Another Brutal Week Ahead For City Watchers
It's going to be another grueling week ahead for those of us who attend and/or participate in Costa Mesa meetings. Three important meetings, with crucial items on their agendas, stare us in the face.
It all begins with the Costa Mesa Planning Commission meeting Monday in City Council Chambers starting at 6:00 p.m., led by the ever-dynamic Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick, which I've written about in detail HERE.
LONG CLOSED SESSION, THEN MORE GOOD STUFF
Tuesday, April 15, 2014, the Costa Mesa City Council meets again with some VERY interesting items on the agenda, HERE. The regular meeting, which theoretically begins at 6:00, will be preceded by what certainly looks to be a long and possibly contentious Closed Session starting at 4:00 p.m. in Conference Room 5A. No, we're not welcome at that one. There are five (5) items on that agenda: 1) Conference with CEO Tom Hatch and contract labor negotiators on Costa Mesa Police Officers Association (CMPOA); 2) Hatch and negotiator again on the Costa Mesa City Employee Association (CMCEA); Conference with legal counsel on lawsuit with Costa Mesa Employees Association; 4) Conference regarding existing litigation and 5) Request for Special Leave of Absence for a Public Employee.
KIFF ON JWA, NO CASH ON TOLL ROADS AND TUCKER
The regular session begins with Presentations from Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff regarding John Wayne Airport; the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) regarding elimination of cash booths and a recognition of Code Enforcement Officer Mike Tucker and Grace Fellowship Church.
After Public Comments and Council Member Comments and the CEO's Report the agenda calls for the Consent Calendar to be dealt with. There are ten (10) items on it and it's highly unlikely the whole bunch will be passed without separate comment on one vote. That means those "pulled" will be shoved off until the end of the meeting, requiring interested parties to hang around for their chance to ask questions or make comments on them. It's a crappy system - one implemented by Mayor Jim Righeimer to stifle public participation - and should be abandoned.
WHAT WE PAID...
Among the items on the Consent Calendar we find #2, Warrant #2513, HERE, which lists money we recently paid and includes some interesting line items:
- Jones & Mayer, $144,674.69, for a laundry list of legal services, including "Acosta Appeal". Will that NEVER go away? Thank you, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, for that gift that keeps on giving!
- Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, $15,579.00, for "labor negotiation" and "60th Anniversary Investigation".
- Meyers Nave, $17,597.97, for "Legal - Fairview Park".
- Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, $39,430.22, for housing-related issues.
- Taser International, $20,504.19, for Taser equipment.
- Accountemps, $5,414.40, for Finance-related temporary services.
- Chandler Asset Management, $3,311.00, for monthly fee.
- Endemic Environmental Services, Inc., $10,875.00, for Fairview Park Maintenance and Habitat Monitoring.
- Enterprise Counsel Group, $9,728.72, for Successor Agency Litigation.
- Filarsky & Watt, LLP, $1,032.00, for Legal Services.
- Jones Day, $6,806.25, for CMCEA legal activities.
In case you're keeping track, that $231,549.98 for LEGAL SERVICES, just on this Warrant alone.
MANAGING OUR BUCKS
Item #3, Investment Management Services Update (See that $3,311 charge above) is described HERE.
BOOZE FOR FUN...
#7, HERE, and #8, HERE, are requests for sale of alcohol at the Concerts in the Park and Fish Fry, respectively.
#9, HERE, is the apppointment of city negotiators for the Costa Mesa Police Association (CMPA) negotiations and authorization to proceed with the financial analysis of the MOU per Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger's COIN scheme. Funny, but didn't we already begin that process in Item #1 of the Closed Session, above? Anyhow, the staff report requests that new Assistant CEO Tammy LeTourneau and lawyers Richard Kreisler and Laura Kalty be the city's representatives in the negotiations.
ANOTHER VEGAS BOONDOGGLE
#10, HERE, is - once again - the approval to send Righeimer and Mensinger off to Las Vegas on yet another non-productive boondoggle to theoretically drum up business for Costa Mesa. This will be the third time and, as far as we've been told, no businesses have been lured to our city as a result of their participation. I guess what happens in Vegas does, in fact, stay in Vegas. Hatch and Development Services Director Gary Armstrong and other staffers (?) will also attend.
APARTMENTS IN A COMMERCIAL ZONE
Public Hearing #2, HERE, should be interesting. This is the Final EIR, General Plan Amendment, Rezone, Zoning Code Amendment, Master Plan and Development Agreement for controversial project involving 240 apartment units at 125 East Baker Street. There was a lengthy article in the Daily Pilot recently, HERE, on this issue. It's an interesting use of that piece of land, but the existing nearby commercial businesses are worried about future complaints about noise and other factors found in a commercial manufacturing area. Again, this looks to be another "developer-friendly" move wherein the developer will convince the city - with the help of former Development Services Director Peter Naghavi, who represents their interests - to change the zoning and permit high-density housing in a manufacturing area, then just walk away and let the residents, businesses and the city deal with the complications of such a major change.
New Business #1, HERE, is the appointment of eight (8) members to the Finance Advisory Committee; 1 regular member to the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee and one alternate to the Historical Preservation Committee. Twenty-three (23) applications have been received. Those can be read HERE.
New Business #2, HERE, is yet another development. This one is a Master Plan Screening Request for a 16-unit live/work development at 2026 Placentia Avenue.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ETHICS POLICY?
There was one final item originally on the agenda - the new Ethics Policy - but it has been yanked. I smile as I wonder just why that might have been done? Might it be that the staff had not yet figured out how to explain what it means to certain council members? Just askin'...
FEET-TO-THE-FIRE, PART 1
On Thursday, April 17, 2014, the irrepressible Barbara Venezia will lead her merry band of interrogators in the first of this years series of "Feet To The Fire" forums. This one, which you can read about in a recent Daily Pilot column, HERE, unleashes the crew on the five candidates for Allan Mansoor's soon-to-be-vacated 74th Assembly seat. The doors open at 6:30 and the actual event runs from 7:00 - 8:30 at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center. The panelists will include Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis; Orange County Register Columnist Jack Wu; Voice of OC Editor-in-Chief Norberto Santana, Jr. and Daily Pilot City Editor Alicia Lopez, participating for the first time.
SPARKS MAY FLY!
This should be an interesting event - the first of two this month. The second, on April 28th, will feature candidates for the 2nd Supervisorial District seat being vacated by termed-out Supervisor John Moorlach. This one, however, is guaranteed to generate at least a little heat as well as some hoped-for light. Wu has managed to alienate at least two of the candidates in this race - Keith Curry and Karina Onofre - already and who knows what will happen when the remaining candidates - Matt Harper, Emanuel Patrascu and Anila Ali - come under fire. It should be fun.
SEE YOU THIS WEEK...
So, another long, exciting week ahead. I hope to see you at some or all of these events.