What's Righeimer Up To Now?
Tomorrow night the Costa Mesa City Council will hold its first council meeting since the election and this one promises to have some highly-charged elements - not that all have not had way, way too much drama for the past two years.
RIGHEIMER - "RESCIND LAYOFF NOTICES"
Today Mike Reicher, former ace reporter for the Daily Pilot who now writes for the Orange County Register, broke the story, HERE, that Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer will be "calling for administrators to rescind pink slips issued to employees last year and to negotiate a deal with the labor union." If you've been following Costa Mesa politics for the past couple years, that statement will certainly get your attention - and probably make you curious about what Righeimer is up to now. The Daily Pilot also reported on this story late tonight, HERE.
Since he was elected two years ago he and his 4-1 super majority on the dais have run roughshod over the City, violating their own rules on outsourcing, causing a costly lawsuit to be filed which resulted in an appellate court decision that apparently threatens hundreds of other California cities who have privatized operations.
He and his cohorts have stampeded through the municipal governance process using the specter of fiscal disaster and insolvency because of "unsustainable pensions and pay levels". All the while they managed to balance the budget - a direct contradiction of their dire predictions.
BOGUS CHARTER DEFEATED
Righeimer attempted to jam his cut-and-paste charter down the throats of the residents of the city. Fortunately, the electorate is not nearly as gullible as he apparently thought and that charter was soundly rejected by the voters. The last numbers today show 59.8% against it. This was a major defeat for Righeimer and his handlers at the Orange County Republican Party. That loss, combined with the rejection of the OC GOP slate for seats on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District, should have rocked them back and made them reconsider their overt attempt to use Costa Mesa as a Petri dish for pension reform and social experimentation. And, we hear grumblings that the GOP power brokers at the Lincoln Club are none to happy with how things went this election.
State-wide, my Republican Party suffered the loss of seats in the Assembly that now gives the Democrats a super majority. My Republicans are now just eunuchs in Sacramento.
DON'T TRUST RIGHEIMER
So, many of us are reacting to Righeimer's overture with no small degree of suspicion. We wonder what he's up to now. Late this afternoon, in response to an inquiry by a reporter, Orange County Employee Association General Manager Nick Berardino - the group that represents the Costa Mesa City Employees Association - issued the following letter: (click to enlarge)
WE'LL BE WATCHING THIS CLOSELY
I take from Berardino's letter that he, too, is curious about what's up with this overture. Righeimer has demonstrated time after time that he is not beyond playing fast and loose with the rules. Distrust has marked his tenure on the dais. It's going to be very interesting tomorrow night at the council meeting, which begins at 6:00 in council chambers although it will be preceded by a special joint meeting of the city council and Costa Mesa Housing Authority and a closed session. You can read the complete agenda HERE.
MORE LEGAL FEES...
And, the council meeting was already full of interesting stuff. The Consent Calendar alone holds much to be curious about - like the more than $95,000 billed by Jones Day as the latest bill in their open-ended contract as part of one of the five Warrants the council will consider.
I'm also curious about the amendment of the agreement with Management Partners for yet another $37,000 for "interim management assistance". You can read the staff report HERE. The City has added so many people on the 5th floor of City Hall it makes one curious just why we continue to have to have these folks on board, month after month, when we've hired several highly-paid managers. Maybe someone will ask that question tomorrow night.
TRAFFIC IMPACT FEES
The council will also consider the annual citywide traffic impact fee program and the report from the ad hoc committee. You can read the staff report HERE. The recommendation is to leave the current fee structure in place.
2%@50 FIRE AGREEMENT
One item of particular interest will be the amendment to the contract with CalPERS and The City codifying the recently negotiated change to the agreement with the Fire Safety employees to implement the 2%@50 retirement formula. You can read the staff report HERE.
SIGNS AND ANNIVERSARY PLANS
Near the end of the meeting the council will discuss the SR-55 Gateway Improvement Project Monument Sign Design, HERE and the Costa Mesa 60th Anniversary Planning Committee, HERE.
It looks like it's going to be another long night...