Monday, August 20, 2012

Busy Council Meeting Tuesday

It looks like the next City Council meeting is going to be another full evening.  The agenda, HERE, is packed with items that will likely force some folks off their couches and into council chambers to hear - and perhaps speak - about the issues.

More or less in order, the Costa Mesa City Council will address the following items.

In the Consent Calendar they will approve Warrant 2433, HERE, which includes a charge to contract City Attorney organization Jones and Mayer for $118,203.20.  The check was cut August 3rd, but we don't know whether this will be applied to this fiscal year or the last one.  If it's this year, we're starting off just like we finished the last one - spending at a rate that will exceed $1.4 million by July1, 2013.

Next up the council will convene as a joint meeting of the council and the successor agency to the Redevelopment Agency and will consider the successor agency budget, HERE, and the ROPS  payment schedule for monies due the successor agency, HERE and two attachments, HERE and  HERE.  This is necessary due to the State mandate that closed down all redevelopment agencies.  Another royal rip-off.

The first Public Hearing involves special funds for the Police Department, HERE.

The second Public Hearing is an ordinance regarding Telecommunication Facilities in the Public Right-of-way, HERE.  This issue was generated by the placement many months ago of such a facility about a block from my Eastside home.  As you can see from the photograph, it looks like a suppository on a stick.

There is no Old Business presently scheduled, but several items under the New Business category.  The first is a proposal for a Citywide Alleyway Survey, HERE.

The second item under New Business, HERE, is the proposed contract with an outside vendor to provide Parks and Landscape Maintenance Services which, in theory, could result in annual savings of almost $1.4 million and just over $6.8 million over five years.   This contract is prohibited by the Temporary Injunction and MAY NOT be implemented until the current legal action is resolved.

The third item under New Business is the controversial project update, TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex Task Force, HERE.  I suspect this will generate much community interest.  The staff will make a presentation regarding the progress made by the Task Force and seek further direction from the council.   I've read the staff report and find many holes that remain unfilled.  This conversation should be interesting.  The item was demanded by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer at the last council meeting - Gary Monahan, who started this whole thing, was mute.  In my opinion, we should just toss this item in the trash as a REALLY bad idea and put "professional Recreation Manager,
Bob Knapp" - that's what Righeimer called him - to work finding ways to maximize the use of this facility without turning it over to an outside private concern.

Next up is an update on the Neighborhood Improvement Task Force (NITF), HERE, by Assistant CEO Rick Francis.  This organization took over when the Homeless Task Force completed its mission earlier this year.  It consists of mainly government departments and has created five goals:
1 - Reduce Homelessness
2 - Improve Motel Standards
3 - Minimize Nuisances from Problem Properties
4 - Develop Citywide Policies and Ordinances to Improve Quality of Life
5 - Better Utilize Law Enforcement Resources to Protect the Public's Health and Safety.

A report on the Task Force's progress is included within the staff report.

The final item on the agenda Tuesday is a new ordinance - the Civic Openness In Negotiations Ordinance, (COIN), HERE.  If this passes I guess Costa Mesa will become a "coin-operated" city.  (Sorry - that one just cried out for that comment!)  I have no idea how this idea will be received by the various bargaining units within the city, but I imagine we may hear from their representatives Tuesday night.

One of the segments of this new ordinance, HERE, establishes the position of "principal representative" who will do the negotiating on behalf of the City.  According to Section 2-236, that person "1) shall not be an employee of the city, 2) shall not be a member of any retirement system providing a defined benefit to the member, and 3) shall have a demonstrated expertise in negotiating labor and employment agreements on behalf of municipalities."  Basically, this person will be a hired gun, perhaps Richard Kreisler - the lawyer we're spending thousands of dollars on now to perform this job.

It also establishes some new rules of the road for negotiations and the reporting of such negotiations to the Council and the public.  It also establishes a new, standardized reporting format, examples of which may be found HERE.  Until we hear the discussion on this item - including public comments - I'm not quite sure what to think about it.  On it's face it seems to be a good step in further Transparency.  We'll see.

There has been a lot of stuff in the local media over the past couple days.  We'll get to that in a separate post.  So, this will give you something to chew on until Tuesday night.

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Anonymous Robin said...

About the whole COIN transparency proposal, it's like a friend of mine said, "This isn't transparency, it's selective opacity."

I would love to see a real Ex-Parte Communications Ordinance that requires all council members to report any parties that talk with them about a pending decision. I’m still very curious about what influences went into Jim Righeimer’s charter proposal. He mentioned “we” over 43 times the night he introduced his proposed language and the next day when he gave an interview to California CEO Magazine. I want a full disclosure of who those “we’s” are. The voters are entitled to know who influenced him before we vote on such a radical change to our government.

Everyone should know the Charter allows no-bid contracts and purchasing. We should also know why.

8/20/2012 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger James Rivera said...

Which two hotel/motel properties are scheduled for demolition (in staff report)?

8/20/2012 06:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Sad but True said...

West's anger causes him to miss key points, again.

West, like all CM4RG supporters, look only at the legal fees. And blame Council.

Unions are the ones bringing the law suit. The judges that have ruled so far are all public employees. This will get fixed at trial.

Meanwhile Newport Beach, with a simple and similar Charter, has been outsourcing and saving money.

Streetsweeping has been done saving big money. Privatized meter maids. Parks. Looking at outsourcing Jails. Large & meaningful savings.

But West looks only at the Union caused legal bills but ignores the savings. Doesn't make sense to ignore the whole picture.

West doesn't get it. The funds invested to defend against Union lawsuits are very small compared to the quantified savings achieved once these services are outsourced.

Government is not a jobs function. It is not in place to employ with great benefits.

COIN will put Costa Mesa back on a national map. Transparency leadership effort by this Council. 75% of the budget goes to employees and we have had zero visibility to the process or what Council's have given away.

Great job Council.

8/20/2012 07:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Sam Grady said...

Isn't if funny how some of the male council members come on this blog, hiding under false names, and try and twist facts in their warped belief that people reading it will agree with them. What a bunch of losers.

8/20/2012 08:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Troll Tracker said...

"West doesn't get it."

Oh, he gets it all right. Which is why you're here posting propaganda every day. Keep boot-licking my friend.

8/20/2012 08:36:00 AM  
Anonymous We report. You get Angry said...

I can only assume Robin omitted Wendy Leece from the ex-parte communications loop unintentionally, and not out of ignorance.

Weathervane Leece regularly has comments provided by Unions. 4-1 Leece had to have a Union Rep come and explain Leece’s vote on the Pensions.

And, like COIN points out, 75% of our budget is in Employee compensation. We need to keep our eyes on the prize. The prize is, as the Daily Pilot Sunday story points out, is the employee compensation. With the likes of South Coast throwing off something like $40 million, yet Costa Mesa was the lowest City on infrastructure, save Aliso Viejo, a much newer City. It all was going to employee compensation.

Robin and the CM4RG people are very nice. But they just do not get it.

Robin, dear, please see someone about those “we” voices, they cloud your judgment.

Leece needs to disclose her ex-parte Union discussions. Leece does not need an Ordinance, she can begin at any time. I agree that the voters are entitled to know who, when and how Wendy Leece is being influenced by these Unions. Again, Leece does not need an Ordinance to disclose her discussions with Unions that make up 75% of Costa Mesa’s budget

8/20/2012 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Ummm...we don't have any unions in Costa Mesa.

8/20/2012 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Sad But True, we've never seen any definitive numbers insuring savings, because as soon as a contract is written, they up their fees. So, how can you determine that there will be any savings?

The city has spent over 2 million dollars trying to straighten out a mess the council has made by trying to outsource the WRONG way. Why should anyone believe them now?

8/20/2012 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Why would anyone want to have privatized contracts when what we see, like in the situation with the towing companies and Monahan, the only reaon a contract is issued is because one of the councilmen, or McCarthy, is getting large sums of kickback/campaign contributions, i.e., Jeff Matthew appointment to planning commission the same week he contributs $1,000 each to Mensinger (who voted on it) and Colin McCarthy (who initiated it)?

We cannot trust our councilmembers to be honest about their actions.

Fitz is trying his darndest to get a new trash contract, and has run all over town looking for backing, to the point he looks completely desparate. Why? I suspect its money, and not money for the city savings!

Trust has to be earned, and this council has not earned a bit of trust, and quite to the contrary. Again, with the "light housekeeping" crap they tried to put over on the residents and got caught. Its just one thing after another with these schiesters.

8/20/2012 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Sad - what exactly is similar in the proposed charter to Newport's? Newport's wasn't cobbled together by one guy.

Legal fees are all on the council - they were the ones that took the 'fire, ready, aim' approach to forcing layoffs. If they were the one's whose jobs were on the line, would they not fight to protect them? And now Mensinger has dragged the credibility of the judges into it with his quotes the other day - they are public employees, so they are biased. Whaaaaat? You guys are amazing...

8/20/2012 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous knock knock ur served said...

i hope somebody gets sued for alleging kickbacks. does not seem like this should be allowed without proof. it is personal destruction attempt. hope somebody loses big $$$.

8/20/2012 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark C. said...

Knock knock...

Proof: Jeff Mtthews contributes 1k to Mensinger's campaign. Within the week, he is nominated to a commission by Mensinger's slate candidate McCarthy and voted to that position with the help of Mensiger's vote. Coincidence? Perhaps. But there are a whole lot of those coincidences going on. Like political contributions by Jones Day etc etc etc.

Do you really want to invite someone to peel back that veil? It could get politically ugly. It might all be on the legal un and up, but it sure wouldn't look good politically.

8/20/2012 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous We will be just fine said...

Just Wondering is reading straight out of the Union Playbook exposed recently in the OC Register.

Dirty up the candidates, say things enough, sheople will start to believe.

When legal opinions suit them, Unions embrace. But when they do not, sling mud is the modus operandi. City Attorney gave the legal opinion that Council Could vote on Mathew’s appointment, so they did. This is the slecetive traits employed by Unions.

People go to jail for corruption. No facts have ever been presented. Just Union minds alleging. Newport Beach with their Charter is doing just fine. Costa Mesa will be just fine. The Unions will try to dirty up the candidates. Geoff West will help them. We will be just fine.

West is absent on so many important topics. Costa Mesa Police win Gold Medal in pay. Union Playbook exposed. Riggy calls out Katrina and Katrina fails to respond. Weitzberg’s wife is part of the Medical Marijuana crowd. Disability Claims of Public Safety is out of control.

8/20/2012 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

knock knock...there is nothing "alleged" at all. Its all public information. Look it up. You have a computer.

8/20/2012 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

We'll Be ...

google the minutes of the City Council meetings, and you will find where the contracts were awarded. No secret.
O.C. Register reported the campaign contributions by Jeff Matthews. Also public information.

Don't you wish it were phony?? I'll bet you do!

Unfortunately for the residents of the City of Costa Mesa, what we have here is a handful of unethical councilmen.

8/20/2012 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

Newport has a way better charter than what’s proposed for Costa Mesa...put together by a citizen’s commission of residents.

All cities, charter or not, face the same economic realities. CM could have outsourced more by now if the councilmen had followed the rules. They not only brought the lawsuit on themselves by ignoring their own attorneys advice, they messed up the chance to save money by any legitimate outsourcing. HB, Newport, Irvine are dealing well with adjusting. They are charter cities. Fountain Valley is probably the most similar to Costa Mesa and has successfully made necessary adjustments, and FV IS NOT a charter city.

The real difference is, they all have leaders who can work with the employee groups, plan well, do what’s prudent and do it all without a lot of drama. We got drama but not much in the way of results. I wouldn’t be too surprised if something doesn’t materialize soon in the way of agreements with Police and Fire, with councilmen taking credit for really grinding it out of them, because even our council guys are able to discern their refusal to negotiate is hurting them politically. Any real fiscal conservative cringes when they see how much money was wasted on an unnecessary lawsuit and how many dollars were lost from delayed solutions caused by failure to reach workable solutions with employee groups. Groups who were and still are more than willing to work it out.

8/20/2012 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

My question is why COIN applies only to labor negotiations. Is this a slap at Ms Leece? If they truly embrace transparency, apply this to ALL negotiations. And as a reminder, this is not something they dreamed up: Ms. Leece asked for this from the dais many months ago.

I appreciate Robin's comment about "selective opacity" - that's it. Smoke and mirrors.

8/20/2012 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Goose or Gander said...

Just Wondering, allow me to break it down for you. Yes Mathews made the contributions, as he has many times in the past. At the meeting, City Attorney was asked if a Council Member needed to recues themselves and the legal opinion was “No”.

Google it, watch the video, do whatever you want with it except ignore the fact that the legal opinion was rendered allowing the vote. I know it makes you angry.

Your comments are very selective. You and Geoff West choose to ignore the other side, as if they do no wrong. Why don’t you go ask Sandy Genis if she has been paid to write comment letters on Banning Ranch. Ask Sandy Genis how much she got paid on OC Fair issues?

Genis is running for City Council yet she is receiving a free pass from all the CM4RG advocates. Everything you and that group claims to be for, they turn a blind eye on people they support and only attack those that say “We”. Rather odd behavior, but that is what Unions and Union lovers do.

Can’t wait to see the forms disclosing how much Union money these candidates will receive and or how much Union PACs and Independent Expenditures will be spent on the CM4RG candidates. All they do is talk about OCGOP this or that. Yet the Unions will be funding their campaign. Rather odd behavior.

8/20/2012 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Goose, I notice you conveniently left out the towing contracts issued by Monahan to his business partners. Can you justify that also?

Just because a councilmember says No, they don't need to recuse themselves form a vote, doesn't make it so. I believe he should have. His ethics are seriously in question. Hence, the NO trust issue.

Now, try and justify awarding contracts to your business partners, and not disclosing the information, or recusing yourself from the vote.

8/20/2012 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Sad, also...

Jeff may have made many high dollar contributions to Mensinger or McCarthy before...but they didn't appoint him to planning commission the same week. They are now in a position to do so, and did. Do you think that is appropriate? I'm sure you do.

8/20/2012 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Oh..and Goose: no one needs to ask Sandy anything. She isn't the one selling positions on the commissions or awarding contracts to her business partners. Smoke and mirrors...yup!

8/20/2012 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

I just asked Sandy, she did all the Banning Ranch research, EIR analysis and letters and all her Fairgrounds work Pro Bono.

8/20/2012 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

I'll also comment on Republican money in this race. First I have to distinguish the local GOP "Elite Party Leaders" from Republicans in general. They don't speak for a lot of us, I've commented on that before. Scott Baugh hasn't allowed an audit of the books for a long, long time, and that disturbs me and many of my fellow R's. So does the idea that we should slavishly follow certain people and support their agenda without carefully examining whether they are really in line with our philosophies or if their actions match their words. Or if they are effective leaders at all. I believe some faction of the GOP has greatly over-estimated Republican willingness to follow like sheep. We really tend not to be sheeples. That “we” would be me and dozens of fellow R’s I’ve talked with recently.

So now to the $$$. We all know lots of money will be spent in this race from every side and many types of outside groups. Who’ll spend more –the Associated Builders and Contractors who are backing Jim’s charter, or the organized laborers who are fighting it? GOP or Dems? I predict they will all throw a lot of money into a race that should be non-partisan. I can guarantee CM4RG is not going to be a big money player, altho many people have been very generous. Our donations have been multi-partisan. I couldn’t say which party has given more, I don’t ask. One that was really generous came from an older gentleman who’s been a Republican for 57 years. He gave us $20. He said he was on a fixed income and didn’t have very much, but supported what CM4RG is doing and wanted to help as much as he could. Now that was a lot of money! Maybe not to us, but to him it was all he could spare, and I was very touched by that.

8/20/2012 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous DirtyMike& The Boys said...

Hey Goose or Gander, some of the political contributions are on the City website, under City Election tab. Pretty interesting to the 3 Ms websites so similar, and with all the same names attached to it. It looks like they all sat around and copied the other guys homework, except they all choose to use different stupid pictures.

Could Colins face have been bigger? And Steve with his prized possession football, how lame. Gary looks truly happy to be associated with all these other numbskulls.

8/20/2012 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Selective said...

Robin and Mary Ann,

Just look at the ramifications of past labor agreements and you'll know why COIN applies. The pension upgrade that the employees were supposed to pay for, but applied retroactively, is a prime example.

And Robin, where were you in Oct. 2010 when the council BEGGED the employee groups to work with them to close $9.3 million gap to avoid 70-100 layoffs, and were told to stuff it?

Thanks to the Register, we now know why they want the city to pock up the employee share - it boosts their salary for pension purposes!

Hey, wait - another reason for COIN!

I thought you were for responsible government?

8/21/2012 02:32:00 AM  
Anonymous deepthroat said...

i have some breaking news and some insight into other bombshells but don't want to give cm4rg a heads up. they deserve to get it the way they will. Stay tuned, all within a week.

8/21/2012 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said... appears that CM4RG is the threat to the council! Great! GO GENIS, STEPHENS AND WEITZBERG. You got em' scared.

8/21/2012 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Full Employment said...

deepthroat said...
"i have some breaking news and some insight into other bombshells but don't want to give cm4rg a heads up. they deserve to get it the way they will. Stay tuned, all within a week."

You finally found a job?

8/21/2012 10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous At your six said...

Told to stuff it? Didn't the FD give up 12 positions and take a unit out of service?

8/22/2012 02:51:00 PM  

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