Communication, Spending and Development Tomorrow
While y'all are out there enjoying this Veterans Day holiday this veteran is hard at work trying to inform you about upcoming events in our city. Woe is me, right? Well, there are some VERY interesting events coming up beginning with what may be a marathon, mulit-meeting day at City Hall tomorrow.
BOY, DO THEY NEED IT!
The first one makes me smile, and you probably will, too, when I tell you about it. At 3:30 Tuesday, November 12, 2013 the Costa Mesa City Council will hold a Special Study Session in the cozy confines of Conference Room 1A for an hour. The agenda item, HERE, says, "Effective Communications in Local Government Training". It's my view that the council - the majority, at least - NEEDS this training, since their practice is generally to make up their minds before meetings and ignore public input on issues. This should make for some interesting discussion.
CIP UPDATE AND SPENDING THE SURPLUS
Then, immediately following THAT meeting, in the same venue beginning at 4:30 through 6:00, the council will hold a regular study session, HERE, in which Interim Finance and Information Technology Director Stephen Dunivent will guide the council through a discussion of the Capital Improvement Program Update AND a discussion of how to use the $7.1 million Budget Surplus!
HERE is the Fiscal Year 2012/2013 Surplus Analysis that shows where those dollars came from.
The staff also provided a chart showing Recommended Uses for the Surplus, HERE, including more than $5 million in "one-time" uses. Attachment 3, HERE, is a list of Unfunded Capital Improvement Projects that total more than $8 million. And, we are also provided with Appendix A, HERE, the Summary of Adopted Capital Improvement Projects for FY 2013/2014.
PRECURSOR TO MUNICIPAL BANKRUPCTY?
Despite all the yammering over the past couple years about our Unfunded Pension Liabilities and how the previous councils drew down the reserves to a dangerous level, no mention is made of paying a lump to the State to make headway on the Pension Liability, NOR, is there mention of beginning to build up our reserves again. This could be a sign that the council, at some point in the very near future, will attempt to use the Unfunded Pension Liabilities to grease the skids for Municipal Bankruptcy with the ultimate goal of busting the employee associations. A city with strong reserves has a hard time convincing a court of the need for bankruptcy. So, they will just keep spending money on hard assets - streets, etc., - and let our emergency funds remain at a critical low point. Yes, indeed, the conversation tomorrow afternoon should be interesting.
PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA
Immediately following those meetings, at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers the Costa Mesa Planning Commission, led by the ever-dynamic Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick, will hold its first meeting of the month. You can read the agenda HERE. As you can see, the agenda is packed, so there's no telling how long this meeting might last. And, once again, we'll be counting the number of times he uses, "Cool!", "Excellent!" and/or "Awesome!" during the meeting.
CHECK OUT YOUR NEIGHBORS
The Code Enforcement Update, HERE, is always enlightening. It's always interesting to see which of your neighbors are getting nailed for infractions, and how long it takes them to resolve them.
33 UNIT COMMON INTEREST DEVELOPMENT ON HARBOR AT MERRIMAC
There are eight (8) Public Hearings scheduled for tomorrow evening. The first one, HERE, should be brief. It's a request for a 2-year extension for a 33-unit common interest development at the corner of Harbor Blvd. and Merrimac Way.
RECYCLING FACILITY AT STATER BROS.
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is a review of the 20year extension of a recycling permit in the Stater Bros. parking lot on Newport Blvd. The staff is recommending approval.
Public Hearing #3 is a request for a Conditional Use Permit for a Micro-Brewery/Tasting Room at 2957 Randolph Avenue, HERE. If you visit that staff report you'll be interested in the hours of operation - 5:00 a.m. until midnight or 1:00 a.m.! Yikes!
Public Hearing #4, HERE, involves 49, three-story live/work units at 643-651 W. 17th Street and 1677-1695 Superior Avenue. As is usually the case, this project comes with a load of requested deviations to the codes.
SQUEEZING HOOKAH LOUNGES
Public Hearing #5, HERE, is the appeal of the Zoning Administrators decision to deny a conditional use permit for a Hookah Lounge at 440 Fair Drive. Both the City Council and the Planning Commission have shown strong signs that they're not interested in this kind of business in Costa Mesa.
TWO "PROBLEM MOTELS"
Public Hearings #6, HERE, and #7, HERE, are requests for continuances so the staff can gather more data and re-issue their report to deny the Conditional Use Permits for the Sandpiper Inn and the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, respectively for extended stay uses.
SQUEEZING ALL MOTELS
Finally, Public Hearing #8, HERE, is related to #6 and #7 in that it's a Municipal Code amendment to reduce the percentage of total rooms in each motel in the city that can be used for extended stay guests. This, of course, is just another step in Mayor Jim Righeimer's avowed goal to rid our city of such facilities and - maybe - have the city buy them up at market rates and sell them at a loss to developers. This is one of the steps he's using to devalue the properties to make them more affordable.
CHARTER COMMITTEE MEETING WEDNESDAY
And, as if that's not enough, on Wednesday there's another Charter Committee Meeting. More on that separately.