Saturday, September 26, 2020



Early in the life of this blog, on May 9, 2006, I posted this entry.  Today I re-post it for your consideration.  My thoughts back then seem very relevant today. 


Since the campaign season looms on the horizon, it's time for us to begin considering what the next few months hold for us as a covey of candidates start jockeying for position in the race for our votes in November. Of course, opinions differ on just what constitutes a good candidate for city government. Each of us, based on our background, bias and expectations, may have a different take on that subject.

I suspect most of us in Costa Mesa would just like to have people on the city council we can trust, who are willing to work hard on important issues and calmly debate them with their peers to do the best job possible for all residents of the community. We will likely gravitate toward candidates who share our values and goals for the future of our city.

As I consider candidates who will vie for my vote I use a kind of mental template against which I compare their qualifications. My template presently includes the following characteristics, not necessarily in order of importance:

INTELLIGENCE - I want a candidate with the intellectual capacity to understand the complex issues that will come before the council. That doesn't mean any candidate must be an "expert" in municipal government - we have an excellent city staff to help them navigate through the process. It does mean that any candidate I will consider must have demonstrated, either through academic achievement or professional accomplishment or both, that he or she has sufficient gray matter to do the job.

LEADERSHIP - I want a candidate with proven leadership experience. This doesn't necessarily mean military leadership, although that would be acceptable. Heck, in recent months a little combat command experience might have come in handy. I want a person to whom others look for guidance and direction. I want a person who has demonstrated the skills necessary to guide the discussion of complex and controversial issues and arbitrate resolutions.

ENERGY - I want a candidate with the energy and stamina to do the job. That doesn't necessarily mean youth. I wouldn't consider a young person based simply on age - just as I wouldn't discount an older person for the same reason. I want a person who has shown, through recent accomplishments, that there's sufficient fuel in the tank and horsepower under the hood to take on the tasks ahead.

VOLUNTEER SPIRIT- I want a candidate who feels our city is important and has demonstrated, through significant community involvement, a willingness to make it even better by volunteering time and energy to worthy causes.

VISION - I want a candidate who shares my vision for the future of this city. We don't have to agree on everything, but I want a person on the council who shares my core beliefs and has the skill to prioritize the challenges ahead so they can be met with success. I want a candidate who understands that Costa Mesa is not an island - it's part of a broader regional entity, the needs of which must be considered as critical issues are debated. I want a candidate who has a vision to lead this city into the future, not permit it to regress by espousing half-century old philosophies on social issues and pandering to the darkest side of a few people in this town.

COMPASSION - I want a candidate who wants to make our city a place for anyone willing to work hard and contribute to our society, regardless of ethnicity or religion. I want a candidate who will repudiate those who advocate exclusion of groups because of race or national origin.

EVEN-HANDEDNESS - I want a candidate who is willing to listen to all residents with courtesy and compassion and who will try to negotiate each issue to a fair, just conclusion for all residents, not just a vocal few.

MATURITY - I want a candidate who has the maturity to lead our city of well over 100,000 souls into the next decade. Typically, this maturity comes from time spent in the trenches, learning from experience. It's highly unlikely that I will feel comfortable entrusting the future of our city to the whims of the youth among us - those with the attention span of a gnat.

That's my list - at least part of it. I'm sure other elements will be added as we begin to see who the real candidates will be this year. I'll leave it to create your own, personal list and to do the homework necessary to make an informed choice in November.

Thursday, September 03, 2020


For the past few months our nation has been racked by violence unseen for a half-century.  The deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers has ignited demonstrations, riots, looting, arson and murder to the point where many Americans wonder what has happened to their country, and what the future holds.  The demonstrations in the name of men -  convicted criminals - who were apprehended for yet another crime and refused to follow the instructions of police officers on the scene and subsequently died as a result of their belligerence are, at best, misguided and, most likely, politically motivated by well-funded anarchists.

At the same time the deaths of police officers of all races have gone relatively unnoticed.  Nobody will paint a wall in their city with their likeness even though they gave their life to protect the citizens of that city.  Nobody will thank the officers responding to the riots for trying to maintain peace while not receiving support from their local or state officials.  Nobody will explain why they were ordered to abandon a police station to rioters who burned it to the ground.  Nobody will thank them for dodging bricks, rocks, bottles of water and condoms filled with feces as they try to protect lives and property.  Nobody is marching in their memory.  It tears my heart out.

Through this all the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department have followed their training and their leadership and maintained relative calm throughout our city.  Regardless the number of people at demonstrations, the men and women of the CMPD have stepped up, held their ground and used outstanding judgment to resolve the issues.  The "law" would have permitted them to approach these situations much more aggressively - to issue citations, book violators, etc.  Instead, they choose, generally, to be the face of calm authority.  They chose to advise the demonstrators of the rules and encouraged them to follow them.  In most cases that mature approach worked.

I have been honored to know many members of the CMPD and their leadership.  I am proud to say the I'm personal friends with many of them and know what it takes for a law enforcement family to survive and thrive.  I know a little of the history of the organization and the trail of good men who have led it - and some who were not so good.  As a long-term resident I am proud of the leadership over the years that was forward-thinking - the A.B.L.E. helicopter program certainly comes to mind.  I'm proud that, for many years, the CMPD was the go-to place to work for good cops.  I took the photo at the bottom at the 60th anniversary celebration a few years ago.
We don't know what the next couple months hold for us as the rhetoric ramps up in anticipation of the November 3rd elections.  We don't know how much the Trump/Biden rancor will spill over into local races.  We don't know whether we will see more boneheads chanting at Mayor Katrina Foley from her driveway, as has been done at least 3 times as I write this.  We don't know whether this tactic - by imported, well-funded outsiders intent on impacting our elections - will be expanded to the front lawns of other elected leaders or the steps of City Hall.  We don't know if the demonstrations in our city will degenerate into the kind of things we've seen in Seattle, Portland, Kenosha and other cities.

What we DO KNOW is that the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department will continue to do their job to keep us safe.  Despite being understaffed by at least 20%, despite having a city leadership in recent years past that despised the men and women of the CMPD and did everything they could to cripple and discourage their members and despite having had leadership changes over the past couple decades that hampered their effectiveness, we know they will honor their motto to "protect and serve" us.  We know the current CMPD leadership is strong and supportive.  We know the current city leadership supports the CMPD 100% and, as budget constraints permit, will recognize that support in a more tangible way.  I just want them all to know that we appreciate them and support them... and to say THANK YOU for strapping on that belt, pinning on that badge and and honoring their oath of office.

Labels: , ,