The Chess Moves Ahead...
In the next few weeks the Costa Mesa City Council will have some critical issues to deal with beyond the normal course of business. For example, who will replace Katrina Foley on the City Council and who will replace Jim Righeimer on the Planning Commission? How will those vacancies be filled? What are the Planning and Parks & Recreation Commissions going to look like in December?
COUNCIL CONFIGURATION SHIFTS IN DECEMBER
The election will be certified by the Registrar of Voters by the end of the month, maybe sooner. Then Righeimer will be sworn in and Wendy Leece will be re-affirmed at the final regular City Council meeting of the year on December 7th. Foley, according to her recent statement, will resign from the City Council the same day she is seated on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board - December 14th - leaving a four-person City Council to decide how to replace her.
The choices available to the new City Council to replace Katrina Foley are:
Call for a special election - which they won't do because it would be too costly and would take too long.
Or, they could call for applications and have the City Clerk make sure they are qualified to serve on the City Council. That means they would have to be a resident of the city and a qualified voter. That method, too, would take too long.
Or, they could appoint the next highest vote-getter in the last election, Chris McEvoy. We all know that won't happen.
Or, they could simply select one of their cronies who have expressed an interest in serving on the City Council who are already qualified by way of holding a seat on a City commission. This is the most likely scenario.
TIMING IS CRITICAL
Because the most likely candidates to replace Foley will come from the Planning Commission or the Parks & Recreation Commission, the replacement of that person immediately must be part of any equation. This complicates the normal replacement schedule of 6 commissioners in February, 2011. (See charts below)
COMPLETING THE JUNTA
Making the assumption that a council comprised of Eric Bever, Righeimer, Leece and Gary Monahan following Foley's departure in December will, unfortunately, want to appoint a like-minded individual with at least some municipal experience, here are some issues that will most likely be considered:
James Righeimer, Chair - Appointment Expires February 2011
Sam Clark, Vice Chair - Appointment Expires February 2011
Jim Fitzpatrick - Appointment Expires February 2011
Colin McCarthy - Appointment Expires February 2013
Stephen Mensinger - Appointment Expires February 2013
Righeimer to council 12/7/10.
Foley resigns from City Council 12/14/10.
Fitzpatrick to Sanitary District Board 12/10 - it is rumored that he must resign his commission seat.
If either Mensinger or McCarthy replace Foley that leaves no quorum for January meetings.
Clark's term expires in February, leaving, maybe, only one current planning commissioner.
Appoint either Mensinger or McCarthy to City Council replacing Foley at a special meeting on or after 12/14/20.
Re-appoint Clark, elevate Jeff Mathews from Parks to replace Righeimer, which could leave a quorum until McCarthy or Mensinger and Fitzpatrick can be replaced.
Or, appoint Mathews from the Parks & Recreation Commission to council replacing Foley, leaving McCarthy, Mensinger and a re-appointed Clark until Righeimer and Fitzpatrick can be replaced.
Or, appoint Clark (a long shot) to council replacing Foley, leaving McCarthy and Mensinger on the Planning Commission. Elevate Mathews to replace Righeimer, giving a quorum until Clark and Fitzpatrick can be replaced.
And, make an immediate solicitation for interested parties for the Planning Commission to replace Righeimer. From that group of interested parties one could be chosen to replace Righeimer and others could be considered in the near future to fill expired or vacated positions.
Dissolve the Parks & Recreation Commission, giving duties to the Planning Commission - go back to two meetings per month.
PARKS & RECREATION COMMISSION
Mike Brumbaugh, Chair - Appointment Expires February 2011
Terry Shaw, Vice Chair - Appointment Expires February 2011
Kurt Galitski - Appointment ExpiresFebruary 2011
Jeff Mathews - Appointment ExpiresFebruary 2013
Kim Pederson - Appointment Expires February 2013
If Jeff Mathews is elevated to Council replacing Foley or to the Planning Commission AND Brumbaugh, Shaw and Galitski's terms expire, that leaves the most junior commissioner Kim Pederson, alone in February.
Re-appoint Brumbaugh, Shaw and Galitski and replace Mathews.
Solicit interested parties to fill any expired or vacated positions
Or, per above, dissolve the commission and give the Planning Commission it's responsibilities.
SOLICIT PLANNING COMMISSION APPLICANTS NOW!
We know for sure that Foley is going to leave a vacancy on the City Council on December 14th. We know for sure that Righeimer is going to leave a vacancy on the Planning Commission on December 7th. An immediate solicitation should be made for candidates for the Planning Commission - we know we have that need for sure - to expedite the replacement process and avoid the possibility of not having enough commissioners to form a quorum and keep the city's business from being done in a timely manner.
NOTHING IS SIMPLE THIS TIME AROUND
It seems that nothing about this campaign season is simple, from the beginning to well past the end. Let's just hope that, in the months to come, the five members of the junta, er, new city council will act with the interests of our city FIRST, putting aside the dictates of party bosses and political expediency. It won't take long for us to know which way they will go.
HOPE MOORLACH COMES TO HIS SENSES
We hope that Orange County Supervisor (and Costa Mesa resident) John Moorlach comes to his senses and does not follow through with his threat to launch a recall campaign against "his friend", Wendy Leece, in the near future. Such an ill-advised adventure would most likely be funded by the deep pockets of the Orange County Republican Party and would only contribute to the uncertainty about our municipal government following this most contentious of campaigns.