The Fat Lady Is Tuning Up
Well, the moment has arrived. This evening, at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting that begins in Council Chambers at 6:00 p.m., the council will decide whether or not to place Jim Righeimer's Charter on the June 5, 2012 ballot. You can read the full agenda HERE.
MAY BE HEARD LATE
This item comes near the end of the agenda, so there's no telling what time they will get to it. There's a pretty good chance that more than a few folks will rise to speak on this issue, so unless Mayor Gary Monahan decides to shuffle the deck and move agenda items around, it may be late before this item is heard. Regardless, you can read the entire staff report, including the five (5) resolutions necessary to place Jim Righeimer's Charter on the ballot, plus the Proposed Charter itself AND a summary of what may appear in contract City Attorney Tom Duarte's "impartial analysis", HERE.
WHY "JIM RIGHEIMER'S CHARTER", YOU ASK?
Some folks have criticized me for referring to this document as "Jim Righeimer's Charter", because changes have been made since he - single-handedly - wrote the original draft. Well, those changes were only window dressing - the guts of the Charter remains exactly as Righeimer wrote it. The most egregious segments - like the latest version of his old "Paycheck Protection" plan that went down to defeat in a state-wide election a decade and a half ago - remain untouched.
It's curious that, in his staff report, Duarte states the following (The emphasis in red is mine):
"In the fall of 2011, City Council asked the City Attorney to investigate the benefits and variations of the Charter form of city government. The City Council subsequently provided direction to City Staff and the City Attorney's office to draft a charter ("Proposed Charter") that could be submitted to the qualified voters of the City for the June 5, 2012 election. To that end, City Staff and the City Attorney prepared the Proposed Charter, submitted it to the City Council for review/revision and for the purposes of conducting public hearings (as required by California Government Code Section 34458(b)."
AND HE'S WRONG...
Duarte's statement is not entirely accurate. Based on several public statements in open meetings since the first of this year, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer has taken full credit - often complaining about the effort he put out - for the creation of the initial Proposed Charter. Some will recall that he read, verbatim, his first draft from the dais. He spoke about "cutting and pasting" sections from other city's charters, using the excuse that he wanted to insure that we had "tested language".
THE CHARTER WILL BE ON THE BALLOT
Although many informed residents will rise to speak about Jim Righeimer's Charter and the process that got us to this point, there is no doubt in my mind that each of the five motions necessary to place it on the ballot will pass, 4-1 (Assuming part time, part-time councilman Eric Bever and Monahan both show up this time). Wendy Leece will almost certainly vote against this scheme. Some of those speakers may criticize this council for rushing this process to take advantage of the disproportionate voter turnout at the June Primary Election. It is assumed that only Republicans will contest in the Presidential Primary and our State Assembly race will be contested by mostly Republicans, so the voter turnout will be predominantly Republican. Of course, that appears to be part of Righeimer's scheme. I doubt very much that he wants to trust his move to take over the city to a broader electorate in the General Election in November. He's a loser who's getting tired of losing, so has manipulated the system to stack the deck, er, ballot box in his favor.
IT'S ALL A MATTER OF TRUST
Tomorrow, once the council has voted to place Jim Righeimer's Charter on the June ballot and no further changes can be made to it, groups of residents that have been coalescing around this issue for most of this year will spring into action. Informational meetings will be held, precincts will be walked and literature will be distributed to inform the voters of this city just WHY this particular charter is such a bad idea. I suspect some of the discussions will revolve around TRUST - we just can't trust Jim Righeimer with the future of this city. In the nearly fifteen months that he's been on the City Council he has demonstrated, over and over again, that the rules are for somebody else. If he doesn't like them, he just doesn't follow them. The passage of his charter will permit HIM to now MAKE the rules - the specter of which should make every resident of this city shiver. Let the games begin...