Saturday, November 01, 2014

Overkill on Measure "O"...

THE AVALANCHE CONTINUES 
In my mailbox yesterday I received not one, not two, but THREE copies of the City's latest propaganda piece on Measure "O' - the bastard child of Jim Righeimer's overwhelmingly defeated Measure V from two years ago.  We're at the end of the route and I guess my mailman of nearly 20 years decided I must be running out of toilet paper, so he left me some.

FACTS, NOT PROPAGANDA
Theoretically, anything coming from the City on this bogus scheme is supposed to be neutral, not expressing an opinion one way or another on the plan to fundamentally change the way our city is governed.  It's not supposed to imply that a Charter form of governance is better than that under General Law.  It should be presenting facts and the voters can decide.

CHEERLEADING
Well, this one, the third in a four-part series which can be viewed on the City web site HERE, begins with a little pep talk in which it presents specific pro-charter comments and, only parenthetically after the fact, mentions that they were picked and chosen out of context from a document provided by the California League of Cities, HERE.

MORE THAN 75% ARE NOT CHARTER CITIES

It neglects to mention that fewer than 23% of California cities are Charter cities - the remainder, like Costa Mesa, are General Law cities.

DOESN'T DEFINE A CRITICAL TERM
While it mentions the term "municipal affair", it doesn't provide you with the definition available from the California League of Cities document.  Here's how that reads:

DEFINING "MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS"
Determining what is and is not a "municipal affair" is not always straightforward.  The California Constitution does not define "municipal affair".  It does, however, set out a nonexclusive list of four "core" categories that are, by definition, municipal affairs.

These categories are 1) regulation of the "city police force"; 2) "subgovernment in all or part of a city"; 3)"conduct of city elections"; and 4)"the manner in which... municipal officers are elected."  Beyond this list, it is up to the courts to determine what is and is not a municipal affair."

CONTEMPLATE THIS ONE SECTION ALONE
Notice #1, above - "regulation of the 'city police force'.  Now think about what the past nearly four years have been like under the current council majority.  The animosity held by Righeimer against the police department, and overlayed on municipal governance through the majority he directs on the City Council, has driven them to decimate the once-proud department.
  • They've slashed the staff and stalled the hiring of replacments.  
  • They've caused specialty units - Gangs and Narcotics, for example - to be cut by 75%, creating huge enforcement problems in those areas.  
  • They unilaterally folded up the A.B.L.E. helicopter program - the model for all municipal airborne operations around the country.  
  • Their toxic workplace has cause more than four dozen members of the CMPD to either retire early or depart for other jurisdictions.  
  • And, of course, Righeimer, his wife and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger have actually sued the men and women of the CMPD.  
IMAGINE...
All this was done as a General Law city and has left the City a less safe place.  Can you imagine the havoc that can be wrought if they are given the authority under a Charter City?  I shudder to think what it may be like.

TOO MUCH UNFETTERED AUTHORITY
Still to come is the fourth piece of propaganda, which can be read HERE.  I don't know when that one's scheduled to arrive - maybe today or Monday - but it goes even further to gloss over sections of the document that are among the most onerous - Sections 104 and 806.  Those sections, all by themselves, are reason enough to VOTE NO on O.  They provide any City Council unfettered authority to do whatever the heck they want as long as it doesn't break state or federal law.  That's way too much authority for any council, much less this one.

DON'T FALL FOR THE RHETORIC
So, once again, I encourage those of you who have not yet cast your ballot - it's too late to mail absentee ballots, so you'll have to hand-deliver them to a polling place - to NOT fall for the misleading rhetoric by Righeimer and a few of his hand-picked Charter Committee members as they try to convince you this document is worth consideration.  It is NOT.
You tell them, Phoebs...

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