This Week Could Be Memorable
We begin what might be a very memorable week on Monday, with a hastily-called City Council meeting, scheduled for an unusual time - 5:30 p.m. - which appears from the announcement to be a closed session-only meeting. The agenda is, so far, the negotiations with the various employee bargaining units on new contracts.
HOW DOES RIGHEIMER'S SHENANIGAN'S INFLUENCE NEGOTIATIONS?
One must assume there has been significant reluctance on the union's parts to give much in the way of concessions, particularly in light of the public posture probable city councilman Jim Righeimer has taken in recent weeks. The employee groups correctly assume that Righeimer is going to come after their wages and benefits - their pensions in particular - if elected on November 2nd. I suppose if I were them I'd be stubborn about any kind of givebacks right now, even though the result might mean even more staff reductions to balance the budget.
Also pending Monday is a response from City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow regarding her investigation of the Jim Righeimer/DUI confrontation. That event took place on Thursday, September 16th and we know she had it in her hands no later than the city council meeting of the 21st. We're still waiting.
RIGHEIMER/ROEDER/SHAWKEY ON DUI CHECKPOINTS
This gets even more dicey because in his commentary to the editors of the Daily Pilot - published online in the OC Now blog on Friday, September 24th around 4:30 p.m. and online in the Daily Pilot about a half-hour later - which finally made print Sunday, Righeimer tells us that he's got a meeting scheduled for Monday, the 27th, with Police Chief Chris Shawkey and City Manager Allan Roeder at which the three of them will hammer out guidelines for future DUI checkpoints.
INAPPROPRIATE WHILE HE'S UNDER INVESTIGATION
I must tell you that, in my view, such a meeting while Righeimer is under investigation for inappropriate behavior which might even have been criminal - interfering with police officers in the performance of their duties - is completely unacceptable! It's bad enough that he thinks he can demand such a meeting simply because he was inconvenienced for a few minutes while waiting to pass through the checkpoint - along with more than 3,200 other drivers that night - but it's worse that Shawkey and Roeder are going along with it. NOTE: Shortly after 8:30 a.m. Monday morning I received a note from City Manager Allan Roeder informing me that the meeting today between him, Chief Shawkey and Righeimer has been cancelled. He told me that even though the meeting was to discuss the requirements that go into establishing DUI checkpoints, and that it was expressly clear that NO discussion would be held about the investigation of the events of September 16th, Roeder felt it "was clearly in everyone's best interest" to cancel the meeting. As is usually the case, Roeder made the correct decision.
RIGHEIMER'S AMENDED COMMENTARY
I've linked to Righeimer's commentary in my previous post, so you probably have read it. If not, you can read it HERE. If so, you noticed that the editors permitted him to correct the record in the first paragraph in which he misrepresented the date of the checkpoint. However, we know the truth - I've made a copy of his original published commentary. And, of course, that wasn't the only false statement in it...
UNION PRESIDENT SPEAKS
For a different view of Righeimer's performance at the DUI checkpoint you may find this video clip of Costa Mesa Police Association President Allen Rieckhof's comments to the City Council at their meeting Tuesday, September 21st.
BARLOW MUST ACT WITH HASTE
Ms. Barlow must know that this issue requires haste in resolving it. She needs to get into her best Angela Lansbury mode and investigate the incident and report to the public her findings. We're waiting, and not very patiently.
MEDIA INTERROGATORS MUST BE SALIVATING
Then, on Thursday, September 30th, we have the much ballyhooed "Media Feet-To-The-Fire-Forum" at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center - doors open at 6:30 p.m. - at which many local media types will interrogate not only Costa Mesa politicians, but those running in Newport Beach, too. I imagine they're either drawing straws or arm-wrestling each other for the chance to grill Righeimer on his DUI situation. This is going to be wonderful theater.
DEADLINE FOR FAIRGROUNDS BIDS
SO MANY QUESTIONS.
So, will we see Righeimer in handcuffs this week? Will he assert the power he thinks he has as an appointed commissioner and go forward with his meeting with Roeder and Shawkey? Will the media types at the forum Thursday shred him like cole slaw? Will a bidder offer the Governor a price he can't refuse for the Fairgrounds? Guess we'll find out...