Commentary: Leece is the only good council member (Corrected)

On the Sunday following St. Patrick's Dayin 2011, my daughter had an early morning flight out of John Wayne Airport back to college in Boston.

The sun had just come up. As I was driving her to JWA, we took a detour, stopping at Costa Mesa City Hall at the spot where city worker Huy Pham ended his life just a few days before.

Even though he was 10 years older than my daughter, and six years older than my son at the time of his death, Huy Pham seemed like a kid to me, probably because I myself am aging rapidly.

We said a little prayer, asking God to look after Huy. Later, on the ride home from the airport, I added a "P.S." that he look after our city too.

Now here we are, three months away from an important election, which may very well change the direction of Costa Mesa.

We were taught in grammar school and high school that, unlike in comic books and certain TV shows, in real life people could rarely be classified as just "good guys" or "bad guys." The point was that all people have good traits and bad traits, and at different times they exhibit both.

But the more I watched and read about some of the people on the Costa Mesa City Council, the more I wanted to override these early teachings. Bad guys don't tell the whole truth; good guys do. Good guys treat others with dignity and respect, and bad guys don't. Good guys in government do what's best for their constituents, bad guys don't.

I soon came to believe that the only "good guy" on the present council is Wendy Leece, even though she's obviously not a guy. This was ironic because I disagreed with her about how to handle illegal immigrants back in 2005-06, and then disagreed with her again when she successfully led the move to put "In God We Trust" in the Council Chambers.

But here she was, deviating from the O.C. GOP script, sticking up for our police, fire and general employees, against four men who seemed to be attacking and minimizing them and her at every turn.

When a strange vote to accept just a few million from the Banning Ranch developer for mitigation recently took place, there was Leece as the lone vote opposing. When an oddly cobbled-together city charter was brought up, there was Leece as the only person on the council opposing it.

Almost every time in the last 18 months that something came before this council that I considered "bad," the refrain, "The motion carries 4 to 1" could be heard, with Leece being the "1."

Apparently I'm not alone in these views, and many people across the political spectrum in Costa Mesa see the four men on the council as bad for our city. This November, I will be voting for a change in direction, and supporting businessman Harold Weitzberg, attorney John Stephens and former Mayor Sandra Genis for City Council.

Even though I still don't like the "In God We Trust" motto mixed in with government, I certainly believe and trust that God does care about us, and is a "good guy" who helps us overcome "the bad."

An earlier version of this commentary stated that Joseph Weber lives in Costa Mesa. He lives in Huntington Beach and works in Costa Mesa.

Attorney JOSEPH WEBER practices law in Costa Mesa.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World