Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm Back And Ready To Rumble!

Didja miss me
? I took my own advice to you,, 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.
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.

Stringers who attended the meeting reported to me that fewer than 1
00 people attended. Apparently City CEO Tom Hatch briefly discussed the budget, including the "unfunded liability" portion of the City's financial distress - then left.


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!

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 unders
tand 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.

So, the beat goes on with Righeimer's Charter. The second draft is now availabl
e 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.

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Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

I love your pictures of the elephant seals. I will definitely be making the trip up the coast to see them in person.

1/23/2012 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Daisy Mae, thanks... those were taken Saturday. Visit the web site at lots of great photos and information plus some videos of births - which are happening right now! Still Prime Time through February.

1/23/2012 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Glad you got some fun in! It'll quite a year in Costa Mesa. The extremists will fight to the last shill to further their twisted agenda.

1/23/2012 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Bubbling Cauldron a Union Shop? said...


You're supposed to get relaxed when you take time off, but your hyperbole and name-calling indicates otherwise!

The "imported shill" you mentioned is an actual sitting elected councilman, who detailed the real savings Oceanside has realized via their charter. He also talked about the $250,000 local public safety unions spent on trying to recall him because he dared talk about pensions. They failed, just like local labor did when they tried to prevent Righeimer's election.

Kern isn't a "shill" he is someone we can learn from about the real benefits to the residents of Costa Mesa.

Regarding Rancho Palos Verdes - did you do any research before you parroted the labor party line about that charter proposal? Do you even know why it failed? Massive amounts of big labor money poured into the opposition - why? Prevailing wage. Kind of like our charter race! IN RPV, the Los Angeles County and Orange County Building & Construction Trades Council sent out mailers against the charter proposal. The mailers repeatedly referred to Bell and inaccurately said the charter would allow the council to raise its salaries. Sound familiar? The majority of speakers care about UNION labor money, not local issues.

In all seriousness, why have you sided with the big labor Democratic machine against the citizens of Costa Mesa? Your rhetoric is pure union playbook - whether you realize it or not.

There is no reason Costa Mesa should not be able to contract out for services if it saves money. That is Costa Mesa policy since 1999 - long before Righeimer.

The charter is a great thing for Costa Mesa, try being objective and look at it for what it is - words on paper. Forget who wrote the words, and analyze the actual words themselves without the blindfold that is your personal bias against Righeimer.

Otherwise, you're just a shill for organized labor.

1/23/2012 05:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Thomas Jefferson said...

Also of note: Councilmember Jerry Kern's office earlier this week sent a note trumpeting the city charter's early payoff.
Three city projects (the Harbor Aquatics Center, harbor lot 11B restrooms and renovations at the library) that are out to bid will not be subject to the prevailing-wage rule imposed on non-charter cities.
The release said that city staff estimated a 20 percent labor differential for the construction, translating to a $540,000 cost savings.
That's not chump change.

But now read this link of the failures and BK by the contractor.

1/23/2012 08:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Thomas Jefferson said...

Now do a google search on 2 library projects Palo Alto and Gilroy.

I am like most not against the charter but feel it needs to be fully vetted. What you put in it and what you don't is of huge importance to all Costa Mesans.

1/23/2012 09:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Thomas Jefferson said...

In the 2 library scenarios Gilroy, on time and more cost effective whereas Palo Alto over the contract budget with delays and Palo Alto Council looking into legal suit.

Also note Gilroy it is claimed over 60 percent of the money stays in Gilroy and Palo Alto much less. Oceanside hired an Irvine construction company. Not sure if they then subcontracted locally or not.

Hire locally has been heard in Costa Mesa over and over.

Palo Alto council irked by errors, read that article here,

Interesting stuff. This is only one aspect of a charter. There are so many more issues.

1/23/2012 09:24:00 PM  
Anonymous brinkmanship said...

Wow, and I bet the firms that did the work on those projects paid illegals cash under the table, and will begin having problems immediately... dangerous electrical, leaks, poor plumbing, I can keep going on what happens when you decide to not pay a prevailing wage or use the lowest bidder... More rubbish arguments from the same people who blindly support people with (r) next to their names. I find it very telling that the very same people who rail against illegal immigration (or minorities in general) are always the first ones to exploit their labor. More hypocritical actions by that club. Anyone else not surprised?

And since our council is sooooo concerned about wages, they should all do like another city council in the OC and decline all wages, per diems, medical benefits, or any other form of compensation they receive just to show us that they can lead by example.

1/23/2012 11:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris Prevatt said...

Yes Geoff, we missed you. I like the picture of the seals but you forgot the caption.

"Jim Righeimer relaxes with his cubs Eric Bever, Gary Monahan, and Stephen Mensinger."

1/24/2012 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger valan2 said...

"Bubbling Cauldron a Union Shop? said..." seems to be saying that the Oceanside Councilman overcame a recall campaign DESPITE heavy union spending, Righeimer was elected DESPITE heavy union spending, and RPV turned down their charter proposal BECAUSE OF heavy union spending.

From this, can we conclude that union spending is irrelevant? Or, is it just a red herring you use to distract from the real issues?

1/24/2012 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike O'Reill said...

I'm a union shill. And proud of it.

1/24/2012 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous We're your neighbors said...

You folks who accuse Geoff and the folks who speak up at City Council meetings, write to the Daily Pilot, pass out flyers and jammed the City Council Chambers January 10th of being union shills have no idea who you're talking to. No clue. We are people from all walks of life, and our concerns about what this council is doing to our city are only growing. We are just Costa Mesans fighting for better government in our city. Costa Mesans of whatever party are at heart very independent people.

The current GOP power structure likes to accuse anyone who is not a sheep blindly following their preverted version of Republicanism "union,union,union" like it's a dirty word. Listen up! We're not with the union! There are union members among us, as well as those who are not so fond of unions.

We are citizens thinking for ourselves. That is a lot scarier than unions to this City Council. People who don't want to be sheep are dangerous to their agenda.

1/25/2012 02:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Just a thought on the situation said...

Its obvious when Geoff posts something that makes sense or challenges any OCGOP scheme the powers that be are scared.

If they weren't, you would not have people post on this website or the DP trying so hard to sell their case why the Council way is so much better.

If what Righeimer, Mensinger and the other GOP say is true about the overwhelming support for their schemes, they would not have the need to defend it so bad and cry "Union" anytime someone speaks out against it.

Whether or not the charter passes, the "Union" cry is getting old and tired.

For those who defend the council, remember one thing. They need to demonize someone for their own gain. Once the union thing loses steam who will be next????

Could affect you or someone close to you. Then what will you say?

1/25/2012 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous We're not stupid said...

Did it ever occur to you that we're not stupid?

When the vast majority of money spent on Costa Mesa municipal elections is directly from the employee asscoiations and their couty and state union partners - it IS about unions.

When local employee associations accuse candidates and councilmembers who propose reining in spending on pensions and overtime of destroying Costa Mesa or endagering public safety - it IS about unions.

When our local employee association and union leaders speak at the state Democratic convention about Costa Mesa being THE battleground for statewide labor organizations and their fight against outsourcing and pension reform - it IS about unions.

When our local employee association sues us, costing hundereds of thousands of dollars - it IS about the unions.

When our public safety associations launch an unprecedented negative campaign against a candidate who stated that public employee pensions were unsustainable (which everyone from Gov. Brown to George Skelton now agree) - it IS about the unions.

When over 70% of our municipal budget is controlled by employee association and union MOUs, side letters agreements and lawsuits - it IS about the unions.

1/25/2012 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Level the playing field said...

To: "We're not stupid said"
I have two thoughts for you although I cannot claim credit for either of them, but these quotes have stood the test of time and are applicable here:
"First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me." Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984). This quote was first offered in 1937 prior to Hitler's operations in Germany.
Exchange "police department" for Communist, exchange "Jews" for Fire Department, exchange "City Employees" for trade unionists... You hopefully get the idea. At what point in time do you personally lose your rights? And who will defend you?
In closing another quote: "Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it."

1/25/2012 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Thank You said...

So you wrote that whole post stating what the employee associations and public safety has said all along.

They are NOT unions but associations.

At least the other side finally will admit they are NOT Unions.

1/25/2012 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous We're not stupid said...

Level the playing field -

Classic propaganda scare tactic, transparent and really stupid. Thanks for proving my point.

1/25/2012 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous We're not stupid said...

When Jim Righeimer stated at a candidate's forum that he appreciated and respected police and fire employees, but felt that their pensions were unsustainable - he and his family were personally attacked by our local police employee association.

When Righeimer approached a DUI checkpoint and complained about the location and timing, the incident was immediatelt relayed to the media by police officers, and initial statements were later proven false by the audio recording. The officer's actions violated policy but no discipline was handed down.

For maintaining that public safety compensation, including pensions, is unsustainable, Righeimer has been called every name in the book, and Costa Mesa experienced the most hostile election campaign in memory.

Yet "level the playing field" compares a factual representation of recent events involving employee associations and labor unions to the persecution of communists, trade unionists, Jews and Catholics, and the actions of Hitler prior to WWII.


1/25/2012 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger valan2 said...

"We're not stupid" said, "When our local employee association and union leaders speak at the state Democratic convention about Costa Mesa being THE battleground for statewide labor organizations and their fight against outsourcing and pension reform - it IS about unions."

What about Scott Baugh speaking at a GOP function, and saying that Costa Mesa is ground zero for cities in the fight against public employee pensions? Does that mean it IS about the GOP? Are we seeing, and are we going to continue to see, vast amounts of money spent by the GOP in a non-partisan race for Costa Mesa's outsourcing proposals, charter, and Council election? Talk about outside influences!

1/26/2012 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous We're not stupid said...


Nice try, but Baugh's comment was a month after Berardino's. Baugh was describing the battle that the unions were waging.

Any analysis of funds spent on any Costa Mesa municipal election will show that the employee associations and unions spend far more than any opposing outside entity, though you are correct that there has been outside money supporting OCGOP backed candidates - most likely including Wendy Leece in the past.

1/26/2012 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous ? said...

I would like discipline for the person reporting no discipline was given to the pd regarding the DUI checkpoint blowhard incident. I believe that is a violation of basic personnel law. So which council member was it? We can narrow it down to... 4.

1/26/2012 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous ?? said...


Nothing was reported in the media or at any meeting, so it is obvious that nothing was done. Sounds like you think no one should know. Who polices the police? What happens when they do things that are wrong, less than honest or politically motivated and against policy while on duty?

Speaking of discipline, what is the former police union president suing the city about? How much in legal fees are we paying for that?
Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2011-00487826-CU-WM-CJC

1/27/2012 04:38:00 PM  

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