A Long Night In Costa Mesa
What did we learn while watching the long, long Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night? I mean except the fact that our leaders remembered how to use up an entire night - the meeting finally ended at 11:59 p.m.
BUFFOON BEVER RETURNS
Well, one thing remains clear - Eric Bever's presence on the council does not guarantee the debate of issues will be enhanced. Quite the contrary. Early in the meeting he struck out at critics who had wondered openly about his absence from the last meeting - one of the most important in recent years. He spat venom directly at Katrina Foley, making an irrelevant and inaccurate comment about her campaign contributions. Watching him in action is just like watching a spoiled little kid who pouts and stomps his little feet when he doesn't get his way. Last night he demonstrated once again that he is a petulant, petty buffoon - a clown unworthy of the seat he holds. I've had some personal experiences with him and, as do many people, came away from those encounters simply shaking my head at what a crude, clueless, infantile clod he is. The sparks that flew between Bever and Foley again last night was kind of like watching a lightning storm! Bever combined hostility with stupidity, so it was entertaining to watch him get batted around a little.
RIGGY RIPPED BY SPEAKERS
Perhaps the biggest lesson we learned last night, though, is, "Don't Mess With People's Private Property!" Are you listening, Riggy? Yep, the Planning Commission, currently chaired by the carpetbagger, Jim Righeimer, stepped in it up to it's knees when they sent three items modifying residential parking rules to the council for approval. Those items dealt with city-wide ordinances on parking in and around residential driveways. Dozens of people spoke passionately against the proposals - no one spoke in favor. Speaker after speaker asked, "Whose idea was this, anyway?" Good question. You can read the Daily Pilot coverage of the subject HERE.
TURNING COSTA MESA INTO STEPFORD
Seems that Riggy and his pals were intent on trying to turn Costa Mesa into Stepford or, even worse, Irvine - or so the majority of speakers opined last night. Of course, it's easy to understand how Riggy could misread the residents of Costa Mesa so badly - he's only lived here for a couple years. As a developer, he's used to seeing and building pristine new, cookie-cutter projects, so Costa Mesa's eclectic mix of neighborhoods must drive him nuts. My suggestion to him - and based on the sentiment of many speakers last night, I'm not alone - is that Old Jim pack up his carpet bag and look for another nest. Heck, if he moved to Irvine he'd really stand out in the crowd. He might be the only Republican in the entire city!
The discussion of those parking issues took more than 4 hours, but the time flew past as the speakers sprinted to the podium to have their say. It was fun to watch. Many first-time visitors to the council chambers arrived with a full head of steam and used the opportunity to vent their spleens. Based on their collective attitude, one almost expected to see their pitchforks and torches parked outside...
MANSOOR GRANDSTANDING CONTINUES
I was also interested to see how the council would handle our young jailer/mayor's suggestion that they all take a pay cut. The two issues - the other involved a re-scheduling of benefits increases - actually got very little discussion. The council approved a motion to reduce their pay by 5% - something that cannot happen until after the next council election in 2010. Mansoor, once that vote was cast, jumped right in. He leaned over and looked at City Manager Allan Roeder and told him that he, Mansoor, wanted to take an immediate 5% pay cut at the earliest time possible. Roeder said OK, and that they would implement it based on the requests of the individual members. Leave it to Mansoor - when he's in a grandstanding mood, he just keeps bleeding it for all it's worth.
BENEFITS ADJUSTMENT STAYS THE SAME
Mansoor couldn't get a majority to make changes to the timing of their benefits payout, so the issue was eventually "received and filed", which means it stays the same - their benefits will get annual adjustments in January of each year. So much for "sharing the pain".
SPIRIT OF LEADERSHIP
An interesting sidebar to that little drama was when Bever asked Mansoor if he wanted the pay reductions to go into effect only if the employee unions agreed to something similar. Mansoor said no. Bever said that he'd brought this forward a few months ago and was trying to act in the spirit of unity with the staff. Mansoor, with a perfectly placed backhand, said, "I'm acting in the spirit of leadership". Leadership, of course, is an alien concept to Bever. What a schmuck.
SENIOR CENTER ATTACK CONTINUES
During public comments early in the meeting Senior Center rabble rouser Ernie Feeney again prattled on about the up-coming gold sale fund raiser planned at the center in the near future. She worried about the city's liability if relatives of seniors who took gold and other precious metals and diamonds to the center for their "gold sale" function later complained that their loved one had been ripped off. Feeney, and her equally obnoxious husband, John, seem to be carrying Wendy Leece's water in her witch hunt at the Senior Center lately. When asked, the City Attorney affirmed that there was very limited liability for the city.
LEECE - "SCHEAFER SAYS BOARD SHOULD WITHDRAW"
During her comments time Leece mentioned a presentation by former councilman and Senior Center Board member Mike Scheafer at the Senior Center Board meeting earlier that morning. Scheafer apparently addressed the board and told them that if their critics (I'd read that Leece and her posse) continued their harassment and interference with their fund raising efforts, perhaps it was time for the Board to step aside and turn the operation of the Senior Center over to the city. That, in my view, would be a very unfortunate development, since the city currently only contributes a portion of the operating costs of the Center. It would almost certainly result in a reduction of services to the seniors in our city and could, in these dire financial times, result in the closure of the center.
So, the beat goes on...