Friday, October 28, 2016

Why I'm Voting NO On Measure EE

The election is just over a week away - some of you have probably already mailed in your ballots - but I thought I'd share my views on Measure EE.
What is Measure EE?  It's the item placed on the ballot by the Costa Mesa City Council that's supposed to meet the requirements of a settlement agreement agreed upon earlier this year... it doesn't.
I wrote about this issue in the Daily Pilot earlier this month, HERE.  You can read that long explanation if you wish, but let me give you the thumbnail version of why I won't be voting for this plan.

We are required by a settlement agreement to present to the voters on November 8th a plan to carve up Costa Mesa into districts from which future City Council members would be elected.  No longer would council members be elected at-large - the way they have for more than 6 decades.

To accomplish this task a demographer/consultant, David Ely, was hired and, through a series of community meetings, developed several options which had roughly equal number of residents, each of which produced a Latino population majority district - the goal of the lawsuit so Costa Mesa would meet state and federal voting rights laws.
The most favored of those choices were two 5-district maps, each slightly different than the other, but both retained basically the same Latino district.


Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer asked the demographer to create a 6-district map that would also require a directly-elected mayor - the council must have an uneven number of members.  Under this plan no longer would the mayor be chosen from among the 5 council members.
When it came time to select a plan to place before the voters Righeimer jammed his 6-district scheme down the throats of the council members and his male majority carried the day.  That's what we're voting on on November 8th.
In my view, this is just another scheme to solidify power in the city by Righeimer and his cronies.  Whatever plan is chosen, it will begin to be implemented at the elections of 2018, at the time Righeimer is termed out of a council seat, but could be eligible for the directly-elected mayor seat.
If Measure EE fails in the election the issue will likely be placed before a judge, who could select a map for us to implement, and it's unlikely that judge would choose a map already rejected by the voters of this city.  It's likely that a 5-district choice - one of those preferred by the voters - would be selected.  The mayor would continue to be chosen by his peers.

In my view, Measure EE should be voted down and let the judge choose a map - and abandon Righeimer's latest power grab.  Don't forget his TWO failed Charter schemes!



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Blogger Flo Martin said...

My VBM ballot is in. As someone who attended one of the community meetings regarding this issue and who also supports a 5-districts map, I voted a big NO on EE!

10/28/2016 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

I am generally opposed to concentrating power in one person and in favor of dispersing power among a lot of people. That's why I voted NO on EE.

A mayor chosen by more than half of an electorate of around 50,000 would have a LOT of power, compared with a council member chosen by fewer than 15,000 voters, or compared to a mayor chosen by 2 or 3 or 4 of his/her fellow council members. And the home district of a mayor elected at large would have 2 votes on everything that comes before the council, while all other districts would have only 1 vote each.

That's not the spirit in which we do things in Costa Mesa.

10/28/2016 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Voting No on EE will put it in the judge's hands. Once done, a judge can look at it and determine that 6 districts undermines the original intent of districting, which is to bring a voice to those that don't have representation. Hopefully then, we will hae 5 districts. I also am voting No on EE.

10/28/2016 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Hey, I trust the judiciary a hell of a lot more than I trust the Soviet Three. EE needs to go down, big-time; harder than measure O or measure V, or 'Heimer's phony "paycheck protection" act. It's just as bogus as his receipt for two diet cokes, or his grandstanding attempt at council to "keep money from going to China", or the Care Ambulance contract, or the layoffs, or the outsourcing, or his fake support for not selling off the fairgrounds.

I'd surely like to see a clean sweep this time.

10/29/2016 12:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Heart for Costa Mesa said...

Definitely no on EE. If we have to have districts, let's make it fair.

10/29/2016 03:00:00 AM  
Anonymous big boy pants said...

Do we really want this guy again and his policies? Not just his policies but how about his tactics? Ushering vital issues to the council agenda - without a study session. Manipulating photographs of good men serving Costa Mesa. And the use of his Frankenstein as Byron de Arakal pens it. Costa Mesa we shouldn't go this route again. His Assemby tour was nothing but he can do so much damage again to Costa Mesa.

Written in 2008.
But then Allan Mansoor became mayor in January 2005. And something happened to him. Somebody slipped him a flask of 100-proof politics. And he drank from it. Freely.

Sure, he helped lead the shuttering of the job center, which was fine in my book. But then he placed his crosshairs on the city’s Human Relations Committee, a group I believed was good only because it kept the competing factions in Costa Mesa talking. It kept the waters calm while the city worked through difficult issues whose solutions would have real effects on people, their homesteads and their livelihoods.

Then, later in the year, Mansoor gave life to his Frankenstein; the one issue that will define his stay at the city’s helm. He ushered to the council’s agenda — without benefit of a study session — the cross-designation of every Costa Mesa police officer, vesting them with the power to conduct immigration screenings.

It struck me as an extreme solution and potentially destructive for its lack of public vetting. An ICE agent in Costa Mesa’s pokey? Fine. But a 165-cop force out combing the streets of Costa Mesa for illegal immigrants? Way too Cold War East Europe for me.

The issue gave Mansoor instant political muscle in the citadels of GOP politics and made him a media star.

The footlights enticed him. He was featured in USA Today. Regularly kibitzed with Lou Dobbs on CNN and chatted it up with Bill O’Reilly on the “O’Reilly Factor.”

He did radio gigs with John and Ken on KFI-AM (640) and rode the crest of national attention following Jim Gilchrist and his Minutemen.

Mansoor the politician reached full bloom during the 2006 election cycle when he sought another term. His campaign was crafted by long-established political operatives, he honed to patently monotonous talking points, and he grossly mischaracterized the positions of those who sought more moderate solutions as having no interest in “upholding our laws.”

Then, Mansoor went over the top. His campaign manipulated images of long-time Costa Mesa residents Mike Scheafer and Bruce Garlich (two good men who were also candidates for city council in 2006) in one of his campaign mailers, making Scheafer look like an organized crime goon and Garlich like a death-camp survivor.

I never thought the homegrown Mansoor I had coffee with years earlier would embrace all this political manure and media stuff.

But, he did. And I regret that he did.

BYRON DE ARAKAL is a former Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commissioner. Readers can reach him at

10/29/2016 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

I personally like the idea of an elected Mayor, someone looking out for the interests of the city as a whole and just not a single district.

10/29/2016 11:41:00 AM  
Anonymous big boy pants said...

Certainly nobody was worried at all. Well except the Segerstrom Family, former Police Chief and many other concerned (terrified) residents and city leaders. So little concern - they form the group Return to Reason to defeat Mansoor.

Now, a group of influential former local politicians, residents and businesses -- among them C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, the family business that owns South Coast Plaza -- are pushing back.

They have formed a coalition, Return to Reason, to unseat the City Council's anti-illegal-immigration majority, which they believe has brought national shame and ridicule to their once-quiet city.

"Things have deteriorated to where people are not mentioning the fine points of our community," said former Police Chief Dave Snowden, who was the city's top law enforcement officer for 18 years before retiring in 2003. "No one is for illegal immigration here, but there's a right and a wrong way to fight it.... Costa Mesa should be known for many better things."

The goal of the newly formed political action committee is to return to a time when the mention of Costa Mesa brought visions of South Coast Plaza, the Orange County Performing Arts Center and a quiet government that concentrated on filling potholes and building parks.

Return to Reason is "credible," said Bruce Garlich, one of the candidates backed by the organization. "It's a bipartisan group with a wide base. There hasn't been a counterpoint until now."

Mansoor has appeared on talk shows denouncing illegal immigration, and has the endorsement of Jim Gilchrist, leader of the controversial Minuteman Project, which monitors conditions at the Mexico border.

Led by the mayor, a majority on the five-member council voted to use local police to enforce some immigration laws, end the city's Human Relations Committee and close a job center that helped dayworkers get jobs.

To prevent another job center from opening, Mansoor proposed requiring city permits for areas where large groups of people can assemble, an idea that raised eyebrows because it would also have required permits to open businesses such as restaurants. The proposal failed.

10/29/2016 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Geoff --
Had a letter published in the Pilot today. It was somewhat mangled by editorial action. FYI, here's the original. You may publish or not, at your discretion.

Editor, The Daily Pilot:(last Sunday)

Today’s Daily Pilot carries letters from Tim Sesler, of the Costa Mesa Planning Commission, an appointee of the City Council; and John Moorlach, state senator and known ally of the current City Council majority. Both these gentlemen are advocates of the Mensinger-Mansoor-Ramos slate of candidates in the upcoming election. Both these letter-writers find fault with the fact that Costa Mesa firemen have a stake in that upcoming election, which will determine whether Sesler’s and Moorlach’s allies or their opponents run the city for the next two to four years.

I don’t suppose that Sesler’s and Moorlach’s political affiliation has the slightest thing to do with their arguments as posed in today’s Pilot. No, no, they are of course free of any taint of bias, perfectly impartial; they probably wear halos, as they advocate cloture of the firefighters’ freedom of speech and association. Their absolute blind impartiality is beyond question: Are they not Government Officials? So why shouldn’t they have the right, nay, the duty, to tell these out-of-towners, these vested-interest personnel, who after all are only musclebound fire-grunts, to shut up and get back in the box? After all, firemen only put out fires and save people from dying in them and other life-threatening situations; they are not Hallowed and Consecrated Government Officials, like Sesler and Moorlach. And they don’t even live here in Costa Mesa.

Clearly, the vested interests of Sesler and Moorlach trump the vested interests of the firefighters, and only the former have any right to speak; the latter, despite the fact that they risk their lives for any of us whose life or health may be in jeopardy, of course have no such rights.

Gee, I hope nobody sees anything wrong with this scenario.

10/29/2016 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

How ironic that team Ellis rented a decommissioned fire truck to drive around town with their campaign signs on it.

10/30/2016 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

Gary and fat-boy Fitzy must have put out the money for that rented fire engine because they had to have their banner on top the other numbskulls banner. Complete waste of time and money.

10/30/2016 02:40:00 PM  

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