Giving Credit Where It's Due
Last night the Costa Mesa meeting ended with a flourish, a unanimous vote on a contentious issue. And we thought they couldn't get along! Silly us.
Although Councilwoman Katrina Foley was housebound for some unexplained reason, her presence was felt - and heard - because the technical gurus at City Hall managed to hook up an audio feed between her location and the council chambers. Her smiling, blond countenance was replaced by a big, black squawk box that allowed her to voice her views on every issue throughout the evening. I must observe, though, that at times it was a little like listening to Darth Vader. Whatever - it worked.
In fact, this may have been a great solution, because the last time this item was discussed at the council's last study session it looked as though Eric Bever was ready to leap the table that separated him from Foley and pummel her.
The issue in question was the much debated and squabbled over Youth In Government program. You will recall that our young jailer/mayor got his shorts in a bunch when this was proposed in January because he felt slighted by not having had the chance to provide "input". I won't beat that horse any more, except to observe that this council finally acted as we expect - they discussed, debated, heard testimony and then resolved the issue. Sadly, because of their earlier fit of pique, the young people who had signed up for this year will get short shrift. A sub-committee of Foley and Wendy Leece will work to hammer out the details of how the current group can salvage what's left of the school year and make plans for a more extended program beginning in the fall.
This didn't have to go this way. If, as speaker Chris Blank observed, they hadn't let petty politics cloud their judgment, the children involved this year would have had a very satisfactory experience. We saw a couple of them speak tonight - even though this item was the final agenda item - and realize that their inability to fully participate this year is the city's loss.
Before I forget, that guy who very much resembles my theoretical character "Your Neighbor", as predicted, jumped up like a jack-in-the-box during the Public Comments portion to yap at the council about his favorite pet peeve, Paularino Park. He was all over them for not being more attentive to his demands that more trees and rocks be placed in the park to dissuade those nasty rogue soccer ball kickers that he says have terrorized folks in that park. I'm sure he's sleeping soundly as I type this knowing that he's, once again, made the city staff dance to his tune.