Sounding Off: He’s ‘Arab enough’; politics are another matter

In recent weeks, as might be expected during the campaign season, much has been written about Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor.

The Daily Pilot, for example, published a long article about two weeks ago summarizing Mansoor’s background (“The Man named Mansoor,” Aug. 15). The article was viewed by some as a “puff piece,” while others thought it was too tough on him. That’s how it goes during a campaign.

Recently, though, some voices have been heard that accuse Mansoor, the son of immigrants, of denying his heritage. These voices, as portrayed in a recent Los Angeles Times article (“Arab roots an issue in race,” The Times, Aug. 24) seem to be the most strident among some members of the Arab community, who appear to be intent on making political hay with their view that Mansoor doesn’t sufficiently embrace his Egyptian heritage, implying that he’s ashamed that his father is from the Middle East. His mother is from a part of Finland with strong Swedish ties.

Now, let me state right here that I am arguably Mansoor’s biggest critic in Costa Mesa. I have observed him and written extensively about him since his first campaign eight years ago, so coming to his defense today is new territory for me. During all those years of observing Allan Mansoor I have never seen any indication that he is anything but proud of his diverse heritage. Whenever the subject comes up he openly talks about it, but always follows up by stating that he doesn’t consider himself a hyphenated American — he’s an American, period. This recent attempt to paint him as “not Arab enough” is bogus.

Look, there are plenty of reasons the voters should not send Allan Mansoor to Sacramento in November. There are many unanswered questions that should make the voters nervous about how he will conduct himself as a member of the Assembly. We have nearly a decade of his actions on which to base our decision when we enter the voting booth.

For example, has he really returned the campaign contributions from folks associated with Facilities Management West, the proposed tenant to operate the Orange County Fairgrounds if the sale goes through? Why would he accept those contributions in the first place? How easy will it be to buy his vote in Sacramento?

His recent pandering to the Vietnamese community with a Costa Mesa resolution naming June 19th as a day of remembrance for Vietnamese “freedom fighters” living in the United States was shameless, opportunistic electioneering.

Although he was a sworn law enforcement officer for 15 years, he has demonstrated surprisingly little comprehension of real law enforcement, ignoring the professional advice from at least three recent chiefs of police.

And, what about that law enforcement career? Did he quit or was he fired from his job as a jailer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at the end of last year? When asked about it he mutters vague comments about “deciding to go another direction.” Who quits a job in this economy without another job, especially when his gig in the Legislature would be a year away? What does this say about his judgment and character?

There are plenty of reasons to not vote for Allan Mansoor in November, but the fact that some think he’s not “Arab enough” is not one of them.

GEOFF WEST lives in Costa Mesa.