Mansoor’s take on the Benito Acosta trial

I spoke to Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor this morning, when he surprised me with a phone call. He wanted to explain his position regarding the Benito Acosta trial. He contends that he asked Minuteman Jim Gilchrist to stop when he tried to ask his supporters to stand up at the Council meeting where Acosta was arrested.

I took a look at the video in question. Gilchrist said, as he looked at the audience, that he was going to ask the Minutemen to stand up at the end of his comments. Mansoor then interrupted him and asked him not to do that. But their exchange never failed to be polite and friendly. And Gilchrist was allowed to finish his comments.

Mansoor said that Acosta disrupted the meeting by addressing the people in the audience instead of the City Council and the Mayor. I viewed the Council video and saw that Acosta pointed to the audience at one point and quoted Mansoor as saying that “the focus of this enforcement (ICE) is to remove violent criminals to make the streets safer. I don’t see how anyone can protest against that. “

Acosta then made several additional comments about how the ICE regulation is an attempt to gentrify Costa Mesa and change the demographics. He said that he and his fellow activists were going to “fight this to the end” and that they were “not going to let it pass.” Then Acosta looked to the audience and said “if anyone else in this room agrees with this please stand up.”

At that point Mansoor interrupted angrily and said “no I’m not gonna do that.” And Mansoor called for a break, even though Acosta had time left to speak. Then Mansoor said, “As a matter of fact, his time is up.” But it wasn’t, according to Acosta.

You can see what happened at that point on YouTube, at this link.

The contrast between the way Mansoor handled Gilchrist and the way he handled Acosta was stunning.

Mansoor said that Acosta broke the rules when he looked at the audience and told his supporters to stand up. But Gilchrist did the same thing, in essence. And Mansoor handled him with kid gloves.

I asked Mansoor how Acosta should have known that this was not allowed, and Mansoor pointed me to the meeting agenda, which did spell out the rules of conduct.

Here are a few excerpts from the Costa Mesa City Council meeting agenda:

In accordance with Costa Mesa Municipal Code, Sec. 2-64 (1): No person in the audience shall

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