Voice Of OC Exposes Righeimer
Today, the morning of the scheduled special Budget Briefing at City Hall, I found an entry on the Voice of OC blog by Managing Editor Norberto Santana, Jr., - shown here with Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit at the recent Feet To The Fire forum - of great interest.
In an article titled, "Costa Mesa's Curious Math", HERE, he discusses three separate numbers that have been bounced around by officials in our city that just don't ring true. When you read the piece you'll understand why.
Let me dispense with the last number in Santana's report first - 9%. That's the number Wendy Leece has said she's paying for her PERS retirement contribution. It turns out that she may be working with faulty information - or she misinterpreted the information provided. I expect some kind of public announcement clarifying her situation soon.
RIGHEIMER'S ELECTION VICTORY SPIN
The second item discusses Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer's claim in his biography on the city web site that he received 64% of the votes in the last election. As you read the piece you'll find that he's playing games with numbers and highly-respected current and former registrars of voters reject his portrayal of his performance. Santana quotes Conny McCormack, a retired LA County Registrar of Voters as stating very simply, "It's made up numbers". According to Santana, when confronted with the numbers "Righeimer acknowledged that his math might not be entirely clear." This misstatement of important numbers is a habit Righeimer has developed over the years, which becomes more and more clear each day.
BOGUS PENSION PROJECTIONS
The final set of numbers also involves Righeimer. That is the $25 million that he and others claim will be the city's annual payment to fund employee pensions in 2015-2016. Righeimer has made a very big deal about this and uses this number as the cornerstone of his plan to outsource more than half the city jobs.
RIGHEIMER WAY, WAY OFF
As Santana points out, this number doesn't jibe with new CalPERS estimates delivered to the city. You can read the actual numbers in Santana's article, but they are half the number Righeimer has been using as his primary outsourcing tool - the meat cleaver he's been wielding lately.
Santana quotes Righeimer, when acknowledging the difference, as saying, "I work in bigger numbers of magnitude and staff comes in and drills it down." So, I guess what he's saying is, "I make up numbers and then see if the staff can prove me wrong." Righeimer goes on, according to Santana, noting that "all pension estimates - including CalPERS are both political and financial calculations." He said, when referring to the actuarials, "They're all guessing anyways."
RIGHEIMER IS A LIAR!
Based on the quotations contained in Santana's article, in my opinion there really is no other way to say this - Jim Righeimer is a flat-out liar when it comes to important, life-altering, statistics. He makes them up to suit his purposes and, I guess, hopes nobody will challenge them. It's easy to understand how he managed to ride a division of SunCal Companies into bankruptcy with that kind of cavalier attitude about important fiscal realities.
BUDGET BRIEFING MAY CLEAR IT UP
Today, beginning at 4:30 in City Council Chambers, a Budget Briefing will be held to provide, hopefully, some REAL numbers for the council and residents to consider. There will be a couple "experts" on hand to guide us through the CalPERS numbers and get our fiscal house in order. We can only hope that these will not be fabricated, like those Righeimer has been trying to foist off on folks, so we can get to the real nut of our fiscal situation.
WE ALL SHOULD BE CONCERNED
I think it's important for all observers to understand that Jim Righeimer is a self-serving political opportunist who will make up numbers and fabricate events - the DUI checkpoint fiasco and the stinkeye affair - to suit his purposes. He's not going to let the facts of issues interfere with his plans. Santana's article only amplifies this character flaw - one that should make every single resident in our city very nervous about his agenda.