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Be leaders for all the people of Costa Mesa

November 10, 2002

With power comes responsibility.

That's the message we'd like to leave with newly elected Costa

Mesa Councilman Allan Mansoor, who will soon team up with the man who

some see as his ideological soul mate on the council, Chris Steel.

Mansoor, a newcomer who received the support and backing of Costa

Mesa's improvement movement, has gone on record as saying he wants to

concentrate on street repairs, landscaping, putting utility lines

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underground, decreasing crime and basically improving Costa Mesa --

all laudable goals.

He would also like to see the job center become limited in scope

and eventually shut down, and he has stated that charities should be

privately funded, prompting the question of whether he will try to

block any Community Development Block Grant funding that goes to

local relief agencies like Share Our Selves.

To be sure, we are not in favor of the closing the job center or

cutting off money to charities. And we do see reason to be concerned

that the hot rhetoric used to target the job center and Westside

issues has proved to be a lightning rod for intolerance and

anti-Latino sentiments.

Take, for example, an experience one of our reporters had on

election day. As the reporter questioned a Costa Mesa voter who said

she supported Mansoor, the woman offered her reason. Candidates Linda

Dixon and Katrina Foley, she said, were "trying to bring all the

Mexicans here from Santa Ana."

We don't believe for one minute that Mansoor or Steel would

condone such commentary. That's where responsibility comes in.

Mansoor was elected by a block of Costa Mesa constituents who will

expect him to keep his campaign pledges. Some of the debate will

probably get ugly.

What we ask of Mansoor, Steel and the other council members is be

leaders for all residents of Costa Mesa.

Just as they are forceful in their condemnation of city policies

and programs, they should be quick to condemn bigoted and

mean-spirited comments and scapegoating.

For the most part, Costa Mesa is a wonderful town filled with

hard-working, dedicated people. Can it get better? Of course it can,

and it will.

But it can get worse, too, if it becomes a town that allows its

leaders to castigate and target one segment of the population.

It's up to Mansoor and those leaders of the improvement crowd to

ensure that doesn't happen.

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