You might say Costa Mesa, California, officially went nuts years ago when the City Council closed a job center it had opened so employers could hire day laborers in a light-industrial zone instead of a city park where such meetings had been taking place. The problem with the job center? Laborers congregated there. But who woulda thunk a mayor would come along seeking the closure of two prominent charities that have been helping Costa Mesa's needy for years?
Mayor Eric Bever, come on down!
Seriously, you reportedly haven't been down to one of the nonprofits, and it wouldn't be a stretch to assume you've never visited the second either. They are Share Our Selves (S.O.S.) and Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, charities created by Costa Mesa church folk who have been tirelessly serving the needy for more than two decades each.
Both organizations are also woven into the fabric of Orange County high society, as much funding is raised through annual charity galas and events dedicated to SOS and Share Our Selves. Can't speak for Bever, but I'm sure more than one Costa Mesa mayor in past years attended those parties.
At least they did back in the olden days when I first arrived in Costa Mesa. It's been one disappointment after another from the mouth-breathers who spill their bottomless backsides over leather chairs in the Costa Mesa City Council chambers in recent years. They've banished public dissenters, crime suspects and--I shit you not--youth basketball players, who all shared the common bond of generally having brown skin, so one supposes Bever's heartlessness is not that surprising.
For now, reports the Los Angeles Times, Da Mayor is only calling for an investigation of the charities, like they're rum-runners or something. And that is true, if you consider rum free food and medicine for the very poor.
Bever essentially believes you can wipe out homelessness in Costa Mesa by wiping out homeless charities, as those in most need will move elsewhere. If you can't see a homeless person, does he/she really exist? And does he/she shit in the woods, next to the possibly Catholic pope and silent falling tree?
It brings to mind that great political cartoon drawn while Ronald Reagan was president. Wish I could recall the artist. It had the Gipper riding in the back of a limo, looking out the window of Washington, D.C.'s slums and solemnly muttering something to himself about the poverty, the despair, the desperation. Finally, Ronnie barks out, "Driver, don't take me through this neighborhood any more."
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Not everyone is laughing at their cartoon character of a mayor. Councilwoman Wendy Leece, liaison to the city's Homeless Task Force, tells the Times of the people the charities help, "They are Costa Mesa families, and I think that's where the mayor needs to step back. They are Costa Mesa residents who have fallen on hard times."
Karen McGlinn, the longtime SOS director, adds the mayor should be "proud" of her program for protecting the health and well-being of Costa Mesans. She also played the Bever-is-un-informed card in the Times, noting His Honor has never visited her facility on the town's west side (and very close to that old job center). "He has no knowledge," she is reported to say. "His message is old. Thank God he is going out the door."
That's a reference to Bever being termed out of office in November. If that brings a smile, keep in mind that the person who replaces him will likely be even worse. As Sean Connery might say in his thick brogue, "That's the Costa Mesa way!"