Tardy City Charter Mailer Due *(Amended)
WATCH YOUR MAILBOX, NEIGHBORS
The City of Costa Mesa has distributed thousands of informational mailers about Jim Righeimer's Charter to all Costa Mesa residences over the past couple days. I just checked my mail today and it's not there yet. So, I, and many of you, will probably receive it Saturday or Monday. However, the City has also posted it online on the City web site, so you can read the whole thing HERE. You're welcome.
LONG OVERDUE INFORMATION
I have strong mixed feelings about this mailer. First, it's way, way, way overdue. This should have been distributed to all residents at least a month ago - probably the first week of the year. Although those of us who actually pay attention to this stuff have known about it, how to find information about it and how to suggest modifications to it, the other 99.9% of the residents of the city have not.
NO TIME TO STUDY AND DELIBERATE
This mailer, with good information, will arrive in your homes only hours before the City Council holds the second Public Hearing on this issue on Monday, February 13, 2012. That meeting, which begins in City Council chambers at 7:00 p.m., is the LAST time the council will accept ANYTHING that you wish to add to the document. Between that date and March 6, 2012, when the council takes the vote that will either place the document on the June ballot or not, only deletions will be permitted. Those few of us watching this process realize that Jim Righeimer's Charter - flawed as it is - WILL be on the June ballot, regardless the public outcry. That's a shame.
IT'S JIM RIGHEIMER'S CHARTER
If you had been watching this process you would realize that this bogus scheme is virtually a one-man show. It's Jim Righeimer's baby. He concocted this scheme as a way to bust union agreements, quash lawsuits, avoid paying prevailing wages and to finally get some electorate to swallow his Paycheck Protection scheme that has gone down in flames before. I guess he figures Costa Mesa's electorate is so ignorant and ill-informed that they can be lured into passing this disastrous ballot measure. He may be right - they elected him, didn't they?
I AM AGAINST THIS CHARTER
I AM NOT against Costa Mesa becoming a Charter City - I've said that many times. However, I AM AGAINST Jim Righeimer's Charter scheme. The document that Righeimer has cobbled together serves ONLY his personal purposes. It includes insufficient safeguards to prevent abuse and corruption and would open the door to even more divisive, destructive actions like we've seen over the past year from this council. EVERY competent authority interviewed on this issue tells us that the creation of a Charter should be a deliberative process - not one forced through the process at warp speed. The document is too important to the future of the city to be jammed down the voter's throats the way this one has been.
During the first required Public Hearing the council went through the numerous suggestions crafted by concerned residents and, with only a handful of exceptions, rejected them without comment. You can read most of those suggestions HERE. You can also read the Second Draft - the current version of Jim Righeimer's Charter - HERE. And, you can read the agenda report for the Public Hearing HERE*. You can read the redline version of the amended Charter HERE*.
The City held an "informational meeting" on January 4th that was anything BUT informational. City Chief Executive Officer, Tom Hatch, kicked it off, then refused to answer any questions from the 80 or so interested parties in attendance. Instead, he shrugged them off to a group of "experts" scattered around the room at the Neighborhood Community Center, where questions of import to ALL attendees would only be answered one-at-a-time to individuals. And several of those so-called experts didn't have answers. It was a huge waste of time, but it did fulfill the requirement to have a "community meeting". Just as the distribution of this very tardy mailer will permit the City and the Charters advocates to say, "Look, we had a meeting and we sent everyone information."
TOO FAST AND TOO FURIOUS
In my opinion, the City has fast-tracked this bogus scheme to the detriment of all residents. It's like we're being chased by a hungry pack of wolves straight to the ballot box in June. To hold the FINAL meeting at which suggestions for additions to Jim Righeimer's Charter can be made, then forbid further contributions from residents who may find out about this only hours before that meeting, is unconscionable. I suggest you read the mailer, visit the City web site and click on the button marked "City Charter Info" and educate yourselves - then show up at 7:00 Monday with your questions, suggestions and complaints. This is no way to run a city and certainly no way to craft a document that will be the cornerstone of all municipal governance in our city in the future. As one regular attendee to these meetings said - "It Stinks!"