Irony, The Council Meeting & The Budget
The world is full of ironies. I planned to post much of what will follow here over the weekend, but fate conspired against me. The City of Costa Mesa web site was down the entire weekend. I'd planned to tell you about a couple new features on the site, but couldn't give you links because they didn't work. Irony...
WEB PAGE TINKERING
The city has been tinkering with the web site, HERE, trying to add features to the existing structure until they can completely re-design the site to make it more user-friendly. One of the things they've done is provide a box in the center of the home page captioned "The Latest Headlines", with frequently-updated items. The following is a screen snatch of how that looked this morning:
Now, after you've looked at that box take a gander at the white list of links above "The Latest Headlines" title. Way over on the right you'll find the word "Transparency". If you click there it will take you to a scrollable box that looked like the one below this morning. Both of these new features make this site much more user-friendly.
You've probably read my post about the fireworks issue, HERE, so I won't talk about that. However, there are a few other issues on the agenda for the City Council meeting Tuesday evening beginning in Council Chambers at 6:00 that need to be addressed.
WARRANT DETAIL AVAILABLE
First, for the first time EVER, there is now detail available for the warrants that will be approved as part of the Consent Calendar. This is an initiative by non-elected council member Steve Mensinger and it's possible he'll be sorry he opened his mouth on this one.
For example, on warrant 2366, HERE, you can learn that we apparently paid Catherine Corvi $40,000 as a settlement of a claim against the city. How do we know that? Well, her name is also listed as one of the line items under the bill from Jones & Mayer, our contract City Attorney. We paid them $137,566.18 on this warrant, too. And, since they list many names, I guess it will be possible now to figure out some of the details of lawsuits we're involved in that previously have been guarded like Fort Knox.
MORE INTERESTING NUMBERS
We paid an outfit called "1st Jon Inc." $244.51 for the rental of a couple portable toilets. We paid "Growth Partners", one of the consultants brought in to help "fix" our city, $12,500. We paid "Larry's Building Materials" $96.14 for soil amendments and $1,838.73 to Enterprise Rent A Car for undercover police cars.
On warrant 2367, HERE, we paid Air BP Aviation Services $8,821.02, probably for fuel for the ABLE helicopters. We paid $3,060.00 to Management Partners - another consultant. We paid $895.50 to Metro Car Wash for washing and detailing of police department and city vehicles. We paid $1,000 to San Pham as a donation for the Huy Pham Family. We paid Home Depot $431.72 for graffiti removal supplies. We paid Enterprise Rent A Car another $8347.53 for nine more undercover police cars. (Wonder if any of those were for the officers detailed to guard the homes of Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger after the Huy Pham suicide event?) And, we paid $9,000.00 to Four Boys New Media for three weeks consulting services. That's Bill Lobdell's outfit.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
So, what's the point here? Well, do we REALLY need to know all this detail? Do you really want to know we paid Orange Coast Trailer Supply $10.00 for a bolt, for goodness sake? How many of you are going to go over these warrants with a fine-toothed comb, looking for curious or unauthorized payments? C'mon, now... be honest...
BACK TO BUSINESS
At their meeting Tuesday, under Public Hearings, the council will probably continue the CDBG funds authorizations until June 7th. They will consider the Fireworks proposal by Righeimer.
Under Old Business they will finally complete the appointment process for several city committees.
Under New Business they will consider potential revisions to the Sign Code, including loosening up the restrictions on LED signs; technological efficiencies as recommended by the Planning Commission; a General Plan screening request to place 33 homes at the former site of the now-defunct Lincoln-Mercury automobile dealership at the corner of Harbor Blvd. and Merrimac; and may authorize staff time to research a Sex Offender Ordinance.
PUBLIC COMMENTS? WHO KNOWS?
This should be an interesting evening, and that doesn't even account for the anticipated parade of speakers before the council during Public Comments chiding them for their misguided plans to outsource half the city staff.
LONG CLOSED SESSION
The council will wrap up the evening with what will almost certainly be a long closed session meeting in which they will consider five (5) items: 1) negotiations with employee associations; 2) a law suit involving Assistant Finance Director Colleen O'Donohue; 3) a lawsuit with Orange County Director's Association; 4)a lawsuit with James, et al; and 5) a conference with legal counsel about anticipated litigation - whatever that might be.
BUDGET MEETING SCHEDULE RELEASED
Interim Director of Communications, Bill Lobdell, issued yet another Press Release today with the schedule of events for budget meetings for the next two months. You can read that .pdf file by going to the city web site and click on the link under "The Latest Headlines". It's going to be a very busy 60 days. I've provided a glimpse of the actual schedule from the .pdf file for your reading pleasure: