Monday, May 12, 2014

Costa Mesa Elections Committee Formed

CEO ANNOUNCES THE COMMITTEE
Costa Mesa Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch announced today, HERE, that he has formed a committee to promptly address election-related issues between now and the General Election in November.

CITY STAFF FORM THE COMMITTEE
While the specific players have not yet been announced, according to Hatch today it's very likely that City Clerk Brenda Green, Chief of Code Enforcement Willa Bowens-Killeen, Building Official Khanh Nguyen and representatives from Human Resources and the CEO's office will be involved.  While he will certainly be paying close attention, it is unlikely that Hatch will personally oversee this committee.  I would anticipate him delegating that responsibility to either Assistant CEO Rick Francis or Assistant CEO Tammy Letourneau.

A "COMPLAINT-DRIVEN" PROCESS
This committee will be complaint-driven, responding to any issue brought to their attention by candidates or members of the public involving campaign issues.  In the past, most of this activity revolved around campaign sign issues - placement, size, etc.  I suspect the new "Costa Mesa Connect" app for smart phones will be used a lot...

MORE OUTSIDE LEGAL FEES
According to the announcement the taxpayers will be paying for yet another outside law firm - in this case in the person of Matthew Richardson, a partner with Best Best & Krieger in Irvine - to help the committee navigate these issues legally.  He will be paid $224 per hour with no cap mentioned in the press release.  We presume these costs will be taken from Hatch's $1,000,000 contingency fund.

EXPECTING STRIFE
It is anticipated by many in town that this may be the most contentious campaign season ever!  Because of that perception, Hatch felt it was best to get out in front of this situation quickly.

WONDERING WHAT IT WILL DO...
Quite honestly, I don't know exactly what this committee will do except notify candidates if their signs violate the law.  Our sign ordinances are pretty vague when it comes to campaign signage and there seemed to be no interest in tightening them after the elections two years ago.  Are we going to see Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger on a stake-out with a private investigator and a movie camera again?  Will city employees be put under surveillance?  Hatch already communicated with the city staff on their responsibilities during the campaign - the things they can and cannot do.

HANG ON!
So, neighbors, fasten your seat belts... it's going to be a long six months.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

"You've reached the voicemail of Jimbo, dictator of Costa Mesa. To make a contribution, press 1. If you don't press 1, this call will terminate in 3 seconds."

5/12/2014 09:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

In view of the fact that city hall did nothing to curb the violations with banners and signs of the councilmen during the last election, I see no reason this year to attempt to comply with whatever law they come up with. The enforcement is one sided.

Last year the Mensinger banners were clearly in violation, yet no citations issued. Not so for Weitzberg and Stephens.

5/12/2014 10:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Your last two posts are chilling me - a town built on whisper campaigns with no defined due process for resolution. Shades of the 1950's

5/13/2014 08:14:00 AM  

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