OK, I won't keep you waiting any longer. The Planning Commission exercised authority it didn't really have tonight and unanimously recommended Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jeff R. Mathews to replace Jim Fitzpatrick on the Planning Commission. Its recommendation will be forwarded on to the City Council - which actually DOES have the authority - and it will make the selection at a council meeting in August.
THE BEST LAID PLANS...
The bulk of the Planning Commission meeting agenda was pretty mundane so I chose to stay home and watch the proceedings on television. Well, that seemed like a good idea until we lost the video feed of the meeting, so it ended up being like the old days of listening to the radio! I did, however, dash to City Hall for the appointment item - the final one on the agenda. I joined candidate Marshall Krupp and 5 others in the auditorium.
The selection of Mathews - who was number one on every commissioners short list - was no surprise to me. Although there was some conversation about forwarding three names to the council for their consideration, Vice Chairman Sam Clark convinced Chair Colin Mc Carthy and commissioner Rob Dickson to vote to just send Mathews name forward. Commissioner Ed Salcedo voted no, preferring to send three names forward. The others considered on that list were Byron de Arakal and Jonathon Zich. Mathews is a OC GOP stalwart, a member of the central committee and spreads campaign donations around like a farmer sewing seeds in a field. That fragrance in the air was not fertilizer on those seeds, although it did smell like it. No, it was pure partisan politics.
WILL THEY REPLACE MATHEWS?
Now the council will make its decision next month. Once that's done - there is no reason to assume that Mathews WILL NOT be chosen - that leaves an opening on the Parks and Recreation Commission. I won't be surprised if one of the remaining candidates from this recruitment are chosen for that opening. However, there are other considerations. The Parks and Recreation Commission only meets every other month. If he is appointed to the Planning Commission in August that leaves only the September and November meetings until Mathews' term will have expired in January, 2013. Assuming an actual recruitment effort is undertaken - usually a month - by the time the candidates are sorted out and qualified for consideration we will probably be in October. I think it's unlikely that an interim commissioner will be appointed under these circumstances. This council has been known to bend the rules, though, so nothing will really surprise me.
So, crony politics is alive and well in Costa Mesa. More on that in another post soon.