Thursday, July 13, 2006
Sour Grapes and Sleepless Nights to Come
Today the Daily Pilot published a flock of letters which responded to the question, "Are you surprised an organization
like Return to Reason was formed?" Of the eight letters published, four - including one of mine - were clearly in favor
of the group based only on the little that is known about it at this time. Three were adamantly opposed to it and the remaining
one might be described as neutral.
10:22 pm pdt
However, our favorite pit bull, Your Neighbor, launched a pre-dawn blog attack on the editors, accusing them of pitching other
letters into the trash can instead of publishing them. It doesn't take a Mensa member - as he occasionally purports to be
- to realize that he's likely talking about one of his "masterpieces", and he's ticked off about it. Gee, what
The editors of the Daily Pilot do a pretty darn good job of providing a balance of pro and con letters on any important issue
in this city. However, I can tell you from personal experience that they do not print every letter submitted on every subject.
I'm sure they receive plenty of chaff that we don't see - some of my submissions have met that description, I'm sure. I guess
Your Neighbor, prodigious writer that he is, will just have to do a better job of making his point - a little more luster
and a lot less bluster.
Then, again, maybe the editors of the Daily Pilot have just simply gotten tired of his constant barrage of criticism and condescension
and have chosen not to print his drivel. Maybe they've decided to just ignore the yapping mutt - who could blame them? I
fully expect him to bark himself hoarse over the next few months as he tries to discredit candidates for City Council that
will challenge the current ruling majority.
I can tell you that, based on what I've heard him say and what he's written, his idea of the future of Costa Mesa is not mine.
His idea of the ideal Costa Mesa would seem to resemble Stockholm or Helsinki, where nary a dark skin can be found. His
idea of our city is to expunge those who don't look like him from our borders. His idea is to make Costa Mesa a haven for
Beyond their recent public pronouncements, I have no idea what kind of platform the folks who formed Return to Reason plan
to use or what kind of a template they will employ for candidates they will support in the upcoming election. I do know,
based on the list of players and their history of public service in this city, that the probability for good things to come
from this consortium is high. I suspect we'll know soon enough.
In the meantime, it's pretty funny watching Your Neighbor and his disciples getting all hot and bothered about it. Perhaps
they realize that the stranglehold they currently have on our municipal government has a very good chance of being broken.
Perhaps they realize that, come November, there's a very good chance that the control of this city will be returned to the
hands of mature, experienced leaders - those who will consider the needs of the entire community instead of pandering to the
narrow views of Your Neighbor and his pals. I suspect they will lose some sleep over the next few months.
So, while they worry about Return to Reason, some of us will be watching the campaign chest of our young jailer/mayor to see
how much "Minuteman" money lands in his account. We'll also ponder whether the public safety unions in our city
will endorse one of their own - the mayor - or does their collective dissatisfaction with their leadership extend to the top.
What delicious irony that would be...
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Boy, you just never know when life will throw you a curve ball! Yesterday, as I plopped down into his chair to settle in
for a good shearing, my barber, Jim, told me that he was retiring in a couple days and that this would be my last haircut
from him. This is really bad news.
3:42 pm pdt
This is a big deal in the lives of many men. I mean, once you find a barber who can cut what's left of your hair without
it looking like he used a bowl one size too small, you want him to cut your hair forever. It's a comfort to know that you
can just sit there in a semi-stuperous condition and not worry about an errant snip clipping your ear. It's a good feeling
to know that your barber can perform such magic that your wife smiles the first time she sees your latest trim. It's even
better when he's a guy with whom you can swap stories and share interests, as was our case. As he pruned my locks yesterday,
Jim told me of men for whom he had performed this service for four decades being driven to tears when he announced his retirement
to them. I understand the feeling.
So, now it's over, and Jim is going to put his feet up and take it easy. The legs are the problem. After cutting hair for
five decades, his legs have had it. All those years standing on linoleum tile floors have taken their toll.
Now Jim's life will be filled with even more fishing trips, more tinkering with cars, more family gatherings, more time with
his lady friend and - best of all - more time to just hang out with his buddies, some of whom go back to his early childhood.
So, thanks to Jim - for his patience and skill. Thanks for the wise counsel and the jokes - ah, the jokes. Thanks, and good
Now I have to go find a new barber - Drat!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Buffoons, Boundaries, Blogs and Barbecue
I'm still chuckling about Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist's gaffe at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting last Wednesday
night. In his attempt to "show up" people in the audience he described as anarchists by reciting the Pledge of
Allegiance to the flag for them, he managed to forget the words at the end. Somehow, the word "liberty" managed
to escape his memory. He never did get it right, substituting the word, "freedom", despite coaching from his supporters
in the audience.
1:43 pm pdt
The beat goes on here in the land of Newport-Mesa. People on both sides of the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa boundary are all
in a tizzy about the meeting tomorrow during which the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) will discuss several issues.
Of great interest will be that one-foot lasso of land which surrounds the Banning Ranch. That thin strip is all that holds
Newport Terrace inside the Newport Beach boundaries - it's otherwise completely surrounded by Costa Mesa. Our old pal, the
pit bull I refer to as Your Neighbor, has dedicated a blog entry to it in which he suggests that Costa Mesa simply allow itself
to be annexed to Newport Beach. This, of course, is old news. I wrote a commentary in the Daily Pilot eighteen months ago
in which I, tongue in cheek, suggested the same solution. I guess Your Neighbor has finally exhausted his prodigious brain
of any new ideas.
Speaking of blogs, Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut, in the OC Punch blog, has addressed the presence of Return
to Reason, speculating that the group is a bunch of liberal old guard politicians. Well, if he did, in fact, read the list
of initial supporters that he published in his blog entry, he'll realize that the group represents a very broad constituency,
covering the spectrum from liberal to conservative and all points in between. I've read his stuff in the Register and usually
enjoy it. Of course, the blog has been a gloves-off place for him and other Register columnists to vent their collective
spleens and not worry - too much - about journalistic accuracy nor editorial interference. That freedom can be addictive
and I caution Greenhut not to fall into the same pile of excrement that Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik jumped
into recently. He was caught posting entries on his blog under assumed identities and his employer exiled him for awhile.
I don't know what long-term damage this has done to his career, but it can't have helped it. Such is the siren song of blogging...
At the Planning Commission meeting last night the commission voted, 3-1, to uphold the decision by staff to deny the conditional
use permit for the Beach Pit Barbecue to display a television set on it's patio. The owners, in what they acknowledged was
a bit of poor judgment, had installed the television in the patio despite it being specifically forbidden in the conditional
use permit. Such arrogance apparently didn't sit well with at least a couple of the commissioners. Chairman Perkins abstained
- he owns part of the restaurant - and former mayor, Vice Chairman and resident curmudgeon Donn Hall voted no. Perkins opted
to speak as a private citizen and owner before "his" commission. He need not have wasted his time. His conversation
contributed nothing at all to the case. That's no surprise, though. Among the many things on the long list of things Perkins
is not very good at is public speaking. This decision will likely be appealed to the city council, so it will be interesting
to see if they uphold the rule again. With this group, one never knows.
Sunday, July 9, 2006
A Milestone And An Enduring Cross
This date marks a milestone. One year ago today I posted my first blog entry here at A Bubbling Cauldron. Since that time
I've posted well over 100 individual entries. Over the past twelve months I've written about many things. I began by warning
you about the possibility of the use of eminent domain to redevelop the Westside of Costa Mesa. One activist has recently
proposed using that tool - a sledgehammer is what I call it - to demolish some apartments to provide space for new parks.
8:34 pm pdt
I warned about the potential demise of the Human Relations Committee, only to have the majority on the City Council prove
me right when they disbanded it without so much as a thank you to the volunteers who had served this city well for nearly
I wrote about the St. Andrew's church expansion and our new skate park, among other subjects.
Leading the pack of subjects most written about is our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor. As long as he continues to shoot
from the hip and demonstrate for us his unfitness for his office I suspect he will continue to be the subject of more than
an occasional mention on this blog.
I've given nearly as much coverage to a person I refer to as Your Neighbor. His insidious presence in our city will certainly
accord him many inches of coverage here, too.
I will continue to do my best to provide you with my viewpoints on issues I feel are important to Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.
I don't expect you to agree with me all the time, and I continue to look forward to your comments in any event.
Now, if I could only find a way to be paid for each word!
So, Happy Anniversary to A Bubbling Cauldron.
You'll notice the photo of the Mt. Soledad Cross and Flag at the top of this page. That photo will be a fixture for the foreseeable
future. In my original posting on this subject, which appeared here on June 30th and is found at archive 2006.06.25, I mentioned
the fact that the cross at the summit of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla was in jeopardy after marking the site of a memorial to Korean
War veterans or more that a half century.
The good news, published on July 3rd, is that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has placed a stay on the order which would
have required the City of San Diego to either remove the cross by August 2, 2006 or begin paying a $5,000.00 per day fine
until it was removed. Kennedy indicated that the stay will be in effect until either he or the Supreme Court as a whole gives
further direction. I've decided to leave my photo of the flag and cross on this page as a reminder to us all of how the world
around us is changing, and not necessarily for the better.
Thanks to all of you regular readers who take the time to comment on things you read here. I hope my views have helped you
focus on some important issues. Off we go, into year two...