Final Vote On Charter Tuesday
Very late this afternoon the City of Costa Mesa posted the agenda for a Special City Council meeting Tuesday evening, July 31, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at the Costa Mesa City Hall. The Costa Mesa City Council will hear any final thoughts on Jim Righeimer's Charter before voting to place it on the November 6, 2012 ballot. You can read the staff report on this debacle HERE. You can read the latest version of the Charter from the staff report, HERE. You can also read much more on the subject at the City web site Charter Page, HERE. Apparently this meeting will be preceded at 6:00 with yet another special Closed Session meeting to address labor negotiations and more litigation that's anticipated. No surprise there!
THEY'RE NOT INTERESTED
I suspect we'll see many familiar faces step to the speaker's podium to, one last time, present their views to a disinterested City Council. The council, bored, will ignore them and likely then vote, 4-1, to place the issue on the November ballot. That will come to no surprise to anyone paying attention.
HIS WAY FROM THE BEGINNING
Since it has been clear from the very beginning way back the end of last year when Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer first dredged up this subject that he had his own ideas about what SHOULD be in his charter and he wasn't about to be swayed by those who actually care what happens in this city and take the time to research issues and present their view to the council. Nope, it was going to be HIS WAY from the beginning.
DEFEAT IT IN NOVEMBER
Tuesday speakers will speak, council members may retort and in the end - baring another clerical error - the charter will be on the ballot. This leaves only one alternative for those of us who oppose it - to defeat it at the ballot box.
HANDING A LOCK PICK TO A BURGLAR
Because we have a very contentious city council race ahead of us, Jim Righeimer's Charter will undoubtedly be a major point of discussion as we move toward November. Letters will be written, names will be called and, with any luck at all, a majority of the voters will see this move for what it is - an attempt to take over our city and install a very flawed Charter as the primary tool of governance that will be used to run roughshod over the rights of the residents of this city. Righeimer continues to fabricate crises to support his view that, to "save the city" he needs the right tools. Well, this "tool" is like handing a lock pick to a burglar! This tool is designed to permit those in power to simply make up the rules as they go along. We've watched this current council have problems following the rules for the past eighteen months, so trying to imagine what they will try to do with the new, virtually limitless power this flawed document will provide to them shakes me to the bone.
TIME FOR ACTION
So, let's get this vote behind us so the time-consuming work of convincing the electorate of the deficiencies of Jim Righeimer's Charter can begin. We'll have just over three months to convince the voters that, while a Charter form of governance isn't necessarily a bad idea, THIS CHARTER IS A TERRIBLE IDEA that should be soundly rejected in November. Recently the press has been full of stories of malfeansance by leaders in Charter cities, where the voters obviously placed too much trust and power in the hands of elected leaders that proved unworthy of that trust.
HARLAN'S RIGHT - THERE'S NO RUSH
As Daily Pilot columnist Jeffrey Harlan so deftly pointed out last week, HERE, if a charter is a good idea for our city, then it should be a properly created document, using the considerable talents available in this city in the form of a Charter Commission elected by the voters. That commission would be charged with carefully constructing the document that will become our de facto municipal constitution, will include input from the community and have safeguards built into it to prevent fraud, corruption and other malfeasance in perpetuity. There is no rush to accomplish this process, which is what's happening with Jim Righeimer's Charter. It's being rushed through the system simply to pad one person's political resume.