Righeimer Explains COIN, Sort Of...
READ IT YOURSELVES
While I know you'll read the entire interview of eleven (11) questions for yourselves, I'm going to share some observations of mine with you. That's why you're here, right?
WHICH IS IT?
Right off the bat Righeimer is asked what COIN stands for and his answer is, "Civic Openness in Negotiation. It is also referred to as 'open public employee negotiations'." OK, so is it going to be "COIN" or "OPEN"? I mean, this thing is still unproven and now they want to change the acronym?! Yikes!
GIVING CREDIT, MORE OR LESS
Righeimer gives full credit to the creation of this anchor on negotiations to Mensinger. He credits him for being the inspiration, and also gives credit to the law firm of "Leesberg Cassidy". Of course, he meant Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, the highly-compensated law firm who provides us with the negotiating horsepower that, so far, has resulted in NO successful negotiation after more than a year.
TANGIBLE EXAMPLES, PLEASE
When asked about "tangible examples" of the COIN ordinance he admitted that, "The first contract that has been reviewed under the new COIN process hasn't been finalized. But before it is front of the public, both parties are more reasonable in their offers and counteroffers because they know the public sees it. In the past, one side might ask for 50 items just to overwhelm the city. They don't do that any more." Wow! Really? 50 items! How would he know that, since he wasn't privy to any of the prior negotiations?
LONG TERM BENEFIT?...
Question #9 was, "Over time, just how much benefit do you believe can come from tough COIN ordinances?" His answer just rocked me back. He said, "Well, a big benefit that could have occurred is that we would not have the pension problem we have today if we had had COIN back when the pension enhancements were being negotiated. COIN also slows down the ability of unions to come back in the future and repeal agreements they don't like."
OK, his first sentence didn't even come close to answering the question, and the reason is that NOBODY knows yet exactly what the impact of COIN will have downstream - except negotiating and recruitment chaos. His second sentence implies that the "unions" - we don't have any in Costa Mesa - could repeal a previous agreement. What? How? An agreement is an agreement...
Question 10 asks, "Do you consider a COIN ordinance to be of bipartisan benefit, and if so, who opposes COIN ordinances?" I love his answer to this one! He says, "For the honest brokers on both sides, transparency is not bad. The people who are against it are the people who like the system the way it was - they would just make political endorsements or attacks in order to get a vote where a politician would not have any other input. The guys who like the backroom deals don't like COIN."
Read that last sentence again... Now recall that he and his majority adamantly refused to consider a COIN-type ordinance for ALL municipal contract negotiations. Then consider that Righeimer has been going behind the scenes (backroom deals?) negotiating with business owners and developers all over town. Where does he get that authority? This is a perfect example of his willingness to ignore the rules, and another perfect example of why the voters should deny him a return to the council and certainly reject the Charter - a tool for even more abuse of the voters and taxpayers of the city.
"THE NEW STANDARD"
At the end he predicts that COIN is "going to be the new standard", and that he expects the "process to become normal procedure, everywhere, within the next ten years."
HOW ABOUT SOME SUCCESS FIRST?
Well, a more prudent politician might wait until there is a track record of success with the COIN process. So far - as he readily admits in this interview - we have had NO negotiation come to fruition using the COIN process. In fact, it certainly seems to outside observers that the process is taking a much longer time than in the past. No, Righeimer can't just wait for facts - not with his political future on the line. When he loses his seat in November his buddy, Scott Baugh, is going to have to find another job for him. He may find another gullible town and have him drag his carpetbagging carcass there to see what damage he can do.