First, class, a little English lesson. Today's word is DISINGENUOUS, which means "lacking in candor". More on that later.
At last evening's Costa Mesa City Council budget study session, which was to be the final chance for the residents of this city and the council to flesh out the 2012/2013 municipal budget. It was the final chance to step back, take a look at how our precious financial resources will be applied over the next fiscal year. It was the final chance to try to reach that precarious balance between providing important public services - police, fire, recreation, planning, etc. - and paving streets, maintaining storm drains and keeping our parks clean and maintained. The council will vote on the budget next Tuesday, June 19th.
INFRASTRUCTURE OVER SAFETY
While it's clear that the current majority - driven by the whip of Jim Righeimer - has chosen to prioritize infrastructure over public safety, last night they had a chance to step up and make our schools safer - and they failed.
MENSINGER DENIES CANCELLATION OF SRO PROGRAM
Last night, near the end of the fairly short meeting - just over an hour long, HERE - Steve Mensinger was discussing the School Resource Officer (SRO) program and complaining that it had been reported that the SRO programs had been canceled. He then went into a little interrogation of CEO Tom Hatch about the actual current staffing for that program and determined that it wasn't fully staffed anyhow - implying that not so much fuss should be made about pulling the cops out of the schools early. He THEN told us all that he, and the council, STRONGLY supported an effective SRO program and that he felt even more should be done. Then he stopped.
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
Mensinger missed the boat. Tuesday was the FINAL study session at which council members and others could suggest changes to the budget. He, as a member of the council - albeit an appointed member - could have pushed his peers to re-allocate funds to insure that the SRO program remained intact, or even enhanced. Instead of 2 officers he could have decided that we actually need four (4), and worked with the council to find funding for them.
Actually, he wouldn't have had to look too far, since this council has begun a practice of, to use Joe Serna's great phrase, squirreling away money in little pockets here and there - "just in case". They could have decided that the $500,000 they earmarked for "problem motels" would be better spent funding the SRO program. Or, they could have peeled a few bucks from Hatch's slush fund. They could have done that last night. That just means shifting dollars from one slot in the spreadsheet to another. But, no - they didn't do that. Nope, the disingenuous Mensinger used his time to warm up his campaign stump speech to see if more than three people will vote for him in November. It's all about politics, not what's right for the residents and visitors to this city. This is certainly something we should Remember In November.