Costa Mesa Confidential
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Editor's Picks Politics

Mayor Stephens Refers to Political Opponents as Extremists 

Mayor Stephens has resorted to name-calling in his Labor Day Campaign flyer, to rally support from voters in Costa Mesa.

In a flyer featuring fellow candidates Andrea Marr and Arils Reynolds, the appointed Mayor John Stephens chose to call candidates with opposing views “extremists.”

Stephens was defeated in his bid for councilman in 2020. He got his position as Mayor of Costa Mesa through an appointment by fellow councilmembers.

“Extremist candidates are running to try and turn the clock back”, was the message in his Labor Day campaign flyer. Making it sound like a dire warning, “We need your immediate support.”

This type of rhetoric can lead to undesirable consequences, according to some. Just this month a North Dakota man was charged with fatally hitting and running over a North Dakota teen, justifying the act by echoing similar “extremism” rhetoric.

To see if these candidates’ positions could be considered “extreme” we compared their position to recent City Council decisions that included Stephens, Marr, and Reynolds, all up for reelection.

They opposed councilmembers’ attempt to side-step Measure Y which required voter approval for construction of high occupancy apartments. Instead, the current City Council created ballot Measure K, which removes voter input and increases city council’s authority.

In another instance, the “extremists” opposed councilmembers ignoring the concerns of 500 residents who signed a petition expressing their concern about a proposed 7 story, 1,050-unit apartment complex. Councilmembers all received campaign contributions from the developers and unions promoting the project. Residents were ignored.

The so called “extremists” challenged the decision to spend $40 million to remodel a Motel 6 on Newport Blvd to create 88 rooms for homeless housing. At $454,545 per unit, they argued these projects have not worked well in San Francisco and are a financial disaster. Most of the councilmembers approved the $40 million price tag and the operating costs to maintain the government-owned units.

The “extremist candidates” also opposed awarding over $200 million in city improvement contracts in an possible conflict of interest. The contracts were awarded exclusively to union contractors who made large contributions to councilmembers’ campaigns. Some residents said their concerns were ignored.

And those candidates favored keeping in place the “citizenship requirement” to serve on Costa Mesa’s Planning Commission. The Council removed the requirement of being a citizen to serve on the planning commission last year.

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