This morning the Daily Pilot carries a commentary by non-elected City Councilman Steve Mensinger, "setting the record straight", in his words. You can read the commentary HERE.
HIS "WORK PARTY"
He tells us that a group - Mensinger and his wife; some of their kids; ABLE Commander Tim Starn and his wife; City CEO Tom Hatch and his wife; Costa Mesa booster Frank Albers and Mensinger's boot-licker, Sanitary District Board member and Planning Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick - all gathered together at City Hall on a Sunday to give Hatch's new office a general cleaning-up before he moved into it. From the sound of it one would think retired City Manager Allan Roeder left the office looking like a a scene from the movie, Animal House, for goodness sake.
HE WROTE THE CHECK
According to his report, Mensinger spent $452.64 out of his own pocket on a new toilet, paint, cleaning supplies, etc. They apparently had what we used to call in the Army a good, old-fashioned G.I. Party.
FIGHTING OFF RUMORS
Mensinger felt it was important to tell the world about his efforts that day because "rumors started swirling immediately." Those rumors involved massive remodeling being done and thousands of dollars of city money being spent. I heard some of those. In fact, one of the rumors was that the new toilet installation was so botched that a city maintenance crew had to fix it the next day.
I really don't have a problem with Mensinger and his work crew helping Hatch "freshen-up" his new office. I've done the same thing myself in the past when I was beginning a new assignment. I understand...
However, what we have here is a perception problem and, in this highly-charged atmosphere created by Mensinger and his cronies on the City Council, perception means a lot.
There is the perception, amplified by this particular event, that Hatch and Starn - two highly-skilled and hard-working public servants - are in Mensinger's pocket. There is the perception that Hatch was appointed by the city council, led by Jim Righeimer and Mensinger, because he would simply be a "yes man" - and do the bidding of the council without question. There is the perception that Starn has the inside track to become the next Chief of Police in our city not because he has the resume and command experience required, but because he's in tight with Mensinger, etal. We know those perceptions exist because they are plastered all over the Daily Pilot blog comments and here, too.
DON'T THINK SO, BUT...
Personally, I don't believe either of them are dancing to Mensinger and Righeimer's tunes. I think they both are running hard just trying to keep up with unreasonable demands and a bogus policy. Unfortunately, there are more than a few folks here in town that don't share my view of this situation.
MENSINGER AND RIGHEIMER TO BLAME
We can thank Mensinger and Righeimer for that situation. They, through their actions, have created a hostile work environment at City Hall. Stories of Mensinger prowling the halls and sitting, watching people work resonate throughout City Hall. His mere presence apparently intimidates city employees. The council's avowed plan to oust at least half of the city staff just poured fuel on that fire. It is that atmosphere that fosters the kind of rumors Mensinger complains about in his commentary.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
From what I've seen of the first three months of Mensinger's tenure on the City Council, his actions speak much louder than his words. Beginning last year about this time - when he sweet-talked Katrina Foley to abandon her council seat to run for the school board, all the while denying he had any designs on her council seat - it was clear to some of us that he was just trying to move her aside so he could be appointed. And that's exactly what happened.
TOO BUSY "TEXTING" ON THE DAIS...
We see him so busy texting on the dais that he doesn't even bother to pay attention to speakers before the City Council. Not only is it unseemly, but he may, in fact, be violating the Brown Act if he's texting back and forth with other council members on the dais. He's like a little kid passing notes back and forth in elementary school. Somebody needs to rap him on the knuckles with a ruler and tell him to stop. Even better, someone needs to intercept those little love notes and read them to the public.
HE MAY BE A GREAT GUY, BUT...
Steve Mensinger may be a great guy - most of the youth football crowd apparently thinks he can walk on water - but he's just too used to commanding people to do things, or simply writing a check to get it accomplished. He's impatient with the rules in place for the protection of the residents and taxpayers of this city and seems more than willing to simply brush them aside when they present an inconvenient impediment to his plans. He needs to throttle back just a little bit and stop trying to bully his way through our government.
AND STOP WHINING!
And, he needs to quit whining about people complaining about his actions. That's straight out of the Eric Bever song book. Is he, too, going to go home and pout when he doesn't get his way, or chide a member of the audience because she's shaking her head at his comments? He's brought this on himself.