Lobdell: Some Thanksgiving leftovers
Here are some leftovers for you on the day after Thanksgiving.
Turkey. This fowl is also known as the Facilities Management West’s deal with the state to buy the 150-acre Orange County Fairgrounds for $150 million.
It’s already generated one lawsuit, and rumors are swirling around town that additional litigation will be filed next week to block the transaction.
The game plan for the deal’s opponents appears to be this: Use litigation to run out the clock on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s term, which ends Jan. 3. Then, lobby the new administration of Jerry Brown to kill the ill-conceived deal that lacks any community support and reeks of an inside job.
As a bonus, Brown could fire the fair board members en masse (this whole fiasco — including the wasted tax dollars — can be squarely placed on their shoulders), replacing them with new appointees.
Mashed potatoes. This dish — liked by everyone but some boaters — was served up by the Newport Beach City Council, which took antiquated local laws on mooring fees and transfers and mashed it into common sense rules.
Though the headline read “Council triples mooring fees” (the last increase was an astonishing 15 years ago), the real story was this: The new ordinances established public mooring fees at a reasonable 14% of the average Newport marina rent and will eventually end the repulsive practice of private boaters making sizeable profits from transfers of public moorings.
Stuffing. The Costa Mesa City Council is stuffing the community full of hooey if it keeps insisting that an open-minded and fair search will be conducted to fill the seat that will be open next month when Katrina Foley leaves for the Newport-Mesa school board.
Anyone who can fog a mirror — or spell “crony” — knows that Planning Commissioner Steve Mensinger will be offered the council post. There’s nothing wrong with the conservative majority giving the empty seat to one of their own (and by the way, Mensinger seems well qualified for the job).
As they say, elections have consequences, and the incumbents have earned the right to appoint whom they want. But how about stopping the charade that there’s no preordained pick and stop trying to stuff us with a lie?
Gravy. Did you catch Matt Szabo’s moving story this week in the Pilot about Kristen Case, the super upbeat (and successful) girls tennis coach at Newport Harbor High?
“In all four years being here, I’ve probably never heard one negative comment coming out of her mouth,” senior team captain Lauren Conway told Szabo. “I feel like she wants it just as bad as every girl on the team …"
In a world where negativity and screaming often drowns out optimism and cheering, Case is a wonderful role model for coaches, teachers, parents, bosses and anyone else in a position of authority. All gravy.
Pumpkin pie. There’s something very sweet — like a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving — about Katrina Foley’s principled decision to resign from the Costa Mesa City Council to concentrate on her job as a newly elected Newport-Mesa school board member.
Foley believes she can legally hold both positions, but if challenged, the litigation would likely last as long as the remaining two years on her council term. But she doesn’t want to further split a divided community with an inevitable legal battle.
“I’d rather spend my time making positive improvements in the community,” Foley said.
Plus, she wants to get cracking on school issues.
She told me that the decision process literally made her sick to her stomach and was made harder by e-mails and phone calls numbering in the hundreds from residents asking her to stay on the council.
A public servant voluntarily giving up a position of power for the good of her constituents? What a rare and delicious treat.
WILLIAM LOBDELL is former editor of the Daily Pilot, former Los Angeles Times reporter and editor, and a Costa Mesa resident. The column runs Tuesday and Friday. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.