STALLED SELECTION PROCESS
Last Tuesday the Costa Mesa City Council, apparently dissatisfied with the number and/or quality of the candidates who had applied for one of the four vacant slots on the Parks and Recreation Commission, instructed the staff to push the selection process out to a future meeting. At the time resident Harold Weitzberg
asked if the application period would be re-opened. In the subsequent conversation that ensued it was unclear to me whether that happened.
MORE APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED
The answer, confirmed by Interim City Clerk Brenda Green
this morning, is yes - the council re-opened the application period, which will extend until Thursday, January 24th
- a week from now. I may have been the only person who didn't get it Tuesday night, because a couple of new applications have been received already.
MORE CANDIDATES COMING
So, the council will have more candidates to add to the previously-submitted eleven (11), which is now down to ten because Auto Club lawyer Timothy Sesler
was appointed to the Planning Commission Tuesday. Until the council appoints more commissioners the Parks and Recreation Commission cannot meet due to a lack of a quorum - only Dean Abernathy
remains since Kim Pederson
's term has expired. That means the people's business will be put off until March, the next regularly-scheduled meeting of the commission.
PLENTY OF GOOD CHOICES
I've looked over all the applications submitted previously and found at least a half-dozen who certainly seemed qualified. What doesn't show on the applications are the political allegiances that apparently form part of the selection criteria for some members of the council. Some will recall that when former Parks and Recreation commissioner Ethan Temianka
- who resigned to fill the Mesa Consolidated Water District seat to which he was elected last November -
was considered, his singular qualification was that he had played on some Costa Mesa fields. Oh, yes - he did share a business address with Mayor Jim Righeimer
, though. During the meeting Tuesday Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger
complained about having insufficient time to contact and interview all the candidates after receiving the application packet. I guess it takes quite a while to make the rounds and see who's willing to kiss your, er, ring.
NO CRONYISM IN A PERFECT WORLD...
In a more perfect world each elected council member would have the right to appoint a commissioner to each commission. However, with the resignations and staggered council terms that sometimes get tossed askew by resignations and appointments, that "perfect world" just doesn't exist. I'm not so politically naive that I don't understand why a council majority will want to stack the commission deck to suit their personal political agenda. However, it's a shame that, for example, Sandra Genis
- the highest vote-getter, by far, in any recent election - will not get the opportunity to select commissioners who may be more in tune with her philosophy. Such is life when local elections - which in theory are non-partisan - get politicized. Today it's cronyism over qualifications.
CONTACT YOUR COUNCIL MEMBER
So, to those residents who are in a hurry to have the Parks and Recreation Commission hear your plea for a tree removal or address paving over part of Fairview Park, you're out of luck until March. Sorry about that. The council majority has played loosey-goosey with the appointment process for a couple years. In fact, Righeimer is the poster boy for this kind of manipulation. You will recall that, when he was appointed to the Planning Commission after only being a resident of the city for seven months, he failed to submit an application within the prescribed time limit. That didn't stop then-mayor Allan Mansoor
from appointing him and rejecting his loyal foot-soldier, Paul Bunney
three times to do it. During the council meeting Tuesday Righeimer said that they could appoint anyone they wanted. Of course, that's not true. Each appointee has to be verified as a registered voter in the City first. Again, the rules are for somebody else with these guys. Contact your council members if you want to complain.
Labels: Allan Mansoor, Dean Abernathy, Ethan Temianka, Harold Weitzberg, Jim Righeimer, Kim Pederson, Sandra Genis, Steve Mensinger