Monday, August 03, 2015

Eastside Picnic A Success - Again

KUDOS TO THE EASTSIDE COSTA MESA NEIGHBORS GROUP
Our pals at the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group hosted another community picnic at Harper Park Sunday, August 2nd and, as have the previous events, this was a rousing success.
 A COUPLE HUNDRED FOLKS ATTENDED
My best guess - confirmed by folks selling raffle tickets and counting heads - was that a couple hundred people attended, and that may be short, if you try to include all the beautiful children in the mix.  This year there seemed to be more teeny little ones at the event - a good sign for the resurging Eastside.
PUBLIC SAFETY WELL-REPRESENTED
The day was enhanced by the presence of Police Chief Rob Sharpnack and Fire Chief Dan Stefano, back from his Hawaii vacation.  And, many of their officers and firefighters attended, too.  Engine 83 - that big old ladder truck - and one of our brand new Medical Vans were parked on the street adjacent to the park so folks could get guided tours of the apparatus.
NEW AND OLD FRIENDS
During the couple hours my sweet and very patient wife and I spent at the picnic we met lots of new folks and chatted with some old friends, too.  I saw only Councilwoman Sandra Genis representing The City - no other elected or appointed officials attended while we were there.  We even saw some Westsiders crashing the party, too, as Eleanor and Tom Egan greeted us.  And CMTV's Brad Long showed up without cameras, just to show support for the event - and to snag some food.
PUSHING THE INITIATIVE
Former councilman Jay Humphrey attended, along with his fellow Costa Mesa First officer, Rick Huffman, who explained the petition for their initiative to interested parties.
LOTS OF KIDS AND DOGS AND FUN
This was a kid and dog friendly venue, so we had a lot of both.  There were fun contests for the children - like this shoe kicking contest...
And this water balloon tossing contest...
And, the park includes plenty of apparatus for the kids to play on... this pseudo tire swing seemed to be very popular.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Kean Coffee provided iced coffee and tea products and there were hot dogs available, too.   Here a couple of entrepreneurs talked to folks about their plan for a new Chop House on Broadway near Newport Blvd.  They brought samples of pies for the tasting... winner!
KUDOS... DO IT AGAIN!
So, once again, thanks to my friends at the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group for another fine event.  The weather was perfect and the turnout was great.  We're looking forward to the next one already.




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Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Full Schedule Awaits The City Council Tuesday

ONLY AUGUST MEETING NEXT TUESDAY
The Costa Mesa City Council will meet for it's only meeting of the month on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 beginning in Council Chambers at City Hall at 5:45 p.m.  You can read the full agenda, which includes a half dozen items on the Consent Calendar, four (4) Public Hearings, one (1) item of Old Business and four (4) New Business items, HERE.

CONSENT CALENDAR
As has been my practice, I'll take a quick peek at the Consent Calendar - those items that are presumed to be routine in nature and would be voted upon in one vote unless a member of the public, staff or council pulls it for separate discussion and vote.

THE WARRANT
Item #3, Warrant 2540, HERE, includes a few interesting items in the roster of checks used to disburse more than $4 million of your tax dollars.  I'll list a few that caught my interest:

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co - $428,620.02 - City Insurance Premium 15-16
Costa Mesa Conference & Visitor Bureau - $207,031.35 - BIA Receipts for May 2015
Wigmore Insurance Agency Inc - $120,923.00 - Excess Wrkrs Comp Ins Rnwl
CSAC Excess Insurance Authority - $4,612.00 - 15/16 Pollution Liability Ins.
Government Staffing Services Inc - $3,960.00 - Proj. Mgt. Temp Svc 6/15-6/28/15
Quickstart Intelligence - $12,726.50 - In House Training
Randstad Technologies LP - $12,707.50 - Temp IT Support Staff
AssetWorks Inc - $17,988.00 - Fleet Focus Software Upgrade
Clean Street - $58, 524.98 - Street Sweeping Svcs 5/15+Pressure Wash Sidewalk 6/15
G4S Secure Solutions Inc - $61,038.51 - Gail Svcs, 6/15
LINA - $20,041.47 - Premium, 7/15 + Admin Fee 6/15
Moore Iacofano Goltsman Inc - $69,506.15 - GP Update & Environmental Report
Bank of America - Account Analysis - $3,059.65 - Acct Analysis Fee Apr-Jun 15
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $2,437.50 - Legal various
Pacific Municipal Consultants - $5,400.00 - Consulting Svcs for Group Home
Quickstart Intelligence - $1,416.00 - In House Training
Scientia Consulting Group Inc - $6,880.00 - On-Site Technical Support
Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth - $6,208.00 - Legal, Various
Trauma Intervention Program - $14,061.00 - 2015-16 Annual TIP Service Fee

And, of course, there's much, much more.

DEFERRED COMP. PROGRAM MONITORING
Item #4, HERE, is the award of a contract for deferred compensation plan monitoring services. The awarding of the contract seems straightforward, but I'd like to know who among the city staff is a participant in the deferred compensation plan.

SWAPPING CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER FOR A PARK RANGER
Item #6, HERE, is an interesting item.  During the recent budget deliberations/approvals - just a month ago - there was a new Code Enforcement Officer position created for the Police Department.  THIS item is a plan to shift that position from a Code Enforcement Officer to an additional Park Ranger slot.  If you read the staff report you may get the impression that this whole issue didn't get a very thorough vetting before the budget process, particularly since there has been such a high-visibility effort to manage the homelessness issue in our city.  This is curious, at least.

PARK FEES FOR APARTMENTS
The first Public Hearing, HERE, is a proposed change in the park in-lieu impact fees to fold in apartments and to adjust other fees presently being collected.  The comprehensive staff report includes several charts and other visual displays to explain the methodology and comparisons to other cities.  I find it interesting that the Building Industry Association (BIA) has written to support this plan.

PAWN SHOP APPEAL
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is an appeal of the Planning Commission's recent decision modifying a Conditional Use Permit for a Jewelry Store with ancillary pawn services at 1872 Newport Boulevard.  This is a "de novo" hearing, which means we start from scratch on this one.  Could take awhile and it will be interesting to watch the appellants - they are pretty smooth operators, who described in great detail how they sweet-talked the previous owner into selling the business to them.

ST. JOHN THE DIVINE EPISCOPAL CHURCH FARMERS MARKET APPEAL
Public Hearing #3, HERE, should fill the house.  This is the appeal by nearby neighbors of the Planning Commission's recent Conditional Use Permit for a farmers market at an existing church - St. john the Divine Episcopal Church - smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood on the Eastside.  This is another de novo hearing, so the entire project will be heard anew.  Again, this one could take awhile.

CODIFYING CAPITAL BUDGET PERCENTAGE
Public Hearing #4, HERE, is an ordinance as a result of the Financial and Budget Policies adopted by the City Council in March, 2015 that requires an allocation of a minimum of five percent (5%) of the General Fund budget to capital expenditures and plan a goal of an additional one and one-half percent (1.5%) to a Capital Facilities account annually.  This is in response to the seven-year capital improvement program that totals over $230 million.

SECOND READING OF A GOOD PROJECT
The only Old Business item, #1, HERE, should take very little time.  This is the second reading on a project for 10 residential units at the site of the old Church of Christ Scientist on Mesa Verde Drive East.

ANOTHER SMALL LOT DEVELOPMENT
New Business #1, HERE, is a Master Plan Screening request for a 10-unit 2 and 3 story Small Lot Residential development at 527 and 531 Bernard Street.  The council will provide feedback so this project may move forward.

ALLOCATING MATT LEINART FLAG FOOTBALL FEES
New Business #2, HERE, is the Council Direction for Allocation of Field Use Fees for the Matt Leinart Flag Football repayment as a result of the incorrect fee payment due to misinformation provided to the city more than a year ago.  This one was requested by council member Katrina Foley, who wished to have these funds - around $25,000 - allocated to sports uses at the two high schools.  Normally, such fees would be deposited into the General Fund and used for normal municipal purposes.  This discussion is going to be fun, particularly since the news media has been full of news that the Matt Leinart Flag Football program similarly misled our friends in Irvine and will be required to pay the ENTIRE amount back, not a portion, as is the case with Costa Mesa.  I don't think anything can be done at this point - particularly when it appears that at least a couple of our council members are star-struck by the fact that Matt Leinart is a USC  football hero and Heisman Trophy winner.  As I said, it will be interesting.

APPEAL FEE REFUND REQUEST
New Business #3, HERE, is the request by resident Ann Parker for a refund of $690.00 fee charged for her appeal of the recent Solid Landings decision.  Based on her appeal the Planning Commission overturned the Zoning Administrator's approval, which was subsequently upheld by the City Council.

SELECTING VOTING DELEGATES
The final item on the agenda, New Business #4, HERE, is the designation of a "voting delegate" and a "voting delegate alternate" for the 2015 League of California Cities Annual Conference in San Jose this fall.  Currently Mayor Steve Mensinger, Councilwoman Sandra Genis and Councilman Gary Monahan are registered to attend the conference.  The City Council must designate the above positions.

NEXT MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 8TH
The council meeting scheduled for August 18, 2015 has been cancelled, but the first full week of September is going to be a whopper, with a council meeting AND a joint study session with the Planning Commission plus a Senior Commission meeting, too.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Eastside Annual Picnic Sunday!


EASTSIDE PICNIC SUNDAY
Just a reminder from our friends at the Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group that they will be hosting their annual community picnic this Sunday, August 2, 2015 at Harper Park from 1-5 p.m.

FAMILY FUN
This is always a great, family-friendly fun event, so mark your calendar and come meet some of your neighbors and maybe win a cool prize.  Here's their flyer... click on it to enlarge it.
 HARPER PARK LOCATION

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