Tonight's Council Meeting Could Get Rowdy
Today, Tuesday, is going to be a very interesting day for the residents of Costa Mesa. This is the day when the first real City Council meeting since the disastrous events of March 17th and 18th will take place. This is the first time the residents will have a chance to stand and address the members of the City Council on the subject of outsourcing since nearly half the city staff received 6-month layoff notices and young Huy Pham leaped to his death from the City Hall roof. Maybe someone will ask Steve Mensinger what a "Report for Proposals" is. We all know he meant to write "Request for Proposals" in his commentary in the Daily Pilot last week. But, then, close is good enough for these guys...
QUESTIONS FOR MONAHAN AND RIGHEIMER?
This will be the first time for folks to address Mayor Gary Monahan following his despicable behavior on St. Patrick's Day, when he chose personal profit over his responsibilities as the mayor of our city. It is also the first time residents and employees will have a chance to let Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer know how they feel about his face being all over the media since the middle of last month, misrepresenting the facts of our financial condition so he can implement his marching orders sent down from "God" - Scott Baugh - and the rest of the Orange County Republican Party honchos.
IT'S WAR! NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!
While we're speaking about Righeimer, just in case you've missed it, this image is from the OC GOP web site. Any doubt you might have had about their attitude about Costa Mesa and our employees should be gone when you read that banner. It's clear that they, and Righeimer, consider themselves at war with the Costa Mesa employees and are pulling all the stops to win that war.
RIGHEIMER AMONG THE FAITHFUL
If you go to the web site, HERE, and see that banner you can click on the little red box and see a video clip. I've embedded it here to save you the trouble:
3 MINUTES OF B.S.
This is 3 minutes of Righeimer at the recent fundraiser/launch party for Colin McCarthy's Costa Mesa Taxpayer's Association, held at Monahan's bar a couple weeks ago. As you watch that video you'll hear and see Righeimer portray members of the Costa Mesa Police department as monsters, recounting something his 6-year-old daughter said to him apparently after seeing his photo on the ad trailer the CMPD was towing around town - the one with the circle/slash over it. He tells the room of supporters that she said, "Daddy, are they going to come into my room tonight?" It's as though we're right back in the fall last year!
MORE MIXED MESSAGES
Then you will hear him tell the crowd, "Let's keep the rhetoric down.", but goes on to fan the flames of discontent. While talking about those nasty pensions and the employees who have them he says, "We'd all have taken the deal, let's be honest." And yet he's going after the employees as though they were some kind of thieves in the night, trying to raid the municipal coffers. Yeah, Jim... let's keep the rhetoric down, by all means.
It's going to be the same old fabrications from him and his pals. They are making up numbers that support their plan to get rid of the pensions - by getting rid of the people who will draw them.
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG?
Fortunately, today Joe Serna in the Daily Pilot finally shines some light on this issue. In his piece HERE, titled, "Finance officials: High pension estimates are subjective" he opens by telling us that the pension cost estimates Righeimer and his buddies "are using to rationalize their dramatic restructuring and layoffs efforts hinge almost entirely on a single, negotiable premise." That's right... the numbers are bogus.
Serna goes on to quote Budget and Research Officer Bobby Young, referring to his 5-year projections provided to the council earlier, as stating, "It's an assumption. It's subjective, because if employees are requested to, if they come to the table, it would reduce future costs." Unfortunately, the numbers the council demanded of Young could only be achieved by making assumptions - very conservative assumptions - that the employees WOULD NOT come to the table and negotiate a continuation of what they are currently paying. That is a false premise...
NOBODY HAS ASKED THEM...
And, the most interesting part of this scenario is that nobody has asked the employee bargaining units if they are willing to sit down and talk about this issue. Nope, the numbers demanded by the council and presented by Young play right into their plans, so they're not about to negotiate with the employees - they're just going to dump them all eventually.
CLOSED SESSION ABOUT BARGAINING UNITS
At the close of the meeting tonight there is a closed session scheduled and one item on the agenda for that section of the meeting is a discussion with CEO Tom Hatch and Administrative Services Director Steve Mandoki (who received HIS 6-month layoff notice two weeks ago, too) about the employee bargaining units.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS COULD BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT
Rumor has it that the meeting tonight - theoretically a short one based only on the published agenda - is going to be playing to an overflow house, including a very strong police presence to maintain order. I fully expect dozens, if not more, residents and employees stand to ask questions of, and make comments to, the council. It will be interesting to see if Righeimer simply dismisses them with a wave of his hand as he did a couple meetings ago as, "just employees". We'll see...
PLEASE MIND YOUR MANNERS
If you attend the council meeting tonight please keep it civil. I won't be surprised if there is very little tolerance for rowdy behavior this time around. That almost guarantees that former mayor Sandra Genis will get tossed from the meeting - she just can't stop chatting. If you're going to ask questions or make comments, don't be rude, crude or insulting to the council. While they certainly deserve it, bad behavior will only get you tossed from the meeting and your chance to express yourself will be lost. I remind you that Allan Mansoor had Benito Acosta dragged bodily from the council chambers and arrested a few years ago.
"WORKING GROUPS" A BROWN ACT VIOLATION?
Almost forgot... I've asked Tom Hatch and City Attorney Tom Duarte to look into the probability that the City Council Working Groups are, in fact, "legislative bodies" as defined by Section 54952 (b) of the Brown Act. If so, the way the meetings are being conducted violate the act. You can look it up if you wish. I've provided a link to the text of the Brown Act over on the right side of the page. As of the close of business Monday there had been no response, but I think I'll hear later today.