Short Meeting, But Plenty Of Fun
OK, so I'm not always right! I thought we'd be out of the Costa Mesa city council meeting at 9:00 last night, but the meeting didn't end until 9:12 p.m. Oh, well...
GODDARDS RECEIVE MAYOR'S AWARD
The meeting began on a very positive note with the presentation of the Mayor's Award to long time residents and de facto Costa Mesa historians, Mary Ellen and Art Goddard. The presentation included a short, but fascinating, Powerpoint show by Goddard, who gave us the thumbnail version of Costa Mesa's history. Kudos to this well-deserved recognition.
KIFF ASKS FOR OUR HELP
Next up was Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff, who gave an update on the status of negotiations on the flight regulations at John Wayne Airport. He gave an overview of the current proposal and requested help from Costa Mesa leaders and residents when the Environmental Impact Report is released within the next couple months. Basically, the proposal will extend the curfew until 2035, gradually step up flights per day to 95 by 2026 and also step up the caps on passengers from 10.8 million today through 2020, 11.8 million by 2025 and 12.5 million from 2026 to 2035.
Council member comments were generally brief and to the point. Sandra Genis asked about the payment to consultant Joe Nation, wondering about just what kind of questions he is supposed to be answering, and from whom - staff, residents, council or all of the above. She also expressed concern about the type of businesses we're trying to lure to our city, indicating that we've got plenty of fast food places.
Wendy Leece gave a short commentary on the Senior Center and encouraged those eligible to take a tour of the facility and consider joining up. She also expressed concern for the number of liquor licenses in the city.
Gary Monahan had nothing to say. Did I mention before that he seems to just be sleepwalking through his job lately?
Mayor Jim Righeimer, not surprisingly, took exception to a comment by a resident on the loss of the A.B.L.E. helicopter program, regurgitating the same old stuff he said when he first announced his intent to dissolve it. He alluded to side conversations with Newport Beach officials - the first time we've heard about that. Previously we assumed the decision to abandon A.B.L.E. was unilateral - which was confirmed by Newport Beach officials at the time. His little mini-rant included this statement, "We're very safe in the city.", a curious comment since calendar year 2012 had an increase in crime of over 15% and we've had a spurt in violent crimes over the past couple weeks. But, gee, if he says we're safer, then we must be, right? Somebody has a bad case of selective memory. He also called for CEO Tom Hatch to investigate a way for the city to begin charging "problem motels" for calls for service. It sounds like he wants to arbitrarily establish what is an acceptable number of calls for service, then begin charging businesses when that number is exceeded. Really? And, of course, he hawked his Mayor's Celebration, scheduled for next week. I understand there are still plenty of seats available for those of you who wish to hear him pontificate about his "Art of Leadership". Geez!
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger suggested that Hatch and Public Affairs Manager Dan Joyce come up with a name for "the bridge to nowhere" - the bridge over Placentia Avenue at Fairview Park - as part of the 60th Anniversary Celebration. In response to a public comment about the "rat and mosquito season" coming up, Mensinger told us that he's on the Vector Control Board, so just give him a call and he'll send some guys out. What a guy!
SPECIAL CHARTER STUDY SESSION NEXT WEEK
charter discussion", that might include a discussion of using a "facilitator" to help with the process. Hatch said the meeting will discuss whether we want to have a charter or not, etc. That's the first word we've had on this subject. The meeting begins at 4:30 in council chambers, as far as we know right now.
ROHRABACHER, BETHEL TOWERS AND ABC LICENSES
He also told us that Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's office is eager to help when they can. Hatch enlisted them to help secure Home Funds. He also told us that the renovation of The Tower on 19th - formerly known as Bethel Towers - is moving forward. And, there will be a study session soon to discuss the proliferation of ABC licenses in the city.
He reminded us that the Costa Mesa Community Run is coming up - the same weekend of the Fish Fry.
NEW DEPUTY CITY CLERK
He had new City Clerk Brenda Green introduce her new Deputy City Clerk - Patricia Bravo-Valdez - who has solid experience and education for the job. She worked as City Clerk in Maywood and Deputy City Clerk in several cities.
That took us to the Consent Calendar - this time with 14 items to be considered. Only a few were pulled for separate discussion. Resident Martin Millard pulled items 4-7 - the street improvements including lots of long-overdue work on Red Hill. He suggested that the City should use the money to tear down slums and make pocket parks instead. Remember that as you drive down Red Hill.
Resident Robin Leffler pulled #11, the Ticket Policy, for discussion. As it turns out, we have no choice about this policy - the state government requires it.
Leece pulled #14, the Economic Development trip to Vegas for Righeimer, Mensinger and an entourage of city staffers. Much discussion was held on the value of such events. Righeimer set us straight, though, as he gave us a brief history of his schmooze-fests at previous such events. They finished those discussions and we were all ready for New Business #1 at 7:45.
NEW BUSINESS #1 - LIVE/WORK DEVELOPMENT
live/work" units actually becoming just another bunch of rentals. Nobody gave any reason that couldn't happen. Size and availability of parking was also an issue. However, this is just a screening process, so the real nuts and bolts of this development will be fleshed out with the staff and Planning Commission, since many deviations from the norm will be necessary to make it work.
FINALLY, THE "APPOINTMENTS"
I, and others, assumed the council majority would stack the committees with their cronies, so we expected this process to be anticlimactic. It was actually more interesting, and entertaining, than I expected.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD FOR THE SENIOR CORP.
First, Righeimer permitted public comments. Ernie Feeney stepped up to complain about the requirement for each appointed member of the Senior Corporation Board to fork over $500 if appointed. She read into the record a letter from then-mayor Gary Monahan in which he guaranteed that the $500 requirement would be dropped. It has not been - at least not officially - so the announcement of three openings included that reference. Later the announcement of the recruitment dropped that requirement. The upshot was that when this issue was discussed the council, following Genis' lead, decided to open a NEW recruitment that clearly did not include the monetary requirement. No closing date for applications was discussed, but I suspect it will be a month or so. In the meantime, Righeimer expressed hope that the members whose terms have expired will stay on the board until new members can be seated. Feeney is one of those, as is Kathleen Eric and Judi Berry. On to the rest.
CULTURAL ARTS COMMITTEE
The first committee up was the Cultural Arts Committee, with 9 members and 2 alternates. There are 6 vacancies open. Genis, as the liaison to the committee, nominated the following people:
Alan Remington (alt)
All were approved on a 5-0 vote.
HISTORICAL PRESERVATION COMMITTEE
Next up was the Historical Preservation Committee, with 9 members and 2 alternates and 5 vacancies. Leece, as the liaison, chose all four candidates:
Pamela G. Crenshaw
They passed on a 5-0 vote.
HOUSING & PUBLIC SERVICE GRANT COMMITTEE
Next was the Housing and Public Service Grant Committee (formerly the 3R committee), with 9 members and 2 alternates and 6 vacancies. Mensinger is the liaison, but the poor guy had a heck of a time trying to figure out the numbers. There were 7 applicants for 6 vacancies, but he just mumbled and fumbled and seemed to be totally befuddled by the process. It was more than a little embarrassing. Finally, in order to get the thing finished, other council members helped him along and they chose the following folks on a 5-0 vote:
Denise R. Dew-Bennett
Brett D. McDonell
PENSION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Next came the first of two brand new committees - the Pension Oversight Committee, which will have 9 regular members. There are 9 vacancies. Righeimer assigned himself as the liaison and decided arbitrarily that each council member would nominate one person and, if a second was received, a vote would be taken. The nomination then passed to the next member. It began with Leece, then Genis, Righeimer, Mensinger and Monahan. Sounds fair, right? Well, I'll tell you how it went and you decide.
Genis nominated Ralph Taboada. Monahan seconded and he was selected, 5-0.
Righeimer nominated Jeff Arthur. Mensinger seconded and he was selected, 5-0.
Mensinger nominated Gene Hutchins. Monahan seconded. He was selected, 5-0.
Monahan nominated Rick Kapko. Mensinger seconded. He was selected, 5-0.
Righeimer nominated Kent Mora. Monahan seconded. He was selected on a 4-1 vote. Leece voted no.
Mensinger nominated Tim Sesler. Monahan seconded. He was selected, 5-0.
Monahan nominated Shawn Dewane. Mensinger seconded and he was chosen on a 3-2 vote.
Leece nominated John Stephens. Monahan seconded. He was chosen, 4-1, with Mensinger voting no.
Righeimer nominated Gary Parkin. Leece seconded. He was chosen, 5-0.
Curiously, no alternates were chosen
See a pattern here? Every candidate (7) nominated by the male majority was chosen. Only two candidates nominated by the female minority were chosen. Most of the selections didn't surprise me. Neither did the rejections. I was surprised that Stephens was chosen, although I'm pleased that he was. Maybe it was because his name was misspelled on the roster.
FAIRVIEW PARK CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Finally we got to the last item, the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee, with 9 members and two alternates. 9 vacancies existed. Righeimer nominated Mensinger for the liaison and he balked a little, wanting Genis to join him as co-liaisons. That was rejected, but Genis promised to be at every meeting. The process was the same as previously. Here's how it went:
Genis nominated Dr. Richard J. Mehren. Leece seconded. He was chosen, 3-2, with Righeimer and Mensinger voting no.
Righeimer nominated Terry Cummings. Monahan seconded. He was chosen, 5-0.
Mensinger nominated Brett Eckles. Monahan seconded. He was chosen, 5-0.
Monahan nominated Steve Smith. Mensinger seconded. He was chosen, 5-0
Righeimer nominated Anna Vrska. Leece seconded. She was chosen, 4-1. Monahan voted no.
Mensinger nominated Ron Amburgey. Monahan seconded. He was chosen, 4-1. Genis voted no.
Monahan nominated David Stiller. Genis seconded. He was chosen, 3-2. Righeimer and Mensinger voted no.
Next came selection of two alternates.
Righeimer nominated Lee Ramos. Mensinger seconded. He was chosen, 5-0.
Mensinger nominated Dennis Popp. Monahan seconded. He was chosen, 5-0.
THERE'S THAT PATTERN, AGAIN
Recognize the pattern? Every candidate nominated by the male majority (8) were chosen. Only one nominated by a female was chosen.
HERE WE GO AGAIN!
So, off we go to the Charter Study Session next Tuesday. So many questions... That ought to be fun.