Sanitary District Fireworks (Amended*)
Except for the great community "coming together" event - the placement of the Snoopy House on the lawn at City Hall - it's been a pretty slow news week so far. (Grand Lighting event at 5:30 today) That gives us a chance to look around and see what's happening in other arenas of local interest.
SANITARY DISTRICT MEETING THURSDAY
On Thursday, December 15th, the Costa Mesa Sanitary District will hold its final regular meeting of the year, and this one promises to be a doozy. You can click HERE, then on "Dec. 2011" to reach the agenda report for this meeting. That 179 page (!) pdf document is FULL of interesting stuff.
HEATED MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING
For example, if you scroll down to page 20 you'll find yourself in the middle of the minutes from the previous meeting on November 30, 2011. On that page, which is page 9 of the minutes, begins a discussion of an agenda item titled, "Incompatibility of Office between Costa Mesa Sanitary District and Mesa Consolidated Water District", which apparently was placed on the agenda by Director Art Perry. If you read the summary of the discussion you'll find an account of what reportedly was a very rancorous debate. Apparently Director Jim Fitzpatrick felt this was an attack on him for holding both the Sanitary District seat and his Costa Mesa Planning Commission seat simultaneously.
The discussion went round and round and resulted in the broader issue being placed on the agenda for Thursday's meeting. The rancor also apparently spread through the Directors Comments section, which immediately follows this item in the agenda. It makes for fun reading.
LEGAL OPINION IGNORED?
Then, if you scroll further down the pdf file to page 176 you will find a year-old memo from District Legal Counsel Alan Burns to the Board addressing this question in detail. As I read that memo it seems clear to me that Fitzpatrick may, in fact, be violating the rules by holding both seats simultaneously. And, as I read the memo, if he is challenged the Sanitary District seat would have to be forfeited. It seems clear that Fitzpatrick had this memo last year - before he accepted the appointment to the Planning Commission.
MISSING THE FUN THURSDAY
I'd suggest we all convene at the Board Room at the Sanitary District offices on Thursday to see how this plays out, but that room is way, way too small for any kind of public turnout. They have space for only a half-dozen visitors in that room. I guess we'll just have to wait for reports from the scene to see how this is going to shake out.
Some will recall that then-termed-out councilman Gary Monahan held seats on the Sanitary District and City Council simultaneously for a couple years. Based on the memo from Burns, he WAS permitted by state law to hold both simultaneously. (This is corrected from the original text.)