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Wu: Name ID mattered most in Costa Mesa election

November 10, 2012|By Jack Wu

So here we are, basking (or wailing) in the aftermath of the 2012 General Election.

In my Newport Beach, nothing really happened. Measure EE, a charter-reform initiative, overwhelmingly passed, with one council member later commenting that he couldn't have cared less either way.

Zzzzz.

In Costa Mesa, however, it appears I was right. Huh, you ask?

Back in my Aug. 18 column, I stated that the top-three finishers for the Costa Mesa City Council race were going to be Gary Monahan, Steve Mensinger and — wait for it — Sandy Genis.

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And boy, did I get bullied and insulted for having such nerve to state my opinion, one based on a historical analysis of local election patterns.

I wrote that "familiarity will rule," and "so will incumbency." Then I had to nerve to finish with, "…and because Genis has already been there, done that, and has the name ID for it, if I were a betting man, the election is hers to lose."

So let's revisit a comment that I received from my friend, blogger Geoff West, who wrote, "Wu is attempting to take the pulse of the Costa Mesa electorate while wearing oven mittens. In order to be a proficient pundit, one must first have at least a slight knowledge of the issues and of the players. Wu demonstrates he has not much of either."

Yet, three months before the election, knowing very little about the candidates or the issues, I was right. Being right is what makes a proficient pundit. Hmmm?

Then I received an email from a reader, who wrote, "Our city has a history of not simply picking a box on a ballot. I think your article is insulting to the residents."

In an election where a retired CPA who spent no money and did almost no campaigning received about 3,000 votes, while an inside sales engineer who stopped campaigning the day after he qualified for the ballot received about 2,000 votes, it appears as though about 5,000 votes were cast by "simply picking a box on a ballot." Unless, of course, these two fine gentlemen have thousands of friends and family members living in Costa Mesa.

That reader owes me $10, by the way.

So how and why was I right? I know that candidates John Stephens, Colin McCarthy and Harold Weitzberg all worked extremely hard, but did Genis really work 13% harder than Stephens or 25% harder than Weitzberg? Or did Mensinger really work 6% harder than McCarthy?

I doubt it.

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