Controversy goes a long way in stirring attention. Costa Mesa, the city that was once best known for being home to South Coast Plaza and the Orange County Fair, finds itself embroiled in a power struggle that has managed to grab national attention. And the two sides continue to re-arm as the battle continues.
The side that opposes the city council's decision to outsource one-third of the city workforce has delivered its most recent blow: a commercial attacking Mayor Gary Monahan.
The commercial, which was produced by Repair Costa Mesa, focuses on the hours and days following the St. Patrick's Day suicide of a city employee, Huy Pham, who jumped off the roof of CIty Hall on the day he was to receive his pink slip. While hundreds gathered at City Hall, Monahan decided to remain at his bar, Skosh Monahan's, which drew the ire of the unions and the attention of the media.
You can view the commercial after the jump.
Before the events on March 17, the majority of the anger and frustration was focused on council member (and mayor pro tem) Jim Righeimer, who was believed to be the primary proponent of the outsourcing decision. But Righeimer made an appearance at City Hall on the afternoon of Pham's death.
Mayor Monahan has yet to respond to any of the Weekly's interview requests.
Among RCM's supporters is the Orange County Employees Association.
"Repair Costa Mesa is a group that sprouted from the ground ... it's made up of people who are adamant about taking back their city," explained Nick Berardino, the general manager of the OCEA. "It's obvious why we're involved ... someone has to step up and support the lower paid guys."
Sandy Genis, a former Costa Mesa mayor and a woman who seems to be involved with various civic action groups--including the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society, which is working to prevent the sale of the fairgrounds--is also a part of RCM.
"Unfortunately, it took a real tragey to get us organized and it started partly because we just started talking on the steps of City Hall, whether we were standing with a candle or bringing flowers," Genis said. "For now, we're asking the city council to rescind its action, regarding outsourcing of most of the jobs. I dont know if they will, but we'll give them a chance."