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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Charter: Corruption unlikely, production necessary

Impossible to be like Bell

Bell officials assumed jobs that raised their pay to outrageous levels and stole $6.7 million from the city. The mayor defended himself as an ignorant and uneducated man (he didn't finish grade school, much less high school or college) who didn't know his thievery was illegal. (Bell Mayor)

The election that gave him so much power was mostly absentee votes; many voters arrived at the polls to find absentee ballots in their names had already been cast. And, he paid a street gang to promote support for him as mayor.

He’s been sentenced to prison for some of his crimes. Other Bell City Council members performed and fared about the same.

Different cities

Bell has a low-income ($37K), largely (93%) Hispanic populace that keeps a low profile.  Citizens don't get involved in government; English isn't normally used in the home for 90% of the population. Their education includes 42% high school graduates and 5% with bachelor’s degrees or higher.

Costa Mesa’s most-criticized Council members, the Mayor and Pro tem, bring far different resumes to their positions. And, the citizens of Costa Mesa present a very different picture from Bell’s.

In Costa Mesa

Mayor Righeimer’s college education and success as a business and Real Estate executive are in stark contrast to Bell’s mayor’s background and education. Pro-tem Mensinger’s college and business success are very different from that of Bell’s mayor or Pro tem, as well. His executive assignments prior to becoming a principle in a real estate advisory firm have been lauded. (Correcting lies in print)

In Costa Mesa English isn't the primary language in the home for 38%, 86% are high school graduates and 34% hold bachelor’s degrees or higher.

So, our Council members have far different backgrounds from Bell’s council members, and the demographics of the two cities are very different. In addition, the citizens of Costa Mesa have a large faction of interested folks, with some persistently-critical clusters that observe everything that the Council does with a critical, even jaundiced, eye.*

Candidate charter wasn't risky

The charter that was beaten by the influx of three quarters of a million dollars from unions didn't have Bell-like provisions that would have allowed chicanery, anyway. Becoming another Bell was never, and still isn't, a realistic risk.

So what’s holding up a clear, effective charter for the voters to consider? It’s not the uninformed CM4OE, complaining before committee meetings. They’re easy to discount as uninformed and irrelevant. Instead, the holdup is the committee’s inertia.
The committee is making lists. It’s time to produce charter pieces to debate and refine.

*As a Newport Beach Councilman said, “I can guarantee that in the next breath I will get a message that makes me wince; an insult from someone with less than the facts, shouting vitriol in a reactionary and vulgar tone. So be it.”

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