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.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Piling On The Mayor!
I can't remember when I've had so much fun reading political stuff! Over the past couple weeks our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor, has been pilloried by writers of every ilk - columnists, bloggers, editors, publishers and residents, with no end in sight. A highly respected civil rights watchdog organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has done a feature article on him and his relationship with a certain controversial activist in town. And now, even a peer on the City Council has taken him to task in the press.

Each of those writers have been on the mark. It's vaguely amusing, in a sad sort of way. Of all the missteps Mansoor has made over the past couple years - closing the Job Center; disbanding the Human Relations Committee; reducing funding to charities; trying to cross-designate Costa Mesa police officers to be immigration screeners; permitting himself to become the poster boy for intolerance by being anointed as an honorary Minuteman by the grand pooba, Jim Gilchrist; his grand plan to place the utilities underground throughout the city to the tune of more than $1 billion and his dumb plan to tear up part of the municipal golf course to make playing fields instead of simply lighting two more of the best fields in town at The Farm Sports Complex, to name a few - the issue that has gotten him the most grief so far turns out not to be any of those. No, the issue that has raised the collective hackles of the community are his politically opportunistic and callously insensitive public comments following the drive-by shooting in this city last week that took the life of one young man and wounded four of his friends - all of whom just happened to be Latinos.

The most recent high-profile person to rake him over the coals on this issue is one of his peers on the dais, Councilwoman Linda Dixon - the very person he defeated when she was mayor four years ago to gain his seat on the council! In a commentary in the Daily Pilot today, Dixon went to great lengths to point out just what a hypocrite our young jailer/mayor has become and closed with a warning for residents to "Beware of Allan Mansoor!" I cannot remember when a sitting council member has taken such a firm position in the press against one of their peers on the council. All I can say to Dixon, with whom I've had my share of differences over the past couple years, is "Right On, Linda! You go, girl!"

So, it looks to me as though our mayor, at the beginning of what is starting out to be a very contentious campaign season, will continue to find ways to shoot himself in the foot. I, for one, just hope he keeps on yapping. Perhaps he can find a clown suit among the mugs, aprons and tee shirts in that online store to which he's linked his web site.

Speaking of his web site, a friend pointed out that our young jailer/mayor and his pals seem to be trying to jump the gun on the election. On his home page he refers to "Election Day" as November 2nd, 2006. Most calendars I've seen, and most links on municipal, state and federal web sites, tell us that the correct day is November 7th. He's going to be one lonely dude when he shows up at his polling place on the Thursday before the election.
12:13 am pdt

The Tinderbox - An SPLC Intelligence Report
Late last night my computer "chirped" at me, indicating an email message had arrived. When I retrieved it, I found myself staring at a link to the Southern Poverty Law Center's online publication, Intelligence Report, which contains a feature article entitled "The Tinderbox". The entire article, and a companion piece about a local activist who closely resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor, can be found at the following link: http://www.splcenter.org/index.jsp. You'll have to copy and paste this link into your browser.

The article, the work product of author Susy Buchanan, is a result of an investigation she conducted here over a couple weeks in the spring of this year shortly after Mayor Allan Mansoor announced his plan to convert some Costa Mesa police officers into immigration screeners. She did extensive interviews with several people in Costa Mesa, including some city officials and other Orange County residents closely involved on both sides of the illegal immigration issue. Even your lowly correspondent spent some time with her.

The upshot of that groundwork is a distressingly accurate description of what's been happening in this city for the past several years. It's not possible, in my view, to read this article without becoming angry - not at her for what she's saying, but at the circumstances and people that have produced such a divisive, pernicious atmosphere in this city and have permitted it to become the tip of the spear in the immigration battles going on in this country right now.

Buchanan appropriately points the spotlight on the activist mentioned above, referring to him as "Racism's Rudder" - a perfect description for his activities in this city for nearly a decade. She quotes extensively from his racist internet essays, which leave no doubt about how he feels about non-white human beings.

Although the interviews which form the core of her article were conducted several months ago, current events remind us that nothing has changed since then - except that our young jailer/mayor has become even more bold in his anti-immigrant maneuverings. We only have to recall his callous comments following the recent drive-by shootings last week to realize that he continues to show his true colors.

I'm not happy that Buchanan found Costa Mesa in such a sorry state of affairs. However, that's the way it is. Denying it doesn't change that fact. We cannot deny that some of our elected leaders have taken direction from an overt racist for several years. We cannot deny that the unrest and turmoil in this city is directly the result of that association, nor that the majority on the council is dancing to that racist's tune.

Buchanan has described for us what many other reporters have attempted to portray for several years - the undeniable relationship with some of our current leaders and the activist mentioned above. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, over the past week or so a major Orange County-oriented blog, Orange Juice, has taken up this baton, too.

I encourage each of you to read The Tinderbox. It's a painfully accurate piece of reporting that every voter in this city should read before they enter the voting booth in November.
1:14 am pdt

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The Buzz and The Boot
For nearly a week the buzz around this town has been about our young jailer/mayor's insensitive comments regarding the tragic multiple shooting that occurred last week in the north part of Costa Mesa. Residents, officials, editorial writers and bloggers have raked the mayor over the coals for his callous disregard for the families of those wounded or killed in that senseless drive-by shooting.

Today's Daily Pilot Opinion page carries a half dozen letters critical of Mayor Mansoor's comments last week, and his botched attempt at damage control that resulted in him digging himself even deeper into the hole.

Perhaps the mayor has finally managed to show the voters of this city just who he is. For most of this decade, during which he became active in civic issues, he's managed to fool most observers into thinking he was a nice, clean cut young man with only the best interests of the city in mind. Those of us who have watched him, particularly since his election to the City Council almost four years ago, realize that there's a very different side to this man. He began demonstrating that side as soon as he held the majority on the council.

I suspect that some residents of this city will finally realize that much of what Mansoor and his cronies are advocating have one central theme - the expulsion of the Latinos from our city.

Simultaneously, the Orange County blog world is rife with comments about the influence a local activist who very much resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor, has over the majority on the council. One prominent blogger, as mentioned in an earlier posting, published a scathing indictment of this fellow and our young jailer/mayor, comparing the activist in question to Hitler pre-World War II. He followed it up with two subsequent blog postings further kicking that can down the street.

In the meantime, if one visits Mansoor's web site you will find his smiling face staring out at you as he snuggles up to the Minuteman babes and Dana Rohrabacker. You will find ways to contribute to his campaign and ways to volunteer to help. You will find a link to an online store where you can buy mugs and tee shirts and aprons and all sorts of junk with Mansoor's name all over it. What you won't find is any kind of a biography of the mayor. Nor will you find a statement of his campaign objectives. No, the mayor would simply ask potential supporters to blindly jump aboard his train-wreck-waiting-to-happen. The way it's going, it won't be long before his campaign derails completely.

I think our young jailer/mayor owes a very specific, sincere apology to the parents of the young man who was gunned down last week, and to the four others who were wounded. He needs to apologize to this community for his blatant insensitivity and his disregard for the civilized, compassionate, mature behavior we expect of our top elected official.

As many of the writers in the Daily Pilot today expressed in their letters, November gives us a chance to change this situation and boot the mayor's fanny out of office. In 90 days we could be seeing a regime change in Costa Mesa - a change for the better.
12:39 am pdt

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West