Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Progress and Exasperation Mark Fairview Committee Meeting


PROGRESS AND...
The meeting of the Costa Mesa Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee Wednesday evening was marked by some good progress and, at the end, some exasperation on the part of a few members of the committee..... First, the progress.
ACTIVE COMMUNITY INTEREST
As I wrote in an earlier post, progress sometimes comes slowly with this group because of the nature of the task.  Wednesday night things moved a little more briskly, although not without some minor glitches.  All committee members, staff and liaison personnel were in attendance for the first time in many meetings.  At the peak there were 24 members of the public in attendance and several of those spoke on the issues.  Among those were Parks and Recreation Commissioners - Vice Chair Kim Pederson and member Bob Graham - coaches and at least one council member - Sandra Genis - who actively participated in the discussion of issues as they came up.

THREE NEW ISSUES
As mentioned earlier, the staff report, HERE,  included three items listed under New Business that were anomalies to the normal, established process they've been following.  Those items were:
  • BMX Concept (Southeast Quadrant)
  • Pickleball Concept (Northeast Quadrant)
  • Naming of the Ponds after the Great Lakes
PICKLEBALL
Inexplicably, the second item, the Pickleball Concept ended up being addressed first.  Committee member Ron Amburgey introduced Phil Dunmeyer, a strong advocate for the new and rapidly-growing sport of Pickleball.  He spent about 15 minutes explaining and explaining and explaining the sport and it's spectacular rise.  According to him, it's the fastest growing sport in the country.  The number of participants throughout the country has doubled in the past five years.  Many neighboring communities - he mentioned Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Tustin, Fountain Valley, Laguna Hills - have active Pickleball facilities.  Costa Mesa has none.  The sport can be played on a tennis court-type surface.  He says you can get four Pickleball courts on one tennis court.  He was there to encourage the committee to consider planning for a Pickleball facility somewhere in Fairview Park.

BMX
Then came a brief discussion of the possibility of a BMX bike facility in the park.  There is already a de facto "facility" in Talbert Park.

NAMING PONDS
Finally, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob Graham stepped up and gave a PowerPoint presentation on why the new ponds in the Northwest Quadrant should be named, not numbered as is presently the case.  He compared them to the Great Lakes and gave a long, long, long presentation on it.

AWKWARD
Public comments were taken on all the items simultaneously - very cumbersome.

ALL FAILED TO MOVE FORWARD
Eventually, when the votes were taken, all three of those items failed to gain support to move forward in the process.

THE CLOCK WAS TICKING
It was now 7:05 p.m. - half way through the allotted time - and they were just beginning the normal agenda of eight (8) items to be discussed for possible inclusion in the Northeast Quadrant.

Item #1, Dry Land Wildlife Viewing Area evoked a little discussion among the committee members and 6 members of the public spoke on it.  After all was said and done it died for lack of a second and will no longer be considered for that segment of the park.

Member Brett Eckles moved to combine #2, Soccer/Football Fields, and #4, Multi-use Athletic Fields, for the purpose of discussion and consideration.  He indicated that he felt such uses in that quadrant of the park were inappropriate.  Four members of the public agreed with him.  There was no motion on these items so they will also not move forward.

Item #3, planting a Redwood Forest in that quadrant also gained no support from the committee or the audience.  Five members of the public spoke on this one.  It died for lack of a motion.

Items #5, Roller Hockey Surface and #7, Basketball/Handball Courts, were also combined for discussion.  They also died for lack of a motion.

Item #6, the installation of a Two-tiered Building that includes an Interpretive Center and Terrace Viewing Deck.  The discussions on this one were brief, too.  It died for lack of a motion.

At that point Eckles moved to extend beyond the 8:00 p.m. stop time to finish the second group of 8 items on the agenda, but failed to receive a second to his motion.

The final item discussed was #8, Trail Exercise Stations.  Member Dennis Popp said he suggested this function for another quadrant but didn't think it was appropriate for this one.  It died for lack of a motion.

EIGHT UP, EIGHT DOWN
So, there you have it... eight items up, NONE moved forward.  Actually, make that eleven (11) when you consider the three items under New Business.  The committee will consider the remaining eight items at the meeting on July 2nd.

HARD WORK
Please don't think the committee didn't work hard on these items... they did.  And, there was lively discussion from the audience on most of them, too.  All the conversations were civil and, in many cases, light-hearted.

THE CLOSING DIATRIBES
Which brings me to the final few moments.  As the Chairman, Dr. Richard Mehren, went around the table for each member to make their closing comments most chose not to say anything more.  However, when it came to Vice Chair Steve Smith he clearly had a burr under his blanket.  He angrily said he was a friend of Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger but that friendship did NOT drive any of his decisions on the committee.  He said he was "tired of accusations of being a 'Friend of Steve'".  It seemed like a curious outburst - particularly when you consider his vocal participation on the issues before the committee has been minimal over all these months.  Yes, he voted on each item, but seldom did he engage in discussions, so it was hard to determine why he voted the way he did.  I glanced around the room and saw many surprised expressions on the audience members faces.

POPP POPS OFF
Then member Dennis Popp took the baton from Smith and raised the rhetoric and, among other things, called the allegations of committee members as having a pre-determined agenda "egregious behavior".  He was so angry that the combination of his white hair and his red neck reminded me of a pimple ready to pop(p).  Keep in mind that just a few minutes earlier he paused the proceedings to pontificate to the members of the audience that "there are no television cameras here" - implying they were playing to an audience, not the issues.  That comment was way, way out of line.  The discourse had been civil, but spirited, to that point.  No nasty remarks, no songs sung, no personal, pointed criticisms - just respectful discussion of the issues.

ET TU, LEE?
Then, mild-mannered Lee Ramos - city council candidate for whom Popp is the campaign manager - spoke up and agreed with Smith and thanked him from bringing the issue up.  He criticized members of the audience for saying things like, "the citizens feel this way" - I don't recall that phrase being said -  and accused them of pretending to speak for all Costa Mesa citizens.  He told the audience that, "if you're the leaders, bring them with you.  I want to hear from them!"  It was a curious outburst from a normally-quiet guy - it seemed just a little contrived.

THE MENSINGER SMIRK
Through this all Mensinger sat across from them with his trademark perpetual bemused smirk on his face.

FLABBERGASTED!
I sat there, dumbfounded.  Every speaker that night was courteous, addressed specific issues, were generally brief and on-point.  One speaker frequently read to the committee from the current Fairview Park Master Plan to remind them of the current status of the park as codified in that Master Plan.  Others shared views, so kept their comments brief to avoid unnecessary redundancy.  Most of the speakers tilted toward keeping the park exactly as it is right now.  And, in this particular Quadrant - the Northeast Quadrant - that obviously is a view shared by the committee, because that's how they've voted on the first eight issues considered.

HERE'S HOW IT LOOKS TO ME
Since Smith's outburst had not been provoked by anything that happened last night, I'll tell you how this looks to me.  It looks like just one more step in the plan to quash criticism by members of the public.  Mayor Jim Righeimer has laid that ground work.  Members of his posse have perpetuated and amplified it through acts of intimidation of members of the public.  This looks like another step in that direction.

SOMETHING TO CONTEMPLATE...
It certainly was a peculiar few moments.  I saw a side of Ramos previously hidden and it will certainly be food for thought - and blog entries - as the campaign season moves along.

POPP, AGAIN...
There was a brief discussion about the meeting on July 2nd, with some concern expressed about having a quorum available because of the Independence Day holiday.  Mehren polled the members and it appeared that there would, indeed, be enough members available to hold the meeting that day.  An interesting sidebar.  When Popp was polled his reply was, "I'm an ex-cop so I never go out of town on holidays."  Funny, I don't recall seeing a police background in the biographical summaries provided for his committee participation.  We know he's been a nurse and says he's had significant rank in the military service of our country.  However, now that I think about it, he does kind of have the countenance of one of those stereotypical good-old-boy southern rural cops - all puff and bluster - a blowhard, impressed with himself and expecting you to be, too.  Should have guessed.

WILL CIVILITY RETURN?
It will be interesting to see if civility returns to this group on July 2nd.  And, it will be interesting to see if they continue to hold the members of the public, who take time from their busy lives to participate in these important discussions, in such disdain in the future.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Charter Scheme Gets A Workin' Over

SHORT, BUT ACTION-PACKED
The Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night was, as anticipated, a shorter meeting than has become the norm in recent months.  Those dozen of us left in the auditorium when the mayor announced it to a close left just after 10:00 p.m.  That was nice for a change.  You can watch the recorded meeting on Streaming Video HERE.  Use the "jump-to" feature - click on the title of the entry - to go immediately to an issue that interests you - like the Charter discussion, for example.  Take a deep breath - it's probably going to take you longer to read this entry than the meeting ran last night.  Sorry about that.

RIGHEIMER USED GOOD JUDGMENT
However, the meeting, though brief, was not without drama and entertainment.  There were no presentations and there had been no closed session, so the 70 or so interested parties in the audience at the beginning had a chance to see Mayor Jim Righeimer exercise good judgment for one of the few times during his tenure and permit all thirteen speakers who turned in cards for Public Comments to speak at the beginning of the meeting.  His recent dictatorial edict would have shoved the final three to the very end of the meeting.

DENSITY
The Baker's Dozen spoke on a variety of issues.  Former council candidate and Westside homeowner Chris McEvoy scolded the council for their propensity to approve High Density Housing developments, and chided Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger and Councilman Gary Monahan who, along with Planning Commissioner Colin McCarthy, pledged to reduce traffic during their campaigns two years ago.  He presented a graphic showing the concentration of recently approved projects.  Resident Sheila Paflin joined his complaint about High Density Housing a little later.

MENSINGER'S MISSPEAKING
Robin Leffler corrected the record - documenting the misspeaking of Mensinger at a recent meeting on the Metro Point development - for which he was a major player for the developer at the time.  She suggested he work harder at telling the truth.  He spends so much time on his phone on the dais that he often misspeaks himself because he doesn't know what's going on up there.

DOGS AND BRICKS
Al Melone, once again, addressed Dog Park issues.  Resident Barry Fisher (sp?) expressed frustration trying to locate current, valid information about the Memorial bricks at Harbor Lawn Cemetery.

CHOKING DOWN THE SWILL

Long time resident Chuck Perry - a big-time supporter of Mensingers - stepped up and asked for something to be done about a possible cross walk between the new Senior Housing development at Harbor and Adams across Mesa Verde Drive East, and other issues.  He attends many meetings and, apparently unhappy with the criticism directed at his pals, said he's tired of having to "choke down this swill".

AMBULANCE SAVINGS?
Uber activist and volunteer Cindy Brenneman wondered just when the city might begin to see the savings promised with the implementation of the new ambulance deployment by cutting out the private transport ambulance service (CARE) - who just happens to be a campaign contributor to the mayor.

ELIMINATING NOTICES?
Activist and announced council candidate Harold Weitzberg addressed a recent narrowly-distributed public notice about the move afoot to change the Municipal Code eliminating the noticing required when a two-story development is being planned next door.  Apparently, this issue appears on the Planning Commission agenda for next Monday.  I suspect they will have a pretty good crowd for that one.

60TH ANNIVERSARY AND ETHICS
Activist and former council candidate Sue Lester wondered about an item on the Consent Calendar - she did not subsequently pull it, but someone else did - that listed the payments to groups for pouring beer at the 60th Anniversary celebration.  This event - nearly a year old now - continues to be a festering boil regardless how much the City leadership tries to gloss it over.  Lester observed that, even IF everything was on the up-and-up, it just LOOKS bad and erodes resident's confidence in their elected leadership.  She also mentioned the Ethics Policy that the majority on the council recently blew off as another example of a confidence-eroding act.

MOTEL OWNER ABUSE AND TIRED FIRST RESPONDERS
Tamar Goldmann chided the council for their recent act of "picking on" the owner of the Sandpiper Motel and complained that because the Mayor had refused to permit timely hiring of new police officers, they - and the fire fighters - were working long, stressful overtime hours.  She cited several recent heroic events by those first responders.

LOSS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Activist, former councilman and announced council candidate Jay Humphrey addressed the recent movement to force motel owners to abandon providing affordable units, citing no benefit to the city.

SUPPORTING THE 1/5
Beth Refakes, a member of the Military Affairs Team, reminded us that they are collecting contributions of goods for the adopted Marine 1/5 battalion during its deployment to Australia.

GENIS
During Council Member Comments Sandra Genis thanked all involved for the excellent Memorial Day service, complimented the Lions Club for the successful Fish Fry and clarified issues involving the Banning Ranch development - it's a Newport Beach project - and the difference in value to the city of ownership units as opposed to apartments.

LEECE
Wendy Leece  addressed a variety of issues, including the 60th Anniversary payments, echoed Tamar Goldmann's concern for the health and safety of the community because of the stressful hours being worked by the Police and Firefighters. She thanked the mayor for permitting her to attend a recent Preserve Our Neighborhoods Task Force meeting and said she was encouraged by what she heard.   She told us the Senior Center Board and the City Staff are working on a smooth transition for the Senior Center to be managed by The City.  She also reminded us of the Relay for Life event at Costa Mesa High School on June 14-15.

GOT NOTHING!
Gary Monahan and Steve Mensinger had nothing to say.

REPORTING YOUR NEIGHBORS, AND MORE
Mayor Righeimer, however, took up the slack.  He refuted comments made by speakers earlier, and talked about the new plans for the Costa Mesa Motor Inn - the site of the greatest number of calls for service by public safety and code enforcement personnel.  He spoke of the increasing property tax valuation by turning that 136-unit motel into 136 apartments.  He also spoke about the Preserve Our Neighborhoods Task Force, and transitioned into a glowing report about the new Costa Mesa Connect app for Smart Phones.  He held up HIS phone - maybe the biggest such device I've ever seen - which he obviously had at-the-ready because it still had the charger plug attached.  He told us how easy it was to report offenses to the proper authorities and mentioned the ability to take photos, etc.  I just wish he'd used the proper name.  Several times he misspoke the actual name of the app.  For the record, it's "Costa Mesa Connect" and is available free from your app store.  I have it and like it a lot.  it includes good City information in addition to being able to bust your neighbors for grass that is too long or noisy kids - you know, all that neighborly stuff we're concerned about.  He did caution us to not put "discriminatory information" in our entries.

HATCH
CEO Tom Hatch, looking none-too-rested after a week off, addressed the following issues during his report:
1 - The 60th Anniversary Celebration volunteer beer-pourers, citing that the organizations they represent get paid, not the individuals themselves.  Each is required to pay $30.00 for training before they can participate.  Hatch acknowledged that there was a problem with the process of deciding who should be permitted to participate.  There is NO policy for such a selection process.
2 - The construction at the terminus of the 55 Freeway - it's a CalTrans project, which, when completed, will become a City project to install new monument signage.  Upon affirmation with Public Services Director Ernesto Munoz following an inquiry by the mayor, he confirmed that the bottleneck will persist through the busy summer traffic season.  This is BAD news for the folks on the Eastside of town, who will certainly get a lot of cut-through traffic as a result.
3 - There will be a meeting on Wednesday, June 11 in the Emergency Operations Center from 4-5:30 where the City Staff will meet with motel and other lodging operators to discuss the current status of code enforcement and rules.
4 - Tuesday, June 10, there will be a joint study session with the Planning Commission to discuss their goals for next year.
5 - He discussed a recent meeting with leaders of Coast Community College District, Orange Coast College, Newport-Mesa Unified School District and the Orange County Fair and Event Center where items of mutual interest/concern were discussed.  Apparently plans for a Parking Structure at the Fairgrounds site are moving forward.
6 - He discussed OCC Security issues
7 - Regarding the Group Homes issue, he encouraged community support and interest.
8 - He reminded us about the upcoming July 4th holiday, and that applications are being accepted for block parties.
9 - He said he was not prepared to discuss the Dog Park issue - responding to Al Melone's concern - but that staff would be working on it.
10 - He then invited Police Chief Tom Gazsi to the speakers podium to introduce the new Automatic Emergency Defibrillators that will now be carried in every marked police unit and some detective vehicles, too.

DEFENDING SUPPORTERS
Righeimer then used his bully pulpit to go an a mini-rant about the ambulance program and the private transport of patients, citing that the City pays nothing for the private transport - the contractor bills the person transported.

CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS PULLED
Two items were pulled from the Consent Calendar for discussion later.  Leece pulled item #4, HERE, the agreement with the Fairgrounds for traffic support during the month of the Fair.  Cindy Brenneman pulled #3, the Warrants.

CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU FUNDING
The first Public Hearing dealt with the renewal of the agreement with the Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Only one member of the public, Perry Valantine, stepped up to express concern about the proper auditing of the funds generated to the group, citing the CVB's involvement in the 60th Celebration.  Hatch told us that tighter controls are now in place, and pointed to the list of planned expenditures that are part of the staff report.  The council approved the item on a 5-0 vote.

LEMME OUT!
Interestingly, it was mentioned that Monahan wanted to be removed as liaison to the CVB, and Mensinger said he wanted to stop being the liaison to the Vector Control Board - Leece immediately volunteered for that role for her remaining few months on the council - she held it for a couple years.

THE CHARTER!
At 7:35 we got to the BIG item on the agenda - the second and final mandatory Public Hearing on the proposed Charter that was cobbled together by the appointed committee over nearly a year.  Someone said 26 meetings had been involved.  There were still five dozen members of the audience when this discussion began.  Monahan asked for confirmation that there would be NO vote on this item at this meeting - which was confirmed by contract legal advisor and former City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow, who had been one of the legal advisers to the committee during the process.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT
Several members of the committee were present during this presentation/discussion, and a few of the spoke on the issue.  I also saw facilitator Pastor Mike Decker in the audience.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS?
Early in the discussion Genis complained that there was no compilation of comments and suggestions from the public that had been presented to the committee over all those months.  She observed that one might attempt to cull them from the minutes of the more than two dozen meetings, but that task proved to be much too time-consuming.  She was frustrated by that lack of captured community input.

NOT NECESSARY
Wendy Leece expressed her view that this was unnecessary - that the public had spoken quite emphatically when they defeated Measure V less than two years ago.  She also asked for clarification on the Prevailing Wage issue, to which Barlow indicated the Vista case will be working its way through the State Supreme Court.

TWENTY-SEVEN SPEAKERS!
Then came the Public Comments segment that saw 27 members of the public step up to speak on the Charter in general or on specific segments of it.  Five (5) speakers (18.5%) - including three members of the committee - supported the draft Charter.  Twenty-two (22) speakers (81.5%) spoke against it.

SUPPORTERS
The five who spoke for it were committee members Gene Hutchins, Ron Amburgey and Bill Fancher plus Righeimer/Mensinger loyalist Chuck Perry and boot-licker supreme, Planning Commission Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick.
  • Hutchins took about two seconds to launch into his mantra that a Charter would have prevented the "unfunded pension liability" problem we have now.  However, nobody had demonstrated that to be true over all the months of deliberations.  There was much speculation, but no proof.  
  • Amburgey said, "the Charter isn't just for the council." - whatever that was supposed to mean - then supported what "Hutcherson" said - you'd think he'd know the guy's name after all those months, wouldn't you? - and complained about people continuing to bring up the 60/40 defeat of Measure V.
  • Fancher, apparently responding to the allegations of a stacked committee, said "Nobody asked me my position" before he was appointed.  Really?  OK, Bill.   
  • Perry said he's OK with the Charter if it will save the City money.  
  • Fitzpatrick did his "I rise in support of this issue" thing, attempted to discredit the emphasis place on the 60/40% defeat of Measure V.  He's pathetic!
 IN OPPOSITION
Among the twenty-two speakers who are against this Charter were committee members Harold Weitzberg and Mary Ann O'Connell, who formed what amounted to a strong, articulate minority during most of the meetings.
  • Rather than go on the defensive last night, Weitzberg suggested that whatever official mailers and other notifications that will be presented to the public WHEN the council majority votes to place the Charter on the ballot be absolutely neutral, and that two members of the committee should be delegated to respond to questions members of the public might have.  He volunteered to present the opposition viewpoint.  He suggested only a single mailing - maybe two, maximum.
  • O'Connell indicated that, even after all those months of discussions, she still sees no need for a Charter.  She cited several examples of issues that can be addressed under our current form of government, and gave statistics to demonstrate just how little actual money would be saved by implementing the Prevailing Wage section of the Charter.  She suggested that before a decision is made to go forward that an neutral independent auditor be retained to assess the fiscal impact of this Charter.
A PERFECT ANALOGY
Retired City Planning Executive Perry Valantine used an analogy of a parent trying to trust a young boy with responsibility and continually being disappointed when he failed to keep his word.  He suggested this council has behaved much the same way as that theoretical boy, so should not be trusted with the car keys after all his misdeeds.  He was correct and I smiled.

REMINDERS
Newcomer to the political process, Laurene Keane, stepped up and reminded us of Measure V, suggested the current Charter is full of mine fields and also reminded us that the vast majority of California cities are NOT Charter Cities.

MET WITH THE BOYS
James Bridges referred to this Charter as "Son of Measure V" - wonder where he heard that? - and told us of conversations he'd had with Righeimer and Mensinger on the issue.

GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND
Flo Martin told us of "googling" "California Charter City Law Suits" and other issues, and cited the millions of hits generated by that search.  She also searched for Jones Day, the law firm that has made millions off our city recently and has dragged the City of Detriot into bankruptcy.

THE SOLOIST
Terry Koken, as only he can do, serenaded us with a reprise of his "Righeimer's Charter" ditty from two years ago.  There was not much smilin' going on on the left side of the dais.

CHRIS'S CHUMP CHART
One of the more interesting presentations was by former council candidate Chris McEvoy, an outspoken anti-charter advocate.  He presented a graphic - shown here - to support his suggestion of the folly of another Charter scheme.

SUGGESTIONS AND OUTREACH
Robin Leffler referred to the hundreds of suggestions offered by the public during the discussions on Jim Righeimer's Charter two years ago, and suggested that, once again, suggestions from the public were being ignored.  She pointed out to the very limited public outreach and little notification of the hearings, unlike two years ago, when it was all you heard from City Hall.  She suggested that an elected commission to study a charter would fix the shortcomings of this appointed body.

DEFINING "LOCAL CONTROL"
Tamar Goldmann suggested that Koken's song was accurate, and that this was about "local control".  She defined "local" as the "council majority" and "control" as "absolute".

SPEAKER #29
One of the more interesting speakers was a fellow who stepped up and identified himself as "Speaker #29".  He never did identify himself, but reminded the mayor that he cannot require him to identify himself without violating the Brown Act.  He then spoke of having been a member of the Jones Day law firm, described Righeimer's actions with this new Charter effort as "electorate shopping" - trying to find a weak-willed (my term) electorate that would finally buy his program.  And, he mentioned section #806 - the stake in the heart of this document.  This speaker was Orange Juice Blogger, Greg Diamond, who just lost in a bid for the Orange County District Attorney slot held by Tony Rackauckas.

OTHER VOICES AGAINST
Among the other speakers against this Charter were Margaret and Charlie Mooney, Cynthia McDonald, Sheila Paflin, Greg Thunnel, a young woman from Roseville, CA, representing a group of Iron Workers Union Business Cooperatives, Cindy Brenneman, Teresa Drain, Katie Arthur, Sue Lester and former councilman Jay Humphrey, who attended most meetings and has found no benefit to the City with this proposed change and wondered when was the last time something could be added to the proposed document before the council votes on it.

VALID VOICES
You'll notice many familiar names listed above.  There are also a few new ones.  The familiar names are those folks who actually DO take the time to study issues and to address the council and commissions when they feel it is appropriate.  Many of them are those who will stay past midnight to express their opinions after the mayor bifurcated the Public Comments.  Many of them are folks who have been chided and vilified from the dais by the mayor and others in the majority.  And yet, they take the time and risk insults and criticisms to express what they feel are valid opinions based on an analysis of the facts available.

CHANGES CAN BE MADE AT THE LAST MINUTE!
The discussion continued with Righeimer asking Barlow to clarify when items can be added or changed.  She said they could be added right up until they take the vote on whether or not to place it on the ballot in November.

COMMISSIONER COMP AND ETHICS
 Genis wondered why commissioner compensation was not addressed in the document and suggested that a Code of Ethics should have been included.  She also pointed out what, in my humble opinion, are the twin poison pills in the current Charter - sections 104 and 806.  These sections basically give the City Council authority to do ANYTHING they want as long as it does not violate the state constitution or existing law - ANYTHING!  In subsequent conversations NO mention was made about removing those sections.

JUST ADD TO MUNICIPAL CODE
Leece wondered why we just cannot put section 600 that deals with Retirement benefits into the Municipal Code and be done with it.  The answer was that future councils could remove or modify it.  OK.. and?  She said this Charter gives "unbridled power" to those in charge.  See Genis comment above.

NOT PAYING ATTENTION - AGAIN
Then Mensinger said, "I want to make a motion", only to be reminded that there would be NO motions made last night.  See - he just doesn't pay attention!  He suggested, flat out, that the reason Measure V was defeated was because "a lot of people didn't understand it."  Then he said this time around, "a lot of people do understand it."  He referred to the election process being completed that day as why we need a Charter - because we have single party rule in Sacramento.

IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY!
Righeimer started his little rant by saying, "This is really all about money."  Gee, no kidding!  He went on to talk about "tens of millions of dollars" being at stake.  Gee, no kidding!  I can only imagine the dollar signs rolling around in his head as he said those words.  You think he's giving away the farm to developers today?  Wait until he has ABSOLUTE control of the city with this Charter!  Then he tried to tinker with some of the verbiage in the draft.  He ended his little speech by thanking the committee, saying they did a "phenomenal job".  He said, at the end, when they voted "all but two voted for it."  Well, duh!  That's what happens when you stack the committee!  And you were surprised?  Puh-leeze!

PROPAGANDA
The conversation came around to the potential mailings.  Several speakers had addressed this and Genis reaffirmed that any communication coming out of City Hall on the Charter should be neutral - not a sales brochure to sell the Charter.  Some suggested one or two mailers.  Mensinger wanted four (4)!  Barlow said she will return with more options.  The discussion stopped at 9:40 - a little over two hours after it began.

CMPD OC FAIR SUPPORT
Item #4 from the Consent Calendar, which addressed the CMPD support proposal for the Orange County Fair, generated some interesting conversation and it seemed for a moment that Righeimer might attempt to suggest the CMPD abandon their plan to provide traffic support because of staffing shortages.  He seemed to be trying to get Sergeant Wadkins to admit that problem, but he simply advised the council of the CMPD contingency plans and the issue was approved 4-0.  Monahan had long bailed out - probably because of the OC GOP election party going on in the room above his pub.

MORE 60TH CONCERNS
The other items, the Warrants, were pulled to address the 60th Anniversary beer payments.  Cindy Brenneman pulled it and spoke, as did Sue Lester, Teresa Drain and Robin Leffler.  Genis and Leece affirmed that tighter rules need to be implemented.

SING IT, TERRY!
The evening wrapped up with the irrepressible Terry Koken gracing us with his second ditty of the evening.  For your listening pleasure, I'll let Mr. Koken wrap up this edition... Sing it, Terry.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,