9 Costa Mesa City Council candidates running for 3 spots


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Costa Mesa is a interesting City. For those of us living down the hill in Newport Beach….there is something somewhat distant about it. People in Costa Mesa seem more down to earth…more interested in specifics…more interested in providing a town type atmosphere. It is only a perception, but have you noticed that most Costa Mesa electeds….never move on to greater office. Maybe they do…we just can’t think of any right off hand.

We know we love Wendy Leece….she was on the NMUSD school board. We do know that Katrina Foley is a smart one that knows her stuff and she still seems like a real person. We know former Mayor Gary Monahan now owns a restaurant after starting out as a bartender, being the Mayor for a couple of terms and ya-da-ya-ya-da.  We know that Jim Righeimer moved from Fountain Valley with his lovely family.  We know that Eric Bever was hand selected by Mayor Alan Mansoor and got in just one cycle. We don’t know a lot of the others running this time: Bill Sneen, Chris McEvoy, Lisa Reedy, Chris Bunyan or Nick Moss. They all seem like nice folks and we will do our best to hear what they have to say.

People do run for City Council for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s just a issue or two that bugs them. Sometimes, City Staffers have upset them on one thing or another. Sometimes, running over people’s rights or changing major things in the community give them the impetus to “just go for it!”. In any event, too many do not realize the expenses necessary, all those filing responsibilities, dealing with the various labor groups involved, the fund raising coffee’s and events necessary, setting up their websites, printing and mailing and sign costs …finding a campaign manager and then dealing with the power brokers in their cities. Most of those unconnected candidates are just marginalized to the point……..that they are considered or become more laugh tracks, rather than viable candidates.   It is really sort of sad to watch the process at times.  Many candidates say afterwords: “I really learned a lot about the system!”

Then there is our enviable Newport Beach..which we kind of do know a  little about..since we ran for Council four times! We even won once in 1994 for two weeks….but that is another story! Here in Newport Beach we have the “Power Broker Candidates backed by Dave Ellis” – and then you have the “Greenlight Candidate’s” which were back by Phil Arst and Jean Watt and all those environmental group and anti-airport people. Sadly, Phil passed away this last year and will be greatly missed. Then we have all those crazy and dedicated  “Oh joy….. Independents” .. as we were; that dare to challenge both groups!

In the old days, of Home Owners vs. Developers all was in rhythm and joy. Sometimes a Home Owner candidate would win, sometimes a developer candidate would win. But that was all before 1986… when the developers got their foot strongly in the door and have since…never relinquished that control. Then came the “Halley’s Comet Issues” we call them. These Issues are designed to get people off track. Examples include: “The Location of a New City Hall!”, “Should the Oasis Center be Expanded?” and so it goes from there!

You start to get the idea that things that really matter like “Term Limits”
which did pass or whether to elect a Mayor in Newport Beach or how to regulate Rehab Homes….are all issues that should never be put before the average citizen…which may not be sophisticated enough to grasp the realities of such things! Luckily, Term Limits snuck in there several years ago. It is lucky that it did, but the Power Brokers found a way around that by electing their four vote majority and then having them step down before the end of their terms – some, less than a year before re-election and replacing them with choices from the remaining City Council.  So, if we wanted to change the City Charter and ask that all future resignations require a vote of the people….the current Council looks aghast! Perish the thought…citizens! We have it exactly the way we want it….which insures total incumbency ad infinitum!

OK, so what about the three open seats in Newport Beach? Well, we have one no-name person running against Steve Rosansky in District one! Ed Selich is running unopposed in his district and Dolores Otting is challenging Keith Curry. Sadly for Dolores – Keith has been doing a pretty good job and it will be difficult if not quite impossible to beat the incumbent Curry!  

 In case you are wondering………..all three incumbents were initially never elected, they were firstly appointed…..and got to keep that “Incumbency Title” when they either ran for re-election or are doing so now.But lets get back to Costa Mesa….where it is pretty interesting that one of their incumbents…Eric Bever is not considered the odds on favorite to be a repeat. We don’t exactly know why – but if someone has an answer we would be interested.  So, can that “The bearded guy” Chris McEvoy beat out Bever or will it be someone else? Who knows? We do truly believe that Katrina Foley will be re-elected, so that basically leaves the third choice of former Mayor Monahan or Daily Pilot writer; politically connected Jim Righeimer.   The endorsements by the Republican Party will probably help Bever, Monahan and Righeimer!  But who knows what that pesky Costa Mesa electorate might do?

There can only be three!

Our big question is: Who is Dave Ellis supporting?

*This article originally appeared on Newport Voices.


About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk show...is the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.