Sunday, February 17, 2013

Legal Costs, Pension Overseers, Fireworks And More

TUESDAY'S COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA
Following the holiday Monday, on Tuesday, February 19th, the Costa Mesa City Council will hold their next regular council meeting beginning at 6:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall.  You can read the agenda HERE.  This one is full of fun stuff, so let's get right to it, shall we?


LOADED CONSENT CALENDAR
There are 13 items on the Consent Calendar - those that are presumed to be of routine nature so might be voted on in one big lump without individual discussion.  Mayor Jim Righeimer has been none-too-subtle in his preference that none are pulled by council members - apparently an attempt to keep meetings short.  Despite his insistence, I suspect some of these might be yanked for individual consideration.  Oh, yes, two of the items - numbers 6 and 9 - were removed at the last minute.  They apparently dealt with a request to purchase more police cars and motorcycles, but the CMPD found better deals, so the items were removed for consideration at a future meeting.

LOTS OF LEGAL COSTS

Items 3 and 4 are Warrants # 2459, HERE, and #2460, HERE.  Each have some interesting entries.  #2459, for example, shows that we paid our contract legal firm, Jones and Mayer, $105,795.27 and Stradling Yocca Carlson and Rauth $15,400.31 and pension expert Joe Nation $7,000.  #2460 shows we paid Stradling Yocca Carlson and Rauth another $34,579.10 and Norman A. Traub $6,980.75 for "HR Legal Services".  Incidentally, the spreadsheet that is supposed to keep us informed about how the legal fees are spent throughout the year has not been updated for a couple months.  The last entries are for November of last year.

IN-CAR DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDING
Item 8, HERE, is for the expenditure of $321,203.87 for in-car digital video recording systems CMPD vehicles.

FREEBIES ARE BACK
Item 10 is the resolution for the distribution of tickets and/or passes that was removed from an earlier council meeting agenda.  You can read all the fascinating details about how CEO Tom Hatch will be the keeper of the tickets and how they may and may not be distributed HERE.

COSTA MESA COUNTRY CLUB PERFORMANCE AUDIT
Item 11 is the request by Recreation Manager Bob Knapp for authorization to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a performance audit of the Costa Mesa Country Club, HERE.  The estimate is that this audit will cost from $25,000 - $50,000.  While this certainly may be a valid management tool, I wonder what's actually behind it?  If I were the folks running that operation today I might be just a little nervous, since this could be a precursor to tossing them aside and bringing in a crony to run things later.  Just sayin'...

WORKER'S COMP. CLAIMS ADMINISTRATION
Item 12 is the recommendation by staff to award a contract for Third Party Worker's Compensation Claims Administration to a new vendor, AdminSure, Inc., HERE.  The staff report indicates a cost savings of around $16,000 per year.

OUTSIDE LABOR NEGOTIATOR
The final item on the Consent Calendar, #13,  is the naming of Richard M. Kreisler as the principal negotiator in labor contract negotiations with the Costa Mesa City Employee's Association (CMCEA), along with Assistant CEO Rick Francis as the City's representative.  This is part of Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger's COIN scheme.  You can read the brief staff report HERE.

SUCCESSOR AGENCY BUSINESS
The council will then change hats temporarily and perform as the "Successor Agency" to the now-defunct Redevelopment Agency and consider three items.  They are the six-month budget - 7/1/13 - 12/31/13 - in the amount of a nice, round $125,000, HERE; the review and approval of Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule for 7/1/13 - 12/31/13, HERE, and and update from Successor Agency Staff on Dissolution Act Matters, HERE. They will then change hats again and function as the City Council.

APPOINTMENT OF PLANNING COMMISSIONERS - AGAIN
Under Old Business, the only item on the agenda is the Appointment of Planning Commissioners, HERE.  This should be interesting, to say the least.  After all the hoopla and delay following the mistake of trying to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of commissioner Ed Salcedo the council decided to fill, or re-fill, all three commission vacancies.  There are fifteen (15) candidates from which the council will select three - 2 for 4-year terms and one for the remaining 2 years of Salcedo's term.

COSTA MESA UNITED FUNDING
We will finally arrive at the New Business segment of the meeting and, following a General Plan screening item for a 236-unit residential apartment project on Baker Street, will address Item #2, the resolution of support with Costa Mesa United and a funding commitment for capital improvements of sports facilities at Costa Mesa and Estancia High Schools, HERE.  The City has already budgeted $100,000 this year and committed a similar amount for five years.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES
Then comes a series of issues that we would probably have seen on the Consent Calendar in the past dealing with significant upgrades in computer-related items.  #3 is the establishment of the Information Technology Replacement Fund, a loan between the General Fund and the Equipment Replacement Fund and a budget authorization for Information Technology Infrastructure Upgrades in the amount of $1,734,728, HERE.  That's a lot of money, but it's necessary to upgrade our antiquated IT infrastructure.

NETWORKING
Item #4 is the purchase of computer networking equipment city-wide in the amount of $287,228.07, HERE.

SUPPORT
Item #5 is a support agreement with Hewlett Packard for $127,342.78, HERE.

SOFTWARE SUPPORT
Item #6 is the renewal of the Oracle/Peoplesoft Support Services contract for $196,091.50, HERE.

NECESSARY EXPENSES
Anyone who has watched the staff try to function with the computer systems currently in place understand the need for this massive improvement expenditure.  There's nearly $2.5 million involved in the above four items - about the amount we received when the A.B.L.E. helicopter program was folded up.

PENSION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Item #7 on the New Business agenda is another of Mensinger's schemes - the establishment of a committee to evaluate annual pension oversight issues, HERE.  I've read the staff report and find myself wondering just why this committee is necessary?  In fact, it seems to me that it's going to be an impediment to timely resolution of labor negotiations because one of the duties imagined by Mensinger is to, "Review negotiated pension and compensation packages as it pertains to each employee bargaining unit."  It seems to me that the COIN process, if it includes this new wrinkle, dooms every negotiation to a long, long protracted activity.  It looks to me like Mensinger is creating another committee for which he can dole out positions to his buddies - very much like the re-constituted Financial Advisory Committee.

FIREWORKS AMENDMENTS
Finally, the last item on the agenda - New Business #8 - may be the most inflammatory.  Sorry, just couldn't resist the pun.  This one is another of Mensinger's schemes -  the request for amendments to Council Policy 400-2 - regulations governing fireworks, HERE.  In these amendments Mensinger apparently is trying to reduce the total number of permits for fireworks stands from 40 to 25, even though 38 permits were issued last year.  What's that all about?  This year July 4th is on a Thursday.  The ordinance says fireworks sales may commence on June 30th at 10:00 a.m.  - 10:00 p.m. through July 3rd and 9:00 a.m - 9:00 p.m on July 4th.  And, the discharge of safe and sane fireworks shall be limited to July 2nd through July 4th from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. each day.  Why authorize 3 days of chaos in our city?  Three days of nervous pets and overtime for firefighting personnel!  One day - July 4th - is plenty!  This whole thing just reeks of Mensinger's attempt to dredge funds from the public for his youth sports programs without proper consideration of the safety and sanctity of the public at large.

IT'S GOING TO BE A LONG NIGHT
OK, it's going to be a long night.  I'm thinkin' a 1:00 a.m. stop time is what we'll see - through bleary eyes.

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Grilled Cheese said...

I might be wrong but I don't think the Fire Department gives OT/extra protection for special days like the 4th of July. It's the same amount of firefighters working that day as it is right now, and from what I hear alot of those spots are already OT filled positions because of being so shorthanded, and no new hiring anytime soon means the OT will continue.

2/17/2013 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Explosive or Exploitation said...

A blind lotto draw for all the groups that want one of 25 stands is the only fair way. But when did this council ever do something fair. Every group even Estancia Football plays by the luck of the draw.

I think we all get what is happening here. After expanding the days to sell and set-off fireworks there is even more money to made and Mensinger wants to cut out certain groups so his groups get a bigger piece of an already huge pie.

What's good for Mensinger and his groups and not the community at large.

Share the wealth there is enough to go around.

2/17/2013 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Brooklynn said...

What about the stinkin request for a 236 unit apartment complex? Should we just throw in the towel and call Costa Mesa a rental city and give up on attracting families to move here? They just approved one only a few weeks ago.

This is just infuriating. I honestly thought when the news came out that Costa Mesa has more renters than owners it might irritate people on the counsel into action.

2/17/2013 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Why is Mensinger so concerned with other groups selling fireworks? There are enough customers for all the groups.
First he extends the selling period and now wants to limit who can sell fireworks?
It's all about Steve and HIS groups making money, damn the rest of them.
Why have assorted people acclaimed his "character"?
It is nothing to brag about when you know the facts.

2/17/2013 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous troll puppet said...

alf is so wrong. Mensinger is a treasure to this city and youth sports. No one is more dedicated or works harder. alf is obsessed, jealous, and mean spirited.

2/18/2013 07:01:00 AM  
Anonymous HB Fireworks for HB Schools said...

20Mensy,

Hundreds or maybe a thousand Mesa Verde, Westside, and Mesa North parents utilize the Huntington Beach City School District by attending well-programmed, higher-achieving, "No Child Left Behind" ACADEMICALLY PERFORMING Hawes, Moffett, Eader, Peterson, Sowers, and Edison schools.

You're still aware that the City of HB allows fireworks again? So please don't assume that all of these CM parents are going to only by their fireworks from your booths in Costa Misery.

Did you ever stop to think that many CM parents will gladly help out their own children's schools booths first, before they buy any fireworks from a CM booth that specifically doesn't financially support, or benefit their own children's best interests?

Council Member Mensinger, just so you know, not all of us (CM families) support NMUSD especially THEIR youth sports programs. Some us strongly support our own immediate interests, hmmm.....just like you!

2/18/2013 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous 6714 akeeci said...

What amuses me about the Mesa Verde families that ship their kids off to HB schools is they complain about test scores at Adams, Tewinkle, Estancia, etc., yet it never seems to dawn on them that those scores would go up if they sent their kids their, the school in their very own neighborhood. Wow, what a concept!

I'm not Mensinger fan by any means, but I wasn't aware that he had multiple groups beyond EHS football and Pop Warner football. Regardless, it will be worth watching how this all plays out.

Now sent your kids to the local schools, and watch those scores increase!

2/18/2013 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Schools & Fireworks in H.B. said...

It's well documented that the school system in HB is far better than the NB/CM system. If I lived in that area I would do the same thing and would tell all my friends and family to send their firework money to the HB stands.

2/18/2013 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Nothing's Shocking said...

If parents take an interest and get involved with their kids' school, it doesn't matter what school - they will find success.

HB has plenty of problems, starting with the heroin problem at Huntington High.

2/18/2013 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Fitzy, aka "troll puppet" ,
If Steve is such a "treasure to this city and youth" why is he trying to limit the number of YOUTH groups who can raise money through fireworks sales?
That's not something a "treasure" does.

2/18/2013 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous troll puppet not fitz said...

probably just to irritate you alf. too fun. seriously, think about it. i could tell you but that is like feeding a hungry woman. i need to teach you to fish. so think hard and see the brilliance behind the action.

2/19/2013 07:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Sheriff Stevie said...

Troll puppet Mensinger. There is no brilliance behind it. If this is what you call brilliance then it certainly shows the lower IQ you pocess. This is basic supply and demand stuff. But I guess brilliance to the uneducated.

What most do see in this action is the selfishness. Mensinger using his Council position to cheat other groups to benefit his. This is not anything like Mayberry.

You guys can try and put lipstick on a pig all day but in the end many residents know you guys are deceitful sows. The good people of Mayberry would not try and screw the lighthouse church to benefit Estancia Football. That's what the bad people in Costa Mesa do.

Personally I hope Mensinger is successful. I hope he screws 15 deserving groups out of their fundraising event and they then see him for what he really is. How much money does Estancia Football need? You would think the huge increases they got from the last 2 years expanded and increased days would be enough. Apparently Mensinger wants it all.

How about just giving one a permit Mensinger? Let's just give Estancia Football the only permit. Then they could have it all. Better yet let's pass a city retail tax of say .01 and just ear mark that for Mensinger's groups.

Think of all the kids and other people who get screwed because of the greed from Mensinger. That's more like Bell than Mayberry.

2/19/2013 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Troll puppet-there is no "brilliance" here.
But I see you won't answer a direct question, instead dancing around it, avoiding it and facts with every fiber of your being, throwing insults along the way. Is this the same person who promised to reveal his true name and never did?
sk is right- you are a mud slinging, cowardly liar.
If you're not Fitzy, you sure act like him.

2/19/2013 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous sk said...

NMUSD has its own drug problems so don't be throwing stones at HB

2/19/2013 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Eileen Truxton said...

Let's just cut to the chase, because we certainly don't need any more legal fees. Mensinger needs to recuse himself from any involvement with fireworks permits.

2/19/2013 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous HB Fireworks for HB Schools said...

@6714 akeeci

Adams tests scores were low when my child attended, and actually the school's State Test scores had continuously fallen since we left SEVERAL YEARS ago. How come Adams School's test scores didn't increase immediately when my child's spot was replaced by other CM/NMUSD Students over the past years?

Adam school's academic curriculum is mandated to the same stringent Federal as well as "State of CA Grade Standards" as HB's Hawes Elementary School which so happened to increase it's State Test scores over the past same years when my child transfered over there. I sure hope there have been some recent gains to keep the die-hard "neighborhood school supporters" complacent with their futile efforts.

Also, the Hawes PTA easily raised parental donation money necessary for purchasing essential instructional learning equipment that many districts cannot provide in these budget-cutting times such as 21st Century "Smart Boards" in every classroom, as well as a state of the art computer lab.

Sorry, but my local NMUSD "neighborhood school" cannot provide my child an equivalent academic education as Hawes on any level. So why not attend a school that will educate my highly motivated "gifted child" on a CONTINUOUS BASIS? Why should we go backwards, and attend Adams when we've been progressively moving forward with more peer/teacher intellectual stimulation at Hawes?

So, I strongly encourage unsatisfied CM/NMUSD parents to exercise your child's educational rights mandated by the "No Child Left Behind Law". The NCLB Law provides a student's right to transfer from a FEDERALLY SANCTIONED/ NON-COMPLIANT STATUS NMUSD K-12 SCHOOL into a "performing school" WITHIN THE SAME NMUSD, or another school district's "performing school" (e.g HBCSD Schools: Hawes, Moffett, Eader, Peterson, Perry, Sowers Middle or Edison High)

BTW, the HBCSD Open Enrollment period is RIGHT NOW!!! First, you will need to transfer your student(s) out of NMUSD at their office on Baker St. Then take your NMUSD "INTER-DISTRICT" transfer paperwork to HBCSD offices. And turn in your inter-district transfer application forms to the HBCSD office ASAP!! You only have until THIS FRIDAY, FEB. 22, 2012!! Space is limited, so do not delay turing in your forms if you have a preferred school (e.g. Hawes).

Please Google the "Huntington Beach City School District" for more info on driving directions to their main office, as well as, view a map of all the HB school locations.

**Note, if your child receives "Special Education" classes such "SDC", or attends Harper Preschool. Your child WILL NOT QUALIFY for those specific services on a regular open enrollment transfer to HBCSD (b/c Special Ed. funding is limited for STUDENTS RESIDING/LIVING WITHIN THE HBCSD BOUNDARIES ONLY.

2/19/2013 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

I don't know why anyone is surprised at Mensinger's ploy. Sure didn't surprise anyone I know. I just hope it sways enough of the previous voters, to turn on Righeimer in the next election. The two of them are no better than thieves...well, I should rephrase that. There isn't much difference between the two.

2/19/2013 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Eileen Truxton said...

To just wondering - I really wasn't surprised. It's always amazing when stupid tries to be shrewd. 1) The use of the word attrition. It can either mean a gradual, natural reduction OR a wearing down of resistance by the belligerent side. 2) If attrition, and transparency are the new guiding lights - why eliminate the 80% wording in Council Policy 440-2
for groups beyond high school kids? Doesn't sound like attrition.
3)When was TNT designated as the sole fireworks provider? 4) Providing 30 days notice, prior to July 4th, does not allow the groups denied permits to make alternative plans for fundraising, especially if it involves a Fall sport. Mensinger should recuse himself from this vote as it is a very clear conflict of interests.

2/19/2013 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Nothing's Shocking said...

HB Fireworks - you're missing my point. Everyone focuses on the test scores. They wouldn't be low if everyone sent such gifted children as yours to the NMUSD schools in Mesa Verde. Imagine all those gifted little Caucasian kids staying home and walking to school, just like I did back in the Seventies. Your brilliant child and others like him would lift those scores sky high, problem solved, and before you know it, your precious angel would be off to Harvard!

And SK, you also missed my point. People use drugs and gangs as excuses not send their kids to NMUSD schools. Turns out HB schools have the same problem. Hell, the kids at CdM probably get the best drugs of all. Duh...

And sorry I fat fingered my previous comment - the name is Nothings Shocking, not 6714 akeeci.

2/20/2013 11:28:00 AM  

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