It's the beginning of the summer doldrums, with not a lot happening at Costa Mesa City Hall this week. The only City Council meeting of August will happen on Tuesday, August 2nd. We're told it will have a full agenda. The council voted to cancel the meeting of the 16th - not sure why.
RFP FAUCET TO BE OPENED - FINALLY
Last week we were told that "several" of the outsourcing RFPs will finally be released to the public this week. We'll believe it when we see it. Among the many unfortunate moves made by the current administration, the delay in producing the RFPs after making such a big deal of it four months ago may be among the most disappointing. Since that fateful day in March, when the layoff notices were issued, employees of the City of Costa Mesa have been looking over their shoulders. They've found themselves attacked by the leaders of this city and their sycophants as "greedy union thugs" and are working in a hostile environment caused by the ignorance of municipal governance and micro-managing by council members.
RFPS WILL CLOG THE WORK FLOW
Despite promises of frequent updates of the list of RFPs, there was a two-month gap in updating the list. It was finally updated last week after some not-too-gentle prodding. That update showed that the process has now stretched until the end of the year, and I expect those dates will slip some more as the process bogs down. If the City releases a half-dozen RFPs, the responses to those will come flooding back at about the same time, forcing the same staffers who created the RFPs to become part of the review process. It's going to be like a python eating a small dog, or, actually, several small dogs. The bulge(s) in the work flow will necessarily cause the processes to slow down.
CAN'T "FIX" PENSIONS - TOSSES PEOPLE
Of course, all of this is completely unnecessary. The only driving force for all this chaos is the political ambitions of one man - Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer. He campaigned as a "pension reformer", but can't do a thing about Costa Mesa pensions because the contracts with the bargaining units stretch beyond his term. So, the "next best thing" for him to do is flush those employees who will receive the pensions, like pushing the plunger on a toilet. So, he fabricates a fiscal crisis and cooks up the "outsourcing" fiasco. His actions have already caused many senior staffers - those with the institutional knowledge and skills developed over decades on the job - to either retire early or seek employment in a less-hostile environment elsewhere. Only Public Works Director Peter Naghavi remains from those department heads on the job a year ago.
HOSTILITY ON THE DAIS, TOO
Over the past several months, when speaker after speaker would address the folly of this council during Public Comments and while addressing specific issues before the council, Righeimer and his majority on the council either ignored the speakers or, in many instances, snapped back at the criticisms. During this time Righeimer has frequently dismissed those speakers as not being representative of the view of the majority of residents - those who can't be bothered to come speak at meetings. He apparently felt that the 12,997 votes he received last November gave him a mandate to run roughshod over the city.
CHILLY RECEPTION AT "CONCERTS IN THE PARK"
Well, last night at the Concerts In The Park in Fairview Park Righeimer may have had his eyes opened. When the Master of Ceremonies, former councilman Mike Scheafer, mentioned to the thousands of folks attending the concert that Righeimer was in the crowd that introduction was greeted by sparse applause - a few people scattered throughout the throng. One observer said, "You could hear a pin drop!"And, it is reported to me, that he also got into a shouting match with a long-time resident and community activist - a woman highly respected in the community for her tireless volunteerism and for her willingness to speak to the council on important issues. So, how's that "mandate" working out for you now, Jim?