Monday, March 31, 2014

News Doesn't Wait For Me!

Geez, I take my lovely and very patient wife on a little birthday excursion - much-needed by both of us - over the past weekend and all heck breaks loose (literally) back at home!

It's hard to decide what's the most important news item locally that broke while we were gone to our favorite big city, but I guess it would have to be the story about the jury in the Steven White sign theft case finding him NOT GUILTY after a very short 3-hour deliberation.  You can read Jeremiah Dobruck's article, "Accused sign vandal found not guilty", including viewing the video clip, HERE.

In my view, this is just another example of terrible judgment by members of the Costa Mesa City Council - in this case, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger.  The fact that he actually hired a private investigator to stake out a specific batch of campaign signs and video someone destroying them is bizarre.  And, it's unclear whether Mensinger was in the car with the PI while this video was recorded.  If so, why?  For $5.00 worth of signs?  Of course, when you're out of work for a long time, every penny counts, right?  No, this was just another vindictive move on Mensinger's part - much like the bogus lawsuit against the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department - that demonstrates how unqualified he is to hold a public office.

I did not attend the trial so did not hear the testimony.  However, the video was shown and it did not convince eight jurors of White's guilt.  The comment thread on Dobruck's article is fascinating.  More than a few commentors, including at least one elected official, are apparently unwilling to accept the result of the legal process because it doesn't agree with their opinion.  Sad, indeed.

Now White gets on with his life, unless he plans legal action of his own, and Mensinger and his cronies will moan and cry about the "unfairness" of this decision for months.

The second big story that broke while we were gone is Bradley Zint's excellent piece titled, "Hatch alleges Friday Night Lights misled city", HERE.  This story is part of the whole Friday Night Lights Football/Matt Leinart Football drama that has been playing out over the past few months in Costa Mesa.

While I'm certainly concerned about the possibility of someone defrauding the City, as is alleged in this article, for me the greater concern is the position taken by City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch regarding former Recreation Manager Bob Knapp as quoted in the article.  As you will see when you read the article, Hatch is quoted by Zint as saying, "I believe Bob Knapp Knew that the letter was not accurate and that he did not investigate it further to help his friend." So, is he saying Bob Knapp committed a crime?  Did he misuse public funds?

Knapp, of course, denies any improper behavior and, according to Zint, describes the memo from Hatch that Zint reviewed for the story, "a 'smear' attempt to use him as a 'scapegoat for the poor decisions of others'."  Zint further describes Knapp's response, quoting him thus: "Knapp called the allegations'very disppointing, and I think it's a real true sign of the nature of leadership in our city.' 'And I don't mean the council, I mean the fifth floor [of City Hall],' Knapp added, a reference to where the city's top management keeps offices."

The article also describes the event that apparently caused Knapp to resign the job he held for eighteen months - the ouster of long-time Group 1 softball players from their scheduled time at the TeWinkle Sports Complex for Matt Leinart's Flag Football program.  I watched some of the discussion of that situation in City Council chambers and recall feeble excuses that the softball group "didn't lose their field, they had a choice of five other nights during the week" when Leinart's program was given their favored Friday night slot.  Lame, to say the least.

All this stuff just reeks.  The pungent odor of rotting management permeates City Hall.  This kind of decay starts at the top and it certainly should cause the residents of this community to be more than a little concerned about the strength of the senior leadership of this city.  Of course, some of that may be due to pressure being applied by a city council majority with warped values.  I was aghast when Hatch threw Knapp under the bus on this issue.  He should have said NOTHING about Knapp in this situation, and may have placed the city in legal jeopardy by making the comments above.

I find myself wondering about the relationship between Costa Mesa United, where Gordon Bowley - Knapp's father-in-law - plays such a big role, and the city leadership as we move downstream from this debacle.

And, maybe as an exclamation point to all this stuff, Friday night the region had another earthquake! HERE.  We were more than 100 miles away but my sweet wife heard the hotel "crackle" at the time the biggest quake hit.  Yikes!

Another interesting week ahead.  More on that later.  It's nice to be back, but it was VERY nice to take a short break from all this crap.

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Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Let's hope CMPOA takes the deposition of Mensy's investigator Bertoni. They should ask him if he was ever involved in tailing city employees and Fairview Park activists. If yes, then why?

3/31/2014 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Any way you slice it or dice it, Mensinger's drama regarding White was just one more instance of bullying by this 3rd rate politician.

There's a photo of a certain Planning Commissioner also on the scene at White's home that night.

The next time Righeimer whines about the 30 second sobriety check he had to endure, let's remind him about the harassment Steve White and his family endured over the sign accusation.

3/31/2014 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

This city is in big trouble from all aspects of management. Costa Mesa is a total and complete mess. You're right Geoff, just about everything coming from city hall these days stinks. From the missing money from the 60th, the sweetheart developer deals for Righeimer via his friends on the planning commission, the destruction of our police department, the attitude that they are kings and can do whatever they want, such as the DG trail in Fairview Park, the misuse of public employees for personal matters concerning Pop Warner, Mensinger sending his goon to follow the employees, to this insane lawsuit they have filed against the CMEA, the White lawsuit, etc. This is just in the last few months. It just goes on and on.

Costa Mesa needs this behavior to stop. Hatch in particular, should never have made a comment about Knapp, right or wrong, defaming him puts the city in a place for litigation, as there is no evidence one way or the other. Bad move. What is wrong with Hatch, anyway? How can a city manager be that stupid?

The time is overdue to clean house. All of these incidents and more could have and should have been avoided.

I hope come November we can replace these idiots with real leaders, for a change.

3/31/2014 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Sorry, meant CMPOA in the above comment

3/31/2014 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

'Coffee' - that and $4 will buy you a cup of coffee over at Panera, where Lee Ramos will listen... and then go vote however Righeimer tells him to!

His campaign (Popp!) has really tried to paint him as something different, and yet, he held his kickoff at Skosh's. Same old, same old.

3/31/2014 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Squad 51 said...

WMC.... "What's wrong with Hatch anyway? How can a city manager be so stupid?"

He's not a city manager. He's a "CEO". Even says so on his shirt.

When he took the job, accepting that title, city managers all over CA were rolling their eyes.

I know because my brother was one of them. He said "I smell a circus coming". He wasn't wrong.

3/31/2014 03:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Sue Lester said...

All the diversionary tactics, defamatory statements and questions don’t change the facts. Rules and laws whether local, state or federal are constant. They are to be followed and applied to everyone equally. There are no pet project clauses, he’s my friend policies, party exemptions, or “for the kids” exceptions.

When people in leadership /management positions for a city are charged with creating ordinances and policies and holding other people accountable are able to pick and choose the instances in which they themselves follow the same ordinances and polices, there is a problem! If someone deliberately turns their back on the laws and rules because of a position of authority, there is a problem. If someone breaks a law they were sworn to uphold and is dishonest about it, there is a problem. Costa Mesa has a problem and no amount of name calling or finger pointing in any other direction is going to change that. The truth always comes out! Anyone not interested in finding the truth… perhaps is part of the problem.

3/31/2014 04:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Skeptical in Costa Mesa said...

I said it before, the fish rots from the head down!

4/01/2014 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

Poor Poor Mensinger, what a tough pill to swallow, he hires a
private investigator, has videotaped proof of an individual destorying one of his precious and highly vaulable ($5.00) signs, waits nearly two years for this to go to trial and has the whole justice system as well as all of us laugh right in his face.

this even went to trial is a complete joke, just like the leadership at City Hall.

4/01/2014 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous apple said...

Since actively following the politics in Costa Mesa, I have learned two things:
Allan Roeder had integrity and leadership qualities. Tom Hatch lacks integrity and leadership qualities.

Mr. Hatch sets an example in his actions that is doing irreparable harm to the already damaged Costa Mesa.

4/01/2014 03:00:00 PM  

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