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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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Discretion Eliminated and the Girls Squeezed Out
A couple interesting things occurred last night at the Costa Mesa city council meeting...

Following a brief description by the City Manager of some possible options available to the council regarding a policy defining the use of their discretionary funds, Mayor Mansoor took the bull (interpret that word any way you wish) by the horns and made a motion to approve the most restrictive possible interpretation of the options presented. Basically, he took the "discretion" out of the discretionary funds. With Linda Dixon absent and Katrina Foley apparently not ready to get into a losing debate with the male majority, the motion passed unanimously.

As approved, the fund can now be used only for conferences related to the job. And, to further tighten his control, all out of state travel coincident with such training would require the approval of the full council. Mansoor obviously had his mind made up before the meeting and didn't seem very interested in hearing any discussion - period. The term "heavy handed" doesn't even come close to describing his approach on this issue. I guess the other council members should be grateful that he didn't impose a requirement for them to genuflect in his presence when asking permission to attend a conference.

Of significance both symbolically and practically, the new seating arrangement on the dais following Eric Bever's coronation as Mayor Pro Tem at the last council meeting was unveiled. The result was the placement of the two women, Foley and Dixon, in the outermost seats on the dais. This places the male majority shoulder to shoulder in the center and leaves the women, both literally and figuratively, on the outside, looking in. The ruling troika won't even have to be bothered trying to work "around" the women now.

Mansoor ran this meeting - which lasted slightly longer than 70 minutes, including a ten minute break - as though he was running to catch a train. As a result, Bever didn't have much of an opportunity to say anything particularly inappropriate. This means his string of consecutive meetings during which he made at least one boneheaded comment has been broken. Fear not - history shows us that a new string will be started again soon.

It seems to me that our young mayor, a deputy sheriff/jailer in his day job, seems intent on turning our city into a dictatorship. The above action is quite representative of his attempt to micro-manage every issue. Another example was his "no" vote on the establishment of a stop light at a particularly dangerous location on Wilson Street simply because - in his words - he wouldn't like to have one near his home. What kind of shallow, self-focused thinking is that? These are things to remember a year from now, when we will have an opportunity to consider other choices for his council seat.
10:37 am pst

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Be Careful What You Ask For!
A nice quiet neighborhood in the north part of our town has had a very interesting week. It seems one of the residents, apparently upset with what he perceived as "terrorist" automobile drivers, raised a stink with our young mayor - a deputy sheriff/jailer in his day job. He, in turn, passed the flack on downstream to the chief of police. The chief, in response to the frequent demand from on high, unleashed the full force of the police department to stop this "terrorism" in it's tracks.

The result was, according to folks in the know, a lot of very busy moms being ticketed by our zealous law enforcement types. Apparently a group of mothers dropping their children at a local school were ticketed for stopping in red zones - not a good idea, but certainly not terrorism. Some of those people apparently didn't have driver's licenses, which resulted in their cars being impounded. There is some train of thought that those ladies might have been in this country illegally - hence, the lack of license. That should make one activist in town ecstatic.

Another busy mom, who had just dropped her kids off at school on a foggy morning, got a ticket for using her wipers to swipe off the mist from her windshield without also having her headlights on. This is a brand new state law and one lawman saw an opportunity to make a point - or points. Clearly, a warning was the appropriate choice - which he didn't make.

Word has it that this nice, quiet little neighborhood was under siege this past weekend, with more police cars in their neighborhood over the two days than some residents can remember seeing in the past ten years.

I find it curious that one of our city council members - one with whom the mayor and his pal, the mayor pro tem, have had more than a fair share of disagreements - lives in this very neighborhood. It makes one wonder if this is not just another petty annoyance contrived by people in power to make life complicated for their opponents. In other times I might think it was just a coincidence, but having seen these guys in action for the past ten months or so, it seems well within their modus operandi.

So, dear neighbors, the next time you think about speaking out about some position our mayor and his buddy have taken you'd better think twice. Who knows - you and your neighbors may be the next neighborhood to experience this kind of petty, punitive response from those who guide this city.
11:30 am pst

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West