Costa Mesa Emergency Management Crisis
A BRIEF HISTORY OF FAILED MANAGEMENT
Much has been said about the plans of the current Costa Mesa City Council majority who have, under the heavy hand of Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, disemboweled and demoralized a proud organization over the past 18 months. Their rancor has been directed most specifically at the public safety groups - police and fire. A year ago they ignored the best professional advice they could pay for in the form of consultants hired specifically to assess police department manning and one of the most respected law enforcement leaders in the state - Steve Staveley - and slashed the police department staff to 131 sworn officers, down from 164 just a couple years ago. They just pulled that number out of the air. And, they have refused to permit the CMPD to begin the hiring process for replacement officers for those planning to retire soon - a process that can take upwards of 12 months - until the association agrees to a new pension tier for new hires. And they harp continuously about the money public safety staffers earn, most of which is a direct result of overtime required by current staffing levels - levels they created.
WE'RE JUST OBSERVING!
How has this affected normal residents like you, me and our neighbors? Well, today I became aware of one very serious way all of us are being affected. I've seen a memorandum from Sergeant Keith Davis, the officer in charge of Costa Mesa's Office of Emergency Management, distributed to all employees last week regarding an emergency response drill that will take place tomorrow, May 15th, as part of a regional training activity. Here is the text of Sergeant Davis' memo. I have highlighted a particularly troubling portion of that memo in red.
Costa Mesa Police Department
Office of Emergency Management
(714) 754-5333 Office
(714) 754-4809 Fax
Couple that with the fact that so-called "part 1 crimes", the big crimes, are up 10% year over year and I know I sure don't feel safer today.
This week, at the Special Study Session planned for Thursday, May 17th, the City Council will again attack the Preliminary Budget. Last week Righeimer demanded that Finance and Information Technology Director Bobby Young abandon the almost-balanced budget he presented to the council and return with one that will have a likely $10 to $15 million deficit because he demanded that his "wish list" be included. That list is only the latest tool he is using to fabricate a crisis to further attack city bargaining units. All the while, public safety teeters precariously on the brink of calamity.
TIME TO TELL RIGHEIMER TO STOP!
It's time for all of us to inform Righeimer and his pals that we are tired of him playing politics with the safety of our city and families. It's time for him to stop trying to force his own political ideology on us and get serious about working closely with all the employee units to find practical solutions to our fiscal problem.