Thursday, May 24, 2012

Huy Pham Plaque Request Denied

I guess it really didn't come as a surprise to me that the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission denied the request from the Costa Mesa City Employee's Association, through its President, Helen Nenadal, for a plaque honoring former employee, Huy Pham, to be placed adjacent to the tree planted on the City Hall lawn in his honor earlier this year.

Following a very short discussion, led by Jim Righeimer protege' Ethan Temianka, the commission voted to deny the request, 3-1, with commissioner Dan Vozenilek voting against the motion.  Vice Chair Dean Abernathy was absent.

The thrust of the argument against approving the request was that there was already such a memorial plaque - and tree - located at the Estancia Adobe and, as the hemming and hawing continued around this very delicate issue, it was clear that some on the commission felt there should not be a plaque for a former employee who committed suicide.  The discussion proceeded as though the commissioners were walking on egg shells, apparently not wanting to anger staff members with this decision.

I don't know if an appeal to the City Council is possible in this case, nor do I know of Nenadal and her organization will choose to exercise that option if it exists.  I guess we'll see soon enough.  Personally, I think I understand both sides of this issue.  The employees want a remembrance of their dead compatriot on the City Hall grounds to honor his memory and the elected leaders of the city don't want a reminder of his death - the flash point of the turmoil that has existed for 15 months and counting - placed so "close to home".

In other actions, the commission approved the elimination of the "weekly pay" option with a "monthly pay" option for the R.O.C.K.S. program.  According to the staff presentation, a very low percentage - 2-3% - of the participating parents pay on a weekly basis.  Each of the more than 700 participating parents were contacted.  There was no correspondence on the issue and nobody showed up at the meeting to address the issue.

Separately, one speaker representing a youth soccer program spoke earlier to complain about being charged a $5.00 "convenience fee" for online payment of field rental.  In his case, his group pays $20.00 hour for fields which amounts to around $20,000 per year.  This charge is levied for EVERY HOUR of field use, which effectively amounts to a 25% increase. 
Curiously, he was the only person to speak on this subject - I would have expected other youth group representatives similarly affected to present their complaints at the meeting.  Temianka was surprised and very upset at this charge and during commissioner comments suggested that this be "fixed" by the council.  Unfortunately, since the issue was not agendized for last night the commission couldn't take any action on it.  Staff will review this situation - it seems to be a case of an unintended consequence slipping through the cracks - and will likely either bring it back to the commission for their July meeting or present it directly to the City Council sooner for possible modification of its policy.

The commission also spent a split second considering the 2012-2013 Capital Improvement Program (CIP).  They made no comments except for Temianka's apple-polishing echo of the party line, thanking the council for their leadership.  If I closed my eyes I might have thought I was hearing Jim Fitzpatrick speaking!


This afternoon is another Special City Council Study Session at which three CIP-related issues will be discussed, the city Master Plan of Drainage, the SR-55 Gateway Improvement Project and the City Street and Alley Pavement Needs Update.  More on that later.

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Anonymous Nostradamus said...

Baby Ethan to gain 50 pounds; a match for Fitzpatrick in the East;

In the North he will kiss butt, overtaking "Charlie" McCarthy;

Nigh the South he assumes the position, Mensy and Riggy, oer the mesa,

5/24/2012 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

One youth soccer group uses a field 1000 hours each year? That's 4 hours every weekday, all year long! How does that leave time for everybody else? Or is there something wrong with the numbers cited?

5/24/2012 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Eleanor, those were Mr. Arblaster's numbers. He was very specific and nobody from the city staff present flinched.

5/24/2012 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous The Twinkie Defense said...

Has anyone told Mr. Temianka that if he plans on moving up to the Planning Commission and possibly the City Council on day, that he needs to start packing on the pounds. Look at all of Riggys little clones, those guys aren't afraid of any food.

Fitzy, help this little guy out and send over a box or two of Twinkies. I know it'll be tough but you can part with a few of cream-filled spongey delights.

5/24/2012 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Dozer said...

I hope Association President Helen Nenadal will appeal this flawed Parks Commission decision on a permanent memorial to Mr. Pham to the full Council for reconsideration.
In fact, why not up the ante and propose something more significant. Instead of a little plaque hidden in the grass or mulch near his memorial tree, we might consider a marble sculpture for the lobby. And think of the impact of a bronze statue next to the entrance to our City Hall. While we are at it, how about installing a poster size picture of him in the Council chambers? It could be placed above Wendy's "Trust" motto as a ongoing reminder to all of the selfless sacrifice of this union martyr. Lest we never forget!

5/24/2012 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Dear Dozer,

There is no doubt that Association President Helen Nenadal will appeal this decision.

The goal is to keep Huy Pham's name in the press long enough to connect it to the campaigns in the fall.

There is no doubt that you will see several mailers come out that prominently display him as a "victim" of the current council's austerity plan.

As those of you who paid attention know, I gave no quarter to Righeimer when he was creating false controversy such as at a traffic checkpoint. I will give no quarter to anyone who continues to use Mr. Pham's decision to shuffle off this mortal coil to politically pummel their opposition.

Everyone in this campaign should present their social and economic arguments without stooping to emotional BS.

When they do, I will be the first to call them on it regardless of the side.

5/24/2012 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Spoke with Helen Nenadal tonight at City Hall. She WILL NOT be appealing the Parks and Recreation Commission decision.

I don't know what "goals" there might be for the use of Pham's memory.

I know you fire with both barrels on issues you feel are important and that your participation ALWAYS enhances the debate.... even when we disagree. ;-)

We'll see soon enough how this will play out in the summer and fall. One thing for sure, this will NOT be a boring campaign season.

5/24/2012 10:19:00 PM  
Anonymous A quarter isn't enough! said...

Mr Krochman wow what a pillar of fairness. And his "no doubts" oh my please tell us more about yourself and others Sigmond Krochman.

5/25/2012 12:18:00 AM  
Anonymous DC Comics said...

A quarter isn't enough! said...
"Mr Krochman wow what a pillar of fairness. And his "no doubts" oh my please tell us more about yourself and others Sigmond Krochman."

If we're really really lucky, he'll wear his Superman suit when he comes out..

5/25/2012 06:23:00 AM  
Anonymous A Krock said...

"Everyone in this campaign should present their social and economic arguments without stooping to emotional BS."

Excellent! This is not only a good model for the campaign, but for all city issues from now on. In Krockman's Costa Mesa, there is no use for emotion.

When police and fire are cut further and someone else dies, let's make sure we don't waste any more precious time or funds with trees, plaques, or any of that nonsense. In fact, family members of the dceased should be deported from the city and not allowed back in for at least a year- we don't want them bumming us out with emotion.

5/25/2012 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Dear Mr. Jefferson,

I will NOT be signing your "Declaration of Independence."

As those of you who paid attention know, I gave no quarter to King George when he imposed those taxes. And I will give no quarter to anyone who uses this issue to start an armed conflict.

Everyone involved, including the Crown, should present their arguments without stooping to emotional BS here in Boston, or at Concord where you are storing that gunpowder.

Thaddeus Krochman, 1776

5/25/2012 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


November is an eternity away in political time.

A lot could change!

5/25/2012 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous For Heaven's Sake said...

For Heaven's Sake, what did Huy Pham ever do for anybody?????

5/25/2012 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Youve destroyed our city said...

I love the idea of a statue. Since Piggy doesnt mind spending our money, lets get gold statues of the councilmen with red hands. This will forever remind them all of the blood on their hands for the tragic death.

5/27/2012 07:37:00 AM  

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