Hoping For Maturity And Truth - Disappointed
At last Tuesday's city council meeting we got a taste of what the next eight months are going to be like. We saw Mayor Eric Bever act like a petulant punk, barking back at many speakers who had tried to address grievances before the council, trying to "correct the record" when some of those "records" were made when he was in one of his many "days off" - when he stayed home instead of fulfilling the responsibilities of his office. Since he has not matured over the past dozen years I see no reason to believe he will grow up between now and when he, thankfully, leaves office following the November election.
HOPING FOR TRUTH
Worse, though, were the prevarications of Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer. Time after time he used his bully pulpit to present fabrications and flat out lies to the audience and viewers at home. The falsehoods were sprinkled throughout the evening, but the most memorable was his mischaracterization of what happened in Santa Ana.
LIED ABOUT SANTA ANA
Righeimer characterized the recent agreement between the Santa Ana government and the Orange County Fire Authority to provide fire and emergency medical service to that city as a "takeover" by the OCFA. He amplified that lie by saying it was just like the OCFA tried to do with Costa Mesa! You could almost see his nose growing as he spewed those words.
HERE'S THE TRUTH
First, as is chronicled in the Orange County Register article about the contract, HERE, the OCFA did not "take over" Santa Ana. At the request of the City they made an offer to provide fire service to the city and it was accepted. According to the reports, it will save Santa Ana millions of dollars each year with no reduction in services. Both sides, including the rank and file firefighters of the SAFD apparently are happy with the deal.
WE INVITED THE OCFA IN
In our case, in an effort to provide an "expert" assessment of Costa Mesa's fire operations, the Costa Mesa Firefighters Association approached the city with an offer to pay for the OCFA to come in, do an assessment and make a bid to take over the fire and emergency medical responsibilities for our city. If the City chose to accept the proposal it would reimburse the CMFA half the cost.
COUNCIL HEARD, AND IGNORED, THE OCFA PROPOSAL
Upon hearing the OCFA proposal - twice, over a period of months - the council chose to just ignore it and pass up the millions of dollars in annual savings, so the Costa Mesa Fire Department continued to operate as usual, except with fewer people because this council refused to let the staff recruit new firefighters until they agreed to a second pension tier. So, in order to provide coverage at the levels necessary, thousands of hours of overtime have been logged by firefighters and fire leadership.
HE'S THE REASON FOR THE OVERTIME
Righeimer, at one point in the last meeting, gritted his teeth, ranted again about "$300,000 firefighters" and spouted that he wasn't going to have anymore overtime. Of course, he has NO control over that issue. He, and his political agenda, is the reason overtime is being worked. He'll try to deny it, but he'll be lying when he does.
PASSING UP MILLIONS IN SAVINGS
The City could have chosen to accept the OCFA's proposal and, even though most firefighters would take a pay cut, they were willing to do so. The proposal would have saved millions of dollars each year, depending on which of the three choices the City preferred. Instead, Righeimer has chosen to wait until the CMFA contract comes up in 2014 and try to eviscerate that organization at that time.
THE LIES LINGER...
I just can't let Righeimer's lies go by without comment. If the folks at home heard his rant they might believe him - a huge mistake on their part. Because nobody is allowed to refute his comments in real time, those lies just linger in the air like gas passed in an elevator, pretending to be truth. You can get the real truth at the Costa Mesa Firefighter's Association web site at www.cmfd.com.
LEAVING YOU WITH A SMILE
As we close this entry I'm going to leave you with an interesting, short, 3 minute video clip. Resident Terry Koken provided us with another memorable little ditty - one that will certainly make you chuckle.