Thursday, December 27, 2012

Will Sandy Hook Tragedy Restore Costa Mesa SROs?

A FEW CONCERNS...
Today the Daily Pilot, our local newspaper of record for more than a century, included in the online version a commentary I sent to them recently.  It may appear in print sometime soon.  You can read it HERE.

LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
When you read through that piece you'll find several questions, but no answers... those will have to come from the trustees of the Newport Mesa Unified School District and the elected leaders of the City of Costa Mesa.

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS
One of my major concerns is, and has been, the removal of the School Resource Officers (SROs) from the Costa Mesa High Schools.  That move - a result of the draconian budget cuts by the former city council - created a huge vacuum in those schools.  Legendary SRO Jess Gilman (shown here at his retirement ceremony with his wife, Rhonda, and Chief Tom Gazsi) was removed from Estancia High School and placed on patrol.  He subsequently retired and is working in a security capacity at a university not too far away.  All reports are that he was an excellent patrol officer, but those close to the issue acknowledge that his best utilization is that of a School Resource Officer based on his experience and history in that role.

AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE EQUATION
As I said in the Daily Pilot piece, during the study session on December 18th at the NMUSD headquarters the common thread throughout most of the discussion was the need for SROs in the schools.  Of course, there were many other issues addressed - I wrote about them HERE - but the question of the missing SROs is a critical element in the discussions and seems to be a pretty easy one to address.  The commitment by the Trustees and council members to fund SROs in the future needs to be reached, but the SROs could be replaced immediately by using some of CEO Tom Hatch's  $1 million slush, er, contingency fund to bridge this fiscal year until funding could be allocated for the 2013-2014 budget.

IGNORANT COUNCIL MEMBERS DON'T HELP THE PROBLEM
Part of the problem is that some members of the current city council seem to not be in touch with the situation.  For example, new Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger - who arguably spends more time at Estancia than other council members because of his strong interest in youth sports there - apparently is oblivious to the fact that we don't have SROs there any longer.  I'm not sure how that level of ignorance can exist, but it does.  The short, 2-minute video clip below - from the last council meeting of the year right at midnight, - confirms it as he attempts to set new council member Sandra Genis straight on the subject.  Perhaps if Mensinger spent more time paying attention, reading the staff reports and not fiddling with his Ipad and phone on the dais he'd actually understand what's going on up there.  Two years is plenty of time for him to grasp the procedures.

YES WE DO!  NO, WE DON'T...
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5 Comments:

Blogger just wondering... said...

I got a good laugh out of that. An idiot like Mensinger trying to correct someone like Sandy, who has a memory like a steel trap, is hysterical. He should know better than that, he's way out of his league. His best bet would be to shut up and listen to her...but again...Geoff is right. This guy is an idiot.

12/27/2012 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Ooops said...

Hey Steve,

No we don't.

You stand corrected.

12/27/2012 08:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

I hope that Misters Righeimer and Monahan realize they do the city no favors when they cover up Mr. Mensinger's ignorance. Righeimer cuts off the discussion to stop Ms Leece and Ms Genis from correcting Mensinger. There is no incentive for him to become any more informed or engaged when he is enabled this way.

12/28/2012 07:29:00 AM  
Anonymous No we really dont said...

Just so everyone is clear...

There are currently NO school resource officers...zero zilch nada...Officer Gilman retired and Officer Gates had enough of Costa Mesa drama and pulled the plug on law enforcement all together...

AND the lack of SRO's is NOT a budgetary issue, it's a STAFFING ISSUE...the PD is at or below bare bones minimum...details are being stripped just to staff basic patrol functions...no SRO's, reduction in GANGS, no major Narcotics investigations, reductions in Detectives and Traffic Enforcement...

All well and good one might say,less odds of getting a ticket! until it is your wife struck by a DUI, your daughter sexually assaulted, your son being offered Heroin at one of the High Schools..

The budget is fine, it's balanced with some slush...very few cities have weathered the storm as well as CM has...the problem is when GOP led Republicans want 2012 service by charging 1980 fees...champagne taste on beer budget...

funny how this CC majority has the "courage" to address underfunded pensions (something all sides agree on and the employee groups have always done and have been waiting to do if this CC would get off the soap box and stop vilifying them). Where is that "courage" to also address the busn license fee which hasn't been raised in 25 + years? Surely that alone would top any reasonable amount we could expect out of the employees without bankrupting those who have stayed...

Isn't the city overhead down by somewhere between 25-33%? Oh wait, that's probably only head count, which is offset by all the high priced managers and lawyers we never had before...So in the last few years we've traded a police helicopter program, dozens of low level public service employee positions for the likes of Rick Francis, Dan Joyce, Bill Lobdell, numerous consultants and attorneys and have saved what exactly?

Oh but we have GAINED nearly a 20% crime increase over last year, which was higher than the year before...

And Mesa Verde was re-paved...

12/28/2012 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Polk High Football Rules said...

Good Job Mayor Pro Team, way to show everybody that you are the right person for the position. You have no clue what is happening in the City that you are trying to run. Spend less time living in the past and your highschool football days, ala Al Bundy and his three towndowns for Polk High, and try getting on track with the current affairs of the City.

12/30/2012 09:49:00 AM  

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