Tuesday, August 2, 2005
44 - Not Just A Number
When you see the number "44", what image pops into your mind? For you sports trivia fans, you might think of the
#44 worn on the jerseys of three magnificent running backs for Syracuse University - All-American Floyd Little, Heisman
Trophy winner Ernie Davis and the incomparable Jim Brown. Closer to home, 44 is the number worn by former Laker All Pro Jerry
West - a great name, don't you think? For some of us guys with other sports in mind, the image of Dolly Parton - or maybe
Jayne Mansfield, for us really old fellas - starts rattling around in our heads.
9:02 am pdt
Today, an event in the not-too-distant past has conspired to muddle-up those images in my head. Today, the number "44"
represents lost opportunity.
In the municipal election of November, 2004 Eric Bever squeaked out a slim victory - 44 votes - over then-Planning Commission
Chairman Bruce Garlich for the final spot on the Costa Mesa City Council. Since that time some of us have found ourselves
longing for what might have been.
Today, instead of Garlich sitting on the City Council dais - using his intellect, integrity, proven leadership, solid management
experience and strong background of community service to help provide direction on difficult issues - we are saddled with
Bever's unwarranted cocky arrogance, questionable motivation and demonstrated willingness to play fast and loose with the
Fortunately, Garlich's well-reasoned debate, steady hand and calming influence continue to help guide this city from his position
on the Planning Commission. Meanwhile, on the City Council, we see Bever's shoot-from-the-hip style as he and his pal, Mayor
Allan Mansoor, attempt to find new ways to stifle discussion of important issues and implement pre-fabricated decisions.
If, during the campaign last year, two dozen voters had done their homework a little better, studied the candidates a little
harder and observed them in action on the Planning Commission a little more closely, we would not now be watching our City
Council scramble from one controversial slippery slope to another.
A year from now we will be in the midst of what will likely be another hotly contested election campaign. As we move toward
that time I hope you will begin to pay attention and speak up when you see our elected leaders heading down the wrong path.
The same team, and the ambivalence of the electorate, that gave us Chris Steel in 2000 burdened us with Bever in 2004.
In November, 2006 we have the opportunity to change the direction of this town by electing at least one new person, maybe
two. If Allan Mansoor continues down his current path his re-election is certainly no slam dunk. Let's hope that more people
will do a better job of selecting leaders for this city next year. It will take strong leadership to undo the damage already
done by the current majority on the council, not to mention the harm they can do to this city over the next sixteen months.
44 votes - some lessons in a free society are learned painfully. Let's hope we learned from this one.