Thursday, October 31, 2013

Quashing Criticism Advocated By Mensinger!

It seems like there has been so much "stuff" swirling around in Costa Mesa ever since Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger landed on the City Council that it's sometimes difficult to wrap one's arms around it all

The adversarial relationship those two men have established with the employees is very disheartening and frustrating.  They've created a toxic employment atmosphere in the City that permeates every nook and cranny of government life.  Employees at every level are constantly looking over their shoulders, waiting for the next bad-news-shoe to drop.  The fifth floor - the "Executive Offices" - seems to have become a bunker, secured from prying eyes or inquisitive residents.  Cameras, where none existed before, now record every movement in the building and other city facilities.   Staffers worry about their every word being monitored, whether via telephone or electronic mail.  Thirty-nine police officers are among the dozens of employees who have left Costa Mesa since those guys took over!


We now have an ongoing array of scandals and lawsuits when those kind of events were extremely rare in years past.  Righeimer and Mensinger theoretically bring their business expertise to their city jobs, which apparently include a willingness to file or incur lawsuits as simply a cost of doing business.  When, for example, was the last time you heard of two seated council members - the top to slots in city government - actually suing their police department?


By their actions - which are now too numerous to list here  -  they have incurred the wrath of many residents.  Some of those, who actually pay attention to civic matters and take the time to study issues and spend their precious personal time standing before the City Council to express their concerns and offer potential solutions, are frequently vilified by council members from the dais and in the public press.  We're talking about a broad diversity of backgrounds - Republicans and Democrats and folks who decline to state, as well.  Business owners, educators, retirees and young folks, as well as the normal parade of special interest groups, all step up and speak up and, many times, tell the council things they don't want to hear.  That, of course, is a big mistake.

The council majority - you have to lump too-long-at-the-trough Gary Monahan with them because he seldom votes against Righeimer and Mensinger - seem to have their minds made up on almost every issue BEFORE they hear from the public, and brush those views aside when they eventually take the time to hear them.

Righeimer and Mensinger simply don't like criticism of any kind from anyone, period!  That's clear at almost every opportunity they have for interaction with the general public, not just the little gatherings of their like-minded sycophants who nod their heads like a flock of boot-licking bobble head dolls.

This attitude has recently become exacerbated by the advent of a new blogger in town.  Resident Dennis Popp, whose blog was recently portrayed in a Daily Pilot article as a "kinder, gentler blog", seems to have become the latest internet mouthpiece for the council majority.  I don't talk much about his blog because, quite honestly, it's too darn boring.  However, over the past couple of weeks he's taken a much more negative stand and it just cries out for response.

In his current offering to his few readers he, once again, takes critics of the City Council to task because he feels the expression of their constitutionally-guaranteed right of free speech keeps the council from "doing things".  In fact, the last few words in his latest online rant in which he bemoans the presence of "rude jerks" says the following:
"Perhaps the rude jerks should be uninvited from Council meetings, too. It might give doers an opportunity to get the job done."

And, as if there's any doubt about what kind of influence he has over members of the City Council, Steve Mensinger echoed that statement in an online comment and added, "I would second that motion."   

Such is the state of municipal affairs today in Costa Mesa where the Mayor Pro Tem overtly advocates blocking residents and others from expressing opposing views because it theoretically hampers them from "getting the job done"!

This kind of overt admission by a top elected official should send a chill down the spine of EVERY resident of this city.  These men apparently view themselves not as public servants, but as members of a junta, ruling with an iron hand and willing to abridge the rights of the citizens of this community to force their will upon them.

I've heard Dennis Popp referred to as a "war hero".  I have no knowledge of his record during "our war" - the Viet Nam Conflict.  I don't really care, either.  I do know that he and I shared service to our country at approximately the same time.  I find myself wondering how he squares that time in our lives - when we both took an oath to protect our country from enemies, foreign and domestic - to the current date, when he advocates dictatorship over democracy.  Regardless what his service record was, I find his current views abhorrent and, even worse, that they are obviously shared and advocated by people in power that can use them to continue to do much to damage our community with those attitudes.


In fifty-three weeks we will enter the voting booth to decide who will help guide the future of our city.  Do we perpetuate the right-leaning, lock-step march toward a society akin to Nazi Germany or do we select people to lead our city with a view of the democratic process more in line with the views of our founding fathers?  Do we want our city to return to being a shining example of a well-run community where all voices are welcome and loyalty among employees is appreciated or will we let it continue to decay into a politically-driven bastion of far right-wing authoritarian oppression?  The voters will decide.

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Anonymous Terry Koken said...

From 11 Nov 2011 OC Weekly:
"Two weeks ago, under his November 3 headline “PAVING OVER FAIRVIEW PARK?” West reported, “It is rumored that the November 16th meeting of the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission will include a request to pave over part of the vernal pools at Fairview Park—a protected habitat for the San Diego fairy shrimp.”

Popp links to this one. Looks kind of as though you were right on, Geoff -- in spirit if not in substance, and perhaps a little early. We've got DG in a vernal pool, and a turnaround with tot lot going to be built over 8,000-year-old ruins. I notice he's also using the word "hater" a lot; this one is, if I am not mistaken, a Martin Millard word.


10/31/2013 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Skeptical in Costa Mesa said...

I'm thinking little boy stevie might want to start talking to his legal represenative (aka attorney). Not to sue anyone this time but a as defense. Word has it he my need a good one that can work the Feds. Maybe he already knows? Could explain his cranky mood?

10/31/2013 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Excellent commentary, Geoff.
That's an interesting quote from Dennis Popp,
"Perhaps the rude jerks should be uninvited from Council meetings, too."
It sounds like he is talking about Righeimer and Mensinger, not their critics.

Geoff, you will no doubt be criticized for using terms like 'dictatorship' and Nazi Germany, but they do describe the mindset of Righeimer and his supporters. Steve Mensinger shadowing and harassing our city employees falls into that category.
Democracy is fleeting at CM City Hall.
It is being fought with an incessant, insane push for a city charter Costa Mesa voters rejected less than
one year ago.
Secrecy disguised as "confidentiality" passes and the power players celebrate their Sunshine Award for "transparency". They file a lawsuit for everything they don't like, including our police department.
And now they want to amend our Municipal Code to eliminate rehearings. i.e. no appeals!
These are the men we should trust with a city charter??
Their main supporters are awarded positions on our CM Planning Commission, prior experience in the area is not required- just 100% compliance to the councildudes.

Yes, we the residents of Costa Mesa need representatives who work for us, not an outside interest whose chairman is leading a self-serving "revolution".
Thank you again, Geoff.

10/31/2013 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Mensinger is not fit to be on council. In my view, there are two reasons he was able to garner enough votes to get on:

A)The large amount of outside campaign money he received;

B) The fact that his opponents didn't remind or inform voters of his questionable acts/scandals of the last 6-7 years.

So now, surprise- he's embroiled in several "situations." Bullies over age 50 are not likely to suddenly change their personalities.

I'd like to know why he left Arnel.

If it walks like a shill, looks like a shill, and writes ocgop propaganda like a shill..

"Spokesmen," apologists, supplicants, and propagandists are all a regular part of politics. But Popp's scrawlings are particularly offensive because of their sanctimonious tone. I think he truly believes that he's morally and intellectually superior to the esteemed Mr. West and everyone in Costa Mesa not aligned with his new friends Riggy and Mensy.

Apparently now the former nurse and soldier wants to stand with Steve the Fool and bar certain citizens from the city council chambers. Disgusting.

10/31/2013 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

As sure of a sign I've seen that he and his side are losing.

10/31/2013 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Mensinger didn't even hand out Halloween candy either, at least as of about 30 minutes ago. My son was crushed! So much for the kids.

It's a war on Halloween, I tell you. TK the surf shop owner down the street handed out full size candy bars, and when he ran out, he handed out dollar bills. Sure, we double dipped, but I'll vote for him tomorrow, because he's real! And the Lefflers gave out good stuff, too.

Happy Halloween, all. Election is a year away, and it's time to mobilize! Fight the Power!

10/31/2013 09:10:00 PM  
Anonymous jrs36 said...

This one seems to apply well here.

10/31/2013 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Mensy should have stopped by my house- we were handing out shrimp..

11/01/2013 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Quashing information and sidelining the public's right to know is becoming the norm at City Hall.

They are so pissed off at Sandy Genis for requesting a re-hearing on the Fairview Parking lot, they are proposing changing the rules.

"Among the items to be considered at the next City Council meeting is amending the Municipal Code to eliminate the provision for rehearings. Gee, I wonder why"..Councilmember Genis

The refusal to release even the most basic of Public records has become embarrassing. Not just the contracts that we are paying out for the 60th Celebration.Also, committee members can't get information on issues directly affecting the committees they sit on.
Everything now, goes through the attorneys. Not just issues regarding personnel issues , or possible closed session litigation issues, but EVERYTHING, has to get approved by attorneys, before the clerk will release it.This year,the City has had over 256 public records requests. How many have been denied , I do not know, but I do know much of what we have requested is not being released. Some has been released,but only partially, or extremely late. The most important information that obviously will show embarrassing municipal code violations have not been released at all.

All the added security to phones, computers, cameras, Private investigators, and cyber security firms, have reached unprecedented levels.

You don't go to such extreme measures to try and quash information unless there is something that you really want to hide.

11/01/2013 07:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Judy Lindsay said...

Right on, a factual view of what is happing in our fair city, and true description of those who help our city and those who are determined to destroy what former leaders in our city have established. I have lived in this city since l960, have NEVER had such distrust of city employees and dedicated, knowledgeable citizens who REALLY CARE FOR COSTA MESA UNLIKE THE COUCNIL MAJORITY.

11/01/2013 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Lots of anger here...

Over Mensinger voicing his frustration with his political opposition.

I seem to think I have watched Obama voice frustration with his political opposition all year long.

I guess they have something in common. Who would have thought?

Seriously people? This much angst over an utterance that, even if Mensinger wanted to, will never come to pass?

I thought this group was smarter than that.

In all the years I have been involved in elections, this is the weakest of weak sauce arguments I have ever heard.

If this is the best you have, the next election is in the bag.

11/01/2013 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Yeah, Bruce, that's right. After all, it's just "Steve being Steve" - the excuse that has followed him throughout his life when he does boneheaded things. That, of course, is THE problem - it IS Steve being Steve. You say it doesn't have a chance of happenining, but we've already seen the mayor juggle the Public Comments segment to force large numbers of speakers to be trailed to the end of the meeting - that was his edict at the last meeting. Yes, it's his right, but it amplifies the attitude, presuming they will force folks to just go home rather than stick around to criticize them.

And take a look at the agenda for the next council meeting. There's an item there designed to hamstring a minority member of the council who might wish to re-hear an issue - like Sandy Genis did recently. Again, that's another form of stifling dissent and criticism. Your pals just don't like to have ANYONE say NO to them.

You've successfully raised a couple of sons... did you do it by forbidding them to question the rules? I doubt it.

11/01/2013 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


You made my point, precisely. You can whine and moan all you want, but a democracy, much like children (in this case my two sons) are far more resilient than the petty BS that consumes too many of us on a day to day basis.

However, I would suggest that acting like young children, as resilient as that paradigm is, isn't going to be productive when it comes to changing the political tide in Costa Mesa.

Lose the anger and decide what is important and what isn't, if this group is even capable of that.

I will be focusing on what is possible and what is not. You can focus on whatever makes you happy or miserable. Your choice!

As always, it is fun to play. I must totter along now.

11/01/2013 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Hmmm. So, speaking out against abuse of power, violation of established rules, the stifling of critics, possible corruption and similar concerns equates in your mind to "petty BS", huh? That's very interesting.

Your sentence, "Lose the anger and decide what is important and what isn't, if this group is even capable of that." has me confused. Who is "this group"? Would that be the critics, which seem for the most part to be individuals expressing their concerns. Do you mean the folks from CM4RG? If so, do you realize that the group consists of liberals and conservatives and most points along the political spectrum between those two poles? To you realize they include among their members residents who have lived and contributed to this city for decades? As far as I can tell, the only link that binds them is NOT political, it's deep concern for the city and its future. Do you include the two women on the dais - a former mayor and a two-term councilwoman - in that lump?

I agree, we all should be focusing on what is possible and what is not. While there are many things going on in this city that do not make me happy, there are also many things that do. However, unfortunately, the unhappy things need attention and the happy things just seem to take care of themselves.

With a year to go, I suspect much of my energy will be devoted to shifting the political paradigm in our city next November. If that means defeating Jim Righeimer, it will be a mixed issue - both unhappy because of the likely process and happy if the result is what I want. That doesn't mean, however, that I want to see a flaming liberal on the dais in his place. In a perfect world, I'd like to see him replaced with a reasonable conservative - a person who shares many of my personal values but doesn't jump to Scott Baugh's every whim.

Some of the things your buddies want to do have merit. However, their methods suck! Where a deftly-handled scalpel is required they prefer to use a chainsaw. The resultant blood splatter is what you see in our city. Instead of building consensus they rule by edict, never considering the validity of opposing views. Their minds are made up BEFORE the public speaks on issues. They are bulls in a china shop that is almost out of china to destroy.

They and their lapdogs gripe about people who express opposing views - calling them "haters", for goodness sake! They complain that folks with opposing views take up too much of their valuable time during meetings, but that's their job - to hear constituent's views. This is still a representative republic, even though they treat it like a third-world dictatorship.

They probably could have accomplished many of their goals by now if they hadn't been so arrogantly stupid with their tactics. Instead, they've forced the city into litigation and spent millions on lawyers when a few honest meetings with employee organizations probably could have done the trick in a few months. That's not their style, though, is it? Nope, litigation is just part of the cost of doing business in their book, and they have the history to prove it.

I'm sorry you lean so far their way. You're a smart guy with a history of important contributions to our community. I just think you're backing the wrong horse this time.

11/01/2013 10:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

GW to Krochman:
"I just think you're backing the wrong horse this time."

Actually Mr. West, it's a bull.

When Krochman endorsed Mensy in the last election, he also indirectly endorsed all of Steve's past bad acts (airport worker fake badge bullying incident, teacher altercation incident, etc.) and bought in to any post-election incidents (Fairview Park, suing the POA, etc.).

In other words, despite prior knowledge of Mensinger's proclivities, Krochman and the other supporters held open the door to the china shop. They must now share responsibility for all the china this bull breaks.

11/02/2013 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Bruce wrote,
"Lose the anger and decide what is important and what isn't, if this group is even capable of that."

Like Geoff, I wonder which "group" you are addressing here.
I always thought you were more even handed and fair, Bruce. Your statement above is very presumptuous and insulting, inferring that council majority critics can't pick their battles.
This isn’t about one statement from Mensinger only.
We are talking about our First Amendment rights here, which are a big deal. It's very disconcerting to have elected "representatives" constantly trying to throttle them. What are they hoping to gain by this- submission? It defies logic and most certainly democracy.
Yes, democracy will survive but under our current CM City Council majority it is certainly taking a beating.

11/02/2013 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/02/2013 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


I always try to present my opinions respectfully. I am sorry you felt I insulted anyone here.


11/03/2013 07:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Hold em Accountable said...

With the censorship in place and rowing in City Hall, are they going to lose the made up "transparency" award?

Costa Mesa has become a joke. A quality brand? Not!

Steve and his cronies pave over Federally protected land with D G and City Hall blocks the info.

A pissed off employee tears up a campaign sign and City Hall goes bat crap crazy.

Steve, Riggy, and Gary....Just leave and don't let the door smack you in the tail on the way out.

11/03/2013 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...


Thank you.

11/04/2013 10:49:00 AM  

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