Petulance, Fabrications And The Long Road Ahead
What I learned last night at City Council at a meeting that actually finished the same date on which is began. They adjourned at 9:50! Be still, my heart!
KING ERIC, THE PETULANT
Last night I learned that we were much better off when our part-time, part-time Mayor Eric Bever decided to stay home from city council meetings. Last night I had a refresher course on just what a petty, petulant person he is. For example, after almost every speaker during public comments finished their presentation he just HAD to spit something back at them. Remember that guy in third grade that just had to get the last word in? That was Eric Bever last night. For a guy who has had nearly seven and a half years on the dais you'd hope he had learned decorum by this time, but, no, he hasn't. His antics had the relatively small audience shaking their collective heads in disbelief and chuckling among themselves as he embarrassed himself time after time.
MUZZLING WENDY FAILS
And, he tried to muzzle councilwoman Wendy Leece again - this time unsuccessfully. She just wasn't going to be prohibited from speaking her piece. Good for her.
...PANTS ON FIRE
We also learned that Jim Righeimer has a very difficult time with the truth, that he is a hypocrite and that he just doesn't understand the word "No".
MAKING UP NUMBERS
In the former case, he continues to just make up budget numbers then expects the staff to come up with ways to meet them. Speaker Perry Valantine pointed this out to him during Public Comments on the Mid-year budget review segment.
NOT ONLY "NO", BUT...
Regarding the latter... following a comment by former councilman Jay Humphrey - Treasurer of the grass roots organization Costa Mesans For Responsible Government, (www.cm4rg.com) which opposes Righeimer's charter - Righeimer called Humphrey back to the podium and proceeded to harangue him. He implied that the group would accept money from labor unions. Humphrey stated, unequivocally, that they had not. Finally they had this exchange.
RIGHEIMER: "You will take money from labor unions, municipal labor unions, if they offered it to you."
HUMPHREY: "I didn't say that at all, but that's a good way to restate it. That's a real good way to restate it. No!"
RIGHEIMER: "So you won't take money from..."
HUMPHREY: "I answered the question!"
RIGHEIMER: "OK. Well, uh, I don't think I got a clear answer there, but thanks very much."
EVERYONE ELSE UNDERSTOOD
Well, I watched that exchange, as did the other 40 or so people in the audience, and we ALL understood Jay Humphrey's answer - no! - meaning, unequivocally, that Costa Mesan For Responsible Government WILL NOT accept contributions from labor organizations. I guess that wasn't the answer Righeimer wanted to hear. Either that or he's just plain stupid - take your pick.
BUDGET REVIEW - AGAIN
Later in the meeting, when Finance and Information Technology Director Bobby Young was, once again, presenting the mid-year budget review to the council, we saw Righeimer's hypocrisy at work. You will recall that the only reason we were hearing this presentation again is because, during the first time around a couple weeks ago when former mayor Gary Monahan was absent, Righeimer threw a hissy fit and voted no on the authorization to shift money from the General Fund to the Self Insurance Fund so litigation bills could be paid.
POT CALLING THE KETTLE...
Then, last night, as they were again about to vote on the transfer of funds, Righeimer responded to Wendy Leece's statement that she wasn't going to support the item because she felt the legal costs were excessive by accusing her of being "juvenile". This from a guy who did precisely the same thing the last time around!
During his segment of council member comments Mayor Bever dropped this little bomb. He said: "Mr. Hatch, I've been made aware that there is, in fact, an opportunity that we do not have, we are not required to consolidate our election with the county and I would like to ask you to investigate the options of the city running that independent of the county and please report back with the necessary action". Yep, Jim Righeimer's Charter has been blocked from appearing on the June 5th ballot so now they apparently want to hold an independent special election for it - one not consolidated with the Primary Election.
Well, in the wake of the City of Bell debacle the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1344 last year, which became effective on January 1, 2012. Here's part of the text of the bill that is relevant to what appears to be Bever's intention - to hold a special election on the Charter: (Emphasis is mine)
This bill would require a city charter or charter amendment,
whether submitted to the voters by a charter commission or the
governing body of the city or city and county, to be submitted at the
next established statewide general, statewide primary, or regularly
scheduled municipal election date, provided there are at least 95
days before the election. This bill would also require a proposal to
adopt a charter, whether submitted to the voters by a charter
commission or the legislative body of a city or city and county to
include in the ballot description an enumeration of new city powers
as a result of the adoption of the charter, including, but not
limited to, whether the city council will, pursuant to an adopted
charter, have the power to raise its own compensation and the
compensation of other city officials without voter approval.
So, it would appear that if Jim Righeimer's Charter is to be placed before the voters it will happen with the General Election in November - unless we somehow miss that date, too.
HEY, ERIC - SHUT THE HECK UP!
Last night was a painful reminder of just what the next several months are going to be like with Bever at the helm. He just can't seem to contain himself and maintain decorum from and on the dais. Worse, he exacerbates the problem with his own pettiness. Yeah, I know - he "didn't sign up for this." - as he reminded us last year. Well, yes, he did "sign up for this" when he accepted the oath of office. To use his own words, "If you don't like it, Tough Luck!" He needs to step up and shut up. His petty sniping at speakers is very unbecoming.
A LONG, LONG ROAD...
It's going to be a very, very long road to the General Election in November.