Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Bittersweet Morning At City Hall

This morning more than 100 family, co-workers and friends (that may be redundant) gathered in the City Council Chambers at City Hall for the "passing of the badge" ceremony for retiring legendary School Resource Officer, Jess Gilman.  I'm sure the event turned out to be everything Jess hoped for and more.

Police Chief Tom Gazsi, shown here with former Chief Dave Snowden, was the master of ceremonies and recounted Jess' long and illustrious career.  He became a police officer in Baldwin Park - hired by then-chief Snowden.  When Snowden moved to Costa Mesa Jess followed him to our city, where he served in a variety of policing roles.  His biggest impact, though, has been the last thirteen years as a School Resource Officer.

In addition to Gazsi honoring Gilman, City CEO Tom Hatch, Newport Mesa Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Fred Navarro, Estancia High School Principal Kirk Bauermeister and the aforementioned Snowden also spoke in glowing terms about Jess' impact on our community.

In addition to the speakers a short, very funny, slide show was presented to the audience that covered his career from beginning to the end.

I'm sure I'll miss someone, but among the dignitaries attending the ceremony were retired City Manager, Allan Roeder - looking like retirement agrees with him - School District Trustees Katrina Foley, Dave Brooks and Walt Davenport, Chamber of Commerce honcho Ed Fawcett and many of Jess' Costa Mesa Police Department co-workers.  I also met several people who had worked with Jess before his tour in Costa Mesa.  Clearly, he's a man with many friends.

As the speakers and Jess recounted stories I noticed many in the audience dabbing their eyes with tissue... it was a very emotional morning.  For me, the most moving part was when Jess - near the end of his speech - looked down at his children sitting in the front row and apologized to them for not being with them as much as he and they would have liked as they were growing up.  I know the toll being a police officer can take on families, so his remarks really hit home for me.  I hope Jess finds a way to make up for that lost time now.

So, congratulations to my friend, Jess Gilman, on his retirement and thanks to him for his service to our community.  We at A Bubbling Cauldron wish him and his family all the best in the future.  Due to staffing constraints - the current City Council still refuses to permit Chief Gazsi to fill vacancies - there are no plans to replace Gilman as a School Resource Officer.  The impact of THAT decision will be felt for at least a decade if not remedied soon.



In an unfortunate and mean-spirited usurpation of the Gilman ceremony, Jim Fitzpatrick - unemployed president of the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association, the OC GOP shill organization - held a press conference only a few yards away from council chambers at the same time.  I did not attend his gloat-fest, so I don't know first-hand what he said to the one or two members of the press who attended.  We must assume he chose to, once again, identify the person caught on tape damaging campaign signs last weekend.

I do know, however, that he flagrantly violated the rules by displaying campaign signs on city property - again.  And, once again, he had to be chastised for it.  This time Hatch did a wind-sprint from his office on the 5th floor of City Hall to Fitzpatrick's location to remind him of the prohibition.  I watched from the Council Chambers porch as he begrudgingly removed the signs - and I smiled.

In an unfortunate bit of irony, members of the Costa Mesa Police Department - including Jess Gilman -  were forced to walk directly past Fitzpatrick and his new lackey, Kent Mora - the temporarily presumed plagiarist - who joined Fitzpatrick at his farce/press conference.  I can only imagine the thoughts going through their minds as they passed that location.  I suspect they might not be suitable for publication here. 

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Blogger kwahlf said...

We all wish Jess Gilman a very happy retirement!
He has been an outstanding SRO and role model to our students.
Jess is a good man of integrity, honor and dedication.
Jess, you will be missed by many!
Thank you for your many years of service to our city, our community and our students.

10/25/2012 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

You know, this guy hasn't been arrested yet, or if he has, its been within the last hour. To make his name public by these clowns is a violation. I hope that guy has a good attorney, because Mensinger and Fitzpatrick could have stepped in it big time.

10/25/2012 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Sam Grady said...

I am curious why the employee is on administrative leave? He was acting as a private citizen and not at work when he damaged the signs. It looks like the City is appeasing the boys on the City Council with putting him on administrative leave and doing an investigation. Has he violated a work policy that we are unaware of?

10/25/2012 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Pro Shop said...

Riggy and his Newport buddies party and make money down at Fashion Island while underemployed servants Mora and Fitzy read their scripts and kowtow.

10/25/2012 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Eva Marin said...

Congratulations Officer Gilman!! Enjoy your retirement! You were indeed a great role model. Thank you.

10/25/2012 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Is Estancia getting another SRO?.....I was told today that they weren't,.. due to cutbacks.

I won't say who told me.......but I wish him the BEST!!!!

10/25/2012 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

That's my understanding, too. Not enough manpower to cover all the field requirements. Ask Mensinger and Righeimer about it... it was their idea to reduce the staffing.

10/25/2012 08:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Opportunity said...

Fitzy's incompetent even as a political hack.

He calls a press conference and the press ends up quoting his opposition (Leffler) more than him!

Hey Shrek- Here's a way you can actually earn money yourself, without licking boots or sending a woman off to work:

Promote various products by making believe you work for their competitor! As soon as you talk up "your" product, its competitor gets better publicity and exposure, and pays you fees in return. Example: If Chevy is your true client, you would go on TV and talk about how great Fords are. Chevy sales will immediately increase!

10/25/2012 10:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

I watched Estancia turn around from a budding hot-bed of gang encroachment in the late 80's early 90's to a school where kids felt safe and could thrive. One of the neighborhood kids in that bad period was part of a gang that stabbed another student 57 times with a screwdriver. Some of those kids who got in serious trouble were from affluent families. It's Jess Gilman and the few others like him who have the right touch with the kids, they turned that school and many kids around.

Message to the incumbents: it is the people you attract to your city –people like Jess Gilman- who could get to the local kids and make them want to choose a different way. How are we going to attract that quality of Police officer now?

I am chilled to think we won't have SRO's because the priorities of the past City council did not include essential building blocks to maintain a safe community from the ground up.

10/26/2012 03:28:00 AM  
Anonymous unionlabel said...

it was a city employee? haha lol. union thug. bye bye sir.

10/26/2012 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Opportunity: I know, isn't that funny? I guess the press could tell where the real intelligence was. *HA*

10/26/2012 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Was Fitzy wearing a suit coat with his farmer jeans and tennis shoes? Absolutely no class.

10/26/2012 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous A table of signs said...

"Excuse me Mr. Fitzpatrick, what the hell do you think you're doing putting those signs up here at City Hall?"-Hatch

"It's OK, I'm friends with you rboss, you know, the almighty Riggy"-Fitzy

"You are truly an idiot, now get those crappy 3 M signs out of here"-Hatch

10/28/2012 09:59:00 AM  

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