Candidates’ Info Update
I've attended a couple of Candidates’ Forums now, and some neighborhood meetings, and I’ve tried to communicate with each candidate personally and by email. I've had multiple contacts with two of “the M’s” and one of the CM4RG candidates...
Sandra GenisI've spoken briefly with Sandra Genis, who is pleasant and cheerful, but has turned and walked away when I asked substantive questions. Perhaps she doesn’t like individual debate or maybe I just affect her adversely. In any case, she’s never answered an email either, to answer a question or to just acknowledge my thanking her for her presentations at each forum. However, I’m listed on her site as a supporter, and have a password to join the “members only” presentations and discussions that may occur.
John StephensJohn Stephens replied to my questions about how the Charter would affect the conduct of City Business by reiterating the abstract dangers he says are posed by what is missing from the Charter. He then handed me an envelope saying that he has to raise money to campaign because he wasn’t funded by “outside interests” and turned to talk to someone else before I could ask (tried at two events) who these interests might be. He also hasn’t answered any of my emails, either, so I don’t know where to go to hear either him or Sandy espouse their views except for the scheduled forums.
Gary MonahanGary Monahan has spoken persuasively to me at the forums about the Charter and his votes, although he attended only one of the local “get acquainted” meetings that I did. His email replies are erratic but courteous.
Colin and SteveColin McCarthy and Steve Mensinger have been happy to explain, discuss, or debate every issue I’ve raised, and have replied courteously and in depth to my emails. They repeatedly urge me to “just read it, read what the Charter says.” Since I’ve read through the verbiage fully seven times so far, I’m beginning to recognize even section numbers; but even with a copy in hand I’ve been unable to find fault with their explanations and arguments.
However,On the other hand, Steve is unwilling to back off of his assault on the unions, and seems unable to see errors (at least in procedure) his Council has made. Colin pulls his family and commitment into many seemingly unrelated discussions, and Steve is happy to zip the discussion off to Estancia football and the needs of both youth and taxpayers in Costa Mesa at the end of any discussion.
If you bring them a problem . . .I've noticed that Steve, Gary and another Council Member, Jim Righeimer, vigorously address problems brought to the Council’s attention. For example, a report of gang activity spurred Mensinger to take personal time to go observe the area, then discuss his observations with the police department. And, complaints about a cracked sidewalk led to instructions to the city staff to “fix it” and a follow up at the next meeting to determine progress. And, the complaints about crime in the Lyons Park area have led to Council member visits, and to city lighting, code compliance, Homeless Task Force, and police attention to the area. So, they certainly seemed responsive in the few City Council meetings I’ve attended.
Repeats same old storyHarold Weitzberg has answered my emails courteously. Unfortunately, he answers my questions with either accusative diatribe or the (canned) view seen on CM4RG’s website. (See blogs dated 8/27 and 8/31.) He gets quite emotional about some issues, but doesn’t debate facts or opinions. Instead, he just repeats the “party line” or calls opponents names (that he cannot demonstrate are based on anything beyond his opinion) such as “You are a pandering lobbyist trying to insinuate yourself into our Costa Mesa government. . .” (Daily Pilot 6 Sep 12).
Put 'em into groupsSo, the active campaigners, from my perspective, can be divided up at least three ways. First, there’s those who reply (Mensinger, Weitzberg, McCarthy, Monahan--eventually), versus those who don’t. Then there’s those who debate the issues with facts (McCarthy, Mensinger, Monahan), those who argue with forceful but largely-unsupported opinions or labels (Weitzberg, Stephens), and those who present and debate on stage but are largely unavailable (to me) the rest of the time (Genis, Monahan somewhat).
Judge by their supporters? How gauche!How about dividing the candidates by their supporters? Well, the “3M” supporters speak courteously at Council meetings, and listen attentively – sometimes offering thoughtful questions -- at forums. The supporters for Genis, Weitzberg, and Stephens take up Council meeting time with their protest songs and their railing against most everything. They demonstrate their (lack of) respect with screams, applause and catcalls during formal meetings, and by flashing their hand-printed signs and obscene gestures toward the dais during forums and Council meetings.
I’m going to continue to try to hear what Genis and Stephens have to say.
The candidates and issues are polarizing into two camps. I’m starting to think that will make my decisions easier in November.