Saturday, December 18, 2010

Larry Moore 7/30/1941 - 12/19/2003

ANOTHER SAD DAY FOR ME
As some of you loyal readers know, December 19th, 2003 was the day my best friend since we were five years old, Larry Moore, passed away after 6 long weeks in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit of the University Medical Center in Las Vegas following a motorcycle accident on a desolate desert road. I've written about that event and my friend several times, both here and on the pages of the Daily Pilot. If you care to read more about my friend you can just type his name in the search box at the top of this page. Or, you can read what I wrote two years ago, HERE, which is a pretty good summary of my friend's life and our time together.

CMPD OFFICERS REMIND ME OF MY FRIEND

Over the past several months I've gotten to know some very fine Costa Mesa police officers through their activism during the recent political campaign. My friend was a proud 31-year
member of the Los Angeles Police Department. He loved the job, the men and women with whom he worked and those he came in contact with as the Athletic Director for the Los Angeles Police Department. He created and conducted events around the world for public safety personnel, including the world-renowned Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay. Many of our Costa Mesa officers have participated in that event and knew my friend. As I spent time with our local police officers I was reminded of just why my friend admired his peers in law enforcement.

DON'T WASTE A SINGLE DAY
Today, as I mark the seventh anniversary of my friends passing, I leave you with the admonition to not waste a single second you have with your friends and loved ones. Tell them how you feel, because you just never know what kind of a curve life is going to throw you - my friend sure didn't.


HERE'S GARTH FOR YOU

Some may know that Larry was a pretty darn good singer -
he cut a few records in our youth. One of his favorite singers in the recent past was Garth Brooks. Larry "covered" several of his songs, including The Dance, and gave them to friends on special occasions. Here's a Garth Brooks song that pretty much sums up our lives together. Enjoy.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Candidates For Foley's Seat And Others Announced

DEADLINE PASSED
Following the deadline for submissions at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon, the Costa Mesa City Manager's office announced the names of the candidates to replace former council woman Katrina Foley on the City Council. Applicants for vacancies on the Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission were also announced.

COUNCIL CANDIDATES
There are eight (8) candidates for Foley's seat. The names of those individuals are previously announced Planning Commissioners Steve Mensinger and Sam Clark; Parks & Recreation Commissioners Mike Brumbaugh and Jeff Mathews; recent council candidate Chris McEvoy; attorney Timothy W. Sesler; property manager Margaret Shillington and former council member Heather Somers.

PLANNING COMMISSION CANDIDATES
There are sixteen (16) applicants for the Planning Commission. Those individuals are: Former Parks and Recreation Commissioner Byron de Arakal; Parks and Recreations commissioners Mike Brumbaugh and Jeff R. Mathews; businessman and former council candidate Christopher Bunyan; incumbents Sam Clark and Jim Fitzpatrick; contractor Tim Clark; community activist and paralegal Robert L. Dickson, Jr.; land planner Jeffrey T. Harlan; resident Frederick (Rick) Hohenstein; recent council candidate Sue Lester; Real Estate Salesman Brian Pharris; business consultant Edward Salcedo; Jim Righeimer's right-hand campaign aide, Ethan Temianka; project manager Dan Vozenilek and retired engineer Gary Parkin.

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION CANDIDATES

There are eleven (11) applicants for the Parks and Recreation Commission. Those individuals are: OCC architecture professor Dean L. Abernathy; incumbents Mike Brumbaugh and Terry Shaw; land planner Jeffrey T. Harlan; resident Frederick (Rick) Hohenstein; CPA Gary R. Peacock; Real Estate Salesman Brian Pharris; landscape architect R. Travis Rice; Jim Righeimer's right-hand campaign aide, Ethan Temianka; retired engineer Gary Parkin and project manager Dan Vozenilek;

APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING

Applications are available on the City website, HERE, for your viewing pleasure. It looks to me as though there is an excellent selection from which to choose for all open, and/or potentially open, positions. Council members may choose to interview applicants between now and the first meeting in January - or not.

DECISIONS TO BE MADE ON JANUARY 4TH

The City Council will choose a replacement for Foley at their first meeting in January, on the 4th. They will also choose a replacement for Jim Righeimer on the Planning Commission and may choose others as well, depending on who is chosen to replace Foley. Same with the Parks and Recreation Commission. By the end of the night on the 4th we should have an idea of just who is going to be guiding our city for the next couple years.

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Hatch Named To Replace Roeder

TOM HATCH SELECTED TO REPLACE ALLAN ROEDER
Christmas came early for the residents of Costa Mesa today! In a press release issued a few minutes ago - and reported by Mona Shadia in the Daily Pilot a few minutes earlier, HERE - the City announced the appointment of Assistant City Manager Tom Hatch as the replacement for retiring City Manager Allan Roeder. According to the press release, Hatch will take over the top job when Roeder retires in March.

EXCELLENT BACKGROUND FOR THE JOB
This is very good news. Tom Hatch has been Assistant City Manager for four years, coming to Costa Mesa from El Monte, where he was Deputy City Manager. He has other very significant managerial assignments in his background and a total of 23 years of local government experience.

THE RIGHT MAN AT THE RIGHT TIME
Tom Hatch is a terrific guy who has shared the load with Roeder in the City Manager's office like a true professional during the recent difficult financial times and with the hassles of the Fairgrounds sale swirling around. He's fully immersed in Costa Mesa activities - there's hardly an event he doesn't attend. He lives in the city and his daughters attend Costa Mesa High School.

COUNCIL MEMBERS LAUD HATCH
City council members had glowing comments to make about Hatch.

MONAHAN
Mayor Gary Monahan is quoted in the press release as saying, "He has demonstrated excellence in his current position and in his commitment to Costa Mesa since his first day on the job and we look forward to his many more years of service to the community."

FOLEY
Former council member Katrina Foley said, "I believe that Tom will continue the great leadership we have had at the top of the organization. His dedication to our community is obvious and I look forward to partnering with him in my new role as a Board member of the Newport Mesa Unified School District."

LEECE
Wendy Leece said, "Tom is the best person to carry on for Allan Roeder. Tom has his pulse on what needs to be done in our city. I know he will work hard with the Council to serve our residents and improve our community.”

BEVER
Eric Bever joined in with the following statement, "Tom Hatch has demonstrated great enthusiasm for improving Costa Mesa and brings substantial experience to the position. We would be hard-pressed to find a better qualified candidate, and accordingly, I thank retiring City Manager Allan Roeder for bringing Tom aboard back in 2006. I look forward to working with Tom to resolve the fiscal, organizational, and quality-of-life issues facing our city."

CONGRATS TO HATCH AND THE COUNCIL
Congratulations to Tom Hatch, and to the City Council for making this choice. Hatch is the right man to maintain continuity in our government at a time when we really need it. I suspect there are sighs of relief going on all around City Hall right about now. Things got just got a whole lot brighter in our city today.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fat Lady Warming Up?

CAN YOU HEAR HER YET?
According to reports in the Daily Pilot, HERE, and the Orange County Register, HERE, Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Brenner ruled against every element of the lawsuits filed to stop the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds to Facilities Management West.


HANGING BY A THRE
AD
Judge
Brenner did, however, extend the temporary restraining order until late next Tuesday (the Register says 4:30, the Pilot says 4:00) to provide time for petitioners to petition the Appellate Court for a rehearing. Apparently, if that move is successful, the TRO will remain in place until that court makes a ruling. I tried to reach representatives of the petitioners for a comment but have received no reply yet. I'm going to assume they will move briskly with an appeal since they've come this far. If they can get an appeal court to agree to hear this case, the upcoming holidays may drag this out long enough that the new administration will take over in Sacramento and put a stop to the sale, period.

MONAHAN ASSURES US - WHY?
In an interesting bit of juxtapositioning, yesterday former and current Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan wrote a Community Commentary in the Daily Pilot with the title, "Facilities Management will do what's best", HERE. I guess we can blame the incorrect name of the company on a headline writer - the company's name is Facilities Management West. My question is, "Best for whom?"

OK, GARY - IF YOU SAY SO...
In his piece Monahan assures us of the good character of the folks at Facilities Management West that he helped negotiate with during our ill-fated attempt to partner-up with them to purchase the Fairgrounds from the State. He vouches for FMW's "professionalism and integrity in all the dealings we have had together." Hmmm, am I the only one who remembers former mayor Allan Mansoor reading the riot act to FMW principle Richard Dick from the dais for what was described as abusive treatment of our negotiators by FMW's negotiators? Who are we to believe here? Do we not remember that part of our deal was apparently hammered out at Monahan's gin mill? I want to believe Monahan, but....

SIX DAYS LEFT...

So, the clock continues to tick until late Tuesday afternoon, appropriately, the first day of winter, to see if Jeff Teller and Sandra Genis can convince an appeals court to hear this case. If not, next week that fat lady will be belting out a tune - and it won't be a Christmas Carol.
A REMINDER...
I'll leave you tonight with a reminder of the goal of Facilities Management West as articulated to Mansoor by principle Ken Fait last spring.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mensinger Tosses Hat In Ring - Big Surprise!

MENSINGER APPLIES FOR COUNCIL
A few minutes ago the Daily Pilot online began carrying a story with the headline, "Mensinger Applies For Council", in which it tells the world what most of already knew was coming - that Planning Commissioner Steve Mensinger will be among those the City Council will choose from to replace out-going council member Katrina Foley when they meet on January 4th.

THAT'S NOW 3 FOR FOLEY'S SEAT

Men
singer's candidacy means a total of 3 individuals have applied for Foley's seat. I'm told that Chris McEvoy will also apply later in the week. You can read the Pilot story HERE. You may recall that it was Mensinger that first put the bug in Foley's ear about running for the School Board. At the time I speculated he did that for purely personal reasons - to open up a seat for him without having to go through the bother of actually campaigning. He doesn't have to convince the electorate, only his pals. Here we are! This could be a 10 year seat - the last two years of Foley's term plus two four-year terms as an incumbent.

WHAT'S HE GOOD AT?
Anyone who has watched Mensinger on the Planning Commission these past couple years know that he is seldom bothered by the details of an issu
e - he's a "big picture" kind of guy. In the article he tells us, "The only thing I think I'm good at is vision." Gee, Steve - no kidding!

A BULLY - SHORT ON PATIENCE
I've written many times about my perception of his willingness to bully applicants and, to some extent, staffers that appear before him. He is short on patience - not a particularly attractive character shortcoming for a potential council member.

"GETS THINGS DONE" - BUT HOW?
There is no question that Mensinger "gets things done". So did General Sherman in the Civil War - just ask the good folks in Georgia. I don't doubt that he would "get things d
one" as a council member. I do worry about the way he would go about doing it and the nature of the damage left in his wake.

HE'S THE FRONT-RUNNER - BE AFRAID, VERY AFRAID
Regardless who the other candidates might be, I suspect Mensinger is the front-
runner now. Based on his performance as recently as the Planning Commission meeting last night, that should make the residents of this city more than a little nervous.

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Commission Pushes Back On Task Force

COMMISSION ADDRESSES HOMELESS TASK FORCE
As reported earlier, last night the Costa Mesa Planning Commission, or the remaining four members of that commission since Jim Righeimer was elected to the City Council last month, addressed the request from the staff to recommend to the City Council that a task force be assembled to study and recommend solutions to the growing homeless problem throughout the city and specifically in Lions Park.

HATCH TAKES IT ON THE CHIN
Assistant City Manager Tom Hatch, the point-man on this project, made a brief staff
report, then stood back to be pilloried by commission member Steve Mensinger. Instead of simply acknowledging the size and complexity of the problem, then voting to do as suggested, commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick, as Sancho Panza to Mensinger's Don Quixote, became very agitated, jumping around in his chair and pushing for the commission to "take action". Mensinger was equally irritated and batted Hatch around like a punching bag, challenging his description of Lions Park as a "safe park" and inviting him to join him there immediately after the meeting. One got the impression that Mensinger and Fitzpatrick were ready to leap out of their respective chairs, dash over to Lions Park and begin dragging the homeless offenders off to some undefined location.

FRUSTRATION PROVOKES CALLS FOR "ACTION"

I doubt anyone will suggest that we don't have a major problem at Lions Park. The staff report chronicles the offenses. I wrote about it last weekend, HERE, which includes a link to the staff report. When you read through that report you will come away with your head spinning. I certainly understand why Mensinger and Fitzpatrick - and others - might be more than a little frustrated with the situation. It was clear from their comments that they didn't think "studying" the problem for six months was giving it proper attention and action. Both men think of themselves as "men of action". I have no problem with that, either. However, since one of those men may end up on the City Council next month, it's important to note that neither of them is particularly burdened with patience. Mensinger, in particular, demonstrates in his personal and professional life that he is, indeed, a man of action. He's used to being in command, ordering underlings to get things done and letting them feel his wrath when they are not. We could see that person in his interaction with Hatch last night.

VOTED TO RECOMMEND THE TASK FORCE - AND "ACTION"

Eventually the Planning Commission begrudgingly voted unanimously to recommend to the Ci
ty Council the creation of a task force, but also recommended "action" to address the problem sooner. So, the council will likely address this issue at it's first meeting in January and the task force will be created sometime that month. It's unclear just what "action" will be taken, if any, in the meantime. The Planning Commission has no authority to unleash enforcement staff to flush out homeless offenders and dispense with them - which seemed to be the short-term solution Mensinger and Fitzpatrick were looking for.

COUNCIL SLOT
REQUIRES PATIENCE...
In my opinion, a position on our City Council requires not only dedication, tenacity, passion and intelligence, but patience, as well. Coaching a young linebacker to rush the quarterback with abandon, without regard to injury that might be done to both players, may work on the football field, but approaching a serious, and multi-tentacled, municipal problem the same way will only result in more lawsuits for our city. Mensinger makes me nervous because his approach to problem-solving is dictatorial - he says "jump" and expects you to be levitating instantly. This characteristic is unacceptable as a municipal leader. With Mensinger this characteristic sometimes manifests itself in bullying behavior with staff and applicants before him. And Fitzpatrick seems to have fallen under his spell, rapidly becoming Mensinger's loyal sidekick - his Sancho Panza. He, too, has developed a heavy hand when dealing with staffers.

...AND CIVILITY
A month from now the configuration of the City Council, Planning and Parks &
Recreation Commissions will be resolved. It's very likely that Mensinger and Fitzpatrick will hold influential positions in the new regime. I hope they will find a way to temper their burning desire to "do something" with patience and civility to staff and residents alike. That will be a welcome change.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Applicants & Moorlach, The Bellwether?

APPLICANT COUNT AS OF TODAY
As of mid-day today, Monday, the count for applicants for positions in Costa Mesa city government stands as follows:

City Council applicants - 2


Planning Commission applicants - 7

Parks & Recreation Commission applicants - 5

INFORMATION AVAILABLE FRIDAY EVENING
No names are yet available and won't be until the deadline, 5:00 Friday, December 17th, passes. At that time the city will promptly scan them and enter them on the city web site and issue a press release announcing those
applicants that have made the deadline. I'm assured there will be no "Righeimerization" this time - acceptance of applications after the deadline.

PLANNING TERMS

As a reminder, the terms of Planning Commissioners Jim Fitzpatrick and Sam Clark expire in February, 2011 and those of Colin McCarthy and Steve Mensinger expire in February, 2013. Still no word on whether Fitzpatrick will be permitted to sit on the Planning Commission and the Sanitary District Board. We've been advised that the city has a legal opinion that his participation does not jeopardize the validity of actions taken by the Planning Commission.

PARKS
& RECREATION TERMS
Parks & Recreations Commissioners Kurt Galitski, Mike Brumbaugh and Terry Shaw expire in February 2011 and th
ose of Jeff Mathews and Kim Pederson expire in February, 2013.

MOORLACH'S PENSION MANIFESTO

Orange County Supervisor, and Costa Mesa resident, John Moorlach has provided us with his view of the current pension crisis in a op/ed piece in the Orange County Register. You can read it HERE. Is Moorlach a bellwether on this issue? I think you'll find his treatise fascinating and may, as I did, wonder how in the heck we could pull off such draconian reductions in municipal government and still remain viable as an entity.

PENSION PARLOR GAME

I particularly enjoyed his little after dinner game, Hare and Tortoise, in which the strategy is to go backward to move forward.

THIS IS THE BEGINNIN
G...
Friends, this is how it begins. Once the new council member to replace Katrina Foley is hand-picked and seated early in January and the council hears the mid-year budget update on January 11th, you can fully expect Righeimer and his crew begin their move to dismantle employee contracts under the threat of layoffs and/or bankruptcy. The worst part of this may be the fact that the steady hand of Allan Roeder will not be around.

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Foley Signs On Early - Will Hear About Hubbard Today

NMUSD CLOSED SESSION TO DISCUSS HUBBARD
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District will hold an emergency special closed session meeting today, Monday, at 6:30 to discuss the circumstances of Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard's recent legal difficulties. You can read about the case HERE and HERE.

FOLEY SIGNS ON EARLY

In a related matter, Costa Mesa City Council member Katrina Foley, who was elected to replace Michael Collier on the School Board, will be sworn in just prior to that meeting commencing instead of Wednesday, as planned. This will give her an opportunity to participate in the closed session where her background as a labor attorney may be especially helpful to the Board and staff. It is unclear when, or if, Foley will resign from her City Council seat at this time.

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