New target: his voting record

COSTA MESA — After spending weeks attacking City Council candidate Jim Righeimer's financial problems of the early 1990s, the city's police union is now targeting his voting record as a planning commissioner.

Righeimer called the shift from his personal to political record fair game. He had been highly critical of police for highlighting his failed real estate dealings online and with a mobile billboard.

"To talk about city issues is fair," Righeimer said.

A new mailer contains excerpts from three Daily Pilot articles that highlight Righeimer's views on two controversial issues in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. Earlier this year, as commission chairman, Righeimer was part of a vote that approved electronic signs atop the Triangle Square shopping center.

After Councilwoman Wendy Leece and Eastside residents raised objections about the proposal, the group behind the Triangle Square development withdrew the request for LED signs.

The union mailer also highlights Righeimer's support for an arterial road passing through Banning Ranch.

His position is the point, Righeimer said, because Banning Ranch road issues would be in the purview of Newport Beach so he cannot vote on them.

Regardless, the mailer is a departure from the association's previous campaign tactics against the council hopeful. Lately, the association targeted Righeimer's past financial missteps and a ticket he got in Newport Beach in the mid-1990s.

The association's political arm has been campaigning against Righeimer since August, when he said during a debate that he would want to address Police and Fire department pay and pensions, if elected, because he considers both a major drain on city and state finances.

Though he doesn't necessarily welcome the criticism, Righeimer said that at least the association is arguing about matters that affect Costa Mesans.

"That's the kind of debate we should have, a debate on the real issues," Righeimer said. "The real issues are still pay and pension benefits, especially for city employees."

Association representatives were not immediately available for comment.

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