Sunday, May 07, 2017

And Now A Few Thoughts About Jim Righeimer

We're a few months into the new council terms and there are a few things on my mind that just need to be said.
The balance of power has shifted from one controlled with a dictatorial hand by Jim Righeimer over the past half-dozen years, where anti-employee initiatives, developer-friendly ordinances and personal political considerations drove the decisions made by the City Council to one where a more reasonable form of governance has taken over.
Righeimer and his buddy, Steve Mensinger - unceremoniously dumped by the electorate last November - formed the core of that manipulative cabal.  They were supported by Eric Bever, then the lamest of lame ducks, Gary Monahan, in their quest to reinvent city government - to try to operate it like a business.  This resulted in some epic failures and have cost the city in millions of legal expenses and settlements.  And now there is Allan Mansoor - again.
Mansoor has demonstrated - both during his previous tour on the City Council and as an Assemblyman - that he is an incompetent, completely ineffective politician.  He lacks the ability to articulate complex issues and build a consensus.  He is personally responsible for Righeimer's existence in Costa Mesa politics.

Righeimer has proven to be a cunning, conniving, political weasel and, in my humble opinion, is the single worst thing to happen to this city over the more than four decades I’ve lived here.  He waltzed into town more than a decade ago and was immediately placed on the Planning Commission by Mansoor, in what certainly looked like political payback for his and Dana Rohrabacher’s support in the 2006 election.  Since that time he has run roughshod over the rules of procedure, attempted to remake City Government with two failed charter attempts, gutted the finest police department in the county in a fit of anti-police malice and made our city less safe by putting potholes ahead of public safety.  The list of his missteps goes on and on.  With an unbreakable majority that included Mensinger and Monahan they sold out our town to developers and sober living interests.  Their actions have depleted our self-insurance fund due to the numerous lawsuits they’ve evoked.  They turned City Hall into a toxic work environment.  Righeimer’s actions resulted in poor Huy Pham leaping to his death as more than 200 illegal layoff notices were distributed. Former Interim Police Chief (twice) Steve Staveley, in his letter to the staff upon his departure, described the Righeimer-led council as, “..incompetent, unskilled and unethical.”  As it turned out, he was being much too kind to them.  The list of Righeimer’s misdeeds goes on and on...

Righeimer’s legacy will include all of the above, but the worst may be his hijacking of the process of turning Costa Mesa into a vote-by-district city.  The original legal challenge that caused that process to be put into motion was supposed to result in a greater opportunity for political representation of the Latino community that makes up roughly 37% of our population.  That could have happened with a 5-district configuration, with one of them being predominantly Latino.  At the last second Righeimer commandeered the process and inserted a 6-district plus directly-elected mayor scheme onto the ballot.  I attended all the public meetings on this issue and not a single person - not one - expressed a favorable view of that particular configuration.  Righeimer demanded that the consultant demographer include that configuration in the deliberations, then forced it onto the ballot.  I will forever regret not writing an opposing ballot discussion - nobody did.  The result of that theft will be that the Latino population of this city will have a much-diminished opportunity for representation from within their community than with the 5-district option.  Watch for Righeimer to try to manipulate the process of the integration of the new district voting scheme at the election two years from now.  It will take two election cycles to fully integrate the new system.  And, of course, Righeimer will be termed-out of his council seat in 2018, just in time to run for directly-elected mayor.  What a coincidence.

Speaking of coincidences, with the influx of developer and sober living money into our city over the past several years, I find it noteworthy that both Righeimer and Mensinger have decided to completely remodel/rebuild their country club mansions.  It’s particularly interesting since Mensinger was out of work for a couple years recently.  I’m not trying to tie them to any kind of corruption - just observing the curious coincidence.  You can weigh that for what it’s worth.
I'm confident the new council majority will return the city to a more appropriate direction and undo some of the more onerous effects of the Righeimer Regime.  I caution you all to keep on an eye on him as he jockeys for position for a run for that directly-elected mayor position that will become available next year.  He's a hack politician out for whatever is in it for him, with a demonstrable hatred for public employees and is not a factor for good in Costa Mesa.  Just assume that every time he opens his mouth a lie is about to be heard.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Absolutely correct on every level. Until these "cultists" are out of office completely this city isn't safe. And that includes Mansoor, who isn't fit to bag lunches apparently. Kudos to the new council for starting off on the public safety personnel and getting things back on track. Anxiously awaiting a contract for our CMFD. Things are looking up. Let's keep it that way.

5/08/2017 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous mesa verde madman said...

My favorite picture! What has two thumbs and loves...

Oh, never mind.

Sure going to miss this place!

5/08/2017 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger orangemath said...

Mr. Messenger is a member of a very successful family that has donated a building to a university. His home is very nice, but it probably could have been even more luxurious. On this topic, don't draw any inferences on where the money for the remodeling came from. Assume the best.

5/13/2017 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Being a member of a very nice family doesn't necessarily mean he is. I suspect his Aunt Peggy - a political icon in his home town - was spinning in her grave as she looked down from upon high and watched his antics as a local politician. I judge him based only on HIS actions, not those of his family. I don't "assume" anything one way or the other. As he said during the campaign, he will run on his record. Well, he did and now he's standing on the sidelines, spewing venom on anti-social media sites.

6/08/2017 02:02:00 AM  

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