Wednesday, May 02, 2012

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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 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.

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.

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Blogger Colin said...

The whole thing with the Vegas trip is, this entire time, they are shouting about wasting money with pensions and what not, then they go ahead and do this Vegas jaunt. It just doesn't look good, but they don't see that. Tone deaf, to split metaphors.

And who knew an antiques dealer coul be so fiesty. Maybe business isn't so good lately. I leved next to Skoshs for 7 years, and never say that huge Happy Hour sign, until he started in with this pension nonsense. Business can't be good for him as well.

5/02/2012 05:07:00 AM  
Anonymous "WE" said...

think you mis labled the cops on the left of the photo
also we are sending "two" , not "to" council members to Vegas.
This should be corrected before Leffler goes bonkers.

5/02/2012 06:56:00 AM  
Anonymous marcopolo said...

is oc4rg against fixing the flooding on wallace, and, if so, why? they are dropping many hints and a speaker last night said she "would be back" to discuss flooding (she read her prepared remarks too slowly and ran out of time). fascinating if true.

5/02/2012 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Not good for GOP said...

What happened to Monahan? Is this really him and did he have us all swindled previously?

He will not get my vote this November.

Watching this council act like spoiled little brats is very sad. Even though i support many of their ideas their tactics disgust me. If you find the word disgust used in my comments a few times you get the idea.

Through it all Wendy stays above the slime and disgust every other week with these despicable men.

This is not representative of the Republican Party
I am part of. My fear is this is the type of disgusting Republican to drive away more from our once Grand Ole Party.

5/02/2012 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger valan2 said...

Part of the discussion on the Vegas conference focused on getting a report from the Council members as to what they accomplished. Mensinger thought it was a bit much (after all, the staff report said they would give a "briefing" on their return) and Monahan said it was just a personal attack on these two members.

No one addressed the other concern, which is that the City will be sending two representatives whose day jobs are in the field of commercial development to a conference whose major focus is to create contacts and opportunities among people involved in commercial development.

We, the taxpayers who are funding their trip, need to know that their attendance is benefitting the City, and not their private businesses.

5/02/2012 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Class War said...

Even though Bever's only suit was back from the dry cleaner's on time for the meeting, wearing it didn't make him any less of a low class punk.

He should just "be Eric," and show up with slicked-back hair and worn leather pants.

5/02/2012 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...


I thought the dais dynamic was very interesting last night. Clearly, someone had a talk with Mensinger- he is now the smiling, "great guy" everyone wants to know and vote for. How long can this facade last? What happened to the good old boy who publicly confronted teachers and airline employees?

Monahan's pseudo-machismo indicates either a resignation of being the sacrificial pawn, or a new resolve to fight.

Bever has nothing to lose and will be his master's battering ram until the last minute of his last meeting.

Righeimer's plan for the motels is now in full swing. Instead of spending money we don't have (per Riggy to CNBC) to eventually buy the properties so developers can build condos and apartments in their place, why not start an "Artists Village" like Santa Ana has.

Except that ours would be a "BS Artists" village. Jimbo and his pals would be given right of first refusal to buy in.

5/02/2012 09:49:00 AM  
Anonymous something inyoureye said...

valantine is really nitpicking here. i enjoyed his bedtime story last night much better. might not vote for him now. thot he was only viable candidate but i really dislike micromanaging nitpicking "what if" conjectures. who better to send than those 2? leece because she knows nothing about development? we need reps who can talk the talk and bring business. if they profit from some contacts what is it to you? just help the city.

5/02/2012 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

What I witnessed last night was “bunker mentality.” They were defensive and rather than consider any other opinions or tactics, they are digging. Here is where I saw it.
1) Mr. Bever can no longer hide form Ms. Leece’s logic and transparency so his tactic was to be rude and condescending by addressing her in the familiar even when she asked him not to. The reason he has never heard anyone on the dais speak ill of the city employees is because he was never there to witness Mr. Righeimer’s rants and castigations. At the end of his comments he told Ms. Leece that, “we should all row in the same direction.” So, Mr. Bever, there is only one true and right way to serve Costa Mesa – the way of Mr. Righeimer? This country was founded on the principle of free and open debate. It is why we, the constituents, get to vote for the people who represent our points of view. (BTW – I didn’t vote for ANY of you men).
2) Mr. Mensinger has lost the ability to distinguish between reporting and editorializing. When Jay Humphreys and Robin Leffler reported verifiable facts about Dan Joyce’s actions regarding Costa Mesans 4 Responsible Government and the Community Run he got very, suspiciously, defensive and rebutted with pure editorial. And Mr Mensinger, do you truly believe that voter registration is ever “inappropriate”? That was the word you chose to describe CM4RG’s main objective at the Community Run. I guess you don’t want more pesky voters getting in the way.
3) Mr Hatch was in the bunker, too. His words said Dan Joyce acted as a private citizen, but his actions were defensive and guilt-ridden. Why was Mr Hatch (as Mr Joyce’s supervisor) so well-versed on the situation and private actions of a staffer? A good supervisor would have asked the speakers to follow up with him and he would look into the allegations. This “lady” doth protested, too much.
4) I have attended and worked the ICSC convention many times and believe it to be a great opportunity for Costa Mesa, but why would anyone have a problem with accountability? The council majority demands it of everyone else, but cannot bear to have the light of day shone on them. A reminder to those on council who want to run this city as a business, you would have to have a similar report for this in business if for no other reason that serve as back up for tax deduction of business expenses!
Misters Coggins(sp) and Mensinger reported having conversations with people who were twenty-something regarding the Wallace Ave development and, “they loved this!”. Do those same young folks have the $400-$500K Mr. Coggins said the units will be priced at or do they plan to love from afar?

5/02/2012 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous deputy b. fife said...

Wow, such disparaging of City employee by CM4rg pholk last night. Mr. Hatch hopefully set them straight. The Prez of oc4rg comes up and speculates the developer doesn't pay any fees towards flood control, sewers, etc. Ernesto then set her straight. Will they be employees number 2 and 3 to be disparaged next meeting by this group? Are they angry for having to be set straight again? Will they sue for not being allowed to ruin a community run? I sense self destruction coming on. i think they just cost the foundation the whole run in the future. Got all giddy with the new tshirts (which are good looking)thinking they are the badge they need to be the new sheriffs in town. There's always someone faster than you.

5/02/2012 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger valan2 said...

I just spoke with Valantine, and he said he has no problem sending Righeimer and Mensinger - if they're going to send any Council members. He just wants to be sure they're there to benefit the City and not their own business interests.

5/02/2012 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous About those motels said...

Here's what worries me about the motels deal: After the Council spends public money to buy the motels and then sells them at a loss, will any of the Councilmen end up with a share of ownership in the properties, and profit from that? They could hide ownership in a corporation or some other front organization, and how would we ever find out about it?

5/02/2012 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous So Simple it Makes Fitzpatrick Look Like Einstein said...

Have respect for the citizens:

Dan Joyce was ordered to put the kibosh on the grassroots group's effort to have a booth at the event.

He was acting as a city employee when he did so.

This was wrong.

The End.

5/02/2012 02:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

The flooding on Wallace and many other places in the city is a disgrace; nobody is against fixing it, certainly CM4RG wants it fixed. Problem is it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and no grant money is available for drainage improvements. That's why it hasn't been taken care of all these years.

Yet the Council has just approved yet another high-density development on Wallace with minimal landscaped area, nearly all hardscape, that is sure to aggravate the problem. You think the developer will include a warning about flooding in his sales brochures?

It would be interesting to learn how much money there is in the fund composed of developers' drainage fees and where it has been spent over the last 25 years, and how much it would cost to fix all the areas that regularly flood in major storms.

Ms. Williams, who said she would speak about flooding next meeting, is a major victim of the flooding problem. I'm sure she wants it fixed!

5/02/2012 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Mayor 909 said...

Real "manly" of Bever to pick on Councilmember Leece and various citizens.

Next he'll be down at Bethel Towers lighting off M80s in the hallways.. AFTER he visits Fairview Park and urinates in the vernal pools..

5/02/2012 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous ocgop4ever said...

whoever put Joyce up to putting the kabosh on your booth at the community run did the correct thing. Please let's have a politcal free community event. If not, let's have a "free speech" area way off to the side for the politics, just stay out of the way of what should be a fun community outing. Also, Joyce did not vote against your booth, the community foundation did. Sutro made the motion. There are plenty of ways to get your political message out, leave this and concerts in the park alone or you will put the kabosh on both for the future. Just give it a rest now and then and relax and enjoy a nice day, don't ruin it for others.

5/02/2012 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Red herring said...

Ms. Egan,

These developments must generally comply with new low impact development standards and retain almost all stormwater runoff on-site. Please review the staff reports or speak with the developer before attempting another attack on the council majority.

5/02/2012 09:29:00 PM  
Anonymous DisneySolution said...

When Pinocchio Righeimer returns from Chicago, maybe he and "Geppetto" Baugh can do a little puppet show at Lions Park. That'll drive the homeless away; problem solved.

5/03/2012 09:49:00 AM  
Anonymous antigrowth said...

Does cm4rg still have time to get a booth at the Vegas conference? They could help undermine the City efforts by saying how bad it is here like some of their members did at HB city council meetings.

5/03/2012 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Surf's Up!! said...

Just realized that the flooding issues fit perfectly with the residents the city council is trying to attract to the Westside: hipster dudes who work for the surf industry companies on the Westside! Since they all have multiple surf boards, skim boards, boogie boards, etc. they will be able to float to work in style, fashionably dressed in the latest all weather attire! They may even create a new fashion line inspired by the floods, something like the Westside high water waders? I got to admit, it is genius.

5/03/2012 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous genius? said...

except for the fact that your house, furniture, beddings, carpet , also get ruined. other than that, yes, genius.

5/03/2012 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger valan2 said...

We don't need any more negative advertisement. We already have a couple of residents who bad-mouth the Westside almost every time they talk, and/or remind us of the "Fillmore slums" at every opportunity. And, these are the "improvers!"

5/03/2012 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous antigrowth said...

you are of course correct valan2. We also had videos put out earlier by anti council group and while not accurate did a good job of making the city look like crap. all in all, should be enough to stop growth.

5/03/2012 02:22:00 PM  

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