Request For Re-hearing To Be Continued?
Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 7, 2012, the Costa Mesa City Council will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting, the agenda for which may be read HERE. The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers.
BANNING RANCH TRAFFIC FEE RE-HEARING
One of the items on the agenda is councilwoman Wendy Leece's request for a re-hearing of the recently- passed agreement between the City and Newport Banning Ranch, LLC, the developer proposing to develop a big chunk of that land. You will recall that the City and NBR reached an agreement in which the developer will pay the City almost $4.4 million to mitigate traffic impacts on Costa Mesa even though the project is NOT in Costa Mesa. There are those in the community who feel that money is insufficient to address the traffic impacts and, more important to some, it prohibits Costa Mesa from ANY future involvement in the Banning Ranch development.
Leece's request may be read HERE in the staff report. However, there is a glitch in that Leece has asked the Fair Political Practices Commission for an opinion on her ability to be heard on this issue because of presumed conflict of interest - the gated community in which she lives is within 500 feet of the Banning Ranch property. Accordingly, a continuance has been requested until the FPPC analyzes the information and responds. It is unclear whether the council will grant the continuance or not.
JONES DAY LEGAL BILL
Also of interest on this agenda is Warrant #2430, HERE, which includes a payment to the law firm Jones Day - the $495 per hour outfit hired to handle the Charter issue. They received a payment of $111,435.39 for their March billing. That means we've paid them - through most of the last fiscal year - more than $1.1 million in fees and the clock's still running. That will push the total legal fees for the year well past $2.5 million, with more to come.
The council will also hear the new Bicycle Ordinance for the final hearing, HERE. They will vote to approve it and it will become law in our city 30 days later. It's an amazing bit of legislation because it requires bicycle riders to NOT chain their bikes to anything on public property but a bicycle rack and yet we have few such racks in most city parks. We have 29 parks and only 38 bike rack spaces! The Parks and Recreation Commission just addressed that issue at its meeting last month. Talk about getting the cart before the horse! Of course, this is one of the many steps the city is taking to discourage homeless folks from gathering in public places - like our libraries, for example. Bicycles found in violation will be impounded and the owners will be required to pay a few to retrieve them.
MATHEWS APPOINTMENT TO PLANNING COMMISSION
Also on the agenda are two items that involve Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jeff Mathews. The first is the item for the replacement of resigned Planning Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick, HERE. The Planning Commission reviewed the applicants and is recommending to the City Council that they appoint Mathews to the unexpired term which ends in January 2015. Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy stated unequivocally that Mathews was BY FAR the most qualified for this spot, but any person reviewing the applications who knows even a little about this city realize that is NOT true. At least a couple other candidates have a much stronger, more relevant background to a position on the Planning Commission. What they don't have, however, is Mathews' political clout. He's on the OC GOP Central Committee, is Vice President of the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association - McCarthy's shill organization for the OC GOP, and has contributed loads of cash to local candidates - including McCarthy! This is perhaps the most overt act of political patronage we've seen here in years.
ANOTHER "FITZPATRICK" SITUATION
An interesting side note on this. Mathews is apparently running for a seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board. If he is appointed to the Planning Commission and is elected to the Sanitary District seat in November we will have exactly the situation that Fitzpatrick faced - incompatibility of office. He would be forced to resign from the Planning Commission if elected.
MILITARY BANNER PROGRAM
And, the final item on the agenda is Mathews' brainstorm for a Military Banner Program. You can read that staff report HERE. While this seems like a worthwhile project, it certainly looks like a platform for Mathews to use in his campaign this fall.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT AT TARGET
If you decide NOT - and who could blame you? - to attend the council meeting, please take yourselves over to the Target parking lot on Harbor Blvd. and join the celebration of the 2012 National Night Out festivities. There will be equipment provided by local public safety organizations and a good time will be had by all.