Brevity To Start The New Fiscal Year
The Costa Mesa City Council met for the first meeting of the new fiscal year Tuesday night. You can read the agenda HERE. I thought, because of that brief agenda, this meeting might finish very early. Well, they didn't even get started until 6:45! The closed session took a lot longer than anticipated.
SUING THE COUNTY
Big news from the closed session... the council has authorized a law suit against the County of Orange Department of Finance to attempt to get back the more than $10 million they took as a result of the closure of the Redevelopment Agency. Watch those legal meters begin to spin again! Good grief!
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PLAN
Under the Council Members Comments section Sandy Genis emphasized the update of the Emergency Operations Plan, HERE. She stressed the importance of this document.
LEECE COVERS THE GAMUT
Wendy Leece addressed the concern about the Poseidon Desalination Plan in Huntington Beach and the plan to run pipes through our city. She also addressed the problems at the Volcom Skate Park. Asked for consistent application of the law. She also reinforced resident's concerns about the renewed plan for the I-405 expansion. What's the plan? She emphasized the need for community involvement on the General Plan Update. The next meeting, on the 17th in the Emergency Operations Center, is on "circulation" within the city. She addressed the Banning Ranch Conservancy proposal that Costa Mesa partner with them to save Banning Ranch. She covered the fireworks issue for this long, long holiday explosion season. She asked for an update on the Jones Day payment on the CMCEA lawsuit - we paid them over $17,000 last month. She talked about the recent awards bestowed upon the city for the Neighborhood Improvement Task Force and for the Environmental Quality and Sustainability Award for the Fairview Park Wetlands project. Good for us.
Mayor Jim Righeimer complains about criticism of its financial management. He told us that most of the council members run their own businesses, hire and fire, etc. He told us that "we may not be sexy, but we've got a lot of pavement and roads." He criticized people for "bringing up old issues."
He talked about the money on the Consent Calendar for a new dispatch system and the new equipment for the Fire Department to provide better coverage in the city. He stressed this new plan will reduce four (4) firefighters per shift. Addressing the Anniversary celebration, he said "Sometimes you just have to do what is good for the community." He told us the council has done a good job of increasing our reserves and, predictably, again brought up a "quarter million dollars of unfunded pension liability".
MENSINGER WANTS TO DO THE CELEBRATION AGAIN NEXT YEAR!
At 8:00 Steve Mensinger addressed the 60th Anniversary Celebration and gave kudos to the organizers. He wants to have a scaled-down version next year! Good grief! We lost our fannies on this one, so I guess we'll "make it up on volume"! He attempted to remind us of the meaning of Independence Day.
CEO Tom Hatch addressed enforcement at Volcom Skate Park, described as "things we wrestle with on a daily basis." Some critics say we're too heavy handed, others say we're too lenient. He stressed that staff is ready for the 4th - ready to enforce illegal fireworks prohibitions. He complimented the Planning Staff for their booth at the 60th Anniversary Celebration, doing polling for the General Plan.
WHAT'S GARY UP TO?
HERE. Curiously, Monahan used this to permit the second bidder on the proposal, Keenan, to make a pitch to the council. Seldom does this happen and makes one wonder what brought this up? This is not the first time Monahan has inserted him into the process of selecting an insurance vendor for the City. The spokesman, a former politician representing Keenan, was pretty darn glib. Wendy Leece asked staff how they arrived at their recommendation. Lance Nakamoto emphasized that their more than two dozen years experience with the current vendor, Carl Warren and Company, has been excellent. The President of Carl Warren, Mike Reed, addressed their partnership with the city and emphasized their charges. He provided background on their experience with the City and responded to intense interrogation by Righeimer, Monahan and Mensinger. Sandy Genis wondered why a flat fee was requested for this proposal. The response was for ease of budgeting. The CEO of Carl Warren added emphasis to their qualifications and stressed their goal to bringing down the total cost of risk. Wendy Leece reinforced that Carl Warren is the low bidder by double. She moved to approve Carl Warren and Genis seconded. Monahan jumped in and practically accused this vendor of being "lazy". He said we're missing the big picture if we focus on the contract amount. Monahan offered a substitute motion for Keenan and Mensinger seconded it. Righeimer said he won't support that motion. That vote was defeated, 2-3. Carl Warren was selected on a 4-1, with Monahan voting now. Very curious.
THE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PLAN
Steve Ray, now representing KOCI radio, pulled the Emergency Operations Plan, to announce that they are hoping to have a show about the plan - an hour long show to inform the residents. He hoped to kick-off the community awareness of this document. No date has been determined. The item passed, 5-0.
CANCELLING THE AUGUST 20TH MEETING
Sandy Genis pulled the item about cancelling the August 20th council meeting. She's concerned about balancing the content of the meetings. She said she's not concerned about cancelling the meeting as long as the meeting before or after doesn't turn out to be "the meeting from hell". A way, way too long discussion ensued about the length of meetings. Genis and Leece said we should keep the consistency. The motion passed, 3-2, with Leece and Genis voting no.
A resident who is embroiled in a lawsuit with the city pulled Item 11, the computer aided dispatch system, HERE. He was concerned about sales tax and warrantees. He's worried about records destruction. It passed, 5-0
THAT'S A WRAP!
So, that's it from this short, pre-Independence Day holiday council meeting. They shut down at 8:50 - longer than I expected, but at least it's not midnight! We here at A Bubbling Cauldron hope you all have a very enjoyable and safe holiday. As the three days of fireworks begins tonight, and your pets require medication to make it through it all until Friday, please don't forget - "It's all about the kids." Please be sure to drop Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger a little note after the holiday to thank him for his consideration for the rest of us.
NEEDING A LITTLE "INDEPENDENCE"
We're turning the old cauldron down to simmer again for awhile. Although there's always a chance we might post something the rest of the week, we're actually looking forward to some Independence from it. Thanks to all my friends who work at City Hall for making it through another fiscal year. There are many of us out here who really DO appreciate what you do for us. Over this holiday weekend I want to especially thank the members of the Costa Mesa Police Department and the Costa Mesa Fire Department for the long hours they will put in over the next few days, trying to keep us safe in spite of ourselves.