Tuesday, July 06, 2010

New Fiscal Year - First Council Meeting

WELCOME BACK
OK, we're back from a brief Independence Day holiday and ready for action again. Hope you all had a safe, sane and thoroughly enjoyable holiday, filled with family fun and respect for the reason for the day.


FIRST POST-LAYOFF MEETING OF FISCAL YEAR
In it's first meeting of the fiscal year and the first one since the city re-defined "Independence Day" by laying off 23 full-time employees, 20 part-time employees and converting 7 full-timers to part time last Friday, the Costa Mesa City Council will hold it's first meeting of the fiscal year tonight in council chambers at 6:00 p.m. (5:00 as a preamble to the closed session). In that closed session they will have a conference with the staff negotiators on the progress of negotiations with the employee bargaining units and also discuss the day laborer lawsuit.

SWEETENING FIRE SAFETY RETIREMENT
In the open session, the Consent Calendar - which usually is voted in one vote unless someone pulls one of the items for independent discussion and vote - they will consider in item #12 granting a designated period for two years of additional service credit for Fire Safety workers. The staff report can be viewed HERE. With this change the Fire Safety workers who qualify will have 2 years service credit applied to their situations and will now be able to retire with a 3%@50 years plan. If you started as a firefighter at age 20, worked 30 years and retired under this program, you would receive 90% of your salary as a retirement benefit. No mention is made in the staff report of the number of employees this might affect and the cost benefit specifically of this program.

SENIOR HOUSING ON BAKER STREET
Following the Consent Calendar the council will collectively jump into the closest phone booth for a quick change and emerge as the Redevelopment Agency for a special joint meeting during which the group will consider "Funding Commitments of Agency and City to USA Properties Fund Relating to Proposed Harper's Pointe Senior Apartment Project". The Planning Commission recently heard this project. You can read the staff report HERE.

WENDY'S LATEST BUG UP HER BUSTLE
Once the council meeting resumes among the items to be heard is Mayor Pro Tem Wendy Leece's request to review the Planning Commission's ruling on the above project. Wendy apparently feels this is not a good place for Senior Housing and has several questions about it. She, based on the staff report, is concerned about noise from the Shark Club, bus stops, whether the seniors living there will be forced to co-exist with handicapped people and whether sex offenders will be eligible for housing at the facility. You can read her questions and the staff-provided answers HERE.

TRASH, DOG LICENSE FEES & FINES AND PENALTIES
The council will also consider increasing the solid waste hauling franchise fee, increasing dog license fees and amending the civil fines and penalties, all of which will enhance our revenue stream if approved.

DEFERRING DEVELOPMENT IMPACT FEES
And, in a curious bit of timing, the council will consider deferring development impact fees. I understand the idea behind this - putting off the payment of very significant fees for projects in the city to encourage development - but at a time when our city is in dire financial distress, this seems to be strange timing.

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FAIRGROUNDS SALE DRAMA CONTINUES
The Fairgrounds Sale drama continues with the publication of an entry by Vern Nelson on the Orange Juice Blog this morning entitled, "The Great Fairgrounds Swindle: How Allan Mansoor sold us all out to his Campaign Contributors". You can read it HERE. Apparently Nelson, who crooned to the council in a scarlet robe last year, penned this issue as the first of a series of articles on the Fairgrounds Sale.

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Independence Day - 2010

REMEMBER AMERICA SAFELY
We here at A Bubbling Cauldron want to wish you all a very happy and safe Independence Day. Many of you will celebrate this holiday with fireworks - so-called "safe and sane" and others that certainly are neither safe nor sane. I hope you will do so responsibly. The last thing you want to have marking this holiday is the loss of an eye of a child or severe burns on yourself or loved ones.


IN CASE YOU FORGOT
In case some of you forget what this holiday is all about, you can refresh your memory HERE.

AMERICAN SPIRIT
I'll leave you to enjoy your holiday with these two video clips, to give you a feel what it was like in this country more than sixty years ago, when patriotism was strong and Americans were not afraid to show it. These were the kinds of things that inspired my parent's generation - Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation" HERE - to fight for our freedom in World War II and to build this wonderful country in the years that followed.

IT'S A GRAND OLD FLAG



GOD BLESS AMERICA!



HAD ENOUGH? NO?
If that's not enough for you, click HERE to view my Independence Day post from last year, which includes several other patriotic video clips. Have a wonderful, safe holiday weekend.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Cedillo Says, "Not So Fast!"

JUST WHEN YOU WERE FEELING SECURE...
So, did I get you feeling all safe and secure about the Fairgrounds Sale with my last entry? Did you think that, based on Assemblyman Jose Solorio's comments, the threat of a Latino Caucus attack on the deal was no longer a possibility? Well, not so fast there, pardner!

CEDILLO ISN'T SO SURE
In an article titled, "Latino lawmakers still may block fairgrounds deal", on the Total Buzz blog, Orange County Register's Brian Joseph, reporting from Sacramento today, HERE, refutes at least part Mona Shadia's Daily Pilot article I quoted yesterday. He went straight to the horse's mouth, State Senator Gil Cedillo, the chairman of the Latino Caucus, for confirmation and had it batted right back to him.

JUDGE FOR YOURSELF
I'll leave it to you to follow that link, but Cedillo's concerns sounded anything but amicable. I guess we'll have to wait and see how this drama plays out.

THE "SANDY AND RIGGY" SHOW
Last night I watched moderator Rick Reiff lead a discussion between former mayor Sandra Genis, President of the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society, and Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer on the Fairgrounds sale on Inside OC on local television station KOCE. No streaming video is available as I write this, but you can view it on KOCE, Channel 16 on Time Warner or 416 on HD at the following times: Friday, 6:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.; Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and Monday at 8:00 a.m.

WORTH WATCHING
The Genis/Righeimer segment is the first one on the show and lasts just under 15 minutes. It's worth a peek. I'll provide you with the streaming video clip when it becomes available. Although I don't think there was a "winner" last night, Genis seemed to get mired in technical minutia.. you be the judge.

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