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

I wrote Friday morning about the death of Huy Pham and the complete disrespect for the tragic death of a city worker by Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan. Costa Mesa Mayor not bothered by city worker suicide: “I hire and fire people every day.” We continue with our coverage of the good, bad, and ugly of the day after Huy Pham’s tragic death; including some really stupid parlor tricks on the part of Mayor Monahan and Costa Mesa CEO Tom Hatch.

The Good

Last night Costa Mesa resident Greg Ridge organized a community candle light vigil to remember Huy Pham the Costa Mesa Maintainence worker who committed suicide at City Hall on Thursday. Greg’s announcement went out to friends via face book Friday afternoon, and was rapidly shared among those friends to their friends. The gathering, which began at 7 pm around the makeshift memorial garden of flowers and lit candles, drew more than 150 people including Huy Pham’s family and friends. The ceremony consisted of a short prayer offered by Greg Ridge, and quiet reflection and then conversation, hugs, and condolances.

Costa Mesa Employee of the Month March 2001 Tim Sun and Costa Mesa Employee's Association President Helen Nenadal remember Huy Pham - Photo: Chris Prevatt

Huy Pham Memorial Picture

Huy Pham Memorial Picture - Photo: Chris Prevatt

Huy Pham Memorial Garden - Photo: Chris Prevatt

Candle for Huy Pham

Candle for Huy Pham - Photo: Chris Prevatt

Note for Huy pham from Public Works Staff

Note for Huy pham from Public Works Staff - Photo: Chris Prevatt

The Bad

Costa Mesa City Hall Entrance - Photo: Chris Prevatt

The City called a hasty press conference for Friday afternoon at 4 pm. CEO Tom Hatch lured the media to a City Hall conference room and “because of space” limited access to only credentialed media. What the reporters got was a statement from CEO Tom Hatch that tried to turn the focus away from community outrage against the Council majority, particularly Mayor Gary Monahan, and direct it towards compassion and support for Huy Pham’s family.

Hatch insisted that “In my heart I know that that noticing process was conducted by our department heads and by our key management staff with care, with detail and with compassion.”

Unfortunately for Hatch, no matter how often he tells this lie, it will not make it any more true. Workers were gathered in groups to receive their notices, not individually as is standard practice for such action. The entire process was hasty and mismanaged.

Now because of their screw up the City has decided to hire an new “consultant” Bill Lobdell, columnist and former editor of the Daily Pilot, to a 90 day contract to, “create a communication structure that will put Costa Mesa on a path to being the nation’s most transparent government.” It’s nice to know that the city isn’t so close to bankruptcy that they can implement a 90 day unbudgeted consultant contract.

Speaking of transparency, when you call the media in to tell them you are going to be more transparent and then refuse to answer any questions at all, you have failed the transparency test already. Brad Long, from the City’s CMTV was placed in the uncomfortable position of recording the charade of a press conference and post it on the city website. (Click Here for the City’s Version) But Long was not permitted to post the entire recording. The portion that showed the reporters demanding that quiestions be answered and the Mayor and CEO refusing to answer ended up on the cutting room floor. Fortunately the media outlets who covered the performance left the edited part in their reports.

Below is the complete and unedited version of the Press Conference, Courtesy of OCEA. Those that follow are from Fox11LA, KTLA5, and CBS2/KCAL9.


Here is the link to the CBS2 video from Friday night, and the CBS2 video below is from Thursday night.

City Worker Jumps To His Death Before Layoff:

Here is the Link to the KTLA story.

The Ugly

After the press conference the Mayor released a statement in which he characterized the pictures of him celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and posing for photos at his bar in Costa Mesa as the union “taking dispicable advantage of this tragic situation to further their agenda.” Monahan continues, “Had I known what had transpired I would never have agreed to pose for photos or engage in any revelry.”

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

Really, after all this Monahan falls back on a not even plausable excuse of I didn’t know! The photos were taken about two hours after the incident. Monahan would like people to believe that he did not know what happened. Wouldn’t he be the first person CEO Tom Hatch would have called?

I cannot omit the fact from this story that there has been some excellent reporting of Friday’s events over at Geoff West’s A Bubbling Cauldron and The Voice of OC.

Take a look at those reports and I think you will find that it isn’t just government workers or union members who are outraged over the behavior of Mayor Monahan and the rest of the Council majority. The only member of the council to have expressed credible remorse in this situation has been Councilwoman Wendy Leece. The rest are simply cold hearted bastards.

Note: If anyone see’s City Councilman Eric Bever around town would you please tell CEO Tom Hatch the you’ve found him. He has been MIA throughout this time of tragedy.

  4 comments for “Community Remembers Huy Pham after Press Conference where Costa Mesa Mayor fails to answer any questions

  1. Dan Chmielewski
    March 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Well had we known about this, we would have been there. TheLiberalOC has complete press credentials from the OCSD

  2. Sheila
    March 19, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    “It’s nice to know that the city isn’t so close to bankruptcy that they can implement a 90 day unbudgeted consultant contract.”

    Especially nice since the City’s going around to community organizations and trying to shake them down for money. Now that is a story worth investigating.

Comments are closed.