Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eastside Improvement Meeting Hijacked!

Ever been hijacked?  No?  Well I have!  Last night I, along with five dozen of my neighbors, had our meeting hijacked by two political opportunists with a personal agenda.

Yesterday evening I, and about 60 of my Eastside neighbors, attended the presentation by Public Services Director Ernesto Munoz and his outstanding team of the pending infrastructure improvements scheduled for our side of town.

I've written about this before, but, in a nutshell, more than $8 million will be spent improving streets, gutters, sidewalks, storm drains and other ancillary issues throughout the Eastside.  The area involved is bordered by Newport Boulevard on the west, Irvine Avenue on the east, 21st Street on the north and 15th Street on the south.  The area can be seen on this image.  Click on the image to enlarge it.
HIJACKED BY POLITICAL OPPORTUNISTS                                           About a half hour into the meeting it was hijacked by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and his pal, councilman Steve Mensinger.  All of a sudden they diverted the discussion to one of their pet peeves - alleys.  They asked the crowd - who was not there to hear about alleys, by the way - how many thought Costa Mesa alleys needed improvement.  Of course, many hands were raised, so off the discussion went.  The most memorable line I recall was Righeimer saying, "Those people who come to the council meetings don't care about alleys."   That was the duet he and Mensinger sang about wanting to get the alleys fixed soon.  Funny, I had not realized that Righeimer was clairvoyant - that he could read the minds of the folks who take the time out their busy lives to attend council meetings.  Of course, he can't - that was just another fabrication to suit his agenda.

He also told the group that the city was trying to put together a $134 million budget.  Wrong!  Once again he plays fast and loose with numbers.  The actual Preliminary Budget was $132 million and change.  But, then, what's a couple million between friend, right?  That's how he put together his wish list that he is now demanding the staff to budget for.  He just pulls numbers out of the air and hopes nobody will challenge him.

Back to the meeting.  We heard that many excellent projects will be completed on the Eastside by early next year.  Besides the overall street improvements that total just over $6 million, additional jobs will be completed taking those numbers to over $8 million.  They include the Broadway Safe Route To Schools Project, the Irvine Avenue Median rehabilitation and a storm drain on Tustin between Costa Mesa Street and 19th Street.  Staffer Tom Banks will head up these projects and will be our "go to" guy over the next 8 months.

Kudos to Munoz and his staff for a job well done.  Their presentation was crisp and they were ready to answer any question tossed at them.  For more information about this project you can contact Fariba Fazeli in the Public Services Department at 714-754-5378 or email her at
Boos to Righeimer and Mensinger for contributing NOTHING to the evening except trying to feather their political beds.

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Blogger Joe said...

As you've documented so well, these extremists will say anything to keep and increase power.

The new rap/mantra:

Our chief focus is on infrastructure improvement. All improvement in the last couple years and the next couple of years is because of us and us alone. Those who oppose or question us are against paved roads.

Nevermind that many projects were planned and funded long before Righeimer even packed his carpetbag for Costa Mesa. As Mrs. Egan flagged- "repeating the Big Lie."

Roads, drains, etc. are visible and effective to get votes. The average voter doesn't see the 7 figures being paid out to law firm campaign contributors. The average voter may not google Das Riggmarshal and learn about how he hates all public employees.

You seem suprised that they hijacked the meeting. Did you really expect less? Did Riggy have Fitzpatrick open up a free shoeshine stand outside?

5/10/2012 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Pave Away said...

I live on the Eastside and we want Alleys addressed.

Wendy Leece called that a wish list. City has not touched Alleys they put in decades ago.

Good Council Members, pay no mind to the man behind the curtain, he is angry.

5/10/2012 06:55:00 AM  
Anonymous tomatoe/tomato said...

thanks to the council members for taking time out of their lives and showing up. If it had been Leece who showed up and joined in the discussion perhaps the tone of this article would be different. You know, kudos to Leece and where were the councilmen? The councilmen are in a no win situation here. That is ok, this is the pot stirrer's blog and his opinions and YES I will continue to read even if I disagree so all of you don't have to invite me to leave. Love this blog. It is fascinating to see how two people can see the same thing and have such a different opinion about it. I disagree with probably about 98% of what I read in here but I appreciate the long hours and hard work needed to produce this blog. It is a great place to learn about upcoming events. The interpretation of what happened at these events is where I usually differ. As to hijacking an event, see OC4RG and learn how they tried to hijack the community run and make it a political event. They even claimed they had "lawyers" come forward ready to sue yet again. Give it a rest folks.

5/10/2012 07:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Friendly Neighbor said...

Maybe they thought we were talking about "allies", or they were looking for allies in their alleys assault. Is it just a coincidence that the fancy improvements for Broadway (and their alleys) is also where one of our planning commissioner lives? There are other streets here on the Eastside that would benefit from sprucing up like the plan for Broadway, but I guess we need better allies, or is it alleys?

5/10/2012 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Central Valley Farm Animals said...

Leave the Eastside and the rest of Costa Mesa alone. Don't run for Council. Come back up here and raise some chickens! At least you'll be your own man, not Riggy's ponyboy.

5/10/2012 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I'm glad you enjoy the blog. I would prefer you agree with every single thing I write here, but... ;-)

The difference between what happened last night and what might have happened had Wendy Leece showed up would have been that Leece wouldn't have muscled her way into the agenda with irrelevant, self-serving tripe.

If you meant CM4RG, they didn't try to "hijack" the community run. They, just as many other community organizations, wanted to have a booth, applied, paid their money and were ready to go. Then certain politicians got nervous about it so they were "disinvited" and their money returned. Several members still attended the event and some ran. As I understand it, their problem was that it appeared the rules were changed midstream to exclude them - which turned out to be the case.

5/10/2012 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Jokeman said...

Q. Why did Al queda reject Riggy's membership application?

A. They already have enough hijacking a-holes

5/10/2012 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Give me a break said...

"Those people who come to the council meetings don't care about alleys." Really? Jim Fitzpatrick cares about alleys. In fact, he complains about his Broadway alley nonstop. I know he would never miss a council meeting, even if it was his wedding anniversary! Thank goodness Riggy and Mensy want to help him out. We can’t have Fitzy accusing them of having a cavalier attitude and dismissing the concerns of dozens of residents.

5/10/2012 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Randall said...

I'm confused. The alley's aren't a problem? You're against fixing the alleys? Or the alleys aren't on the Eastside?

Or you just don't like the messengers?

By the way, while we disagree on some points, I thank you for allowing opposing views. (Unlike Ms. Leece's blog.)

5/10/2012 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Curious said...

Hey pave away and tomato:

Seems to me that council butt kissers like you two are spending a lot more time on this blog lately. Are you guys angry about our opinions or just paranoid about November?

5/10/2012 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous tomatoe/tomato said...

pot stirrer, the political organization cm4rg did try to hijack the event with their irrelevant, self serving tripe. The would have used lawyers to muscle in also but since they could not sue the city, since this was a community foundation event, they declined. Nothing against them, or anyone, attending and/or running, the more the merrier. Just don't bring politics into a fun community event like the run or upcoming concerts in the park please. Plenty of other ways to get your message out. Let's have neutral events just like you would have liked the eastside event to have been. There is so much more to life than arguing over everything. Using one's energy on fun, community events is a good thing for a change.

5/10/2012 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Alleys ARE a problem. However, The City has a plan for improving them. Gone are the dirt alleys of the past. However, streets that are used every day by thousands of people have taken priority - correctly so, in my view. The Study Session on the 17th will give you a good idea of how difficult this budget year is going to be. Righeimer needs a crisis, so he's manufactured this "infrastructure" crisis. He's going to demand staff cuts at a time when crime is on the rise. It ain't gonna be pretty..

5/10/2012 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Twinkie Defense said...

Well, we all know what the phone dropping, chest bumpers platform for election to the City Council is going to be--fix the roads, alleys, and stop the flooding!!! I think we as a City are going to need a little more before we give this guy a vote. All he is a bigger version of Riggy, and people know it, don't be fooled this guy, he will do no good for the City of Costa Mesa.

5/10/2012 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Katie Arthur said...

I attended the presentation at Kaiser last night and City Staff did a good job presenting their plan to make much needed improvements to the Eastside. I applaud their efforts and hard work.

City Staff deserves the credit for this project. They found the money and have spent countless hours working with the residents, working on plans, etc. (For the record I have not heard City Council members trying to take credit for the improvements but Fitzpatrick has suggested he played a role w/ at least the Broadway Safe Route to School – SRTS - which is just not the case.)

What is surprising and “ironic” (?), because it is completely contradictory to “improving the traffic” situation here on the Eastside, is that ALL Planning Commissioners, including Fitzpatrick who lives on the Eastside, recently approved the 450 17th Street Starbucks/restaurant drive-thru. The lack of research and complete disregard for the residents that went into their decision is highly disappointing given the negative impacts this drive-thru would bring the community.

Various sources say a Starbucks drive-thru generate somewhere between 30-60% more traffic! It is logical that this significant increase in traffic is going to cause an increase in traffic problems, accidents, cut-through traffic for neighboring streets, put our kids at risk, and decrease the quality of life and property values for the residents who live close by.

MANY children walk/ride bikes/etc. across 17th Street in this area on a daily basis DURING PEAK HOURS for the drive-thru. My son was hit, while riding his bike home from school a few years ago, on the sidewalk directly across the street from this location. The driver was rushing out of the 427 parking lot to merge into the fast moving two way traffic on 17th. Do we really need to bring 30-60% more traffic onto and around 17th? What happens when people want to avoid the traffic on 17th and cut through the neighborhood?

Did any of the Planning Commioners take the time to visit any of the OC Starbucks drive-thrus at peak hours? Some of us who will be most impacted have done just that and without exception there are traffic problems at peak hours and in many cases traffic does back up (up to eight cars at some!) onto the street.

We’re told they have a plan to address potential of traffic backing up on 17th; the existing planned space for eight idling cars (!) would be extended to the back of the Starbucks parking lot, taking what was originally space for eight idling cars up to allow many more (twelve?)!

Mr. Fitzpatrick said at the Planning Commission meeting that home owners “should have known better” when we bought our homes on Cabrillo since the drive-thru was already in place and “that’s why he bought on Broadway”.

Well – that drive through was built in 1973 and our homes are 60 years old. There ARE several residents in the area who have been in their homes before the drive-thru was approved and built. Additionally, and more importantly, that drive-thru was built for a bank that operated roughly 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., five days a week. The Starbucks will operate 6 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., seven days a week! Not to mention that the bank had significantly less traffic per hour than Starbucks will most assuredly have. And, the 450 property backs directly up to my neighbors' backyards on Cabrillo.

A variance was granted for the bank drive-thru by AQMD. The difference in traffic this drive-thru will generate, number of cars idling, etc. should not allow that variance to apply to the planned Starbucks drive-thru use.

I was told that Mr. Righeimer is involved w/ a business that builds Starbucks drive-thrus. He will have to recues himself from any discussion and vote this coming Tuesday. A “tie” vote (2 to 2) would result in approval.

There are a myriad of reasons this drive-thru is not a good idea.

Net/net: Residents ARE paying attention and we will remember in November whether our elected officials are looking out for our best interests or the interests of others.

5/10/2012 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

@tomatoe/tomato - Your comment about CM4RG and the communty run is just another repetition of The Big Lie. Not a word of your accusation is true. If you actually believe this lie, tell us what you base your belief on: facts, evidence, not just accusations. Has someone been filling your head with tripe? If so, who?

5/10/2012 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...


5/10/2012 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Gary Craig said...

The community foundation does not run the community run. A separate group of community members runs the run.

The Costa Mesa Foundation acts as an asset custodian (receipts and disbursements) on behalf of the run.

5/10/2012 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Eastside Bob said...

I was at the meeting and witnessed what happened.

Personally I was a little offended when a resident claimed it would only cost $40,000 to fix his alley and Messigner from the back said that the city could pay for it. Looks to me as if he was trying to buy votes.

5/10/2012 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Caution,bumpy alley ahead said...

While the alleys are important, and I'm sure will need speed bumps to slow the cut through traffic down, so one can back out of a garage safely.
The more important question lies in the integrity or lack there of of the un elected and the rig-ster.
They seem to be finding there way into the other dealings of the city and the quality of life in CM. Not just the employees and the police and fire, Budget shortfall lies and such. Their self interests, their agenda. imposed on the rest.
Their end game is distruction and promoting their developments.
Costa Mesa "For Sale" can develop.

5/10/2012 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous tomatoe/tomato said...

Egan: most of my info comes from insiders and that info was confirmed by the speakers at the council meeting from cm4rg. they mentioned wanting a booth, having their check given back to them, lawyers stepping forward willing to sue. Than Hatch pointed out that Joyce was not acting as a city employee and recused himself from the community foundation vote on the run. Mr. Craig has weighed in saying it is not a community foundation sponsored event so that confuses the issue a little for me. But just watching a council meeting validated all I had heard except that no one confirmed Sutro made the motion to not allow booth. Other than that pretty easy to see where I got my facts that you say have not a single truth to them. Very strange E. Egan. It is right in the open. Two people can see the same thing and have completely different takes. tomatoe/tomato

5/10/2012 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

Tomato, it’s all Solanceae:

I’d just as soon give it a rest but apparently you’d rather not. If you really do like facts: CM4RG applied for and was accepted for a booth at the Community Run. They knew who we were and what activities we planned; application accepted, check cashed, no problem. That's a contract. Three weeks later I got a phone message that said “This is Dan Joyce from the City of Costa Mesa and representing the Community Run Committee...” I’ll gladly play the message for anyone who wants to hear it. When he called me back a week later, he represented himself the same way, as from the City, the Committee and as a community member himself. I verified that he had no authorization to represent anyone but himself.

If you have insider info, then you probably know that he spoke at length to the Run Committee before they voted to rescind their acceptance of our application. However he represented himself, everyone was aware he holds a management level City position and he is the City Liaison to the Committee.

If you really listened to what we said to the Council (or if your insiders gave you accurate info) then you know the reason they voted to exclude us was they were told that a major sponsor would pull out because that sponsor's policy prohibited them from any event that had political or religious sponsors or participants. I called them and confirmed that they had no such policy. I have all that in writing, of course.

Yes, a few attorneys offered to help. It was cut and dried illegal. But as soon as we found out an attempt was being made to maneuver us out, I made a promise to the Committee Chair that we had no interest in legal proceedings. They were in a tough spot, and we wanted to support the great work they do.

It’s not the first time the City has tried to hand CM4RG lemons. We already have a history of making lemonade. We had 12 people in the races, plus 3 great canines! About 20 of our other members came Friday night and Saturday. We gave the Community Run a lot of support, we had a lot of fun, and the attempt to exclude us resulted in some strong support from unexpected people. The reasons we heard from community members- they are tired of the micro-managing and power plays. Funny how that worked out.

If you'd like to contact me, I'd be happy to talk with you.
Robin Leffler

5/11/2012 01:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Tank said...

In the past few years the city HAS addressed a number of alleys(most on the eastside). Removing the old asphalt and replacing them with concrete. Which, is a much more expensive process than replacing with asphalt. I think the city has addressed those issues quite well. The slurry seal projects are mere black spray paint job to show look at what we have done, vote for me.

5/11/2012 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

According to City officials, the concrete turns out to be more cost-effective than asphalt which is why they've chosen to use it.

5/11/2012 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous nightshade said...

robin, "making lemonade", how cute. and with all the sour grapes your group has you also make a lot of whine. Good decision not to sue over booth, that would have been politically disastrous for your group.

5/11/2012 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous tomatoe/tomato said...

Robin,thanks for the offer to talk it over but I will pass. We see things way too differently, it would just be frustrating. I cannot support your group because they "micromanage" everything the council does. Well, maybe not manage, but you guys talk on almost every item every meeting. And the tone from Tamar, Cindy, Ridge, et al really puts me off. Your "we" question is getting creepy, let it go. The distortions even more so. Great that you all participated in the community run and enjoyed a day without politics. The "attempt" to exclude you was not to exclude you as people from the event. It was to exclude your booth which would ruin the event for many people. It was more than an "attempt" to exclude your group's booth, it was a "success", your booth was not wanted and you were rejected and did not get a booth. A win for the community at large and the dozens and dozens of people who attended, participated, and supported this event. Please stay out of Concerts in the Park also or this could be the last year for them. The community run is now going to be overhauled, spare the concerts please.

5/11/2012 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

So, let me get this straight. Because you don't like what this group stands for you want them excluded from EVERY event in the city? Really? Can they shop at Stater Bros.? Can they walk in the parks? Are you REALLY that intolerant of views of issues that are so different than yours? You're beginning to sound very much like a funny little guy with a funny little moustache in Germany during the 1930s.

5/12/2012 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger valan2 said...

Tomatoe/tomato: I wonder what you think CM4RG was going to do at their booth that would "ruin the event." What image are you buying into? These are fellow community members - your neighbors - not terrorists.

As I see it, if someone attending the event didn't agree with, or want to talk with, CM4RG, the easy solution would be to not stop at their booth. Then it would have looked a lot like the City's booth, which was vacant - inside and out - for almost the full time I was there: two hours Friday night and most of the morning on Saturday.

In fact, the community would have had a chance to send CM4RG a message that they didn't support them, if that's how they feel, by ignoring their booth. But, this opportunity was lost by denying the booth. It's kind of like the Pot Stirrer says so often: "If you don't like what you see here, don't visit." But don't deny others the opportunity to enjoy it if they wish.

5/12/2012 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous tomatoe/tomato said...

pot stirrer: YOu are over the top in your statement. Not walk in the park? Shop for food? Perhaps I may not have been clear: POLITICAL BOOTHS. I think you know what I said but just spun it the worst way you could as you do on so many issues. It is not the individual members of cm4rg attending community events that I am against. As I said, "the more the merrier". My opposition is to having a political booth at a community event. I would feel the same about an OCGOP booth, a Taxpayers Assoc. booth, etc. I just want a community event free of politics, that is all. Valan2 thinks we missed an opportunity for the eventgoers to send a political message by ignoring the oc4rg booth. He apparently is in favor of politicizing an event. Can't you just wait for the vote in November to see how the community feels about you? That is a real poll. Imagine you are at the community run, going from booth to booth, having a great time and then you stumble onto cm4rg and get bombarded with how bad our local government is, or a taxpayer booth with a chart of firemen making 200K and more. Would that enhance your fun day?

5/13/2012 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Tomatoe, you sound like someone who is very afraid of what is coming in November. I know you aren't Mensinger, because he has the attention span of a pet rock, and its not Fitzy, because he can't assemble more than two sentences, so that only leaves one real estate agent I can think of...

6/13/2012 04:44:00 PM  

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