Costa Mesa Mayor not bothered by city worker suicide: “I hire and fire people every day”

In the current economy hundreds, if not thousands, of workers are laid off every day. The laid of workers come from both the public and private sectors, and from all occupations. Being laid off rarely leads to suicide, and can rarely be specified as the sole cause of a person’s choice to end their own life. School Boards, and City Councils have made such decisions before Costa Mesa’s council did, and I am certain that similar decisions will be made in the future.

For the most part the decision to layoff workers is made after detailed and lengthy consideration, and as a last resort. Such careful consideration did not occur in this case, and the callous disregard for the impact of those decisions on the city and its employees by the Costa Mesa City Council majority is without excuse.

The Voice of Orange County reported last night:

A Costa Mesa employee jumped to his death from the roof of City Hall Thursday, the day he and more than 200 other city workers were issued layoff notices.

The victim was identified as 29-year-old Huy Pham, a maintenance worker who had been with the city for more than four years. Two witnesses, who were not city employees, saw Pham jump and called police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pham was one of 213 employees issued layoff notices Thursday by the city as part of a massive outsourcing effort in response to a $1.4 million budget deficit.

Huy Pham ended his life at around 3:30 in the afternoon. What was going through his head at that point in his brief life we will never know.

Costa Mesa Mayor Gary "The Terminator" Monahan celebrates St. Patricks Day after the suicide of a city worker

Costa Mesa Mayor Gary "The Terminator" Monahan celebrates St. Patricks Day after the suicide of a city worker who received a layoff notice (photo: Nick Berardino)

But what we do know is what Mayor Gary Monahan was doing a couple hours later. From the Voice of OC:

Monahan was interviewed about Pham’s death by a Voice of OC reporter Thursday evening outside his bar, “Skosh Monahan’s,” in Costa Mesa.

As the reporter approached, Monahan laughed and said “next,” having just finished an interview with another reporter. Then the mayor, who was dressed in folksy Irish attire, yelled “woo-hoo — it’s St. Patricks Day!”

New Story: Community Remembers Huy Pham after Press Conference where Costa Mesa Mayor fails to answer any questions

Monahan had not visited City Hall after learning of Pham’s suicide. He was too busy getting dressed up in his spiffy green kilt, bow tie, and head scarf to be bothered with such unpleasantries. Orange County Employee’s Association General Manager Nick Berardino paid Monahan a visit at his pub to see why he wasn’t at city hall.

Berardino asked Monahan if he was aware that one of his city employees had committed suicide a couple hours earlier after receiving his layoff notice. Monahan said he was.

Then Berardino asked why he had not paid a visit to city hall? Monahan’s callous response says a lot about the character of Costa Mesa’s Mayor.

“I’m a businessman. I hire and fire people every day,”Monahan told Berardino.

In addition to the Voice of Orange County coverage HERE, the Orange County Register reported additional details HERE of council members Jim Righeimer and Stephen Mensinger being escorted off of City Hall premises for their own safety. It should be noted, that Councilwoman Wendy Leece was the only member of the Council to stay to console employees and speak with reporters the entire afternoon, leaving after 7 p.m. The Voice of OC reported:

Leece, the only council member to vote against the outsourcing, said she had implored her fellow council members to delay action on the notices. She said the city did not have anywhere near the preparations necessary for a layoff this size adding it was not handled in a professional manner.

“This was way too fast, I’ve been saying this for weeks,” she said. “We didn’t need to do this.”

Pham’s suicide, she said, is a clear signal that the City Council should slow the process down. “I hope they rescind the pink slips and come back and do their homework.”

Mayor Monahan did tell the Voice of OC reporter “My heart goes out to the family. It’s tragic — I don’t know how to express more sympathy.”

Somehow, I just don’t believe he was really sincere.

Anaheim Council member Lorri Galloway sent us this statement: “The city employee’s tragic suicide in Costa Mesa is a stark reminder that budget cuts made by city officials are attached to human lives.  Balancing budgets, however necessary, should include the respect and dignity owed to those whose jobs are ones of service, not wealth. While we, as elected officials, are making tough decisions each day throughout this country,  It is important to remember that in getting to the bottom line, the black and white, we should not forget the color of life, the real bottom line.”

  31 comments for “Costa Mesa Mayor not bothered by city worker suicide: “I hire and fire people every day”

  1. kepdapeace
    March 18, 2011 at 5:34 am

    He’s probably right, you know. His mommy and daddy were too busy teaching him howvto act like a complete ASS on St. Patrick’s Day to worry about acting in a concerned, compassionate and responsible person. And, I’m sure that, as he dressed up in that asinune outfit he was wearing that degrades the Irish race as a whole and one of the most benerated Saints of the Irish at home and abroad, he shed a tear for that employee.

    • Gingergirl
      March 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      You are absolutely right. Don’t you wonder when this crap is going to stop?

  2. jilpo6
    March 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Well I’m relieved to see that there is only one comment after 8 hours, and probably posted by the columnist himself.
    Poof that liberals don’t really exist in OC.




  3. marsha
    March 18, 2011 at 11:27 am

    if anyone deserves to have jumped from the roof it should have be the mayor and his councilman, why do they not cut their pay of hours to save money or cut their pensions, the mayor and his councilman should be the next one to be thrown from the roof an innocent man jumped because of their decisions and the mayor was to busy celebrating st patrick days, i hope that the people in costa mesa petitions for the mayor ans his councilmen to resign.

    • Lorie
      March 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

      They absolutely should ask for his resignation. That’s no way to represent your city as the mayor. What a sad human being.

  4. kepdapeace
    March 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Now, Marsha, let’s be fair. Monahan wasn’t celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, he was running his business and making money like any good, greedy republican businessman would.

    • Allen Bruce Thompson
      March 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      “Any good greedy Republican.” You can’t imagine how much I look up to, and respect you Democrats. What a bunch of hypocrites you all are. Lets really impress everyone with our civility.

      • March 18, 2011 at 10:32 pm

        and the Mayor of Costa Mesa is deserving of contempt, not civility.

        Witness all those Republicans protesting Nancy Pelosi visiting Irvine with pictures of her photoshopped on Stalin’s body.

        Do not lecture us on civility.

  5. Sandra Lytch
    March 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    There needs to be an organized effort to get rid of this Mayor. This total lack of regard for human life should not go unpunished.

      March 18, 2011 at 6:18 pm


  6. March 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Demand Glass-Steagall or Resign

    Costa Mesa City Council & Nick Berardino – OCEA General Manger, demand Glass-Steagall or resign.

    I am NOT suggesting that a link on the city’s web site or Kentucky’s SR111 resolution placed on the city’s agenda for debate, could have prevented Huy Pham’s suicide or prevented 213 layoff notices.

    I am however suggesting that every reading this post do something meaningful (1) email, phone, fax, and write to the Costa Mesa City Council demanding that they place on the city’s web site their demand that congress reinstate Glass-Steagall, (1933-1999). (2) everyone contact their Congress Member and demand proof that they support Glass-Steagall banking restrictions; the “Proof” can be an ad in the newspaper, a statement on their web site, whatever. (3) Demand that the OC Register and LA Times ask the Orange County Congressional Delegation if they support the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, – Banking Act of 1933; no speeches, not double-talk, no B. S., just “Glass-Steagall Yes or No”.

    Below is one of my emails to the Costa Mesa City Council.

    Request for agenda item Robert Lauten
    1 message
    voxpopuli Wed, Mar 9, 2011 at 12:36 PM
    To: Julie Folcik
    Julie, This was my email to the city council.
    March 9, 2011
    Greetings Costa Mesa City Council,
    I would appreciate an answer to my letter that was in your mail box Friday the 4th of March.
    Will you place a link on the Costa Mesa’s web site to all or part of the following….

    The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report

    a link to a FCIC index,

    a link to the O.C. Registrar of Voters office so people can look up the contact information of their elected officials

    Kentucky”s resolution calling for Congress to reinstate Glass-Steagall, the Banking Act of 1933.
    Kentucky SR111

    Question #2
    Will you place Kentucky’s resolution on the agenda for the next City Council Meeting for debate?

    Robert Lauten


    • March 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      Get off all the mud-slinging and name calling. Lauten is right!! You need Glass-Steagall passed NOW by the US Congress and signed into law, so that emergency aid can be provided to cities like Costa Mesa, and states like California that are in dire trouble.
      All monies going to bail out useless toxic waste debt (estimated to be 17-23 TRILLION) should be re-directed to the cities and states that NEED IT NOW!!
      Glass Steagall NOW!!! Nothing else will work.
      Go on and get all the material on Glass-Steagall that you need plus more on the global ongoing financial collapse.

  7. Dane
    March 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Hey Mayor Monahan,Remember Dan White from San Francisco and Harvey Milk, You are not human! You look like a little FREAK

    • March 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      I don’t care for Monahan and gang, but wouldn’t you folks consider this a death threat?

      • Ben
        March 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm


      • timham
        March 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm

        NO!I Dont

        • Dan Chmielewski
          March 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm

          Not even close Vern. In bad taste, yes. A threat, no

  8. boomer
    March 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I am so ashamed! Like the lady said…do your homework. These are people’s lives your dealing with not another tax bill…then again you haven’t been thinking there either!

  9. GDunks
    March 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Absolutely disgusted by his comments. I’m posting this all over Facebook and sharing with all my Costa Mesa friends to BOYCOTT SKOSH MONOHANS for the Mayor’s stupid comment and until he give a formal apology. So many leaders have resigned for making similar insensitive comments so I don’t see why he should stick around. Do we really want a man like this representing our community? HELL NO!

    He looks like an idiot in all that green anyways.

    • timham
      March 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      Me to I will never go in that bar again!!

  10. Patrick Conlon
    March 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I call for a reformation of Costa Mesa election processes.
    In Costa Mesa the people do not directly elect the mayor but they elect the city council members who then elect the mayor.
    We need a professional mayor not a guy who regards human life as a number or statistic or dollar amount.
    He is right he is a businessman, you own a business but your not a diplomat and your an elected official. This is a great example of a guy who just doesn’t care.

  11. gary schall
    March 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    This “Mayor” and a couple of his council men need to be recalled. I was considering moving my family to this city, as they destroy the city services including public safety… way. He and his council should be ashamed…..

  12. Darryl O
    March 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    It’s unfortunate that this council seems to be more interested in getting publicity then managing our city. There are better ways to restructure this city without these drastic measures. We are not a small city that can afford to outsource. CM has a lot of large, small business and a fairly big population to manage.

  13. gary govett
    March 18, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    This reveals yet a further layer of dehumanization in the radical right’s character. Acting without conscience, ridiculing the tragedy they cause, as if to distance themselves from the crime. Let loose the taggers to rename the bar Suicide Monahan’s. Daily reminders of this outrage need to be given as a medicine for the rotted soul of this mayor.

  14. L.M. Jenkins
    March 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

    It’s a sad day in hell a.k.a. Costa Mesa when the man elected by the people has failed all the people except those paying him to serve booze and dance a jig in a costume. He didn’t even have the decency to act sad or look upset – instead there’s nothing but photos of him smiling and looking happy and after the fact passing off more lies to try to save himself. I hope the Costa Mesa voting residents are finally fed up with all the lies and vote him out with a recall!

  15. Kanderson
    March 20, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I hope that someone is seriously organizing a recall of the Costa Mesa City Counsel. This is probably the most unprofessional political situation that I have ever seen in Costa Mesa. It’s tragic. I’ve lived in CM for sixty years and I never imagine we would lower ourselves to having a mobster and a bar joker on the city counsel. Would someone please organize a recall. I’m really serious about this.

  16. cm
    March 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    If you want to get involved there’s a Costa Mesa Facebook group.

Comments are closed.