Public Safety

A screen grab from a YouTube video that chides CM4RG, which staged a rally in favor of public safety this week at City Hall. (YouTube "Art Vandelay" / September 18, 2013)

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A video that takes aim at a Costa Mesa political organization appeared on YouTube on Wednesday afternoon.

Kent Mora, who serves on the city's Pension Oversight Committee, made the nearly two-minute segment that contains a slide show of participants in Tuesday's Costa Mesans for Responsible Government public safety demonstration. The rally took place along Fair Drive before the evening's City Council session.

Mora said he made the sarcastic video, titled "CM4RG Union Rally," because of the event's "ambiguity" and "hypocrisy." CM4RG's demonstration was more of an attack on Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger than a show of support for public safety personnel, Mora contended.

"The rally was not on the up and up," he said. "I thought it was completely dishonest and needed to be brought up."

The dramatic soundtrack used in the clip is "O Fortuna" from composer Carl Orff's 1936 cantata, "Carmina Burana." The commonly used music is also found in the 1981 film "Excalibur" and 2002's "Jackass: The Movie."

Mora said that while he has no intention of "hiding behind an alias," he posted the video using the name "Art Vandelay," a reference to a pseudonym used by a character on the television show "Seinfeld."

Mora attended and filmed the rally.

The video begins by citing the infamous "playbook" from Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir, an Upland-based law firm that once represented Costa Mesa's police union.

Righeimer has called the firm's playbook, which has since been taken off its website, an aggressive, strong-armed technique of "how-to-win-during-contract-negotiations."

"The public could care less about your pay ... the message should always be public safety first," the video states. "Nothing seems to get more attention than a billboard entering the city limits which reads that crime is up and the city could care less about your safety."

The following sequence is a billboard that reads, "Crime is up. Got cops?"

The Costa Mesa Taxpayers Assn., which is supportive of the council majority, linked to the video on its Facebook page. Mora is not a member of that group, but said he is friendly with its members.

CM4RG President Robin Leffler said in a prepared statement that her members "are too independent-minded to let any outside group drive our agenda." The local grass-roots group, with membership from several political parties, have said they do not receive any money from unions.

"We are genuinely concerned about our quality of life, and many of us have suffered personally both financially and emotionally from the effects of increasing crime," Leffler said. "Our motivation for the rally was to say a big thank you to all public safety employees and to raise awareness that we need to make public safety a priority again."

The video concludes with a thank-you note to Righeimer and the council for balancing the city's budget three years in a row without using reserves. It also compliments their addressing of problems stemming from rehabilitation homes and motels, such as crime, prostitution and drug use.

"No amount of union rhetoric can reduce crime," the video states. "Crime is about the people we attract."

Righeimer, his wife and Mensinger are suing Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir in Orange County Superior Court. Their civil-action lawsuit contends that the firm has inflicted emotional distress and violated their civil rights, among other complaints.