Well, I thought we might end up with a short meeting, and predicted to an inquirer earlier in the day that it might end at 9:00 p.m. Close, but no cigar! The Costa Mesa City Council wrapped it up at 9:15! And that's not the most interesting part of the council meeting, either.
CONSENT CALENDAR VOTE!
For the first time in years a Costa Mesa City Council considered and voted on the Consent Calendar as a whole without a single item being pulled for separate consideration! Quick! Somebody check the weather report in Hades for signs of freezing! Of course, it helped that one of the more potentially confrontational items - the distribution of freebie tickets - was removed before the meeting. However, we'll be thankful for small blessings and rejoice for the brevity. It was nice to get home by 9:30 for a change.
SISTER CITY KIDS
The meeting began with two high notes. First was the recognition of the bright young people from our sister city, Wyndham, Victoria, Australia. As Mayor Jim Righeimer
said last night, perpetuating this sister city relationship is good for our community.
A REAL VISIONARY
Second was the bestowing the Mayor's Award on Shaheen Sadeghi
, the visionary developer behind The Lab and The Camp shopping and dining venues along the Bristol Street corridor. There may be no more perfect representation of the diverse, eclectic nature of our city than those two venues.
During Public Comments many residents stepped up to address the "urban coyote
" problem. All pleaded with the council to find some way to address what is apparently becoming a major problem throughout the city. Fears for the safety of young children seemed to be the driving force behind their concerns.
LIONS PARK FEARS
Others addressed the ongoing problem of homeless folks in and around Lions Park. One young mother who lives across the street expressed fear for the safety of herself and children. Despite all the good efforts of the Homeless Task Force, Lions Park - and to a lesser extent - many other areas throughout the city continue to be enclaves of homeless, many of whom have mental health issues and some of whom are aggressive and potentially violent. The young mother spoke of the recent knifing on the Westside of one homeless person by another as an example. This is not an easy problem, but - just as is the case with the coyotes - it is one that simply MUST
ANCHOR TRAILER PORT PROBLEMS
Residents of the soon-to-be defunct Anchor Trailer Port stepped up to complain about the ongoing problems they're having with the developers of the property. According to those who spoke, the developer is not meeting the terms they agreed to several weeks ago. CEO Tom Hatch
, during his presentation, indicated he will have the staff follow-up on those issues.
When the council members took their turns to comment Steve Mensinger
, addressing the coyote issue, spoke of "harvesting
" them, then went on to say he is a hunter and environmentalist. The CMPD has already rejected that "harvesting" approach, citing studies that indicate when coyote populations are reduced by such methods they only return in greater numbers. I'm thinking Mensinger isn't an advocate of that philosophy.
HATCH - EVENTS
Hatch, during his time, informed us that the Fairview Park Wetlands
will be officially opened with a public ceremony and walk-through on February 20th. He also told us the mid-year budget review and an analysis of the Consolidated Annual Financial Report (CAFR)
will take place at a study session on February 12th. And, on February 26th there will be a special study session on Pensions
, which will include participation by outside experts. He also showed us a five minute video featuring Rosemary Nielson
, an outreach worker dealing with the Homeless folks in the city.
ANNIVERSARY PLANS AND FUNDING
Public Affairs Manager Dan Joyce
and 60th Anniversary Committee Chairman Mike Scheafer
presented the work product of the committee to the council and requested $125,000 of the total budget anticipated to be $315,000 to get started on the various elements of the planned celebration. On a 5-0 vote the council approved the distribution of the funds, which will be taken from Hatch's slush, er, contingency funds previously approved by the council. There was also a discussion of an Art in Public Places plan, and the potential for attempting to fold the dollars necessary for that part of the celebration into the 2013/2014 fiscal year budget.
GENIS' DE NOVO HEARING REQUEST
Next came Sandra Genis
' request for a re-hearing of the previously-approved selection of two planning commissioners - those seats were to be filled by Jim Fitzpatrick
and Timothy Sesler
, two sycophants of the current power elite on the council. To the surprise of most in the auditorium, Righeimer joined Genis and Wendy Leece
in voting FOR
the re-hearing, which will be held on February 19, 2013. Gary Monahan
and Mensinger voted NO
. That means that, for the time being, current commissioners Colin McCarthy
, Sam Clark
and Ed Salcedo
will be asked to rejoin Rob Dickson
and Jeff Mathews
and participate in the Planning Commission meeting on February 11, 2013. Fitzpatrick and Sesler are in limbo until the 19th.
PUSH OUT SALCEDO'S REPLACEMENT
Then the council addressed the issue of replacing Salcedo - the next item on the agenda. It was decided - on a 4-1 vote (with Monahan voting NO
) - to put this decision off until the 19th and fill all the vacancies on the Planning Commission on that night.
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSIONERS
The last item on the agenda - the selection of four (4) Parks and Recreation Commissioners - began at 8:45. Genis decried the selection process while acknowledging that nothing can be done this time around. Candidates Harold Weitzberg
, Dan DiBassio
, Don Harper
, Teresa Drain
and Bob Graham
spoke on their own behalf. During council comments Righeimer acknowledged that, with 16 candidates this time around, the council faced a "high quality problem
". I agree. There were many solid candidates available for their consideration.
TWO 4-YEAR, TWO 2-YEAR SEATS
When they finally got around to voting they used the same procedure as the previous council meeting. Each council member took a number from a bowl. Since there were two 4-year seats and two 2-year seats available it was decided to select the 4-year seats first.
Number 1, Leece, nominated current Parks and Recreation Vice Chair Kim Pederson
. Monahan seconded the nomination and Pederson was chosen on a 5-0 vote.
Number 2, Righeimer, selected Harper
for the second 4-year seat and Mensinger seconded it. He was chosen on a 4-1 vote
, with Leece voting NO
Next Genis nominated DiBassio and Leece seconded it. His nomination failed
on a 2-3 vote - all the men voted NO
Monahan was next and he nominated former commissioner Graham
for the first 2-year seat and Genis seconded it. He was chosen on a 3-2
vote, with Mensinger and Righeimer voting NO
Finally Mensinger nominated former commissioner Byron de Arakal
for the remaining 2-year seat and Monahan seconded it. He was confirmed with a 5-0 vote
... and we were done for the night! So, those four - Pederson, Harper, Graham and de Arakal - will join hold-over commissioner Dean Abernathy
when the commission next meets in March.
DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, JIM
A couple of observations... Righeimer, once again, seemed to be in a much more jovial mood. He frequently attempted to make jokes, especially during the presentations. Based on the crowd reaction, I suspect we're going to have to install an "Applause
" sign when the council chambers technology is upgraded one of these days to prompt us when to laugh.
STEVE CONFIRMS ASSUMPTIONS
And, if anyone had an inkling that Genis' de novo hearing request was going to change anything, Mensinger removed that idea when - just before they voted to move the selection of the 2-year seat replacing Salcedo to the 19th - he said, "I will support the motion but it doesn't really change the outcome
." That's right, folks - the choices have been made, but he'll go along with the charade. Nice, huh? I guess on February 19th we will see Fitzpatrick, Sesler and Colin McCarthy
chosen for the Planning Commission - just like we did at the last council meeting.
Labels: Gary Monahan, Jim Fitzpatrick, Jim Righeimer, Mike Scheafer, Sandra Genis, Steve Mensinger, Timothy Sesler, Wendy Leece