording will always have given himself permission. Seems to me that if he hadn't given himself permission, he wouldn't be making the recording.

4/08/2012 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Robert C. Hawkins said...

Of course, Tom is right. Penal Code section 632 requires consent of all parties to telephone conversation and creates civil liability in the amount of $5,000 for each incident or three times actual damages whichever is greater.

4/08/2012 05:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Join the Lunatics said...

Hawkins should move to Costa Mesa. He would fit right in with all the lunatics here.

Hawkins could even help Katrina Foley sue the City.

Hawkins ianal fish out of water in Newport Beach.

Hawkins could be on stage for the Jerry Springer show in Costa Mesa.

4/09/2012 08:54:00 AM  
Anonymous MSC Esq. said...

Hawkins, that section only relates to a "person" (because under the definition of the section, a person can be a group, company, LLC etc) who is acting on behalf of the government or entity of the government.

A private party can surreptitiously record another person or people, if they are a party to the communication. The only party that needs to be aware is the person doing the recording.

Remember, that as a general rule, Constitutional rights are protections against the government for the people. They are not protections against private parties, so long as the person is not acting as an agent of the government.

4/09/2012 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

It seems some may be a little off track on this. The quotations are NOT the result of telephonic communications - they are exact copies of WRITTEN communications between Leslie Daigle and me. Different rules...

4/09/2012 12:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike O'Reilly said...

As Mr. Dooley said, "Politics ain't beanbag." I was shocked some years ago when Ms. Daigle not only threw her weight around with a middle-school groundskeeper but also revealed herself as the blustering, racist bully she is. I was further shocked that her constituency didn't seem to care. I no longer live in Newport nor in the assembly district, but will observe nonetheless that she's obviously unfit for higher office. Any office, actually. Your own dilemma reminds me of my old dad, an Eisenhower Republican, who confessed to me, many years after the fact, that he'd voted for Kennedy in 1960. "Dick Nixon?," he said. "The best we could do was Dick Nixon?" He said the same about Goldwater in 1964, and voted the straight Democratic ticket thereafter. Enough, apparently, was enough. Had he lived to see the sad state of Republican politics in Orange County -- one swinish, demogogic momser after another running his beloved GOP -- I suspect he'd have switched parties publicly.

4/09/2012 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Who's this Jerry Springer guy Daigle keeps prattling about?? I keep hearin' the name, but never see him.

Daigle came down on the side of the 19th street bridge, privately, to me at the meeting with the lynch mob in Huntington Beach. Mansoor can't get his foot in his mouth because he's so busy chewing on his necktie; Daigle spends half her time putting her foot in her mouth, and the other half trying to get it out.

You called it, Geoff. In my opinion, Rush belongs in the Party-of-Lincoln column, regardless of what letter he puts after his name.

Tough for Daigle...

4/09/2012 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Robert C. Hawkins said...

I think you are looking at the admission of evidence in criminal cases. Very interesting. However, Penal Code section 632 prohibits such recordings. Good luck with that though. Let's talk soon. Please record me and don't tell me.

4/09/2012 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Smith said...

Daigle appears to be suffering some sort of emotional meltdown and obviously has an anger issue. Given that her fellow NB city council members who know here best do not support her shows she should not be elected to the state assembly. Coupled with her being backed by the unions and wanting her to win is very troubling since we need someone to fix the state union pension problem. That leaves us with Mansoor on the Republican ticket, a bumbling bureacrat with no business education or experience who basically bankrupted the city of Costa Mesa. I never thought I would be voting Democrat but have to say I was impressed with Robert Rush's willingness to answer questions, state his position on controversial issues, and provide a fresh perspective on how to fix California.

4/10/2012 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous K.S. said...

After just watching the Feet to the Fire event online and reading her email exchanges with you, Ms. Daigle needs to not only buy a sense of humor and develop a thicker skin, but find her likeability strengths and play them up if she has the courage to come back. I'm sure these strengths are in there somewhere, covered up by mountains of societal debris telling her who she needs to be in the world. In today's society we demand transparency and honesty because the truth is simply a click away. If Ms. Daigle is for gay marriage and a woman's right to choose, she should simply say so. Authenticity is respected across all ideologies whether someone agrees with you or not. The message she is sending by blantantly playing both sides of the street in answering questions sends the message that she doesn't stand for anything except herself. Be authentic Ms. Daigle and you will connect with your audience. Based on your current and past communication style, you seem like you are hiding something and are a very unhappy soul. For God's sake sake smile once in a while and pay someone a compliment for starters. Come out of the closet with your true position on key issues and stand for something. No one knows who you are because you won't let us see behind the stone wall.

5/21/2012 09:32:00 AM  

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