Monday night's Costa Mesa Planning Commission meeting gave us a view of what may lie ahead for folks that present issues before the commission.
FAST AND LOOSE
New Chairman Jim Righeimer seemed intent upon speeding things along as he juggled the agenda. I don't recall any chair in recent memory that treated the normal, well-established procedures with such cavalier disregard. Old Riggy's a smart fella and obviously knows how to run a meeting, but his loosey-goosey handling of issues on the dais is very likely to cause him some procedural problems downstream.
NO TIMER DISCIPLINE
For example, the only time he really paid attention to the speaker's timer was when he closed the meeting with three minutes of silence as a tribute to former Chairman Donn Hall, who had passed away earlier that morning.
FISLER GETS A BACKHAND
And, I thought it was either carelessness on his part or an intentional affront as Righeimer failed to refer to Jim Fisler as Vice Chair. It may have been an innocent oversight, but Riggy's a quick study, so I suspect the latter.
MENSINGER A BULLY?
And, we got a glimpse of just what kind of commissioner Steve Mensinger is going to be. Taking a page right out of Riggy's play book, he chastised the architect representing the developer of two projects before them last night not for his plans, but for Mensinger's perception of his attitude. Well, I watched the proceeding and thought the architect in question handled himself very well, particularly with some hostile questions fired at him. He met every request and the projects were eventually approved over the objections of commissioners Sam Clark and Fisler - the new minority on the dais.
THE "SUNCAL" STYLE?
Maybe Mensinger thinks that style works for him in his business, but I don't think our city is well-served when commissioners exercise their power by abusing those who speak before them. We saw enough of that during Riggy's early years on the commission and it looks like Mensinger's going to carry that baton now. I don't know.. maybe that's the style at SunCal Companies, where they both work. Here's a LINK to an article in the Los Angeles Times from a couple of years ago that may give us a clue to his "style". Here's another LINK discussing his background. And, here's another LINK announcing the appointment of both Mensinger and Righeimer as Presidents of two divisions of SunCal Companies.
ONLY THICK-SKINNED FOLKS NEED APPLY
It looks to me like those standing before THIS Planning Commission better arrive with a thick skin and plenty of answers because some members of THIS group seem willing to rely on their own preconceived opinions rather than doing their homework and investigating the projects before them.