Monday, January 06, 2014

First Costa Mesa City Council Meeting Of The Year Tuesday

COULD BE A QUICK ONE - OR NOT
OK, let's get right to it...  I have absolutely no clue how long the Costa Mesa City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 7, 2014, is going to run.  The closed session starts at 5:00 p.m. and the regular meeting is scheduled to commence at 6:00 in council chambers.  But, if they blast through all the consent calendar items in one vote - highly unlikely - we could be out of there before 8 p.m.!  Or, it could be another late night if folks get contentious on items on the short agenda, HERE.

WHOPPING CONSENT CALENDAR!
The Consent Calendar has Seventeen (17) items listed!  Most of them will probably be handled in one vote, but a few may generate enough interest that they will be pulled from the agenda by a council member, staff member or member of the public for separate discussion.  That means - under the new, dictatorial edict by Mayor Jim Righeimer - they will be trailed to the end of the meeting for discussion and vote.  Here are a few tidbits that might get yanked:

 Item #3, Warrant 2502, HERE.

  • I note that we paid the City of Huntington Beach $19,285 for Helicopter Services in September.  
  • We also paid our contract law firm, Jones & Mayer, $136,194.65 for a laundry list of services, including something for the "Acosta Appeal".  
  • We paid law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore $7,326.60.
Item #4, Warrant 2503, HERE.  We paid law firm Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth $23,083.37.  

Item #5, Warrant 2504, HERE.
  • We wrote a check to the Costa Mesa Conference and Visitors Bureau for $191,044.75.  
  • We paid law firm Jones Day - they handle the lawsuit between the City and the Costa Mesa City Employees Association (CMCEA) - $44,673.75 for September.  
  • We paid legal firm Enterprise Counsel Group $7,686.34 for Legal Svcs and Litigation in September.  We paid LSA Associates, Inc., $4,865.00 for Biological Survey of Fairview Park.  
  • Again we paid Liebert Cassidy Whitmore $11,351.40.  
  • Once again we paid Management Partners, Inc. $5,642.00 for "Interim Mgmt Assist" for the first two weeks of November.  
  • We paid law firm Woodruff Spardlin & Smart $9.337.94 for legal services on Benito Acosta v City and CM Conf. & Visitor Bureau.  How much longer are we going to be paying legal fees for former Mayor Mansoor's screw-up?
Item #6, Warrant 2505, HERE.
  • Once again we find charges for Jones Day for $41,827.50 for work on the CMCEA case for October and November.  
  • We paid Endemic Enviornmental Services, Inc., $4,590.00 for Misc Exp Wetland Maint.  This is the outfit doing the decomposed granite removal from the illegal paths in Fairview Park.  
  • Once again we paid Enterprise Counsel Group $13,806.08 for litigation in October.  
  • We paid Filarsky & Watt LLP $2,973.00 for Legal Svcs in October.  
  • Once again we see charges for Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for $8,166.75 for Legal services for CMCEA Labor Negotiations and CMPD Labor Negotiations.  
  • We paid Management Partners, Inc. $11,004.00 for CM Senior Center Organization Review and "Interim Mgmt Assist" for November.
Item #7, Warrant 2506, HERE.
  • I note with interest that we paid Costa Mesa United $48,900.00 for Costa Mesa High School/Estancia Athletic Facility Improvement.  
  • And, we paid our contract City Attorney, Jones & Mayer, $137,267.04 for another laundry list of items.  
  • I also noticed with a smile that we paid Larry's Building Materials $1,508.87 for "Decomposed Granite, Sand for Sand Bags and Topsoil".  
  • And, we paid Liebert Cassidy Whitmore $2,271.00 for legal services. 
In case you were not keeping track, on those five warrants we spend over $445,000 on legal services alone.

TWO ITEMS REFLECT STAFFING SHORTAGES
There's a bunch of other stuff on the Consent Calendar - final tract maps, etc. - but of the remainder, two items caught my interest.   #13, Harbor Blvd/Adams Avenue Intersection Project, HERE.  The short version is that we don't have the manpower on staff to manage this $2.7 million project, so the council is being asked to authorize a contract for $192,400 to manage it for us.

Similarly, Item #14 is a request for extension of existing professional services agreements for the Interim IT Director and IT Consultant for an additional cost of $110,000.  Recruitment is underway for a permanent Information Technology Director - the position was vacated when Bobby Young resigned for a job in the private sector.  These extensions are to insure continuity of the many projects underway now until we get a permanent IT Director on board.

THE HOME STRETCH... MAYBE
Once we get past the Consent Calendar there are "only" two items left to consider - except for any public comments that had been trailed to the end of the meeting and the Consent Calendar items that might have been pulled.

SIGNAGE AT METRO POINT
Public Hearing #1 is an amendment to the planned sign programs for Metro Point, HERE, which may generate some significant community comments.  Councilwoman Sandra Genis appealed the decision of the Planning Commissions approval, citing agreement with the minority view on the commission that glare will likely be a problem and the amount of signage along the freeway.  It's likely that Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger will not be permitted to participate in this process because of his ties to the property owner, Arnel Property Development.

EXCESSIVE USE OF RESOURCES ORDINANCE
Old Business #1, the Second Reading of the Excessive Use Of Resources Ordinance, HERE, is the final official item on the agenda.  This, as you will recall, is the club Righeimer intends to use to flog owners of "problem motels" into submission/departure.  In the past he's stated flat-out from the dais that he intended to cause the owners to "re-value" their properties by flailing them with so much discomfort in the form of law enforcement visits and code enforcement fines that they would price their properties in a more reasonable range for those developers who might want to purchase them and throw up high density housing units.  Did I mention that Righeimer is a developer?  I suspect we might find one or two motel owners on hand to speak to this issue.  Could be interesting.

MORE LATER AFTER THE MEETING
So, if you cannot attend or watch the proceedings on CMTV or via live streaming video, I'll be there and will give you my take on the meeting later.  It's going to be an interesting year...

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Should have gone to law school...

1/06/2014 06:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

I'm getting really tired of the city not itemizing the legal bills that WE PAY FOR. They cite attorney/client privilege, but to know the matter its being paid for is NOT attorney/client privilege.

I want to know why these bills what these bills are being paid for. The Acosta appeal my a$$. I bet if that were questioned it would not be anything to do with that matter.

1/06/2014 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Is this an accurate photo of the local Tea Party with Pollitt on the extreme right(double-meaning)?

http://www.pleasantonteaparty.com/

1/06/2014 08:21:00 AM  
Anonymous SQUAD 51 said...

How do Costa Mesa's legal bills compare with it's two neighboring cities, NB and HB?
How much did CM pay out for legal fees in the three years prior to Righeimer rule?
These would be interesting questions for next November's voters to consider.
From my perspective it appears that enough money to fund a fully staffed PD (helicopter included) has been transferred to his attorney friends instead.
Is that the "like a business" part of running the city that they have referred to?

1/06/2014 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

SQUAD 51, exactly. We have no way to know if that money actually gets to the attorneys, if they really are owed that money, and if they even keep the money or its given back. We know part at least, is given back in the form of campaign contributions. I'd sure like to see an investigation into the legal finances of this city.

1/06/2014 05:55:00 PM  

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