Charter Deadline Snafu Report
Reports from the courthouse a few minutes ago indicate that Katrina Foley and John Stephens will be in the mix tomorrow, along with the lawyers representing Billy Folsom and Mary Spadoni, when Judge Franz Miller hears arguments from The City of Costa Mesa, through their high-priced lawyers from Jones Day, that The City should be allowed to have Jim Righeimer's Charter placed on the June 5th ballot despite the deadline being missed on March 9th.
REGISTRAR'S HANDS TIED
Foley and Stephens, representing their own law firms, joined together to file a lawsuit challenging the City's claim that a "clerical error" should not preclude the item being placed on the June ballot. The Orange County Registrar of Voters, Neal Kelley, has his hands tied by the regulations that govern the way he operates. In order for him to accept The City's paperwork a judge must order him to do so. As long as he receives such an order by the drop dead date of April 1st - appropriate, huh? - then his organization can complete the tasks necessary to place the Charter on the ballot. If that deadline is also missed, then Kelley has no choice - Jim Righeimer's Charter will not appear on the June ballot.
THE WRONG CHARTER
Many of us in this city feel that, IF this city is going to consider becoming a Charter City - and that's a BIG IF - then such a document should be prepared much more carefully. It should NOT be the handiwork of one man with his own personal political agenda driving him. At the VERY LEAST it should be reviewed by a blue-ribbon committee to be sure Costa Mesa's special needs are met. AND, it should be placed on the November ballot, where the greatest possible voter turnout can be expected.
BELL IS A REASON FOR CAUTION
You may recall that the City of Bell, led by their unscrupulous City Manager, Robert Rizzo, placed its Charter decision on the ballot in a special election. Only 450 voters turned out for that one and more than half voted by mail. That opened the door for the massive corruption that occurred in that city. Those of us who have studied Jim Righeimer's Charter know that insufficient safeguards for that kind of corruption ARE NOT INCLUDED in the document. Many of us have written extensively about those shortcomings.
FINAL DECISION TOMORROW
So, back to court both sides go tomorrow at 1:30, where Judge Miller will hear arguments and make his decision. We'll report more when we know more.