Monday, August 19, 2013

Mensinger Blasts The Daily Pilot

Last week Costa Mesa activist Charles Mooney published a commentary in the Daily Pilot titled, "I see shades of Bell in Costa Mesa", which you can read HERE.  In that excellent commentary Mooney provided a sort of mini-primer for the readers, comparing how the whole City of Bell debacle unfolded and provided warning signs for those of us in Costa Mesa who may be asked to consider a charter proposal next year some time.

I thought Mooney did a great public service with his commentary, but knew that the current power elite in Costa Mesa wouldn't like it one bit.  I was right.

The very first comment posted on Mooney's piece was by sycophant Dennis Popp, the operator of a boring blog that attempts to convince his readers that Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger have all the right ideas before they nod off.  He's one of the cadre of Pit Yorkies that yap the party line when opposing views are expressed.  From there it became an experience very much like watching a professional badminton match - back and forth, back and forth with an almost dizzying pace.  As I type this 61 comments have accumulated as both sides of the issue in a spirited "debate".

Then today, our mayor pro tem wrote a scathing commentary that is published in the Daily Pilot, too.  It is titled, "Bell-Costa Mesa comparison is irresponsible" and can be read HERE.  In this angry epistle Mensinger doesn't really attack Mooney for what he said more than he attacks the editors of the Daily Pilot for daring to publish an opinion piece that carries a message different from his world view.

He conjures up the specter of Saul Alinsky - he and his pals have been doing that a lot lately to attempt to discredit the opinions of critics - accusing Mooney of ridiculing the current charter process.  His pathetic attempt to debunk Mooney's presentation is almost juvenile as he tries to deflect the readers from the importance of this issue by throwing out red herrings - more "worthwhile debates", as he calls them.  He cites the budget, infrastructure, Fairview Park, unfunded pension liabilities, schools, attracting young professionals and seniors as more important issues than the charter discussion.

In his commentary Mooney does not say Costa Mesa is Bell, he provides chapter and verse for the readers to assess how Bell got where it was when the wheels came off as an alert for those paying attention to the current charter process... to be aware of the possibilities of municipal malfeasance if a proper charter is not created.

In summation Mensinger accuses Mooney of "practicing politics as usual" - like he's not with his commentary.  He then says, "But blame lies with the Pilot editors, who should know better.  They are the gatekeepers of the community debate and shouldn't mindlessly publish everything that comes across their desks."

So, let me see if I've got this right.  The Mayor Pro Tem doesn't want the editors of the Daily Pilot to publish anything he disagrees with, right?  That's how I read what Mensinger wrote.  The editors should not "mindlessly" publish things that express an opinion opposing the current power elite.  How idiotically arrogant!

Let me be clear about something.  Because the conversion of Costa Mesa from a General Law city to a Charter City is singularly the most important issue facing this council and the voters today, ANY credible opinion on this issue should be published.  For the editors of the Daily Pilot to do otherwise would be a violation of the public trust.  Heck, they published yours, Steve.

Mensinger complains that Mooney is, "also not a fan of the City Council majority and our attempt to rein in out-of-control local government and reset priorities."  Well, gee, Steve, I wonder why?  Could it be that your decisions actually stink?

From the very beginning, when you decided to send illegal layoff notices to more than 200 employees that resulted in legal challenges that cost the city millions in unnecessary fees, through almost every single overture you've made since then, each has been stamped with a big FAIL!  The tactics your group uses have caused this once-proud, vibrant city to become an unsafe and toxic workplace for city employees.  They are followed - stalked, as it were - and been forced to work unconscionable overtime hours to compensate for your arbitrary unwillingness to properly staff public safety positions, then are vilified as being greedy for working that overtime!  You've referred to a highly-skilled employee with three decades of dedicated service to the city as a "Jiffy Lube Guy".  You refer to a battalion chief as a "$350,000 firefighter", but neglect to acknowledge that your policies required him to work more than 4,000 hours in a year to provide coverage to keep our residents safe.  I'm having a hard time deciding whether your actions are vindictive or just the result of stupidity - or maybe both.

All those issues Mensinger tries to use as distractions - in his words, "shiny objects" - to shift the focus of the importance of Mooney's message are certainly important.  But, even if taken as a whole, they are nowhere as important to the future of this city than the decision about converting to a Charter City, and the content of that charter.  And the City of Bell debacle demonstrates that very clearly.  If the charter that is being painstakingly cobbled together by the Charter Committee produces a work product that does not address the issues important to the residents of the city - if it is focused on the political priorities of a very small group among us - the results could be every bit as cataclysmic as Bell.

Mensinger made an oblique reference to how little council members get paid for meetings that stretch into the wee hours.  Well, perhaps he should get a job to supplement that $904.40 he receives each month like other council members do and quite trying to be a martyr.  He signed up for this gig, so if he doesn't like it, he should step down.  There are several other hardworking members of the community willing to take that seat and do some good with it - not try to tear the city apart.
So, let Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger be advised.  The opposition views will not cease just because you don't like them.  Critics will continue to express their views, so get used to it.  You both were elected to represent ALL the residents of Costa Mesa - more than 110,000 souls, with varying needs and priorities.  Those people will continue to demand their right to express their views to you.  They have every right to expect that you will hear them with courtesy and not chide them for their willingness to speak out.


Remember, you MUST register BEFORE attempting to post a comment.  All others will be rejected without being read.

Sadly, I had to re-activate the "word verification" feature.  I tried it for a day without and the spam submissions were too great to deal with long term.  So, just keep on trying.  If your first attempt doesn't make it, just try again and again until you get a code you can read and duplicate.  Thanks

Labels: , , , , ,


Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Pit Yorkies. Perfection.

8/19/2013 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

I think the term you were searching for was Epic Fail...that's what the kids say nowadays! How dare the Pilot do such a thing.

Sesler and Mora's rebuttals are probably being queued up as we speak!

8/19/2013 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Today I woke up in the Twilight Zone instead of my beloved Costa Mesa..

Someone did construction in a public park without permits or authorization.

Then the mayor pro tem called on the local newspaper to throw out the First Amendment and only publish what he believes.

Then I found out that a member of the city's pension oversight committee recently filed bankruptcy and is making payments to a court trustee.

What's next?

8/19/2013 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

One other thing worth mentioning about those recent Pilot comment chains - things have really gotten nasty, and it's funny, because there's a lot of name calling from the side that always talks about being above that and wanting an intelligent debate. That, and evading specific questions multiple times, but I guess that's to be expected if you don't want to give an honest answer.

I'm as guilty as anyone of being a smart ass, but I try not to get nasty. Will try to elevate the discussion more rather than make fun of the lunacy.

8/19/2013 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Eh, I like Mensinger's message... for the most part.

I wouldn't have gone as far as to chastise the DP for running the letter. OK, I did chastise them for allowing some really rotten posts before they required authentication. Maybe that is somewhat analogous.

But the premise that comparing Costa Mesa to Bell is inaccurate is spot on as far as I am concerned. Then again, I also think comparisons to Costa Mesa's pension issues and Detroit's are similar tactics.

I find it hard to have a conversation about specific issues when things go off the rails so quickly. It isn't anything new though and I guess I just get to weather these things out until rational voices rise above.

Geoff, how about starting some conversations on specific issues. Maybe pick a bullet point a day from the charter proposals. Start with prevailing wage or something like that as that seems to be an important cornerstone of what the Council Majority wants to accomplish. Something we can weigh in on beside lap dog references and the like.

Just a thought!

8/19/2013 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous James Rivera said...

Good idea Bruce. Ruff!

8/19/2013 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Did you see that Capellini (or whatev...) guy that is running for CM City Council? He works in Rohrbacher's office. I'm guessing they already figured out what we already knew...that Riggy couldn't win an election.

8/19/2013 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

If Steve Mensinger wants to preach about transparency and "healthy debate", then we need to see true, full transparency in all aspects of our city government and see the council majority model good "healthy debate". They don't and he certainly doesn't. He immediately comes out with the "unions" and alludes that Charles is tied in with them, right off the bat! We have no unions in Costa Mesa and the councildudes know this. That is only one example out of several in his commentary where he contradicts himself.
It's dishonest and it's McCarthyism, driven by the OC GOP's chairman, Scott Baugh.
Steve chastising the Daily Pilot for publishing Charles' letter was absurd and extremely arrogant.

8/19/2013 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Charles Mooney said he sees "SHADES" of Bell"...he never said he said we are a direct comparison.

Shades...Def. A small amount; a trace: detected a shade of bitterness in her remarks.

If you think this Council really cares about following the rules and complete openness and transparency ?,....well I've got a nice trail of freshly laid DG covering federally protected endangered habitat I can sell you....

8/20/2013 07:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Arthur, not only does the guy have a bankruptcy, but he has a long list of failed, one man companies. And this guy is telling us how to financially run this city?

8/20/2013 07:40:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home