Saturday, November 20, 2010

CM PRESS # 323


JIM RIGHEIMER       12,997      31.7%
WENDY LEECE        11,572      28.2%
CHRIS MCEVOY      10,846      26.4%
SUE LESTER                3,881        9.5%
CHAD W PETSCHL    1,721        4.2%

So, Righeimer beat Leece by 1,425 votes and he beat McEvoy by 2,151 votes.  Given the fact that the out of town unions tried to defeat Righeimer and put about $ 150,000 into their effort, this is a remarkable result.

But the real cost to those who tried to defeat Righeimer is in the lack of confidence that many citizens now have for these out of town union members who meddled into the politics of Costa Mesa where most of them don't live. 

Our crystal ball tells us that there may be big changes coming to Costa Mesa as a result of this negative campaign.  In fact, they may already have started.
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The above is a question we just received from a reader.  We put it down below in comments, but it's a good question and one that deserves an answer up here.

We can only guess at McEvoy's reasons from bits and pieces of things we've heard or seen, but it seems that he believes the Westside industrial zone, which covers many acres of the bluffs, should remain as it is. 

Improvers, by contrast, believe that by allowing eclectic housing units and accompanying retail shops, restaurants, etc. to begin integrating themselves into the industrial zone, that the whole Westside will start improving, our tax base will increase, and we may end up with an art colony that will draw people to the area. 

Remember, the overlay is just that.  It doesn't chase out industrial users.  It just allows those who want to move in a new direction do so with a minimum of effort because there are now two zoning plans on the bluffs.

Say you're an artist and you want to turn an industrial building into a living/working loft.  The overlay lets you do that without too much difficulty.  You'll still have to make it safe for living in and meet other codes, but, generally speaking, the overlay zoning already allows such a use.
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Geoff West has another uninformed column in the Daily Pilot today. HERE

In the column, West first heavily invests himself in the fallacy of an appeal to pity, followed by a fallacious appeal to prestige, before finally getting to his latest attack on Jim Righeimer.  

But, what we really want to focus on is this sentence written by West:

"He [Righeimer], in turn, retaliated by unleashing his pit bull/lawyer/brother-in-law with threats [in a letter] of lawsuits to attempt to violate the First Amendment rights of the police association and members of this community, including this writer."

Apart from the odd way this is written, there's something else that requires comment. 

A private person can't violate anyone's First Amendment rights.  Righeimer can't do it, and Righeimer's attorney can't do it.  And, how in the world would they even "attempt" to do so?

Only a government, or those in government working in their official capacities, can do that.  This is just Con Law 101.  Again, the First Amendment is a restraint on government.

So, what was Righeimer's attorney trying to do, if he was not trying to "attempt to violate the First Amendment rights," of West et al., as claimed by West?

Our guess (we haven't seen the letter) is that he was trying to let West and some others know that certain things that have been said or published about Righeimer are not true, and that those who received the lawyer's letter should not publish them, because they aren't true.  Why would the lawyer send such a letter?

Guessing again about why the letter may have been sent: it comes down to the words "actual malice."

In America, people can say pretty much anything they want about a public official or a public figure--and, Jim Righeimer is both.  If the public official or public figure sues, he has to prove "actual malice."   New York Times v. Sullivan

In the law of defamation, "actual malice" means the person publishing the falsehood knew it was false or  published it with reckless disregard for the truth. 

So, if those who might publish false information about Righeimer were notified in advance that such statements were false and if they still published or republished those statements, they would be demonstrating actual malice.
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Those are our opinions.  Thanks for reading them.

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