Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fitzpatrick To "Lead" the Planning Commission

CAN'T STIFLE THE SMILE
Sorry, I must confess that I couldn't stifle a smile when I wrote that title.  But, yes, former and current Costa Mesa planning commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick - he of the contentious, costly, short tour on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board of Directors - was elected as Chairman of the commission at their special meeting last night.  His sidekick, Rob Dickson, was chosen as Vice Chairman.  There were no other nominations for either position.  Make of that what you will...
A "LEADER"?
Before we get to the meat of the meeting, let me express personal reservations about just what kind of leadership Fitzpatrick will provide.  His tour on the Sanitary District board was marked with anything but leadership.  Quite the contrary, his tenure in that job was marked with divisiveness and forced the rate-payers to absorb thousands of dollars in legal fees to force him to follow the law.  I wonder just what kind of leadership a man so obviously willing to ignore solid legal opinions will bring to the Planning Commission?  It's going to make for some interesting watching.  Keep reading to understand why...

THE REASON FOR THE MEETING
The most contentious item on the agenda of that special meeting was the consideration of a project near the west end of Victoria Street that calls for replacing the present church facilites with 17 detached, single-family homes on 1.4 acres.  The developer referred to the look as a "contemporary beach shack".  The development will have 63 parking spaces, which meets the current code, some of which will be underground parking spaces.  He also plans to excavate the property so the three-story units will look like two-story units from adjacent properties.  Whether you like the "look" - extremely vertical with flat roofs -  or not is a matter of personal taste.

RESIDENTS AND "EXPERTS" SPEAK UP
A half-dozen speakers - I thought there would be more - stepped up and addressed concerns about traffic, the recommended exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the view being lost by one existing resident.  The commission and staff resolved all those issues with a clear discussion.  They can't, for example, rule on the "view" issue.

FITZPATRICK TAKES A HIKE
So, it then came time for Chairman Fitzpatrick to lead his group into their first vote and he demonstrated his "leadership" by asking the City Attorney, Christian Bettenhausen, if he could abstain!  His quote was, "I don't have any specific concerns, but I do have just some general concerns that I'd like a little more time on and I'd prefer not to vote no because I am in general support of this project.  Do I have the opportunity to abstain?"  Bettenhausen, after a long pause, told him he could abstain anytime he wanted.  So, in his first vote as chairman Jim Fitzpatrick decided to take a little vacation.  The commission voted to approve, 4-0.

CODE SAYS HE MUST VOTE!
Checking the Costa Mesa Municipal Code, Section 2-69 - Failure to vote says as follows:
Every councilman should vote unless disqualified by reason of a conflict of interest.  A councilman who abstains from voting acknowledges that a majority of the quorum may decide the question voted upon.  A councilman who is silent or inattentive and fails to vote without stating his abstention or without being disqualified shall be deemed to have cast a "yes" vote. Keep in mind that the code equates commissioners with council members in this context.

TOO LAZY OR WHAT?
So, because he was too lazy in his first week after being appointed to do his homework or unable to articulate whatever concerns he had on the only item of substance on this special meeting agenda, Fitzpatrick just blew off his responsibility to vote on this issue.  It's going to be a very long couple of years if that's the kind of leadership we can expect to see from him.  Maybe we should withhold his $400 for February since he basically didn't do the job. 

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...
It gets better.  The only other item on the agenda last night was the nominations for the Mesa Green Design Award.  Here's the definition of that award taken from the city web site.

"Purpose of Mesa Green Award:
To encourage green design and practice, in 2010, the Planning Commission added the Mesa Green Design Award to recognize exceptional “green” projects. The Mesa Green Design Award is presented as projects are nominated throughout the year."


SIMPLE, RIGHT?

That seems pretty straight forward, right?  Nominate a project that is exceptionally "green".  Good idea - and a concept that Fitzpatrick has championed for years since he considers himself a "Green Expert".  He used to write a column for the Newport Beach Independent online newspaper on those subjects.  So, which project did he nominate?  None!  Nope, he nominated a city staff member - Building Official Khanh Nguyen, whose name he mispronounced at least twice!  Now, Mr. Nguyen is a great guy, who reportedly does a great job, but he's not a "green project" by any definition of the word.  If Mr. Nguyen has made an exceptional contribution in the performance of his job and some sort of recognition is appropriate, let's find one that is correct, for goodness sake!

WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIM?
Watching Fitzpatrick during the meeting last night, and based on his only two decisions - both of which were bogus - I found myself wondering if he was distracted... or something else.  I don't know, but I do know that his first performance as Chairman of the Costa Mesa Planning Commission was a big FAIL!  I also have more than a little better understanding of what the members of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District had been dealing with.

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38 Comments:

Anonymous Dr. Onan said...

Geoff,
Fitzpatrick's actions are not surprising. Our observations of him over the last couple of years lead to the opinion that he has serious health issues. We question his ability to serve.

2/26/2013 06:45:00 AM  
Anonymous sk said...

Before when comments were made in your column regarding the CMSD board meeting videos I asked people to please go watch the video so they could see Fitzpatrick in action. You are in for a long two years.

2/26/2013 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous high? said...

if you can't stifle a smile then you are becoming a liberal. have you seen it? the "smirk"? all over msnbc hosts, ridge, genis, cook, etc. it is a goofy little trait they have in common.

2/26/2013 08:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Perhaps, now that he cannot hide behind his many noms de plume, he is not willing to tag his name to anything that could be unpopular. But I am equally disturbed that our well paid counsel didn't know the rules. What a complete waste of money - both of them.

2/26/2013 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous The Cure said...

Dr. Onan said...
"Geoff,
Fitzpatrick's actions are not surprising. Our observations of him over the last couple of years lead to the opinion that he has serious health issues. We question his ability to serve."

Maybe it's as simple as visiting skosh for "medicine."

2/26/2013 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Just Vote said...

I wonder if Mr. Fitzpatricks vote would have been different if he wasn't placed into the "leadership" role for the Planning Commision?

Just remember folks it's only two years.

2/26/2013 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Nothing's Shocking said...

Guess my first comment didn't qualify, huh? Oh well... Nothing's Shocking! Can't wait to see some of the developments that get approved by this group. The fiasco continues.

2/26/2013 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Nothing's Shocking,
Yep, you stepped across the line. Thanks for continuing to play in my sand box.

2/26/2013 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan Haggerty said...

Should anyone be surprised about Fitzpatrick's lack of intelligence? How Fitzpatrick even got on the PC in the first place is a joke but then a second time after stirring so much trouble in the SD. I would say that Fitzpatrick is lazy. He reminds me of Fisler back in the day on the PC.

2/26/2013 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous tapewatcher said...

sk: look at the san district tape for January and watch Ferryman do the invocation!!! lol. totally lost. he is a leader? look at it. look at it. haha

2/26/2013 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Two years is an eternity in politics.

2/26/2013 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

What can you say? C.M. voted for the idiots, so they appoint more idiots. I think there is at least one brain in the bunch and I'm waiting to see if it activates.

2/26/2013 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous westsidelover said...

I live near the proposed development of the proposed 'contemporary beach shacks'. I welcome it.
Canyon and pacific already have much of a beach shack vibe (sometimes more towards shack). Year round white party (christmas) lights, young families with dogs who make good use of the nature park and preserve nearby. Thats the kind of vibe that brings in young, upwardly mobile with disposable income type residents. But the nice neighborhood there is soo small most people dont know it exists! That or if approaching from hamilton is they comment "it feels like huntington beach, not costa mesa".
People think westside CM=ghetto, not realizing theres nice patches, inexpensive catalina/ocean views. Its time to expand in a way that blends with the nicer parts of the community.
All of the areas surrounding talbert nature preserve and fairview park have huge potential should someone decide to ever pay attention to this side of town

2/26/2013 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous sk said...

If you watch the entire meeting and you will see Mr. Ferryman doing a great job as President of the Board and at conducting the meeting. Fitzpatrick is so into himself and all the voices he hears you can't have a meeting.

2/26/2013 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous sk said...

Just watched the planning commission meeting and McCarthy is so disrespectful and for no good reason. I see a lot of issues with the project. That is a bad intersection to add more traffic to.

2/26/2013 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Yes, two years is an eternity in politics and much damage can be done in that amount of time.
We know this from experience in Costa Mesa.
Judging from the mean spirited,extremely childish and inane remarks he has dropped in this thread, it's going to seem much longer.
Seriously, a "chairman" comes here and acts like a bratty three year old?
Looks like the CM Planning Commission was told what to do.
btw, I've meet Jim Ferryman. He is a gentleman and an adult. There is no comparison.

2/26/2013 05:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Every City said...

Dear Weatsidelover- there are nice patches of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Westminster, Santon, Buena Park, Garden Grove, and La Habra just as there are bad patches in Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Orange, Tustin, Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Brea, and Lake Forest. Costa Mesa Westside is all commercial and apartments, nice place to live if you say so but nothing about it is like HB or beach-like area. Nice try.

2/26/2013 06:41:00 PM  
Anonymous westsidelover said...

Every City
My point exactly, people drive by these gems of neighborhoods not knowing they are there bc in a blink of an eye you are back into a rather slummish area. Im sure the folks on aviemore terrace would have something to say about "all commercial and apartments" same with the residents along pacific avenue (mostly condos) who get to watch the sun setting behind catalina from their living room windows. Even the demographics of the area is drastically different. I was explicitly told by an agent to not buy here because "Even though your street is nice, the area is not homogeneous and nearby there are bad neighborhoods". We should be aiming to have nicer neighborhoods that fit the spirit of the area encroach outward, maybe itll then be two blinks and buying in the westside of costa mesa wont be discouraged!
You can think what you want about a neighborhood you obviously dont spend much time in, but meanwhile ill enjoy my view of the preserve and the coastline from vista park or fairview park with much of the city of HB just below before i trek on my 2 mile jog to the beach.
Nice try.

2/27/2013 12:52:00 AM  
Anonymous face! said...

alf: fitzy isn't writing the things u claim he is herein. u, as usual, are wrong. they are written by frogs as jokes to get to you and fuqua. you can't prove he wrote anything yet pin it on him and judge him. nice. congrats CHAIR FITZPATRICK . sweet. in ur face alf

2/27/2013 07:29:00 AM  
Anonymous appearances count said...

wow, the planning commission sure dresses a lot nicer than the sanitary district directors. water district dresses well, council dresses well. what is up with sanitary and the track suits and moomoos? except for ooten who dresses for the occassion.

2/27/2013 08:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Silly, silly said...

Every City, you are a clueless joke. Have you ever been to the Westside? It It is bordered by Fairview Park and the Costa Mesa Country Club to the north, Harbor Blvd. to the east, Newport Beach to the south and the Santa Ana River to the west. Go check it out before making silly ignorant comments.

2/27/2013 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous sk said...

I found this so appropriate...
"A pig in a dress is still a pig in a dress. A heap of snow covered dung is still a heap of snow covered dung. Sometimes and maybe even oftentimes, we will not realize that it's a heap of dung. Many unsuspecting passers by pass unknowingly. We might be fooled into thinking that it's all snow, white and pure. Though the snow may cover it, may mask it's sight and smell, may hide the rot, it's all still there, just beneath the surface. That's the true nature of dung."

Tanjung Bunga

2/27/2013 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Check Your Six said...

Just got finished watching the recent Planning Commision meeting from the 25th and the only thing I walked away with was that Fitzpatrick has no idea what he's doing. He seems lost and scared to make a decesion.

The look that the other commissioners give him after he abstains his vote is classic, they're more cunfused about his non-vote then he is about the vote. Good job Fitzy, way to give the "haters" more ammo.

2/27/2013 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous dung under the moomoo said...

sk, what are fat men in moomoos?

2/27/2013 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Westside, the westside should be looking at development that will bring up the neighborhood. Don't forget these homes, Freedom Homes and Sunshine Homes, while small, are within walking distance to the beach. Where in SoCal can you buy that and not pay for it? These little niches are gems. Its where the apartments and even some condos are, that have become unsightly. Thats one reason I'd hate to see more condos. I'd like to see something there that can produce some serious revenue, rather than just the property tax.

2/27/2013 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

It would be nice to have something up there on that bluff that my wife and kids and I could walk to and enjoy...don't know exactly what that would be though, but not condos.

2/27/2013 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

The issue at hand is newly appointed chairmen Fitzy's breaking of the municipal code. Unless he had a clear conflict of interest he is required to vote. Watch this video titled "Voting for Dummies" starring Mansoor....Oldy but a goody. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Suq3dfRxYUE

2/27/2013 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Face- you can't prove Fitzy didn't write it, either.
He's too cowardly to stand behind his own words.He hides behind multiple usernames.
I'm "keep(ing) it consistent", remember?
Fitzy gets all the glory for these gems and any
more to come.

2/27/2013 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

That video is an eye opener!
Apparently, attempts to dodge the rules have been going on for some time now and it continues to this day. It's disheartening when it comes from "law makers". Thank God Katrina spoke up.
Thanks for sharing this, Gericault.

2/27/2013 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I went to the actual city video of that event. They were in a closed session for about 4 minutes and when they returned Mansoor was AWOL. They voted again on the issue - 3-1, Bever voted no - and when Foley asked Barlow where the mayor was she responded that he was unable to return to the meeting. So, he didn't have to record his opinion on providing a fee waiver for the Latino kids on the Westside of town.

2/27/2013 03:42:00 PM  
Anonymous 5150 for sure said...

Geez Fitzy is seriously losing it! For as long as I’ve been reading this blog, whenever his name is mentioned, the place lights up. I love it when he writes posts that claim it’s not him. Right after that, comments about CMSD Directors, Arlene, choice of clothing, trash contract, WWII, personal grudges mysteriously appear. This guy is a certified loon. Geoff, I can’t believe you post his crap here. It is irrelevant, gibberish 99% of the time. Why do you do that? I hope the guy hits rock bottom soon because he needs some major help. Get a clue dude….I’m thinking schizophrenia.

2/27/2013 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Every City is Every City Except Borvine said...

I tend to agree w/ Westsidelover. Westside could be the uber hipster, upcoming neighborhood that it should be considering it's extremely beach-close, and it's proximity to the light industrial business area of CM. Living on the Westside offers residents shorter commutes to work along with the luxury of bicycling to the beach on safe designated bike trails ( e.g. the paved river-bed bike trail to Newps' & HB's Boardwalks). And it's quite reasonably priced compared to South HB housing tracts which easily cost $200K-$300K more for a nice "beach-close home". (BTW, I do realize that Southeast HB homes have a much higher cost "premium" because their school district offers several outstanding public schools unlike the prevalent federally sanctioned "non-performing" NMUSD schools.)

So, I too welcome these "modern & beachy" redevelopment projects. These new homes will be located at one of the busiest "welcoming gateways" into CM. Also, the design exudes a very fresh, hip, and a cleaner "first impression" which as we all know is always a "lasting impression" while entering or exiting the various run-down apartment sections located throughout Westside CM. Which also happen to currently attract only "extreme low-income" residents such as Section 8 Voucher tenants w/ EBT cards, migratory day-laborers, and heroin pushing gang members. (Mensy, Costa Mayberry? Really? Micro-Mayberry in the Canyon Homes area, but mostly Costa Mayhem in Central Westside.)

Most well-paid, college-educated "young families" won't rent a beat-up "ghetto" apartment in an unsafe area. They tend to buy newer construction, or they rent "upgraded homes" in cleaner, safer areas where they feel much more comfortable (e.g. "Borvine"). I think this project is a great start moving forward in that direction. (i.e the City's other motto "Live, Work, Play" within your surrounding neighborhood) This proposed development supports the City's mantra very well, as well as it also represents the nearby "environmentally conscious" surf industry's "lifestyle" to a tee. (Haha, Get it? Tee? As in shirt?)

Anyways, I also strongly believe that the Marina Highlands neighborhood should not be so adversely affected by sooooo many PC approved "plan variances" to accommodate the developer's "innovative wants" over the existing MH neighborhood's long-time homeowners' "basic needs" ( i.e window/ yard privacy, protecting existing sunlight/ocean views, and future property improvement rights).

Did Fitzy not want to cast a 'NO' vote because he would then break his masters mandated '"only "YES' votes Pledge" Or is it that Fitzy really, really did not want to "recuse himself" on his very first vote as the new PC Commish? Hmmm? He needs more info? Okay? The project's "Staff Report" provided quite clear and concise pertinent information regarding the proposed development, as well as the Public Comments appear well-documented (i.e substantial complaint e-mails as well as a very lengthy neighborhood "petition" delivered to the City) I can draw only one conclusion: Fitzy you ILLITERATE JACK@$$!!!

Alright, then could someone please get Fitzy, as well as the City's multiple "Contract Attorneys", copies of the latest-edition of the CM Municipal Codes "on Audio"? So that our highly paid Counsel would stop giving Fitzy habitually incorrect "advice". Plus, Fitzy can listen to them while "trolling" in his golf cart over to the recently ("PC Approved & Riggy Recused") Starbucks Flagship Drive-Thru located in picturesque Eastside Costa Mesa...

2/27/2013 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous westside is dickson said...

Do you know how neigborhoods improve? Time, not developement.

2/27/2013 11:03:00 PM  
Anonymous you didnt build this said...

developers built my house. thank you.

2/28/2013 07:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Every City said...

Silly, silly--You changed my mind about everything I said, you're right the Westside does have alot to offer like beautiful industrial & commercial complexes, tons of auto and boat fabrication places, a few great looking trialer parks, beautiful neighborhoods along James, Wallace, Shalimar, Center, Plumer, Placentia, Monrovia, Whittier, Meyer Place, Anaheim, Maple, Charle, Hamilton, Victoria, Pomona, Wilson, Darrell, Joann & Harbor.
Thanks for the tip about checking it out-- I got to see graffiti, homeless people, tons of strollers being pushed, day laborers, & liqour stores. Yep the Westside is looking up.

2/28/2013 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous fedup said...

It’s a shame that Costa Mesa has to pay for Fitzy’s screw ups. He already ruined the Sanitary District and cost the taxpayer’s money with a lawsuit, now he’s back on the planning commission wreaking havoc there. The bleeding he started at CMSD continues. GM Scott Carroll and Admin Manager Anna Sanchez are playing dirty just like the City. Scott brought in his pal Anna from Claremont at a salary way above the previous person. Let’s see what happens with the vacant Accounting Manager position. Will he bring in another friend at a higher salary? Scott has been working both sides from day one. He got rid of the old staff that questioned him and brought in new people he could manipulate. Now that he masterminded a contract clause making it too expensive to fire him, he can continue to get what he wants, trash employee morale and position himself and his friends to move up. What happened to public service? This is self-serving at the highest level and it’s wrong.

2/28/2013 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous westsidelover said...

@Just wondering, I agree with you! I, for my own selfish reasons, would rather have that lot get annexed into the preserve so i can have picnics there! Or a Vista park 2? A nature center? the freedom/sunshine homes also very lovely places! Hidden behind high walls so nobody knows its there. A couple of outdoor cafes with a view? Seriously, this corner is also in need some some decent coffee! Even starbucks couldnt find this area!

I can see why the nervousness over condos, but considering (unless i read it wrong) they are supposed to be 2k sq/ft+ each, i think they are being designed to be as nice as a housing development would be for those who dont like the stress of taking care of their own landscaping. Considering what midtown homes went for vs the rest of the area, i dont imagine this place being a drag on the community. I just bought a lovely condo, so i feel i must defend condo living. Theres only 2 of us with the average age of 31, we DONT want maintenance/land all the stress that comes with owning a house just yet. The only thing that concerns me is that these things sound like they will be massive for the land they are going to be on..

borvine seems to understand what i see in the area.
I am one of those crazy young (pre mortgage) zero debt, college educated, good income who decided id rather buy a place in CM with better access to parks/views than just a mile away in HB. We got a 150k smaller mortgage bc i chose to live off of victoria, and not a nearby HB equivalent. With the unspent funds we are making our place AWESOME. An agent shuttled me all through FV and HB trying his hardest to change my mind (of course, he wanted the extra commission $$). But theres just something very special about that westernmost portions of costa mesa that borders talbert nature preserve and fairview park.

@everycity, making a list out of cherry-picked exemplars does not a cogent argument make. As per your first post, you can do that anywhere.. stop arguing with yourself!

2/28/2013 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Check out Banning Ranch link on CM website said...

Developers built my house too and poneys develivered mail so whats your point. Both are outdated

2/28/2013 09:11:00 PM  

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