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, April 1, 2006

Extremists At The Helm?
Today I received a copy of an article from the Southern Poverty Law Center's INTELLIGENCE REPORT entitled, "Extremists advocate murder of immigrants, politicians" with a sub-title, "National pro-immigrant marches inspire calls for carnage from radical right". Do I have your attention yet?

In this article, published March 30, 2006, the authors chronicle radio comments, internet posts and newspaper quotes which give a very disturbing picture of just how angry some folks on the radical right are about the current state of affairs in this country regarding the whole immigrant issue.

A radio host named Hal Turner, described as a neo-Nazi by the authors, is quoted as stating, "All of you who think there's a peaceful solution to these invaders are wrong. We're going to have to start killing these people."

I'm not going to try to repeat all the comments about fertilizer bombs, drive-by shooting, etc. that were discussed. If you care to read the article, the link is:

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/news/item.jsp?aid=49

However, Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minuteman Project is quoted as telling a local newspaper, "I'm not going to promote insurrection, but if it happens, it will be on the conscience of the members of Congress who are doing this. I will not promote violence in resolving this, but I will not stop others who might pursue that." This is important for us to know, because Gilchrist has embraced our mayor, Allan Mansoor, as some kind of Messiah and anointed him as an honorary Minuteman. He has heaped praise on Mansoor during City Council meetings and has demonstrated with platoons of his Minuteman cohorts in this city in support of Mansoor's plan.

We already know our young jailer/mayor is tight with a local resident who is a major contributor of racist essays on far right wing web sites. That association, combined with his new-found relationship with Gilchrist, should make every single resident of this city - not just those with brown skins - very, very nervous.

Mansoor, not unexpectedly, has not replied to my letter to him - posted on this site on March 17th - in which I requested him to rescind his plan. Despite his pledge to answer every telephone call and reply to every letter, my email box remains void of any response from him.

Since Mansoor ignores the wisdom of every police chief in this county and persists with his ill-conceived plan, we can only assume he is taking direction from others with a very unsettling agenda. Is this really the direction the residents of this city wish to be taken? One can only hope that the residents of this city will see what Mansoor is trying to do to this town and speak out against him.

I find myself wondering how former leaders in this city feel about his plan. I find myself wondering how much longer they will remain mute on this subject. I understand their reluctance to speak out against the policies of a sitting mayor and his council, but they are still citizens of this country and residents of this city with a very real vested interest in the outcome. They have served this city in many ways for many years, for which I am grateful. However, I'm sure many of their former constituents want to know their opinion. I hope we hear from them soon - before it's too late and Mansoor steers this city over the brink.

In the meantime, tell me how you feel. Go to the link provided and send me an email. This is one issue in which there seems to be no middle ground. I look forward to your comments.
10:40 pm pst

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Politics of Fear & Happy Milestones
During the summer of 2004, a year before I launched this web log, I wrote a commentary that appeared in the Daily Pilot, our excellent community newspaper, that talked about four-letter words in our society. One of those words was "fear". Today there is reason to consider that word further.

Allan Mansoor, our young jailer/mayor, has used fear as his primary tool of governance in Costa Mesa. He has interpreted the fear some long-time residents have of the Latinos among us, and the impact on our community and society as a whole, as marching orders to expunge the Latinos from our city.

He's been joined in this campaign of fear by Jim Gilchrist and his Minuteman Project cronies to carry his message to a broader audience. In the past three months Mayor Mansoor has become a media darling, appearing on radio, television and in print profiles as he continues to chant his mantra, "I just want to get dangerous criminals off our streets." Gilchrist, doing his part, has spoken before our City Council and dispatched platoons of his minions to each council meeting to sing Mansoor's praises and generally keep the gain turned up on the rhetoric. Gilchrist also led teams of demonstrators to picket and harass customers at a local restaurant owned by a local Latina activist in retaliation to the demonstrations being conducted at Councilman Gary Monahan's pub.

The plan the majority on the City Council approved last December, which is less draconian than the original proposal Mansoor tried to ram through, has cast a huge shadow of fear and uncertainty over this city even though it has yet to be codified or implemented. Despite a community outreach by the police chief and his senior staff, frightened Latinos have withdrawn into their homes, unwilling to take a chance on being accosted by overzealous police simply because of the color of their skin. Businesses on the Westside which cater to a Latino customer base have seen a decline in volume of 40-50% in the last couple of months.

Outside agitators on both sides of the issue have used their rhetoric to inflame the situation further, playing on the fear that our young jailer/mayor has initiated. I don't like to see people stand before our City Council and refer to our mayor as a Nazi, but it's hard not to see the parallel between the actions of that group in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s and our current situation. Mansoor is pandering to a vocal few in our community, disregarding the views of law enforcement officials throughout our county, and stubbornly pursues his ill-conceived plan.

The immigration issue is being debated at the highest level of our federal government as I type these words. That's the appropriate venue for resolution of the issue - not the streets of Costa Mesa. In response to this national debate hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have marched around the country within the past week. School children have ditched school and walked on the infamous southern California freeways to draw attention to the issue.

In the meantime, our young jailer/mayor continues to fan the flames of discontent and keep Costa Mesa at the eye of the storm. November can't come too soon for me.

***

On a much, much happier note.... Happy Birthday to my wonderful, patient wife of nearly 39 years. Today the love of my life hits a major milestone with the same grace and style that she's used to pamper me all these years. She's been the solid anchor in my life as we bounced around this country early in our marriage and has been my biggest cheerleader as I attempt to solve the problems of the world with comments on these pages. If you don't like what you read here, blame me. If you do, give her the credit.

Happy Birthday, Honey.
1:08 pm pst

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mansooria (Mini version) and More
Some weary readers have complained about my last entry, saying it was too long and too complicated. So, for those of you more inclined to brevity, here's the shorthand version of "Mansooria". For details and characters, you can refer back to the last entry.

Mayor Mansoor and his cronies, dissatisfied with the federal government's lack of action regarding illegal immigration, stage a de-facto coup, took over the City of Costa Mesa and seceded from the United States early in 2007.

The new entity, named Mansooria by the mayor, became an empire. Emperor Mansoor named many of his cronies as cabinet officials. They expelled everyone without white skins from The Empire and, in an attempt to backfill the population - which dropped by half - tried to attract other Aryan immigrants. Weather, common skin color and coastal proximity didn't do the job, so they installed PPE - Prioritized Population Enhancement - a scheme wherein each female citizen of Mansooria would receive a bounty for each child produced, with bonuses paid for twins and triplets. Males were rewarded for each attempt at propagation, whether successful or not.

Closed borders kept immigrants out, but PPE became so successful that it evolved into a national sport, with teams formed, competition held and scores posted on The Empire's web site.

Ultimately, The Empire failed. Disgruntled citizens overthrew Mansoor and his cronies and rejoined the United States. Mansoor and his minions requested asylum and were permitted to relocate to Idaho, where they were trying to introduce PPE to an apparently enthusiastic audience.

What did we learn from Mansooria's failed experiment? We've learned that no city exists in a vacuum. Regardless how misguided or inept the leadership, each city is part of a broader regional community. That role requires intelligent, mature, patient leaders and a willingness to consider options that serve not only their constituents, but all residents of that community, as well. We learned that leaders unwilling or unable to look beyond their own narrow interests cannot provide proper guidance for a city in this century. We learned that prejudice cannot form the cornerstone of a successful government. We learned that, no matter how persuasive the argument and how dynamic the speaker, racial intolerance cannot succeed.

Sadly, it took the near-destruction of a previously vibrant city to prove these points.

***

It was an interesting weekend, demonstration-wise, throughout the country. Several hundred thousand people - including a reported half million in Los Angeles - marched to protest the current attempt by the government to control illegal immigration. If the reports are true, all the demonstrations were peaceful and orderly.

In the meantime, back here in Costa Mesa, our young jailer/mayor keeps on fanning the flames of discontent, insistent that he will proceed with his plan to cross-designate police officers. He just doesn't get it! Oh, yes, to no one's surprise, he still hasn't answered my letter of March 17th.

It appears now that even his rabid supporters from the Minuteman Project may be backing off. Apparently none showed at El Chinaco Friday night to picket that restaurant. I guess they must feel they've used up as much of Costa Mesa as they can. With any luck at all they will move on to new venues to spread their message of intolerance. Adios, Minutemen! Don't let the door hit you in the fanny.
11:36 am pst

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West