City Council Meeting Wrap-up
The Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night had some highs and lows. I already posted my thoughts about the rejection of Wendy Leece's proposal to replace her, Leece, with Arlene Schafer on the Orange County Vector Control Board on my previous entry. There were lots of other interesting things, though.
SOBBING MANSOOR SAYS GOOD-BYE, FINALLY
For example, early in the proceedings during Council Member Comments, Allan Mansoor took the opportunity to thank many people who have helped him over the past 8 years, barely making it through his comments without a full-on cry. Last night was his final meeting as a council member - he'll be sworn in as the State Assemblyman for the 68th District on December 6th. The crowd in the auditorium gave him a standing ovation, which I'm sure he interpreted as recognition of his contributions to the city. I was not there, but I suspect at least a few of those folks were cheering because we won't be infested with his brainless mutterings and robotic following of the directions given him by Orange County Republican Party overlords.
Actually, Mansoor leaving is a mixed blessing. On the positive side we "lose" a council member who has not been very smart and not very effective. On the negative side, we replace him with at least one new member, depending on whether Katrina Foley actually resigns her seat, with the same lock-step ideology in the person of the cunning, well-connected and finally-elected Jim Righeimer. Righeimer is no dummy and has the potential to do much, much more damage to our city than Mansoor had on his worst day. It will be even worse if Foley does, in fact, bail out and one of Righeimer's cronies - frat boy Steve Mensinger, for example - is appointed to replace her. I'm going to be one busy guy trying to keep track of potential Brown Act violations!
I'LL MISS THE SPARING
I will also miss the sparing between Foley and Mansoor - she who can craft an argument with precision and he, who has a hard time even reading the words he's written. She continued to yank his chain right up to the very end last night - and it made me smile. So, without a tear in my eye, I bid Allan Mansoor a not-so-fond adieu and hope he enjoys the utility room assigned to him by Assembly Speaker John Lopez as an office.
GARCIA RECYCLING PERMITS REVOKED
The council decided to yank the conditional use permit for Garcia Recycling, forcing that business out of business unless they can find a satisfactory place to relocate within 90 days. I understand the problem - the business has grown beyond all expectations over the last 20 years and has apparently made the lives of neighbors very difficult, with noise and overflow traffic. Based on what Garcia's lawyer said - and the way he said it - I'm sure we're going to see legal action on this decision.
"DISORDERLY CONDUCT" TO FEED CRITTERS AT TEWINKLE PARK
The council also voted to make feeding fish and fowl at TeWinkle Park a "disorderly conduct" offense. They were between a rock and a hard place on this one. The staff report and presentation made it clear that something simply had to be done to fix the problem. Because folks overfeed the critters there is an over-abundance of "fecal matter" in the lake. The water circulation system that was installed to help resolve the problem has been severely damaged by folks fishing in the lake - fish lines snag on the PVC pipes, which are then broken when the lines are yanked. People wade in the water and break the lines, too. The pumps get clogged by plastic bags and other debris and it recently cost over $40,000 to repair them. The City has over $1 million invested in restoring the lake and there are few inexpensive options to keep it operating.
A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE
Based on what I heard last night, the City failed to communicate the nature of this problem to the neighbors in Mesa Del Mar. Foley called for a cadre of volunteers - docents - to patrol the lake and advise visitors not to feed the critters and/or fish in the lake. She suggested installing feeding stations with coin-operated dispensaries to provide small amounts of food and forbid folks from dragging bags of stale Wonder Bread to the lake to feed the critters. Mansoor rejected that idea - he likes the idea of folks bringing leftover pastries and moldy bread to the park and the wrappers fouling the pumps.
ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES BUDGET ITEMS CONTINUED
The council "continued" the items dealing with the Administrative Services budget - the Downtown Pool and Youth Flag Football among them - until its meeting of December 7th.
WHO'S REPLACING FOLEY? IS SHE LEAVING?
One of the fun parts of the night for me was the discussion of the process by which Foley, if she leaves, will be replaced on the City Council, which extended to the replacements on the Planning and Parks & Recreation Commissions, too. Mansoor was almost apoplectic on this issue, accusing Foley of refusing to commit right then and there to her departure plans, or lack thereof. She just let him rant and bluster, but didn't ever answer the question about whether she will actually give up her council seat when she's sworn in to the School Board on December 14th. Regardless, we know there is at least one vacancy, Righeimer's, on the Planning Commission and others will expire in January. Same with the Parks & Recreation Commission. Mansoor wanted the council to include in it's agenda item a discussion of combining both commissions. The meeting of December 7th is going to be a fun-packed affair because City Manager Allan Roeder reminded the council at, upon seating Righeimer, the council will then elect a Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem. Foley will get to participate in that process because she will still be on the council. Ya gotta love it!
INOPERABLE CARS ON DRIVEWAYS ARE NOW ILLEGAL
And, those of you who have inoperable cars parked on your driveway - your days are numbered. The council majority - Leece and Foley voting No - has decided that you are terrible persons, contributing to the blight of your neighborhoods and your irresponsibility in doing what you wish on your own property is unacceptable in Costa Mesa. Now that piece of junk (or family treasure) under that tarp on your driveway will have to go into your garage or in your back yard, behind a 6 foot fence. Get ready, folks... this is just the beginning. This issue was generated by the Jim Righeimer Planning Commission and he's jumping up to the big seat next month, probably dragging along one of his cronies. They will not be happy unless they completely remake Costa Mesa into a pseudo-Irvine - except without all those darn liberals! I suggest you make a list of the rights you have now that makes this city the place you wish to live, work and play, then watch to see how many of them are stripped from you in the next four years.
THE NEXT IS THE LAST...
The next council meeting, on December 7th, will be the final one of the year. It will include the seating of Righeimer, the election of a new mayor and mayor pro tem and we just might have some indication of where we stand budget-wise. I want to think 2011 is going to be a better year, but...