The Costa Mesa controversy did not take a break for Easter weekend as Councilman Stephen Mensinger got into a widely reported on altercation with a teacher from Estancia High School after a fun run on Saturday.
Voice of OC’s Norberto Santana talked to both Mensinger and the teacher, Joel Flores, over the weekend. Each claimed the other was the aggressor, with Mensinger insinuating that the incident was an orchestrated attack by unions and Flores calling Mensinger is an “enemy of the workers in Costa Mesa.”
Flores filed a police report and said he would seek a restraining order against Mensinger.
More Brown Act Blues in Santa Ana
Voice of OC’s Adam Elmahrek filed a trio of dispatches from Santa Ana, all of which speak to the curious ways in which that city does business.
First, Elmahrek reported on the City Council’s decision to dedicate federal Community Block Grant money to a Latino cultural center on Fourth Street rather than two more clay tennis courts at the Cabrillo Tennis Center that Mayor Miguel Pulido had been pinning for.
Elmahrek also chatted with open records guru Terry Francke about an apparent Brown Act violation committed by the City Council when it voted on the settlement agreement for the ongoing Station District lawsuit.
And group dedicated to making Santa Ana government more transparent held its inaugural meeting. The group, which calls itself the Santa Ana Coalition for Better Government, said it is particularly galling to see council members texting and chatting while members of the public are speaking.
The best of the rest:
- The Los Angeles Times reported on a poll it conducted with USC that shows voters wanting government employees to give up some retirement benefits to help ease the state’s financial problems. In particular, voters want a cap on pensions and a later age for collecting them.
- The Times also reported on how new Census data show big California cities either reaching a plateau or losing ground in population. It had this in particular to say about Santa Ana:
Officials in some slow-growing cities dispute the census numbers and are debating whether to officially challenge the data.
The census shows that the population in Santa Ana declined 4 percent between 2000 and 2010. As a result, Santa Ana lost its ranking as Orange County’s largest city to neighboring Anaheim, which recorded a population of 336,265, up 2.5 percent over the last decade.
Santa Ana is a densely populated city in the center of Orange County with a large and — until recently — growing Latino immigrant community. That population declined 1.2 percent between 2000 and 2010.
But Mayor Miguel Pulido believes the city is still growing and thinks that many Santa Ana residents who are immigrants refused to participate in the census for fear of deportation or other reasons.
“We didn’t shrink, and these numbers indicate that we shrank,” Pulido said. “In June we’re going to file a protest with the Census Bureau.”
- The Register’s Kimberly Edds reports on how a county social worker who lied to a juvenile court commissioner in order to take away a woman’s two daughters was promoted and now trains other social workers.
- Register Sacramento correspondent Brian Joseph filed an illuminating story on how individuals in California have seen their tax burden rise while corporations have found ways to cut theirs. It is the latest in the Register’s ongoing “The California Project” series.
- Then there is the ongoing controversy regarding President Obama being depicted as a monkey in an email sent out by a local Republican Central Committee member. The Register’s Martin Wisckol writes about how the controversy shows a widening divide in the local party — an issue that Voice of OC has written extensively about.
- Finally, the Register’s Ron Campbell reports on two former offcials from the Fullerton local of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters who are under investigation for financial improprieties. Treasurer Fred Correll and President Ryan Sherard both resigned after a Feb. 28 hearing into their conduct.
— THE EDITORS