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Lobdell: Mensinger is best bet in this race

Who among these eight Costa Mesa residents will be appointed to fill the remaining two years of Katrina Foley’s term on the City Council? (She was elected last month to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Trustees.) The council is scheduled to appoint one of the eight to fill her seat at its Jan. 4 meeting.

Billy “The Greek” Lobdell has handicapped the odds of each candidate. Here goes:

Steve Mensinger (1-10). A bigger favorite than Hugo Chavez running for re-election in Venezuela. Mensinger, a major player in Costa Mesa youth football, is on the 1-yard line. With three (and maybe four) backers on the council, he only needs to not fumble the ball while crossing the goal line.

Jeff Mathews (20-1). The parks commissioner is active in local GOP politics, recently being elected to the county’s Central Committee. The fiscal conservative’s worldview matches well with the council’s majority. If Mensinger wasn’t in the picture, he would be a favorite.


Mike Brumbaugh (22-1). Another member of the conservative bunch, Brumbaugh is a four-year veteran of the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission and has a bright political future, but it’s not now.

Sam Clark (25-1). As he stated in his council application, he’s served the city in a variety of positions since moving to Costa Mesa in 1986. He currently served on the Planning Commission and aligned with the newly elected Councilman Jim Righeimer’s regime.

Heather Somers (85-1). I personally would love to see Heather Somers back on the council. She served in the 1990s, serving as an iconoclast challenging the status quo. She’s smart and feisty and transparent, but has little chance.

Chris McEvoy (150-1). Though McEvoy finished just out of the money in November’s election, his more liberal views haven’t endeared him to the conservative majority. I’d say Rush Limbaugh has a better chance at serving in the Obama Administration than McEvoy does as on the Costa Mesa City Council.


Timothy Sesler (500-1). Though likely quite able, Sesler, an attorney with the Automobile Club of Southern California, is largely unknown.

Margaret Shillington (1,000-1). A grandmother of 14, she would probably be great at dealing with the sometimes childish antics of city politics. But the political unknown has little chance.

Billy “The Greek” is so confident that Mensinger will be appointed that, if it doesn’t happen, he will literally eat this column at Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan’s restaurant, Skosh Monahan’s, on Newport Boulevard.

But I’ll need a shot of tequila — on the house — to wash it down.

WILLIAM LOBDELL is former editor of the Daily Pilot, former Los Angeles Times reporter and editor, and a Costa Mesa resident. The column normally runs Tuesday and Friday. His e-mail is