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TOWN:Mansoor and especially Leece should know better

ON THE

March 10, 2007|By STEVE SMITH

There are no more illegal immigrants in Costa Mesa. There is no more crime, either. All of the development issues have been resolved to everyone's satisfaction and the Westside of the city is perfect.

Costa Mesa gangs are gone, too. There is no trash anywhere. Traffic moves freely everywhere, and city coffers have a multimillion-dollar surplus.

You'd have walked away with the same impression if you had witnessed Tuesday's City Council meeting.

After stumbling through his opening remarks on a really important subject and mumbling something about it being a "past practice," Mayor Allan Mansoor said, "I would like to request that council member [Linda] Dixon and council member [Wendy] Leece switch seats."

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Mansoor's smokescreen rationale for this musical chairs was to give Leece the opportunity to sit next to City Manager Allan Roeder so that she could ask him questions. Being the newest member of the City Council, this was presented as a plus.

I have been a senior executive in management for more than 20 years, including five years as a smallbusiness owner, and one thing I have found over the years is that you can tell an awful lot about someone's gray matter and their potential by the questions they ask.

So if Leece has questions for Roeder, she can ask them out loud so we can all hear and determine whether we have a keeper.

That lame excuse is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who saw this sorry display of "leadership."

But that wasn't the end of it. In response, Dixon declined to move.

Mansoor responded by defying a timeless management rule — the one that says it's a bad idea to try to ram an idea down someone's throat; that in order to achieve true progress and build a consensus, it's better to build in a "win" for an opposing party or at least make them believe they had a hand in the final decision.

That's what leaders do. But Costa Mesans do not have a leader as their mayor, they have a petty, small-thinking individual — someone who can't inspire change so he tries ham-handed attempts to force it.

What did Mansoor do next? Unable to force Dixon to move, he requested that this crucial matter be placed on the agenda. That's the Mansoor equivalent of taking his ball and going home.

Great. Now, we have to waste the public's time and money discussing who sits where.

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