Sunday, May 04, 2014

New Ambulances, Presentations, Grants and Signs

LABOR AND LEGAL ISSUES IN CLOSED SESSION
Another interesting week ahead, kicked off by the City Council meeting on Tuesday.  This one, which officially begins at 6:00 in council chambers, is preceded by a Study Session at 4:00 which includes three items - labor negotiation conference with CEO Tom Hatch regarding the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association and the Costa Mesa City Employee Association, then a conference with legal counsel regarding the lawsuit with the CMCEA.

NEW AMBULANCES ON DISPLAY
However, before the regular meeting begins we will have a chance to see a couple of our brand new ambulances.  Read about them HERE.  These $200.000 machines will be on display in the parking lot of City Hall from 5:00 - 6:00 and the public is encouraged to come see these wonderful pieces of equipment that will be the cornerstone of the new deployment model created by former Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold and implemented by new Fire Chief Dan Stefano.  See you there.

PICKING AT THE SCAB...
The meeting itself, the agenda for which can be read HERE, should be very interesting - and very long.  In addition to the complex items on the agenda, the very beginning should be worth observing.  It seems that Mayor Jim Righeimer plans to make some kind of a presentation to a Rabbi to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day - which was actually last week.  Since we have NEVER done this before - and I'm NOT saying it is not worthy of acknowledgement - it's curious that he chooses to do this now, immediately after he flew off the handle at the last council meeting and called me out for something I wrote on a Facebook comment thread.  Yes, I compared him to a WWII German "strutting dictator"... Yes, we all know who I meant.  No, I'm still not going to apologize for it.  I guess I'm not really surprised that he will continue to politicize this situation - such is life when you're a hack politician worried about being re-elected.


PLUS THREE MORE PRESENTATIONS
There are three other presentations on the agenda, too, which should make the first hour of the meeting quite interesting.

CONSENT CALENDAR
The Consent Calendar is fairly short this time around, but that doesn't mean folks won't pull something for discussion.  If they do, it will be trailed to the end of the meeting.  This scheme presumes that some of the folks with interest in a specific item may not wait until late at night to address it.  This, and the trailing of any Public Comments until the end, is one of Righeimer's methods of stifling criticism.

A FEW INTERESTING NUMBERS
Item #3 on the Consent Calendar is Warrant 2514, HERE,which includes some payments of note:
  • Scientia Consulting Group - 2 entries,  $15,748.25 and $3,776.25 - consulting services.
  • Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth - $16,609.54 - legal services.
  • Synoptek LLC - 2 entries, $15,180 and $17,940.00 - CAD?RMS Implementation.
  • CSG Consultatnts, Inc. - 2 entries, $9.845.00 and $4,999.35 -  Plan Review & Bldg Inspection Svcs.
  • FTOG, Inc. - $6,525.00 - Interim Buyer.
  • Hinderliter De Llamas &Associates - $3,000.00 - Mass Appeal Litigation.
  • IntelliBridge Partners, LLC - 2 entries,  $11,355.75 and $11,205.75 - RFP Assistance.
  • Interwest Consulting Group, Inc. - $10,822.00 - Bldg Inspection Svcs.
  • Keyser Marston Associates, Inc. - 2 entries, $5,800.00 and $5,448.00 - Housing Consultative Support.
  • Rosemary Nielsen Consulting - 2 entries, $5,087.50 and $19,055.00 - Community Outreach Consultant.
  • Jones & Mayer - $157,374.00 - legal services (45 separate line items, including "Acosta Appeal" and something titled "Hosing" that I just couldn't resist commenting on.
  • NexLevel Information Technology, Inc. - $24,440.00 - Interim IT Director. (This charge should end since the City announced the appointment of Steve Ely - who has been in this role since November - as Information Technology Director on May 1st, HERE.  We will pay him just over $150,000 per year)
  • Accountemps - $4,191.05 - Temp Svcs.
  • Accounting Principals, Inc. - $14,125.76 - Temp Svcs.
  • Apple One Employment Services - $5,473.60 - Temp Svcs.
  • City of Mission Viejo - $6,175.00 - IT Tech. Staff.
  • Government Staffing Services, Inc. - $6,710.00 - Temp Svcs - Proj. Mgr.
  • Melad & Associates - $5,872.50 - Bldg Permit Tech Svcs.
  • Scott Fazekas & Asociates, Inc. - $3,183.59 - Plan Check Svcs.
  • Stryker Sales Corp. - $12,312.00 - Foot Rest, Stair Chair.
THANKS, STEVE...
So, once again I want to thank Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger for his insistence on providing this information to us.  Without this "transparency" we wouldn't know just how much money we've been spending on legal services, temporary employees and consultants, among other things.

GENERAL PLAN
Item #4 on the Consent Calendar, HERE, it the 2013 review of the 2000 General Plan - 82 pages of fascinating reading.

GRANT FUNDING
The first two Public Hearings deal with Community Development Block Grand (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership Act of Entitlement Funds (HOME).  The first, HERE, deals with the allocations.

WHO GETS WHAT, AND WHY?
#2 is where the rubber meets the road - the CDBG Public Service Grants for Fiscal Year 2014 - 2015, HERE.  Included in the staff report are three very interesting attachments.  The first, HERE, is the recommendations by the Housing and Public Services Ad-hoc Committee (formerly the Redevelopment and Residential Rehabilitation - 3R - Committee).  The second, HERE, reflects the Grant Application Summaries.  The third, HERE, is a fascinating spreadsheet that shows a 3-year Funding History.

MORE APARTMENTS?  REALLY?
The final Public Hearing, HERE, is the probable approval of the 240 unit apartment complex located in a commercial area at 125 Baker Street.  This has been brought forward at this time after having been "continued" from a previous meeting so the overworked staff could provide more detail.  This discussion should be interesting.

FUNDING THE CONFERENCE AND VISITORS BUREAU
New Business #1, HERE, is the annual assessment for the Business Improvement Area (BIA) - certain participating hotels and motels that collect a higher Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), the difference of which is then provided to the Conference and Visitors Bureau to promote the City.  You'll find several attachments to that staff report that provide details of this authorization, the history of it and the budget proposed by the Conference and Visitors Bureau.  Some may recall that the CVB bailed out the city in the 60th Anniversary Celebration debacle.  Some folks in town consider it to be a de facto piggy bank for spendthrift politicians.

BIGGER, MORE INTRUSIVE SIGNS COMING?
New Business #2, HERE, is a request by Mensinger to consider a review/revision of the City's sign ordinance. The report includes a Summary Table, HERE, showing a comparison of neighboring city's sign heights and a five-month old memo, HERE, from Economic and Development Services Director/Deputy CEO Gary Armstrong to Hatch on this issue.

ETHICS POLICY
The last item on the agenda is the long, long, long awaited new Ethics Policy, HERE.  The staff report has two attachments - Administrative Regulation A.R. 2.36, Ethics Policy, HERE - and Council Policy Nubmer 000-15, also entitled Ethics Policy, HERE.  I'm amused that it takes two, count'em, two policies to define ONE policy.  As you read down through them I suspect you'll do as I did - smile knowingly, because most of us can immediately think of probable breaches of this policy.  Anyhow, it's here now and EVERY member of the council and commissions should have a refresher course on it post haste!

THAT'S ALL, FOLKS...
That's it for the agenda items.  Of course, it's VERY likely that there will still be "pulled" Consent Calendar items to be considered and folks who were on the Public Comments list but failed to make the "first 10" cut.  Some will stick around - others will simply be too exhausted and head home, allowing the mayor to accomplish his goal - the stifling of criticism.

ANOTHER LATE NIGHT...
I suspect this meeting may wrap up before midnight, but not much before.   It will depend on how many times Righeimer prattles on about issues.  We'll see...

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Love that photo of Mensinger. That about says it all.

5/05/2014 07:55:00 AM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

With respect to the apartment project on Baker, how does having a recreation room, clubhouse and a place for dogs to relieve themselves constitute open space? A pool, maybe. Do I get to come there and use the pool? Their tenants are going to use the nearby park. Not that I mind sharing, but just how many people are we going to have using the parks before they get too crowded? Why aren’t the sports field guys in an uproar about this?

When are the Planning Commission and City Council majority going to stop giving away the store? This project is too tall, too dense, and gives nothing back to the City except nightmares. This developer didn’t go through with a project in Huntington Beach because the residents protested too much. No small wonder. In fact, I haven’t found a project that they did complete, despite the pictures on their website.

5/05/2014 02:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Love, its not a matter of what it brings to the city, its a matter of what Rig gets back in his campaign fund. He doesn't care what happens to this city.

5/05/2014 07:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

If the City just spent over a million dollars to buy these new ambulances, why wouldn't they start using them to take people to the hospital instead of having a private company, that charges everybody, including residents do the transportation?

5/05/2014 08:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor said...

I think it's not just criticism Righeimer wants to stifle. He seems to want to eliminate any kind of public input. It delays him in charging ahead with whatever he has made up his mind to do.

5/05/2014 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Do you think that Rabbi Elie Spitz of Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin, who has been selected (by whom?) to receive the Holoucast Remembrance Day presentation, has any idea as to the real motivation behind this highly suspiciously timed presentation to him by the RIGmeister at the cc mtg?? And, do you think that St. John the Baptist School choir would also be honored at the mtg if the RIGmeister's children did not go there?? Isn't there a conflict of interest somewhere with this? Certainly, at a minimum, more examples of his malfeasant use of his political position - to play another victim/sympathy card and promote his children's school - from the dias (and this isn't the first time). Not that I don't think the accomplishments of the St John's choir don't deserve the recognition, I just think that the RIGmeister would never have selected them for the recognition if his children did not attend the school and participate in the choir.

5/05/2014 10:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Squad 51 said...

MTB.... That's exactly what Newport Beach has done for many years now.
The reason it isn't going to happen here is because Riggy is not going to replace a private business (who will help fund his political coffers with campaign contributions) with a public service. No matter how much it will save the tax payers.
Chief Arnold came from Newport and was a part of that program there and would have certainly liked to institute the same thing here. But it didn't happen did it.

5/06/2014 06:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Do you think that Rabbi Elie Spitz of Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin, who has been selected (by whom?) to receive the Holoucast Remembrance Day presentation, has any idea as to the real motivation behind this highly suspiciously timed presentation to him by the RIGmeister at the cc mtg?? And, do you think that St. John the Baptist School choir would also be honored at the mtg if the RIGmeister's children did not go there?? Isn't there a conflict of interest somewhere with this? Certainly, at a minimum, more examples of his malfeasant use of his political position - to play another victim/sympathy card and promote his children's school - from the dias (and this isn't the first time). Not that I don't think the accomplishments of the St John's choir don't deserve the recognition, I just think that the RIGmeister would never have selected them for the recognition if his children did not attend the school and participate in the choir.

5/06/2014 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

I wonder what Riggy's buddies over at the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Assoc. think about having these $200,000 Fire Department ambulances driving around the town, using expensive fuel, incurring expensive maintenance costs and all the while those taxpaying residents are getting charged/billed by a private company?

How does it make sense to a have a fire engine, a fire ambulance and a private ambulance show up to a first aid call? Three large vehicles showing up, only makes sense in Costa Mesa.

5/06/2014 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Well, the restructure was a unanimous vote and the OC Register article describes the reasoning as follows:

COSTA MESA – The City Council voted unanimously early Wednesday to close the Metro fire station near South Coast Plaza and to transform the way the city delivers emergency medical response.

The council also voted to change how the city provides emergency medical response. Currently, paramedics respond to emergencies in fire trucks, in four-person crews. Those trucks often have to follow a private ambulance to the hospital, tying up firefighting equipment and manpower.

In the new the proposal, the city would procure ambulances and paramedics could be deployed in two-person crews. At a later point, the department might transport patients – a significant change that could essentially turn the city into a medical billing company. The council put off that decision.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/city-507471-station-fire.html

5/06/2014 07:40:00 PM  

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