DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN
The study session held by the Costa Mesa City Council tonight had the distinct feeling of deja vu. To refresh your memory, please visit an entry I wrote last June, following a meeting at which the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
funds were authorized, HERE
. It's a long entry with multiple parts, so just scroll down until you see the red heart and read those couple paragraphs around it. At the time Wendy Leece
called for a study session to discuss this issue. Tonight's meeting was that session. You can read Bradley Zint
's coverage in the Daily Pilot, HERE
AS I ANTICIPATED
I speculated then that the City Council majority seemed inclined to do away with the funding of 20 or so charities with the CDBG funds available to us through federal programs. Apparently my fears were well-founded.
FOUR WANT A CHANGE
Tonight four members of the council - only Leece seemed determined to not change the way the CDBG funds are distributed - made it clear that they wanted a new approach. Sandy Genis
' position made the most sense - she felt it was important to more tightly focus our spending on those items that have been made a priority by this council. She mentioned the Homeless Task Force and the Neighborhood Improvement Task Force and the road map they've created and suggested the CDBG funds might be used to support entities that are more closely aligned with those plans.
The discussion was lively, to say the least. In fact, Mayor Jovial Jim Righeimer
apparently took a sabbatical and the old caustic Jim returned. At one point during the discussion and Leece had the floor, Righeimer didn't like her line of discussion, so he just shut her off and passed the conversation on to others. No civility, no courtesy, just another big dose of his authoritarian dictatorship that we've seen in the past. Maybe he's mad because nobody wants to attend his Ball later this month. It really doesn't surprise me. Costa Mesa just doesn't seem like a city too interested in Mayor's Balls... wait, did I say that right?
STREETS, NOT PEOPLE
Since no decision could be made tonight - it's a study session - the staff was directed to return with more information about how the City could go about using those funds for concrete instead of people. Apparently it bothers some of them that we'd spend funds that would be paid off over 30 years on things that wouldn't last that long. They want street repairs, not humans repaired.
LEECE BEMOANS LOSS OF HEART
Leece, in her abbreviated plea for funding most of the organizations that we've funded before, pointed out that their plans would be cutting the heart out of our city. It's hard to argue with her assessment. If you read the staff report, HERE
, you'll find the names and amounts we are currently providing to those organizations. The majority plan, if enacted, would completely eliminate funding for almost all of those organizations. Services that support seniors, youth and disabled would be on the chopping block. Righeimer callously opined that if the city funding for those groups was not provided they wouldn't just disappear - they'd find funding somewhere. In these tight times, I'm not so sure he's correct - but he thinks he is, and that's all that matters to him.
COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS READY
Apparently, according to consultant Mike Linares
, the ad hoc committee that replaced the old 3R committee, has screened applicants for potential grants and have their recommendations ready to present to the council - if it decides it wants to go that way again. I guess we'll find out in a couple months, when these matters are considered as part of the broader budget discussions.
CHILDISHNESS ON DISPLAY
An observation from the meeting tonight. At times it was like watching a junior high school lunch room. When Leece, for example, corrected Righeimer and requested to be addressed as "council member Leece
", Righeimer then began to mock her like some pre-pubescent bully in the lunch room. As mentioned above, when she characterized one of his statements he took extreme umbrage and then cut her off before she was finished making a point. It left those half-dozen of us in the audience just shaking our heads in amazement. I guess he was trying to demonstrate the theme of his "Ball" - The Art of Leadership
". Sorry, I just can't keep the smirk off my face when I write that.
Labels: CDBG, Jim Righeimer, Sandra Genis, Wendy Leece