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Commentary: Political attacks on Katrina Foley distort her position on needle exchange, other issues

Costa Mesa Councilwoman Katrina Foley is running for mayor.
(File photo)

I am compelled to respond to Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor’s statements about our City Council colleague and mayoral candidate Katrina Foley. Mansoor is a candidate for council District 5, having moved into the district in the past year.

While serving with Mansoor on the Costa Mesa council, I’ve learned a few things about him. First, Mansoor attempts to appeal to people’s darkest impulses, trading in fear and divisiveness; he denigrates others instead of building bridges. Second, Mansoor has a long-standing personal animosity toward Foley. Finally, although Mansoor often criticizes others, he offers few, if any, solutions. Mansoor is wrong for District 5 and his views on the mayor’s race cannot be trusted.

Mansoor’s campaign of untruths has turned to the OC Needle Exchange Program. Foley opposes the needle exchange. On Aug. 3, Foley and I (not Mansoor) went to the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting to urge them to allow Costa Mesa join the county’s lawsuit seeking to stop the needle exchange. Later that day, Foley (not Mansoor) made the motions to join that lawsuit and to establish an emergency moratorium on all needle exchanges in Costa Mesa. Mansoor couldn’t be bothered to attend that meeting in person, but found time to appear on the “John & Ken” radio show.

Despite these facts, Mansoor has falsely implied that Foley is in favor of the needle exchange, contrary to Foley’s actual actions and words. Don’t believe it. Foley, the rest of the council and all the candidates oppose the needle exchange. Foley (not Mansoor) has been the leader of this opposition.


Contrary to Foley’s positive actions, Mansoor offers only empty sound bites. During the 2016 election, for instance, Mansoor’s big issue was the “problem motels.” He delivered some prepared quips about the motels during the 2016 Feet to the Fire forum and promised to “shut the motels down.” Two years later, Mansoor has brought forth no suggestions for addressing the motels. He’s all talk, no action.

Earlier this year, instead of attending to city business, Mansoor caused the council to sit until 1:30 a.m., listening to out-of-towners shout about immigration. They even threatened to turn in Costa Mesa residents to ICE. It was a sad and divisive night in our city’s history. The other council members rejected Mansoor’s motion to waste Costa Mesa’s taxpayer dollars on pointless litigation regarding Senate Bill 54.

Mansoor has also accused Foley of bullying city employees. Again, the facts don’t add up. There have been no bullying complaints lodged against Foley. Instead, all three employee groups — the Costa Mesa Employees Assn., Firefighters Assn. and Police Officers Assn. — have endorsed Foley for mayor. They would not endorse a bully.

Foley is a lawyer, specializing in advocating for employees’ rights; she wouldn’t bully an employee. In countless meetings, I’ve never observed Foley bully anyone. Regardless of one man’s antipathy, Foley is intelligent, well-educated, professionally successful and a dedicated public servant.


Costa Mesa does not need leaders like Mansoor. We need forward-thinking problem-solvers who will tackle our community’s problems with enthusiasm and intelligence. We need Foley as our mayor and Arlis Reynolds — not Mansoor — for City Council in District 5.

John Stephens is a Costa Mesa city councilman.