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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.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Annexation Vexation
Not too long ago I read in our excellent local community newspaper, The Daily Pilot, that our neighbors in Newport Beach have decided to move forward with their plans to annex West Santa Ana Heights. Apparently the negotiations between their representatives and those from Costa Mesa have failed. I must say that I'm not surprised. Tomorrow the Daily Pilot will carry a story that Costa Mesa is moving forward with it's own annexation plans. According to that article, Costa Mesa will also move forward to annex most of the 412 acre Banning Ranch, prime bluff top property overlooking West Newport. Let the tug-of-war begin.

Even though the West Santa Ana Heights land falls within Costa Mesa's sphere of influence, the good people who live in the area in question, between Irvine Avenue and Red Hill adjacent to the Santa Ana Country Club, have told us in no uncertain terms over the past couple years that they have absolutely no interest in becoming part of Costa Mesa. This really is a no-brainer for them - and would be for me, too. Why wouldn't you choose to become part of a city where the property value is approximately 4 times greater? Why wouldn't you choose to continue with a Newport Beach mailing address? Why wouldn't you prefer to be part of a city that manages to get things done instead of one that continues to demonstrate an uncanny ability to shoot itself in the foot every time an important issue comes up - like this one, for example? Would you willingly, knowingly, want to become part of a city where a racist calls the tune for the city council majority? Would you willingly want to be swept into the turmoil that exists in Costa Mesa today as a result of our young jailer/mayor's plan to usurp the federal government's responsibility for enforcing immigration laws? Of course not - neither would I.

At stake is some pretty sizable redevelopment dollars, which are apparently attached to Santa Ana Heights and, at least with this current Board of Supervisors, can't be freed-up as long as the annexation issue is unresolved. That would seem to be an incentive for Newport Beach officials to negotiate in good faith, but in politics you just never know.

Some may recall that our lame duck councilman, Gary Monahan - back when he was mayor - publicly advised the sub-committee chosen to negotiate with Newport Beach to "Play Hardball". That was great advice! Monahan put our negotiators in the position of playing with our cards face up, against a city ready, willing and able to take advantage of our ineptness. It would be like going into a duel with an empty gun. That will be yet another piece of his legacy after a dozen years on the dais.
10:59 pm pst

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

High Fives and Clooney Loonies
I can just see it now.... Our young jailer/mayor and his cronies giving each other high-fives, dancing around and saying things like, "Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!" as they read about the eight Latino laborers who were arrested at a Home Depot in Orange last Friday and hauled back down to the border for deportation when they admitted being in this country illegally.

Despite his denials over the past three months, I wouldn't be surprised if that is precisely what our mayor has in mind for Costa Mesa once he succeeds in having members our police force cross-designated as immigration screeners. While he says he's "only concerned about getting criminals off the streets", you don't have to be a Mensa member to read his real meaning. He wants every illegal immigrant out of Costa Mesa and is willing to fabricate the rules to get it done.

Isn't it curious that, according to our police chief, John Hensley in response to a question at a recent forum, he knows of no other local law enforcement official who is interested in the least in taking the steps our mayor is trying to accomplish? I wonder why all those real law enforcement pros feel that way? Could it be that they see it as a waste of precious law enforcement assets at a time when, with our porous borders, the folks who get deported will just be back in our neighborhoods within a few days? Don't you think Chief Hensley would much prefer to have the dollars our city will have to expend to train the officers for cross-designation allocated toward more full time officers and related equipment to help them do their real job? Yeah, I do, too.

I don't see how this avalanche gets stopped now. Our young jailer/mayor has felt the hot lights of celebrity - an addiction, for sure. He's been stroked and hugged by none other than Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project. He's been cheered and praised by media moguls on national television. For him, a man who spends his day job dealing with the worst among us, there is no turning back now. That, of course, is not good news for our city.


On a lighter note, our local newspaper of record, the Daily Pilot, published an editorial last Sunday that, tongue in cheek, addressed the rumor that actor George Clooney might be angling to purchase a home in Newport Beach. The editorial turned up the gain when it speculated that the home in question might be the former home of John Wayne. It was fun piece, almost guaranteed to rankle the few liberals in Newport Beach - one of the last bastions of conservatism left on the West Coast.

Sure enough, today the Daily Pilot published a handful of letters from a flock of disgruntled liberals, taking the editors to task for what they described variously as a "sophomoric and in bad taste", incomprehensible and arrogantly dismissive", "xenophobic", "asinine, small-minded and ignorant", and accused the editors of the Daily Pilot of "showing your true colors - the John Birch Society".

I have to say that I haven't stopped laughing yet! The Daily Pilot is owned and distributed by the Los Angeles Times, a liberal publication if there ever was one. The Daily Pilot editors do a great job of presenting our local news without political bias, even though there is occasionally a liberal slant to some of their editorials.

One thing is sure. George Clooney would be a welcome relief in Newport Beach - a liberal with a sense of humor.
3:37 pm pst

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West