Friday, November 18, 2011

Throttling Back A Little

ANTICIPATING THANKSGIVING
This weekend begins what is normally a big vacation time for us, so the old Cauldron will be turned down to simmer for a few days. I might post something - or not - for
the next few days. It also might take just a little longer for your comments to get posted as we do Christmas shopping.

SOMETHING TO PUT YOU IN THE MOOD

We here at A Bubbling Cauldron hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Here's a little something to get you in the spirit. Take it, boys


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Battle Of The Bell Video Available For Viewing

NOW AVAILABLE
Our friends, Dane Bora and Brad Long of Costa Mesa Television, have released the coverage of the epic "Battle of the Bell" football game between Estancia and Costa Mesa high schools that was played on Friday, November 11, 2011.

SCHEDULE FOLLOWS
Their coverage of the game, plus some bonus footage of halftime act
ivities provided by each high school, is now up and available for viewing on Channel 24 (Time Warner Cable) and Channel 99 (ATT U-verse) beginning at 6:00 p.m. this evening and subsequently on the following schedule.


STREAMING VIDEO AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK

Additionally, it will also be available on streaming video next week, but we don't know exactly when. To check to see if it's available go to the City site, HERE, then scroll down to High School Sports until you see that image, below. The game will appear under that tab on
ce it's available.
GRACIAS, AMIGOS
Thanks to Dane and Brad for this great effort to cover this wonderful event.

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Fair Board Unanimously Rescinds Tel-Phil Termination

UNANIMOUS VOTE TODAY
Sources from the meeting of the 32nd District Agriculture Association (Orange County Fair Board) today advised me that the Board voted unanimously to rescind the termination notice previously issued to four-decade swap meet operator, Tel-Phil Enterprises. Apparently Dave Ellis and Dale Dykema were absent from this meeting. Sounds to me like they were able to wet their finger, stick it in the air to see which way the wind was blowing and decided to absent themselves rather than be seen voting against the majority on the Board - but I don't know that for sure.

RFP FOR NEW VENDORS CANCELED
I'm also told that the next item on the agenda involving Requests for Proposals for a new Swap Meet operator was pulled. Naturally, since it is now irrelevant.

GOOD NEWS ALL AROUND

This is good news for Jeff and Bob Teller who own Tel-Phil, the vendors at the Orang
e County MarketPlace (swap meet) and the residents of Orange County who visit the MarketPlace each week. It also makes a new tone of conciliation between the Fair Board and those who have opposed some of their recent moves - the sale, etc. Norberto Santana, Jr., in an article in the Voice of OC, HERE, had this to say:

Fair Board Chairwoman Joyce Tucker, who took over the reigns from Ellis, said she wants her tenure to be known for peace, civility and transparency as opposed to the heated
debate, secret negotiations and controversy of the past two years.

"The sale is behind us," Tucker said. "We're trying to move forward."

A NEW ERA BEGINS
So, let's see how this plays out. I think Joyce Tucker has it right and that, perhaps, we can put this rancorous chapter in the Fairgrounds saga behind us.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Expansion of Model Airplane Site Denied

COMMISSIONERS SAY NO!
Tonight the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission, after hearing significant public input, denied the request from the Harbor Soaring Society to more than double the graded area they currently use as a "flying field" in Fairview Park. In a motion initiated by commissioner Ethan Temianka, the commissioners did approve the one-year extension of their permit and also requested that the City Council restructure the Fairview Park Citizens Adviso
ry Committee. The vote passed, 4-0.

FLIERS OUTNUMBERED

Sixteen speakers addressed the commission, the vast majority of which acknowledged that the Harbor Soaring Society is and has been a good neighbor, but they opposed the expansion of the flying field. Speakers favoring the expansion - all were fliers - were outnumbered 4 to 1.


TRUTH TO THE "PAVING" RUMOR
All the speakers had passion for Fairview Park and expressed their views convincingly. Perhaps the most provocative speaker was former Mayor Sandra Genis, who read from a document purportedly from some source within City Hall requesting the Harbor Soaring Society, on its letterhead, advise the sender whether they were in a position to pay on some kind of annual payment schedule more than $127,000 that it would cost to expand and PAVE their flying area. That message tells me that there was very good reason to worry about this paving issue in the first place. The Harbor Soaring Society rejected that request out of hand, according to one speaker.

(Current Fairview Park Flying Field)

WE'RE NOT ALWAYS WRONG HERE...
Remember that apology I wrote last week? Never mind...

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Surreal Council Meeting - Again

UNBELIEVABLE!
Sometimes I leave Costa Mesa City Council meetings just shaking my head in disbelief. Last night was one of those times. There's so much to talk about and so little space! So, with a deep sigh, here we go...


AS PREDICTED...

As mentioned in an earlier pos
t, the meeting was preceded by a special closed session to discuss labor negotiations. As I speculated earlier, this was done to accommodate hired gun Richard Kreisler. The council thought it was wiser to have the closed session before the regular meeting so Kreisler wouldn't be sitting around, twiddling his thumbs, waiting for the regular meeting to end while his $300 per hour meter is running. As it was, they managed to wrap it up and begin the regular meeting only fifteen minutes late - and without Mayor Gary Monahan, who apparently became ill and went home. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer took charge of the meeting.

PRESENTATIONS
The meeting began with some terrific presentations. The Ursini family, operators of the Newport Rib Company, was honored for all they do for the community. The organizers of the recent Woodbridge Invitational Cross Country meet was recognized and our youth ambassadors to our sister city, Wyndham, Australia, were also recognized.

PUBLIC COMMENTS
Fifteen residen
ts - many of them familiar faces - spoke during Public Comments, which began at 6:55 due to all the presentations. Concerns included the ill-advised scheme to turn Costa Mesa into a Charter City; the missing CEO report from the last meeting; legal fees; CARE ambulance charges; pensions; curiously incomplete documentation for consultant GrowthPort Partners and volunteerism. Perhaps the most amusing "presentation" was that of Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy showing up wearing the Estancia High School Eagle mascot outfit - apparently paying off a bet he made with frat-boy councilman Steve Mensinger. Righeimer took a break at 7:30 and reconvened the meeting at 7:45.

THIS IS LEADERSHIP?
As an aside, a Council Policy was created that required the council to cease all other activities at 7:00 and immediately begin any Public Hearings on the agenda. The rationale was that it wasn't fair to require applicants before the council to wait. I've disagreed with this practice because it has caused some very herky-jerky meetings in the past and, in the confusion, items get overlooked - like the CEO report at the last meeting. And, sometimes, the re-arrangement of the agenda by Monahan seemed almost vindictive at times. However, there was only one Public Hearing item which involved a General Plan amendment for a project on the Sakioka property on Sunflower Avenue. Righeimer ignored the policy and forced the Sakioka entourage to wait more than four hours - one member of his team had actually been in the auditorium since 5:00 - as the council waded through the Consent Calendar. When he finally got to it at 10:30 Righeimer made a lame joke to George Sakioka about taking a half-hour break first. I was watching - Sakioka didn't think it was funny. The issue took fifteen minutes and, after all that, Righeimer almost forgot to call on Sakioka during the hearing. For whatever reason Righeimer exercised bad judgment and chose to add insult to injury on an issue that involves a highly-respected family willing to invest hundreds of millions of development dollars in our city.

HATCH'S REPO
RT
Back to the agenda. CEO To
m Hatch presented his report beginning at 7:45 and addressed a few of the comments from earlier in the evening, including offering a VERY defensive response to Eleanor Egan's criticism of the GrowthPort Partners billings. I don't think many people felt comfortable with his "they reported directly to me" response to the criticism that there is no report of their accomplishments, only bills.

HOMELESS
TASK FORCE REPORT YANKED
Hatch also mentioned that the Homeless Task Force Report had been pulled from the agenda - that happened VERY late in the day Tuesday, to the surprise of that group - and would be brought back later. Since the staff report that had been distributed earlier seemed VERY thorough, it left some of us who observe these things VERY curious about the motivation for yanking it off the agenda.

EXPLAINING THE CONTINGENCY FUND
He told us that around $127,000 of the $960,000 contingency fund the council authorized as part of the budget had been spent and mentioned how most of it had been distributed - and corrected an error mentioned earlier about the amount contributed to KOCI.

GENERAL PLAN UPDATE RFP COMING
He mentioned that an RFP for a General Plan Update was being prepared and will be distributed in December and a contract is expected to be signed in February.

BANNING RANCH, BIKE MAP AND WORKER'S COMP

Hatch also told
us that the City had responded to the Banning Ranch EIR and that there is a new Costa Mesa Bicycle Map and Safety Guide available in City Hall and soon on the City web site. He also told us the long-delayed report on the Worker's Comp program is still being fine-tuned, which is curious since it was originally on the agenda for an earlier council meeting. He said it will be presented at a Study Session, but didn't say when.

FIRE CHIEF TOM ARNOLD AND "BATTLE OF THE BELL"
He mentioned that Tom Arnold had been appointed as Interim Fire Chief and prai
sed all involved for the highly successful "Battle of the Bell" football game and extravaganza.

CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS WITH FIREFIGHTERS
Then he di
d something I've never seen before. Hatch told the audience the details of the ongoing negotiations with the Costa Mesa Firefighters Association. That kind of information has not been divulged in the past while negotiations were underway and, quite honestly, this seemed to be a purely political move - an opinion that has become stronger now that I've heard the other side.

NEGOTIATING IN PUBLIC?
Hatch told us that the current contract with the CMFA extends until 2014 and that last year they agreed to pay 5% of the PERS costs to help with the City's budget dilemma. That agreement ended on November 5th. Hatch told us that the 5% represented about $500,000 annualized. He then told us the City had proposed that the firefighters contribute the maximum allowed by State law - 15.839%, but that was rejected and the CMFA countered with continuing the 5% through 6/30/12 and wanted to amend certain layoff policies.

THE OTHER SIDE
What he DIDN'T tell us was that, on
September 1st, the City asked for the 5% contribution for the life of the contract and CMFA asked for cost projections and other information. A week later, on the 9th, the CMFA offered to extend the 5% though February 2012. They received NO ANSWER until November 3rd - nearly two months after they made their offer.

MEETING WITH THE HIRED GUN
Hired gun Richard K
reisler has met with the CMFA, first on November 3, when the CMFA offer was re-stated, but Kreisler couldn't respond because he apparently hadn't met with the full council yet. He did mention the 15.839% contribution at that time. They met again on November 14 - at a time when the expired 5% contribution could still have been continued without a mountain of PERS paperwork - but offer to extend to February 2012 was rejected. The CMFA offered to extend the 5% through the end of the current fiscal year and requested modifications to the layoff policies as respects Engineers and Captains. The City replied that the CMFA should email Human Resources if it wanted to extend the 5%, but they rejected the modifications of the layoff policy.

OFFICIAL REQUEST
On Novemb
er 15th the CMFA, through their attorney, sent Hatch an official letter offering to extend the 5% and asking for the layoff policy changes.

CITY DECISION CO
STS $300,000
So, the City perm
itted the 5% to expire and, according to Hatch's numbers, it will cost around $300,000 through the end of this fiscal year. They could have agreed to extend it two months ago, but didn't. HERE is Joe Serna's article in the Daily Pilot this evening on this subject.


WHERE IS THE "GOOD FAITH"?
It seems to me that the CMFA has negotiated in good faith and have done so without a high-priced hired gun attorney at their side during the negotiations. In fact, contrary to some recent comments by members of the power elite in Costa Mesa, they have not had an attorney in the negotiations since 2007.

FINALLY!
At 8:00 p.m. we finally got to the Consent Calendar, which took two and a half ours
to plow through. Wendy Leece pulled the first Warrant, #2394, for discussion of legal fees. It passed 4-0.

FOUND MONEY
Steve Mensinger, in a display of ignorance that was hard to comprehend
, even for him, pulled #6, the contribution of $40,000 from OC River Park, Inc., for their mitigation efforts in part of Fairview Park. Righeimer also participated in what appeared to be a group brain burp, as they complained about Costa Mesa being a dumping ground for somebody else's mitigation! The fact is, this is like found money. A developer in Huntington Beach wanted to develop a chuck of land. In exchange for permission to do so he had to agree to "mitigate" another piece of open space - like Fairview Park. This kind of thing has been done many times in Fairview Park, which benefits us all. According to Mensinger, we're "just creating habitat you can't use - a weed patch that blooms every 7 years." I guess, in his alleged mind, if you can't stomp it down, reel it in or shoot it, it's not really wildlife. In the end, after a half-hour of aimless discussion, the council voted 3-1 to pass this issue. Righeimer voted NO. Geez!

WIDENING WEST
17TH STREET
Wendy Leece pulled #10, wh
ich involved funding to widen the far west end of 17th Street. She was concerned that this would further facilitate the Banning Ranch development and, if so, the developer should be paying for it. (Correction: I must have dozed off during this one. Eleanor Egan, not Wendy Leece, pulled this one. My apologies to the charming Ms. Egan. See her comment below.)

DUI ENFORCEMENT
She also pulled #11, th
e "Selective Traffic Enforcement Program" grant. This item had been pulled from a previous agenda by new Police Chief Tom Gazsi, who went back and massaged the grant request. This grant provides $225,856 in funding for DUI enforcement efforts. Gazsi shifted the emphasis from DUI checkpoints to Saturation Patrols, where history tells us we get more enforcement for our money. Instead of 20 checkpoints the new plan is for 10 between now and September, 2012. After some frustratingly obtuse questions from Mensinger - at one point he said, irrelevantly, that "we're borrowing money from the Chinese!" - the council approved it 4-0. I really think they opposed this because it meant overtime money for the members of the Costa Mesa Police Department, who they view as the enemy.

HUNTINGTON BEACH C
HOPPER EXTENSION
At 9:00 we got to #12, the extension of the c
ontract with the City of Huntington Beach for helicopter service. Now, you'd think this would breeze right through. Our ABLE program is dead - it only needs to be buried once the assets are sold off and the lease expires on the hangar next April - so this deal for $150,000 through 6/30/12 should have just been a rubber stamp. All the battles about ABLE and the costs have been fought and lost, or won, depending on your side of the issue. And yet Mensinger, in particular, grabbed this and shook it like a puppy with a new stuffed toy. Eventually it was approved 4-0, but not after another half-hour discussion that could have been two minutes.

TREES

At 9:30 we finally got to the first of the three new RFPs being considered for release - Tree Maintenance. The staff report on this item was 72 pages long - which made me wonder just how many trees gave their lives for it. And then Bruce Hartley lit a fuse when he told the council that 95% of the Tree Maintenance is already outsourced. More than a few of us in the audience wondered why this was generated in the first place. The handful of speakers who addressed this issue wondered the same thing. After another half hour of wasted discourse it was released.

PARKS

At 10:00 we got to #14, Park and Landscape Maintenance, which received much of the same thrashing from the Council and it only took 20 minutes to release it.

FIRE SERVICE
#15, the Fire Service RFP received hardly any discussion except for Leece's inquiry about why bother releasing it if we still have the Orange County Fire Authority proposal pending and new Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold had added a 5th alternative - to possibly re-organize the Costa Mesa Fire Department. The RFP was released on a 4-0 vote.

As mentioned above, we finally got to the only Public Hearing at 10:30, which was passed, 4-0, in fifteen minutes.

SMOKING IN PARKS

New Business #1, the Smoking in Public Parks, etc. came up for the second reading. It passed with almost no discussion in 10 minutes.



TEWINKLE PARK ATHLETIC COMPLEX TASK
FORCE
At 10:55 we got to what was almost a surreal event - the selection of members for the TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex T
ask Force. The staff report contained names of those nominated by their user groups and homeowner associations, which basically left only two positions for the Council to select - the "At Large" member of the community and an alternate. There were five people who had applied for the job and I thought this was going to be a no-brainer - especially with Mensinger's friend (or maybe former friend) Gordon Bowley on the list. He's been active in sports-related functions for years and seemed like a perfect fit for the at-large slot. NOPE! Out of nowhere Mensinger began throwing out names of people he thought should be considered - but who had not applied! Righeimer chimed in, stating that some folks had also contacted him and wanted to know how to apply - after the deadline! Of course, his sympathy on this issue didn't surprise me - he was appointed to the Planning Commission 7 months after he moved to town after the deadline for applicants had passed. Again, rules are for somebody else.

APPLICATION PERIOD EXTENDED
Anyhow, this discussion went round and round and included Mensinger wanting to re-task the Task Force. Fortunately, contract City Attorney Tom Duarte cut him off at the knees on that one or we'd still be there. Finally it was decided to re-open the application period for another week, then re-visit this issue at the next council meeting. Interim Communication Director Bill Lobdell sent out a press release this morning announcing the extension until November 22nd. Also, Eleanor Egan again reminded the council that the deed to the property on which this facility is located prohibits such a development. Duarte was instructed to investigate that claim. The motion had passed 3-1, with Leece voting NO.

NOT SEEING THE "RIGHT NAMES"
This is yet another example of this council not seeing "the right names" on a
pplications for committees and task forces, so they just want to change the rules so they can stack the groups with their sycophants. You will recall this same thing happened recently when, after a huge public outreach for candidates for several committees, at the council meeting they just arbitrarily decided to reduce the size of the committees and put off placing people on them until the spring recruitment period. Again, the rules are for someone else.

THESE GUYS CREATING A CHARTER?
An aside here - these are the guys who WILL be creating the Charter for this city between now and June. This should scare the heck out of every member of the public. The responsibility for creating a Charter - the second biggest event in the history of our city following its creation in the 1950s - is a process that simply should not be rushed and, more important than that, not be entrusted to political opportunists with visions of grandeur and personal gain. This is going to be like sending four foxes into the hen house, drooling all the way. Think "The City of Bell" on steroids.

CELL TOWERS
The last item on the agenda, the issue of Telecommunications Facilities in the Publ
ic Right-Of-Way, was given a short discussion, with Righeimer leaving the room because he's involved in cell tower sites. After the installation of the tower in my neighborhood a couple months ago - it looks like a suppository on top of a telephone pole - the Council agreed that something had to be done and approved staff time to review and recommend a policy on this issue.

LEECE

Leece led off the comments by suggesting that the council consider creating a Veteran's Affairs Committee, to coordinate and focus the City's efforts to assist and recognize our troops. (Eric Bever later chided her on this issue)


MENSINGER

Mensinger began his comments by suggesting that we m
ay now finally put the "urban legend" of the ABLE helicopter program to bed. He said the Town Hall last week was "interesting", but that we should leave race out of it - referring to the fliers that were distributed. And, of course, he raved about the Battle of the Bell festivities.

RIGHEIMER

Then Righeimer launched into his usual late-night rant, starting by saying that "outsourcing is going very well" - which is a crock! Not a single RFP has been evaluated yet and they still have not released all of those planned for release. He harshly criticized the Firefighters for their "unconscionable"contract. He said we had been "hoodwinked" by the fire department. He raved about the benefits of a Charter City, and told us we WILL see it on the June ballot - even though contract City Attorney Tom Duarte has not yet brought the information back to the council. See, facts don't matter - especially when they get in the way of his plans. He described it as a "very routine" situation. Then, in the most self-agrandizing bit of puffery I can recall, he said he would give the city a "B+" on its report card. I sure hope he didn't hurt himself patting himself on the back!

BEVER
Eric Bever wrapped up this long, long evening by criticizing Leece for, amon
g other things, "flag waving" with her Veterans Affairs Committee suggestion, criticizing her Town Hall because of the translations provided - despite the fact that he was not there. He was using second-hand information. His final contribution to the enlightenment of the populace was to have a blog web address placed on the screen and encouraging everyone to read it because, "in contrast to some of our other local blogs, it's actually factual and quite honest." It will come as no surprise that you did not see "A Bubbling Cauldron" up there on the screen. Nope, you saw the link to a site that is primarily an attack site, focusing on trying to discredit what you read here. The author is an Irvine resident - a good buddy of Lobdell, by the way - who was at one time a writer of some renown. Those days passed after he left the OC Weekly - which he co-founded - under a cloud after getting into a snit with the new owners and then failing in a new alternate weekly in Long Beach. He blames that on the economy. Since he has no dog in this Costa Mesa hunt, it's easy to speculate why he might have decided to throw himself into the fray. My suspicion is that is has to do with dollars - I'd love to know who's bankrolling his efforts.

LAST MEETING OF THE YEAR ON 12/6
The next council meeting - the final regularly scheduled meeting of the year, will be held on Tuesday, December 6th. One can only cringe at what might await us at that one.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Full Slate For Parks & Recreation Commission Meeting Wednesday

FINAL REGULAR MEETING THIS YEAR
Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 16th, the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission will hold it's final regular meeting of the year beginning at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers. (There is supposedly a joint meeting with Newport Beach folks to discuss the re-landscaping of the median along Irvine Avenue where more than 100 eucalyptus trees were removed following the death of a motorist when one of the trees crushed her car.)

PACKED AGENDA
The agenda is packed for this meeting. In addition to the requests to remove three trees at three different locations, it also includes discussions on: (click on the title fo
r the staff report)
The Community Gardens

Field Use and Allocation Policy Recommendations
Fairview Park Annual Report

Landscape/Beautification Award Program
Parks Project Manager's Report

GRADING A NEW FLYING FIELD/P
ARKING LOT?
However, the biggie on this agenda is the first one listed under New Business:

Renewal of the User Agreement with the Harbor Soaring Society and Review of the Flying Field Improvements at Fairview Park.

WHY THE "IMPROVEMENT"
This item would seem to be fairly routine except for the part where the Harbor Soari
ng Society, which has flown their aircraft at Fairview Park for three decades, is requesting to more than double the size of the flying field - the flat, graded surface from which gliders and powered airplanes are presently launched.

ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN, ON AGAIN

You will rec
all that I recently raised the question, based on two separate inquiries/concerns, about the possibility of part of this area being paved-over and used for overflow parking for events at Estancia High School. I wrote about those concerns, then was assured by city staffers that NO plans were in the works to perform that kind of work - so I wrote an apology. That apology may have been premature.
"IMPROVEMENT" MAKES ME CURIOUS

When I read the staff report on this item and saw the proposed expansion to create a new flying field parallel with and contiguous to the old one - the combination of which will
accommodate parking for AT LEAST two hundred cars - I got even more curious about this plan. The image above was provided by City Staff and will be part of a PowerPoint presentation Wednesday evening. You can see the location and size of this proposal. The staff report tells us that the Harbor Soaring Society will pay for all costs associated with this grading through donations. I wonder where those "donations" are coming from?

MY SITE VISIT
So, instead of jumping
off this cliff again without a parachute, I jumped, instead, into my car and drove across town to the end of Canyon Drive, beside the Waldorf School, to see the site myself. While there I chatted with several men who had come to the location to fly their electric airplanes. I asked them about the proposed expansion. They were surprised that approvals had not been given yet, since it was their understanding that it was a "done deal" and the grading was supposed to have begun in October. No grading has yet been done.

CAT'S OUT OF THE BAG
As I was getting into my car to leave two of the men continued to talk about this
planned "improvement" and chuckled about it because they "knew" that "they" - I assume they meant some officials - planned to use this nice, big, flat graded area for event parking and were using the approval of the expansion of the flying field area to get it done.

MY QUESTIONS
So, here's my question: Based o
n the Fairview Park Master Plan, under what circumstances may ANY portion of the Park, except for the designated parking lots, be used for vehicle parking? If it is NOT permitted, what are the penalties for violating that prohibition?

IT'S A MATTER OF TRUST

Why do I ask these questions? Well, it's a matter of trust. I don't trust the current City Council to follow the rules on most issues and this one is just the potential violation du jour. Quite honestly, this kind of shenanigan is precisely why I don't trust them to create a City Charter - which is a subject for another time.

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Of Trucks, Garages And The City Council Meeting Agenda

PLANNING COMMISSION ASKS FOR STAFF TIME
OK, before we launch off into the discussion of Tuesday's City Council agenda, some unfinished business. The Planning Commission voted to request staff time to work on two items covered in the previous post - Commercial Vehicles parked on city streets and Garage Conversions. It was VERY clear from the discussion of the former that Colin McCarthy wants to expand a city-wide prohibition on parking of large commercial vehicles to include work trucks owned by small businessmen. And, although the staff report for the Garage Conversion subject was aimed at apartments, he expanded it to include ALL garages in the city - including yours. Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick, busily fondling his new moustache, voted NO on this one. It will be interesting to see if the council, probably at their meeting on December 6th, will go along with these issues.

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CITY COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA

The City Council meeting Tuesday, November 15th, is going to be very interesting - to say the very least.

CLOSED SESSION SHIFTED TO A "SPECIAL" MEETING AT 5:00
First, a change late in the day Monday announced that what had been scheduled as a Closed Session meeting at the end of the council meeting on the original agenda has been moved to 5:00 - ahead of the scheduled meeting at 6:00. One can only assume this was done to accommodate somebody's schedule - maybe our high-priced hired gun, Richard Kreisler. That's OK with me - we're paying him over $300 per hour, so I don't want him sitting there in council chambers while the rest of the meeting is conducted and his meter is spinning.

ELITEST AND CONDESCENDING!
As an aside, just to give you a flavor for how the current power elite feel about city employees, Colin McCarthy, in his role as President of the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association, crowed in a recent letter to his membership about the City hiring Kreisler and used the following statement, "The unions are represented by experienced, highly paid, negotiators. The City is normally represented by a staff member--the Director of Administrative Services. Putting aside issues about potential conflicts of interest, that’s like Elmer Fudd negotiating against the entire team from LA Law!" Talk about an arrogant, condescending attitude! And this man will almost certainly be running for City Council next year.

WARRANTS SHOW LEGAL PAYMENTS
Once the regular meeting gets going - no guarantee that it will start at 6:00
now - the Consent Calendar contains some interesting stuff again. As always, the Warrants provide a wealth (pun intended) of information. You can read #2394 HERE and #2395 HERE. In 2394 you will find that we paid the law firm of Jones Day $80,357.00 and Hanson Bridgett $4,968.69. So far, none of the November Warrants contain the payments to Jones and Mayer so I expect we'll see a BIG payment to them in the next batch next month.

GRANT FO
R DUI ENFORCEMENT
Number 11 in the Consent Calendar is a resolution authorizing the application and acceptance of a grant for "Selective Traffic Enforcement Program" in the amount of $225, 856.00. You can read about what that's for HERE. Here's a hint - it includes lots of DUI checkpoints and targeted enforcement actions to reduce traffic problems. As you may recall, Costa Mesa officers are regularly recognized for high achievement in DUI enforcement.

HUNTINGTON BEACH CHOPPER CONTRACT EXTENSION

Item #12, HERE, is an extension of the helicopter support from the City of Huntington Beach through June 30, 2012 in an amount not to exceed $150,000. It's not ABLE, but it's better than nothing.

RFP FOR TREE MAINTENANCE

Item #13 is a new RFP for the outsourcing of Tree Maintenance. You can read it HERE.

RFP FOR PARK AND LANDSCAPE
Item #14 is another
new RFP for the outsourcing of Park and Landscape activities. You can read that one HERE.

RFP FOR FIRE SERVICE
Item #15 is an RFP for Fire Services, HERE, which is designed to includ
e the possibility of privatization of the Fire Service in our city. Unfortunately, the Staff Analysis by our new Interim Fire Chief, Tom Arnold, was not attached to the staff report as I prepare this just before midnight Monday. That's very distressing, since I imagine he has some very significant input to make on this subject. We can only hope it is attached to the agenda for the meeting Tuesday.

RFP TRACKING CHART
If you're interested in checking on the status of ALL the recently released RFPs you can do so on the chart available on the City web site, HERE.

SPITTERS NEEDN'T WORRY

After one Public Hearing, the next item is Old Business #1, the second reading of the Smoking Ordinance, HERE. You'll recall that Steve Mensinger pulled the prohibition of smokeless tobacco from the ordinance. Guess his buddies that want to run the TeWinkle Park Sports Complex want their teams to be able to spit and drool to their heart's content.

HOMELESS TASK FORCE REPORT
New Business #1 is the report from the Costa Mesa Homeless Task Force, which you can read HERE. This group expected to finish their assignment a couple months ago, but changes in leadership and the complexity of the subject caused it to move slowly. When you review their report you'll find some excellent progress has been made. Chair Jeff Mathews and the rest of the task force should be commended for their efforts so far.

TEWINKLE PARK ATHLETIC COMPLEX TASK FORCE

New Business #2 is
the appointments to the TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex Task Force, HERE. The list of interested parties is impressive and I'm told some conversations have already begun, but not without some sparks caused by the designated vendor representative from Big League Dreams, LLC. This is going to be a VERY interesting process since it appears that the majority on the council already has it's mind made up on this subject. That's what happens when you conduct city business in a bar.

CELL TOWERS
The final item on the agenda, New Business #3, is Telecommunications facilities in the public right-of-way, HERE. I'll be interested to see if Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer recuses himself because he's in the business of selling cell sites. This issue came up because of a cell tower installed recently about a block from my home on the Eastside of town. This image is a photo of that tower.

COUNCIL MEMBER COMMENTS - ALWAYS AN ADVENTURE

We just never know these days what kind of bombshell one of the
council members might drop during the Council Members' Reports, Comments and Suggestions section, which is scheduled at the very tail end of the meeting. You'll recall from previous reports, sometimes they get around to this segment after almost everyone in the audience has departed for their beds - around midnight or later. However, your trusty servant will be there to listen and report.

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