Another Long, Eventful Evening
What should have been a relatively short meeting of the Costa Mesa City Council Tuesday night turned out to be another long one, although it "only" lasted until around 11:30.
MY PREVIOUS REPORT
You can refresh your memory about everything that was on the agenda from my earlier post, HERE. However, here's a summary of what transpired last night.
KUDOS TO OFFICER KHA BAO
The council recognized police officer Kha Bao as employee of the month for his remarkable accomplishment of arresting 432 drunk drivers last year. He led a team of CMPD officers in achieving "Century Club" status - snatching up 100 or more drunk drivers for the year. Officer Bao is shown here with members of the CMPD command staff. Left to right, Captain Les Gogerty, Captain Allen Huggins, Sergeant Greg Scott, Officer Kha Bao, Chief Tom Gazsi and Lt. Rob Sharpnack.
Mayor Eric Bever also presented certificates to members of the Costa Mesa High School Business Academy/Virtual Enterprise teams for recent accomplishments.
MORE NEW HOUSING
The council approved a small-lot residential development at 743 West 20th Street despite numerous and significant variations from the established guidelines. They also heard the screening request for 40 live/work units at the location of the present Anchor Mobile Home Park on Newport Boulevard near Industrial Way.
RELAXED RESTAURANT PARKING REQUIREMENTS
They adopted the resolution relaxing parking requirements for certain types of establishments where food and beverages are sold in the city and gave second reading to the ordinance that forbids sex offenders from entering any park or athletic venue within the city.
The council also affirmed the current ordinance about sale and discharge of fireworks. That means that this year residents will be able to purchase so-called safe and sane fireworks from June 30, 2012 through July 4, 2012 and discharge them from July 2 through July 4th. Very little discussion was conducted on this item and there were no voices of opposition heard even though there seemed to be no good reason to permit the discharge of fireworks on the two nights leading up to July 4th. Pet owners beware - it's going to be a long week for you.
FISH FRY, BEER AND WINE AND DEMOLITION
The council made quick work of the two items on the agenda involving the Fish Fry. They approved moving it from Lions Park to Fairview Park and also approved the establishment of a beer and wine garden - similar to the one approved for the Concerts In The Park last year. They also approved the demolition of the picnic shelter at Lions Park using $60,000 from the CEO's contingency fund to get it done immediately.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS...
The most fun came during the discussion of sending Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and his pal, councilman Steve Mensinger to an economic development conference in Las Vegas later this month. The amount of money was small - probably less than $1,000 (the Convention and Business Bureau is picking up about half the cost) - but the discussion was lively. Actually, despite the fact that this reeks of a boondoggle, sending those two council members to this particular conference makes a lot of sense. As Gary Monahan observed, they ARE developers and speak the language, so if we're serious about enticing developers to consider Costa Mesa in their future plans, their presence at this conference makes sense. The council approved it, 4-0.
An amusing sidebar was during the public comments on that item. Resident Terry Koken, who has been known to croon his message to the council in the past, suggested that, because much of the discussion on this subject implied that some folks didn't trust Righeimer and Mensinger in Las Vegas, perhaps Wendy Leece should accompany them as chaperone. Koken then expressed concern about possible Brown Act violations so suggested an alternate chaperone - ME! It may have been the high point of the evening. I later asked Mensinger when he and Righeimer would be picking me up and asked if I could ride shotgun. Mensinger suggested the Mitt Romney approach - me in a dog crate on the roof. Sounds like fun...
CALL FOR CIVILITY REJECTED BY THE COUNCIL
Early in the meeting, during public comments, resident David Kincaid suggested the need for more civility in the discourse about city matters. He wasn't very specific, although he did glance back my way a couple times. Members of the council agreed with him. I must observe, however, that the only rancor last night came from the dais when, near the end of the evening, Mayor Bever was his usual snippy self and Monahan criticized the long discussion of the Righeimer/Mensinger trip as "getting personal" against those two men. He aimed his comments at Leece and the audience. And, Bever topped it off with another snide remark about Leece that got her daughter, Amy, so angry that she sprinted up to the dais after the meeting closed, ready to confront him.
BEVER THE BOOR
Bever continued his petty, boorish behavior when he dashed down into the audience at the end of the meeting to confront young Orange County Register reporter Sean Greene, raking him over the coals for apparently not contacting Bever for comment on an issue recently. This from a guy who is notorious for his lack of responsiveness to the media! Greene, during his brief tenure as a writer for the Register, has done a very good job and this meeting may have been his last - he's off to grad school. He probably should have told Bever to stick his complaint where "the sun don't shine", but he didn't. He just stood there and took it, much to his credit.
JUST A WARM UP
So ended another adventure with the Costa Mesa City Council. And, since May promises to have perhaps another half-dozen meetings due to the budget, I fear this is just the warm-up for this month.