Costa Mesa: My Little Town

I have lived in Costa Mesa since 1978 and LOVE it here. Yet, it hasn’t all been sunshine and brotherhood. In 1985 I moved into the house I live in now on the west side of town. The first time one of my neighbors came to my door just a few days after we moved in, it wasn’t to welcome to us to the neighborhood with some hot apple pie. It was to give me a warning. I am quoting this word for word, because I will never forget it. “Don’t send your kids to Wilson School. All the Mexicans go there.”

I was stunned. Stunned that someone would be so presumptuous to walk right up to my door and expect that I wouldn’t be offended by that kind of statement. I was stunned that anyone would say that at all.

I thought that incident was an anomaly. I was so wrong. My son marched off to school for Kindergarten along with some of the other neighborhood kids whose parents couldn’t afford private school. I served on the PTA board for a few years. During one year that I was the on the board, all the members with the exception of myself, one other parent and the principal wanted a policy that all notices sent home from the school be in English only. I pointed out it is the law that the school provide all communication and services to any minority if that minority is over 15% of the enrolled student body respective to language or need. If 15% of the students were blind, we’d have to provide materials in Braille, for example. When the principal validated what I said, they backed off, angrily. There were more grumblings of, “This is America.”

That was over 25 years ago. I would like to say it isn’t like that in Costa Mesa anymore, but I can’t. Now that we are a “rule of law” city, which by my perception the police seem to ignore, and we have a kilt wearing mayor who is so conservative he makes George Bush look intelligent and compassionate, I am concerned that the pendulum isn’t swinging both ways yet.

Happily, have managed to maintain my sanity and make a few friends who share my values over the years. I have learned to see the humor in some of the crap that goes on in our town. The Peace Makers, the movement a few years ago by some bored house wife who wanted to change the name of the town to “Costa Mesa by the Sea.” In one day I saw a bumper sticker that read, “Global Warming is a Myth” and the couple pictured below with their lemonade stand of hate. How fun! They were more than happy to allow me to take their picture. They were proud to be racists and didn’t care who knew it. Good for them, bad for Costa Mesa.

Next week my oldest daughter and I will be attending the city council meeting. I have never been to one before so I have no plans other than to observe, and hopefully hook up with someone from the Repair Costa Mesa group and hop onto their bandwagon. Wish me luck! Do I smell a recall?


  1. Hey Kathy its great to know that there’re people who notice and become concern for whats occuring in Costa Mesa. I myself was born and raised there. I Attended Wilson, TeWinkle, and graduated from Estancia (Class if 2010!!!) and curently a freshman in Cal State Northridge. I too live in the west side and have notice the conseritives that i live amoung. I’m very dissapointed that our city has become a non-santuary place. It’s tought to be chicano in Costa Mesa because i’ve been stereotyped multiple times. Well anyway I wish you the best of luck in getting involved with organizers to repair our beloved city.

  2. Aside from the Obvious problems with the upper management of the City’s Government… A lot of Costa Mesa’s Problems as MANY other city’s are Direct Causes of the things you mention… Not Just “Mexicans” But ILLEGAL’S of any race! What is so wrong about wanting the Language your children speak! Be the Language they are taught in…. Why should our children suffer because there school is SWARMED with people who have NO PLAN AT ALL To learn the language of the land they have INVADED…. There are a lot of Problems It’s unfortunate the people you back and believe in are a HUGE part of the problem! And the same is true with the whole State of California…

  3. Just who is “Repair Costa Mesa” and what is their agenda? I see the commercials on TV and went to the website but nothing says who or what they are, or what their agenda is. I thought that PACs are required by law to say who they are…?
    If they aren’t willing to stand up and identify themselves then I would be be cautious of what they are and what they are all about. I Googeled it and couldn’t find an answer, so if you can, I would be appreciative of the information.
    BTW I understand your feelings. Prejudice and bigotry are ugly, no matter who wears them.
    I also feel the TV commercials are factually less than fully honest and pretty tasteless and may backfire on those who are paying for them. It’s really tasteless to drag out a soapbox and place on top of the fresh mound on someones grave, just to be heard.

    • Alex, I will be doing more investigation on who Repair Costa Mesa are. Your point about clarity is well taken. I heard from and met several members tonight at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting and was impressed. More to come. I did mention your comment to a member and let them know that I too felt the website could be more informative. They are working on it. It’s a work in progress.

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