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Commentary: Despite what critics say, I support our police

November 02, 2012|By Steve Mensinger

Since announcing my candidacy for the Costa Mesa City Council, I have visited some 1,500 households and attended 46 neighborhood coffees over the course of this campaign. The vast majority of people I have met and with whom I have spoken to care deeply about Costa Mesa and are utterly repulsed by the ugliness, the name-calling, sign stealing and the vitriol that has poisoned this campaign.

Candidly, many have told me they're not sure which of the City Council candidates they can trust because of the terribly negative tone of the campaign. Here's what I've asked them to do in response.

I've asked them to consider who is behind the name-calling. It is the candidates and their union backers who want you to continue paying for an oversized public employee pension system, we cannot afford. Rather than moving aggressively to rein in pension costs that are mortgaging this community's future and the future of its children, they want to take a "go-slow" approach.

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Well, in the union rulebook "go slow" means "no go." Costa Mesa taxpayers want solutions now. They do not want empty promises to fix the problem later when it is too late.

I've asked them to consider what the other candidates — most recently candidate John Stephens — and their union backers want you to believe: that I am against public safety, that I want fewer police officers and firefighters protecting you, and that I want Costa Mesa to be a less safe city. If that were true, I would not vote for myself. But that they would openly solicit as true such an absurd notion simply means they think you are stupid.

Here is what I do believe. Costa Mesa police officers and firefighters are often heroes. They put their lives on the line for us every day. Am I for public safety? Absolutely! Am I for public safety at any cost? Absolutely not! Moreover, I will dare to say that most of the people I have spoken with in their homes and on their front porches agree with me.

They agree with me because they're anxious. They're worried that tomorrow they might lose their job, maybe even for the second or third time since this damnable recession descended upon them and the rest of us. However, they still have mortgages and rents to pay, youngsters to support, health insurance premiums to fork over, tuition checks to write and cars to repair.

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