Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Finance Advisory Committee Meeting Was Enlightening

MY FIRST MEETING...
Tuesday evening, for the first time, I attended the meeting of the Costa Mesa Finance Advisory Committee, known in a previous life as the Investment Oversight Committee.  In that previous iteration the committee was comprised of the City Manager, the Finance Director, a council member and a couple - maybe three - members of the public.  Their role was more passive/reactive than proactive.

WHO?
The new City Council has a much different idea about committees in general, and this one in particular.  This committee is comprised of six regular members and two alternates, plus Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger and City CEO Tom Hatch.  Senior staffers typically in attendance are Finance and Information Technology Director Bobby Young, Assistant Finance Director Colleen O'Donohue and Revenue Supervisor Judy Vickers and Executive Secretary Kathy Ulrich.

A MORE PROACTIVE ASSIGNMENT
Having read the agendas of all previous meetings it seems clear that the council wants this group to play a much more active role in how the City's finances are managed and it has taken on assignments previously the purview of the staff.  Tuesday evening was my first chance to actually watch this group in action.

NOT A FULL HOUSE
In addition to the staffers mentioned above, committee members attending the meeting were Shawn Dewane, Jim Fisler, Terry Shaw, David Stiller, Howard Hull and Richard Riva.  Members John Hinson and Robert Juneman were absent, as was Mensinger.

NEW GUYS IN CHARGE
Stiller and Shaw are holdovers from the previous configuration.  All the other members are new to this committee.  Dewane is the Chairman and Shaw is Vice-Chairman.  Dewane and Fisler are Directors of the Mesa Water District Board.  They, plus Hull, can be said with accuracy to be tightly aligned philosophically with the current City Council majority - a fact that became crystal clear as the meeting progressed.

IMPORTANT ISSUES
I wanted to attend this particular meeting because there were items on this agenda, HERE, that interested me.  I was particularly interested in how they would handle New Business item 7a, Business License Tax Information/Study.  As it turned out, that was the only item they covered - the other two New Business items, PERS Prepay and Revenue Sources, were trailed to a future meeting.

DEWANE DOMINATED
Dewane ran a crisp meeting, blitzing through the early agenda items before guiding the discussion on 7a for more than an hour.  "Guiding" may not be exactly right - "dominating" would be more appropriate, in my opinion.  He began his discussion by stating that this issue should not be political - a statement I later found very amusing because that's exactly what he did - politicize it.

PLENTY OF INFO
The staff had provided a large pile of reference materials, including several city council staff reports that covered the subject previously, focusing on the most recent serious discussion of increasing this tax last year.  Also included were copies of a PowerPoint presentation Young had given to the council last year and the entire section of the Municipal Code that deals with Business Tax.

VIOLATING 4TH AMENDMENT?
As the discussion began Fisler expressed concern about section 9-58, which seemed to him to give authority to city officials to enter his home to look for his business license.  Staff, in response to the concern, assured him that there had NEVER been an instance of that happening.

NO AUDIT, NO PENALTIES
He asked if there had ever been an audit of claimed revenue - our business license tax is based on tiers of revenue claimed by the applicant - or if any penalties had ever been imposed.  The answer was NO.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH...
OK, I'm not going to try to regurgitate every comment word for word.  I'm going to give you my impressions of the high and low points, with some specific quotes as appropriate.

DEWANE'S VIEW
It was very clear to me by the line of questions posed and the positions taken that Dewane and Fisler - and Hull to some extent - came armed with an opinion and were not eager to have the facts complicate it.  Dewane, while dominating the early part of the discussion, frequently expressed disdain for the "insignificant" amount of revenue generated by our business license tax, which runs from $800,000 to $850,000 year after year.  Hatch chimed in to observe that it has been our most consistent revenue source.  And still, throughout his comments, Dewane referred to the amount as "nickels and dimes", and wondered if it was even worth it to have a Business License Tax.  He also referred to the Business License Tax revenue as a "rounding error".

DEFENDING THE REVENUE STREAM
At that point Young jumped into the discussion, taking umbrage at that description, stating that it was a viable part of our revenue stream and, as Hatch had earlier stated, was our most consistent revenue source - much less volatile than the Sales Tax or Property Tax, as demonstrated over the past several years.  To that Dewane stated that "1% of the Budget is insignificant!"  Are you getting his drift?

BUSINESS TAX?  TO RAISE REVENUE
At one point he asked the purpose of the Business License Tax and was told by Young that it was to raise revenue.  That answer seemed inadequate to Dewane.

COLLECTING WHAT IS DUE
The discussion turned to how we collect our Business License Tax.  Until about 3 years ago we had a person on staff that was tasked to check newspapers and other public records to see if folks doing business in our city were, in fact, paying our license fees.  Keep in mind that Costa Mesa's Business License Tax is among the very lowest in the county.  The maximum ANY business pays is $200, with most paying less than half that amount.  Fisler and Dewane both suggested that we could generate enough revenue from the scofflaws that we wouldn't have to raise the tax.  They offered no documentation for the opinion, though.

CMFD CHECKS FOR LICENSES
Hatch told us that the Fire Department, as part of their routine inspections, now looks for the Business License document.

TOO MUCH PAPERWORK!
Dewane continued, referring to the Business License Tax as a way to kill businesses and stifle recruitment of new businesses.  He complained about the 22 page document a businessman must complete to begin a business in the city, observing that it just added to the paperwork burden businessmen face.

NEW SOFTWARE
Dewane stated several times that it's more important to attract more businesses to the city than to raise taxes.  Another part of the equation is the collection of the tax that is due to us.  A new suite of computer software has been purchased and is online now.  Soon it will facilitate the auditing process and aid in collecting ALL the taxes due to the city.  It will also create new efficiencies in the handling of these transactions.

PUBLIC COMMENTS
About 45 minutes into the meeting - it lasted 90 - Dewane asked any of the members of the public present if they had comments to make.  Each of the four of us in the room took our turn to express views on the issue.  Jeff Arthur briefly discussed the points Young had made and posited that perhaps we should increase the threshold of the tax.  Dewane pumped Young about the cost to cut a check.

MOONEY - A SALES TAX RAISE INSTEAD?
Charlie Mooney wasn't satisfied with the purpose of the tax - to raise revenue.  Among other things, he wondered whether, in place of the tax, an increase in the Sales Tax might be more appropriate.  Dewane chimed in, complaining that businesses already pay taxes and fees.  He mentioned a "supplemental sales tax".  He then veered off into a rant about the power of government being unlimited and taxes are a violation of personal property rights.  He said regulation is not business-friendly.

BETH AND I
Beth Refakes, a long time resident and participant in most important meetings in the city, said she had no real problem with the Business License Tax and suggested that volunteers might be useful helping reconcile unpaid tax.  She also opined that the electorate in Costa Mesa probably wouldn't take kindly to the elimination of the Business License Tax.  I suggested that anyone currently holding a license should be required to pay something - at least a modest handling fee - which is not the case today.  You can keep your business license active at no charge if you have less than $1,000 annual revenue.

TO THE EXTREMES!
Dewane, in response to my observation that his opinions made it clear which way he was trying to direct the discussion, rejected that characterization - saying that he was just trying to carry the discussion to the extremes.  Well, he did that well enough, believe me!

PERMITS VS. FEES
The discussion continued and got mired down into the difference between a permit and a fee.  Briefly, Young explained that a permit typically covers the cost of the service - inspections, planning applications, etc.

TRYING TO FOLLOW HIS THOUGHTS
Dewane suggested this issue is highly complicated and political and wanted the staff to do some more work.  He said that if he was a council member in a city with NO business license tax he might be tempted to "poach" businesses from neighboring cities who DO have such a tax.  He also suggested a way to allow businesses to pay their license fees 5 years ahead, which seemed very contradictory to his entire premise before.  Earlier he suggested that Segerstroms might just petition the local agency formation commission to become part of Santa Ana if the tax was raised.  That was an astounding statement!

THE 10K DOOR-SLAMMER
The discussion turned to last year, when the council discussed this issue and did nothing about putting the issue before the voters.  Some wondered what happened.  At the end of the meeting I told them what happened.  One of the scenarios Young presented to the council a year ago had a maximum tax of $10,000.  When the council heard that number their collective brains just locked up and they never could get past it.

MORE GOOD QUESTIONS
Richard Riva presented a list of things he felt needed further discussion/explanation.  He felt the committee needed to continue the discussion and asked the staff to consider several questions, including, What is the capacity for more businesses in the city?  What are the types of businesses worth going after?  He also indicated that permits needed to be part of the discussion.

NO HARM, NO FOUL
Hatch offered this comment.  "Will we fall apart if this tax goes away? - NO.  Will we fall apart if it stays the same? - NO."

HOW TO SPEND THE MONEY
Riva wondered what we would do with, say, an additional $2-3 million in additional revenue from an increased Business License Tax.  Hatch mentioned infrastructure improvements, including City Hall, which is showing it's age.  No, I didn't hear him say we could begin paying down the Pension debt...


MORE WORK FOR STAFF
Finally Fisler suggested that members email their thoughts to Young before the next meeting in July.  The two remaining items will be considered at that time.

NO SURPRISES...
My impressions?  I've heard many of the things Dewane and Fisler espoused last night coming from the mouths of Mayor Jim Righeimer, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger and councilman Gary Monahan over the past couple years, and during the discussions last year on this same issue.  It was clear to me, as I said earlier, that Dewane, Fisler and Hull are carrying the water for the council majority on this issue.  I was not surprised by this at all.  The biggest problem I saw was that Dewane so dominated the discussion that he intimidated other members and stifled some of the discussion.  Again, I was not surprised - at all.  It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.  There's still time for calm, rational discussions on this issue before the council gets into it to consider placing it on the November ballot next year.


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33 Comments:

Anonymous sk said...

more scaremongering, the Riggy clan loves it. Why would Segerstrom request annexation to Santa Ana? Would the business license tax increase for Costa Mesa be more than they would pay in Santa Ana? I don't think so? Or No business license tax so we can entice businesses from other cities? Really? This kind of thinking is going to be the downfall of Costa Mesa.

6/26/2013 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Enlightening....? Sounded to me from your observations to be anything but.

Dewane and Fisler are the purest of hypocrites.
During their terms on the Water District they were more than happy to raise rates on the residents to receive a stronger credit rating. In fact that is the only reason they did it. "The district's board has raised rates as needed to ensure strong financial performance, increasing charges an average of 5.7% annually in its 2010-2014 rate package. Rates are somewhat high at 1.4% of median household income." Fitch's credit report says that they deserve a credit bump because of " a willingness to raise rates ....".
So it's obviously OK to raise rates when they are the ones squeezing the money and stockpiling cash reserves, but as for the City, they completely start talking out of the other sides of their mouths.

Our BLT is the lowest in the county, but it is also so low , that is is one of the ten lowest in the ENTIRE STATE of CA.

The suggestion that Segerstroms would try and go before LAFCO to annex themselves to Santa Ana.....is certifiably insane. Did Fisler have a comment for that considering he is on LAFCO? Did anyone mention that Santa Ana collects $10 million a year on business license fees even though they have less entities?

Explaining to Segerstrom that the city needs to raise it's business license fees is one of the easiest phone calls you would ever have to make. Just ask them if they have ever had to raise their rents since 1961 so they could provide better services and infrastructure to their tenants....because that is what we, as a City, need to do.

Regarding Sales Tax......that is paid by the customers , not the businesses. The businesses collect it....but , we pay the tax.

Here's my question for the Finance Advisory Committee....Why isn't their strategy working?
Where are all these businesses? Why does Harbor Blvd have a string of chronically vacant retail spaces?
Why are other cities ( Fullerton, Santa Ana, Anahiem), having economic booms and Costa Mesa sitting in a quagmire?.....Why are the only attractions to this city,. Fast Food restaurants?
Hasn't 52 years been long enough to see that this policy isn't netting us the desired results?
Raising the fees to a reasonable rate and providing expanded services and infrastructure would definitely prove two things......Government CAN work and starving the Beast to achieve political goals is Bad for business.
And we can't have that happen,...can we?



6/26/2013 07:44:00 AM  
Anonymous was leece there? said...

I like extreme thinking and thoughts being thrown out for discussion. what may seem absurd in total may lead to some real gems being discovered and enacted. why stifle a broad discussion? sounds like an intelligent group who did their homework

6/26/2013 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous pot calling kettle.... said...

Gericault: if water rates were raised "as needed", that would be a good thing, right?

Gericault is a hypocrite.

He wants to raise business tax rates because it is "needed"(but apparently not needed for many decades, just "now"). But if water department raises rates "as needed", that is wrong? He talks out of the other side of his mouth.
At least a water rate increase is spread to everyone, including the elected directors who are also ratepayers. This license tax is aimed only at business. Perhaps we could collect license tax from those who should be paying but are not and raise revenue that way?

6/26/2013 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur T. Nern said...

As more and more people are seeing, there is clearly an agenda, with a group of followers who have been groomed to carry it out.

It's more than ideology though. Pensions, pink slips, rants, etc., have been used as a smokescreen to help advance the real goal:

Land grab and development.

What does a developer and his friends do? Develop.

Look around. The PC is 5-0 developer-friendly.

Examples:
Banning Ranch, Fairview Park, "Problem Motels."

6/26/2013 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Bad for Business said...

Sounds like Fisler will continue to support the Newport Bosses to the detriment of Costa Mesa.

Why? What was he promised? I know of at least 3 real estate deals his fealty to Righeimer has cost him.

6/26/2013 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike 1 said...

Wouldn't that insignificant $850k help pay all those 5th floor salaries and benefits?

Seems to me that these guys would rather stick the residents with the bill, instead of the businesses, but then again, corporations are people according to the Supreme Court, so I guess it makes sense. Now my head is going to explode.

Congratulations on all of those who voted for these guys. Well done!

6/26/2013 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous oops, another statement in error said...

I think Gericault again, as usual, is in error.
He claims our BLT is the lowest in the county.
wrong.
Irvine maxes at 50 dollars, we max at 200.
Care to correct this Gericault?

6/26/2013 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous slacker said...

I, like Gericault, have questions for the FAC. I, like Gericault, did not attend the meeting to ask our questions. Nor did we email them to the committee or staff. I blame the FAC for that! Time to start some trouble.

6/26/2013 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous may i have another sir? said...

Gericault is spot on. All the vacant buildings he talks about will definitely fill up if we raise the license tax. that's how it works, right?

6/26/2013 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

"oops…" said that Irvine fees cap at $50. Wrong! I know facts can get in the way but go the city website and complete a form. The base fee is $50, $1 for ADA then the fee increases based on the number of years in business. The cap is actually $351.00

Irvine also has a revenue source we do not - area HOAs. Each area (above and beyond the individual development) has an HOA that is paid for road maintenance and infrastructure. Some of the northern reaches also pay Mello/Roos, which we do not, so they asre less reliant on business license fees for financial stability.

6/26/2013 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous we need the $$ said...

that 850K would pay a cops retirement for 7 years.

6/26/2013 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Lets address the Gericault fan club.....

First comparing Irvine to Costa Mesa in an "apples to apples" comparison, is part truth but an inaccurate comparison.

Costa Mesa has a bigger apple than Irvine ..true

but we only have "one" apple, and Irvine has a bushel,....so who has more "apple"?

Kosmont Rose makes their assessment based on a multitude of factors..
Business Taxes
Utility User Taxes
Property Taxes
Sales Tax
• Survey contains additional information on:
Economic Incentives
Waivers, Reductions, Reimbursements
Special Zones
Incentives, Services, Notable Public/Private Transactions
Development Impact Fees
Other Fees
Kosemont Rose lists us as one of the lowest cost places to do business in the entire state of CA.
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/cities-329183-state-kosmont.html
From the article...."Although the Kosmont-Rose Institute report places Costa Mesa among the lowest-cost cities in California, no Golden State community makes the national list of least expensive cities."

Note: they make no mention or comparison with Irvine.....because they are including all the other revenue factors that Costa Mesa does not have. Also you can't compare the Least "expensive" place to do business, with the lowest "cost " of doing business.

Costa Mesa is listed as one of the "lowest cost" cities to do business in CA,....Irvine is not.

"oops" has been answered....but I'm sure you'll have something else to say about all the credible information , I've researched, linked and provided you is wrong.....just because.






6/26/2013 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous irvine IS 50 according to city staff said...

how reliant are we on business taxes Mary Ann? It looks like 800K out of a budget of more than 100 million. a rounding error.
how about a raise in the sales tax? that would catch everyone except the swap meet people and food trucks, the ones who always get a pass.

6/26/2013 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

slacker.....

The last place on earth I would ever think of wasting more time would be with these people handpicked for this committee. They are disagreeing with the facts presented by Bobby Young, for Pete's sake.

They are not there to provide insight or enlightenment, or even advice. They are there for one purpose and one purpose only. To provide political cover for the members of council that have signed the Howard Jarvis Tax pledge and by oath, are prohibited from exercising their fiscal duty of representing the needs and responsibilities of this City, first and foremost.

As for me posting questions to the FAC.....How do you think this BLT conversation got started?

Did Gericault publicly challenge the Council that we couldn't rationally have a discussion about cutting services unless we also included a serious conversation about increasing revenues? Yeah...he did. Obviously, it resonated. Because now here we are two years later and that discussion is part of the Councils direction. I am astute enough to recognize political posturing over actual policy making.

Do I want them to proceed with a BLT increase?...honestly,..? right now?....NO.

155 vote difference and this conversation would have been much different. The information would have been compiled in a factual non biased manner and dissected in an open minded and reasonable discussion not beholden to , or driven by, political ideology.

As it stands now, I expect nothing to be done to bring this before for the voters. If something is actually put on the ballot, it will probably be too little, or wrapped up in a poison pill to further tax all the residents, and make it dead on arrival.

Either way...we waited 52 years....what"s another election? I'd rather this Council NOT do it, and wait until we get a council that will do what's right.

6/26/2013 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

May I have another sir?......but of course, I have plenty more where that came from.

To address his question that tried to answer my question.....his premise has been proven false.

The exact same argument was used when the TOT fees were raised. "We can't raise TOT fees as it will kill tourism to Costa Mesa and unfairly burden our Hotel Industry". FACT..tourism is up, the Hotels have never done better.....and nobody even noticed.

In fact we could have raised it a couple of percentage points higher and no one still would have noticed , as we are still under surrounding cities TOT fees.

That extra yearly $2-3 million compounded by all the years we didn't collect it ,.....adds up to a lot of money.

A business license fee rate that hasn't been raised since 1961, is in the words of Shawn Dewane a "rounding error". I have to agree. Compare that with HB, NB or SA, which collects $2.5 - 10 million a year. Compound that with the 52 years this City has refused to address that issue. That isn't a rounding error anymore. That is close to a hundred million$$ this City never collected to invest back into it's infrastructure.

Now , I can honestly say, I don't know why we have chronic retail vacancies throughout the city . I can point out, that this is happening under our current BLT low cost strategy. I'll assume, "you get what you pay for". Since what they are paying is next nothing that seems to be what the businesses are getting. They are NOT flocking to the city so...it might be time to re-think that strategy.

6/26/2013 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous BLT on Wheat said...

Hey oops--The City of Irvine also has nearly 23,000 businesses that it collects BLTs on, both commercial and residental. Does that City of Costa Mesa require a home business to have a BLT?

6/26/2013 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Irvine is 50 - If the city doesn't want the $800K, I'll take it and do a lot of good with it.

I have owned three businesses in three different cities in CA, and this is the lowest cost I have ever paid. And, I have been very vocal in saying that I should and would pay more in business taxes. Why do all the citizens have to pick up the cost for the businesses? As a resident, I don't profit from living here, but as a business owner I do and I should contribute for that privilege. Yes, privilege. Business ownership is not a right, it is a privilege.

No one is recommending 100% increases across the Board, but when we have a whiny mayor who manufactures a financial crisis each news cycle, the idea that this revenue generator won't even be considered, or given to the voters to decide is highly suspicious.

Taxes are not bad, misused ones are. Return value for the payment and it is the basis of the great American, capitalist system.

6/26/2013 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous what if? said...

In theory you'd think that no business license fee would attract business, right? I am not so sure. If it isn't worth paying for, its probably not worth having. There is no negative for raising the business tax. As Gericault said, it isn't the business that pay it, its the customers. Sure, you could have a run down city, with cracked, crooked streets, broken sidewalks, etc. But is that worth "free"? Or is a modest fee every year worth keeping our city up to date so that people want to come shop here?

There are a good 2,000 businesses in this town that aren't paying this fee, and no one is even attempting to collect it.

Maybe if the place becomes so decrepit and the businesses don't come here, then Riggy can make a bundle on his development schemes, huh?

6/26/2013 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

This is like giving medicine to the dead.....

pot calling kettle.... said...
if water rates were raised "as needed", that would be a good thing, right?

Gericault replies : If you define "need" as raising everyones rates so that they can stockpile our cash to save money for bond rating status.....then NO, thats NOT a good thing but that is EXACTLY what Fisler and Dewane did.

He wants to raise business tax rates because it is "needed"(but apparently not needed for many decades, just "now").
Gericault replies: If you miss a meal, do you stop eating? I never said it wasn't needed for many decades now.....in Fact, I've said just the opposite.

But if water department raises rates "as needed", that is wrong? He talks out of the other side of his mouth.
Gericault replys: This is where it just gets nutty.....That's what Dewane and Fisler did. They raised water rates ,even while the water District was flush with cash, but now say the City can't do anything similar. Even though those rates haven't been raised in 52 years. That's NOT me, that's them. I'm not on the Water Board and the FAC, they are. I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy and you just made my point.

This license tax is aimed only at business.
Gericault repies: Because it's a BUSINESS license fee.....
(head bang on desk)

Perhaps we could collect license tax from those who should be paying but are not and raise revenue that way
Gericault replies: Yeah....it would be nice to fill that empty slot....maybe if we raise revenues we can start providing the services that the city needs to function...but I won't hold my breath.

6/26/2013 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous furnitureneversleeps said...

I think where Gericault is off is on why the water district raised rates. He seems to not have a handle on it, perhaps he did not attend the meetings. Rates were raised, from what I read, to ensure that the water district delivery system would continue to be viable, now and in the future. The reserves of the water district are less than most water districts and as a percentage of budget less than the reserves of the City of Costa Mesa. Gericault doesn't get it or , what now seems to be the case, has a personal vendetta against Dewane and Fisler. Either way, he is wrong about the rate increase parameters at the water district. I was one of about five members of the public in attendance at the rate hearing way back when and it was made very clear. perhaps Gericault missed that meeting? The rate increase was very nominal compared to other rate increases at other water districts. very pleased to be a customer.

6/26/2013 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Moon said...

Dewane is the same 'type' of politician as Righeimer. I noted that the Mesa Water district has changed it's mission from 'providing water at the lowest rate' to something else. The electorate never asked. Now we get a move to take revenue out of a city that claims it can't meet it's obligations - and again the electorate is never asked. This 'type' of politician doesn't care much for democracy at the voting booth.

6/26/2013 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous repar costa mesa said...

all this Gericault misinformation makes one head spin. bottom line: he is a Democrat, thus like taxes, things big government can do better with our monies than you or I. That's fair. Wrong, but fair. He could go a long way by avoiding lying and stopping personal attacks. He has lost credibility among those who know real facts. On the other hand, he is a hero to the uninformed and anarchists. everyone has a role in life. karma can be a bi**h though and it will come back to him.

6/26/2013 07:31:00 PM  
Anonymous CM Pessimist said...

With the current regime in place, an increase related to the Business License Tax will never happen. Most likely, no fee, or tax increase of any kind will occur. But having just written that I would like to hold out some hope that the Transient Occupancy Tax could be increased in some capacity. We constantly hear this council majority rail against the seedier hotels in our fair municipality. We hear that the motel dwellers use up a disproportionate amount of police and fire services. Since this indeed appears to be the case, why not raise this tax? Why not have the voters of Costa Mesa decide if a fair amount is paid related to this dilemma? If it would make it easier for the council majority, or any Tea Party types, to accept this inevitability; why not tie in any revenue increases into Capital Improvement Projects? This could replace some portion of the money which is being derived from other sources to fund all of these municipal improvements which are all the rave, currently. That in turn would hopefully cover the expense being incurred in the first place.

But, what do I know? All tax increases are bad. Greedy municipal employees earn too much and are also bad. Union liberals who complain about the legal bills being accrued on all of these ill-conceived schemes are the worst of all. South Coast Plaza could some how be annexed by Santa Ana on the Segerstrom's orders if any change is implemented. Our politicians sitting on their hands has worked well, so far. And lastly, if it ain't broke; don't fix it!

6/26/2013 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous That's all folks! said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA,

So wanting to get rid of "problem motels" is "developer-friendly?"

Let's show those damn developers and fight to keep our city full of prostitutes, parolees, sex offenders, meth labs, etc.!

The other examples of the PC being "developer-friendly" are Banning Ranch and Fairview Park - neither of which the PC has anything to do with.

Thanks Geoff, the loons are certainly entertaining.

6/26/2013 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur T. Nern said...

The PC is developer friendly.

It was stacked with sycophants to grease the skids for builders and developers.

Examples of the LAND GRAB currently in progress:

Underhanded campaign to build/pave (develop) in Fairview Park;

Efforts to sell-out Costa Mesa's interests re traffic to the developers of Banning Ranch;

Campaign to buy up the "problem motels" so developers can build on this prime land.

We face a bigger threat from the political prostitutes who live in houses rather than motels. Greed can be just as addictive as drugs.

Napoleon Righeimer, like the general he is named after, underestimates his adversaries. He will fail also.

6/26/2013 11:03:00 PM  
Anonymous rookie lawyer said...

I always thought water rates were really fees, not taxes. they are a fee for the water you choose to purchase. You are free to purchase as much or little as you want and by law they cannot be set higher than the cost of the delivery system cost, there has to be a nexus. some water districts do charge people on their property tax bill in addition but ours does not.

6/27/2013 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Well we are back to calling Gericault names and no longer trying to refute any of the points I addressed....that means we are making progress.

Furniture- thank you for explaining why Fisler and Dewane raised the rates. We will just have to agree to disagree on the validity of why. The point was that they raised fees when they felt the need but refuse to advise the city to do the same. That was my point, and you hammered it home nicely.

repar- I did register as a Democrat in 2009. Before that I was. DTS. Like a majority of Californians, I have always been progressive but didn't,t like being taken for granted.
I was vocally against Mansoors city wide anti immigrant stances. I thought that was wrong, mean spirited, and bad policy. Looking around today, none of Mansoors policies, that cost this city dearly are even in place anymore. The Lincoln club just came out a week ago and admonished Rohrabacher on his anti immigrant stance. Scott Baugh now advocates and supports my same views regarding this issue.
The Republicans I have worked with in this city are great. I have learned so much during the fight to save the Fairgrounds about how government works....especially in the wrong hands. I have learned so much about property rights, the rights of the public to open governance, and how municipalities govern their finances. I have many Republican friends that I respect and appreciate in this city. Geoff West, Wendy Leece,Rick Kapko, Kurt Bauermiester, Art Perry, Fred Bockmiller, Sandy Genis, Jeff Teller, Robin Leffler,...this list could go on and on and on. I really don't care about party affiliation. That being said, what has occurred in Costa Mesa iis a total Tea Party Takeover financially backed by the developers lobby. Now, go ahead and demonize me for being a Democrat.....but along the way , I've noticed that you've been demonizing and attacking just as many Republicans.
There are only two people I know , that I would describe as anarchists. Steve Mensiinger, who believes Armageddon is coming , is stocking up on ammo, and votes on the belief that CA and the federal government will implode so we better prepare for martial law. The other is Ron Paul Libertarian Jeff Bryne, who actually had his livelihood and home raided by federal agents who leveled automatic weapons at his family. One of those two people actually has a pretty valid argument.
But yes, I am a proud Democrat.

6/27/2013 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous any witnesses? said...

i am not sure Gericault is correct in saying Dewane and Fisler refuse to raise the BLT. Anyone at that meeting hear them say that? I was at work and missed it but I know another committee member and he says they never said that, just asked questions to have a discussion.

6/27/2013 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Reading the observations and judging from the comments made by Dewane during the meeting , it appears he refuses to even entertain the possibility of raising the fees for fears that Segerstrom will annex itself to Santa Ana......but then again....we are just exploring the "extremes".

6/27/2013 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Able Archer said...

Finally there is some good thinking going on in Costa Mesa.

Geri in the cult supported a $10,000 limit. So do Union bosses.

Does Geri in the cult ever say anything but blame?

Santa Ana references should be highlighted as an example of bad policy, but not for Geri in the cult.

6/28/2013 06:24:00 AM  
Anonymous any witnesses? said...

so you WERE there as a witness to the hour long discussion Gericault? Not from what someone told ME. You have no idea of the total of the conversation. Geoff said he was there but his post probably does not cover all the comments that don't fit his slant.

6/29/2013 06:07:00 AM  
Anonymous do tell said...

so Gericault did not attend the FAC meeting but knows all about it?

he didn't attend the water company rate hearing meeting but he knows all about it and the discussions put forth?

wow. must be nice to never attend anything but be the expert.

well, let me tell you what goes on in his backyard at night. First, Tom Egan comes over and then they both............

6/29/2013 06:11:00 AM  

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