Hallelujah! An Early Council Meeting!
Holy Cow! Last night's Costa Mesa City Council meeting was one of the earliest in my feeble memory! It started almost on time and finished shortly after 8 p.m.!
FEELIN' PRETTY DARN SAFE
As mentioned in my earlier post, the highlight for me was the presentation of long-service awards to several members of the City staff. Several of the awards were presented to members of the Costa Mesa Police Department, which explained the fact that more than a dozen proud members of the CMPD were in the auditorium. I've never felt safer!
CONGRATS AND KUDOS
As you can see, 30 Year recipient Billy Folsom captured the spirit of the moment by wearing an appropriate T-shirt for the occasion. Congratulations and thanks to all who have given more than a quarter-century of their lives in service to our city. They've all seen some good times and, over the past couple years, seen some pretty bleak times, too. Congratulations and kudos to them all.
Willa Bowens-Killeen, Principal Planner
Michael Delgadillo, Senior Police Officer
Billy Folsom, Equipment Mechanic III
Antonio Macias, Maintenance Worker
Helen Nenadal, Facilities Maintenance Technician
Tom Banks, Senior Engineer
Chris Brimhall, Fire Captain
Paul Dondero, Police Lieutenant
Jane Duenweg, Graphics Designer
Allen Huggins, Police Captain
Rich Merritt, Fire Fighter
Mahar Nawar, Assistant Engineer
Jeff Peters, Fire Captain
Cherie Pittington, Senior Communication Supervisor
Lou Steiner, Fire Fighter
MORE CHARTER CRITICISM
Public Comments included presentations by many of the same concerned residents who have, for months, stood before the City Council and suggested alternatives to Jim Righeimer's Charter. As usual, most of those comments were only given lip service by Righeimer and others on the dais. You can read the final draft of the Charter on the City web site HERE. It will receive a final massage - nothing else can be added now, only removed or polished for language and context - on March 6th and then the council will vote on whether to place it on the June ballot or not. Nobody is betting against it being placed on the ballot, but whether it passes or not is an entirely different issue.
RIGHEIMER SPITS BACK
Righeimer did take the opportunity, several times, to chide critics as being unwilling to see the city move forward, suggesting that they just didn't get it. Well, we suggest it is Righeimer who doesn't "get it". He seemed flummoxed by the fact that folks didn't want his charter after saying they were not against a charter per se. He just doesn't get the fact that those folks who make those statements just don't trust him. After all, they've had more than a year of observing him on the dais on which to base that kind of an assessment. I certainly understand - I don't trust him, either. As I've said MANY times before, I think he's just a carpetbagger - a manipulative political opportunist, trying to show his pals in the OC GOP hierarchy that he's got what it takes for higher office. Well, if it takes conniving, manipulation, fabrication of crises and creation of "facts" to suit his agenda, then, yes, Jim Righeimer is their guy.
Since I know he reads this blog, let's see if I can help him understand. Jimbo, WE DON'T TRUST YOU! Got it? You've demonstrated that you will do or say anything to get what you want, so WE DON'T TRUST YOU!
VALANTINE HITS IT OUT OF THE PARK - AGAIN
Once again resident and retired City employee Perry Valantine gave the council something to think about. During his three minutes at the speaker's podium he patiently pounded home that, despite the fact that Righeimer continues to portray his Charter as the solution to all the City's problems. As Valantine said last night, speaking of the Charter:
"...It seems to be framed in the minds and words of some council people and some other people in the community as a way to solve all the city's problems. We have exorbitant public salaries, exorbitant public employee pensions, unfunded pension liabilities and we need this charter. The disconnect is, the charter won't do anything to fix any of those things. It won't, and can't and doesn't propose to do anything with unfunded liabilities, to make any changes in the pension program. And, in fact, you can do that now, and did two weeks ago or three weeks ago, however long it was, to adopt that second tier. Obviously, it can be done without a charter. Salaries can be done and negotiations can be handled without a charter. So, it just seems a little disingenuous to me the way it's being presented in terms of a solution to all the city's problems when, in fact, it doesn't, can't and doesn't propose to address most of those issues..."
As usual, Valantine is right on the money with his observations. And, also as usual, Righeimer and the council chose to ignore them.
NOW WE WAIT
So, now we mark time for another couple weeks, taking the time to offer suggestions for deletions from this bogus document knowing full well that the pet points that Righeimer is trying to jam down the residents throats will remain no matter the outcry. We'll cover some of those as we head toward the election in June.
BEVER SPITS BACK, TOO...
As a sidebar, at 5:00, when the agenda for the Closed Session was read into the record by City Clerk Julie Folcik, Mayor Gary Monahan asked for public comment. Resident Robin Leffler - a frequent speaker before the council for years - stepped up and asked them to seriously consider changing their tactics with the employee organizations - to offer to sit down with them and see what can be worked out without the animosity that currently exists. Since this segment was not taped there is no visual record of it, unfortunately. After she finished her three minute passionate request the council adjourned to the closed session. As they left Eric Bever - who actually has made it to several meetings in a row now - spoke out to Ms. Leffler, suggesting to her that in her role as "labor negotiator" she should go to her constituents - the bargaining units - and tell them to open their contracts because that's the only way it's going to happen. It's amazing that these guys just can't take comments from their constituents without feeling the need to counter-punch. Bever, Righeimer and Steve Mensinger - the biggest offender - just have to have the final word. It's like watching a bunch of petulant 3rd-graders on a playground. It's very sad.