More From The Council Meeting
Still bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, I'm back to report on some of the other things that happened at the marathon Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night/this morning.
MESA VERDE COMMUNITY, INC., SAYS THANKS
Right off the bat we had a couple nice presentations. Darnell Wyrick, President of Mesa Verde Community, Inc., the homeowners association for that part of town, made a nice presentation to Ernesto Munoz, Director of Public Services for the City. The presentation included a PowerPoint show of projects completed over the past several months that positively affected the Mesa Verde community.
JOHN SENDREY RECOGNIZED
Then Mayor Jim Righeimer presented a certificate to John Sendrey, the Costa Mesa resident who facilitated the rescue of Kyndall Jack from her precarious situation in the Cleveland National Forest. His is an example of a person with a special skill set who saw a need and filled it. Kudos to him for taking the initiative and helping to save a life in the process.
During Public Comments several residents stepped up with a litany of observations/complaints. For example, Ernie Feeney told the council that the city spends almost $635,000 to Mesa Water each year, so she's looking for some kind of intervention on the way that district spends their money. Geez!
PARKING AND POOCHES
LOUD AND GRUMPY - AND WRONG
Then curmudgeonly John Feeney - the second part of the family tag team - stepped up and railed about "a blogger" (me, I guess) who "inaccurately" posted about the requirement for candidates for city appointment to the Senior Center Board to pony up $500. He was obnoxious in his own special way - but he was wrong. What we reported was on the City announcement - and that included the requirement for the payment. They later changed their entry... It might have been helpful for Old John to talk with me first, to save the embarrassment of being wrong at such a high volume. By the way, things are not good between the City and the Senior Corporation Board. The Board is having a tough time with fundraising and there seems to be no sympathy for their plight at City Hall.
BUSINESS LICENSE FEES
ALLIGATORS AND SWAMPS
Then a grumpy old fella stepped up and gave us his "alligators and swamp" story again, using the recent gang stabbing as cannon fodder. He wants the city to stop spending money on silly essential stuff and buy up "slums" - his term for apartments where Latinos live in our city - so they can be torn down and replaced with pocket parks. I wonder if he realizes just how tiresome that argument is getting? Or, if he cares?
Gary Kutcher, the head of the OC Marathon, stepped up to thank everyone who supported that event again this year. He told us that more than 1,000 room nights were generated in Costa Mesa facilities due to the race, that more than $300,000 will be raised as a result and that 4,500 kids ran in the short race.
LEECE INFORMS US
AT LEAST HE SHOWED UP
Gary Monahan had nothing to say.
LAS VEGAS BOONDOGGLE AND CHARTER RANT
Righeimer reminded us that he will be out of town with Mayor Pro Tem Mensinger and an entourage to Las Vegas from May 19 - 22nd, so he asked Leece to run the council meeting on May 21st. Let's just hope we have a quorum. After making a snide, backhand remark about the Senior Center requirement for $500 for Board members (you'll recall I said all is not well with The City and the Board) he launched into his little "why we need a charter" mini-rant. He dredged up his "$41 dollar an hour sign holder" and complained about how "the employees" refused to let him outsource certain operations. He also blamed the employees for the litigation. I looked, but didn't see his nose growing yet.
BIRTHDAYS, BRAIN DAMAGE AND WRITING CHECKS
brain damage"! Somebody needs to remind Steve that the council chambers is not a locker room where every word that runs across his mind needs to be said! What a schmuck! He also told Harold Weitzberg, whom he apparently had promised to participate on a team for the Relay for Life, that he couldn't make it, so he'll write a check. That seems to be a prevailing theme in his life - got a problem, write a check.
GENIS CORRECTS THE RECORD
- Monday, May 13th in Conference Room 1A at 4:30 there will be a joint study session with the Planning Commission and the City Council so the commission can get its marching orders.
- Tuesday, May 14th, also in Conference Room 1A at 4:30 there will be a similar joint study session with the council and the Parks and Recreation Commission.
- Following that meeting, at 6:00, there will be a closed session council meeting.
- On Wednesday, May 15th, at 6:00 in the Emergency Operations Center there will be a General Plan Workshop.
- On Thursday, May 16th, there will be a 60th Anniversary Community Meeting at 6:00 in council chambers.
- On Tuesday, May 21st, there will be a council meeting in council chambers at 6:00.
- On Tuesday, May 28th there will be a Budget Study Session in Conference Room 1A at 4:30.
We finally got to the Consent Calendar - you will recall that Righeimer prefers that nobody pulls anything for separate discussion. However, life is full of unfulfilled expectations. Items 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12 were pulled and the remainder were passed with a 5-0 vote.
ESPINOSA'S LISTENING MEETINGS
Item #5, was pulled by Leece because of the payment of $14,000 to Chip Espinosa. Hatch explained the charge. Espinosa is conducting a series of "listening sessions" among the employees to get a sense of how they are feeling about having to do more with fewer people, etc. I had correspondence with Assistant CEO Rick Francis about this program last week. He told me that Espinosa is almost finished with the assignment and that it would cost no more than $39,500. He says a final report will be presented to the council and employees, so I hope it will also be made public. I've had some experience with these kinds of programs in the past. Typically, they create expectations on the part of the employees that "things will get better" as a result. If they don't, then whatever morale issues that existed before are only exacerbated. Quite frankly, from comments I've heard, Espinosa has been surprised with the results of these small group meetings - and not in a positive way. We'll see.
HERE, for discussion and former employee and lawyer, Eleanor Egan, stepped up to comment and basically read the council the riot act. She wondered about exparte communications between the vendor (s) and council members. She told them the contract attached had not been approved by the City Attorney as to form, that it included unlimited terms, there was an exhibit missing, that this kind of thing led to the county bankruptcy a few years ago and on and on. The upshot of the discussion was that this item was continued on a 5-0 vote until the June 4, 2013 meeting, at which the staff will have resolved the issues in question.
Leece pulled Item #8, HERE, the Deferred Comp plan issue, for clarification. After the issue was cleared up both Monahan and Genis abstained because they participate in the plan. It passed, 3-0.
435 NEW COMPUTERS
The grumpy old fella mentioned above pulled #12, HERE, - which was taken out of order just because he was standing at the podium - the issue of purchasing 435 new desktop computers. He mixed his criticism with mis-information. Other community members stepped up to support the move and it was passed, 5-0.
HARBOR SOARING SOCIETY RENEWAL
Genis pulled #10, HERE, the renewal of the Harbor Soaring Society agreement and appeared satisfied with the one-year renewal because the new Fairview Park Advisory Committee will soon begin doing an assessment of the entire park and its amenities. It was passed, 5-0.
A FINAL NOTE...
From there we launched into the Public Hearing on the development on Tustin Avenue, which was covered in my previous post. One amusing sidelight during that discussion I failed to mention was Steve Mensinger's apparent brain burp when he addressed Principal Planner Minoo Ashabi as "Fariba" - apparently confusing Ms. Ashabi with City Engineer Fariba Faselli. I guess all women look alike to him. That's OK - that's just "Steve being Steve" - an excuse he's lived by most of his life. As I said earlier, what a schmuck!