WTF?! Blitzkrieg At Senior Center!
You probably read my post about the decisions the Costa Mesa City Council made regarding the future of the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation's occupancy of the Senior Center building on West 19th Street. In that entry I wondered where the City gets the authority to take over the OPERATIONS of the Center from the Senior Center Board. The contract City Attorney, Tom Duarte, had no response when I asked him that question. Earlier in the week Assistant CEO Tammy Letourneau told me she believed they had the authority, but didn't give me a reference that bestowed it upon the city.
Then, this morning - as outlined in Hannah Fry's article in the Daily Pilot, HERE - Letourneau led an entourage of city staffers into the Senior Center and took over the place! They waltzed in, - unannounced - rearranged furniture and apparently began celebrating the new regime!
WHAT IF IT WAS YOU?
For those of you renters out there, put yourselves in the place of the Senior Center Board and staff. If your landlord gives you official notice to vacate in, say, 90 days, you're going to assume that you will be able to continue to peacefully live in your place until that departure date arrives. This situation is as though your landlord gives you notice, then the next morning shows up with a crew to begin painting, replacing furniture and showing your place to potential new tenants!
HOW IS THIS "HELPFUL"?
As I read Fry's article one paragraph caught my eye. It reads as follows, "We're not here to step on anyone's toes," Letourneau said Wednesday morning before entering the building. "We're just here to be helpful." Really? Well, it seems to me that not only did they step on toes, they stomped on them clear up to the arch!
Once again, it is not clear where the members of the City staff get the authority to show up at the privately-operated Senior Center and just take over. Worse, last night the President of the Senior Center Board, Judy Lindsay, sent an email to Letourneau specifically asking her to NOT have any city staff show up at the Senior Center until AFTER proper notice had been received as prescribed in the current agreement so the Board could review it and the management could gather the staff to advise them of what the future holds. That communication was obviously and arrogantly ignored.
The handwriting is clearly on the wall. Actually, it's more like graffiti. Lindsay and her staff now know their days on West 19th Street are numbered and that the City fully intends to run a Senior Center without them. However, the way the staff has steamrollered them in this process is unconscionable. Last night, during the brief meeting when the decisions were made, several members of the staff and City Council professed to only want what is right for the seniors. Somehow in all that rhetoric they managed to forget that the Senior Corporation Board is comprised 100% of Seniors - unpaid volunteers who have served on this board in many cases for years!
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER...
Letourneau, during her staff presentation and while answering questions, stated emphatically that they "only wanted to help". That may be true, but their actions tell us their idea of "helping" is to shove the staff and management of the Senior Center out of the way and takeover immediately, completely ignoring the terms of the current valid agreement and the documents the council approved less than a day earlier.
MORE DICTATORIAL ACTS
We can only presume this behavior is not only condoned, but encouraged, by CEO Tom Hatch and the City Council. This kind of heavy-handed behavior is yet another example of how the management of this city has become more like a dictatorship than a government of representatives elected by the people. Maybe this is just another example of Mayor Righeimer's view of the "normal course of business". Shame on them.