Back At It With A...
WE SURVIVED ANOTHER JULY 4TH!
Well, now, we've all survived yet another Independence Day celebration and are ready to get back to work... So far, no information is available from the Costa Mesa public safety folks as to what, if any, kind of infractions or incidents they responded to during the holiday weekend. Preliminary word is that things were "OK" in our city. (Late report by Alan Blank in the Daily Pilot, HERE, tells us that 42 miscreants were cited for fireworks violations this year - a much larger number than in past years - and that 8 were cited for illegal fireworks, which carries a $500 fine.) I do know that, upon my return from an out-of-town excursion Sunday, there were still illegal bottle rockets being fired into the late-night sky... Oh, well. I know who was firing those off last night - apparently as a parting shot as he finally moves out of town. Adios, Brian... don't let the bottle rocket hit you in the fanny as you leave.
BACK TO BUSINESS - WITH A BANG!
The Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday has all the earmarks to be one for the ages. First of all, it's a full moon - never a good sign when our council meets. I suspect we'll see many "interesting" speakers tomorrow evening. One guy, for sure, is going to appear to be "howling at the moon" - as usual.
MALNOURISHMENT ON THE DAIS
Second, this is the first "foodless" council meeting - they chopped the pre-meeting meal budget, so expect to hear lots of growling stomachs and see some very grumpy council members as the meeting goes on and on and on. I suggested someone arrange for a "roach coach" to materialize in the back parking lot at City Hall around 4:15, to allow famished staffers and council members to grab some nachos or a day-old burrito before the council meeting. Yummy!
SHOPPING CARTS STARTS THE FUN
The agenda alone makes this one worth the price of admission. Right off the top, following the consent calendar, is Public Hearing #1, which deals with a proposed new ordinance requiring vendors around town to implement new systems to insure that their shopping carts do not leave the boundaries of their parking lots. I've gone through the entire proposed ordinance and suspect many vendors will be less than happy with it. I find myself wondering just how many will show up at the meeting, though.
DEVELOPER MAJORITY HAS FINAL SAY
For example, Section 15-19 deals with Appeals. Section F tells us that the Planning Commission is the final authority on these issues - no appeal to the City Council is possible. As I contemplate having Jim Righeimer, Steve Mensinger and Colin McCarthy be the final authority on ANY issue I get chills down my spine! This is a very bad idea, so we'll have to see how it shakes out.
UNDOING MONAHAN'S HEART-BREAKING DAMAGE
That item is followed by Old Business #1, the request by Katrina Foley and Wendy Leece to reverse the draconian budget cuts proposed by Gary Monahan at the last meeting. Those items, specifically, are:
a. Neighbors for Neighbors
b. Sister City Program
c. Grad night contributions
d. Mobile Recreation Program
e. Teen Programs - TeWinkle School/Downtown Recreation Center
f. Youth Sports programs
g. Concerts in the Park.
Since Monahan had the votes last time, it's going to take a serious community turnout to change Mansoor, Bever and Monahan's minds on these issues.
URGENCY ORDINANCE - MASSAGE PARLORS
Next comes New Business #1, the request by the Police Department for an urgency ordinance imposing an immediate 45-day city-wide moratorium on the approval of any business license, use permit or any applicable application related to Massage establishments and/or practitioners. The Police Department apparently feels those kind of establishments are fronts for prostitution and want everything to stop immediately so they can get a handle on this situation in our town. This 45-day moratorium is more likely to become much longer - maybe two years...
STOPPING STATE THEFT
New Business #2 is a request by staff for the City Council to authorize the City Attorney to cooperate with the League of California Cities in litigation challenging the constitutionality of the State to seize the city's street maintenance and Redevelopment funds. This year that would represent around $1.8 million from Costa Mesa.
MORE DAY LABORER CONTROLS
Finally, at the end of what promises to be an action-packed agenda, we find New Business #3, which is simply entitled "Solicitation of Employment, Business, Contribution from Streets". This issue deals with a proposal to follow the lead of the City of Orange in it's efforts to manage day laborers in their city. Costa Mesa presently has a non-solicitation ordinance - passed by a very enlightened City Council more than 20 years ago - to control day laborers around town. When it was passed the city also opened up the Job Center on the Westside, to provide an alternative to gathering helter skelter around town. It worked extremely well until the angry little knot of self-proclaimed "improvers" - guided by one particularly virulent racist who doesn't even live in that part of town - decided they didn't like all those brown faces in their part of town. They thought the closure of the Job Center would make them sufficiently uncomfortable that they'd move out of town - maybe to Santa Ana. It didn't and they didn't.
MONAHAN'S HISTORY OF SLY MOVES
Some will recall that Gary Monahan, as has become his style, stealthily had the subject of the Job Center placed on the agenda, the result of which was that is was summarily shut down. You will also recall that was the beginning of massive protests on our streets and at council meetings, one of which resulted in the arrest of Benito Acosta who's lawsuit against our young jailer (is he still one?)/mayor is still pending and will be heard in October.
NO PRESS - NO ATTENDANCE?
This item has gotten virtually no press, so I doubt many people will be in the audience tomorrow evening to address this issue. That's too bad, because this issue has the potential to severely restrict the freedoms we all have on our city streets, even though it's specifically directed at Latino day laborers.
EMPTY STOMACHS, GRUMPY PEOPLE = BAD DECISIONS
So, listen for the growling of empty stomachs over the shouting tomorrow night. I think, if these kind of agendas are going to be the norm, the city should consider charging for admission and make council meetings a profit center to help in our current budget dilemma. I think I might borrow a costume from one of the guys at Anaheim Stadium and cruise the council chambers aisles around 9 p.m., selling bags of peanuts and hot dogs to the starving masses.