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Lobdell: Standing up to GOP, union bullies

November 04, 2010|By William Lobdell

The irony is that most Costa Mesa voters — this columnist included — love their police officers and firefighters way more than they love Righeimer, but they also sensed the unions' disproportional response was unfair and smacked of desperation.

I don't know any local residents who relish the thought of making cuts in the compensation packages of police officers and firefighters (many of us have already experienced the pain first-hand). It's a lousy situation we are all in, unfair in many ways, but the reality is, unless meaningful adjustments are made (or the economy suddenly starts booming), Costa Mesa soon will go bankrupt.

Righeimer hung tough when many of us would have retreated. (Let me say here that Righeimer is a major player in the local GOP machine long-known for its intimidating tactics. But here's hoping that Righeimer has gained some sensitivity after being on the receiving end an all-out attack.)

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The other two local bully-slayers — despite being Ronald Reagan Republicans — had to fight the heavy-handed local Republican Party to win.

In Newport Beach, longtime city activist Rush Hill handily beat GOP-backed Ed Reno for the District 3 City Council seat. Hill is a Republican and about as liberal as a pair of Brooks Brothers wing-tips, but Reno — a lobbyist with stronger ties to the local, state and national GOP — wrangled the local Republican endorsement.

For Newport residents who know Hill (and who doesn't?), the endorsement statement from Orange County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh rang hollow and bordered on insulting: "Ed Reno's courage in refusing political money from public employee unions and his tough questioning of the city's bureaucracy about costs of the new city hall impressed the party's delegates."

Hill will be as big of a budget hawk as Reno promised to be, and to suggest otherwise is a misread of Hill's character.

In Newport Beach, the local GOP had two quality Republican candidates running in District 3, a seat that in theory is nonpartisan. I favored Hill because of his long and impressive track record of community involvement, his thoughtful manner and his even demeanor, though Reno would have made a fine councilman.

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