Here We Go Again
Ah, once again, neighbors, it's time for another Costa Mesa City Council meeting. You will recall the last one - on September 6/7 - lasted from 6 p.m. on Tuesday until 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday and was laced with controversy and hostility. It won't surprise me if we get more of the same this time around. I've made a pass at the agenda for tonight's meeting and find plenty to chew on, depending on how the council decides to "manage" it. The fun begins at 6:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall.
WI-FI NOW AVAILABLE IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS
A note for you high-tech observers. The council chambers is now wired for wi-fi. Use password "cmcouncil" to access that system for your smartphones and Ipads.
In the Consent Calendar section - which will be passed with one vote unless somebody yanks an item for individual discussion - includes some of the most interesting issues. Before I talk about some of those, though, be advised that one of the two Warrants that will be approved includes a payment to Jones and Mayer - our outsourced contract City Attorney - of $110,194.66. That's slightly less than the most recent previous months, but still spinning that counter at a rate much faster than anticipated when the budget was prepared. The City has begun providing, as part of the CEO's E-Briefing each week, a breakdown showing the amount of legal fees allocated to the General Fund (the budget) and which are applied to the Self-insurance Fund.
RFPS TO BE CONSIDERED?
Also on the Consent Calendar are three outsourcing RFPs - Jail Services, HERE, Video Production Services, HERE and Building Inspection Services, HERE. I don't really expect those to be voted on as part of the Consent Calendar. I expect each will be "pulled" for separate discussion, which may take awhile since so much is at stake.
For example, the Staff Report on the Jail Services RFP is 76 pages long! Those who think every council member will read every word of that report, please raise your hands. Yeah, me neither. We can barely get a quorum these days without expecting them to do their jobs, too.
WILL THEY DISCUSS THEM, OR NOT?
It's going to be very interesting to see what kind of discussions, if any, are generated by these reports. The council majority may simply just decide to release them to the public and see what comes back in response. We already know there will likely be responses to the Jail Services RFP - there were two to the previous version, which was recalled when somebody finally decided to follow the rules.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE LAYOFF NOTICES?
Most of the original 6-month layoff notices issued on March 17th were extended to the middle of November. Considering that these three RFP's won't be going out for proposal until the third week of September, it's unrealistically optimistic to expect responses will be received before the end of October, which leaves only a couple weeks for the City to evaluate them and make decisions before that layoff date rolls around. Every time I begin thinking that the City can't find any further ways to screw-up this process, Bingo!, they do.
JOINT COUNCIL/RDA SESSION TO CONSIDER STATE EXTORTION
Following the Consent Calendar the Council will morph into a joint session with the Redevelopment Agency to consider three issues required by new state legislation that extorts money from municipalities in exchange for their ability to retain their Redevelopment Agencies. They then morph back to the City Council for the remainder of the agenda.
Under Public Hearings they will consider three items of special interest.
The first is an ordinance modifying the municipal code relating to residential second units, Granny units and accessory apartments, HERE. The 27 page staff report outlines the particulars, but one thing that caught my eye was that the new ordinance reduces the number of residential lots permitted to erect second units from 100% of all residential lots to 40%. If you're concerned, read the staff report.
NEW SIGN REGULATIONS
The second is an ordinance dealing with sign regulations, HERE. Several VERY significant changes are being proposed, including a reduction in height of free standing signs from 25 feet to 12 feet and a modification of the definition of mural or supergraphic signs which may make some vendors more than a little unhappy.
ON-LINE RECREATION REGISTRATION
The third is a resolution adopting an on-line recreation registration system use fee, HERE. This one drags our recreation registration into the 21st Century and has a dazzling fee configuration and some questionable security issues.
NAMING A PARK FOR JACK HAMMETT
Near the end of the meeting the council will consider the re-naming of an existing park for former Mayor Jack Hammett, HERE. Among the parks being considered are The Farm Sports Complex, Brentwood Park, Del Mesa Park and Civic Center Park - the potential home of a new Central Library.
WATCHING AND LEARNING
I don't expect this meeting to stretch until tomorrow, but one just never knows with this mob. Among the interesting things to watch for will be how many times Steve Mensinger leaves the auditorium during the session. We can't really expect him to go without outside communication via text and phone calls, can we? And, council watchers will be curious to see if Eric Bever finally shows up for this one. I hope to make it to this meeting, but will report on it whether I'm there in person or not.