Short Meeting - No Surprises
An a very short Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday evening - it only ran a little over two hours - there were no surprises, unless you count those folks who arrived expecting to do battle for Wendy Leece on her request for a re-hearing of the Banning Ranch Traffic Mitigation payoff. That item was pulled from the agenda earlier in the day - I reported it in my earlier entry. Even so, several people stood and offered their views on the subject - none in support of the council action.
MATHEWS APPOINTED TO PLANNING COMMISSION
The remaining "big" item on the agenda, the appointment of a replacement for Jim Fitzpatrick on the Planning Commission offered no surprises. Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jeff R. Mathews was appointed on a 4-1 vote - Wendy Leece voted no - and will serve out the remainder of Fitzpatrick's term which ends in January, 2015. Unless, that is, he is runs and is elected to a seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District. Then he would face exactly the same situation that Fitzpatrick faced - the incompatibility of the two positions. In Joe Serna's coverage of the meeting, HERE, Mathews is quoted as saying he would resign if elected to the Sanitary District Board.
DID MATHEWS BUY THE SEAT?
Serna also raises the question of Mathews campaign contribution to Steve Mensinger in June. This will require a little more research tomorrow, but if Mathews DID contribute $250 or more to Mensinger in June, then Mensinger should have disqualified himself from the vote. Also in question is whether Mathews contributed to Colin McCarthy's campaign, too. If so, that also creates a problem with his appointment because McCarthy, as the Chairman of the Planning Commission, was the biggest proponent of Mathews for this position and led the vote that recommended him to the City Council.
BIKE ORDINANCE PASSED
The council also passed the Bicycle Ordinance, although not without some controversy. In fact, Mayor Eric Bever voted against it, stating that it penalized residents just to address a problem with homeless people. Staff members indicated that, although this ordinance would become law in 30 days, it would NOT be enforced until sufficient bike racks are in place in public spaces - probably not until the first of the year.
WHAT'S RIGHEIMER UP TO NOW?
During council member comments Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer expressed, in very aggressive terms, concern for the issue of the proposed turnover of the TeWinkle Park Sports Complex to Big League Dreams. The task force formed to study this issue had many unanswered questions when it was disbanded - much to the consternation to many of the members. Righeimer mentioned several, including parking, alcohol being sold too close to a school - both of which are issues that need to be resolved with the Newport Mesa Unified School District. I chuckled when he mentioned that some of the problems might be resolved "now that we have a professional Recreation Manager, Bob Knapp". Well, as great a guy as Knapp may be, and as "professional" as his background is, he is NOT an experienced municipal Recreation Manager. Personally, I hope the experience he DOES bring to the job he was just handed helps make our municipal recreation programs stronger, especially since this council seemed determined to gut them only a year ago.
And, in an another stream-of-conscienceness rant, Righeimer fantasized about folding Fairview Park, Talbert Park and part of Banning Ranch into one grand, 1,000 acre Santa Ana River Park - that would belong to Costa Mesa and would provide trails to the sea. Where the heck is that coming from? Does he know something about Banning Ranch that he's not telling us?