Friday, October 10, 2014

Random Political Thoughts


EASTSIDE FORUM VIDEOS
Both video presentations from the recent Eastside Costa Mesa Neighbors Group candidate forum are on line and available for viewing.

THE PROGRAM
You can watch the video produced for the ECMNG by Terry Wall on Vimeo, HERE.  I've not watched all of it - I was there - but the segments I've seen were just fine.  There's a little complication with the sound - you probably need to turn up your volume on your computer.  It's worth a couple hours of watching.

BARRY AND SAM
The second video available is produced by old Barry Friedland on his Costa Mesa Brief YouTube channel, HERE.  This is around 36 minutes of before-and-after interviews with candidates and interested observers.  I had to chuckle during the preamble when his interviewer, Sam Strodel, was talking about previous forums where "we were playing softball in the past", said, "tonight it's about to turn hard."  Sorry, but that just made me smile.

JAY, TONY AND HAROLD
This half hour of gotcha television actually surprised me.  Her first interview was with Jay Humphrey and went fine.  Then came nice young man, Tony Capitelli, who addressed homelessness and his solutions.  Then she interviewed non-candidate Harold Weitzberg and began by asking him how he felt about not being endorsed by his "own organization", then asked about a comment attributed to Sandra Genis.  Predictably, and properly, he expressed disappointment.

GOTCHA QUESTION FAILED
Then Strodel interviewed Genis and began by asking, "And what did you really mean by saying "Weitzberg is not really a Costa Mesa name?" Genis brought her up short, denying that she said that, but Strodel persisted, but Genis set her straight.  Then came a question about Measure P, which Genis addressed, focusing on the confusing language.  She then interrogated her about fireworks and advisory measures.  Genis explains the context of the advisory measure on the fireworks issue from many years ago. She acknowledged a mistake voting to put an advisory measure on the ballot.

BUNYAN
She interrogated Chris Bunyan on his views of unity within the community and his views on building trust.

OH, RITA...
She then presented Rita Simpson, which she described as the "new kid on the block".  I smiled.  Simpson says her issue, The Charter, needs to win.

LOADED QUESTIONS
Next up is Robin Leffler, whose name they misspelled on the screen.  She was interrogated about CM4RG and their endorsement process.  Strodel asked if anyone can join CM4RG, and was told that they must be in line with their goals and platform.  She was asked if Costa Mesa Brief could video a future meeting.

COME AGAIN, JIM?
Then came Righeimer, interviewed after the event finished.  He griped about the question set-up.  He said the Eastside group doesn't represent the whole Eastside.  When asked about the claim that he doesn't listen to people he said, "You know what, it's amazing.  Sometimes people think because they come to you and they talk to you and you don't do what they want they think like a three-year-old child, they say you're not listening to me.  But the fact of the matter is that we're listening to them, but just because they say something that doesn't mean that's what we're going to do. So, it's not that we don't listen, I absolute listen, but I'm put in office by 100,000 people in the community who say 'Do what you think is best for the community and that's why we're putting you there."   Really? 100,000 people?  As a matter of fact, when he was elected he received exactly 12,997 votes - just over 1,500 votes more than Wendy Leece and around 2,100 more than Chris McEvoy.

NO REGRETS!
When asked about any regrets, he said, "You know what, I don't know about regret.  I mean, clearly, hindsight is 20/20 and there are some things you might have done differently.  On the other hand, based on results where we're at, we did it exactly the perfect way it had to be done to get to where we are today and I'm fine with that." So, no regrets... Millions in unnecessary legal fees.  Huy Pham is dead.  The new Miscellaneous Employee contract puts them back to what they were earning a decade ago.  The 60th Anniversary scandal.  The stifling of free speech.  Selling out the city to developer-pals.  The gutting of the Police Department.  No regrets, indeed!

MELONE AND COYOTES
Al Melone was interviewed about coyotes.  He mentioned drones to track the critters to find out where they live and get control over their population.  In Costa Mesa they are protected - bureaucrats and politicians.  She asked why people should take him seriously when he talks about the dog park.  He said his number one issue is density.  He doesn't want to live in Santa Monica...

LEECE
Next up was Wendy Leece, who was asked about her candidacy on the Orange County Water Board.  Strodel asked if she was just shopping around for a new job.  She asked Leece what sets her apart from Shawn Dewane.

FOLEY
Next was Katrina Foley, who was asked how she thought she did.  She thought the questions were thoughtful.  It was fair.

THIS GUY WAS RIGHT!
She was followed by a very distinguished older fella wearing a Reyn-Spooner shirt who looks very familiar to me.  I thought his views were right on the money. ;-)

PLEASE, SET GOD STRAIGHT!
Then came the lovely Ilene Righeimer.  Please pay close attention to the very first question, and her answer... I smiled.  Based on her comments, Righeimer apparently thinks this is his calling - what God has given him and he feels a moral obligation to respond to that.  OK... I'm thinkin' some of you out there need to get down on your knees and let God know that he's backing the wrong horse in this race.

STOLEN AND VANDALIZED SIGNS
Lots of interesting things happening around town with campaign signs this year again.  Lots of reported vandalism and stolen signs.  Some of that certainly is due to the fact that partisans on both sides are placing signs in areas forbidden by our regulations.

WHO'S CHUCK TRYING TO FOOL?
I find it interesting that Riganista and Steve Mensinger shadow, Chuck Perry, has signs all over town that just say "Perry", not his full name.  Understandably, because folks know his brother, Art, is already on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board, they're a little confused.

THE SHINY OBJECT...
Over on Facebook Bruce Krochman has established a page called Costa Mesa Public Square, in theory to provide a place where important issues can be "discussed" by interested folks in a "civil setting".  So far there are 333 members - I was the first because Krochman placed me there as a placeholder.  Well "civil setting" apparently includes the moderation of comments like the Hand of God herself!  That heavy-handed editing, plus the fact that so many participants have blocked many others, makes for some very difficult-to-understand comment threads.  The theory is fine, but the result leaves much to be desired.  This is just a shiny object designed to distract the voters from what is really going on.  But, it's Bruce's page, to do with what he chooses, including bringing in ringers posing as newbies to the system, eager to learn.  Nice try, Bruce, but it ain't working...

IN YOUR FACE, BRUCE!
To counter that effort, Cindy Black has created the Costa Mesa Sandbox Facebook page - another forum for discussion of important issues, but with the promise of NO EDITING or moderation of any kind.  As of press time there are about 1/5th the number of members as on Krochman's site - and I'm number 1 on that one, too.  Go figure.  It's going to be a very interesting campaign season...

WHERE'S JIM, LEE?

I also find it interesting that Lee Ramos, who lives a couple blocks from me, in his front yard has one of his signs, one of Perry's signs but NONE for Jim Righeimer.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  And, we've heard some rumors of unrest within the Ramos campaign.  Nothing confirmed yet, but rumors are fun, nonetheless.

STRANGE TACTIC

One of the more peculiar campaign stragegies I've seen this time around is that of Brian Peotter,  the self-professed "Rocket Scientist" running for a seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District.  He's making no secret of the fact that his goal, if elected, is to put the Sanitary District out of business!  He wants to "fire himself' and consolidate it with the Mesa Water District or the City of Costa Mesa.  Don't believe me?  Watch HERE.

MAILBOX AVALANCHES

Now begins the deluge of campaign mailers - glossy pieces with smiling candidate faces trying to convince you of their value as a candidate.  We're also seeing multiple pieces on the Charter generated by the City of Costa Mesa.  I just hope the voters will take the time to learn more about the issues and candidates before they begin mailing in their absentee ballots, which also began arriving in the mail this week.


In case you need some help...  Here's a little jump start for you...

JAY HUMPHREY AND KATRINA FOLEY FOR CITY COUNCIL

DON'T VOTE ON MEASURE "P" - It has no weight of law and the ballot language renders the result inconclusive.

RETURN THE INCUMBENTS ON THE COSTA MESA SANITARY DISTRICT - S.O.S. (Schafer, Ooten and Scheafer)

ELECT WENDY LEECE TO THE ORANGE COUNTY WATER DISTRICT BOARD

NO ON MEASURE "O" - We don't need no stinkin' Charter, and certainly not THAT Charter!


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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Of Fecal Recepticles And A Campaign In Flames

BETTER LATE THAN...
The combination of late night meetings and early morning eye doctor visit (dilated eyes and all) and a dead battery delayed this entry... onward and upward.  Since I've dragged my heels today the city feed for this meeting is now available, HERE.  As we go through this process I'll give you some time reference points so you can watch a specific event.  You're going to want to do that...

"OVERFLOW SEATING"?
I should have known it was going to be a very special City Council meeting when I arrived at City Hall forty minutes before the meeting to find businessman Tim Lewis sitting on one of the toilets he  dragged to the City Hall steps.  The photos say it all!  I thought the toilet paper earmuffs were an especially nice touch.

A BIG CROWD
The auditorium was not full, but it felt like it was.  I counted slightly more than 100 people seated during the evening.  And, even though Wendy Leece's request to re-visit the whole Fireworks issue - it had been placed last on the agenda - was pulled and will be heard at the next meeting, several people stepped up during Public Comments to address it.  One fellow hung around until the bitter end, nearly 12:30 a.m., to  plead for pepetuation of the current policy.  I'm getting ahead of myself..
OOPS!  WHERE'S GARY?
We began the evening with Mayor Jim Righeimer telling us that council member Gary Monahan - who will complete two decades on the council in 2016 and vest life-time health care in the process - would lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Only problem was, he wasn't in the auditorium!  He eventually showed up later, so Lurch, er, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger led us.

SERIOUSLY?!
Then - and my jaw dropped on this one - we had a presentation by Righeimer, who read a proclamation naming the day Maximilian (Max) Mormont Day in Costa Mesa.  Who is Max Mormont, you ask?  Well, it turns out he's Righeimer's personal trainer at Costa Mesa CrossFit who apparently took second place in an obscure event recently.  We're told he missed the gold by one kilogram.  Max seemed like a great guy as attested to by the dozen or so friends who showed up in workout togs.  Good for him, and all the work it took, but really?  First the mayor devalues the City, now this... good grief!
But it would get worse... much worse...

LUCK OF THE DRAW
Eighteen people turned in cards to speak during Public Comments, so City Clerk Brenda Green shuffled the deck and pulled the first ten lucky people.  The rest would have to wait unti after midnight - including James Bridges, who depends on public transportation to attend the meetings.  Once again, he couldn't wait.

FIRST SIGNS OF MELTDOWN
Folks stepped up and spoke for and against the bastard child of Measure V, Measure O, Fireworks, Parking and more.  Teresa Drain, once again, stepped up and demanded a forensic audit on the 60th Anniversary debacle.  At the end of her well-reasoned presentation several members of the large crowd clapped.  At that point an angry Righeimer made the first of many memorable statements.  As he told the crowd not to clap, to which someone said something about "free speech", he spit back, "If you think it's free speech you'll be removed!"  And that was just the beginning.

CROONING TO THE MAYOR
One of the more memorable moments came when Terry Koken stepped up in the number 2 slot and crooned another tune to the mayor.  His lament, titled "Put Another Charter On The Ballot", had several catchy phrases, but I'll just give you one sample here as an example.  His second stanza begins:
We don't 'specially mind the nasty screwin',
But hope that you will understand we're pissed.
Not only'cause we don't like all the stuff that you are doin',
But mostly'cause we're screwed and never kissed....

 It was not clear whether the mayor was amused by the ballad or not.

RIGHEIMER AND BUDGET DOUBLE TALK
During Council Member Comments Monahan had nothing - big surprise there - but Righeimer crowed about the "at least $6 million budget surplus" that was announced earlier in the day, and acknowledged that "$19.4 million that we saved came from somewhere."  Profound!  He told us "We're doing better."  What he didn't tell you was that the "somewhere" was right out of the pockets of the employees and from the savings achieved by NOT filling vacancies in critical areas, including the Police Department, which is trying to keep us safe while operating with 25% fewer cops than the current authorized headcount (and 40% less than optimium staffing of a few years ago).  Nope, he didn't mention that.

MENSINGER SPEAKING IN TONGUES
Mensinger acknowledged speaker Flo Martin's complaint about parking issues throughout the city, then segued into a political statement about political statements, stating "Up is down and down is up", whatever the heck that means!  Then he spoke on Fireworks, complaining about how expensive it is to fund extracurricular activities in schools, citing "$100,000 a year for Estancia Football".  He asked the City Attorney to investigate increasing fines for illegal fireworks, but said nothing about curtailing the sale of safe and sane, which has now become a week of terror for many in our community as they are discharged for five straight nights under the current policy.  Leece's plan would reduce that to only July 4th, but I expect it to get almost no support, and that we will see dozens of kids in the audience on October 21st to plead for the retention of the current plan.

GENIS - FIREWORKS TRUTH
During her time Sandy Genis gave us background on the Fireworks issue - she was on the council at the time.  What has been misrepresented as "voter approval" of fireworks is nothing of the sort.  The fact that we currently permit fireworks is the result of a compromise made following an advisory vote by the people on the question of fireworks.  It was so close - 151 votes difference - against fireworks that the council at the time decided to permit safe and sane fireworks, but with strong controls.  Somehow, that morphed into the current situation.

LEECE - FIREWORKS AND TREES
Wendy Leece also addressed the Fireworks situation, indicating that complaints to her about illegal fireworks have tripled this year.  She has formed a Study Group on this issue and invited interested parties to join her by contacting her through City Hall.  Among the other things she addressed was the wisdom, or lack thereof, of our current mass tree-planting program during a time of drought.

FACILITATING DEVELOPMENT
CEO Tom Hatch, during his time, spoke of the "smooth transition at the Senior Center" - clearly an issue subject to interpretation, and introduced a new booklet, "Applicants Guide To Entitlement Processing", designed to facililtate development.  Swell...

JOYCE AND MEASURE O
Items 3 and 4 were pulled from the Consent Calendar for discussion later - after midnight, as it turned out.  Item 3 was the Warrant and Terry Koken hung around to complain about the $170,225 paid to Dan Joyce.  Righeimer, in replying to him, said they don't discuss personnel issues.  #4 was for a series of projects in the city paid for, in part, by state and federal grants.  Flo Martin also stayed around to postulate that if Measure O passes and the anti-Prevailing Wage section is followed, the City would lose millions of dollars in grants.  There was no response.

HOOKAH PARLORS
Public Hearing #1, the extension of the moratorium on opening any new Hookah Parlors, got more discussion than I anticipated.  Monahan was livid because of one operator, who had a dispute with his landlord and was tossed out, couldn't re-open in the city until the ban was lifted.  The staff wants an extension of a year so they can work on an extensive review of this kind of business plus "vaping" venues and smoking in public places in general.  Monahan was nearly apoplectic.  Following advice by contract City Attorney Tom Duarte, the upshot was that the moratorium would be extended another 12 months, but the staff would take a look in five months to see where they are in their process.  The vote was 4-1, with Monahan voting NO.

GROUP HOME ORDINANCE
At 7:20  the most contentious of the issues remaining on the agenda, the Group Home Ordinance, began.  Lawyer Elena Gherli launched into what would be a nearly two-hour discussion, including her extensive slide presentation - the same one she presented to the Planning Commission last month.  In fact, she neglected to update information on the slides following the Planning Commission meeting. Here are three that summarize the issue.



 BAKER'S DOZEN OF SPEAKERS
Thirteen members of the public, including several who either owned or represented owners of sober living homes (SLH), spoke in favor of the ordinance or against it.  Residents decried the destruction of their neighborhoods, and told horror stories about how their lives have been affected by this infestation of "sick people", many of whom are from out of state.  One resident of Huntington Beach who owned two contiguous sober living homes in Costa Mesa spoke, expressing concern that he - a "good operator" was being penalized for the actions of "bad operators".

WAIT FOR A NEW COUNCIL
Mary Spadoni used her three minutes to, among other things, suggest that - taking a page from Monahan's playbook when he stalled the police labor contract negotiations to "wait for a new council to be seated" - suggested this issue not receive final consideration until after the election.  Of course, that made too much sense.  She suggested that rushing this process now was a "political Hail Mary", referring, of course, to Righeimer.

R-2 ZONES?
Monahan wondered why facilities in R-2 zones were not being considered.  Gherli told him it was more complicated, and that this ordinance for R-1 properties would be easier to enforce.

SCHOOLS AND PAROLEES
Leece wondered why the ordinance didn't include a prohibition of such facilities near schools, like the Orange Ordinance does and expressed concern about parolees.  Gherli didn't give a satisfactory reply on the school issue and said the parolees are protected by state law.  Contract Staffer Jerry Guarrancino said there may be only one parolee per house.

MAYOR WANT TO SPREAD THE WEALTH
Righeimer expressed gratitude for the turnout, complained that Costa Mesa has 25% of such homes but only 3% of the population in Orange County.  When addressing why that might be the case he said, "because Costa Mesa is such a great place to live!"  He also acknowledged that we have no idea how many such facilities there are in the city, and that it's a problem of over-concentration - we have to spread them out!  That, dear voters, says the mayor is telling you to watch for a sober living home coming to your neighborhood soon!

BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH
When addressing his oft-stated observation that this ordinance - or any ordinance, for that matter - would result in lawsuits, he spoke again of Newport Beach's on-going battle on this issue, which has cost that city nearly $4 million in legal fees so far.  Expressing his resolve to spend our money on legal fees he said, "If it cost millions - 2 million, 3 million, 5 million - to keep our neighborhoods safe, then we will do it!"  And I thought about how he disemboweled the Costa Mesa Police Department just because of his animosity against employee "unions" and realized that he is nothing more than a hypocritical, self-serving, mealy-mouthed politician.  And that wasn't the worst last night...

TWO HOURS AND IT PASSED
At 9:05 last night - after nearly two hours of discussion and comments - the council unanimously passed the first reading of the ordinance - and lawyers all over Orange County are calling their Bentley dealers this morning.

APPEAL OF CAR DEALERSHIP EXPANSION
After a short break we took on Public Hearing #3, the appealed changes to the plans for the Orange Coast Buick-GMC-Cadillac dealership at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Merrimac - the site of the previous Nabors Cadillac store.  This issue has been plagued with bad management since the beginning, when the demolition of the old building resulted in significant damage to resident's property and the death of a pet.  The residents have been working with the new ownership and the planning department to resolve serious issues.  This was an appeal of an approval given by the Planning Commission last month.  And, as it turned out, it was not going to be a pretty scene.

MEL AND PETER
Senior Planner Mel Lee made the staff presentation, then Peter Naghavi - former long-time city employee and senior member of the management team - represented the applicant and made a lengthy presentation, addressing the history and the concerns.  Through it all Righeimer seemed antsy - more than usual.

RIGHEIMER STUNS TERESA DRAIN
When it came time for the public to speak, the first person up was resident Teresa Drain, who has been a spokesperson for her neighbors near the dealership on this issue.  As she began to read her prepared statement (go to 04:01:57 on the video) - to be sure she could fit it all in during her 3 minutes - Righeimer interrupted her and snapped, "Wadda ya want?"  Startled, Drain stared up at him,  and he repeated, "Wadda ya want?"  At that time Leece told him to just let her speak.  He then said, "I don't know why we're here!"  Flustered, Drain continued, giving a brief history of the situation and explaining that she and her neighbors were looking for just a little more time to finalize arrangements with the owner.  Righeimer gave her more time and asked her what she wanted - money?  She said no, but perhaps something like what the Home Depot center provided to contiguous neighbors - air conditioning because they had to keep their windows closed - double paned windows.  She wasn't asking for those things, just wanted a little more time working with the owner.

WISE WORDS, PROBABLY UNHEARD
The remaining 8 speakers took their turn, which took us to around 10:20 p.m.  Then the Vice President representing the owners, Ron MacEachern, spoke about their plans and mission.  As part of his attempt to apologize for the early missteps with the project he said: "One of the habits of highly successful people is to seek first to understand, then to be understood".  I heard that and wondered if Righeimer heard and understood what he had just said.  Probably not.

RUDE RIGHEIMER INTERRUPTS AND ERUPTS
Then, when Leece asked for the floor, Righeimer cut her off (04:47:10) and said, "Lemme speak first!"  He then, unbeliveably, apologized to the owner for having to be there.  He said "There's just property owners here and they have issues.  Not homeowners, just property owners."  This begins his rant which culminates in him making a motion - seconded by Mensinger - to move exactly what the Planning Commission recommended except requiring a 10 foot wall for two properties - and is followed by Leece expressing her disappointment and Genis reading him the riot act for his behavior.

PROPERTY OWNERS SHAKING DOWN DEALER?
Leece derided his "attitude and condescention" toward the residents of College Park.  Righeimer interrupts her and, at 04:51:45, referring to the property owners, "What I heard here is property owners trying to shakedown somebody for money - for cash."  The audience erupted in anger and, at 04:52:39, you can hear one being told to leave.  When she did she hurled over her shoulder at the mayor, "You're an ass!"  She was correct.

GENIS PULLS NO PUNCHS, SO TO SPEAK
Then it was Sandy Genis' turn... Oh, boy!  After providing some history that comes only from being a long-time resident and former council member, among the thing she said addressed Righeimer's "temper tantrum", and wondered if it was because he was "outside the loop" or because "he didn't come up with the idea" (I'm smiling as I type that) and she said she was "appalled at the infantile reaction to that."  Her explanation of the reason for the additional conditions made perfect sense, but it fell on three sets of deaf ears.  She observed that nobody knows what the future holds for this dealership, so any conditions should be codified.  Nope, Righeimer wasn't hearing anything like that!

LOGIC AND SOUND GOVERNANCE FAILS, AGAIN
Genis made a substitute motion to include the list of conditions added that evening and Leece seconded it.  When the vote was taken it was defeated, 2-3.  They then voted on Righeimer's motion, which passed, 3-2 and the owner went away smiling and the residents - you know, those "shakedown artists" went away stunned.

MORE LIVE/WORK, MORE TRAFFIC
The final item on the agenda - a screening request for the 32-unit live/work development at 1672 Placentia Avenue that would produce traffic 220% greater than the ultimate build-out prescribed in the General Plan - took less than an hour to discuss, finishing up at midnight.  Seven speakers addressed the proliferation of such developments.  Chad Brown, the developer, said the city has 440 such units in the city now!  Yikes.  Residents complained about the density, parking and what appears to be a rush to get these kind of projects done while there is a developer-friendly administration in the city.  The irrascible Terry Koken stuck around to address this item and his parting words to Righeimer were, "The density of this project is exceeded only by your own!"  Yep

VRSKA ON THE CASE
That took us to the trailed Consent Calendar items mentioned at the top, then the remaining speakers during the trailed Public Comments - all six of them who stayed to the bitter end.  Among those was Anna Vrska, who criticized Righeimer for his condescenting attitude and referred to him as a "little tyrant who needs his ego stroked.  She also wondered to Monahan - who likely wished he was at his pub, pulling beer taps about that time - and asked, but received no answer, to her questions about his and attorney Duarte's creation of the Medical Marijuana Ordinance.  Apparently she is being stone-walled by the City on her request for documents defining the cost in attorney time - Duarte had indicated that it cost $25,000.  She also decried what appears to be the misuse of the self-insurance fund - which appears to be another Righeimer piggy bank.  Crickets.  However, Miss Vrska is, if nothing else, persistent.  I suspect we have not heard the last of this.

RIGHEIMER DEMONSTRATED HIS UNFITNESS
We bailed out of the council chambers at 12:30, feeling very drained and frustrated by the performance of your mayor.  Fortunately, his tirades last night only further demonstrate his unfitness for the office he holds, and why an open checkbook like Measure O would be catastrophic for the city in his hands.  Make it easy - No on O and No R's on the ballot.  Simple, no?

NO ON "O" - NO R'S, YOU KNOW...

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Group Homes, Hookah Lounges Top Council Agenda

ANOTHER INTERESTING MEETING AHEAD
The Costa Mesa City Council will hold the first of two regularly scheduled meetings before the November 4, 2014 General Election on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.  You can read the agenda for that meeting HERE.

FULL AGENDA
There are several interesting items on the agenda, plus I expect there will be some folks speaking during Public Comments that will be demanding some answers.  It should be another interesting evening, so let's just take it from the top.

CONSENT CALENDAR
The Consent Calendar - items that are grouped together with the anticipation that they will be considered and voted upon in one vote with out discussion, contains some interesting stuff again.


SPENDING YOUR DOLLARS
Item #3, HERE, is Warrant 2523, the register of paid bills for specific time periods.  Here are a few of the items that caught my eye:
  • #0182840 - Costa Mesa Senior Center, $25,000.00 for the purchase of fixed assets coincident with the hostile takeover of the Senior Center from the Costa Mesa Senior Corporation Board.
  • #0182841 - Lowes, $8,946.21, for 3rd Floor Break room Remodel
  • #0182842 - Daniel T. Joyce, $170.225.00, Settlement.
  • #0182844 - City of Huntington Beach, $18,844.00, Helicopter Services, July, 2014
  • #0182846 - Costa Mesa Conference and Visitors Bureau, $242,876.47, BIA Receipts, July, 2014.
  • #0182904 - Government Staffing Services, Inc, $13,557.50, Temp Services (Mgt. Analyst, Project Mgr., Buyer)
  • #0182939 - Original Pizza, $970.50, Beer & Wine for CM Foundation
  • #0182967 - US Postal Service, $10,000.00, Postage for Postage Meter
  • #0182968 - US Postmaster, $10,000.00, Standard Mail Fee.
  • #0183284 - Jones & Mayer, $154,028.80, Legal Service (various)
  • #0183286 - Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, $24,561.88, Legal Services(Various)

It's interesting that we spent almost $180,000 on legal services again on this warrant.  That old meter just keeps on spinning.

CANCELLATION OF NOVEMBER 4TH MEETING
Item #5, HERE, is the request to cancel the scheduled council meeting on November 4, 2014 - the date of the General Election.  We certainly wouldn't want the city's business to interfere with post-election celebrations, now would we?  That means two more meetings before the election - this one and the one on October 21st, before the election and then probably only one more, on November 18th, before a new City Council is seated.

HOOKAH LOUNGES MORATORIUM EXTENSION
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is a request for consideration of extending the current moratorium regarding Hookah Parlors. I doubt there will be much opposition to this one, except from the same guys who always show up - lounge operators and potential operators.

GROUP HOME ORDINANCE
Public Hearing #2, HERE, should be the biggie on the agenda.  This one is the so-called Group Home Ordinance, which has been sent up to the City Council by the Planning Commission for consideration.  This ordinance changes several sections of the Municipal Code and is an attempt to exercise some degree of control over the proliferation of sober living facilities that are popping up all over our city since Newport Beach tightened its regulations.  The agenda includes the 138-page Planning Commission staff report from the September 22nd meeting, HERE.

CAR DEALERSHIP CHANGES
Public Hearing #3, HERE, should also provide some interesting moments.  This is the second amendment on the under-construction Buick/Cadillac dealership at the corner of Harbor Blvd. and Merrimac Street.  This issue has seen some very contentious moments at previous meetings - including a very significant turnout of impacted neighbors.  This one will be worth watching.

MORE VERTICAL DEVELOPMENT
New Business #1, HERE, is a Screening Request for a 32-unit development at 1672 Placentia Avenue - another of those three-story plus rooftop patio developments that have been proliferating recently in our industrial and commercial sections of town.

CLAMPING DOWN ON FIREWORKS
The final item on the agenda is New Business #2, HERE, termed-out Councilwoman Wendy Leece's attempt at getting the Fireworks situation tightened up for next year.  The staff report requests restrictions on fireworks sales and permits only discharge of those so-called safe and sane fireworks on the evening of July 4th, period!  It also requests additional law enforcement resources to assist in enforcement of the regulations.   This conversation should be spirited, to say the least.  I fully expect someone on the dais to accuse Leece of hating kids...

AND MORE?
I have no idea how long this meeting will last.  There is no Closed Session this time around, but one just never knows what kind of questions the council will get during Public Comments.  I suspect there may be one or two about the major gaffe in the language for Measure P on the November ballot.  As Dane Bora says, "There's always something happening in Costa Mesa".  See you there.


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