Just When You Thought Things Had Calmed Down...
What I thought might be a fairly short, fairly smooth City Council meeting tonight in Costa Mesa may turn out to be a barn-burner if certain activists have their way.
FUN WITH THE CONSENT CALENDAR
On the Consent Calendar, near the beginning of the meeting, in which the council may simply vote all the items as a package, there are a couple that will certainly be pulled for separate discussion and vote.
LOSS OF TWO SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS
The first, Item 6, is a vote approving the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and The City on the reduction of two School Resource Officers - bringing the total down to 2. I suspect there may be some folks that will want to hear the logic of this decision. We'll see..
MEASURE "C" VOTE
Then, Item 7, which is a resolution declaring the result of the June 1, 2010 election... this item will affirm the passage of Measure "C". It's my understanding that members of several groups opposed to the sale of the Orange County Fair and Event Center will be in attendance to request this item be pulled for a separate vote. This one is going to be interesting because it may be alleged that Measure "C" is moot in light of the creation of a Joint Powers Authority to deal with the proposed lessee of the Fairgrounds following the sale. Some activists plan to show up in large numbers and demand an explanation. I wouldn't be surprised to see former mayor Sandra Genis stand and ask questions the council will be hard-pressed to answer.
SENIOR CENTER BOARD APPLICANTS
Late in the meeting, under New Business #1, the council will consider appointing up to three new members to the Costa Mesa Senior Center Board. There are five candidates listed in the staff report, all of which seem to bring certain strengths to the board, four from Costa Mesa and one from Newport Beach. You can read their applications and backgrounds HERE.
MANSOOR'S PAL, JUDI BERRY
Among the Costa Mesa applicants is the perky Judi Berry, a long-time Westside community activist and strong supporter of Mayor Allan Mansoor - she managed the finances for his campaigns. Her most recent high visibility bit of activism was her crusade, along with her husband, Mike, to restore dog feces collection bags in our local parks. As I've said before, every time I see a pile of dog doo in our parks I'll think of the Berrys.
NOT CREDENTIALS, HER MOTIVATION
Ms. Berry fancies herself a financial guru and has been omnipresent during budget discussions for the past several years. According to her application, she brings a strong financial management background for our consideration. I don't question Ms. Berry's credentials - but I wonder about her motivation.
In response to the question about why she wishes to serve on the Board she begins with this statement: "For several years I have been concerned about the "not so stellar" reputation that the Senior Center has with some of the seniors and others in the community. I believe that this can be changed by having a more sensitive and respectful board. I also believe that the finances of the center should be completely transparent. For example, for several years I made donations to the Senior Center. I stopped making these contributions when I could not get anyone to return my telephone calls. They did not even know what I was calling about, but could not be bothered to return my calls. I believe that this attitude can be changed by having some new people on the board."
Now, I don't know how you interpret that statement, but it sure seems to me that she wants a position on the board so she can get even for perceived past rebuffs - not the most noble of motives, for sure. I'm not sure how effective Ms. Berry will be on the board, regardless of her credentials, when her motivation is revenge.
WESTSIDE ACTIVIST KATHLEEN ERIC
Also among the applicant pool for consideration is another long-time Westside activist, Kathleen Eric, who, with her husband Christian, have been involved in many efforts to affect positive change to their part of town. They are part of a cadre of activists who gave us Mansoor, Eric Bever, Wendy Leece and, of course, Chris Steel.
Ms. Eric brings a different skill set for consideration than Ms. Berry, but when reading her application is seems clear that they share an anti-management attitude - a general displeasure with the way the Senior Center is managed - and want a seat at the Board table so they can "fix it".
HELP OR HINDER?
It seems to me that, because of their political connections with members of the City Council, both Ms. Berry and Ms. Eric are slam dunks for seats on the board. I find myself wondering if their presence at the table will actually improve the difficulties they perceive or will it only further exacerbate the turmoil caused by the interference of Wendy Leece in the day-to-day operations of the Senior Center over the past couple years and further erode the Center's fund raising capability? Sadly, I suspect the latter.
ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE DRAMA...
So, tune in for another chapter in the on-going drama that is our Costa Mesa City Council...