The Winds Of Change
The Costa Mesa Planning Commission meeting tonight, though brief, was interesting nonetheless. It got off to a good start because all five members showed up for this meeting.(Note: original image - a tornado - apparently caused some readers consternation. So, I swapped it out for the unambiguous image now shown.)
RIGGY TAKES THE HELM
Right off the bat, as anticipated, Carpetbagger Jim Righeimer was elected, 3-2, as the Chairman. Fisler and Sam Clark voted no. Then, in a surprise to me, Steve Mensinger nominated Jim Fisler to retain his seat as Vice Chair, who was confirmed unanimously.
SELF-SERVING SERMON IGNORED
Before the considerations for Chairman were made - and while Fisler still had control of the dais - he provided a little self-serving sermon about the Planning Commission's role in city government and made his point that he thought the person elected as Chairman should have many years as a city resident, with years of experience on other commissions (he specifically mentioned the Parks and Recreation Commission) and committees. Obviously, he was talking about himself. Of course, the new guys just ignored him and chose Righeimer. One had to chuckle.
NOT YOSEMITE SAM, BUT...
There's a new sheriff in town now. It's clear that a "Righeimer" Planning Commission is going to be one that will enforce the rules or force changes to them. I suspect we'll see this group - at least the majority - cutting fewer applicants some slack in their applications. I expect to see fewer conditional use permits and variances issued. This was evident tonight when the proposed restaurants at the location at 19th Street an Harbor Blvd., where the Pasta Connection lived for four decades, were denied because of inadequate parking. Fisler was a happy guy because he's tried to get the previous commission to take a stronger stand on parking. Way, way too many strip malls and shopping venues in this city are severely under-parked.
DONN HALL ILL
Mention was made tonight about the illness of former Mayor and most recent Planning Commission Chairman Donn Hall's illness. Hall is apparently in the hospital because Fisler mentioned it tonight during the meeting. During his decades of service to this city he proved to be a "man of the people", frequently getting his hackles up when he felt personal rights were being violated by "the system". We wish Donn Hall and his family well...