A "Visioning" We Go!
Last night I joined almost 30 other people, nearly half of which were city staffers, in the first "visioning" exercise as part of the public outreach for the development of the city's General Plan.
WE DID JUST FINE...
OFFICIALS AND STAFFERS
Council member Wendy Leece was the only elected official in attendance. I saw no planning commissioners nor were there any parks and recreation commissioners present, either. Among the city staffers at the meeting were Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz, Acting Development Services Director Claire Flynn, Zoning Coordinator Willa Bowens-Killeen, Principle Planner Minoo Ashabi, Senior Planner Mel Lee, Management Analyst Hilda Veturis, Transportation Services Manager Raja Sethuraman, and brand new Economic and Development Services Director/Deputy CEO Gary Armstrong, who just took San Benito County through its General Plan Update before starting with Costa Mesa a week ago. Several other staffers were on hand to help, too. I hope they will forgive me for not listing them individually.
RANDOM DISCUSSION GROUPS
The attendees split into three groups that had been randomly selected and set about trying to craft their "vision" for Costa Mesa through the year 2035. Yeah, I know... the General Plan is a document with a decade shelf life, but we were encouraged to think further out than that.
PROS AND CONS
The process required each group to address the positives and negatives about Costa Mesa. On the plus side, Fairview Park, The Fairgrounds, South Coast Plaza, Neighborhood Parks, Diversity, Strong Neighborhood Identity were among those things I overheard being mentioned. On the negative side, we heard about Crime, Traffic and Homelessness, to name only a few.
The individual groups spent an hour working through the issue, then their anointed spokesperson presented the results of the effort to the assembled mob as a whole. It was fascinating to see how similarly each group thought when the process was done.
As the summaries were presented we heard phrases like these over and over:
- Maintain Distinct Neighborhoods
- Vibrant Downtown
- Community Gathering Place
- Public Safety
- Preserve The Fairgrounds
- Improve Infrastructure - Walkability and Bikeability
- Prudent City Government
- More Diverse Revenue Sources
- Foster Home Grown Industries
- Continuing Partnership With Education Organizations
- Traffic - Congestion, Mobility
- Develop Programs To Encourage Young Families To Move To Costa Mesa
- Green Public Transportation
PARTICIPATE DURING THE 60TH CELEBRATION
The next opportunity for the public to participate in this process will be during the 60th Anniversary Celebration on June 29 and 30. A booth will be manned at which members of the public can step up and provide their input. Snoopy will be on hand to help out. The booth will be available all day Saturday and from 3-5 on Sunday.
LAND USE TO BE CONSIDERED IN JULY
The next formal meeting will be held late in July and is scheduled to address Land Use.
Please tell your friends and neighbors about this wonderful opportunity to participate in creating the map by which the future of our city will be guided.
MAYOR' VIEWS UNREPRESENTED?
I noticed something I thought was peculiar at the meeting last night. There were no members of the public present that I would associate with the current city council majority. Not a single person who had stepped up and spoken for initiatives Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger have launched over the past couple years. There were some familiar faces - folks who attend many meetings and speak at most - but there were also several "newbies" - folks who don't usually get involved. We need more of those.
NO CHARTER MENTIONED
And, by the way, I heard no mention of the word "Charter" heard last night during the discussion of the vision for the future.
Labels: General Plan