Friday, November 14, 2008

A LITTLE PAUSE IN THE ACTION...


TAKING A BREAK
The old cauldron is going on a little much needed post-election hiatus, to clear some cobwebs and gather firewood so we can keep it bubbling during the next few months. Any comments submitted here will eventually get posted, but not with the promptness you
expect... Be patient.

THANKS TO MY FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
Before I bank the fire and put the cauldron on simmer
I want to take a moment to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. We live in an almost perfect place, surrounded by many, many wonderful neighbors and other friends in a city full of willing volunteers that work hard to make it an even better place. For all of them I am very thankful.THANKS TO THE CITY STAFF
Thanks, also, to the City of Costa Mesa staff. That ha
rd working bunch of real professionals do their jobs with skill and integrity, regardless the roadblocks a few boneheaded council members (and council members elect) throw up in front of them. Their efforts, especially in the face of the adversity that faces us all these days, is much appreciated. I'm thankful to them for their efforts on our behalf.

SPECIAL THANKS TO CANDIDATES


A special thanks to those nine intrepid people who ran for City Council seats this year. As I've said before, this was a very unique group and I'm grateful to ea
ch of them for taking the time to try to make a difference in our city. To those who didn't win a seat this time around, I hope they will continue to stay involved.

REMEMBERING MY FRIEND
As some of you know, 5 years ago I was finishing the first week of what turned out to be a six week vigil at
the bedside of my best friend for 57 years - since we were both 5 years old. I've written about his accident on a lonely desert road several times in the past, but will mention it again tonight. My friend, Larry Moore, was a retired LAPD officer, who spent half of his career as a motorcycle officer, so for him to crash his own personal motorcycle was completely unexpected.


LUCK AND SKILL SAVED HIS LIFE
Fortuitous arrival of tourists who were lost and their quick action flagging down a railroad work crew, who called the right people and had him flown to Las V
egas to the best trauma unit in the western United States, resulted in my friend receiving the best possible care and treatment of his injuries - all of which were substantial.

MAKING THE TOUGHEST CALL
At the end a blood clot that couldn't be treated finally
broke loose and took his life. As I stood in the doorway of the hospital room watching his attending physician direct a team of specialists as they tried to bring him back again and again, memories of our lives together flashed before my eyes. Finally, when it was clear that we couldn't bring him back, I had to make the call to have them stop trying - the saddest, most difficult thing I've ever had to do.

THIS IS THE TIME TO SAY "THANKS"
So, my Thanksgiving wish to each of you is to use the
spirit of this holiday to rekindle relationships that may have gone stale. Tell those you love just how you feel. Give thanks for each of them.

***
CURRENT ELECTION RESULTS
The most recent election results are posted below... nothing changed except the total votes counted. The relative positions of the candidates remain the same. A
ccording to the Registrar of Voters site, there remain just over 55,000 votes county-wide to be tallied, most of which are provisional ballots. You can view those numbers HERE. You may also view the individual races, including the Costa Mesa results HERE.

YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN NOW
It's likely that the vote count will be completed before the end of the month, so you're on your own keeping up with it now.
HAVE A VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING... THAT'S AN ORDER!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monahan Jumps The Gun - Butts In on Budget


BUTT OUT, GARY!
Will someone please explain to Gary M
onahan that he's NOT on the City Council yet! I know that some of the chairs in Conference Room 1A at City Hall probably have his butt print indelibly embossed in their cushions from this previous 12 years on the council, but he has not OFFICIALLY won his seat back yet. Until that time, he's just another private citizen, governed by the same rules as the rest of us schmucks.

RULES DON'T APPLY TO HIM?

I refer to his participation in the City Council Study Session Wednesday, during which the staff presentation on probable budget trimming was discussed. Instead of participating in the normal public comments time Monahan took a seat at the big table and participated just as though he was already an elected official instead of having his comments restricted to the paltry few minutes alloted to the rest of us.

PAYBA
CK FOR SUPPORTING FOLEY?
As discussed in the Daily Pilot article on the meeting, HERE, Monahan joined Allan Mansoor in trying to figure out how they can cut city s
taff, public safety salaries and benefits and install a hiring freeze. To me, this sounds like pure political payback for the endorsement the police and fire unions gave to Katrina Foley during this last election cycle.

I TOLD YOU THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN
I've read the staff report in which the City Manager and Finance Director presented reasonable alternatives for the council to consider. However, it continues to be obvious that the new majority that will take over once
the election is certified early next month is poised to ignore the best professional advice the staff provides to them and run roughshod over the city.

WHY SCARE THE STAFF?
Can someone please explain to me how, in these dire financial times, it makes any sense to threaten the city staff with salary and benefit cuts and potential layoffs when the real professionals of this city doesn't think that's necessary? This is a perfect example of what happens when you elect intellectual lightweights to positions of authority.

JUST THE BEGINNING...

As I've c
autioned you before, once Monahan is sworn in he will undoubtedly try to take charge again and will almost certainly push for the position of directly elected mayor to be placed before the voters.

DON'T TURN YOUR BACK ON THEM!

Don't turn you back on these people! If you don't watch them like a hawk they will bend or break the rules to accomplish their goals. With a Super majority, nothing is safe.

***

CURRENT ELECTION RESULTS
Speaking of Monahan, the most recent election results as of 5:00 p.m. Thursday shows no change in the relative positions of the candidates. Monahan still leads, with Katrina Foley behind him by 1558 votes. Foley leads Eric Bever by 954 votes and Jim Righeimer trails Bever by 1654 votes.

WHITTLING AWAY AT THE BALLOTS
According the the Registrar of Voters web site, slightly more than 63,000 votes remain to be counted county-wide and most of those are - nearly 57,000 - are provisional ballots.





Here are the most current results available:

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Of Heroes And Others

GEORGE GRUPE TO SPEAK OF OUR HEROES
I noticed a little blurb in the Daily Pilot today announcing the presentation to be given by my friend, George Grupe, at the Costa Mesa His
torical Society on Sunday in honor of Veterans Day.

HISTORIAN PAR EXCELLENCE

Grupe, a local historian and patriot, seems always to have any number of books, historical documents, newspaper clippings and similar paraphernalia
tucked under his arm, ready to inform any of his many friends should he happen to encounter them on his daily errands.

MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS
His presentation on Sunday will focus on Orange County Medal of Honor winners, something he's spoken with me about many times. Thos
e who care about the history of our country, and the history of our heroes in particular, are in for a real treat if you make it to Grupe's presentation on Sunday.

SUNDAY AT 2:30
According the the Daily Pilot article, Grupe's presentation will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 16th at the Costa Mesa Historical Society building, 1870 Anaheim Avenue - next to the main library adjacent to Lions Park.

***

VOTE COUNT CONTINUES - POSITIONS REMAIN THE SAME
The most recent Costa Mesa City Council election results posted yesterday at 5:00 p.m. show that all candidates are holding their previous positions. Gary Monahan holds a firm lead over Katrina Foley, who continues to hold a lead of more than 900 votes over Eric Bever. Jim Righeimer continues to trail Bever for the third seat by nearly 1600 votes.

LIKE WATCHING SAP RU
N
According to the Registrar of Voters site, county-wide there still remains more than 100,000 votes to be tallied, including all 60,450 provisional ballots. I guess they will continue chipping away at those ballots for the next few weeks. According to folks at the Registrar's office, it may take the full time prescribed by statute, which would take us to December 2, 2008. For those of us watching this process it's akin to watching sap run.

CANDIDATE LINKS DELETED
By the way, I've deleted the links to the Costa Mesa City Council candidate's web sites from my list of important links on this site. The race is over, those that chose to thank their volunteers had done so and it looks like we know how this campaign will end.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

REMEMBER THEM - AND THANK THEM


REMEMBER THE BRAVE
Please take a moment today, even if it's in the quiet of your own home, to pause and remember the brave men and women who have fought for our country.

90TH ANNIVERSARY
This Veteran's Day, November 11, 2008, is the 90th anniversary of the signing of the armistice in World War I. Fifty
-four years ago President Eisenhower signed into law the act that created this day of remembrance.

HONOR THEM
Honor the men and women who serve in our armed forces throughout the world, and particularly those who fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

PRAY FOR OUR LEADERS

Please also take a moment to say a few words for our President-elect - a man with no military experience who, in just a few short weeks, will become our Commander-in-Chief. Say a few words for him, for the men and women who will serve under him and for all of us..

HALLOWED GROUND
This photo is of the Florence, Italy, American Military Cemetery and Memorial, where more than 4400 Americans who fought and die
d in World War II are buried. I've been to this site and find it impossible to describe the emotions of that day.


REMEMBER THEM AND HONOR THEM

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Election Numbers, City Financial Woes and a New Blog In Town

LATEST ELECTION RESULTS
Checking the most recent Costa Mesa election results, as of 5:00 pm this evening shows no change in positioning by the nine candidates. All of the positions since the polls closed last Tuesday evening remain the same. Three-term councilman Gary Monahan retains a nearly 1500 vote lead over Katrina Foley. She, in turn, holds a lead of almost 800 votes over Eric Beve
r. Bever still leads Jim Righeimer by slightly more than 1500 votes for the final seat.


REEDY AND MC EVOY SURPRISE...
One of the really fascinating aspects of this election is the number of votes captured by Lisa Reedy and Chris McEvoy. Both ran bare bones campaigns and yet Reedy received 6,457 votes and McEvoy received 5,973.

SO DO SNEEN AND BUNYAN...
Also surprising is the expectedly poor showings by Bill S
neen and Chris Bunyan...


MORE VOTES REMAIN TO BE COUNTED
According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters site, county-wide there remains over 116,000 votes still to be counted. I guess they will be chipping
away at that total the rest of this week.


***

FACING THE HARSH FINANCIAL TRUTH
The Costa Mesa City Council, at their Study Session on Wednesday, November 12, 2008, will hear recommendations from the city staff on ways to save $8,396,233 in this year's budget through extensive spending reductions. The following is one paragraph from the staff report on this subject currently posted on the city web site. The emphasis is mine.

"The City has undertaken a series of cost-cutting measures to reduce spending in light of the significant reduction in revenues in the current operating and capital improvement budget and growing budget imbalance. This imbalance in the budget has increased the City's budget deficit to approximately $10.5 million or 8.67% of the City General Fund operating budget. As has been highlighted in prior budget deliberations, this budget imbalance has been growing over the past four years but is exacerbated in the current year due to a decline in General Fund revenues attributable to the economic conditions and rising costs."

PROBLEMS NO SURPRISE
Certainly, the fact that our city is facing problems with it's budget will come as no surprise. It was acknowledged earlier this summer that the current economics - the decline in sales tax revenues and possible loss of property tax revenues - would almost certainly require some adjustments.

COUNCIL IGNORES STAFF - AGAIN
As stated in the report, the budget deficit is nothing new - it's been growing for four years. However, those few of us who actually pay attention to these things recall that the staff has recommended additional funding sources - including an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) - which were brushed
aside by the current council. The staff has their finger on the pulse on our city finances and provided their best professional guidance to the council, which chose to ignore it.

COSTLY HABIT
This has become a very bad habit by this council. Maybe it's the "improver" arrogance at work, but they seem to feel that simply being elected automatically makes them experts on every subject that faces our city. Well, it didn't, which they demonstrate time after time after time. All the members of the current and future council are culpable - Gary Monahan was part of the council for half of those four years.

***

NEW BLOG IN TOWN!
In case you're interested, there's a new blog in town. Community activist and frequent participan
t on this blog and others, including the Daily Pilot blog, Bruce Krochman, has decided to dip his toe into the icy waters of Costa Mesa blogdom. His new blog, Civil Thinking, is in it's infancy, but I expect good things from it.

BRUCE ON THE CASE
Krochman has demonstrated that he gives important issues focused attention and makes excellent points. I'm sure his blog will become yet another important voice in our community. I've provided a link to his blog on the right side of this page. Welcome aboard, Bruce.

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