Sunday, August 16, 2020


Yes, there are more races we should address as the 2020 campaign season has now launched - and who really knows what THAT means?  I sure don't!  Are we going to have candidate forums? Are we going to have Zoom debates?  Are we just going to close our eyes and stab at our ballots, then mail them in? Will President Trump emasculate the United States Postal Service so our votes won't make it to the Registrar?  Anyhow, there are more races to be discussed and I'm going to give you my take, early in the season, for whatever it's worth.  HERE is a link to the page on the OC Registrar of Voters web page that gives you some info on each of the following candidates.

As most know, the Costa Mesa Sanitary District was extorted, just as the City of Costa Mesa and many other municipal entities were, into voting by district.  That required creating districts, then staggering the elections for those districts.  And, of course, the district boundaries are similar, but not the same, as the City boundaries or those of other districts that operate within Costa Mesa.  Yeah, confusion reigns.  This time around the CMSD has two seats being contested.  I'll address each of those individually.

This seat, is currently held by long, long time incumbent JAMES FERRYMAN, a man with a very long history of service to our community, including his tour as one of the strong leaders of the CMSD.  He would be my choice, hands down, if I could vote in this race.  He is challenged by BRETT ECKLES, a man with a youth sports orientation and a strong allegiance to the former political regime led by Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger.  Two years ago he ran against Andrea Marr for the 2nd District City Council seat and was soundly trounced by her.  I suspect that was because she brought such strong academic and leadership credentials to the race AND he carried the baggage of that previous administration.  He has not lost that baggage and Jim Ferryman has too much experience and leadership to be tossed aside.  Jim Ferryman is far and away the best choice.

In this race we have a similar situation.  ART PERRY is a long time community leader and educator.  His experience on the CMSD board has contributed to it being one of the most highly-regarded special districts in Orange County, if not the state.  Under the leadership of men like Art Perry and Jim Ferryman the CMSD has shown just how well such an organization can be run - with efficiency and fiscal responsibility.  Art Perry would be my guy in this race.  He is challenged by MICHELLE FIGUEREDO-WILSON, a woman with zero municipal experience.  She also challenged for a seat on the City Council two years ago, and, despite serious support from the OC GOP hierarchy, was soundly whipped by young newcomer Manuel Chavez.  She gained only 709 votes in that election.  She brings nothing to the table - to academic credentials nor demonstrated leadership experience.  She is a constant complainer via the social media sites and is closely allied with the above-mentioned Righeimer/Mensinger cabal.  Nope.. Art Perry's experience and long-time dedication to our community make him the easy choice in this race.

It's interesting that, although there are three seats up for grabs, only one will be contested.  The seats held by incumbents FRED BOCKMILLER and MARICE DE PASAQUALE will not be contested - nobody stepped up to challenge them.  However, the Division 2 seat held by incumbent JAMES R. FISLER is being contested.  He is being challenged by newcomer, but home-town boy, ADAM C. ERETH, a member of the iconic Perry clan in town.  He brings an exceptional academic and work background to this race and will be a very refreshing replacement for the onerous Righeimer/Mensinger sycophant, Fisler.  I've watched Fisler over the years and have come away singularly unimpressed with his tours on various commissions and committees.  He's a politician who brings no expertise to any assignment.  I expect this will be a tough race - Fisler is well-connected in that part of town - but Ereth brings a special new kind of energy to this race and would certainly be a breath of fresh air on that board.  If I could vote in this race Adam Ereth would be my guy.

There are several seats on this board being contested this time around, but only one with a local connection.

This race will be hotly-contested by an interesting mix of people.  There are two people about which I know absolutely nothing about - CHRISTOPHER GANIERE and DANA M. REED.  They apparently have no prior public service experience and will not get my vote.

Mesa Water District manager STACY LYNNE TAYLOR  has a strong Public Relations background at Mesa Water.  I've met her and don't dislike her, but I will not consider her because there is a much stronger candidate on the ballot and she is one more member of the Mesa Water power-hungry hierarchy trying to spread it's tentacles throughout the regional water management infrastructure.

Next is re-tread and termed out Costa Mesa Councilman ALLAN MANSOOR - a guy looking for another public trough to which he can belly-up.  Right up front, I am NOT a Mansoor fan.  Although he is a multi-term councilman, his times on the council were "distinguished" only by his anti-immigrant positions - he wanted to turn every Costa Mesa police officer into an ICE officer, for example.  He was named as an honorary "Minuteman" by the anti-immigrant leader, Jim Gilchrist, for goodness sake!  He has no record of accomplishment here - only divisiveness - or in the California State Assembly seat he held before returning to local politics.  He has been a willing pawn for the local OC GOP power brokers and brings nothing - no demonstrated leadership at any level, no strong academic credentials, no technical expertise, zero - to this particular race.  I strongly suspect that the only thing he knows about water is when he admiringly goes "ooohhh" as he watches it swirl around the toilet bowl when he flushes it.  The last time he ran for public office was two years ago when he ran, as a seated councilman and former mayor,  for the District 5 council seat.  He was crushed by newcomer Arlis Reynolds - making it clear that his neighbors knew him and rejected his brand of politics.  I suspect that will happen in this race, too.

Which brings us to the final person on the ballot - my friend and neighbor, KARL SECKEL.  Notwithstanding the fact that he lives in my neighborhood and I've gotten to know him over the past several years, as an old resume-reader for decades I can tell you that he brings a nearly perfect background for this job.  He has worked for MWDOC for nearly 4 decades and has an outstanding academic, technical and management background for this assignment.  He will retire the end of this year and his presence on this board will provide an extraordinary level of continuity of technical and professional leadership.  He is endorsed by the incumbent, Joan Finnegan.  This is an easy call for me -   Karl Seckel will enthusiastically get my vote.

Maybe next time.  I know nothing about any of the candidates except one.  So, I'll try to do my homework and get back to you - maybe I'll actually read Steve Smith's blog! :-)

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