Fairgrounds On The Block & Thugs Among Us
I had intended to give you my take on the joint City Council/Planning Commission Study Session yesterday, but first the BIG STORY is the potential sale of the Orange County Fair and Event Center.
QUICK DECISION TO SELL
The Fair Board, apparently feeling significant pressure from a pending budget scheme in Sacramento, met in an emergency session today at the Costa Mesa City Hall and voted to support the sale of the Fairgrounds - with the proviso that it be sold to a non-profit that would retain the property as a Fairgrounds in perpetuity. You can read Alan Blank's articles in the Daily Pilot HERE and HERE, and Jeff Overley and Ellyn Pak's article in the Orange County Register HERE.
REPRESENTATIVES, NOT THE BUDGET, ARE THE PROBLEM
This is a big deal.... and is a pathetic example of how hapless our state government has been in attempting to balance the budget year after year. The voters of this state need to understand that the problem isn't the budget - it's the boneheads they elected to lead this state. That's where the changes need to take place.
Back to the Study Session, which ran 25% longer than anticipated.
THUGS IN CHARGE?
I came away from viewing the taped replay of that meeting today with the STRONG feeling that our city is very, very close to becoming an authoritarian enclave. For example, during the discussion of Code Enforcement priorities, it was suggested by Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer that the city should consider "sweeps" - massed enforcement efforts in certain parts of our city - to solve his perception of difficulties. Of course, this comment is aimed squarely at the minority-occupied Westside.
CLUBBED INTO SUBMISSION
Another "Riggy gem" was his suggestion that an immediate $75.00 fine for any trash can left out beyond the permitted time. No warning - just slap a $75.00 administrative citation on the perpetrator. Both of these suggestions reek of heavy-handedness, which was reinforced by comments by Riggy's buddy, Steve Mensinger. When Councilwoman Katrina Foley expressed no interest in either suggestion Righeimer flippantly quipped back to her that she needed a vote - pointing our her minority position on the council.
TRYING TO RE-MAKE OUR CITY
It was clear to me that Righeimer and Mensinger would prefer to remake Costa Mesa in the mode of Irvine or Newport Beach. A couple times Mensinger compared Costa Mesa to Stanton - a city he described as "stopped in time".
MORE FOCUS NECESSARY
The upshot of the meeting was that a discussion of liquor stores, code enforcement and the overlay zone issues will be going back to the commission and/or the council based on the discussions tonight. The overlay discussion will be more tightly focused on the SoBECA zone and the Westside will be ignored for the time being. Code enforcement guidelines will be re-prioritized and new rules for liquor stores will be crafted.