Third in a series about Costa Mesa's political battle.
For him, local politics is like the Cold War. Costa Mesa City Councilman Steve Mensinger equates the City Council with the Reagan administration and the public employee associations with the USSR.
It's better to amass political weapons than to discuss a truce with labor, he reasons, and eventually the collective bargaining associations will cave in like the Soviets.
"Everybody along the way said, 'Isn't there a better way to do it? Don't you want to sit down with them, hug them, kiss them?'" Mensinger said of Reagan's critics. "We're trying to get the unions to understand that the old way of doing things is not going to work."
With higher stakes and more gamesmanship than ever before, the city's politics could be considered nuclear. Mensinger and the council's ideological architect, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, are trying to reshape municipal government in their smaller-is-better vision, which is drawing the ire of community activists and a lawsuit from organized labor.