Update On Tuesday's Council Meeting
Last night's Costa Mesa City Council meeting, which I mentioned in my previous entry, can be viewed in its entirety via streaming video HERE. I've extracted a few clips from that meeting to save you just a little time looking for them.
STIFLING AND STIFF-ARMING DISSENT
Last night was very disturbing, as I mentioned before. Not only did it become clear that the gloves are off as far as Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger are concerned, but that part time, part time councilman Eric Bever is prepared to join the effort to turn our city into a dictatorship.
THEY WANT IT BOTH WAYS
Righeimer and Mensinger demonstrated their disdain for those residents who take the time to study issues and then step to the speaker's podium to present their views to the council - a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. It is one of the great ironies from last night's meeting that Mensinger griped about too few residents getting involved in municipal business, then chides and dismisses those who do.
BEVER WANTS TO MUZZLE LEECE
At the very end of the meeting Bever requested CEO Tom Hatch to have staff research what other cities do on the subject of just who can place an item on the agenda of council meetings. His meaning was absolutely transparent - he's looking for a way to keep Wendy Leece from being able to serve those thousands of people who voted for her by requiring more than one member to sign off on items to be considered by the council. That initiative, along with the obvious willingness of Mayor Gary Monahan to stifle free speech and similar indications from Righeimer and Mensinger, tell us that this city is on the verge of being governed by a junta.
STREET SWEEPER FOLLOW-UP
Retired Planning Department executive Perry Valantine asked the council about the rumor around town about the city working with the Costa Mesa Sanitary District to take over the city's street sweeping operations. Today we have had confirmed that talks are, indeed, underway with the Sanitary District to do just that. In fact, it is my understanding that those conversations - quite heated at times - took place yesterday afternoon. So, when Monahan said no such effort was underway he was either lying or is so out of the loop that he didn't know. It is our understanding that Righeimer was at the meeting in question.
CIRCUMVENTING THE COURT
This is a way for Righeimer and his cronies to circumvent the injunction - by contracting with another public agency to perform services in the city. However, the Sanitary District has no street sweepers and, it is our understanding, Costa Mesa's equipment no longer meets environmental quality standards, but are grandfathered in. If another entity takes over this operation it will have to purchase all new, compressed natural gas equipment to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Sanitary District would very likely outsource this job itself - maybe to CR&R, their contract waste hauler. This, of course, violates the spirit of the injunction. Remember me mentioning that you can't trust these guys? This is precisely why.
SOME LINKS FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE
Here are a few links for your viewing pleasure. As mentioned some time ago, viewing these slices of the city streaming video feed may require the downloading of Microsoft Silverlight software. It's free and takes up almost no space on your computer. If you have trouble downloading and/or viewing these clips, go the Microsoft site and download the software.
This clip is the entire presentation by soft-spoken resident Tamar Goldman - the one I quoted most of verbatim in the last entry. I thought you should see it for yourself.
This clip is the poignant presentation to the City Council by Terry Koken, the resident that Monahan tried to stifle at the last meeting. As you'll see, he is so angry at one point that he can almost not speak
VALANTINE'S CONFLICT QUESTION
This clip is of Perry Valantine as he asks about the apparent conflict of interest Steve Mensinger has with the Pop Warner issue. As previously mentioned, Mensinger was the ramrod for this issue last night, even though he is no longer the president of the organization. Clearly, he was in charge - apparently part of his "mentoring program" for the new president, Chris Cox. You'll hear contract City Attorney Tom Duarte tell him that Mensinger has no conflict, nor does Righeimer. Listen VERY closely at the very end of the clip and you'll hear Mensinger mutter "what connections" into his open microphone.
RIGHEIMER RIPS HELEN
In this very short clip you'll hear Righeimer rip into Costa Mesa City Employee's Association President Helen Nenedal at the beginning of a much longer, vitriolic tirade
In this final clip you'll hear Mensinger tell the world that he's not going to forget what he feels is an inappropriate inclusion of student athletes in the political battles. Of course, playing fast and loose with the truth, he fails to mention during his rant that it was he and Righeimer who brought those young men into the battle last year during the campaign and who have continued to use them as pawn in their little war ever since. He should be directing that hostility inward.
STAVELEY WAS RIGHT ON THE MONEY
Our city is in deep trouble with these men in charge. They have cut public safety to the bone and beyond and their creation of a hostile workplace has chased many - now almost too many to count - wonderful employees away to other jurisdictions. We're losing experienced police officers like someone left the tap open - men and women in whom the City had invested many years of training. Former Chief Steve Staveley had it exactly right when, in the text of his letter to the men and women of the CMPD the day he left, he wrote of the majority on the City Council: "It is safe to say that the council majority – does not know more about the subject of leadership, or leading police departments or serving as an elected than do I – and yet they do not listen, they do not understand and continue to blunder along in complete ignorance and incompetence." In that same letter he later wrote: "I have never, however, seen a council such as this one. They lack skill, training, education, knowledge, they fail to study (or at least learn). The majority either lies or are so lacking in the necessary skills that they actually believe the junk they say. They act as if they are owners of the business that is the municipal government of the City of Costa Mesa, but they are not, they are merely trustees of these public assets both human and physical and they fail in that role completely. They are in my opinion incompetent, unskilled and unethical." Those last three words ring like church bells as we watch this team destroy our proud city.