Saturday, February 28, 2009

CM PRESS # 623


(Made a little more visible by the CM PRESS)

A man was shot and robbed at approximately 5:20 PM last night (Friday, Feb. 27) as he sat in his car near a check cashing business located in the K-Mart Center at 2200 Harbor Blvd. He sustained life threatening injuries and was taken to Western Medical Center. His present condition is unknown.

The CMPD described the shooter to the CM PRESS as a male Hispanic, but you won't find that description in the Daily Pilot here, or in the OC Register here, even though this description was as available to the DP and the OCR as it was to the CM PRESS.

The CMPD refused to give the CM PRESS a description of the victim, and offered no other details on the shooter.

Even with the minimal description of the shooter by race/ethnicity, your odds of avoiding being a victim are increased. You now know that you can eliminate whites, blacks and Asians as being the shooter.

So, if you're shopping in that area of Costa Mesa you needn't suspect everyone.


Newspapers used to publish as much of a description of outstanding violent criminals as possible, even if those descriptions didn't have all the details. Doing so, eliminated many possible suspects and made people safer and also helped with capturing the criminals. It's just a matter of percentages.

Today, most newspapers (that are still in business) are so squishy lefty that they want to create the impression that violent street crime is an equal opportunity employer by hiding the descriptions of outstanding violent criminals unless they're white. And, if they're white, they usually make a big deal about it. They want you to say "What does race have to do with it? See, I just read about a violent white criminal."

Are you fooled? Do you think you're as likely to be shot or attacked on the streets of the USA by a white criminal as by a non-white criminal? If you do think this, then for your own safety, you should read the free report here.

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Get ready for a massive lawsuit Seattle. LINK

Not everyone can or should be a cop.

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Friday, February 27, 2009

CM PRESS # 622

(Photo is not of Brady Rhoades. Honest. It's Pee Wee Herman. Really.)

Brady Rhoades has a column in the DP today, in which he tells readers that the paper has received complaints about their National Enquirer-like story about a TV star and a beauty contest. LINK

But no sooner does one read Rhoades' column saying that the paper isn't a new National Enquirer than does one see a new story in the paper--"Beauty gives dating advice"--about a dating advice book written by a woman who is looking for Mr. Right. The author appears in a sultry pose with a come hither look. LINK

Hey, hey, Rhoades, how about a centerfold and stories about space aliens taking over Costa Mesa City Hall? Stick with us Rhoadsie, we'll help put the DP in the black. We know newspapers. We played a reporter in a movie once.

Actually, the CM PRESS isn't criticizing Rhoades or the DP about trying to publish material that will draw readers. What we do criticize them for is trying to pretend that's not what they're doing.

The paper has to do something to get readers and advertisers or it's not going to be in business much longer. The old saws about "sex selling," and "if it bleeds, it leads," are just as true today as they were when they were first said.

You can't bore people into reading your newspaper.

Long before newspapers became "respectable" and stuffy, they published all sorts of wild things. Just read newspapers from the early days. They were all National Enquirers in their early days, and then they started taking themselves too seriously.

Remember, dear friends, the CM PRESS is a kind and compassionate blog and we like having a daily newspaper in our city--even if we don't read the paper version--so we're doing our part to help get readers over to the DP to keep it afloat. That's why we link to the paper from our much read blog, and why we often mention the paper in our columns.
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It looks as though the screwball neocons have gotten to Obama. George Bush's ill conceived wars are now becoming Obama's wars as Obama slows down the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and plans on sending more Marines to Afghanistan. LINK
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Some of the Improvers have been talking about the possible need for a Westside Facilitator (or, Ombudsman, Coordinator, Cheerleader) to reach out to developers and others interested in helping improve the Westside and to be there when they need help.

The present thinking is that such a person might be an unpaid volunteer (or volunteers) who can help developers find an easy path to developing on the Westside.

Thus, such a person or persons should be well versed in the real inner workings of local government and be on a first name basis with city employees in the various departments and agencies that would have some say in what needs to be done.

The idea is that developers would just have to make one phone call to the Facilitator to grease the skids to bring in what the Westside needs, and to avoid making costly mistakes along the way.

Maybe this should be sort of like a "Westside Desk" in City Hall, manned by a series of volunteers.

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Pope turns into modern Grand Inquisitor. Hey, try water boarding. He'll say anything you want after that bit of non-torture torture. LINK

Even if you're not a Catholic this might be interesting to watch. We wonder if Bishop Williamson might make a complete split from Rome and start his own new version of the Catholic Church. Remember, he came from one such split-off to the present controversy.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

CM PRESS # 621

Here's an email the CM PRESS received today:
(We found many broken links when we tried to verify the information, but maybe you'll have better luck.)


Here's the one of the main reasons why the U.S.A is in so much economic trouble.

Please feel free to email this to your entire email list.

The URL's are included for verification of all the following facts.

1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year by state governments. Verify at: http://tinyurl.%20com/zob77url.%20com/zob77

2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens. Verify at: http://www.cis.%20org/articles/%202004/fiscalexec.%20html

3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens. Verify at: http://www.cis.%20org/articles/%202004/fiscalexec.%20html

4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English! Verify at:

5. $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.Verify at

6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.Verify at:

7. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.Verify at:

8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.Verify at:

9. $200 Billion dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.Verify at:

10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US Verify at:

11. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana, crossed into the U. S from the Southern border.Verify at: Homeland Security Report: t9sht

12. The National policy Institute, estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period.'Verify at: http://www.national%20policyinstitute.%20org/pdf/deportat%20ion.pdf

13. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances to their countries of origin. Verify at:>

14. 'The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One million sex crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States .'Verify at: http: //


Are we THAT stupid? YES,

FOR LETTING THOSE IN THE U.S." Pelosi" CONGRESS GETS AWAY WITH LETTING THIS HAPPEN YEAR AFTER YEAR!!!!!If this doesn't bother you then just delete the message. If, on the other hand, it does raise the hair on the back of your neck, I hope you forward it to every legal resident in the country including every elected representative in Washington , D.C. - five times a week for as long as it takes to restore some semblance of intelligence in our policies and enforcement thereof.
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In it's latest attempt at political rock, paper, scissors, the Stupid Party trotted out Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to give the Stupid Party's response to President Obama's speech the other night. "Hey, you bring out a black guy, well, we've got one too! And, and, ours is from India...take that!

Jindal then gave one of the stupidest speeches in the most sing songy fashion that we can remember.
[Photo is of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee. Remember him?]

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This is from Australia. Will hate crime charges be lodged? You know the answer.
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Rocky Mountain News did the math. It doesn't work. LINK

Expect more such bad news, but much, much closer to Newport Beach and Costa Mesa.

Adapt or die.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CM PRESS # 620


Former mayor and planning commissioner Donn Hall (who we always call The Mayor) is in the hospital, possibly battling prostate cancer.

We're sure that everyone who knows Donn,will join The CM PRESS in wishing him a speedy recovery.

Donn showed up on our radar screen as the guy who spearheaded the Costa Mesa marina idea years ago. He was, and still is, a man of vision for our city.

Had Donn had his way, the Westside would now be the best part of Costa Mesa and would have a marina and some pocket beaches below the Westside Bluffs where now there is just dirt and weeds.

Donn told us that when he was on the Council and pushing the marina idea, the Council came up just one vote short (a 3-2 vote) against moving forward with the marina.

And, you think local elections don't matter?

Marina Highlands

People who are new to Costa Mesa might wonder why we have a neighborhood on the Westside called Marina Highlands. The answer is that the marina was so close to being a reality,that the developer put in terraced homes that would have a view of the water down below.

Newport Terrace

Newbies may also not know that the neighborhood at the end of W. 19th Street--Newport Terrace--is actually in Newport Beach, not Costa Mesa. It was built to be next to the Marina. Now, it's next to dirt.

The Test Ditch

If you walk down into the scrub brush on the south side of the Victoria Street bridge, you'll come upon a large square pond surrounded by a chain link fence. That pond was the test ditch dug to see if water could remain in that area all the time--to float our boats--if the dirt was excavated. It can. It has. That pond never goes dry. Boats would float 24 hours a day right next to Victoria Street. Imagine.

If you want to read more about the marina, just put "Marina" in to the search function in this blog and you'll be taken to many articles we've written about it.

Again, best wishes to The Mayor for a speedy recovery. There is more work to be done.

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Not in the new Dark Age, apparently. LINK
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CM PRESS # 619


At its regularly scheduled meeting last night, the no-Planning Commission heard most people say that they liked the new building that replaced the Pasta Connection at the corner of Harbor and 19th, but that two new restaurants shouldn't be allowed to occupy the space because the property only has 23 parking spaces, and under today's codes there should be 45.

On a four to one vote, with newbie Commissioner Stephen Mensinger voting to allow the restaurants, the no-Planning Commission turned the deal down. The applicant now has seven days in which to appeal to the City Council. Count on that happening.


I was going to put in a long wonkish report on the details here, but I'll spare you.

Suffice it to say that this matter is a little more complicated than indicated above and on appeal will turn on historical records of any existing CUPS or variances (since they run with the land) and exactly what they covered, as well as the fact that there are actually two separate parcels involved.

Well, okay, just a few general details

The old Pasta Connection, which had occupied the site for many years, had adequate physical parking when it opened many years ago. The buildings on the site were built in the 1950's and 1960's.

Over the years, as more and more cars hit the road, the City of Costa Mesa correctly started requiring additional parking spaces for businesses in the City. (Restaurants now require 10 parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of restaurant space).

Even though the on-site parking at the Pasta Connection eventually became inadequate, the parking problems in that immediate area were livable because there was physical parking on Harbor Blvd. that took the overflow.

Then, Harbor Blvd. was widened and the parking went away. When that happened, customers and employees of the Pasta Connection started parking in the strip center just to the north of the Pasta Connection and this caused problems for the businesses in that center.

About a year ago, a new company bought the Pasta Connection site, tore down the building and put in the new building that is there now and wanted to put in two restaurants whose square footage is 447 square feet larger than the Pasta Connection.

The new owners apparently thought that since the Pasta Connection was there with 23 parking spaces, that the new building could also occupy that space with a restaurant or two and also only have 23 parking spaces. As indicated above, the no-Planning Commission didn't buy that argument last night and turned down the applicant's request.

What's with Mensinger?

Some are asking what's with this newbie Commissioner Stephen Mensinger. He missed the very first meeting of the Commission two weeks ago, and now he votes to stuff 45 pounds of cars into a 23 pound bag.

Jim Righeimer appointed as no-Planning Commission Chair

As we predicted, the Commission passed over long time Commissioner Jim Fisler for the Chairmanship of the Commission and appointed Jim Righeimer to lead the body. Fisler was again voted in as Vice Chair.
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In CM PRESS # 617, we reported that City Councilmembers each receive a pension payment (completely paid for by citizens and with no contribution from the Councilmembers) of $5,633.07 per year.

Actually, that pension only starts in the fifth year that a Councilmember is in office, so a Councilmember in his or her first term doesn't get the pension payment.
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Broke into house, killed old woman, lied and planted drugs to cover it up. LINK
The question that should be asked by all police departments: If a cop is willing to lie about small things, will he or she later lie about big things?
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

CM PRESS # 618


At its regularly scheduled meeting tonight, the no-Planning Commission will consider granting conditional use permits to two restaurants that want to go into the new building at the corner of 19th and Harbor Blvd. that formerly housed the Pasta Connection (you know, the place with the sign with the kid with a bowl of spaghetti on his head). LINK

The problem is that this property is woefully underparked. It has 23 parking spaces and under today's standards 45 are required.

The two new restaurants are Roberto's and Gandolfo's NY Deli. Combined, they're only 447 square feet larger than the old Pasta Connection. So, while they're not doing anything to help with the old bad parking situation, they're not doing much to make it much worse--at least on paper and at least according to the applicant for the CUP.

Here's the rub
Many of the tenants and their customers in the strip center just to the north of the location weren't pleased with the underparking of the Pasta Connection and they're not pleased that nothing has been done to correct the problem with the two proposed restaurants.

The CM PRESS was contacted by some who shop at the strip center just mentioned, and they say that in the past they sometimes couldn't get into their favorite businesses because all the parking was taken up by the Pasta Connection.
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There's an interesting post over at the DP from jberry who writes that the City of Costa Mesa is spending $1.5 million more per month than it is currently receiving in taxes and fees. LINK

The point jberry is making is that the City Council needs to start cutting expenses right now.

Remember, unlike many cities, Costa Mesa relies more heavily on sales tax revenues to pay the bills than other sources.

In a down economy, sales tax revenues decrease. That's the economy we're in right now, and the sales tax revenues are dropping fast.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

CM PRESS # 617

At the February 17, City Council meeting, the Council was asked by staff to send a letter to the feds in support of the Economic Federal Stimulus Program. LINK

Since the actual letter wasn't ready to sign, this was put off by the Council until its next meeting on March 3.

As part of the letter, staff also included a list of projects that could be immediately started in Costa Mesa and which require $ 38,810,000.

Sounds good, right?

Thirty-eight million dollars being pumped into Costa Mesa's economy and helping put out of work people back to work?

Not so fast.

All of the projects submitted by Costa Mesa are things such as "Project # 26 Mendoza Drive reconstruction--$2,500,000." Say, did we mention that Mendoza Drive is in Katrina Foley's neighborhood and runs in front of one of the major slums in the city?

And, if you think you're going to see locals with shovels and pickaxes out doing the work on Mendoza Drive, think again. The City will hire contractors who specialize in this work to do the projects. And, if the past is any indication, most of these contractors will be from cities other than Costa Mesa. Bye bye $ 2,500,000 for Mendoza Drive and bye bye $38 million for the City.

Well, maybe some of the $38 million will go to underground the 55 Fwy? Think again. That's not an off the shelf project so not a penny of the $38 million will go for that.

So, for $38 million dollars of our tax money, we'll get roads repaved that really aren't that bad to start with, and contractors from outside the City will get fat bank accounts.

We're not feeling very stimulated by this.

If we were on the Council we'd push hard to get the 55 Fwy project paid for, and we'd try to get Costa Mesa contractors, hiring Costa Mesans doing the work.
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Maybe you've been reading in the local newspaper how Costa Mesa City Council members only get paid about $ 11, 000 per year.

Well, actually, the total compensation each year for each Councilmember works out this way:

Annual salary: $10,984.50
Other earnings: 17,104.75
Annual pension: 5,633.02
Total: $ 33,722.27
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Those are our opinions as we continue doing the job daily newspapers used to do. Thanks for reading them.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

CM PRESS # 616


How would you like to make more than $15,000 per month?

You can do it.

Just work for the City of Costa Mesa.

By the CM PRESS's count, we have at least 124 City Employees who make more than $15,000 per month (including overtime and annual pensions that we pay for)--and some of those 124 make considerably more than fifteen grand per month.

Costa Mesa also has some employees who take down more than $ 60,000 per year just in overtime.

And, guess what? Most of these employees don't live in Costa Mesa, so the money we pay them goes to supermarkets, etc. in the cities where they do live.

So, when the City Council urges you to shop in Costa Mesa to help our economy, why don't you tell the Council to have the City start hiring locals who actually live in this city? Hmmmmm?

At the last City Council meeting we tried to point out how absurd it is to urge citizens to buy locally when the Council itself spends piles of our money in many different cities.

To make our point, we sarcastically told how we were going to buy a wax ring for a toilet at the Home Depot in Santa Ana, but then changed our mind and bought it at the Home Depot in Costa Mesa and that we thus put a potential $ 5.98 back into the local economy. We also pointed out that on the very agenda for that meeting, the City Council was rubber stamping agreements for more than $700,000 that was going to businesses outside of Costa Mesa.

Unfortunately, it appears that most people didn't get our sarcasm. We even got praise for spending $ 5.98 in Costa Mesa instead of in Santa Ana. Aww geez. Well, we hope our $ 5.98 saves some businesses in Costa Mesa. (Okay, look, that's more sarcasm, see? The grand total of $ 5.98 isn't going to help anyone, but that $ 700,000 spent by the Council could make a big difference, and all those paychecks going to out-of-towners could sure help the situation locally, if the City would just hire locals).
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Friday, February 20, 2009

CM PRESS # 615


As the City of Costa Mesa tries to balance the budget, it is apparently finding strong resistance among the four employee unions that represent City employees.

This resistance seems to be strongest with the police and firefighter unions.

This isn't too surprising. These two unions, and especially the police union, constantly try to influence politics in Costa Mesa and probably feel they have leverage as a result.

When last we checked, and as we've reported before, more than seventy-five percent of the police officers who work for the citizens of Costa Mesa don't even live in Costa Mesa. So, they can't vote here. That doesn't keep the unions from spending money to try to elect City Councilmembers who will play ball with the unions though.

At present, the only Councilmember who apparently agreed to play ball with the unions is ultra-liberal Democrat Katrina Foley who seemingly is more interested in raising our taxes and fees than asking the unions to take some cost cutting measures to help out the City.

You probably received mailers during the last election cycle from the police union backing Foley.

As we type this, we have one of their mailers in front of us and it talks about Foley's "strong support for law enforcement's efforts to protect us from violent crime."

Oh, good grief! What a bunch of baloney!

Foley was the only Councilmember who refused to sign a letter to then President Bush asking that he protect our borders. She was also opposed to ICE training for our cops.

And, her idea of protecting us from violent crime is to bring a dish of lasagna to the family of a man killed in a drive-by shooting, plant flowers in front of the Mission-Mendoza slum in her Mesa del Mar neighborhood, and support hug-a-thug programs that cost us money and which don't work.

Whenever I think of unions, I remember my own experience with them.

The New York Times

Years ago, I was hired by the New York Times to work out of their headquarters at 42nd Street and Broadway in New York. This was to be one of several day jobs I had while acting.

When I was hired, I had to sign a number of forms. One was an application to join a union. I told the personnel people I didn't want to join a union. They told me that if I didn't join the union I couldn't work at the Times. I signed. That was the last I heard of that union, except to see that some of my pay each week went to my union dues.

The Screen Actors Guild

While working at the Times, I continued acting and was constantly being cast in off-off Broadway plays mostly in Greenwich Village and surrounding areas.

I was also looking for movie work. One day, my agent sent me on a cattle call for a major Hollywood film that was casting someone of my type.

When I got to the studio, there was a line of actors of my type extending out the door and around the corner. I was used to this, and knew many of the other actors in the line. Whenever something was being cast with a requirement for our type--same age, same general physical appearance, etc.--we'd all show up and we'd all be dressed pretty much alike.

It was always like that. If the call was for someone of our type who was a cowboy, we'd all show up looking like cowboys. If the call was for a cop, we'd all show up looking like cops. If the call was for an Indian Chief, we'd all show up looking like an Indian Chief. It was sort of like a serial Village People scene.

To make a long story short; when I finally got before the director and the assistant directors and the producer, and after I had read a few lines from the script, the director asked to see my SAG card. I told him I wasn't a member of SAG. He said he wanted me in the film anyway.

So, I beat out all the other actors--including all the SAG actors--and got the role under the Taft-Hartley Act.

Taft-Hartley was enacted to stop unions from being closed shops and to provide a mechanism to allow in new members.

The way the Taft-Hartley Act works in showbiz is that if a director says you're the only actor he wants for the role, and after he has already seen all the SAG actors of the same type, you get to do the role, but you're then faced with a decision. You get a 30 day window to either join SAG or not. If you join, you can't do any more non-SAG roles. If you do join, you can only appear in SAG sanctioned films, but you may not find that much work. I joined.

If you know any actors, and they tell you about the Catch 22 of the biz and say they're trying to get into SAG but can't because to get into SAG they first have to be in a movie, but to be in a movie they first have to be in SAG, they're not double-talking you. Except for Taft-Hartley, SAG would be pretty much a closed shop and every movie you go to would have the same actors.

Another twist of Taft-Hartley is that the film company doesn't give you screen credit for your work because you're not yet in SAG even though you're in a SAG sanctioned film. Only SAG actors' names can appear in the credits. So, the first multi-million dollar Hollywood film that I appeared in doesn't have my name in the credits.

These days, I can go to SAG meetings with all the other actors who are, ah, in between roles, as we say in the biz, and call for strikes because we want more money (which most of us aren't making anyway), while the few actors who are actually working and making a living in the biz call for no strikes. Ho hum.

The Film Workers Union
I once went to a meeting of a new union that was forming, after I saw a notice in the trades. On a lark I put my name in to run for treasurer of the union. That's all I did, just put my name in so it appeared on the ballot. I then promptly forgot about it.

To my complete surprise, I won the election.

I then immediately quit the union. I figured that any group that was stupid enough to vote for someone as treasurer who knew as little about being a treasurer as I did, wasn't worth being a part of.
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Bad Eagle's descendant takes on Attorney General Holder and his comments about us being cowards. Worth a read. LINK

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

CM PRESS # 614

7:15 PM, 2/19/09--Scroll to bottom for new story on cop pink slips in El Monte


Costa Mesa Police Association President Allen Rieckhof, shown at left in this 1996 DP photo along with officer Scott Dibble, has apparently answered the City Council's call to open up the union's contract with the City, because of our tough economic times, by telling the Daily Pilot that he wants to see "solid numbers before we talk to our membership and open up contracts.” LINK

Unfortunately, the bad economic times are hitting us right now, and the solid numbers that Rieckhof wants to see, rather than the presently available reasonable projections, won't be available until September or October.
It seems that the only two reasonable options on the table are pay cuts or layoffs. And if the unions (there are actually four of them representing different City employees), won't cut salaries, the Council may be forced to order layoffs.

If the numbers are as grim as we've been hearing--a projected $11--$20 million budget deficit in Costa Mesa--something is going to have to be done very, very soon.

Of course, Katrina Foley is already making sounds as though she wants to raise taxes or fees on citizens.

This is to be expected since Foley is a tax and spend liberal and, as mentioned above, she got the endorsement of the police union (also the firefighter's union) in the last election--an endorsement that didn't mean much in actual police officer votes, because more than 75% of Costa Mesa's police officers don't live in Costa Mesa and can't vote here.

Rieckhof told the Daily Pilot on September 11, 2008 "[Katrina Foley] is a supporter of law enforcement...She's always receptive of our concerns at the department. She's pro law enforcement."

Remember the above when you hear Foley trying to squeeze more fees and tax money out of the ordinary citizens of Costa Mesa.
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This is a very good article. Be sure to read through to the end.

There are clues in the article on Redlands that show just how bad things are in Costa Mesa and how smart Redlands is to move fast to fix their budget shortfall in that city.

Consider. Redlands has about half the population of Costa Mesa (60,000 v. 112,000), and its projected budget deficit is only aproximately $4-million, while Costa Mesa's is around $20-million.

To be in a comparable hole with Costa Mesa, Redlands would have to have a budget deficit of $10-million.

So, Redlands is not as bad off as Costa Mesa, yet they have already taken major steps to fix things.

Come on Costa Mesa City Council, get moving to fix things here.

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Guy also gets visit from Secret Service. LINK
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Cop union won't take pay cuts so.... Other employees avoid pink slips by agreeing to pay cuts. Link

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CM PRESS # 613


About 48 years ago, the older generation of the Schones family, who live at 378 Costa Mesa Street, built a granny unit in their backyard behind their main house--sort of a mini-house. When they did so, they didn't get permits and the granny unit was too close to property lines under today's codes.

Then, a couple of years ago, the new generation of the family wanted to remodel the main house on the lot and went to the city to get permits.

When the City went to the property to look at what the family wanted to do, they suddenly discovered the granny unit, which is hidden from the street.

Thus began the battle between the Schones and the City.

After a long session last night, Mayor Mansoor and Councilmembers Bever and Monahan took a strict legalistic approach and voted to have the Schones remove the granny unit.

Councilmembers Leece and Foley, in voting to keep the granny unit, took a more flexible and individualistic approach.

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On a 5-0 vote, the Council voted to not put a basketball court or tennis court in Brentwood Park.

This was a victory for the neighbors who wanted this park to remain passive, and it was also a victory for all neighborhoods that want some self-determination and self-control for their neighborhoods. Sort of a states rights movement writ small.

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The North Dakota House of Representatives says that a fertilized egg is a human life.

And, they got it right. Once the 23 male chromosomes join with the 23 female chromosomes-- adding up to the 46 chromosomes that are normal for our species, the process we call life has begun. LINK
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

CM PRESS # 612


Back before she was a Senator, and while she was on the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, Dianne Feinstein went on TV with some comments that could have led to the curtailing of free speech rights. I was watching.

It was during the time when the old fairness doctrine was in effect.

I immediately contacted the TV station and asked for time to give an opposing view. I expected to be put through hoops and to be denied rebuttal time. Instead, the station quickly agreed to my request.

So there I was, on the six o'clock news the very next night supporting free speech rights of average citizens against any and all elected officials who wanted to curtail them.

When your knee starts jerking in support of your fellow little person, Rush Limbaugh (who, just like you, lives in a mansion, owns a private jet, and reportedly makes about $ 20 million dollars a year), who is constantly whining about a possible new fairness doctrine, remember that such a doctrine really can be used by the little people. I used it. You can too.

Speaking of Rush Limbaugh, who is known as Radio Pudgy in some of my columns

Maybe it's partly because of that brief personal experience with the old fairness doctrine that informs my views on this.

Then again, maybe it's more a case of me not being impressed with the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, who both constantly push an intellectually bankrupt, shallow, and jingoistic neoconservatism that led us to war in Iraq, and which still has its tentacles in government and which may lead us to another debacle in Afghanistan and maybe in Iran (unless the new administration gets rid of the neocons).

Whatever the cause, I have little sympathy for Limbaugh and his fear about a new fairness doctrine.

Also, did you notice that even before Obama was sworn in as president, Limbaugh was blaming him for the financial crisis that we're now in? It's nuts.

The simple fact is that neocon Limbaugh's pal, neocon George Bush, was at the helm for eight years, and he's responsible for the sad state we're in right now. The financial crisis has nothing to do with Obama. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Bush and his neocon pals stripped America of its industries, sent our kids to war for no reason, let their fat cat internationalist pals rob corporations and banks blind with huge salaries and golden parachutes, failed to act to stop the housing crisis, and engaged in all sorts of other excesses that have led us to where we are today.

We live in a cause and effect universe.

Obama inherited a mess from the neocons.

Now, however, it's up to Obama to straighten things out. And, if he doesn't, there will be plenty of time to criticize him.

Under our form of government, the president has incredible power. And with that power comes responsibility.

If a president doesn't make life better for American citizens, he's not doing his job. Period.

Bush didn't do his job. Let's see if Obama can do any better.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

CM PRESS # 611


The City Council is expected to vote on a Master Plan for Brentwood Park tomorrow night at its regularly scheduled meeting. LINK
If the Council chooses to simply vote up or down on the various proposals as presented, then the CM PRESS supports the Base Plan without any of the suggested alternative elements. LINK

Generally, however, we have four main thoughts on how the City should handle neighborhood parks throughout the city.

1. The neighborhoods themselves should decide what is right for their neighborhoods.

2. The City should take a minimalist/naturalist approach to plans and not over-plan, over- engineer or over-develop our parks. Stop being anal retentive. Let nature set the direction. Allow some natural spontaneity from nature. Design in such a way that the parks become like self-cleaning ovens instead of requiring constant human intervention and baby sitting to keep them maintained.

3. The City should stop trying to have our parks look as though Costa Mesa is not in a semi-arid area.
4. It costs lots of our money to try to maintain large green lawns in parks where the grass doesn't naturally grow. Go with native plants and landscapes. Nature knows best. Costa Mesa is where it is. Our low rainfall is what it is. Go with the flow instead of against it.
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Commit a crime and leave your DNA behind--even as a fingerprint--and science can now construct a picture of what you look like. LINK

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Plane diverted to LAX for emergency landing. LINK

How soon will it be before a plane taking off or landing at JWA ends up in a neighborhood in Newport Beach or the Eastside of Costa Mesa? How many homes will be destroyed. How many people will die? (Stock photo of aftermath of plane crash into a residential neighborhood).

Come on politicians, get serious about finding a site where airplanes can take off and land safely and which will accommodate the growth in air travel for the next century.

The best location is on a tiny portion of Camp Pendleton. It has everything that is needed. Use the search feature on this blog to find earlier articles in the CM PRESS with all the statistics that indicate why Camp Pendleton makes sense.

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Those are our thoughts. Thanks for reading them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

CM PRESS # 610


Back when the now increasingly empty South Coast Home Furnishing Centre, along the 405, was just an idea and was being presented to the Costa Mesa no-Planning Commission and the Silly Council, the CM PRESS was there.

Yup. That was us who went to the podium and suggested that this thing probably wasn't going to work as presented and that if the original tenants left and the owner then wanted to switch to other uses (which seemed likely to us), the mall would be woefully underparked and also poorly parked for such other uses.
Well, what we thought might happen is now happening.

Let us back up a bit.

What you need to know is that furniture malls require much less parking than other types of retail uses and office buildings.

If you build a furniture mall (instead of other types of retail or office space), you can get maximum coverage of the land (means you can build bigger buildings with more square footage to rent out and thus potentially make more money for you) and you can go short on the parking (short, that is, if it were any other type of retail use).

And, that's what happened in this project.

The leasable square footage was maximized but the parking was minimized.
So, on paper, this furniture mall penciled out nicely with plenty of proforma rental income.

The problem is that you have to actually rent out the space and you have to retain your tenants to get the rental income. If you can't rent out the space or retain your tenants you're left with empty space that you're still making loan payments on. So, what do you do?

Well, you can go to the City and ask the City to let you convert some of your furniture store buildings to office buildings and other uses and you can ask the City to let you get by with less parking than is required for these new proposed uses. Of course, if the City grants your parking variance requests, this may negatively impact adjoining properties.

The no-Planning Commission and the Silly Council should have put the brakes on this project right at the start (as they should have with Triangle Square), and they should have had people who know a little about such projects study the plans for this one and make recommendations

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You have to read almost to the end of this story in the LA TIMES to realize that those attacked are black and the attackers are Latino, and that this is probably a hate crime--and would have been front page news for weeks had the gang been white.
Are you getting as tired of the double standard in these things as we are?
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Friday, February 13, 2009

CM PRESS # 609


January 2009----------------33 ICE DETAINERS

January 2008----------------13 ICE DETAINERS

January 2007----------------57 ICE DETAINERS

Source: CMPD
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Hey, City Council--Put in some language about undergrounding the 55!

At next Tuesday's City Council meeting, the City Council will be asked to authorize sending a letter to the Feds in support of the economic stimulus package as it relates to streets, bridges, etc.

The CM PRESS could find no mention in the request or supporting documents specifically mentioning the most important roadway improvement we need in Costa Mesa--THE UNDERGROUNDING OF THE 55 FWY.

Instead, we see the report larded through with fluff such as various things for bus transportation and replacing railroad ties.

To hell with OCTA and their projects for Anaheim and Fullerton and other cities. This is Costa Mesa and we need help here.

Here's a LINK to the request for the letter in support of the economic stimulus package.

Here's a LINK to the entire agenda for the City Council meeting.

Come on City Council, grow some gonads, shed the bureaucratic mumbo jumbo, and directly ask for the 55 to be put underground.

Dear Feds:

Please send us $__________so we can put the stupid 55 Fwy underground instead of having the stupid thing end in the middle of our downtown where it is screwing up our city.

Love and kisses,

Costa Mesa City Council

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Here's a link to a column and video in the OCR about a guy who says he's going to fight a red light camera ticket in Costa Mesa. LINK

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At next Tuesday's City Council meeting, the Council is expected to rubber stamp items that will cost us $ 703, 811.63. That money will buy services and goods from firms in Irvine, Rocklin and Fullerton but, as is so often the case, not from any in Costa Mesa.
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The last time we checked, more than 75% of CMPD officers don't live in Costa Mesa. We haven't been able to get more current figures, because after we originally reported the more than 75% figure a few years ago,the City started clamming up.

According to the City's recently released budget figures, the annual payroll of the CMPD amounts to more than $ 28 million dollars. So, in general terms, it's probably safe to say that there are $ 21 million dollars flowing out of Costa Mesa to other cities in the form of police salaries (75% of $28 million).

This $ 21 million dollars is being spent in supermarkets, clothing stores, car dealerships,etc. mostly in cities other than Costa Mesa.

Say, have you seen all the vacancies along Harbor Blvd. lately? Do you think there might be fewer vacancies if the 240 people employed by the CMPD actually lived in Costa Mesa and spent their paychecks here?

And, don't you think we might get better service if our cops were also our neighbors?

Do you think maybe our city would be nicer if we had more of a Costa Mesa First attitude--a little enlightened selfishness?

Wouldn't it help our local merchants if our tax money going to City employees and City expenses circulated in Costa Mesa?

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CM PRESS # 608


February 12, 1809--April 19, 1882

Countless millions of humans just saw birds. You saw evolution.

Still you walk among us as part of the code within the more than one
hundred descendents of you and your wife Emma, who are still alive and who are still expanding.

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Those are our opinons. Thanks for reading them.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

CM PRESS # 607

UPDATE: Wednesday, 2/11/09, 4:10 pm--Scroll down for story on the 55 Fwy.


The spendthrifts on the Costa Mesa City Council got serious at their regularly scheduled study session yesterday. All their binge spending is now causing some problems and they've decided that they'd better start minding the store.

The economic news is even worse than the Council thought it would be. As things stand, the City is going to come up $11 million to $ 20 million short in money needed for the budget.

The City's Director of Finance, Marc Puckett, said he wouldn't be able to give a more accurate figure on the shortfall until March.

Councilmember Bever wasn't satsified with that answer and continued to ask for Puckett's best guess.

Bever suggested that some of the assumptions leading to the $ 11 million shortfall estimate were based on national sales tax projections and that our own situation in Costa Mesa may not be as rosy.

He wondered aloud if a more accurate and precise estimate of the shortfall might be in the $16 million to $20 million range.

Mr.Puckett finally agreed that Bever is probably right that the shortfall may be in the high end of the range, say, $16 million to $20million.

Councilmembers Mansoor, Bever, Monahan and Leece sounded serious about cutting costs.

Councilmember Foley, on the other hand, talked about new taxes to be put on the backs of citizens of the city. Her main focus was to put taxes on your utilities: gas, electric, water, sewer, etc. Fortunately, she can't do this unless this is first submitted to the voters.

Snippets from the meeting:

--Costa Mesa City employees don't contribute to their own retirement fund. This is all picked up by the citizens of the City. This is costing citizens about $16.3 million per year and is approximately fifteen percent of the total City budget.

--Seventy to seventy-five percent of City's budget is salary and benefits.

--City Manager Alan Roeder has already asked all departments in the City to reduce their expenses by another 5%.

--Mayor Mansoor wasn't satisfied with soft answers from staff about talking to the employee unions about opening their contracts, and firmly stated that he wants an early and "formal response" from the four employee unions representing Costa Mesa City employees indicating whether or not they'll be willing to cut salaries and benefits. The implication is that if the unions won't play ball, there may be employee layoffs.

--The City paid $6.9 million in overtime to City employees last year. Sixteen employees logged over a thousand hours of overtime each.

--The City is shouldering the burden for the police helicopters (ABLE). Santa Ana pays the City approximately $1,200 per hour if that City calls in our helicopter for assistance in that city, but only pays for the actual time the helicopter is being used.

--Councilmember Bever made the point that this isn't fair, because our helicopter is up and flying and costing Costa Mesa money all the time so that it's ready for immediate use, and that the citizens of Costa Mesa are paying for that dwell time.

--Councilmember Monahan asked the City Manager to prepare a report on how other cities are handling their similar financial problems.

--Approximately forty-five percent of Costa Mesa's general fund revenue comes from sales tax and almost thirty percent from property tax. By contrast, fifty percent of Newport Beach's general fund revenue comes from property tax and only about fifteen percent from sales tax.

--Mayor Mansoor again brought up needing to have our roads fixed. For some reason, Mansoor has an obsession with fixing roads. Our take is that most of our roads are pretty good, and we think he should focus on other things while just giving an occasional thought to this subject.

--At the meeting, Councilmember Foley constantly talked about providing "service" to our citizens.

By service, she apparently meant things such as running the pumps at the pond in Tewinkle Park along with the lights in the park (near her home).

Just the electric bill for running pumps and related equipment is $24,000 per year (we have confirmed this number with a top City official).

And, the total electric bill for this park (including the pumps) is reportedly about $80,000 per year (this is a number we heard at the study session).

Remember, that's just the electric bill and that's just this one park!

Also, the recent rehab of the pond and the area near the pond in this park cost us a cool $1,050,083.64 (this was also confirmed by a top City official).

How many citizens actually spend time there?
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There's billions of dollars in the new stimulus package for highways.

If our local politicians have any brains and clout, they'll be pushing hard to get some of that money to put the 55 underground.

Here's part of a Q&A in an article on the highway portion of the stimulus package:

Q: How long would it take for highway projects to begin?
A: Lawmakers say most of the projects could be up and running within 90 days, although it could take somewhat more time in northern states with longer winters. Highway construction groups have estimated that there are thousands of projects that could be started within that 90 days.

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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CM PRESS # 606


Last night was the first meeting of the Planning Commission with the two new commissioners, Colin McCarthy and Stephen Mensinger.

McCarthy was there, but Mensinger was a no-show, and no explanation was given to the audience.

The CM PRESS was there.

Hey Mensinger, you're no more busy that we are. If we can show up to see what you guys are doing, you should also show up.

We go to these meetings for free, because we want a nicer city. You're getting paid to be there. Not only did we never see you at meetings before you were appointed to Planning, but now that you've been appointed you still don't show up?

Of course there could be some valid reason why Mensinger didn't show up. We'd accept something such as a serious family illness or a business trip that absolutely had to be made, and which couldn't be rescheduled, but short of really good reasons for his absence we're not buying excuses.

And, if this guy pulled a Katrina Foley routine and was skiing, we're going to be really pissed.

As a result of Mensinger's absence, the four Commissioners who did show up couldn't agree on who was going to be the new Chair and Vice Chair. The four deadlocked several times. And, this is interesting in itself. They finally put off the vote until the next meeting when all five members will supposedly be there.

Our guess is that the Chair is going to end up being Jim Righeimer, since Mensinger is an ally of Righeimer.

This should anger James Fisler, since Fisler is the old Vice Chair and is seemingly next up to be Chair.

We'll keep you informed.
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Since the Commission has two new members, the CM PRESS wanted to start things off right by giving a brief overview of where we are in Costa Mesa and why it's important to have an activist Planning Commission.

We're pretty sure McCarthy is aware of things since he has been active, but we wanted to give some stats to Mensinger (the no-show).

Here's what we told the Commission:

The national average of renters vs. homeowners is 34% to 66%.

The average in Costa Mesa as a whole is 60% renters vs. 40% homeowners.

The figures on the Westside are 81% renters vs. 19% homeowners.

Costa Mesa would be better off if we could get our percentages in the range of 60% homeowners and 40% renters citywide (including the Westside).

We also told them that Newport Beach has 2% of its land zoned industrial while Costa Mesa has a whopping 14% zoned industrial and that this is only exceeded in our area by Santa Ana which has 18% of its land zoned industrial.

Costa Mesa would be better off if we could get our industrial zoning down to around 7%.

We also pointed out that Costa Mesa has 60 acres of the best land in the City--the Westside Bluffs--zoned industrial, but that if some executive homes were built there with ocean views the Westside would start improving.

We also pointed out that CRAC and WROC decided some time ago about the best direction for the Westside, so the Commission doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. The commissioners just have to read the reports of the two committees.

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The City has already cut about $ 8.4 million from the budget, but new projections indicate an additional $ 4.5 million may need to be cut.

Mayor Pro Tem Leece told the Daily Pilot that the City will have to cut expenditures and that each department will have to look for additional savings. LINK

The CM PRESS agrees with Ms. Leece. We think there are many places where money can be saved and we think it can be done without laying off any employees--not a single one.

We'll try to be at the study session today when the Council will discuss what to do, and we'll let you know what we learn--maybe later tonight as an update to this issue of the CM PRESS.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

CM PRESS # 132

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