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...
10:37 am pst
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.
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.
11:30 am pst
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
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.