I'm Back And Ready To Rumble!
TOOK MY OWN ADVICE
Didja miss me? I took my own advice to you, http://abubblingcauldron.blogspot.com/2012/01/its-that-time-of-year-again.html, and took a few days to visit the magnificent elephant seal colony just north of Hearst Castle on Highway 1. Now is "prime time", with thousands of those critters on the bluff for easy viewing, including at least 1,000 pups born within the past couple weeks. The "Big Show" continues through February. There's still time for you to make the trip - you'll never forget it.
I PASSED ON "SHILL-FEST"
Having my priorities firmly in mind, I decided not to hang around here for the shill-fest conducted by Jim Righeimer, Steve Mensinger and their chief shill, Colin McCarthy, last Thursday evening. In a gathering sponsored by McCarthy's Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association ( an OC GOP front group) and billed as a "panel discussion" of Righeimer's Charter scheme, from reports from the scene, it was simply a political rally for Mensinger and McCarthy - rumored to soon be endorsed by the OC GOP's grand pooba, Scott Baugh - and our completely ineffective Assemblyman, Allan Mansoor.
SMALL CROWD HEARD HATCH...
Stringers who attended the meeting reported to me that fewer than 100 people attended. Apparently City CEO Tom Hatch briefly discussed the budget, including the "unfunded liability" portion of the City's financial distress - then left.
Reports tell me that Interim Communication Director Bill Lobdell briefed the "crowd" about transparency and the new City web site, which is due to go online soon.
I'm told that Mansoor hyped the most recent initiative to limit union political contributions that may be on the ballot - and attempted to make himself look like some kind of a campaign finance reformer. What a joke!
ONE-SIDED PANEL DISCUSSION
Following Mansoor's little bout of self-aggrandizement the "panel" took over. Now, I must admit I'm curious how one holds a "panel discussion" when all the views are on one side of the issue. How does that work? The reason I blew this meeting off was that it was VERY clear that there would only be one side of the issue discussed, and I've already heard that many, many times. For example, how many times can you hear Righeimer read HIS charter? I understand the whole "pride of authorship" thing, but good grief!
I'm told that non-elected council member Steve Mensinger used this pulpit to, once again, spout that "we're going to have a transparency ordinance for negotiations". I'm wondering just how that will work, since negotiations are usually done during closed meetings between negotiating parties. I wonder how many times in his vast work experience - when he was wheeling and dealing for Arnel Development and other companies - he "negotiated" in public? Maybe he'll tell us about those times and how that worked out for him.
I understand they imported Jerome Kern, a councilman from Oceanside, to regale the "crowd" with stories of that city's recent Charter conversion. Funny that they didn't invite anyone from Rancho Palos Verdes, where their recent Charter push went down in flames, 70% - 30%. As I said, it was a one-sided pitch.
THE BEAT GOES ON...
So, the beat goes on with Righeimer's Charter. The second draft is now available on the City web site, HERE, and it's unclear whether the City will post NEW recommendations for change between now and February 13th, the date of the final public hearing on this issue. As time passes the more I feel that this council is going to place some version of a Charter on the June ballot - most likely with the more onerous elements of Righeimer's Charter included. That means we, the voters, will only have the opportunity to vote it UP or DOWN. The three months between their vote on March 6th - which will almost certainly be to place it on the ballot - and the primary election with it's normal low turnout are going to be very interesting times in our city. We'll just have to do our part to insure that this misguided, politically motivated bad idea goes down in flames in June.