Public Safety Rally Tuesday At City Hall
Just a reminder that our friends at Costa Mesans For Responsible Government (CM4RG) are holding a community rally in support of Costa Mesa public safety personnel next Tuesday, September 17th, in front of Costa Mesa City Hall from 5 - 6 p.m. This is the evening of the City Council meeting and it will be in a Closed Session meeting during that hour.
GROUPS UNDER SIEGE
Costa Mesa public safety organizations - Police and Fire - have been under siege by the current city council majority for a couple years. The council established unrealistic staffing levels and wouldn't let the departments hire replacements in anticipation of departures/retirements for most of that time.
FIRE DEPARTMENT DILEMMAS
For months the council refused to permit the City to hire a permanent Fire Chief, leaving a tremendous leadership vacuum in that department. We were without a Chief, Deputy Chief and Fire Marshall and, after he spoke out in response to a question from the council, the Emergency Medical Technician Coordinator had his position eliminated and he was gone - poof!
CHIEF ARNOLD TO THE RESCUE
Interim Chief Tom Arnold - retired Deputy Fire Chief from Newport Beach and a Costa Mesa resident - was finally able, after multiple presentations, to convince the council to change the deployment model and use emergency medical equipment instead of fire trucks for most calls - but that process took month and was like pulling teeth to get the council to agree. They only agreed because that deployment model requires fewer fire staff and potentially saves a lot of money. And, now - after years of vacancies in the senior leadership ranks - there is finally a recruitment going on for a new, permanent Fire Chief.
THE OVERTIME BOOGEYMAN
During that time, in order to keep us safe, fire department personnel were required to work hundreds of hours of overtime each year. One battalion chief had to work over 4,000 hours in one calendar year. But, rather than thank him for his tireless dedication and for sacrificing valuable family time, he became the tip of the spear of derision by certain councilmen, who portrayed members of the CMFD as greedy. And, despite all that, the firefighters and their depleted leadership staff continued to provide coverage to keep us safe.
DECIMATED POLICE DEPARTMENT
LAWSUIT AN EXCLAMATION POINT
The two top elected officials in our city, Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger, have sued your police officers for a situation that appears unrelated to them, claiming severe physical and emotional distress and an inability to earn a living. This lawsuit is the exclamation point on more than two years of rancor between Righeimer, in particular, and the CMPD.
AND THE PROFESSIONALS CARRY ON
And, despite all this, Chief Tom Gazsi and the remaining men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department continue to do their jobs in a very professional way. They show up, suit up and do the job we pay them to do - protect and serve us to the best of their ability.
So, a big thank you to the Costa Mesans For Responsible Government for organizing this event. I hope each of you and your friends and neighbors will take an hour out of your evening to join them in this show of support for the men and women who protect and serve us every hour of every day.