A Bubbling Cauldron
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Welcome to A Bubbling Cauldron, a blog dedicated to the observations and opinions of this writer. Most of the time the subject will be local politics and politicians - those issues and/or people affecting the lives of those of us in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. Occasionally, I might write about something obscure that interests me. Or, I may just launch off into some philosophical rant if the urge moves me. I might even include comments by others from time to time.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Good Job - Thank You - You're Welcome - No Problem
Have you noticed that, lately, the common courtesy of simply saying "thank you" has become a dying art form? I'm trying to figure out exactly what that means about our society. I mean, how hard is it to simply acknowledge someone's efforts on your behalf?

When I was growing up my parents stressed the importance of saying "thank you", either verbally or in writing, when someone provided you with a service or a kindness, regardless how small. We learned to write notes of appreciation to distant relatives when they sent a birthday card or a Christmas gift. We learned to graciously acknowledge the delivery of our food at a restaurant, even though it was the server's job.

Today, I seldom see folks - particularly those younger than 40 - offer a sincere "thank you" to a server in a restaurant or a clerk in a store.

For example, I have been remiss by not thanking columnist Steve Smith for his persistent efforts to set us straight on issues as diverse as the evils of television watching and the greedy, inconsiderate, fuel-consuming automobile driving that we all do. Thank you, Steve. I shudder when I consider what moral degenerates we all would become without your guidance.

On the other side of the coin, many times when I thank someone for bringing me a cheeseburger and Diet Coke, the response will frequently be a cheerful "No problem!". Well, I know it's "no problem" for a server to bring me my food - it's their job. But, when they find it necessary to tell me, I find myself thinking that it really is a "problem" for them to serve me, but that they will let me off the hook this time. I'm sure most of them don't mean anything negative by saying it, but it really frosts me. I'd much prefer for them to simply say something like "you're welcome" or "my pleasure". It has become a personal goal of mine to expunge "no problem" from our lexicon. So, one server at a time, I'm chopping away at that offensive phrase.

Another dying phrase in our society is "good job". How often do you take a second to sincerely say those words? I'm not talking about screaming them at a little league game or soccer match. I'm talking about the little, every day things in our lives. Two of the more satisfying experiences in life are when you receive an unexpected compliment or when you deliver one and watch the reaction. Most of the time the recipients perk right up and work even harder at whatever mission they were on.

With that in mind, in the future I'm going to try to do a "good job" of saying "thank you" and "you're welcome" - no problem.
11:34 pm pdt

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Muzzles, Transients and Quashed Churches
Just in case you missed it, during the Costa Mesa City Council meeting on September 20th, Mayor Allan Mansoor floated a suggestion to even more severely limit opposing viewpoints on the dais.

In response to Councilwoman Linda Dixon's inquiry about rotating the order in which council members speak during the Councilperson Comments section of the meeting, Mansoor agreed that it was a good idea. He then slid into the mix a suggestion to limit those comments to three minutes each.

This is a truly bad idea! It's bad enough that the male majority tends to ignore comments and opinions of the two female members - the highest vote-getters in the last election - but to put an arbitrary time limit on their opportunity to speak to issues important to them and their constituents as they go about doing the city's business is unconscionable!

Of course, no one should be surprised by Mansoor's suggestion. Since the election, the Mansoor-led majority has continually moved to stifle opposing debate of contentious issues. In fact, during the meeting on the 20th Mansoor ignored Councilwoman Katrina Foley's request to speak on an issue before a motion was made, even though she was quite insistent. He just blew her off, and made his motion. Not only was that rude, but it is unacceptable behavior by anyone conducting the council meeting. Every council member deserves the right to be heard on any issue before a motion is made on it. This heavy-handed disregard for decorum and the will of the people is a perfect example why the voters of this city should think carefully before casting a vote for Mansoor should he decide to run again in 2006.

***

At the same meeting Westside restaurant owner and community activist Mirna Burciaga once again beseeched the council to do something about the drunks and transients who infest the area around her business. She complained about drunkenness, public urniation, people having sex in public, etc. The response to her from our city "leaders" was interesting. First, our mayor suggested she sue the entities that attract the people to the neighborhood, implying that the city is not responsible for loiterers on our streets. Then, councilman Eric Bever attempted to get her to state, for the record, just which businesses are responsible for the derelicts around her business. One had the impression that, perhaps, those two buddies were trying to foist off the resolution of this very serious situation onto the citizen.

Bever and Mansoor have, for years, complained about the various charities and other "magnets" for "undesirables" on the Westside and have tried to expel such entities from the city. Of course, I saw that as part of the song book of intolerance published by one persistent activist in town who seems to be scripting much of what is said at official forums these days. This person is trying to rid the community of folks with Latino surnames, pure and simple.

***

In a related event, during the most recent Planning Commission meeting the subject of storefront churches was discussed. During that debate it became clear that some on the commission were not so much concerned about providing opportunities for religious entities to set up shop, but that they were worried that such an entity might just become a de facto replacement for the Job Center, which is scheduled to close at the end of the year.

Seems to me that the city needs to purchase some new paddy wagons and find a way to expand the city jail, because once the Job Center closes the hard-working men who find jobs there every day will be forced to congregate elsewhere. That, of course, violates city law and will result in them being arrested for solicitation. I'm sure Chief Hensley worries about just where he's supposed to put those men on January 1st. Happy New Year - now go to jail!

It's clear to me, from their actions and public statements, that some members of the council are adament that there will be no Job Center in this city. This, despite the fact that it has provided a public service for nearly two decades. It was a good solution to a real problem when it was created and is no less valuable today. I'm sure those council members who oppose even the concept of a job center are assuming that those men who need jobs will simply disappear once the job center is closed. What a pipe dream!

Our next opportunity to shape the future of this city comes in a little over a year. I hope you all will begin paying attention to your elected officials between now and then. If you don't, you will end up with the city government you deserve - one that thrives on the lack of public awareness and ignorance of issues.
11:44 am pdt

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West