Charter Committee Hijacked By Partisans
A funny thing happened on the way to a Charter last night. As the committee headed for the home stretch after months of diligent, tenacious and sometimes heated discussions during which polar opposite viewpoints seemed to drift together and much progress had been made, the whole process was hijacked!
At the first meeting in months where all the committee members were present and at what was supposed to be the next-to-last meeting of their process before their work product - a Charter for the City of Costa Mesa - was to be presented to the City Council, the true colors of some of the players around the table finally surfaced.
EARLY PROGRESS STALLED
After facilitator Dr. Kirk Bauermeister and his sidekick, Dr. Mike Decker, got the committee off and running in what certainly looked like a productive evening when they promptly dispatched with Jim Righeimer's Paycheck Protection scheme and Eminent Domain as unworthy of being placed on a Charter, I thought they might actually have a chance to produce a document within their schedule. Now I'm not so sure.
Just before 8:00 member Andy Smith turned the discussion to lawyer Kimberly Hall Barlow and suggested that she and fellow-lawyer Yolanda Summerhill might wish to provide the committee with "guidance" about what they might be missing in a Charter document as the headed for the finish line. This was a stunning development, since it has been understood from the beginning that the staff, including the lawyers, were there to provide technical/legal advice to the committee - to help them produce a document that was legal in form and format - NOT to provide input on the content of the document segments. The members of the committee have had at their disposal from the very first meeting copies of many other charters from which to glean ideas for inclusion in a Costa Mesa Charter. It's going to be very interesting to see how Barlow and Summerhill play this one.
LET IT GO, DUDE!
GRAVE ROBBINGHowever, the biggest surprise/disappointment came when Smith - did I mention that he and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger used to share a cubicle at Arnel Development? - reached down into the grave and attempted to resurrect Measure V, Mayor Jim Righeimer's failed Charter from the 2012 election. Although they've had more than six months to tinker with that document and other charters, this attempt to bring back that document from the dead was a shocker. It all began simply enough, with a request to carve out the verbiage from Section 201 (e) Qualifications for City Council members and include it in their Charter. There seemed to be unanimity on that subject when, all of a sudden, then the whole thing took on a life of its own and now the committee will be pouring over Measure V with an eye to plugging items from it into their Charter!
MORE THAN CURIOUS
This is more than a curious turn of events. Unless there are serious politics at play here, why would they attempt to dredge up a document that failed convincingly at the ballot box - nearly 60% of the voters rejected it? There is only one answer - that the Righeimer/Mensinger appointees on the committee have waited until the very last minute to spring this on the committee and facilitators to force the process to hastily consider segments of that document with the hope of jamming them through onto their Charter due to severe time constraints.
IT WON'T WORK!
Well, let me tell them that it won't work! Sure, they can go ahead and try it and, perhaps, even get much of it included as their fellow committee members run out of gas. But, the community didn't support Measure V and I doubt very much they will support "Son of V", either! No, this is going to be just one more example of where the cabal that controls this city is too clever for it's own good.
NOT SURE THEY CAN MAKE IT
In two weeks, March 12th, the committee will meet again in Conference Room 1A, starting their deliberations earlier than usual - at 5:00 p.m. - and will work late if necessary to finalize their document. It's going to be VERY interesting to watch this little soap opera evolve.