6:25 PM PST, December 8, 2012
I've long admired Perry Valantine and his public service to Costa Mesa. But in chastising the council majority for not selecting Wendy Leece as mayor pro tem, I think he completely missed the mark.
Relative to the substantive issues of the last election, I think it's pretty clear the council majority did get "the message that they don't have a mandate." Indeed, by rescinding the remaining layoff notices and announcing plans to establish a charter commission, the first substantive official actions of the council did indeed reflect the "voice of the people."
Nevertheless, Valantine seems to dismiss those actions with a casual, so-what reference before pushing together several hundred words that suggest bypassing Leece means the "majority" didn't hear, or learn, a thing in the last election.
Look, Jim Righeimer, Steve Mensinger and Gary Monahan don't represent ghosts. They were elected by a not-insignificant bloc of voters who believe they best represent their interests in this diverse city. The defeat of Measure V does not negate that reality.
Finally, had John Stephens defeated Monahan and a Sandy Genis-Leece-Stephens majority prevailed, does anyone really believe Righeimer or Mensinger would have been selected mayor or mayor pro tem in a spirit of inclusiveness, cooperation and collaboration?
Byron de Arakal
I read Bradley Zint's Dec. 5 article, "Righeimer becomes Costa Mesa mayor and thought that he did not give enough credit to the involvement of community activists in the defeat of Measure V.
Measure V was defeated not just or primarily because of the unions, as Zint implies, but because of community activist groups such as Costa Mesans for Responsible Government.
CM4RG's approach was to invest a little money, combined with a lot of community activists' time, to defeat Measure V. CM4RG invested thousands of resident volunteer manhours to set up a website for communicating to residents, knock on doors and talk to residents, deliver fliers, send out mailers and make phone calls to communicate the flaws in the process used to generate the charter and the numerous flaws in the charter itself.
It was more than a union response; it was the voter response of thousands of residents, many of them unaffiliated with a union or association, that defeated the charter. And much of this response was created by CM4RG. It wouldn't hurt for Zint to get more familiar with the various community groups so that he can properly represent their contributions in future articles.