Saturday, October 20, 2012

One More "M" To Reject

Over at the blog of Costa Mesa's racist laureate, the Neanderthal misogynist who operates it provides yet another reason to steer clear of anyone with a surname beginning with "M" this election season.  Yes, his surname begins with "M".  In a recent rant - his #16 dated, 10/20/12 - he spends a lot of time berating women who support the opponents of his favorites, the 3 M's.  He says, in part: "
Well, we think that many of the women who oppose the 3Ms just don't like MEN.  We further think that they then gravitate to sensitive (read unmanly) men."

Now, if that offends you I certainly don't recommend that you wade through the reports on black on white crime around the world to read the entirety of his pathetic entry.


If you follow the tone of his screed, ONLY women who choose to be dragged around by their hair by some clown carrying a club, wearing a saber-toothed tiger skin, are appropriate company for the 3 M's.  That's right, only women who hang out with "real men" are welcome in the 3M camp.  Don't believe me?  OK - but you've been warned - read his crap HERE.

After Jim Righeimer's despicable actions following the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group forum last Thursday evening where he berated several members of the organizing group - mostly women, by the way - in front of his young daughter, you get the idea that Mr. Neanderthal is probably right.  It seems that only submissive women are welcome around their campfire as they beat their chests and gnaw on raw meat, straight from the bone.  How very sad for our city that this throwback has even a few followers of his racist, misogynistic drivel.
I have confidence in the Costa Mesa electorate.  I know they don't buy the racist crap Mr. Neanderthal spews.  They don't buy his pathetic essays that have made him the darling of white supremacists around the world.  Former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, thinks he's a great writer - an endorsement Mr. Neanderthal proudly uses to market his books.  It does deeply sadden me, though, that some of the current council candidates seem to have embraced him and his literary putrefaction - going so far as to include him, briefly, on their list of endorsers.  There is some truth to the old saying, "You are known by the company you keep."


If you want a municipal governance swayed by Mr. Neanderthal's vile vitriol, by all means - vote for the M's.  If not, your choice is very simple - Vote For The Top 3 and No on V!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Tom Johnson Makes His Picks For Costa Mesa

For those of you who don't subscribe to the Orange County Register, or those of you who may have overlooked The Current in the Friday edition, tonight I'm going to provide a little help for you.

First, some history... Tom Johnson is the former publisher of the Daily Pilot - the competitor of the Orange County Register's The Current.  He left in a huff several years ago when the Daily Pilot's parent, The Los Angeles Times, and ITS parent, The Tribune Companies in Chicago, were going through some very tough financial times that resulted in bankruptcy of the Tribune.

Johnson and Bill Lobdell, currently the Director of Communications for the City of Costa Mesa who had worked for Johnson at the Daily Pilot, began a new venture - The Daily Voice,  an online-only newspaper.  That didn't go well, Lobdell left and Johnson folded his paper into what is now the Newport Beach Independent, which he ran for several months.  He then left that operation.  Around a year ago he made an agreement with the Register to run The Current, and did so for many months.  Then he left and is an occasional contributor - like the articles today.

Johnson, while at the Daily Pilot and ever since, has been deeply immersed in the Newport-Mesa community.  He's been on many boards and has been an extremely positive presence in our communities - a community leader in every sense of the word.  I say that because, even though he was very critical of me not too long ago, I still admire him and consider him a friend. Which leads us to his two articles in The Current today.

First, click HERE.  After a couple seconds necessary for some software to open you'll be taken to an e-version of The Current, the weekly supplement for Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.  On the front page you'll find Tom Johnson's article titled, "The Good, the Bad, the Ugly... Costa Mesa politics" - and boy, did he get that right!  Double-click on that title and you'll get a text file of the article, in which you'll find his picks for the three seats available for the Costa Mesa City Council on November 6th.

His first choice, Steve Mensinger, didn't really surprise me.  He's VERY tight with Mensinger through his association as a board member of Costa Mesa United.  It's amusing to me, though, that he says that Mensinger's "strength is being the "bull-in-china-shop."  I don't know about you, but that image - of uncontrolled chaos, mayhem and destruction of precious items - isn't really what I want in a person charged with the well-being of my city, although I concur with Johnson's assessment of Mensinger and his performance in city government since he was appointed to the City Council 22 months ago.  Still, Johnson's loyalty to Mensinger is not a surprise to me.

Johnson's second choice is Sandy Genis for her combination of experience and education.  I agree that Sandy should definitely be one of the three choices any of us make.

His third choice(s) will surprise practically everyone!  He made it a tie between John Stephens and Harold Weitzberg and suggests that the loser of those two spend some time on the Planning Commission before running again in two years.

The stunner - he shunned two of the three M's - Colin McCarthy and Gary Monahan.  I'm not going to paraphrase him here - read the article.

Back to the front page, down at the end of Tom's article there's a link that says "See POLITICS page 13".  Click on that and you'll be taken to his second article Friday, "Perspective of Costa Mesa council candidates on local issues", in which he provides position statements attributed to each of the major candidates for Costa Mesa City Council seats.  Double-click the title and read the text box that appears.  Very interesting stuff.

I encourage each of you to spend a few minutes reading Johnson's articles.  He's a man with deep professional and emotional roots in our area who has been deeply immersed in Newport-Mesa organizations and issues for decades.  You don't have to agree with his choices - I don't, in the case of Mensinger - but his opinion and reasons are valuable to us all.

Back on page 1 you'll also find Barbara Venezia's latest column, "For Measure V, pick your boogeyman".  Double-click the title to read the text of her article, which provides a summary of her recent Feet To The Fire Charter Debate between Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and former councilwoman Katrina Foley.  Good reading all around.  And, if you want to view the debate on streaming video it's available HERE.  You can also watch it on CMTV, Channel 24 (Time Warner Cable) or Channel 99 (ATT U-verse) on this schedule from now until November 6th:
(click image to enlarge)

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Eastside Candidate Forum A Success

The final Costa Mesa city council candidate forum held Thursday night at the Neighborhood Community Center was a big success.  More than 150 people attended for this final chance to see and hear those folks from whom they will select three to fill open council seats on November 6th.

Once again, my friends in the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group did themselves proud.  President Jeff McConville kicked things off, then passed the baton to Marnie Primmer, again the moderator for the evening.  She conducted the proceedings crisply, kept the candidates on schedule and actually managed to complete the questions and answer portion exactly on schedule.  That was an amazing feat when you consider that she asked the candidates 14 questions and they were given one or two minutes to answer each one, depending on the complexity of the question. 
Not all candidates answered every question.

Candidates Steve Mensinger, John Stephens, Al Melone, Sandy Genis, Colin McCarthy, Harold Weitzberg and Gary Monahan were given the opportunity to make opening statements, then fielded questions tossed to them in a random fashion.  They were also given two minutes to wrap up.  There was no time provided for candidates to rebut responses by others, although some sniping did take place.  Generally, though, the candidates conducted themselves with courtesy and respect for the others.  Read Bradley Zint's coverage in the Daily Pilot HERE.

Without going into great detail, questions on the following subjects were asked: (respondents listed below each)
Banning Ranch and the development agreement
    (Melone, Genis, Mensinger)
The Charter proposal
    (Monahan, Stephens)
Variances and development density
    (Melone, Weitzberg, McCarthy)
Recovery homes
    (Mensinger, McCarthy, Genis)
Appointment to committees and commissions
    (Stephens, Genis, Monahan)
Pension reform
    (McCarthy, Weitzberg)
The General Plan
    (Genis, Mensinger)
Noise abatement
    (Melone, Monahan, Stephens)
Civic Openness In Negotiations (COIN)
    (Weitzberg, Mensinger)
John Wayne Airport Expansion
    (Melone, McCarthy, Stephens)
Business License Fees
    (Stephens, Monahan)
Commercial Development vs. Residential rights
    (McCarthy, Genis)
Police staffing and safety
    (Melone, Weitzberg, Monahan)
Costa Mesa's Image and how to repair it
    (Mensinger, Weitzberg)

As you can see, there were questions that should be of interest to every resident, regardless where they live in the city, and a few that might have greater significance to those of us who actually live on the Eastside of Costa Mesa - specifically, the John Wayne Airport Expansion and Recovery Homes.

The crowd was respectful, attentive and enthusiastic, but was smaller and not as raucous as the crowd at the recent Feet To The Fire Charter debate.  Quite frankly, I suspect the folks who attended the forum last night learned some new information about the candidates as they handled the questions and introduced themselves.  It was my impression that most who attended thought it went well.  In my opinion, this forum was the best of the bunch again.  The hosts clearly spent a lot of times crafting the questions and working on the timing of the evening.

In my opinion, and acknowledging my own bias, I think each of the candidates except Al Melone came prepared to answer most of the questions.  Mr. Melone clearly has no clue about most important issues facing the city, nor does he have any answers for them.  While I understand that it was proper for him to be invited to attend, his presence took up valuable time from the other serious, and prepared, candidates.

Of the rest, I think Genis, Stephens and Weitzberg came off as being quite well-prepared.  Genis demonstrated her wealth of knowledge and experience about how city government works, including significant detail on some of the more important issues.  Stephens clearly had done his homework, too, because many of his answers were among the best.  Weitzberg was very comfortable on the dais, fielded the questions without hesitation and offered some creative solutions to the problems posed.

Monahan handled the questions the way you'd expect a man who had been on the council for nearly two decades to do.  He dodged any hint of responsibility for the problems "created by previous councils" as described by Mensinger at one time during the forum.  He sniped at newcomers, which was inappropriate and off-putting.  Mensinger came across as an affable guy with time management problems.  for example, he was tossed the question about COIN - which he acknowledged was a "softball" - then fumbled it and never did complete his explanation in the time allotted.  McCarthy has still not learned that body language on the dais means a lot.  When he was not actually participating in an answer he slouched and smirked at the answers of others.  Nothing the candidates said or did changed my previous opinions of them, nor will they affect the way I'll be casting my votes.

While not televised live, this forum will join the previous others in the rotation on CMTV, Channel 24 (Time Warner Cable) and Channel 99 (ATT U-verse) beginning Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:30 p.m. and October 24th at 5:30 p.m.  It will play at least once a day from that date through November 6th, election day.  It will also be available for viewing on streaming video at the city web site beginning Wednesday, October 24th.  As soon as the actual schedules are available I'll post a separate entry with the times and dates that each of the forums will be shown through November 6th and will include links for the streaming video for each.

I cannot close without reporting on something that happened after the forum program had been completed and the crowd was filing out.  Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer - in a display of inappropriate rudeness normally only seen on elementary school playgrounds - made his way to the front of the room with one of his daughters in tow, found McConville and Primmer, who had been fielding congratulations from others, and "read them the riot act"!  He tore into them for what he termed "biased questions" - and just went on and on - perhaps five minutes of vitriol.  I watched this drama unfold.  Later he sought out other members of the organizing team and berated them similarly.  Mensinger and his lapdog, Jim Fitzpatrick, also joined the chorus in that completely unacceptable belligerent behavior.  Unfortunately, this kind of behavior has become part of Righeimer's arsenal of attack tools and certainly demonstrates a certain level of desperation at this late date in the campaign.  It's just one more demonstration of how civility has been virtually eliminated from city government activities since this crew took over.  And they are asking you to perpetuate it....

So, now we have just over two weeks before the election during which you can expect your mail boxes to be jammed with campaign materials that contain falsehoods, misleading statements and flat-out lies.  And, you'll be seeing opposing views in the letters to the editor and commentaries in our local print media as they jockey to get the last word in before Election Day.  It's a real shame...

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Corona Del Mar Freeway (73) Closures

Just a reminder... the Corona Del Mar Freeway - State Route 73 - will experience some significant closures over the upcoming weekend.  I wrote about it earlier and included links to the CalTrans press release and maps of possible alternate routes during this time HERE.

An interesting sidebar - both Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and appointed councilman Steve Mensinger were all over the media complaining about these closures.  Then, Tuesday evening during the council meeting, Righeimer backpeddled like he was being chased like a bear.  I guess he realized that California has plenty of problems with runaway business and film production.  It's our understanding that CalTrans will get about $300,000 for this inconvenience of the driving public.

So, go to my previous entry and click on the link I provided to see the maps.  Consider yourselves warned.  It looks like a great weekend to just hunker down or head on down to the beach.

Peter Naghavi Announces His Retirement

Peter Naghavi, Costa Mesa's Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Economic and Development Director, today announced his intention to retire from his lifetime of public service as of December 4, 2012.

Peter began his career in Costa Mesa in 1990 as the city's Transportation Manager, where he served the community for seventeen years.  He then was promoted to Director of Public Services, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Director of Economic Development and eventually to his current position.

Those who have worked with Peter over more than two decades in Costa Mesa have found him to be a thorough professional, dedicated to finding creative solutions to problems and to developing and motivating staff members to achieve the best results.

Those of us within the community who have had the opportunity to interact with Peter have found him to be an outstanding public servant, always eager to understand the issues facing us and prompt to respond with solutions.

Peter notified the City Staff with the letter below.  He also sent one to his friends within the community that contained similar sentiments.

His friends - I include myself in that group - wish him the best in the future.  He's spoken of European travel, consulting and just sleeping in past 6 a.m. for a change.

Good luck, Peter.  Your wisdom, dedication and friendship will be missed.


Dear friends:
With deep emotion and after significant personal debate, I have decided to retire from my position as the Economic and Development Director/Deputy CEO with the City effective Tuesday Dec. 4.2012.
Costa Mesa City staff have been more than just fellow employees to me. You are my friends and my family that I saw, talked to, and worked with, every day for more than 22 years.

I consider this organization a great place to work. Its employees are committed and experienced, with a high level of quality and energy across every department. Costa Mesa residents are fortunate to have you. They know what you do, and appreciate your quality service. I am happy for the opportunity to be one of you, and part of this very professional city employee community.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank every one of you in all departments, especially my former staff at Public Services Department as well as my current staff at the Development Services Department for your support, hard work, loyalty, and friendship. You are one hell of a team.

I bid farewell to all, and wish every one of you the very best in your personal as well as professional life.

Remember, it is not just today that is important. It is your integrity, character, and professionalism that will define your journey in life

I hope we will keep in touch and will always be friends.

Your friend
Peter Naghavi, Deputy CEO
Economic and Development Director
City of Costa Mesa, CA


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Final Candidate Forum Thursday

Just a little reminder for you all.  Tomorrow, Thursday, my friends at the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group will host the final City Council candidate forum at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue (Lions Park).  Doors open at 6:30 for a little meet and greet opportunity. The formal program will run from 7:00 - 8:30.  As you can see from the flier below, the League of Women Voters will be present to provide an opportunity to register to vote.  Monday is the final day for that action.

(click on image to enlarge)
So, please join your neighbors and me at what should be an excellent event and your final chance to see the candidates for the three seats available on our City Council together, answering important questions that should give you a good idea of how our city will be governed after November 6th.  See you all there.

Just cast your votes for the "Top 3" on the ballot, then slide on down and vote NO on V!

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Righeimer Faces Recall!

Just when you thought it might turn out to be a nice, quiet little Costa Mesa City Council meeting, up pops a major story so quickly you can scarcely believe your eyes and ears.

At the meeting Tuesday night about half-way through the Public Comments section near the beginning of the meeting, former City Council candidate Chris McEvoy stepped to the speaker's podium, asked that a document be handed to Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer.  Once he was sure Righeimer had the single sheet of paper in his hands McEvoy - a high school math teacher - read his copy of it.  The title of the document is "Notice of Intention To Circulate Recall Petition" and with the delivery to Righeimer he is officially notified that McEvoy intends to gather signatures on petitions to recall him for his role in approving the now-withdrawn agreement with the proposed developers of Banning Ranch.  Although all four men on the council voted to approve the agreement, only Righeimer is eligible to be recalled.  McEvoy has not yet responded to my note requesting clarification of his action.

I kind of knew this might be an unusual meeting when Righeimer and councilwoman Wendy Leece got into a heated exchange as they left the dais for the closed session meeting that preceded the regular meeting.  We later found out what that was all about.

Several speakers addressed the destruction and/or theft of campaign signs - a serious problem this time around.  All decried the actions and called for everyone to stop this vandalism.  That prompted council members Mensinger and Monahan to also complain about the expense of sign theft and damage. 

During council member comments Mensinger, in addition to complaining about sign damage and theft - he said it has to stop because it's a freedom of speech issue. He complained about speakers before the council characterizing members of the council as corrupt - an act he described as "demented".  He complained that his teenage sons might hear it and basically made what amounted to a campaign speech.  He described the campaign as "A battle between the reasonable and the unreasonable.

Mayor Eric Bever told us he's continuing the fight for Alternative #2 on the proposed I-405 widening that will be considered on October 22nd by the full Orange County Transportation Authority Board.  He also complained about campaign mail and requested CEO Tom Hatch to look into a problem about a patriotic banner rejected at the Senior Center.  During a mini-rant about criticism of the council he actually used the phrase, "neener, neener, neener".  Ever the infant...

He then told us that he didn't want the soup kitchen to be closed - a lie, because that's exactly what he said at the last meeting - but that he wanted CEO Hatch to investigate it and SOS as nuisance businesses under that definition in the municipal code.  He complained that their presence adversely affected their neighbors.  He referred to his bible, which apparently doesn't say  "it's OK to do a good deed and screw-over your neighbors."  Ever the class act.

Righeimer began by raving about the Feet To The Fire Forum the previous night, then launched off into a dissertation on campaign mailers.  He produced several items that he said were produced by "outside" entities - unions and other groups from outside the city.  He decried the influence of outside entities, but conveniently forgot to mention the role his pals at the OC GOP have in this campaign.  For example, they produced this hit piece on Sandra Genis that ended up in my mailbox this week that violates Ronald Reagan's  so-called 11th commandment - "
"Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."
(click to enlarge)

It was during this segment that he said, "Remember when the Orange County Fire Authority came and tried to take over our fire department."  Of course, that's a lie.  The OCFA was invited in by our firefighters association to provide an assessment of the organization as a way to find ways to improve operations and save money.  The council had to approve that move because it involved an agreement of shared cost for the investigation.  That's just another example of Righeimer's selective memory.

Then the stuff really hit the fan as Righeimer began to discuss a "letter" that Leece had "sent" that "accused some council members of corruption".  It turns out that this was what caused the heated discussion earlier in the evening between those two.  Leece argued that it was inappropriate conversation, particularly since nobody had a copy of the letter.  Bever rebuffed her complaint and then permitted Righeimer to read the entire message - the word "corruption" was never mentioned.  When he finished the audience applauded at the content.

Righeimer, Bever and Leece got into a discussion of her allegation of Brown Act violations and they went round and round, with Bever complaining that she shouldn't say things she couldn't prove - improprieties by the "two-man committees" that came up with the outsourcing scheme.  Eventually, stand-in City Attorney Christian Bettenhausen said she could say anything she wanted because it was protected as free speech.

When it came time for Leece to speak she covered a wide range of issues, including an acknowledgment of the passing of Bobbi Hedrick, long time volunteer at the CMPD.  When she discussed the letter Righeimer had read she said she wasn't talking about corruption, she was concerned about the integrity of some council members.  At that point Bever lost it and interrupted her presentation, shut her off and told her to "Rein it in, will ya?"  Another quote for the Bever archives of boneheaded statements.

During the Consent Calendar retired city employee Perry Valantine pulled one of the Warrants to discuss payments to various employee organizations as a tool to demonstrate the inadvisability of one segment of Jim Righeimer's Charter - the one that prohibited the city from deducting funds from employees to be used for political purposes.  He demonstrated the folly of such a rule.

Leece pulled the item about hiring two more code enforcement officers and got a lengthy explanation from staff  It was during this lengthy discussion that Bever, again, lost control of himself and demanded that Leece stop "beating up Lobdell".  Leece had used him as an example of poor hiring timing.  When Leece attempted to explain Bever said, "I don't want to have a discussion," and just shut her off again!  Ever the class act.  The council approved the item.

Because the council had earlier decided to abandon the meeting scheduled for November 6th - election day - the next meeting will be held on November 20th.  That will likely be the meeting when we know, for sure, the results of the elections and have certified results from the Registrar of Voters.  The following meeting, on December 6th, will be the final one of the year - when the winners in the council race are seated.  So, we have a month off.

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