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, August 5, 2006

The Orange Juice Blog Turns Over Rocks
Today was a very interesting day in the wonderful world of blogging in Orange County. On the Orange Juice blog, author Claudio virtually ran a bulldozer through the rock pile, not only turning over rocks, but flinging them out of the way. By doing so he exposed some very slimy characters prominent on the Costa Mesa political scene. The blog may be found at the following link: http://o-juice.blogspot.com/.

Claudio says things in this particular posting that have been alluded to on this site, and by many other speakers and writers over the past couple years. His comparisons of the leaders of the Third Reich in the middle half of the last century to present day leaders of Costa Mesa will offend some readers - and make a lot of sense to many others.

I will not attempt to paraphrase Claudio, but suggest those interested can copy and paste the above link into your browser and read his words and view the illustrations first hand. Unlike this blog, his provides a way to directly comment if you're so moved.

I suspect Claudio will receive some flack from this posting, but many of the things he said needed to be said. The influence of the man he features on members of the current council - and those past - is undeniable. He has boasted of being responsible for getting some of them elected - and another being booted from office because of his non-support. If you pay attention you hear his words echoed by present council members and some commissioners, too.

It's going to be an interesting few days as Claudio's blog entry ferments a little and divergent viewpoints find their way to his Comments section. Whatever happens, I suspect this gutsy posting will have an impact on our city - hopefully, for the better.
8:59 pm pdt

Friday, August 4, 2006

The Mayor Takes The Low Road
It's very difficult not to be disgusted by the blatant, callous opportunism of some members of this community as they take advantage of tragic circumstances to further their intolerant agenda.

For example, the following comments in the Daily Pilot today are attributed to our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor, in the aftermath of the tragic shootings in the north part of Costa Mesa two nights ago: "When you have job centers, soup kitchens and a high concentration of downscale rental units, it drives the city down. I favor a multi-faceted approach including stronger gang enforcement and overlay zone revitalization, and I also think a social worker holding the hand of a hardened gang member has not worked in other cities." These comments come from a man who, along with his trusty sidekick, Eric Bever, voted to not fund more than $300,000 in the current budget earmarked for gang intervention and prevention activities. What a hypocrite! Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed and the funding was retained in the budget.

At a time when most of us would expect our top elected official to be offering condolences to the families of those killed and wounded in this tragic event, our young jailer/mayor uses this horrific situation to further his intolerant political agenda. At a time when we would expect him to be a calm voice of reason, he goes on the attack. His behavior gives us yet another reason to remove him from office in November and allow him to devote more time to activities for which he is better suited - his day job, in the bowels of the Orange County jail.

And, of course, it will come as no surprise to learn that a man who very much resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor, was all over this shooting incident in his blog. He must sit beside his scanner, reading Mein Kampf, just waiting for something to happen that he can further inflame by inaccurately reporting the events, as he certainly did in this case. Those of us who regularly read his racist rants - with the exception of those few mesmerized, indoctrinated, goose-stepping disciples who join him in his desire to return this city to the days when bigotry and hatred were accepted - see through the facade of deception and understand the underlying motives at play. We understand and look forward to a new council majority that doesn't dance to his tune.

The winds of change are in the air in Costa Mesa, fanned by those who would return reasonable, intelligent leadership to the City Council in November.
9:17 am pdt

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Lamenting Late Night Decisions
Once again, the Costa Mesa City Council demonstrated for us that doing business after midnight is a bad idea.

One of the early "low-lights" was the debate of the Consent Calendar item involving paying ASCAP just under $1,000 per year for the use of their catalog of music at public events. Our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor - a Deputy Sheriff, by the way - pulled this item for separate debate and vote because he wanted the City Attorney to give him an assessment of the risk if the city didn't pay the fee. Curious, to say the least, to have our mayor - a law enforcement officer - weighing the risk of breaking the law and thereby putting the city in jeopardy of legal action, particularly for such a relatively insignificant amount. I guess simply pinning a badge on someone doesn't instill in them a sense of right and wrong.

Last night, because the council squandered more than four hours on one issue - that could have and should have been completed in a quarter of that time - the meeting stretched until nearly 2 a.m. As a result, those folks who waited around to have their issues heard were given short shrift. In fact, the council's decision on one issue made after midnight may well result in yet another lawsuit for this city.

That would be the issue of the stealth mobile home that was surreptitiously placed on a lot on Elden Avenue after having been evicted from the now-defunct El Morro Mobile Home Park near Laguna Beach. After months of dialogue by the owner with city staff and the Planning Commission, the council decided to overturn the Planning Commission's recommendation and force the owners to remove the trailer, despite the fact that they planned to completely rehabilitate the unit to make it look like a regular "stick" home. The council ignored the fact that they met all the conditions imposed on them by the staff and Planning Commission, and that they may have been mislead by instructions from the staff. From what I heard, at least one council member just didn't like the way it would look! So, get ready, Ms. City Attorney - here comes another one!

The issue that delayed the proceedings was the hearing of the Lighthouse Coastal Community Church's proposal to add an afternoon pre-school session. The issue seemed simple enough - to allow the church to duplicate it's morning pre-school in an afternoon session - but it took over four hours of debate before the council, at 11:55 p.m., decided to make a bad situation worse. They approved a portion of what was requested - allowing only 30 students in the afternoon instead of the 60 requested - which will likely make the plan fiscally tenuous, at best. All this turmoil was due to the bad blood between long-time neighbors of the church and the congregation. One observer says it looks like Israel and the Hezbollah! No one will ever bring peace to this street. And, of course, the dumb decision by the council will only be an irritant to the situation.

I can hardly wait until November, when we have the opportunity to install reasonable, intelligent leaders.


There's a new batch of points to ponder on my Just Wondering... page. Just slide your cursor over, click and cogitate.
9:52 pm pdt

Monday, July 31, 2006

Mike Berry's Air Ball
Community activist Mike Berry - the lesser half of a "dynamic duo" with his perky wife, Judi - presented us with his views on the new political action committee, Return to Reason, in the Daily Pilot this morning. He launched his disjointed sermonette with a caution - to "be careful what we wish for."

Berry attempts to make a big deal of the fact that a few of the members of the group don't reside in Costa Mesa, implying there's something sinister about it. He neglects to mention that most of those non-residents are successful Costa Mesa business owners, who provide jobs and sales tax dollars, with a very large stake in how things go in this town.

He attempts to hypothesize the outcome of negotiations with Newport Beach on the annexation issues by candidates supported by Return to Reason, yet fails to mention that the current council - controlled with a virtual stranglehold by the ruling troika, including his pals, our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor, and his trusty sidekick, Eric ('Lil) Bever - are the ones who have handled the current situation so badly. This began when lame duck Gary Monahan - the other member of the troika - admonished his peers to "play hardball" with Newport Beach on the annexation issue at a council meeting not too long ago. At a time when finesse and diplomacy was especially important, he basically laid his cards on the table, face up, and dared Newport Beach to call his hand. It's hard to imagine a less competent effort.

Berry mentions Huntington Beach's proposed plan to route treated water through Costa Mesa and wonders how candidates supported by Return to Reason might respond. Well, once again, his buddies on the current majority managed to shoot themselves in the foot on that issue. You might recall that, instead of listening to the proposal by the contractor and negotiating with officials from Huntington Beach, Mansoor basically slammed the door on the issue during the first hearing. Stupid is the kindest word that comes to mind on that one, because it seems there are legal remedies available that will allow proponents of the pipeline to plow up our streets for the pipes if they choose to do so. Could candidates supported by Return to Reason do worse? Not likely.

Berry's awkward attempt to raise a flag about Return to Reason was pathetic and far off the mark. His last line is, "What is it we are returning to?" Well, I can tell him the answer to that question. We are returning to a time when this city is governed by a city council concerned about all residents, not just a vocal few. We are returning to a time when we will not have to worry about, as one observer puts it, "Government by Ambush" - when the public and other council members are blind-sided by the majority. We are returning to a time when issues are fleshed out during study sessions, with the opportunity for input from the community, instead of going off half-cocked with half-baked ideas - like plowing up 25% of the municipal golf course to build playing fields instead of simply lighting a couple existing fields.

We are returning to a time when a city council works to unite the residents of this city, not divide them. We are returning to a time when integrity, intelligence, maturity and leadership are traits found among the majority on the council - unlike today. We are returning to a time when the majority on the city council does not pander to the bigoted few among us. We will leave behind a time when radical out-of-town groups genuflect at the feet of our mayor, make him an honorary member of their extremist organization and use him as a pawn to turn our city into the poster-child for intolerance and return to a time when Costa Mesa issues are decided by the stakeholders in our city.

To see just what we are returning to, I invite the readers to visit the Daily Pilot today - there's a link to the Daily Pilot on my "Useful Links" page - and read the interview with Joe Erickson, arguably the most respected elected official in this city's recent history. He tells us just why he is among at least four former mayors who decided to become part of Return to Reason. It's a great counterpoint to Mike Berry's pitiful letter and demonstrates precisely why a change in November is so important.

1:29 am pdt

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West