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.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Gifts - Fair and Fowl
A GOOD IDEA
I guess it just takes me getting out of town for a few days for some of our local politicians to see the light.

Upon returning home from a brief Thanksgiving vacation I find that our neighbors in Newport Beach seem to have convinced their City Council to step back from their nearly $50 million plan to build a new city hall on the site of the old one and do a little assessment of alternatives. Finally!!

Months ago I suggested that the old site might not be the best location available for many reasons - some seismic and some practical. At that time I suggested that the site of the proposed new park in Newport Center just above the library seemed perfect. It's centrally located, away from the tsunami zone and the Newport/Inglewood earthquake fault, is served by public transportation and could help resolve the parking problem at the library if designed properly.

There are those who feel that particular site might not be the best one, but the site of the old city hall sure isn't, no matter how you slice it. So, I'm glad our neighbors have taken this first step to doing a real evaluation of alternatives. Good for them.

OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS
Daily Pilot columnist Jim deBoom has, for many years, selected his annual Turkey of the Year awards coincident with the Thanksgiving holiday. We arrived home just in time to read his most recent selections in that fine community newspaper today. His choices will likely evoke many nods of approval, smiles, chuckles and - of course - one or two frowns. For my part, I couldn't agree more with his selection of Eric Bever as one of the two choices.

The selection of John and Donna Crean as recipients of his Eagle award couldn't be more appropriate.

With his permission, I've included the relevant portion of Jim's column from the Daily Pilot today for your reading pleasure:

***

For several weeks now, the nominating committee, consisting of environmentalists, business and community leaders, clergy, elected officials, retirees and college students, all residents of the Newport-Mesa community, has been reviewing the pages of the Daily Pilot for 2005 to find people who have had an affect on our communities, to be nominated for turkeydom.

The nominations for 2005 Turkey of the Year are in and we have co-winners.

The first is the eagle award recipient from 2003, who has crashed to Earth and become a turkey of the year for 2005. I am referring to Costa Mesa City Councilman Eric Bever, whose exemplary act of selfless citizenship in 2003 by withdrawing his name for consideration for appointment to the Costa Mesa City Council, got the council past a series of 2-2 votes over several weeks, to name a replacement for Karen Robinson after she was appointed as a judge.

This past year, Bever's ego and arrogance have proven too much a burden to stay aloft. Bever's missteps over the past year or so are almost too numerous to list, beginning with the infamous note-passing event when he seemingly tried to surreptitiously influence a vote by passing a note to fellow Councilmen Allan Mansoor and Gary Monahan on the dais. The list is long but the most recent event is the topper. Despite assurances by the city attorney and city manager, Bever persisted in accusing Councilwoman Katrina Foley of breaking the law in the way she authorized the distribution of part of her discretionary fund.

The co-winner of the 2005 Turkey of the year is Greenlight leader Phil Arst, a former unsuccessful Newport Beach City Council candidate a few years back, who continues to challenge and try to undo the decisions of the duly elected Newport Beach City Council. Though the Greenlight initiative of 2000 has slowed down growth in Newport Beach, it has done little to nothing to reduce traffic on our busy streets. Rather than electing Greenlight candidates to the Newport Beach City Council to control growth, Arst and friends are back with another initiative to require more projects to come to a community wide vote before approval.

"City Council is pawns of developers" and "turn Newport Beach into another Miami" are trigger words that Arst and friends use to rally marginal Greenlight supporters. I challenge Arst and his allies to run for Newport Beach City Council and receive an up or down vote on their ideas and candidacies.

The third annual eagle of the year award goes to Donna and John Crean, who for decades have gone about donating their money and energy, making our part of the world a whole lot better. The community groups they support are many and varied. The new library at Mariners Park will bear their names is only the most recent example of the generosity. May the Creans continue to soar!

***
Well done, Jim. Your choices are well-deserved in every case.

For my part, among the many things for which I am thankful this year is the fact that we have less than a year to the next city council election.

11:30 pm pst

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Westside Fantasy and Infantile Reality
A writer who resembles our theoretical character, Your Neighbor, waxed poetic in his letter to the Orange County Register's local supplement, The Current, 11/17/05 as he outlined his vision for The Westside of Costa Mesa. His "lofty" view - artist lofts and the like - spread throughout the Westside, sounds like a noble project. Apparently, he has visions of Tribeca and days of his youth floating around his head.

Those of us who pay attention, however, realize that there is more going on here than this particular writer's nostalgia-induced fantasy. Those who have read his work for years understand his real goal here. Nowhere in his grand scheme did you read about how the 60% of Westside residents who are Latino fits into the plan. That's because they don't. The only role those residents will play in his plan is to get out of town.

This particular writer has tried for years to find ways to expel the Latinos from our city, comparing the Westside to Santa Ana as a specter of things to come. Finally, he has managed to get a majority elected to our city council that dances to his tune. The male majority of Mayor Allan Mansoor, recently anointed Mayor Pro Tem Eric Bever and lame duck Gary Monahan have shown us just what can happen when the electorate fails to pay attention.

Before you get swept up in this man's euphoric enthusiasm for "his" Westside, take the time to understand the foundation from whence his ideas spring. Read his vile internet rants before you jump on his bandwagon. I wouldn't be surprised if his idea of a perfect parade would be men marching in white sheets and that his lawn decoration of choice would be burning crosses.

Few residents of our city will deny the need for a "freshening" of the Westside, but the "vision" this man and his small cadre of angry disciples holds for a lily-white community is preposterous. He disdains the cookie-cutter neighborhoods of Irvine, all the while attempting to eradicate the predominant ethnic group in our city. Perhaps he would be happier in parts north - Utah or Idaho, for example.

In my opinion, any changes in the Westside must include the Latino population. Rather than ignore the predominant demographic group on the Westside, visionaries in this city should capitalize on it by finding ways to blend (the writer mentioned above will hate that word) the rich Latino culture into whatever new plans are developed for that part of town.

***

Kudos to the editors of the Daily Pilot, our excellent local newspaper, for their editorial today chiding the Costa Mesa City Council for their recent acrimonious and infantile actions, particularly those having to do with their discretionary funds.

After enumerating a series of events which appropriately made the council look like a bunch of school yard screamers, they ended their editorial with the following comment: " Elected officials shouldn't have to be treated like children -- unless that's how they are acting."

Well said. A year from now we have the opportunity to return the leadership of this city to the hands of adults. Until then, keep your fingers crossed.
12:28 am pst

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West