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 25, 2006

Handcuffed Marines
As the fifth anniversary of the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001 approaches I find myself very, very angry. Of course, I'm angry at the terrorists who plotted and carried out those attacks, but right now I'm angry as a result of a recent news article I read last weekend.

Orange County Register reporter Gordon Dillow recently completed his third, and perhaps final, assignment as an embedded reporter with the United States Marines in Iraq and has returned to write a series of reports in that newspaper covering his assignment. The report published Sunday, August 20th, has me fuming.

In that article, which the editors entitled, "'Rules' of war limit Marines", Dillow - a former U.S. Army Sergeant in Viet Nam - outlines the Rules of Engagement under which the troops he was assigned to cover must operate. As I read the restrictions placed on these brave volunteers I found myself thinking that they are being forced to operate like the proverbial one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

Some of the restrictions Dillow tells us about will make your jaw drop. For example, at one point he tells us that in routine, day-to-day operations, every single shot fired by Marines in Iraq must be documented and reviewed by higher command - regimental level and above - to make sure that it conformed to the Rules of Engagement!

Dillow tells us that our finest combat soldiers, the men and women of the United States Marines, are being forced to perform duties normally associated with police departments. Although Dillow tells us that these Marines manage to keep their morale up and do their duty, it seems to me that this is a horrendous waste of combat talent and makes me wonder about the management of this war. Dillow quotes some of those young warriors as being concerned because the restrictions placed on them make them appear to be weak, which only further emboldens the insurgent enemy.

No, I don't think we should cut and run, as it being proposed by some politicians these days. But I do think our troops should be allowed to do the job for which they were trained - to kill people and break things. If that's not going to be the case, bring them home and replace them with a United Nations police force.
8:58 am pdt

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Posse Speaks - Butt-Kissing All Around
Today the Daily Pilot Forum page was an Allan Mansoor love fest. Two thirds of the page was absorbed by commentaries by members of the mayor's posse, Planning Commissioner Jim Fisler and Mayor Pro Tem Eric Bever, both of whom sang the praises of our young jailer/mayor and denigrated Councilwoman Linda Dixon for her recent commentary condemning Mansoor.

Then, as if to add the cherry on the top of the sundae, Laguna Beach Minutebabe Eileen Garcia provided yet another bit of Mansoor butt-kissing - as if we needed more!

Jim (I'm-a-realtor-here-in-town) Fisler used his column inches to defend his benefactor and fellow Westside Improver, Mansoor, by taking the Daily Pilot to task for printing critical comments and stating, "Reading your paper, it appears that there is more outrage at our fine mayor than at the criminal and the crime. I stand with Mansoor." Of course you would think that, Jim. You apparently think the political opportunism and callous insensitivity displayed by our young jailer/mayor is just fine and dandy.

Fisler goes on to attack the group that forms the core of Return to Reason and individuals identified with that group. He earmarked several of the outstanding former leaders of this city, accusing them of wanting to return the city to simpler times. Well, Jim, I think you're probably right. I think they would prefer to return this city to a time when we didn't have gang related murders on our city streets. This is happening on Mansoor's watch, my friend, induced by his actions and policies. Who wouldn't want to change that?

Mansoor's buddy, Eric (L'il) Bever, continues the attack on the Daily Pilot in his commentary printed side-by-side with Fisler's. It seems like an usual tack to take, spitting in the face of the organization that provides the forum for your comments. By the way, Eric, I thought you didn't read the Daily Pilot any more. How would you know what appears on the pages? Your comments seem more than a little hypocritical to me.

Reading Bever's commentary was akin to watching a clown on a unicycle, juggling while peddling back and forth. Bever changed direction more times than a sock in the washing machine, all the while juggling the truth and managing to honk that little horn at the same time.

These two pieces of literary legerdemain by Mansoor's water carriers attempt to deflect attention from the facts. Among those facts are that our young jailer/mayor has followed a path with his actions and pronouncements that have turned this city's image from one of a vibrant, cosmopolitan "City of the Arts" into the poster child for intolerance and a laughingstock in Orange County. Under Mansoor's "leadership" an environment of intolerance and bigotry has evolved, which has encouraged outside extremist organizations to descend on our town, trying to influence our political process. He has been embraced by those extremists as their savior and returned that affection publicly. By doing so he has brought shame to our city.

Mansoor has demonstrated that there are no depths to which he won't stoop to gain re-election. His opportunistic use of the dead and wounded victims of the recent shootings as pawns in his campaign is despicable and unforgivable. No matter how his boot-lickers try to twist the facts, the truth is the truth. Although Fisler and Bever use the facts as balloons, twisting and bending them to make giraffes and dogs, they remain facts regardless of the distortion applied to them.

Both Fisler and Bever indicate that the majority of Costa Mesa residents support the mayor. Well, I guess we'll find out in November. I, for one, think the voters of this city will be smart enough to see through all this subterfuge and see the real Allan Mansoor for what he has become - a misguided, easily-influenced pawn of the radical right.

Also, last night we had a chance to watch his anointed running mate, Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Wendy Leece, in action. I'm trying to remember when I've seen a more disappointing lack of leadership on display in our city. Last night, during a long and contentious debate about temporary lights for playing fields in our city, she completely lost control of the proceedings. She permitted some speakers, with whom she apparently felt a sympathetic bond, to speak well beyond their allotted time. She allowed members of the audience to inject themselves into the debate by speaking from their seats. If she were a man you would describe her as a wimp! She permitted the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting to degenerate into a virtual Tupperware party, with chatter going on all the time.

As if that wasn't bad enough, she and fellow commissioner Mark Harris shared whispered comments back and forth throughout the meeting. I found myself wondering if that was a Brown Act violation. I do know that while they were whispering between themselves they sure couldn't follow the comments by other commissioners and speakers. At the very least, their actions were disrespectful.

And Leece continues to demonstrate a lack of understanding of procedures and policies by which she is supposed to operate that commission's activities. She certainly doesn't demonstrate any of the skills necessary to be an effective city council member. It appears to me that she may think that all she has to do is grab onto Mansoor's belt and hold on tight. If he's re-elected, using a mountain of outside money, she will likely be swept into office with him. What a sad day for this city that would be.

Speaking of which, I find myself wondering about the long-term affects of Mansoor and Leece winning seats in November. They will be in a position to appoint members of the Planning and Parks and Recreation commissions. It's logical to assume they would appoint many of their cronies from the Westside Improver mob. Talk about scraping the bottom of the intellectual gene pool of this city! With those folks in charge on those commissions it would be like watching the Tea Party scene from Alice in Wonderland. Should that occur, I wouldn't be surprised at anything they might pull. Heck, they might even try to resurrect Bull Connors and appoint him as police chief.

Here's something to think about... Your Neighbor as Planning Commission chairman! The only worse scenario I can imagine would be him seated on the city council! We know he has pull, because he was appointed to a city committee which determines how to dole out the Community Development Block Grant funds until he resigned earlier this year when the light of day was shined on his activities. Since he claims responsibility for getting Mansoor elected the first time around, there's no reason to expect he won't end up in a position of even more power if Mansoor and Leece are elected. This kind of stuff could happen with a low turn-out, mid-term election and a lazy electorate that votes with their emotions instead of their brains.

It's time for the electorate of Costa Mesa to wake up and realize what a crock the mayor and his pals are trying to force-feed you. Your silence is deafening.
12:02 pm pdt

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Clueless in Costa Mesa
By now you regular readers have figured out that I don't much care for the way our young jailer/mayor goes about doing his job, right? You know that I think many of the moves he's made since he was elected, particularly since he became mayor twenty months ago, are aimed directly at increasing the discomfort for the Latino community in this city. I've chronicled my views here many times.

You know that I think it would be good news for this city if he fails to be re-elected in November. I've written about that many times, in many ways, and will continue to do so until his defeat on November 7th. I've outlined what I believe are his deficiencies, one of which is his inability to perceive the real world around him.

Well, last night he demonstrated, once again, that he's not really with it. Last night, while we were having dinner, our young jailer/mayor telephoned my wife in what was likely a "get-out-the-vote" effort. I'm assuming that he was using a list of registered voters - most likely Republicans - who are likely voters in this city. These lists are usually lists of households of voters, so it's likely that my name was right there beside hers on the list.

So, I answer the telephone and the mayor identifies himself and asks for my wife. I, dutifully, handed her the telephone, then heard half the conversation as he requested her help with his election and probed for her views on important issues. All this time I'm practically choking on the irony of this whole situation. Sweet person that she is, she courteously answered his questions and, as the conversation was wrapping up, told him that she was looking forward to seeing him again in person at the candidate forum on August 30th. Still, through this five minute conversation, I don't think he had a clue that he was talking to my wife.

I dropped him a little email note as soon as my wife ended their conversation, thanking him for his call and telling him how much she enjoyed their little chat. I was sure he would appreciate that little bit of courtesy on my part.

This morning the mayor, much to my surprise, answered my email with a little note of his own. He told me he also enjoyed the chat he had with my wife and he will "always want to hear what members of the public have to say." Except me, I guess, since he still hasn't answered my letter to him of March 17th. Oh, well...

Now my wife and I both look forward to our personal visit with the mayor next week. I'm left to hope that his charm, boyish good looks, steel trap mind and tolerant views will not sway a certain voter in this household to his side. Arrgh! (I just got my tongue stuck firmly in my cheek!)
11:04 am pdt

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Your Neighbor Spreads Manure As The Clock Ticks
The guy who resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor, continues to publish un-substantiated garbage for his poor, misguided readers, attempting to fan the flames of intolerance.

Today he posted an entry on his blog quoting a Rice University source - and provided a link that might take you to the complete report - but the link, like the numbers quoted, was bogus. If you click his link it takes you to yet another wacko right-wing web site - one of many he apparently reads and/or writes for on a regular basis.

Sadly, his cadre of followers just soak up his fabrications like sponges, then regurgitate them when the opportunity presents itself. They apparently are incapable of independent thought and, so persuasive is he, that they just take what he says on face value - much to their discredit.

When challenged on issues this fellow just cranks up the volume and goes on the attack. He resorts to name calling and feeble attempts at character assassination - none of which are effective. Although they keep trying, his little flock of lemmings seem to lack the intellectual fire power to carry out his mission - good news for the rest of us, for sure.

His mere presence has brought shame to this community as he preaches his vile, intolerant views. He has become a lightning rod for controversy, yet he persists and his followers still grovel at his feet. For years he has been the subject of scrutiny by civil rights organizations who monitor his activities. He apparently revels in this notoriety, using it as a marketing device for his books.

I look forward to the near future when, in less than 90 days, the electorate in Costa Mesa will make their views known in the voting booth and reject our young jailer/mayor and his would-be sidekick, Wendy Leece. They will show the powers of divisiveness and intolerance that they've finally had enough. They will elect candidates who demonstrate leadership, intelligence, integrity and a reasonable approach to governance of our city. The clock is ticking on Your Neighbor's influence in this city.
10:21 pm pdt

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Mayor Limbos To A New Low
Late last week our young jailer/mayor, in the most overt and ill-advised move of his time in office to date, called a hastily arranged press conference to announce that he's going to talk with his city council peers about offering a reward for the shooters who have gunned down Costa Mesa residents within the past few weeks.

As he stood before the sparse group of media representatives reading a statement obviously written by someone else, some of his supporters stood in the background and photographed his speech - apparently to be used on campaign literature in the next few weeks.

This is the most blatant demonstration of political opportunism I can remember - even worse than his callous and insensitive comments following the death of a young man two weeks ago - and is yet another example of the character of this man. He seems not only willing, but eager, to use the agony and despair of the loved ones of the victims of these heinous crimes as a platform for his campaign for re-election.

Do I think a reward is a good idea? Yes! I suspect that, since Mansoor and his cronies have so polarized the Latino community within our city that they fear contact with law enforcement officers, all potential leads on these crimes have dried up. It is likely that a reward may jog some memories and provide some motivation for courageous persons with knowledge and leads to come forward.

In the meantime, our pathetic young jailer/mayor seems intent on dishonoring the victims of these senseless crimes with his flagrant disregard for any semblance of civility and compassion by using them as political pawns. It's more than just a shame - it's disgusting, unconscionable and unforgivable. Even a person with a short memory will remember this on November 7th - the day Mansoor is voted from office.
11:01 pm pdt

The Mayor Limbos To A New Low
Late last week our young jailer/mayor, in the most overt and ill-advised move of his time in office to date, called a hastily arranged press conference to announce that he's going to talk with his city council peers about offering a reward for the shooters who have gunned down Costa Mesa residents within the past few weeks.

As he stood before the sparse group of media representatives reading a statement obviously written by someone else, some of his supporters stood in the background and photographed his speech - apparently to be used on campaign literature in the next few weeks.

This is the most blatant demonstration of political opportunism I can remember - even worse than his callous and insensitive comments following the death of a young man two weeks ago - and is yet another example of the character of this man. He seems not only willing, but eager, to use the agony and despair of the loved ones of the victims of these heinous crimes as a platform for his campaign for re-election.

Do I think a reward is a good idea? Yes! I suspect that, since Mansoor and his cronies have so polarized the Latino community within our city that they fear contact with law enforcement officers, all potential leads on these crimes have dried up. It is likely that a reward may jog some memories and provide some motivation for courageous persons with knowledge and leads to come forward.

In the meantime, our pathetic young jailer/mayor seems intent on dishonoring the victims of these senseless crimes with his flagrant disregard for any semblance of civility and compassion by using them as political pawns. It's more than just a shame - it's disgusting, unconscionable and unforgivable. Even a person with a short memory will remember this on November 7th - the day Mansoor is voted from office.
10:59 pm pdt

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West