Thursday, April 14, 2016

An Interesting Election Season Ahead

We have before us an election season that will likely be unlike anything we've ever seen in Costa Mesa before - and part of it has nothing to do with what's on the ballot.

Yes, we will likely see 8-10 candidates vying for one of the three city council seats being contested.  It is presumed that both incumbents, Mayor Steve Mensinger and Councilwoman Sandy Genis, will run and likely hold their seats.  Gary Monahan's finally termed out again - it's about darn time! - so it's really his seat in play.  Lee Ramos has announced he's running - again.  Former councilman Jay Humphrey says he's running again and hopes to be the victor for Monahan's seat.  You will recall that he lost a seat in the last election by only 47 votes.  Barrister and former candidate John Stephens says he's running again - he lost by 155 votes the last time he ran.  And, the one-note-samba, Al Melone says he's running again and has zero chance of winning.  And the official date for pulling papers is still months away!

The ballot will contain a lot of "stuff".  We will certainly have two (2) medical marijuana issues - probably three because the city is making noise about resurrecting Monahan's initiative, or something like it, to take control of that issue.  And, it's possible there will be a state-wide recreational marijuana initiative, too.

And then there's Costa Mesa First's Smart Growth Initiative.... that's not really the name of it, but the actual name is too long and I prefer this one since it's accurate.  The power elite - and developer-friendly - members of the City Council have decided to have the city staff create a competing issue in an attempt to defeat the Smart Growth Initiative.

Signatures continue to be gathered by the Fairview Park Preservation Alliance for an initiative to protect that 200 plus acres and the protected species and irreplaceable artifacts from development.

And, it is possible that there will be two bond issues on the ballot totalling more than $50 million in obligations for the voters to consider.  The first - a bond to rebuild our main library/community center complex at Lions Park - may be for around $34 million.  The second, Jim Righeimer's vindictive, punitive $20 million bond for affordable housing, is clearly being placed on the ballot at great  expense as an in-your-face move against affordable housing advocates.  When it fails - and it likely will fail - he will waive that defeat in their faces and - as he's said already - dare them to bring affordable housing before the council again.

All that will make November 8th very interesting.

However, I'm most concerned about the impact of social media on this upcoming election.  We've seen council majority-friendly folks create a Facebook page following the model used in Huntington Beach the last time around.  This page - CLOSED page, falsely using the term "public" in it's name when it's anything but public - allegedly has over 6,000 members who apparently engage in group-think exercises where only one side of issues is permitted.  Folks may not even view the activity on that page unless permitted membership.  And, worse, denizens of that page skulk out to other OPEN pages and provoke folks to write critical comments and, if they're also members of that CLOSED page, they may be bounced off for those unrelated transgressions.  Meanwhile, character assassination takes place and misinformation is spread without an opportunity to rebut.

What worries me the most, though, is the fact that several members of the council majority - all of them, actually - are frequent posters on this page.  And, many of their appointees also participate regularly.  Council members and commissioners who participate also tout the page as "THE" place to get good information and have good discussions on important issues - from the dais of their respective groups.  It's obvious that there is a growing assumption by them that they think they are seeing the true will of the people on that page - a blatant false assumption, since it's closed to many of us who have differing viewpoints.

This sad commentary is a perpetuation of the institutionalized stifling of public participation on issues in this city.  The City Council has discouraged public comments by arbitrarily limiting the number who may speak early in meetings and forcing the remainder to wait until the bitter end - sometimes well into the next day - to have their views/grievances heard.

Similarly, they force items pulled from the Consent Calendar to be trailed to the end of the meeting, too, so if a person wants a clarification on, for example, a particular expenditure on a Warrant, that information will not be discussed until the end of the meeting.

And, the council majority has forbidden Award-winning Costa Mesa Television from recording ANY candidate forums this cycle.  In years past those forums were important to each election and, although a couple hundred people attended most of them, many thousands more could watch the taped replay at their convenience and see the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.

Rather than entertain issues important to everyone in the appropriate venue - a City Council meeting - the Mayor has chosen to have tightly-controlled,  semi-private gatherings on Sunday afternoons where residents can meet with him in small groups to discuss their issues.  There are no reports from those meetings and City Staff are required to attend on one of the few days they might spend with their families.

And, now we have rumblings that members of the City Council have been personally assigning city staffers to observe and harass members of the public who are legally going about collecting signatures on petitions for initiatives they hope to place on the November ballot.  If true, this is clearly a misuse of the power of their office and a misuse of staff resources at a time when they are severely strained due to under staffing.

One can only hope that members of the public will continue to bring issues to light that are important to the entire city - not just developers, who will hit and run - even considering the considerable obstacles being placed in their way.  We hope they will continue to step up and speak up - the stakes are too important to permit the power elite to quash public participation.

We know the power elite read this blog - they whine about the content and comments frequently.  So, to them - stop whining and pay attention to the voices of your constituents!  That's your job!

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Couldn't agree more. Its time to take back the city from the ideology that reeks there now. The city is not privy to how their money is being spent. Not privy to who benefits from certain contracts, certain development, etc. Just try t find out why we pay millions to our lawyers You won't be able to How the tax money is spent should be public. Makes one wonder.

Wait until people start to see the high density with parking structures lining Harbor and Newport Blvd. It will be too late then. Same with the "repurposing" of Fairview Park. Its al in the General Plan now. Read it and weep, or vote Mensinger out. Perhaps once the structures start to appear in Fairview Park, Righeimer will institute a new initiative to counter the "Save Fairview Park" initiative. What the majority want is clearly not his concern.

There will be more people throw their hat in the ring. Some think Mansoor will attempt it again. The guy that appointed Righeimer to the council, opening the door for his council candidacy. NOPE! Melone is simply there to siphon votes. NOPE!

This time around I want to see someone in there that has the interest of this city and its residents. Someone who will put our interests and concerns above those of his own. I would love to see someone honest, such as Mr. Humphrey. Sandy Genis is honest and caring and when not outnumbered, is one of the best council people we've had. I'm going to vote to retain her and take off the shackles Mensheimer has set on her. And also, John Stephens. A great candidate, a great attorney, and extremely honest. We can't go wrong with those three.

As for the marijuana initiative, I'm voting NO. I don't want any more drugs in this city, but especially the businesses and the people that bring them. Even if they are the councilmen. Until the council changes and the police force is once again healthy, entertaining the invitation to more drugs, consortiums, cartels, etc. is just stupid.

Remember in November. We need change, and we need it fast.

4/14/2016 07:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

No need to be concerned about the bond proposals. Costa Mesa does not vote for bonded debt - period!

Even the school bonds, Measure F and Measure A of a few years ago did not get a majority of Costa Mesa votes. They passed because both Newport Beach and Costa Mesa voted on them, and Newport Beach voters passed them handily.

Does Righeimer know this, and is this why he pushed for a library bond and an affordable housing bond?

BTW, from things Righeimer has said, it seems he thinks of affordable housing as strictly for low- and very-low-income persons. Costa Mesa also needs housing for moderate-income people such as school teachers, nurses, physical therapists, and secretaries. I guess Righeimer doesn't like them, either.

4/14/2016 08:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Regarding the post about certain social media being propaganda outlets for the extremists: There's nothing new under the sun. The little Dicktator and his Newport boss buddies just use well-worn strategies to try and control Costa Mesa:

"During the Soviet era, Pravda was distributed nationwide,.... There were letters from readers and officially sponsored and approved materials to indoctrinate and inform its readers on Communist theory and programs.... Pravda’s pages featured pleasing makeup, occasional photography, and attractive typography. It carried no Western-style scandal or sensational news; rather, it sought to encourage unity of thought on the part of its readers by stressing and interpreting the party line. Many of its editorials were reprinted in other Soviet and Soviet-bloc papers."

Monahan's been particularly annoyed at this blog lately. When the people of Costa Mesa see the entire picture of his time on Council, they too will be annoyed.

His bar should be boycotted forever. He should never hold public office again.

4/14/2016 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Ocpublicsquare said...

Re:Jim carpetbagging into Costa Mesa in 2006. Mansoor appointed him to the planning commission even though Jim's application missed the deadline. I wanted Paul Bunney, a true Westside activist, to be on the PC. Bever did too. Mansoor used a lame excuse that Paul had shown poor judgment by calling Katrina over an issue, as a reason not to appoint Paul. The rest is history. Just want to get the truth on the record.

4/14/2016 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

You're more pragmatic than I am, Geoff...or maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but I am not giving one of the council seats back to Riggy's puppet for certain. I sense the people of this city are much more in tune with what is going on. Riggy won by those damn 47 votes in an off-year election. With all that is going on for the White House race, I expect a huge turnout in November state and citywide. That should benefit the good guys. Jay has a large following already, and Stephens is a known and respected entity. Melone is a nut and Ramos is....Ramos. Unless Mansoor gets in, I am confident we will have the majority, or dare I say....4 seats. How great would it be if it was only Riggy on the end of the dias representing the dark side? He would probably not show up for meetings anymore.

A man can dream, can't he?

4/14/2016 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Just to give you a little idea of what we deal with on a regular basis, and the reason we require registration on this site in order to post a comment, I received this comment - posted under "Anonymous" - this morning. I never post comments with the name "Anonymous", but this is just an example of the many comments we receive here that you never see. It is posted verbatim:

"You and your gang are one of the biggest cyber bullies and censors there is. You have no code of ethics, nor do those that agree with you. Your group self justifies all of your unethical actions whether its posting peoples private info, censoring comments, or invoking war criminal imagery to make your point (nazi, mussolini, hitler, ayatolah). The victims of those war criminals would dream of having land issues be the most serious issue they encountered. You

What a creep and hypocrite you are with your little bully site."

4/14/2016 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

Even with cracko-s like Anonymous I remain optimistic. It shows they are running scared.

What the fools that infiltrate on Nextdoor don't realize is that the majority of the people on the site don't post anything political, and if they do, it's a lost dog report. But they read everything. They see how vile these jerks write, the lies and name-calling they use, and they make judgements on the candidates that way. I am convinced these CMPS people are doing way more damage to their cause than good.

4/14/2016 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous davidonlorenzo said...


I read your columns all the time and I rarely comment.

All I want to say today is: "Keep up the great work!"

4/14/2016 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

You and yer gang are a dissgrace to us libertyaliens and akt like peeple who went to collage. Well I dint and em jes fine. so thair.
Mensinger four Precedent!

4/14/2016 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

Bravo, Joe!

At first read, I thought it was from Fitzy.

4/14/2016 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger mesa verde madman said...

As bad as it is on CMPS with the Fistlers and Fowlers of the world, the folks on 'our side' do a bit of a disservice by alienating those that are not committed one way or the other.

While I admire the passion, it definitely rubs some the wrong way and drives them into the hate-loving arms of the Public Square crew. That said, of the 6,000 or whatever members there (I left of my own accord, as i couldn't stop going back to it, much like trying to catch a look at a car wreck - the ultimate time suck), I think about 5,500 of them just like to sit back and watch the crazy.

4/14/2016 07:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Mesa verde madman, I wouldn't worry about those on the "other" site. The city really isn't governed by Facebook. Real impressions are made by those sitting at traffic lights, in traffic, trying to find a place to park, while their homes are being broken into by sober living home residents looking for drug money. Or by the speeding that is now gripping the city, with no officers to stop it, or by the DUIs and hit and runs accidents that have become all too prevalent.

Righeimer can yell that he's making the city over in his image, Steve can yell that he's not stupid and walks every week, and Gary can just yell or throw a party for a pedophile. In the end, the residents aren't fooled. This is not the direction we want for our city.

Let's vote them out in November and get some caring, honest people back in.

4/15/2016 07:44:00 AM  

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