Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Makes Your Head Spin...

Where to begin?  For a meeting that was supposed to be short and painless, the Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night turned out to be neither.

Some general impressions.  First, There's nothing more unpredictable than a politician who is termed out with nothing to lose.  Eric Bever demonstrated that last night... more later.

Second, one just never knows what will come out of a politician's mouth when he doesn't have a clue about decorum and the rules of procedure.  Bever and Steve Mensinger demonstrated that.

Third, lock-step allegiance to a political agenda sometimes blinds politicians so they cannot adequately consider what is best for the community they serve.  Mensinger and Jim Righeimer showed us that last night.

Not unexpectedly, the subject of stolen political signs was a thread that stretched throughout the meeting last night.  Several speakers during Public Comments mentioned it and Gary Monahan, who says he had several large banners defiled or stolen, said there is a $1,100 reward for information leading to an arrest of sign vandals.  Curiously, Stacey Butler of Channels 2 and 9 and her cameraman were in the audience last night, apparently expecting to record some kind of major dust-up about signs.  I found myself wondering just why they were there - and whether perhaps the City PR apparatus alerted them.  Since nothing like that happened, I guess they left disappointed.  I do know they interviewed residents outside the council chambers.

During his "comments" time Mayor Pro Tem Righeimer took some of his time to gloat about the "great" numbers on the outsourcing spreadsheet being displayed on the City web site.  See my previous post.  He perpetuated the myth that actual dollars are being saved when nothing could be further from the truth.  It's amazing how these guys just fabricate "facts" to suit themselves and then deliver them to an unsuspecting audience like they were actually telling the truth.  Amazing!

Bever, our main man on the planned I-405 expansion, discussed his recent presentation before the Orange County Transportation Authority.  The OCTA Board was unable to reach consensus at the last meeting, so the issue will be taken up this month.  Bever, in his own, special, immature way, took the opportunity to bad-mouth the Board - a strange tactic, since he's supposed to be trying to persuade them to go with Alternate #2.  We all can be VERY happy he's termed out this year.

Speaking of which, during the discussion of the political signs, he violated the rules by talking about his candidacy for a seat on the Mesa Consolidated Water District Board, then joked about it.  He's running for the seat held by current president, Fred Bockmiller - a real engineer and expert in water issues.  One can only hope the voters understand that by electing Bever to that seat they will be getting a petulant, arrogant divisive man with poor work habits and only a political agenda guiding his candidacy.


After all council members had their chance to speak CEO Tom Hatch gave his report, responding to many of the concerns expressed by members of the public on Sign Theft, Homelessness, the new Fire reorganization and the current infestation of coyotes city-wide.

Then, in a violation of procedure, Bever launched into another stream of consciousness commentary addressing many of the issues Hatch had just covered.  It was during this little rant that he dropped his bombshell for the evening - his request for the staff to investigate ways to put the Soup Kitchen and S.O.S. out of business.  He compared those social service entities to a rowdy bar that was closed in years past as a public nuisance, indicating that the negative impact of those two entities is much more wide-reaching than a simple, noisy neighborhood bar.  He had everyone's attention when he stopped talking.

After that, I kind of thought we might be home free.  The evening was still early - a little after 7:00 p.m. - and we only had a couple fairly uncomplicated issues remaining.  Wrong again!

They launched into the Consent Calendar and reached #5, the consideration of accepting $160,000 in grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety for DUI and Special enforcement activities for the year beginning October 1st.  As several speakers opined, this seemed like a no-brainer, but never underestimate how lock-step allegiance to a political dogma will impact events in our city.  Sergeant Greg Scott made his presentation and, to the surprise of many in the audience, he was grilled by Mensinger and, later, Righeimer.  All of a sudden it became clear that Mensinger and Righeimer were willing to reject this grant - money we had already qualified for - because Mensinger didn't want to be in debt to the Chinese!  This from a guy who has had difficulty adding 5+2 on the dais!  Righeimer inquired of Hatch how much "contingency" money we had left and was told that we'd only committed to spending about $100,000 of the $1 million - Righeimer wanted to use that money for this program. It took the calm demeanor and steady hand of Police Chief Tom Gazsi to prevent a calamity.  This fiasco demonstrated very clearly why you cannot trust these guys with our city, and especially if Jim Righeimer's Charter is passed in 5 weeks.  Since Monahan had to recuse himself because he's a bar owner, a 2-2 vote would have killed the issue.  Eventually the council voted 4-0 to accept the money, but only after extorting from Gazsi an agreement to look at ways to do the same work without "Chinese" money.  What schmucks!

The evening eventually wrapped up with a clear presentation by Public Services Director Ernesto Munoz on why the staff was recommending a "receive and file" on the report on the Street and Storm Drain Services RFP.  A reorganization and complete lack of respondents to the RFP proved it was preferable to keep this activity "in-house".  One speaker, former councilman Jay Humphrey, stood and chided the council for wasting time and creating angst on the part of the employees - who have had layoffs hanging over their heads for nearly 18 months - when a series of simple telephone calls over a year ago could have resolved this back then.  He, of course, was right.  So, the council voted to receive and file and to rescind five layoff notices to the remaining staff in that group.

Before I went to the meeting last night I had lunch and read my Wall Street Journal.  I found an article on the Opinion pages by Alan S. Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University titled, "The Case Against a CEO in the White House".  His thesis was that a successful top officer in business or industry does not necessarily make for a superior performer in government, and particularly not as President of the United States.  I found the following paragraphs from that article to be especially interesting:

Nolan Bushnell, the highly successful entrepreneur who founded both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, once observed that "Business is a good game—lots of competition and a minimum of rules. You keep score with money." That's virtually the opposite of being president of the United States: The president has no direct competitors (though he does have opponents), must abide by numerous rules and certainly doesn't keep score with money. 
The differences between business and government are manifold. Start with democracy, the preservation and strengthening of which may be a president's first duty. Not many successful companies are run as democracies; benign dictatorship works far better. All the checks and balances that characterize American democracy would drive a hard-charging CEO, accustomed to getting his own way, crazy....

....Which brings us back to keeping score. Top business executives focus single-mindedly on "the bottom line," meaning profits. Among the reasons why so many smart business people fail in politics and government is that there is no bottom line—or perhaps I should say there are so many bottom lines that the search for a single one is futile. 

I sat there, munching a taco, and read and re-read those lines and couldn't help think how much they applied to our current situation in Costa Mesa.  As I've said MANY times before, we have members of the current City Council that just DO NOT LIKE RULES, PERIOD!  And, they seem bound and determined to "keep score" with money.  Please take a minute to re-read those three paragraphs again.

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Anonymous Too many charter liars. said...

Jim Fitzpatrick needs to stop spreading his lies.

Newport Beach in 1953 elected a 15 member panel to create their Charter that was passed in 1954 or 1955.

Go to page c-46 and c-47

Huntington Incorporated as a Charter City in 1909. Since then they have revised their charter several times.
In 1966 it was revised so much it was considered a new charter. It was revised heavily again in 1978 and a Commission was formed in 2009 to make more changes. HB has often used a Charter Review Commission or the like during it's 100 years as a city.

Fitzpatrick says neither HB nor Newport used commissions for their charters.

I think Fitzpatrick is a lot like Colin McCarthy, they just lie about most everything.

10/03/2012 04:56:00 AM  
Anonymous sanman said...

anther unbiased report of a city council meeting. could have been written before the meeting: councilmen bafoons, councilmen lie, wendy great, humphries (or genis or leffler) correct in their comments.

good job councilmen. you had to give pink slips per union contract. thanks for looking to take bids. San District should do it also for trash hauling. actually , they WILL do it, in December at an emergency meeting where they vote to take bids and vote to drop lawsuit on me(so shiny), er, I mean Fitzy.

10/03/2012 06:56:00 AM  
Anonymous N.I.M.B.Y said...

The City of Fullerton had a couple of Council Members who didn't want these DUI grants in their City because it created overtime for the officers. Seems like Riggy and Mensy are of the same thought process.

10/03/2012 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Eyes Wide Open said...

Dear a few too many,

I don’t remember Fitzy saying any of this? Can you quote sources of this. Doesn’t really matter. People will get to vote. The one thing Fitzy has taught us though is the tactics of the union is to throw around so much misinformation that you give the voter one, and you only need one, reason to vote no.

I watched City Council. My observations of the meeting are very different than this blog. Lots of good discussions. I think the Council & Police Chief wound up in the right place in the end. Council listened. Isn’t that what some people want?

Let’s just say that the 3M’s win, or a majority is maintained. Charter does or does not pass.

The Anti Council crowd does nothing but complain and chastise. So when they lose, I bet they never thought about how they want to lose. They will still need to work with the City Council and their supporters. None of the Anti’s behavior or actions would encourage anyone to work with them.

Jay whatever his last name is gets up and takes the time to berate Council who give him and “them” the ending they have been trying to get to for 18 months. And not a single thank you in the bunch.

With these tactics they will never get any of their issues moved forward or completed. Maybe it makes people feel good to go to a meeting and complain for 3 minutes. Or come to a blog like this and vent with words. Maybe this is necessary?

10/03/2012 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous HERicane said...

We hear Hurricane Katrina Foley is telling people she will be back in 2014. Ha

She moved her son to school in Newport Beach and is losing many supporters. No one on the School Board wants to work with her. No one in youth sports wants to work with her. The shake down money she took from developers is all dried up. Her puppet candidate Stephens will not get on Council.

She is right now trying to get unions to bus in support for feet to the fire. Where she will lose. Will she cry?

10/03/2012 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Just the facts said...

Too many charter liars...

Ironic name for a liar!

Huntington's charter was proposed by the City Council and adopted by the voters in 1937.

Nice try, but facts have never been charter opponent's strong suit, just emotion and lies.

10/03/2012 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Good quote from the WSJ. He put into words most of the feelings that thinking people have.

I said my piece on the charter last night.

Jim Fitzpatrick thought it necessary to let me know last night that he never posts on this blog, probably in response to my last post of a couple days ago. Thanks, Jim. It leaves more room for both reasonable, courageous people and the cowardly fools who post only pseudonymously. But I for one would not be averse to hearing your voice hereon, and neither would Geoff, I think.

I find nothing surprising in Righeimer's aversion to DUI activity on the part of the cops. He's had issues with them since he was on the planning commission, as we all remember. I have had hopes that the present-time flap with the cop coming to his door would be resolved early, but it is apparently not to be -- it looks a lot as though it will be filed in the same dossier as Gary's brick and Steve's swatch of red paint. Maybe it'll happen after the election, maybe not. We can hope for transparency here, but not expect it. Perhaps Mr. Bever, regardless of the outcome of his election, could be pressed into waterboarding the PI involved in order to obtain a confession from him...

I thoroughly agree with council that sign theft sucks. Let's just not do it, permit it, or encourage it.

May the good lord preserve us from Scotch Tape Dispensers in the coming election. Perhaps Mr. Millard will again urge "bullet" voting for one candidate -- preferably the fourth "M". Maybe we, too, could urge all Ock-Gopp members to do so. I'm sure some of them would take the advice, judging from their past records.

10/03/2012 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Terry, thanks for your thoughts and for being in such fine voice last night. I'm sure Righeimer, in particular, enjoyed your crooning. ;-)

Sure, I'd love to have JimmyFitzy post here under his own name. Did you actually beleive him when he said he didn't post here using a pseudonym? Got a bridge I want to sell you, my friend. ;-)

10/03/2012 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

The comments on this one are the best comedy I've read in ages. Do the council majority/charter supporters really see the world as only union and them? That would be a very small world. Let's start with a fact (since it seems, according to the comments, we offer none) and then a few assumptions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 11.8% of the labor force (wage and salary workers) are union members and that is unchanged from 2011. That represents 14.8 million people.

Let's assume that they were evenly distributed over all 50 states. That would put 296,000 in each state.

Let's further assume that each state had them equally distributed in each city (cities only here). That would put 611 in Costa Mesa.

So,in a city of 111,600 that means .005% of the population is union.

Wow, that tiny little group is causing all this trouble? Those are some crafty boogey men you all have conjured up.

If I was on that side of their argument, I would be a lot more worried about the numbers of smart, savvy Costa Mesa residents who can see past the name calling, the stupid labels and the empty promises - those who can and do read - who understand the charter and will vote it down.

I get to do all that and never have to pay a cent to a union. I am not a union thug - I am your worst nightmare: An Informed Voter.

10/03/2012 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Too many charter liars. said...

Just the facts, I gave you the link to the City of Huntington Beach Government Page. In the paragraph on that page it says HB incorporated in 1909 as a CHARTER CITY.

If that information is incorrect then it is the City of Huntington Beach telling lies.

I also read in their charter, at the beginning, the dates of the revisions and the first entry for a 1937 certified election.

It is not clear if that is a revision or maybe another new charter like the one in 1966 or maybe HB made a mistake on their government page.

Even if there is a discrepency the main point and the history of both HB and Newport is that they use Charter Commissions often. HB as recently as 20009 - 2010.
In direct contrast to comments made by Fitzpatrick.

10/03/2012 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Too many charter liars. said...

Here are the first few sentences of the first paragraph under the HB government link I provided.


Founded in the late 1880s, Huntington Beach was incorporated as a Charter City in 1909. Huntington Beach has a City Council/City Manager form of government. The City Council has seven members, each of whom are elected to four-year terms.

None of that really matters though as the main comment was Fitzpatrick lies saying HB nor Newport used charter commissions or the likes .

10/03/2012 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Troll Tracker said...

"Jim Fitzpatrick thought it necessary to let me know last night that he never posts on this blog"

The gang and its supplicants, especially Fitzy, lie a lot. The latter posts here almost every morning between 6 and 7:30 AM, probably while his wife is getting ready for work.

Did he also say he doesn't drink?

10/03/2012 01:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Not my vote said...

Speaking of drinking. Jim Ferryman is running for the trash district. When Ferryman was on the school board he got a DUI. And now his signs litter my city. I have known Ferryman and Perry all my life. They will not get my vote ever again. Perry makes over $100,000 in pension.

10/03/2012 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous EDD said...

"Perry makes over $100,000 in pension."

Work full-time at certain jobs, earn a pension. The key is to WORK full-time.

10/03/2012 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Thats okay, I'll vote for Ferryman and cancel your vote. He has more experience than anyone.

10/03/2012 06:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Einstein Cries! said...

I laughed so hard reading Steve Smith today.

Is this guy suppose to be a comedy writer.

I swear he actually wrote the following...

"Is the charter good for Costa Mesa? The answer is that there is really only one way to find out, and that is to approve it. Unlike other hot topics, such as Banning Ranch, the charter is reversible, that is, should it prove to be a bad idea, it can be eliminated by another vote of the people."

I know... I am still rolling on the floor laughing too.

That's how I raised my kids. You know kids the only way you'll know driving while drunk is harmful is to go out there and just do it.

Smith should next write not about how people made up their minds for the wrong reasons, but how people go blind to common sense because of their allegiance.

There is so much to say about this and the rest of Smith's obvious garbage, like the costs to ammend or revise a charter, but I think his entire piece can be judge just by that one idiotic statement that the only way to tell if it's good is to pass it.

I hope and see exidence most people are smarter than Smith and can tell a bad idea without having to implement it. If anyone out there thinks the only way to tell if the charter is good is to pass it, please go back to school.

What a complete and utter piece of nonsensical thinking and reasoning.

10/03/2012 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Of course, one answer might be that Smith is a hired gun - a PR flack who makes a living trying to convince folks that things that might not be so good are wonderful. Maybe Mensinger paid him to write that bit of garbage... or maybe not. Maybe he just temporarily lost his mind.

10/03/2012 10:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Geoff, and Troll tracker --

Gosh, why would a straight shooter like Mr. FitzPatrick ever want to tell me a fib?? Gosh, I can't understand why a fine, upstanding citizen would want to mislead me into thinking he posts nothing on this blog. My, oh my.

But, as with all null statements, I follow the council's modus operandi: Receive, and file.

Null statement: "I cannot lie." Or, "I'm not lying to you."

Demonstrably true and internally consistent statement: "I can lie."

Had I heard an utterance in the latter category from FitzPatrick, I would certainly put my full faith and credit into it...

...It occurs to me that Righeimer, rather than being a politician, is to be categorized as an autocrat. He would far rather dictate to us than persuade, and this is one of the reasons we never hear cogent argument from him, just diatribe. He'd make a better slavemaster than he would a mayor. I have high hopes that some remaining fragment of the Party of Lincoln will twig to this, and explain to the man that he has shortcomings and should take up another occupation than politics, such as worm ranching.

Now, there is another thing I have noticed: Since Steve Mensinger's elevation and consecration to the dais, I have NEVER seen a 3-2 vote from council. All the votes I remember have either been 4-1, with councilmember Leece dissenting, or on sensible matters such as the consent calendar, unanimous. I wonder if Jim FitzPatrick could possibly give us a non-null statement on this subject?

10/03/2012 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Goat Hill Guy said...

What has happened to Art Perry and Jim Ferryman? They were so good for our City. Now they are union endorsed candidates. Their bootleg signs are all over the city. The trash company lobbyist has already spent $10,000 to support their campaigns. An amount no one has ever spent on the race. Did they also hire Perry & Ferryman the sign placement company to put up all those bootleg signs? I thought these guys were supposed to help our trash not hurt our trash. A guy came to my house and told me they voted to give themselves healthcare for a part time job. That they drive to Napa with their wives for meetings. That we pay something like 60% more than Newport Beach pays for trash. And there is a no bid trash contract since World War 2.

10/04/2012 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous History Channel said...

You Know Who:
"That we pay something like 60% more than Newport Beach pays for trash. And there is a no bid trash contract.."

No work today Jimmy? How many hours does Mrs have in this week?

10/04/2012 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNutt said...

So I just saw Der Riggy himself pull up in front of my house and look at my address on the curb and the signs in my yard ... not sure why, but certainly found it strange. Hope I'm not breaking any codes or anything, and I certainly hope he didn't want to steal them. Sorry, couldn't resist.

10/04/2012 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous DoubleChins said...

Mike McNutt wrote:
"So I just saw Der Riggy himself pull up in front of my house and look..the signs in my yard ..."

Sorry, From down the block I thought "No on V" said, "Napoleon Feed."

10/04/2012 05:36:00 PM  

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