Last week I mentioned Costa Mesa Councilman Allan Mansoor’s plan to run for mayor in 2018, and that news created — as you can imagine — a flurry of emails my way on both sides of a divided city.
This week I delved into the race a bit more with Mansoor.
So far his opponents are current Mayor Katrina Foley and former Councilman Gary Monahan.
Should Mansoor win, his council seat would be vacated, and the city could opt for a special election or appoint someone for the remaining two years of his term.
Mansoor said last week that he’s running because “I’ve been approached by a number of people, on all sides of many issues, that are concerned with our mayor’s lack of leadership and failure to follow council policy, and that is of great concern to me.”
Foley fired back, calling Mansoor a “failed career politician,” and looks forward to debating the issues with him.
Seems campaign 2018 is off to a snarky start.
I asked Mansoor to respond to Foley’s comments.
“I’ve always tried to be respectful,” he said. “Dividing people into teams is divisive. I’ve always worked with everyone, and the only team we should be on is team Costa Mesa.”
But what about his initial claims that Foley lacks leadership and fails to follow council policy? That elicited her response.
Mansoor’s beef is that Foley set a bad precedent when she “fired all the city’s commissioners” at once in January when she became mayor.
“We have an appointment policy,” he said and felt Foley should have followed or changed it if she didn’t like it.
I read the policy, and in my opinion, it’s open to interpretation as a guideline.
In January the council did vote to remove all the commissioners; Mansoor and Councilman Jim Righeimer voted no. Mansoor felt commission seats should’ve been dealt with on an individual basis.
"You potentially have five inexperienced people on the Planning Commission, and that is a huge mistake,” he told the Daily Pilot after the vote. “I think it's unprecedented to do a clean sweep like this."
And what about Foley calling Mansoor a “failed career politician?
I guess that depends on your definition of failure.
In 2016 Mansoor was elected to council for the third time, the first being in 2002. He was appointed mayor in 2005, 2007 and 2009. He was elected to the 68th Assembly District in 2010, after redistricting, and was reelected to the 74th District in 2012.
But then Mansoor lost his bid for Orange County supervisor in 2014. He dismissed Foley’s failed politician comment, saying he wants to stick to the important issues facing the city, such as rehab homes, development and homelessness.
Mansoor said it’s wrong to allow the group homes within 650 feet of each other, and there should be no exceptions.
“Costa Mesa has an over-concentration of these homes, and we have a legal right to say no,” he said.
As far as development goes, Mansoor touted his “track record of asking for reasonable setback of development projects,” and voted no on what he calls “the aggressively high-density project” at 1901 Newport Blvd.
Mansoor said the council, including Foley at the time, all voted on the overlay zone, but the intent was to be used on blighted property, which he feels 1901 Newport wasn’t. That doesn’t mean the city is “obligated to give the full density” to any project, he added.
“It was meant to increase density a little bit — revitalization — it wasn’t meant to be widespread everywhere,” he said.
Mansoor’s “not afraid to say no” to a project he doesn’t believe in, he said.
Hosting a recent homeless forum in Costa Mesa, Mansoor told me he wants to expand on those efforts as mayor.
He’s proud of the work the city has already done here, having helped a good number of those willing to be helped.
Of course those with addiction and mental illness have proven much more “service-resistant,” he explained.
As Mansoor and I talked, I told him there are those who still question his residency.
He dismissed this, saying it’s “old news,” and that he’s a registered voter on the public record with the registrar.
Moving forward, Mansoor is looking forward to the Feet to the Fire Forum season. He holds the record of being on the hot seat more than any other candidate since 2010, and, in my view, has done well at each.
But what about 2018?
Readers may remember in 2016 the Costa Mesa council voted not to air F2F or any political forums.
At the time I suggested to Righeimer and then-Mayor Steve Mensinger that the city create a policy with specific criteria for forums to apply for broadcast.
That hasn’t happened so far, but Mansoor tells me he would welcome such a policy.
BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Mayor Katrina Foley's City Council seat would be vacated if she should win direct election as mayor in 2018. Foley's council seat is up for election in 2018.