Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CM PRESS # 568


It's 8 am when we leave the CM PRESS building this morning (12/31). The fog is so heavy and thick that the ground is rain wet. No problem. We have the mutation and we're producing Vitamin D as we drive.

We turn from Harbor on to West 19th Street looking for homeless people. We see some likelies walking down the sidewalk, but we keep going to Placentia and then to the alley behind Center Street where homeless people are reportedly attacked from time to time.

We drive the length of the heavily potholed alley. The back of the Vista Shopping Center is on our right and hundreds of apartments are on our left. We pass a parked car with a Mexican license plate. Nothing odd in that in this neighborhood. Then we start seeing graffiti on the wall on our right. Not much, mostly stuff that has already been painted over. Then we see one that looks fresh. It reads "WS 18th St XV3." We wonder if this has something to do with the attack on the guy who reported being shot in the eye by a paint ball. No paint ball guns in sight. Punks are probably late risers.

We leave the alley and head over to where we earlier saw three homeless people huddling in the fog in front of the Lions Den bar across from the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen (the finest restaurant on W. 19th Street).

We recognize Gregory Dahlgren. He's the guy who had been shot with the paintball guns and had his photo either in the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot or in the OCR. We look at his eye, it's mostly just red on the skin around the eye, but to us the eyeball looks fine. Probably better than our own. We wonder if the original reports were exaggerated.

He tells us the attackers were kids. We ask how old they were, and he replies about 26 or 27 years old. We tell him those aren't kids. He says he's 48. We let it go.

All three of the homeless guys are looking at us suspiciously. We tell them we're not a cop to put them at ease. They still eye us as though we might have a paintball gun under our coat. Then, the one who's missing some teeth and who says his name is Bebop and who's busy drinking his breakfast from a tall can lets the cat out of the bag. "I know who you are. I've talked to you before," he says. "Oh?" we say. "Yeah, it was aboard an alien space ship."

We make a mental note to send the men in black over to erase his memory later in the day and leave.

We forgot to ask these guys if Katrina Foley had been by with a plate of lasagna or for a singalong. We'll try to remember next time.

The Senior Center

It's now about 8:55 am and we wheel into the Senior Center on West 19th Street. We get out of the CM PRESSMOBILE and go over to the front door where there are 12 geezers all standing around in the fog rattling their keys and talking about nothing while waiting for the place to open.

We blend in with the geezers and wait. We try to strike up a casual conversation but it falls flat. The alien spaceship thing, probably.

We continue waiting. Nothing happens. The place stays locked up. No signs of life inside. No signs on the door saying they're not opening today. We wait and wait and wait. More geezers show up. The Senior Center is locked up tight. We look for paintball guns. None in sight. At about 9:15 some geezers start leaving. More arrive. We mindlessly start rattling our keys and suddenly fear that geezerness is contagious, so at 9:30 we also leave.

Maybe for the next geezer art project at the Senior Center someone can come up with a sign indicating the place isn't going to open or is opening late. Hey, we know where they can get some paint for the sign.

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CM PRESS # 567

(And you thought Irish Mist was just a liqueur?)

Muslims who have moved to Ireland are being warned that burqas don't allow in enough sunlight for their bodies to produce the proper amount of Vitamin D. LINK

What's the deeper story?
Humans have evolved to survive and prosper in different environments.

When the few people who were to eventually become the white indigenous peoples of Europe left Africa about 20,000 to 50,000 years ago and moved north, nature did what it always does. It rewarded, via natural selection, those individuals with certain favorable mutations that allowed them to adapt to the new conditions and eliminated those without the mutations.

One of these mutations was white skin--which many scientists now believe was primarily caused by a tiny mutation in gene slc24a5, located on the long leg of chromosome 15 at position 21.1.

White skin allows in much more sunlight than darker skin and white skin can produce as much as 99% more Vitamin D than darker skin in some cases.

Without a proper level of Vitamin D, people develop rickets (and other medical problems), bones break more easily and people die younger.

Those early arrivals in Europe without the white skin mutation died younger. As a result, they had less time to produce offspring, so they had fewer children who received their form of the gene while those who lived longer (the ones with the white skin mutation) had more children who received their mutated gene form. In time, those with the favorable mutation became the dominant form in Europe. Again, this is what natural selection means.

The white skin mutation spread and became dominant in Europe 5,300 to 12,000 years ago.

This gene (slc24a5) has primary alleles that differ in only one nucleotide, changing the 111th amino acid from alanine to threonine. You may recall that genes are locations on our strands of DNA that are clustered into chromosomes and that DNA is made up of four nucleotides that are usually abbreviated as A,T,C,G, so the white skin mutation is caused by the change in just one letter of DNA.

In white European descended peoples the threonine form is found in from 98.7% to 100% of the population while in Africans, East Asians and American Indians from 93% to 100% of the populations have the alanine form.

What about tans?
White skin can allow in too much sunlight in sunny areas, so nature has provided a means of preventing this by causing white skin to darken into a tan as a natural sun block.
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Thanks for reading the CM PRESS.

Monday, December 29, 2008

CM PRESS # 566


Funny how descriptions of some outstanding violent criminals don't make it into the pages of some "news" papers. LINK

When these criminals are caught, will there be hate crime enhancements and editorials and letters about this crime? Don't count on it. Check the demographics of the location of the crime and the name of the victim for a clue.

By the way, how difficult should it be to catch these criminals? Five or six "teens" on the Westside near a major slum just after Christmas and they have [new?] paint ball guns.

Sherlock Holmes isn't needed on this case. Just someone knocking on a few doors.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

CM PRESS # 565


In Costa Mesa, the Improvers have been asking "Why?" since they first came on the scene with their principle of constant improvement. And, they continue to do so both as elected officials and as private citizens.

It turns out the Japanese have been doing the same thing, and this has caught the attention of American politicians now that they have to live within shrinking budgets. LINK

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Here's the LINK to a letter in the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot from Judy Lindsay who wants the KFADDP to remember love in discussing the Senior Center.

When last heard from, Ms. Lindsay was mentioned in the KFADDP with this line: "Lindsay said she was offended by [Mayor Pro Tem] Leece’s claim that the center needs stricter financial oversight." Here's the LINK to the original article.

Why are so many people "offended" when our Mayor Pro Tem asks for transparency?

Why are so many people against having Ms. Leece on the Senior Center board?

Why do so many people not want salaries made public? It's a matter of public record that the highest annual salary at the Senior Center is $81,255 with an additional $4,875 for benefits for that person.

Why do some "friends" of the Senior Center sound so arrogant and why are they insulting Ms. Leece?

Don't they realize that the City Council can cut off the City's annual "gift" of $240,00 (going up to $ 245,000 next year) and can evict the present Senior Center Corporation from the building at 695 West 19th Street that is owned by the citizens of Costa Mesa? Don't they realize that another corporation can be formed to run the Senior Center?

Why do so many people apparently not want the City Council to investigate complaints from seniors?

As we previously reported, the entity running the Senior Center and occupying the Senior Center Building at 695 West 19th Street is a 501(c)3 Corporation named the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation (CMSC). CMSC is not part of City government.

CMSC is a tenant of the City of Costa Mesa and is leasing the building at 695 West 19th Street from the City of Costa Mesa for a buck a year.

If the City Council or CMSC are not pleased with each other, either party may cancel the lease and the agreement. Then, CMSC can go find another building someplace and the City can lease out the building to another Corporation to run the Senior Center or do whatever else the City Council wants to do with the building. Art museum? College classes? Who knows? It's a prime property.

If we were the CMSC we'd be trying to cool the intemperate remarks from some who seem to want to turn this into a battle between the CMSC and the City Council. It appears to us that the City Council has all the leverage.

It's time to mend fences, to have transparency, to invite Ms.Leece and some others to be voting members on the board, and to investigate complaints.

It's also time to make sure that our seniors are getting the best service possible and that the citizens of Costa Mesa are getting the most for their money.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Friday, December 26, 2008

CM PRESS # 564


The Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot has a column today about cuts being made or proposed at the CMPD. LINK

One senses that some police union brass are not pleased with the cuts.

Since it was the union brass that supported Katrina Foley in the just past election, it would be interesting to hear Foley's take on the cuts and proposed cuts.

Don't look for the KFADDP to go out of its way to pick up what appears to be its dedicated phone line to Foley about this, since it may force her to speak about something substantive instead of about things like the closing of a health spa, or about planting flowers in front of the slums, or delivering a plate of lasagna to the family of a man killed in a drive-by shooting.

Foley likes to flop around on issues and not take a firm stand. She wants to be on every side of every issue and hopes the voters will just forget her flopping.

Remember how Foley refused to sign a letter to President Bush asking him to secure the borders and publicly said that she was going to write her own (better) letter to him on the subject?

As far as anyone knows, Foley has never written or sent such a letter. Our guess, from watching her, is that she never intended to do so.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

CM PRESS # 563

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Without reproduction there is no life. LINK

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

CM PRESS # 562


In the latest article in the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot today (12/24/08) we read:

'“It’s an insult that Wendy would think we’re misspending money,” Scheafer said.' [Failed City Council candidate Mike Scheafer.]

'[Judy] Lindsay said she was offended by Leece’s claim that the center needs stricter financial oversight.'

'“The vote isn’t the important part. She has antagonized everyone. I have a staff that’s very uneasy because of her,” Goelman said.' [Center Director Aviva Goelman.]

Be sure to read the full article HERE.

Our opinion:-

A few facts:-
The City of Costa Mesa and the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation entered into the Senior Center Agreement on April 19, 2005.

This ten page agreement sets forth the duties and responsibilities of the City and the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation and is primarily a lease agreement by and between the City as landlord and the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation as tenant, with some additional provisions.

Here are some of the major points of the agreement with our comments in []. When you see the words "The City," read: you as a taxpayer.

The City of Costa Mesa leases the Senior Center building at 695 West 19th Street to the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation for $1 a year. [If the City were to lease this building to a for profit business, the City would receive approximately $133,000 per year in rental payments.]

The City provides maintenance and repairs for the foundations, roof, exterior doors, landings, balconies and exterior walls of the Senior Center as well as the landscaping at no cost to the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation. [Actual cost (?) is in the City budget.]

The City gives a cash contribution to the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation each year that started off at $225,000 in fiscal year 2005 and has increased by $ 5,000 each year. Thus, in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2010 the amount given will be $245,000. [June 30, 2010 is also when the present agreement terminates.]

The City also gives the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation various amounts under the CDBG program as the CM PRESS reported in CM PRESS # 559.

The City provides, at its own cost and expense, a transportation program to transport senior citizens to various locations throughout the City. Examples of transportation provided include trips for doctor appointments, banking, shopping, senior activities and visits with friends. [Actual cost (?) is in the City budget.] The Costa Mesa Senior Corporation coordinates the transportation.

Now, with all of the above, don't you think that the City Council should have a voting member or two on the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation's Board and don't you think that City Council members have a right to ask questions about where our money is going?

And, when senior citizens complain about conditions at the Senior Center, don't you think the City Council should take those complaints seriously and investigate?


What can happen if the City or the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation are not happy with the relationship between the two entities?

Here's section 25 of the Agreement:


Either party may terminate this Agreement at any time by giving the other written notice no fewer than ninety (90) days in advance of such termination and in accordance with the provisions set forth in Section 19 [Section 19 just gives the how, where and why for delivery of notices and nothing else]. In the event of such termination, City has the right to recover from Tenant the worth, at the time of the award, of the unpaid rent that had been accrued at the time of the termination of this Agreement and any other amount, including, but not limited to any court costs and attorney's fees necessary to compensate City for the eviction of Tenant.


If the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation doesn't want City Council oversight, it can simply terminate the agreement and move out of the City's building at 695 West 19th Street.

And, if the City is not happy with the way things are going, it can terminate the agreement and ask the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation to vacate the premises.

In either case, the City can then do whatever it wants with the building, including, but not limited to, leasing it to a new tenant at full market rate or leasing it to a new corporation that serves senior citizens.

Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece is needed

Since so many people involved with the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation don't want Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece to be involved as a board member or as City Council liaison, she is exactly the person who should continue to be involved. What do they think they're running, a private club? We need oversight from someone who is not shy about asking questions. We don't need someone over there who goes along to get along.

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IRS says executive set up shell company and took $65 million in kickbacks from vendors.
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Say, maybe Foley should get a shot as editor over at the KFADDP.

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CM PRESS # 561


Here's the link to a letter from Darlene Letnus that appears in the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot today.

Among other things, Ms. Letnus writes this about the Senior Center: "A donation of about $600,000 has been squandered. The donor would be very upset if he was alive and take back the money."

The allegations by Ms. Letnus and others should not be swept under the rug, but should be fully investigated, not only by Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece, but by the full City Council.

If Ms. Letnus and others, who apparently frequently use the Senior Center and see what's actually going on there on a daily basis, are mistaken, so be it. But, it's time to clear the air.

Let's have full and complete transparency at the Senior Center.

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Some political cops apparently not happy. Link
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Says city harassed homeless. LINK
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

CM PRESS # 560

Yesterday was the shortest daylight day of the year and the first day of winter.
Today, the sun starts setting a little later each day.
The birth of a season is also the start of its end as the cycle continues.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Friday, December 19, 2008

CM PRESS # 559


Synopsis of column that follows:
1. The Center is doing a good job.

2. The Center needs City Council oversight and has to be transparent.

3. Smears of Wendy Leece need to stop. She's doing her job.

My experience with the Senior Center
A few years ago, I was on the Costa Mesa 3R Committee (Committee). This is the committee that, among other things, makes recommendations to the City Council about which non-profits in Costa Mesa should receive some funding, and how much, from the Community Development Block Grants sent to the city by HUD.

The way it worked (and probably still does) was that the non-profits would complete a number of forms, and submit a package with these forms and (after I requested it), copies of their Federal Form 990's (tax forms for non-profits). The full Committee would study the packages and then a sub-Committee would personally interview representatives from the non-profits at meetings at City Hall. I was also on that sub-Committee.
We would then make recommendations to the City Council.

What I noticed in the grants that had been given out in prior years was that it seemed that non-profits serving senior citizens were not getting a fair or proper share of the money each year and needed more to help more senior citizens.

I remember when the Executive Director of the Senior Center appeared before the sub-Committee the first year I was on it. She sat down at the conference table with the Sub-Committee members and began reading from a prepared speech about the Senior Center.

As she did so, I felt that the prepared speech wasn't doing her cause--getting money for the Senior Center--much good, because, and with all due respect, it sounded, to my ears at least, well, like a speech that is read.

So, I suggested that she she put down the written speech and just have a conversation with the sub-Committee.

She did so, and then the good work that she and her staff had been doing at the Senior Center came through loud and clear.

And, it did so with human stories and anecdotes that told the real story about the Senior Center. Suddenly, an "institution" became human. The senior citizens served by the Center were no longer just numbers. Remember, we already had the numbers--the statistics--in the package submitted before the interview, so we didn't need to hear them again.

One thing that especially struck me during the to and fro conversation that we were having with the Executive Director was something she said almost as an aside or a toss away line.

She told how she and her staff had noticed one particular senior gentleman who had been coming to the Center for some time and who appeared to be losing weight. Apparently, the old fellow had a lot of pride and wouldn't talk much about any personal problems he had. So, the Center's staff worked obliquely and a little behind the scenes to see if he was okay.

As it turned out--and I may be off on some of the details here because this is from memory--the old guy had no money to eat and also had some medical condition that he wasn't doing anything about. Once the Center's staff knew these things, they quietly intervened so he could eat and get the medical care he needed.

What impressed me was that the staff cared enough about the seniors to actually notice that one guy in the crowd was losing weight and might need their help.

Now, I know it probably didn't happen this way, but I can almost imagine different Staff members or a series of other seniors sitting down near the guy each day--after they realized he wouldn't tell anyone he had no money to eat, and knowing that he was too proud to accept charity--and saying something like, "You know, I just got this tray of food and I haven't touched it. I had too big a breakfast. Man, I hate to throw it away, you have to help me out and eat this so I don't get in trouble for wasting it." And, every day a new Staff member or a new senior citizen who was in on the deal would show up with a full tray of untouched food and say something similar.

At any rate, we were able to give the Senior Center even more money than they had expected that year.

Transparency is still needed
Notwithstanding the above, and even with the good work that the Senior Center seems to be doing, the Center still has to be transparent. Citizens have a right to know that every penny they put into the Center and its work is used properly and that we get the most bang for our buck.

And, when any senior citizens bring gripes or complaints to the City Council, the City Council should look into those gripes and complaints.

It's sad to see some supporters of the Senior Center trying to keep Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece from asking legitimate questions and following up on gripes and complaints, and it's sad to see some of these supporters smearing the complaining senior citizens.

And, what is our local community newspaper--our "watchdog" the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot doing? It's also trying to get Wendy Leece off the case.

Hopefully, Ms. Leece and the rest of the City Council won't give in to the pressure but will keep asking questions and will demand full transparency from the Center.

What about the statement that the City Council already receives full reports?
We've been seeing comments in the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot from a person who signs himself "mikes" who is also trying to get Wendy off the case by saying that the Center does supply full reports to the City Council. LINK

We're not sure what mikes is referring to, but if he means the package supplied for the CDBG money that is reviewed by the 3R Committee (as discussed above), he's mistaken.

The reports in these packages do not really scratch the surface and reveal enough. They are not audits or independent reviews, and if there are complaints about spoiled food or similar things (we recall there was a complaint about cheese that was out of date) these reports wouldn't reveal this.

In all of this, there are a few things that need to be remembered: The Senior Center is in a building owned by the citizens of Costa Mesa and it receives tax money from these citizens.

The representatives of the citizens of Costa Mesa are the five members of the City Council. These five Council members can vote to cut off the money and take back the Senior Center building if anything is amiss.

Full and complete transparency is needed, and the sooner it is achieved, the better. Any appearance of stonewalling is not good for the seniors, the Center or the citizens of this city.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

CM PRESS # 558

(This is not a picture of Foley. It is a CM PRESS dramatic imagining of our interpretation of comments in the KFADDP via the use of an old movie still.)
Yup. The KFADDP has lasagna slinging, flower planting, refusing to sign a letter to President Bush asking that he secure our borders Katrina Foley in a story today about sports fields. Stop the presses. Read all about it HERE.
It appears that Foley is talking tough to the NMUSD about the use of sports fields on school property.
One school official says that the community screws up the fields and Foley says we pay to use the fields.
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A letter writer named Agnes Dubberly has some suggestions about the Senior Center and says Wendy Leece should be praised for trying to provide some oversight. LINK
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As we've written before, Sam Zell is a shrewd businessman who expects the businesses he buys to make money.
He also isn't caught up in the mystique of newspaperdom.
Get ready for more changes as the Zell's Angels hit the road.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CM PRESS # 557


The CM PRESS has looked into our crystal ball and we see more personnel changes over at the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot coming very soon as staff is reduced.

We also see the KFADDP cutting back its print editions to three days a week and maybe, if that doesn't shore things up, to one day a week.

We also see a more robust Internet version of the KFADDP taking up the slack (but it won't pay the bills), and we see more free opinion content being relied on by the newspaper's Internet version.

It makes no good business sense to pay opinion columnists unless they can draw people to the paper. That means they have to be very good and they have to write interesting columns that make sense. To be more precise; in our present economy they have to be stars.

You can't bore people into reading the paper.

No, we don't have any inside information. While we would like to say that the problems at the KFADDP are all related to it being out of touch with the two communities it serves, that's only part of the problem. The major problem is really the economy. But, no one needs a crystal ball to know this.

In a booming economy, even mediocre writers and opinion columnists get a free ride. In a down economy, everyone has to carry their own weight.

The traditional model for newspapers is to rely heavily on real estate advertising to pay the bills. And, that segment of the economy, as we all know, isn't doing much advertising these days.

How accurate are our predictions?

Well, the last time we predicted something about the KFADDP, one of the suits over there responded by writing that all was fine with the newspaper and it was doing great. Then, not long after that, he was gone.

And, yes, we know the folks at the KFADDP are reading the CM PRESS. They can't help it. It's more interesing than some of the crap they put out.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

CM PRESS # 556





Sam, the super geniuses here at the Acme Super Genius Advice Factory have been giving some thought to newspapers lately.

In particular, we've been doing some thinking about the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot that you own here in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.

We're afraid the KFADDP isn't going to survive as things are going, and we'd hate to see that happen. We find the paper version of the newspaper useful for cleaning the windows on the CM PRESSMOBILE and for cleaning up spills around the garage.

So, we're here to help.

As you know, the big urban newspapers can't hack it in this age when folks can get up to date international and national news 24 hours a day on TV and via the Internet. In fact, these big newspapers are in free fall. Like, gravity is taking over.

It's time to think big by thinking small.

Local newspapers that truly serve their local communities can still be profitable, but some changes need to be made and the right people have to run the things.

Here are a few thoughts from our super geniuses here at ASGAF that you may wish to consider:

1. Local newspapers need to be run by people who actually live in the community. Outsiders don't get the fine points of local politics and the local scene. You have to have people who actually feel, smell and touch the local community. You can't do that if you live in a far away community such as, ah, Fullerton. Those who mind the store have to be in the store.

2. All living things seek comfort. Comfort can be physical or psychological. People read what they agree with. This gives them psychological comfort. They don't want to be insulted. If you have a local newspaper in a conservative community, why would you let lefties chase off readers? It's bad business. Know your customers and cater to their wishes.

3. Newspapers printed on paper aren't going to hack it under the old models. They need to adapt. So, what does this mean? Well, one thing that local newspapers printed on paper can do that the Internet can't do is deliver glossy advertising inserts from local merchants.

That's right, Sam, the Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot should work overtime to get local merchants to buy glossy advertising inserts that can be stuffed into the newspaper. It's a good delivery system for strong and timely advertising messages.

And, you may wish to publish paper editions of the newspaper only on days when the newspaper is full of such inserts. Say, three days a week.

Sam, we know you're a bright and hands on guy, so we don't think we need to write any more.

But, as you might expect, the super geniuses at the ASGAF do have other ideas if you want to hear them. We're here and we're thinking all the time.

This may not be rocket science, but if you need some advice in that regard, we may be able to help in that area as well.

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Note to Katrina Foley Almost Daily Daily Pilot: It should be "pole," not "poll." You know, as in "The monkey wrapped his tail around the flag pole to see his...."LINK

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Those are our super genius ideas for today. Thanks for reading them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

CM PRESS # 555


1. We should expect it to report the news and not scrub the news to avoid putting in racial/ethnic descriptions of outstanding criminal suspects. The fullest descriptions possible may help protect the public and lead to the arrest of the criminals. Just report what you have and let the chips fall where they may. Don't try to create the impression that gangs and violent crime in Costa Mesa are equal opportunity employers, they're not.

2. We should expect it to be a watchdog over government and institutions so that individual citizens don't have to spend their time making sure their money is used wisely and institutions are operating properly.

However, we don't expect a local newspaper to spend its time looking for problems. We'd just like it to be knowledgeable about the community, pay attention and make some reasonable inquiries when appropriate. If things seem to be getting off track, a gentle nudge often gets them back on track.

3. We should expect it to be honest and knowledgeable.

Do we have such a local newspaper in Newport-Mesa? Sadly, we don't.

Enter the CM PRESS
We started the CM PRESS in 2000 to help with improving Costa Mesa. We believed then, and we believe now, that Costa Mesa can be the best almost-coastal city in Orange County.

And, we believe that it should not be like inland cities full of slums, crime, gangs and low school scores.

Good grief! Costa Mesa is almost on the Pacific Ocean in Orange County. It's not some landlocked inner city next to the train yard and slaughter houses. Costa Mesa needs to start acting like what it is and it needs to stop trying to be a slum city.

In order to accomplish our improvement goals, the CM PRESS constantly looks at why things are as they are and how they can be improved.

If you're a long time reader you know that we rely heavily on statistics to take the vital signs of Costa Mesa, but we won't belabor this point here.

It often seems that when we do start looking at why things are as they are and when we start gathering information for a simple few line story about this or that aspect of Costa Mesa, that we end up opening a can of worms.

We don't like playing gotcha
Opening cans of worms is not really what we want to do. We don't like playing gotcha. In fact, we hate it. We just want our government to run as it should for the benefit of the citizens of Costa Mesa and to be working to make the city a better place for citizens.

Here's just a few examples of the cans of worms we've seen.

Remodel permit that wasn't
A few years ago we wanted to write a few lines about the remodel of some homes on the Westside by a non-profit that was using taxpayer money. When we started gathering facts, it became clear that it wasn't really a remodel with a minor permit as had been publicly stated, but a complete tear down without proper notification of surrounding neighbors and without the permits for such a radical change. The more we looked, the more problems we found.

Racial/ethnic discrimination
Another time, when we tried to write a few simple lines about a non-profit in the city, it turned out the non-profit was discriminating on racial/ethnic lines and trying to hide this fact. The Feds ended up taking action against the non-profit.

Did the local newspaper ever report this? Nope. Our guess as to why the paper was silent was because the kids being discriminated against were white. Had the kids being discriminated against been non-white there probably would have been front page stories all year long.

Danger to children
When we saw potential danger to young grade school kids in the way traffic was being handled on Presidio Way behind Davis School, we tried to quietly get things changed but met a wall of resistance. So, we went public. Finally, the City made the street one way and made a few other changes. Now there's less chance of a car running over a kid. But, when we went public, the usual dimwits said it was anti-Latino to make the street safe. We kid you not.

Not following their own rules
More recently, when we tried to write a few lines about the Costa Mesa High School Foundation and the Estancia/Tewinkle Schools Foundation, a new can of worms was opened.

Our simple fact-finding questions were treated with hostility or got less than complete answers. And, it turns out that one foundation hasn't filed tax returns for two years and neither has filed required annual reports with audits. We tried to handle things quietly to get things corrected, but we got stonewalled. That's when we went public.

The Senior Center
Now, it looks as though we may have to look more into the Senior Center. We want to know why there is so much hostility and even open hatred and so much resistance to having City Councilperson Wendy Leece ask a few questions about the center after some senior citizens told her about some perceived problems.

We've now seen comments from, as you might guess, "anonymous" individuals smearing Ms. Leece, and also smearing the complaining senior citizens as "malcontents."

We're even seeing the local newspaper trying to get Ms. Leece off the case.

We want to know if the complaints are legitimate. And, we want to know that the City Council is doing what it should be doing to help our senior citizens and making sure our money is being spent wisely and properly.

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We've now learned that (at least as of this writing) the Senior Center has not updated its website, and that some of the people shown as being on the board haven't been on the board for some time.

Who is on the board? Well, maybe Wendy Leece can find out.

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The reaction in Iraq and the Arab world generally is joy over the journalist throwing his shoes at President Bush in Iraq the other day. Only our bought friends are upset. LINK

When we leave Iraq, watch as our bought leader of Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and our other bought friends suddenly resettle to the U.S. because their own people hate them so much.

And, you can bet they'll have some hefty bank accounts with which to buy some 7-11 franchises.

Instead of trying to win the hearts and minds of the common people around the planet, the U.S. continues trying to buy a few leaders who the American people are falsely told represent the real voice of the people in their nations.

We need a change in the way we do things.

Here's a later link on the shoe incident and its aftermath. You mean when we invade a country, kill thousands of people and put in some puppets, the world won't love us? Go figure. Ingrates.

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

CM PRESS # 554

(Photo is of Pee Wee Herman, not what's his face from Fullerton who knows as much about Costa Mesa as you might expect from someone who doesn't live here.)

The Katrina Foley almost daily Daily Pilot opines today that Wendy Leece shouldn't be the liaison for the Senior Center. LINK

Gee, we wonder who the paper has in mind for liaison. Hmmm?
It seems, according to the KFADDP, that some board members don't want Ms. Leece watching them. Makes them nervous or something. Why would that be?

The board is using our money and the Senior Center is in our building. The only elected officials we have in Costa Mesa are the City Councilmembers, and Wendy Leece is a City Councilmember. Citizens elected Wendy and the others to mind the store. Why would some people not want her to do this?

The KFADDP doesn't name who those board members are, but below is a list of the names of board members from the Senior Center website. Here's the LINK to the Senior Center website.

Tell us Katrina Foley almost daily Daily Pilot which of the following told you they don't want Wendy over there? Don't be coy. If you have names, let's have them. Could it be the people who wanted Bruce Garlich and Mike Scheafer elected to the City Council?

Say, wait a minute...why, there's the names Bruce Garlich and Mike Scheafer right there on the list and we see some names of Foley supporters there as well.

Executive Committee of Board
Mike Scheafer, President
Joan Weeks, Vice President
Ronald Frankiewicz, Treasurer
Bruce Garlich, Secretary
Del Heintz, Past President

Board Members
Pastor Bill Gartner,
Phyllis Daugherty,
David Kinkade,
Gwyn P. Parry, M.D.,
Scott Roberts,
Byron de Arakal,
Dan Worthington,
Arlene Flanagan,
Marty Burbank
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Here's a clue: She brings plates of lasagna to the families of dead victims of drive by shootings and she put in some flowers in front of a slum in her own neighborhood.

Need another clue? She told day workers assembled at the Senior Center (Yup, that Senior Center) that she's in favor of a job center for them.

Still don't get it? She refused to sign a letter to President Bush asking him to secure our borders.
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The Hyundai dealership on Harbor Blvd. has closed and has vacated the property.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

CM PRESS # 553


The CMPD reports that in November 2008, there were 15 ICE detainers put on arrestees.

In November 2007, there were 33 ICE detainers put on arrestees.

Readers who receive the CM PRESS via email: If you want the complete spread sheets with all the details, please email us and we'll forward them to you.

We've been advised that the City is still working on posting the ICE spread sheets on the City's website. When the City does this, we'll link to the reports each month.
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The almost daily Daily Pilot is reporting today that the Santa Ana Country Club (which is on old Newport Blvd. near Bristol Street) and some surrounding county neighborhoods that are pretty much surrounded by Costa Mesa, still want to be part of Newport Beach and not part of Costa Mesa. LINK

Frankly, as we've written before, we think all of Costa Mesa should become part of Newport Beach. It's a nicer brand name and would help our home values, remove duplicate services, etc. and help stop our slide into being the new Santa Ana.
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Here's a revealing story by the LA TIMES about yet another non-profit that apparently did little to help people except those who were insiders of the non-profit.

How many stories like this are we going to have to see to understand that questions have to be asked and straight answers have to be given whenever a non-profit is using tax payer money?

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(This is not a photo of Venezia. It's Charo)

Below, in hot pink, is an email that Barbara Venezia (formerly of "that other newspaper"--think Pee Wee--but now at the Reg), says she received from a reader. Sure, it may be a real email. Well, it could be. No matter. We once suggested that another newspaper also do the same thing, but with its blogs as well as with its opinion columns. It's a good way to find out just who or what is bringing in money to the paper and a way to find the deadwood. Here's the LINK to Venezia's column this week.
Here's the email Venezia said she received:

Another reader asked if it's possible to advertise weekly on the same page that this column appears. Yes, and Kimberley A. Baird is the contact at the OC Register. For more information email her
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At 6:00 PM tonight, Saturday, December 13,2008, there was a large roach coach vehicle parked alongside the curb just west of Fairview Road on Baker Street selling food and various goods.
At a minimum, this vehicle was in violation of CMMC Sec 10-370--it was vending after 5:00 PM.
We're starting to see more of these vending trucks in Costa Mesa now that Santa Ana is cracking down on them. And, most of the vending trucks we see in Costa Mesa are from Santa Ana, and may not have permits in Costa Mesa.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

CM PRESS # 552

(That's in a building owned by the citizens of Costa Mesa)

After the ultra-liberal almost daily Daily Pilot ran a hit piece on Councilperson Wendy Leece's attempt to get straight answers from the Costa Mesa Senior Center, the paper then ran these seven posts from people who want the Senior Center to continue to not answer reasonable questions from an elected official or have City Council oversight.

When people using your property and your money won't answer questions and don't want oversight, doesn't it make you wonder?

We've put our comments in [].

santa wrote on Dec 11, 2008 6:51 PM:
" As a former board member I know for a fact that the city is overseeing their funds and taxpayers money.The city does not distribute any funds to the center till they receive financial statements, audited reports, yearly breakdown of programs and comparison with five surrounding cities. There is NO hidden agenda.The board does not need a person such as Wendy Leece. History should not repeat itself as she caused many problems when sitting on the school board. One needs to call them! "

[What do you mean "a person such as Wendy Leece"? When Wendy was on the school board, she was one of the few who actually provided proper oversight for an organization that sometimes seems to be more of a private social club, with some members who have been there for decades, than a school board. And, did you forget about the embezzlement of $ 3.7 million dollars from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District by its finance officer Stephen A. Wagner? Had people been asking the right questions, this might not have happened. LINK

No, we're not saying that anyone is suggesting anything like that is going on at the Senior Center, but citizens expect their City Council to mind the store and that's what Wendy is trying to do.]

RichD wrote on Dec 11, 2008 6:42 PM:
" There were quite a few non-profits lined up for Federal monies distributed by Costa Mesa Council a few months ago.Please, Wendy, tell me what organizations have a City Council member on their Board of Directors.If you are going to continue to undermine and malign the Senior Center with your presence, could you please urge A L L Council Members to pick a board until each non profit organization in Costa Mesa has at least one City Council member on it's board of directors. That would be fair "

[She "undermine[s] and malign[s] the Senior Center with [her] presence"? Nonsense. We need proper oversight. It's our building and we have an interest in seeing that our senior citizens are being treated with respect and are getting all that we're paying for.]
santa wrote on Dec 11, 2008 6:37 PM:
" As a former board member I know for a fact that the city is overseeing their funds given to the Center and taxpayers money. The city does not distribute any funds to the center till they receive financial statements, audited reports, yearly breakdown of programs and comparison with five surrouding cities. There is No hidden agends.The board does not need a person such as Wendy Leece. History should not repeat itself as she caused many problems when sitting on the school board. One needs to call them! "

[Oh, we get it. We should just trust you. Sorry, it doesn't work that way, and if you want trust, why don't you even use your real name? The Senior Center is using property and money that belongs to citizens. We have a right to ask questions.]
mikes wrote on Dec 11, 2008 3:28 PM:
" continued for mr mc carthy and others, if you knew her real motive for wanting to be on this board you might have a better understanding. she listens too closely to a couple of complaining seniors, unfounded complaints at that.the cm senior center is an independent body. if the city were to run it, the cost to taxpayers would exceed $1 million. know the real facts before spouting off. "
["[S]he listens too closely to a couple of complaining seniors"? Well, good. We want to listen to our seniors and make sure they're being treated properly. The other three good members of the City Council (Bever, Mansoor, Monahan) should also be listening to the seniors and they should also be asking questions.]

mikes wrote on Dec 11, 2008 3:26 PM:
" mr mccarthy, what you don't understand is that the center is already held accountable. before the center gets a dime the city requires quarterly reports and accounting. no city funds are given until all programs are inspected and accounted for. believe me, there are bigger taxpayer expenses that Ms Leece should be looking after. if she is so hot about being a voting board member, why did she miss 6 meetings this year in her role as council representative? "
[Here we go again. It sounds like the board is a private club. Why are you so afraid of questions and oversight?]
Go Away wrote on Dec 11, 2008 1:03 PM:
" No one wants her on the City Council either ! Leece leave the senior center alone ! They don't want you there ! It's suppose to be a place of peace and tranquility !! "
["No one wants her on the City Council either!"? Who's "No one"? Wendy won election very easily, so this comment doesn't make much sense. Why don't you put your real name with such comments you coward?]

billwarmington wrote on Dec 11, 2008 8:50 AM:
" What in the world is the councilwoman,s problem with the Mesa Center? Can,t she understand they don,t want her their and all she does is get press for stiring up trouble. These are words from many members. Here we go agin grandstanding politics" "
[Ms. Leece is doing her job. Why are so many of you afraid of a few questions? What do you have to hide? Most intelligent citizens want to know that their elected officials are minding the store.]
Here's the one post that gets it right...

colin mccarthy wrote on Dec 11, 2008 12:51 PM: " Since when does seeking accountability for programs using taxpayer dollars translate into meddling. This action appears long overdue and the taxpayers should be pleased that Ms. Leece is looking into things. All this uproar just leads me to believe they're hiding something. We need extra transparency when OUR money is at stake. What's wrong with that? "

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CM PRESS # 551


It seems, according to this article in the almost daily Daily Pilot, that the libs and Return to Reason folks over at the Senior Center don't want any City Council oversight, and they apparently don't like people asking questions about the Center or its operations.

Here's a link to the Senior Center's website and the list of those on the board. The board, with some exceptions, looks like a who's who of the liberal and Return to Reason establishment in this city.

So long as taxpayer money is going to the Senior Center, the citizens of this city should demand that we have proper oversight.

Wendy Leece, and perhaps another Councilmember (not Katrina Foley, please), should be on the board as voting members.
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As we previously reported in CM PRESS # 542 on December 3, no one was asking questions about the two school foundations in Costa Mesa until the CM PRESS started asking them.

When we did start asking questions, we got a hostile reaction.

Of course, we soon found out why we were getting such a hostile reaction. The foundations weren't supplying required annual reports or audits--and never had--and the Costa Mesa High School Foundation hadn't even filed its required tax returns for the past two years--which, if we understand the law correctly, could lead to massive penalties from the IRS.

And, the story about the foundations is not yet over. More questions need to be asked, and they are now being asked by the CM PRESS and others and we understand that the City is now scrambling to make sure proper records are being kept and that proper procedures are being followed.

The $2 million dollars being used by these foundations belongs to all the citizens of Costa Mesa. This is your money and you have a legal right to know that it is being used properly.

You also have a right to ask questions and you have a right to get straight answers just as though this were money in your own bank account. Again, this is YOUR money.


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Get ready as the usual dimwits try to defend secrecy and non-transparency in the use of your money. We've seen these low I.Q. types try this in the past. Don't buy their crap. Somehow, they'll probably claim that asking about how your money is being used is anti-Latino. That's their usual schtick when they try to browbeat citizens into silence.

Funny, isn't it, that the almost daily Daily Pilot never bothered to report on the charity that was discriminating against non-Latino citizens in favor of Latinos and, er, "immigrants" and was nabbed by the Feds for discrimination?

And, yup, Wile E. Coyote has copies of the paperwork about the raid on that charity in his Acme file cabinet and on his Acme computer to prove it.

Perhaps the folks at the almost daily Daily Pilot were just too busy removing racial/ethnic descriptions of outstanding violent criminal suspects from their news reports because, ah, the victims weren't able to tell the cops the color of the shoelaces on the shoes of the perps.

Or, maybe they were too busy trying to make it seem that violent crime and gangs in Costa Mesa are equal opportunity employers. They aren't


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The CM PRESS has been receiving reports of an unsual number of CMPD gang officers all around the CMHS campus. We're also getting reports of gang graffiti that keeps showing up almost as soon as it is painted over on the campus. We have not confirmed these reports as of this writing. If you hear of anything, please slip the info over our transom if you're on our email list.

-UPDATE- We've now received a report that the regular CMPD SRO officer assigned to this campus has been deployed to Iraq and that the CMPD is filling his shift with different officers, including some gang officers.

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Large commercial vending trucks are once again plaguing Mesa North and Mesa del Mar and are usually violating many of our municipal codes every time they show up.

One of the most frequent violations is of CMMC Sec. 10-370 which requires the trucks to be out of the city by 5 PM. Some of these trucks can now be seen selling goods as late 9 PM.

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Scientists now believe they've discovered a city of the ancient legendary Cloud People of Peru. LINK

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

CM PRESS # 153

A SONG      #                                                       # TRUMP'S TWEETS HERE #                                         ...