Friday, December 07, 2012

Never Forget...

 (Attack on Pearl Harbor)
Today, December 7, 2012, marks the 71st anniversary of the attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on Pearl Harbor that launched us into World War II.
 (Buchenwald Concentration Camp)
I've written about this many times, including last year, HERE, where I provided links to other entries.  I hope you will take the time to visit that entry and read the comments attached to it.  Included therein is a list of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach residents who survived that terrible, costly war.  More than 400,000 Americans lost their lives fighting to keep this country free.
 (Manzanar Internment Camp)
Please take a few minutes today to remember what this war was all about.  The History Channel has an excellent site, HERE, which includes archival video and audio clips and photos.  Additionally, you can find an excellent history of the war at the Wikipedia site, HERE.
Some of the statistics of that war are staggering.  About half way down the Wikipedia page there is a chart that shows the numbers of war dead and injured by particpating country.  85% of the total caualties were on the Allied side - mostly Soviet and Chinese - who suffered deaths and injuries in the tens of millions!  It's estimated that 60 million people died in that war - 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians.  Stop and think about that for a second.
 (Surrender on USS Missouri)
So, today - "a date that will live in infamy", according to then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt - please pause and give thanks to the brave men and women of my parents generation - The Greatest Generation according to author Tom Brokaw - for the courage and sacrifices they made to insure our freedom.  Here's a chart to put that war into perspective.  Click on the image to enlarge it.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 06, 2012

First Friday Fun

Tomorrow, Friday, December 7th, marks the final First Fridays Road Show of this year at the Costa Mesa City Hall parking lot from 6 to 8:30.  This event - the brain child of termed-out mayor Eric Bever - has been a success for the few months it's existed and is especially appealing to geezers like me who love the old cars that are put on display.


This event will be even more special because, in addition to the classic and custom cars on display, two food trucks and awards, there will be a reception for Bever.  That's not a reason for me, personally, to go, but it might be for some of you.

In addition, members of the Costa Mesa Fire Department will be present to collect brand new, unwrapped toys for the annual Spark of Love toy drive.

Coincident with that, I received notification that the Project Management Institute (PMI), the worlds largest project management member association is partnering with the Costa Mesa Fire Department for the 11th year with the Spark of Love Toy Drive.  The PMI-OC will host their annual holiday dinner on Tuesday, December 11th at the Wyndham Orange County Hotel, 3350 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa beginning at 5:30 p.m.  The Costa Mesa Fire Department will be honored with the new "Lend a Helping PM Hand - Building Community with Project Management" service award for their hard work and unwavering dedication to the Spark of Love Toy Drive.  For more information on the dinner go to


The Spark of Love Toy Drive, which is celebrating 20 years of giving, collects new, unwrapped toys, books, and sports equipment for children from infancy to age 17.  It is part of the Orange County Toy Collaborative, which combines the Spark of Love effort with the U. S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program, the Orange County Social Service Agency's Operation Santa Claus program and the St. Vincent de Paul holiday charities program to distribute toys to needy children and families throughout Orange County.

So, drag yourselves off the couch, stop at a toy store on the way to City Hall and pick up a few new toys for the Spark of Love Toy Drive and join me and many of your neighbors as we help start the holiday celebration by giving to others.  Of course, the classic cars and food from the food trucks helps, too.

And did I mention you can see how the Snoopy House displays are coming along, too?  Yep, volunteers have been working hard, rain or shine, to get Snoopy and his pals ready for their grand opening launch next week.  See you tomorrow night.

Labels: , ,

Righeimer Audio From Bill Carroll Show

Yesteday I posted an entry about having heard, live, new Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righiemer on the Bill Carroll show on KFI 640 AM just before 2:30 p.m. and quoted him stating some pretty unsavory stuff.

Below is the audio clip from that show.  Unfortunately, you'll have to isolate the Righeimer portion from the 32 minute clip yourself.  Once the music starts simply drag the scroll bar across to 9:25 and let it run.  The segment goes to 16:00 and the part about retirees dying early is near the end, around the 15:25 mark.

When you hear Righeimer's nervous chuckle at the end you can make your own interpretation of it... I did.

Labels: , ,

KCET On Costa Mesa Homelessness

Wednesday the KCET program SoCalConnected included a nine minute segment at the beginning about Costa Mesa's homeless issue which included a fairly humorous segment where  reporter Brian Rooney attempted to get our reluctant then-mayor, Eric Bever, to address the issue with him.  I was at that meeting, spoke with the reporter and watched that little bit of comic opera unfold.  In fact, if you look closely, you might even see me in the clip.  Also prominently featured in this program is Muriel Ullman, who headed up housing issues for The City for years and is now a consultant to Costa Mesa on the homeless issue. 

I've paid attention to this issue over the past couple years.  Certainly, anyone who has attempted to utilize elements of Lions Park in the Downtown area of Costa Mesa probably has some first hand experience with it, too.  The park and public buildings have become infested - there is no better word - with members of the southern California homeless population that have selected our city and all it has to offer as their wide-open domicile of choice.
Their presence has held the park under siege, discouraging families from utilizing the open space it provides, defiling the furniture and fixtures within the Donald Dungan Library and nearly burning down the Costa Mesa Historical Society building in recent months.

Nearly two years ago The City formed a Homeless Task Force, which spent months attempting to get a handle on the issue.  They tried to identify a "Costa Mesa Homeless Person" from all the others who happen to be in our city, planning to offer services to them and none other.  The effort was worthy and the Task Force eventually presented the results of their plans to the City Council.  Unfortunately, "doing something" about the problem has been much more difficult that identifying it.
Some draconian measures were taken - the demolition of the picnic shelter at Lions Park, for example - to discourage the homeless from using that part of the park.  It doesn't seem to have worked.
One of the reasons KCET dispatched their team to our city is because of Bever's recent call to oust entities within our city that provide support services to homeless people - and others, as well.  Places like the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, which Bever mentioned by name as a place he would like to force out of town, serve hundreds of people each week - residents down on their luck as well as homeless.

I hope you'll take the 9:22 necessary to view this clip by KCET. I had to remove the embedded version because it automatically began playing when my page opened and I couldn't disable it.  Instead, HERE is a link to that clip on the KCET SoCalConnected site.  You can also read the transcript of their dialogue while there.  Sorry about that, but this is the only solution I have for that problem.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Lest There Be Any Doubt...

The council meeting last night was a tremendous disappointment, as I mentioned in my post about the meeting.  Former employee Perry Valantine has expressed with great skill how many of us felt as we left the meeting just after midnight in a commentary published in the Daily Pilot online HERE.

And, lest there be any doubt about a "new" attitude among those chosen to lead the city, please watch this 17 second video clip from the very end of the meeting last night.  Nothing that happened last night should give any municipal employee confidence that the new council majority is serious about trying to negotiate in good faith with them.

Jim Righeimer - "If we can't, then we can't"
Get Microsoft Silverlight

Labels: , ,

Scrooge Alive In Costa Mesa

I was just listening to the Bill Carroll Show on KFI 640 AM where new Mayor Jim Righeimer has become the darling of Carroll's show and that of John and Ken later in the afternoon.
Today, near the end of the segment just before 2:30, Righeimer was lamenting the "unsustainable pensions" and saying that he's held out an olive branch to the employees and hopes to negotiate a solution without layoffs.  As he talked about how employees could retire at "90% or 98%" for the rest of their lives, he said, "You almost hope there's not some new medical breakthrough that lets people live another 10 years because your gonna go bankrupt.  It's kinda scary, but that's what happened here."  Carroll picked up on it and, in a rush to end the segment, told Righeimer that he had the perfect headline for this story - "The new mayor of Costa Mesa is hoping retired employees die young".  Righeimer laughed nervously and tried to back-peddle out of that quicksand, but it was too late.

There you have it, folks.  Yep, that's the new spirit of cooperation being broadcast throughout the sounthland and further via IHeart Radio.  Those of us who were hoping for the opportunity to actually make some headway working collaboratively with Righeimer and his smaller (no offense, Gary) majority on the city council have had a cold splash of reality hit us in the face.  Last night, during the comments preceding the selection of Righeimer as mayor, highly respected and successful Estancia High School football coach Mike Bargas - referring to Righeimer and Steve Mensinger -  told the audience "I want those two studs there to lead me into war.  I'd go with them into the trenches."  Well, coach, strap on that helmet - the game is afoot.

Labels: , , ,

Righeimer And Mensinger To Lead City

Well, folks, the "new era" is looking very much like the old era in Costa Mesa - unfortunately.  You can read Bradley Zint's account in the Daily Pilot, HERE

Last night, in a council meeting that will surely be remembered for unfulfilled expectations, to the surprise of nobody in the auditorium Jim Righeimer was elected Mayor and his pal, Steve Mensinger, was elected Mayor Pro Tem - but not without some interesting discussion.

The council chambers was nearly packed by well-wishers, family, fans and other interested folks.  After nearly an hour of Public Comments and Council Member Comments, the meeting finally turned to the certification of the election and then the election of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem at just after 7:00.  Two hours later we finally had two officers elected and the meeting went into a 45 minute recess so attendees could enjoy some fellowship and food with the new council on the City Hall patio.  Here's how we got that far.


At 7:20 Gary Monahan nominated Jim Righeimer for Mayor, with Steve Mensinger seconding the motion.  Then Sandy Genis nominated Wendy Leece and Wendy seconded the motion.  We then launched into Public Comments on this issue and, in a perfect example of just how split this city remains - one speaker reminded us that only 125 votes separated the cumulative "3M" vote and those garnered by the "Top 3" in the recent election - thirty-eight (38) people rose to speak in favor of one or the other.  Twenty (20) spoke in favor of Leece and eighteen (18) spoke in favor of Righeimer, including the final speaker - former mayor Eric Bever.  It seems he will never get over the need to have the last word.  At 8:40 the vote was taken.  The vote was 3-2 in favor of Righeimer.  Genis and Leece voted No.  A meaningless vote on Leece's nomination was the inverse - 2-3.


Then, in what should have been a slam dunk, nominees were made for Mayor Pro Tem.  Mensinger was nominated, as was Leece.  Another fifteen (15) people rose to speak, six (6) in favor of Mensinger - including Righeimer's wife, shown here -  and nine (9) in favor of Leece.  When the votes were taken, the first one was 2-3 against Leece.  The second was 4-1 in favor of Mensinger, with Genis seeing the handwriting on the wall.  Then there was the break at just after 9:00 p.m. and we all knew we were in for another marathon meeting
After snacks and schmoozing, at 9:45 we finally got down to business.  The new council was seated in the order you see above.  I'm not going to try to read anything into the seating arrangement except to observe that the women were shoved off to the side.  With Sandy Genis seated next to Jim Righeimer it's going to be a very interesting tour.


The council voted to move the next meeting from January 1st to January 8th.  Good idea.
They then "continued" the Public Hearing on the closure of the Anchor Trailer Park until January 8th at the request of the potential buyer.  I thought at that time that maybe we might make it out of there before 11 p.m.  I was disappointed.


Members of the council "pulled" for separate discussion more than half the items on the Consent Calendar, so we didn't finish that part of the agenda until 11:10 p.m!  Leece pulled the Warrant that contained a payment to Jones Day for over $69,000 and asked contract City Attorney Tom Duarte about it, since it was a May bill.  He told her, and us, that it had been returned for adjustment before payment and that the January Warrants would see several more payments to Jones Day through the October billing.  We've now spent well over $1 million on that firm for their work on the OCEA lawsuit.  The three items that generated the most discussion, items #9, #10 and #12, all dealt with insurance issues and all were "continued" to January 8th.  By now it was pretty late, but an amusing sidebar was Mensinger getting lost in the agenda.  You'd think, after two years on the dais, he'd figure out how to follow along, wouldn't you? They did approve the creation of the new Deputy City Clerk position.


Finally, at 11:20 p.m., we got around to the big issue of the evening - New Business #2 - the rescinding of the remaining layoff notices and related subjects on that agenda.  You can read it HERE.  It passed on a 5-0 vote, but not without some long, sometimes rancorous, discussion.  For example, Genis wanted to know why we were spending any time planning to negotiate with the employee association on outsourcing specific units when the recent court decision seemed to forbid that move.  One of the lawyers from $495-per-hour Jones Day rose from his seat beside me - he spent 3 hours perched there reading emails and texting while the meter was spinning - and tried to answer questions he stated would best be addressed in closed session.  However, Genis was persistent, but never really did get an answer to her question.  Following the vote Hatch was directed to move forward with discussions with the association.  It was pretty bizarre, to say the least.


When they adjourned to closed session it was a couple minutes past midnight, so this council continues down the path the previous one had blazed of long, frustrating meetings.


A couple things were very clear last night.  First, despite issuing an apology for his tactics the past two years and his stated willingness to turn over a new leaf and deal more collaboratively with the employee units, Righeimer's  actions showed us that he's not really serious.  I thought it might take two meetings for this to become evident and was wrong.  It only took part of one.  There were many in attendance last night who were keeping their fingers crossed that he actually meant what he'd said the previous meeting and early in this one.  We all left very disappointed.  It's clear to me that the only thing that has changed on the dais is the seating positions.


The other thing is that we're going to have to watch Righeimer like a hawk because he tends to play fast and loose with the rules and, now that he's Mayor, he's going to be emboldened to stretch them - or ignore them - even more.  It's as though he thinks "Mayor" is the same as "monarch".  Whatever the reasons, keep your eye on him.  It's going to be a very long two more years.


And, Steve Mensinger demonstrated that he has not changed a lick.  A couple times he tried to pull one of his "in your face" moves on Genis.  Early on, during Council Member Comments, while discussing the recent campaign and the vandalism to campaign signs he said "I don't forget things" - clearly an indicator that he holds, and will continue to hold, a grudge about the loss and damage to many of his signs.  And, he continues to use the troubling technique of saying, "I like so-and-so, he or she is a great person" or words similar to those, then goes on to slam that person.  And then there's his annoying habit of asking a question of someone other than a staff member making a presentation to them, not understanding the answer so he asks it again, more forcefully. He's one strange guy
So, we have a month until the next council meeting.  I suggest we all rest up, enjoy the holidays and get ready for the next stanza of the "Jim Righeimer Era" in Costa Mesa.  I have a feeling that it's going to be a bumpy, very expensive ride for us all.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, December 03, 2012

"The Real Orange" on Costa Mesa

For those of you in the viewing audience who missed it - my guess is 99.9% of local television viewers - at the bottom of this entry you'll find a little five minute video clip from "The Real Orange" on November 29th that deals with Costa Mesa's failed charter and outsourcing.

Considering the fact that both issues may be addressed at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday night, I thought this might be timely for you.

In this clip you'll find some of your favorite people - Jim Righeimer, Steve Mensinger and Nick Berardino.  And, to add a light touch, poor host Ed Arnold demonstrates why it's probably a good idea to have at least a passing knowledge of the subjects on the script when he refers to the failed charter as "Measure Five".  Hey, give him some credit... not many folks speak in Old Roman these days.

Here's a viewing hint for you.  Because this clip is in a wide format, slide over to the right and scroll down until you see the title of this entry under "Previous Posts", then click on that.  You'll be taken to the separate page for this entry and should get rid of some of that clutter along the right border that may interfere with your viewing.  Enjoy.

Watch Costa Mesa Measure V on PBS. See more from KOCE.

Labels: , , , , ,