Monday, April 22, 2013

The Charter Again - Why?

RESURRECTING THE CHARTER QUESTION
As I wrote earlier, tomorrow the Costa Mesa City council will, once again, visit the "Charter City" issue at a Study Session in council chambers at City Hall beginning at 4:30 p.m.  Although we don't know for sure, we assume (nasty word) that the meeting will last a couple hours because there is a special closed session scheduled for 6:30.  You can read the agenda for the meeting, including information provided by the California League of Cities, HERE.  Most of this information is not new, especially for those of us who spent twelve months dealing with this bogus scheme beginning in November, 2011.

WHY?

Let's be clear about this right up front.  Nobody has demonstrated WHY Costa Mesa should become a Charter City since Jim Righeimer first announced his quick pitch scheme in November, 2011.  And, after almost a full year of back-and-forth discussions, public hearings, long, rancorous meetings, tens of thousands of dollars spend on both sides of the issue, the public made it's feelings known by soundly rejecting Jim Righeimer's Charter last November - 60% - 40%!

ARROGANT DISREGARD OF THE VOTERS

Now Righeimer, as he promised immediately after being crushed in the ballot box, in an arrogant disregard of the will of the people he supposedly serves, has brought this bad idea back.  It is unlikely that this process will go quietly into the night.  No, we can probably expect AT LEAST another year of meetings, arguing and fracturing of the city as he tries, once again, to impose his political will on the residents of this city.

PREVAILING WAGE CHANGE IN THE WORKS

This time around there are some changes in the air that will certainly affect this plan.  There are two pieces of legislation floating around Sacramento that will impact the arguments for a charter.  One, if passed, will disembowel Righeimer's main argument for a charter - that we can save a ton of money by not being required to pay prevailing wages on major projects.  During the past battle, beginning about a year ago, we had our council chambers packed with imported partisans on both sides of the issue.  Several unions salted the audience with vociferous folks who spoke against the Charter.  Righeimer imported Kevin Dayton - who can forget his squealing performance before the council when Righeimer gave him 10 minutes, not 3, to pitch his position?  Others, including Dave Everett from the Associated Builders Counsel, also took a turn at the speaker's podium.  Both men wrote commentaries in the local newspapers.

ONLY ON A GENERAL ELECTION
The other element currently in discussion in Sacramento is a change to State Law that would require a Charter to be placed before the voters ONLY in a General Election, not a Primary Election or special municipal election.  Some will recall the latter was the case when the City of Bell became a Charter City - only 450 voters showed up for that one - and the rest is history.

ELECTED COMMISSION?...
IF the council decides to go to battle again - they can't do that at the Study Session tomorrow - they must choose between an elected Charter Commission or an appointed Charter Committee - two VERY different birds.  If a commission is used State law is very clear about how that process must go, including requiring 15 members.  That commission would have to be elected at either a Primary or General election - the next one available is June, 2014, although that legislation I mentioned above might push that out to the November election.  From that point, the commission would have two years in which to craft a charter - including significant public outreach - or it would be disbanded and the process would have to begin again.  And, the city council would be bypassed in the process - they don't get a chance to manipulate the charter at all.

...OR APPOINTED COMMITTEE?
If a committee is used, it can be created the same way others are created - like the Pension Advisory Committee that was created this month.  The council, as they did with the recent appointments, can manipulate the process to stack the deck with their true believers and - most important - gets to decide just what the Charter will look like that would be presented to the voters next year.

SOME REFERENCE MATERIAL
As I thought about this process again I went back and revisited some of the things that were written about Jim Righeimer's Charter last year and earlier this year.  Even though this list is daunting, some of you may wish to revisit some of the things that were said about that scheme.  I've tried to provide both sides of the discussion - except the links to my blog entries.  I may not have given you EVERYTHING that was written, but this list is plenty long.  I've put them in chronological order.. Have fun.

COSTA MESA DOES NOT NEED TO BECOME A CHARTER CITY!
Let me be clear before you tackle this list.  I don't think Costa Mesa needs to become a Charter City!  We've done just fine as a General Law City in the 60 years of our existence.  We've benefited from the protections from abuse and corruption provided by State Law under this system and, quite frankly, I just don't trust the current council majority with the kind of power that is potentially available with a Charter form of government. 

BANKRUPTCY
Only 25% of California cities are Charter Cities, and some of those in deep financial trouble - Stockton, San Bernardino and Vallejo, for example - operate as Charter Cities.  Vallejo and Stockton have declared bankruptcy and San Bernardino is teetering on the brink.

THE LIST
So, here's the list.  Click on any that interest you and you'll be taken to the blog entry or article:


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13 Comments:

Blogger kwahlf said...

I agree with you, Geoff.
We don't need a city charter for the reasons
you gave here,
" We've benefited from the protections from abuse and corruption provided by State Law under this system and, quite frankly, I just don't trust the current council majority with the kind of power that is potentially available with a Charter form of government. "

Amen! I don't trust them with that power either.
Someone is pushing Righeimer to get a charter passed in our city. Would that be Scott Baugh?

4/22/2013 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacques-Pierre Brissot said...

Karin:
"I don't trust them with that power either.
Someone is pushing Righeimer to get a charter passed in our city. Would that be Scott Baugh?"

We think it's Napoleon himself. He lost a boy when Mayor 909 left and Colon couldn't slump his way to a win. Then as Geoff says, the voters told him NO on the charter set-up 60-40. Almost everything he's touched or touted since the failed Proposition days of the 90s has turned to political caca for him.

Many true Republicans and conservatives in Costa Mesa and the County believe Righeimer has ruined the brand. More than a few influential members of the Lincoln Club want him and his giant losing streak out of politics before OC goes Democratic. He can move to San Diego County and join up with Issa, or out to the 909 where he and Bever can teach cotillions.


4/22/2013 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Riggy said before that he didn't really need a charter, that he couldn't do anything with a charter that he couldn't do without one. So, with the new legislation pending, and the pension reform coming down, it really takes the need out of a charter, doesn't it? At this point, its just another waste of money.

4/22/2013 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Thrift Store Marty said...

Geoff,
There's a blogger in town always focusing on crimes black people commit. Yet regarding this year's biggest crime, the Boston bombing, committed by middle class, genuine CAUCASIANS, this weirdo is silent! Now half his "brown glop," "drain the swamp" genetic theories are as dead as the older Tsarnaev brother!

4/22/2013 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Missed one....http://articles.dailypilot.com/2011-12-31/news/tn-dpt-0101-commentary2-20111231_1_charter-city-righeimer-council-meeting

4/22/2013 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous History Channel said...

Righeimer badly needs a win. Don't forget that his record is basically negative- defeated extremist state propositions in the 90s, consistent rejection by Fountain Valley voters, rejection of his extremist charter last November.

Lincoln Club members want good value for the money they raise and spend. In certain quarters he is seen as a liability, someone who has damaged the brand.

4/23/2013 07:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Mesa Athletics said...

Can't wait for Costa Mesa to join the 21st century and finally become a Charter City. In answer to your question about why, just ask Wendy Leece. She and a lot of others said a Charter was good, just not this one. We need to "slow done." Well, we've done that. We've slowed down. Now it's time to appoint a Committee to make recommendations and let our ELECTED officials finally decide on proper language to put before the voters. Let's get out from under the awful thumb of Sacramento and control ourselves. Go Charter!!

4/23/2013 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

OOOppps....Mesa Athletics lets the cat outta the bag...."appoint a Committee to make recommendations and let our ELECTED officials finally decide on proper language to put before the voters".

Why even bother with a committee? The City Council will put whatever they want into the Charter Language.We've already been there done that.

An elected Commission or nothing ...or else what's the point?

4/23/2013 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Central Valley Farm Animals said...

Mesa Athletics:
"Can't wait for Costa Mesa to join the 21st century and finally become a Charter City"

Can't wait for Stevie to get back up here and help with our BK in Stockton! It's a charter city!

4/23/2013 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous troll,level 4 said...

Some see our City without a charter and ask why?
I see our City without a charter and ask why not.

4/23/2013 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous puppet, level 3 said...

geoff has in his list of links a link to Mooney's "elect a charter committee". glad he straight on all this. geez.

4/23/2013 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous wandering off the res again? said...

Fitz, not obeying the moratorium? Zip it til you get your talking points and your orders.

4/23/2013 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Smells Fishy said...

Mesa athletics is an example of the problem.

He says we've slowed down. That is a complete misrepresentation of reality. The voters stopped the charter and Riggy and co. shelved the idea for a while. Now they want to bring it back up and rush it in again.

But the worst comment of Mesa athletics is "let our ELECTED officials finally decide on proper language to put before the voters."
The council already put their proposal out there. Everyone knows how the appointments will go as we have seen this regarding voting for mayor and mayor pro tem , the council committees and Planning and Parks commissions.

There will not be any proper language it will be a rehash and they will have the opportunity to claim a committee of residents created the new charter.

It's a redherring, a fake and it's pretty sad too.

4/23/2013 10:49:00 PM  

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