COSTA MESA — When the taco truck blaring "La Cucaracha" would roll down his street, Allan Mansoor thought less about lunch and more about the song's title, "The Cockroach." He felt the so-called "roach coaches" were proliferating and changing the character of his once-peaceful neighborhood.
Same goes for the push-cart vendors who rang their bells as they peddled "helados." And the slouches who would leave beer bottles in the alley.
When he started protesting about this at City Hall, Mansoor just wanted one thing for his Westside neighborhood: quiet.
Now that he's the mayor of Costa Mesa and running for the state Assembly, he looks back on those quality-of-life issues that made him mad enough to get involved and, in 2002, sparked his political career.
"A person's home should be peace and quiet," said Mansoor, 46. "You can get away from life, from your boss. It's your castle."
That may explain why Mansoor lets his public castle, City Hall, get so rancorous. He has taken on some of the day's most controversial issues, from illegal immigration to public employee pension reform, and exposed himself to public scrutiny. Much of the criticism comes from the political left, while a quieter conservative majority continues to take his side on election days.