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Mansoor v. Foley, Glenn v. Dixon, and other updates

I like to give readers an update on past columns from time to time, and one story that continues to evolve is the 2018 mayoral race in Costa Mesa.

In June I wrote about Mayor Katrina Foley’s run to become the first directly elected mayor. The position she currently has is voted on by her fellow council members.

At that time, former Councilman Gary Monahan didn’t want to talk to me about his bid for mayor, but was openly chatting about it on Facebook.

Monahan stopped into the KOCI-FM studio a couple of weeks ago as I was co-hosting “Stu News Sunday” with Tom Johnson. He told us Councilman Allan Mansoor is throwing his hat in the mayoral race as well for 2018, and Monahan was in full swing with his campaign.

Mansoor pulled papers June 22 to start the Mansoor for Mayor 2018 Committee, according to the city website.

I called Mansoor to ask what prompted his decision with two years left in his council term.

“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,” Mansoor says, “and that is of great concern to me.”

I shared his comment with Foley, who didn’t waste time firing back.

“Allan Mansoor is a failed career politician,” she said. “I look forward to debating the issues. We have much work to do to repair the damage his team caused our town. We don't have the luxury of time for people who want to play politic with personal, narrow divisive agendas.”

More on Mansoor v. Foley v. Monahan next week.

Glenn vs. Dixon continues

Another story that’s taken an odd twist this week is the Mike Glenn-Diane Dixon battle.

In August I wrote about Glenn, a Newport Beach activist, suing Dixon, a councilwoman, as well as City Clerk Leilani Brown and Assistant Clerk Jennifer Nelson, in small claims court. He accuses them of slander.

In a nutshell, during a past council meeting, Dixon accused Glenn of owing the city more than $600 from public document requests she claimed he never picked up.

Glenn denies this and repeatedly has demanded an apology. After not getting one, he sued in the Harbor Justice Center in Newport.

Glenn sent me an email, saying the city is now attempting to move his small claims action to Superior Court.

Glenn writes the case “would be pushed out for years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers — both of my money and of taxpayer money. They state that they also want to do this so that they can file an anti-SLAPP lawsuit against me.”

Aaron C. Harp, city attorney for Newport Beach, confirmed the city is seeking to transfer the lawsuit to Superior Court “because the First Amendment freedom of speech issues belong in Superior Court.”

He tells me Dixon and Nelson believe the allegations against them fall squarely within the protections afforded speech under the First Amendment.

“Ms. Nelson and Ms. Dixon want to file what is known as an anti-SLAPP motion (a special motion to strike a complaint where the complaint arises from activity exercising the rights of petition and free speech) and Superior Court is the proper forum for this motion,” Harp says.

Glenn also complained about the timeliness of the distribution of the transfer request.

“The court distributed the document to the city and Mr. Glenn at the same time,” Harp said. “As a courtesy, and to provide more notice, the city mailed a copy of the transfer request to Mr. Glenn on the same day we received a copy from the court. Having received notice in the same manner as the city from the court, it is hard to understand the basis for his claim.”

Glenn has requested a hearing on the transfer req— this issue is far from over.

Elizabeth Gilbert case

Readers may remember on March 7 I wrote about the plight of Huntington Beach resident Elizabeth Gilbert and her battle to bring her husband’s murderer to justice, and fight the international corporation, Reckitt Benckiser, for allegedly violating his patent for a premature ejaculation drug, Promescent, after trying unsuccessfully to buy Gilbert’s company, Absorption Pharmaceuticals, in 2014.

The lawsuit continues, as the judge determines if it will proceed in Nevada or New Jersey courts.

Gilbert’s husband, Ron, was a Newport Beach urologist who was shot to death by Stanwood Elkus, then aged 75, in January 2013 as he entered the exam room of his medical practice by Hoag Hospital.

On Sept. 18 Elkus, now 79, was convicted of that murder and sentenced to life.

Ron Gilbert’s business partner, Jeff Abraham, is a good friend of mine. I asked him if he felt closure.

“People ask me that, but how can we ever get closure?” he says. “Ron’s gone, and that’s not going to change.”

Abraham says Elkus never showed remorse or apologized during the trial or sentencing.

Gilbert’s family and friends still grapple with the loss, even though they put on a brave face.

“There’s no playbook for behavior and how to feel about this whole thing,” he tells me. “I hope you never have a friend murdered.”

BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at bvontv1@gmail.com.

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