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.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Candidate Viewing and Your Neighbor Lies
For those of you who didn't make it to the City Council Candidate Forum on August 28th and who may not subscribe to Time Warner cable television, Costa Mesa TV, Channel 24, now provides those of you with high speed internet service - DSL or cable - the opportunity to view their coverage on streaming video. You can reach that link by going to my "Useful Links" page, click on the Costa Mesa link, then on the Costa Mesa TV link and choose the Archives, then Special Events. I highly recommend that each interested voter take the opportunity to view the candidates in this first forum. The streaming video provides you with a chance to hear them state their views over and over again - kind of like a Chinese water torture.

***

Our old pal, Your Neighbor, has been keeping a relatively low profile around town these days. He didn't show at the candidate forum and was absent from the most recent council meeting. My guess would be that the Mayor and his running mate have told him to stay out of sight until after the election.

From the looks of his blog, he seems to be hunkered down with his ear pressed to his police scanner, listening for reports of more pseudo-illegal aliens disrupting the tranquility of his neighborhood so he can scamper out to the scene and provide another of his convoluted, inaccurate reports.

In a recent posting he could hardly wait to report that the wife of a planning commissioner had written to the Daily Pilot criticizing recent letters from outsiders supporting his pal, Mayor Mansoor. The only problem is, he was flat out wrong! The woman who wrote the letter is not the person he assumed her to be. (You know what they say about that word, right? If you break it into it's component parts it may make an ASS out of U and ME - just as it did in this particular case.) So, Your Neighbor continues to provide half-truths and flat out fabrications to induce a gullible readership to buy into his views. He certainly knows that fiction sells. He's instilled that philosophy in our young jailer/mayor, too. Mansoor plays fast and loose with the truth as he attempts to retain his council seat.

A quick peek at his blog shows that he's removed the inaccurate entry. I have this image of him in my mind now, cowering in a corner, tail between his legs, like some mongrel mutt that has soiled the carpet. Seems like an appropriate image to me.

4:25 pm pdt

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Ready! - Fire! - Aim! (The Mayor Strikes Again)
If I were a member of the Costa Mesa Police Department, right about now I would be shaking my head and wondering about the future of law enforcement in this city. I certainly wouldn't plan on supporting the mayor during his run for re-election in November after watching him in action tonight.

At the City Council meeting tonight, Mayor Allan Mansoor demonstrated once again that his political agenda and his own opinion takes precedence over the views of law enforcement leaders in this city. He showed us that his re-election is much more important to him than the safety of the residents of this city.

At the very tail end of that meeting the subject of offering a reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of perpetrators of the recent shootings in our town was discussed. This was in response to our young jailer/mayor's hastily called press conference on August 18th, during which he told the assembled news media that he would ask his peers on the council to consider a reward. You may recall that I referred to this as political grandstanding at the time. My view hasn't changed. In fact, tonight's action by the mayor only emphasized that his move was purely political and had nothing to do with enhancing law enforcement in this city.

During the debate of this issue interim Police Chief Staveley was asked to address the council, to provide his expertise gained by more than 40 years in law enforcement, most of which have been in leadership positions. The chief had apparently provided the council with a confidential report on the progress being made on the several murders we've had in Costa Mesa in recent months. During the discussion, in response to specific questions by councilwomen Foley and Dixon, the chief implied that this might not be the right time to offer a reward - that a reward at this time would flood his staff with many useless leads, each of which would have to be followed up. The chief implied, but didn't state specifically to avoid the confidentiality of the investigations, that good progress was being made without resorting to a reward.

However, Mayor Mansoor had already made up his mind. In fact, it's likely he had it made up on August 18th, and nothing was going to change it. He completely ignored the chief - a man with impeccable credentials and experience - and made a motion to offer the reward. Councilwoman Foley offered a substitute motion which, more reasonably, gave the chief the option to offer a reward when, and if, he felt the investigations had come up dry. Dixon supported that motion, but it was rejected by the male majority. The mayor's motion was then passed 4-1, with Foley voting no.

This was an amazing event to watch. Mansoor and his shadow, Eric Bever, were in lock-step on the issue, but Gary Monahan clearly only voted with them because Mansoor had "let the cat out to the bag", as Monahan attempted to say. He felt that there was now an expectation of a reward being offered and to not to so would show a lack of commitment by the council to the resolution of the crimes. He was just basically covering Mansoor's butt.

This is not the first time our young jailer/mayor has ignored the views of his top law enforcement professional. He didn't consult with Chief Hensley last December when he launched his ICE proposal and ignored his views in March when they were finally presented to the council. This time he just shrugged off the current chief's recommendation simply because he'd already made up his mind.

Mayor Mansoor, with his actions at this meeting, has demonstrated for us all just how ill-prepared he is for a position on our city council, much less as mayor. His stubborn reluctance to listen to skilled professionals on his staff doesn't serve this community well. This is yet another reason to not return him to the council in November.
11:27 pm pdt

Monday, September 4, 2006

Differing Views
The Labor Day edition of the Daily Pilot carries a few interesting letters to the editor taking me to task for a recent letter in which I suggested that our young jailer/mayor and his council majority may hold some responsibility for the recent rash of violence - supposed gang activity - in our city.

One writer suggested I have a short memory and referred to gang problems "a score or more years" ago. Well, I have a pretty good memory and, having lived in this city for more than three decades, I do recall previous incidences of gang activities. I do remember that it took some creative solutions by our leaders at that time, including the Costa Mesa Police Department, to quash it.

Another writer was, according to his letter, "deeply dismayed" by my letter, calling my suggestion "an outrageous and inexcusable accusation". He questioned my observation about the recent increase in violent crime, which he characterized as a "laughable falsehood". He then observes that, "As an obvious reader of the Daily Pilot, the writer should have known as he wrote it that his statement was blatantly false." Well, I am, indeed, a reader of the Daily Pilot and, for that very reason I know the truth the writer seeks, and have written about it many times, including in the letter that prompted him to write.

Yet another writer "was struck by the realization that there are still a few people out there that really don't seem to be able to grasp the critical need to support Mayor Allan Mansoor's agenda." He went on to say, "Naming past chiefs of police and other counties' law enforcement officials does not carry any weight, since times and conditions change. Those currently in office are assessing the threats and remedies for today's problems." He went on to say, "I would strongly suggest that those in opposition become educated on the issues. That accomplished, I think the soundness of Mansoor's agenda would become obvious."

Where do I start with that one? First, I do grasp the critical need of this issue. That need is to expose and reject the mayor's agenda, not support it. I have, in fact, educated myself on the facts and actions of our young jailer/mayor - to a much greater extent than this particular writer. If he had done as he suggests, and done his homework, he also would realize that the mayor's plan cannot work because it diverts precious police resources from their real jobs to perform administrative tasks. He would understand why every law enforcement leader in the county rejects it.

As far as "past police chiefs" are concerned, this gentleman obviously did not watch then-chief John Hensley testify before the City Council on March 7th of this year - not so long ago. If he had heard Chief Hensley address the council that evening he would understand why the current proposal by the council majority is flawed. He would have heard him say, with absolutely no hesitation, that he didn't support the mayor's plan, and gave the reasons why. Sadly, some of those reasons have been proven accurate in recent weeks. I don't think it's inappropriate to consider Hensley's views in this matter, since he was pitched into that briar patch by the mayor and attempted to deal with it the best he could. Even though he was the top law enforcement official in the city, he was not consulted about the mayor's plan before it was approved. It was only three months later, when council members Foley and Dixon questioned him, that the public finally had a chance to hear his views. It's hard to imagine a more credible source, since he was living the situation every day and had, at that time, been elected the president of the Orange County Police Chiefs Association - an honor bestowed upon him by his peers and representative of the esteem in which he was held by Orange County law enforcement leaders.

Nor do I discount the views of his predecessor, Dave Snowden, who served this city with distinction for seventeen years and was among those who had to deal with the aforementioned gang activity several years ago - effectively, by the way. The cornerstone of that effectiveness was building trust within the Latino community - something the mayor's plan has all but destroyed.

What is "obvious" is that the mayor's plan - supported by his buddy, Eric Bever and lame duck councilman Gary Monahan - has divided this city and caused tension and distrust.

Finally, another writer took aim at the political action committee, Return to Reason, claiming that candidates it supports are not strong enough to "lead us." He says they are, "old-school and we need new ideas, not old." Then, ironically, he said "We need more people like Jack Hammett to step up and give support for a strong leader in Mansoor." Mr. Hammett may have been a good leader for his time - two generations ago - and a war hero, to boot, but that doesn't mean he would be an effective leader today. I'm grateful for the part he played in the evolution of this city, but I think his support of our young jailer/mayor is misguided. That final writer is correct, though, in one statement he made. It is not possible to return to simpler times in this city, but that's exactly what the supporters of our young jailer/mayor hope for. Candidates supported by Return to Reason and who oppose Mansoor and his running mate, Wendy Leece, have demonstrated not only their dedication to this city through decades of public service, but the intelligence and leadership to guide Costa Mesa into the next decade of this century.

One more observation. It was refreshing to see these four letters from actual Costa Mesa residents. Until now, most of the mayor's support has come from interlopers - usually one of the Minutemen and their camp followers - who seemed determined to place this city on the tip of the spear in their battle to cleanse this country of those they feel are here illegally. I'm sorry these writers disagree with my views. They, of course, are entitled to theirs. I just happen to think they are wrong.

The writers mentioned today wrote with much emotion. The immigration issue is an emotional issue - one that does not lend itself to simple solutions. Our young jailer/mayor has taken advantage of the turmoil swirling throughout this country and is trying to use it for personal political gain. The writers want to believe he's correct, but clearly have not studied this issue and don't like to hear a viewpoint opposing the mayor. Well, they'd better get used to it, because mine is not the only voice opposing the mayor and his cronies.

As I said in an earlier posting, the mayor's support comes, in large part, from outside our city - from people who would attempt to influence Costa Mesa politics through their manipulation of our gullible, young mayor. At this point, one would have to say they've been successful. He's been figuratively hoisted on the shoulders of the radical right, praised for his "leadership" and "courage" by those who would scrub our country clean of illegal immigrants and was made the poster boy for intolerance world wide. All this for a flawed plan which can not work.

So, I welcome more divergent viewpoints. I suspect those four letters published today will not be the last we see in defense of the mayor. I only hope future writers use their intellect, not their emotions, when attempting to defend him.

As I've said many times in recent months, it's going to be an election unlike any other in the city.

12:59 pm pdt

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Copyright, 2006 - Geoff West