"Jim Righeimer's Charter" Vote Comes Tuesday
Next Tuesday, March 6th, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, the Costa Mesa City Council will hold what will likely be a watershed meeting in the history of the city. It will be at that meeting, near the very end if the schedule shown on the agenda, HERE, holds true, that they will consider whether or not to place Jim Righeimer's Charter scheme on the June 5th ballot. More on that a little later.
CAN'T GUESS THE LENGTH
As regular readers - and those of you that are sometimes irregular - know, it is virtually impossible to predict how long these meetings will run. This one looks to have earmarks for a long one, but we'll have to see how it goes. Regardless, your humble servant will be there observing and will report on the events later.
WHERE'S THE JONES DAY BILL?
After CEO Tom Hatch makes his report - we have no idea what he will cover Tuesday - the Consent Calendar will be considered. I perused both of the Warrants, #2409, HERE, and #2410, HERE, to see if we are finally going to see the January charges from high-powered law firm, Jones Day. Nope, can't find any reference to them. It's my understanding that their bill was finally received from contract City Attorney, Tom Duarte, at the end of this week, so the bill will be paid within a few days and probably show up on the warrants at the next council meeting on March 20th. The reason this is of concern is because Jones Day has been deposing employees for more than a month, with lots of $495 per hour lawyers in attendance, so the next few bills will probably be whoppers. You may recall that, during the last study session on February 27th, the staff announced their intention to request a budget adjustment of $900,000 for the Self Insurance Fund to cover these extraordinary expenses. We'll see in a couple weeks whether that is going to be enough.
OTHER CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS
Other big items on the Consent Calendar include a more than $250,000 cost for the upgrade of our antiquated telephone system by Merrill & Associates, HERE; an approval of acceptance of $100,000 in measure M2 grant funds to provide catch basin screens, HERE; acceptance of nearly $69,000 of grant funds from the Urban Areas Security Initiative Grant Program to cover reimbursable public safety training costs, HERE and the resolution to appoint two members to the Oversight Board to supervise the activities of the Successor Agency to the Costa Mesa Redevelopment Agency, HERE. Mayor Gary Monahan has chosen himself and former RDA employee Dan Baker as the appointees.
The only Public Hearing, a conditional use permit for a helipad on the roof of an existing industrial building near John Wayne Airport, will be continued to June 19th.
Under Old Business the only item scheduled to be considered is passage of two ordinances to facilitate the previously-agreed to new tier in the Miscellaneous Group employees contract of 2@60, HERE.
New Business presents us with the most interesting, and potentially most time-consuming issues. First will be the resolution on the 2012 Orange County Marathon. The staff report, HERE, includes the schedules of the various components of this event and the maps and charts indicating street closures on that date. Since this event is just around the corner - May 6th - and it looks like it is going to be a major inconvenience throughout many parts of the city, we all would do well to review the maps and closure schedules and adjust our activities for that day accordingly.
JIM RIGHEIMER'S CHARTER
The second item under New Business is the elephant in the room - Jim Righeimer's Charter scheme. You can read the staff report HERE. If the council decides to place this issue on the ballot, they will have launched the second-most important initiative in the City's history. In a nutshell - assuming the council decides to place this bogus charter on the June 5th ballot - they will consider five (5) separate resolutions. The first (a) proposes a measure for submission to the voters on whether the City should adopt Jim Righeimer's Charter. (b) calls for and gives notice of a special municipal election. (c) requests the Board of Supervisors to consolidate our Special Municipal Election with the Statewide Primary election on June 5th. (d) sets priorities for filing written argument(s) regarding a city measure and directs the City Attorney to prepare an impartial analysis. ( I'm sorry, but I almost choked when I read that last part.) (e) provides for the filing of rebuttal arguments.
THEN THE FUN BEGINS
I suspect there may be a few people who will attempt to talk the four members of the council out of this bogus scheme. I expect Wendy Leece will vote against it. Of course, the council will listen, but not hear, those views and will certainly vote to place it on the ballot. And then the fun will begin. The groups around the community that have been meeting regularly to discuss Jim Righeimer's Charter will likely spring into action immediately in an effort to defeat this hastily-contrived and politically-opportunistic attempt to completely take over the City of Costa Mesa. It's going to be a very interesting spring.
The final scheduled item on the agenda, New Business #3 - added at the last minute late Friday afternoon - is Steve Mensinger's brainstorm to create annual performance audits, HERE. As you read through the staff report you'll see that there may be $50,000 budgeted in the next fiscal year for this plan - maybe more. My suggestion would be to wait on this issue to see what is left of the City Staff following the outcome of the OCEA lawsuit, THEN create a mechanism for these kinds of evaluations. The staff has plenty on it's plate right now without another brainstorm hatched (sorry, Tom) by a guy with too much time on his hands.
FUN AT THE END
As always, the very end of the meeting may produce the most excitement. That's when the council members spring new initiatives on us during their "comments" segment. After all is said and done, I'm thinking this meeting will finally wrap up at 11:56 p.m. Keep your fingers crossed. I'm taking a pillow with me this time.