Thursday, September 12, 2013

Slooooow Progress At Charter Committee Meeting

PAINFUL!
Well, the grumpy old fella from Mesa North was correct.  Watching the Costa Mesa Charter Committee attempt to cobble together a document is akin to watching grass grow.  You can read the agenda HERE.

CONSIDER "WHY?"
A dozen people observed the proceedings.  Three spoke during the brief Public Comments segment.  Resident Robin Leffler expressed concern that the foundational question - Should Costa Mesa consider becoming a Charter City, and why? - has not been addressed.  She expressed the opinion that, having watched the last couple meetings drag slowly along, perhaps if that question is answered first it might make their process easier to manage.

WIDER FOCUS
Resident James Bridges echoed much of what Leffler said and suggested a little wider focus instead of working on small, specific areas of the charter.

EXAMPLES OF TROUBLED CITIES
Former councilman Jay Humphrey mentioned that he had been criticized at the last meeting because he brought up the City of Bell as an example of a problem charter city, so he promised not to do so again.  Instead, he assured the committee he would talk about other charter cities that are in trouble, like Vallejo, Vernon, San Bernardino, Stockton, Victorville, Vernon and Temple City.

 SLOGGING ALONG
The committee finally launched into their agenda - a discussion of possible wording for a Preamble for the Charter.  One would have thought this might be a pretty quick process, but NOTHING happens quickly with this group.  That was followed by a discussion of a section describing "Powers" of the charter.  After a very long time they ended up with this language: (click to enlarge)

PUBLIC CONTRACTING

They then launched into a discussion of Public Contracting, and tried to select language for that segment.  They went around and around, and finally agreed to permit member Kerry McCarthy to massage some of the preferred language, submit it to the legal staff for review and present it at the next meeting.  They got further snagged in a definition of establishing standards, procedures, etc.  They left that one on the table because of a potential conflict in the earlier segment.

PREVAILING WAGES
They struggled with a discussion of Openness as impacting public contracts and finally worked their way to the hot-button issue of Prevailing Wages.  Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz presented a very quick staff report and advised the committee, using a chart he prepared for the discussion, that of the $18 million in public contracts scheduled for this fiscal year, more than $14 million MIGHT have been impacted if the City didn't have to use prevailing wages.  He could not give them more information because of the need to have staff time authorized by the city council.  Several members of the committee expressed the need for more numbers, so they could accurately assess the need for a change.  This issue will be thoroughly vetted at the next meeting in two weeks.

REACTIONS DEMONSTRATE THEIR BIAS'

I must observe that this issue evoked very partisan reactions among the committee members.  Those who were not in favor of a charter in the first place may have been overwhelmed by the large number on the committee who are clearly, and vocally, supportive of using the charter to get rid of the prevailing wage provisions.  Preliminarily, it certainly looks as though the Prevailing Wage issue will be included in the Charter.  We'll soon find out.  The next meeting is at the same place - the Emergency Operations Center - at the same time - 6:00 - on September 25th.  I expect a raucous meeting that evening.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

It won't matter. The people of Costa Mesa are too smart to see this as anything except what it is. Another Riggy scheme.

9/12/2013 05:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

If it's taking them this long, maybe we don't have to worry about it ever getting on an actual ballot. That is, if they ever determine we actually NEED a charter, which we don't.

9/12/2013 06:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Mike, call me a skeptic, but there will be on the ballot, exactly what Righeimer wants on there. It most likely will not be what the committee cobbles together, even if they do manage to figure out how to move forward past the opening paragraph.

Make no mistake...Riggy's charter will be back on the ballot.

9/13/2013 09:47:00 AM  

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