Saturday, November 01, 2014

Imagine My Surprise.... (Amended)***

 BLEARY-EYED SURPRISE
So, I finally got around to looking through the Daily Pilot for October 31st about 2 a.m. on November 1st.  As I flipped the pages - I LOVE reading a newspaper - a little ad caught my eye.  It was below the fold on page B3, beside a quarter page ad for Lobsterfest'14 and above an eighth page ad by the Daily Pilot to "Promote your event with our online calendar". 

HMMM, NICE CAULDRON
The graphic on this ad caught my eye - you'll certainly understand that, won't you?  Then I read it and almost fell off my couch!  Here's the ad...

WHO ARE THESE FOLKS?

OK.. let's get this straight... I DID NOT pay for this ad.  I've gone to the Facebook page for Costa Mesa First, which didn't help much.  I don't know who runs the page and had NO prior knowledge about this ad running.  ***(So, whomever these lovely scamps are, they did it AGAIN!  This time today, November 1st, on page A11, above the fold!)

I'M GRATEFUL!
Don't get me wrong... I'm happy somebody thought enough of my blog to actually advertise it for me.  Once again, I blush at all this attention.  So, let me say THANK YOU to them... whomever they are.  I suppose somebody will fess up about this eventually.  I'd really love to know who did it.  Until then, my anonymous benefactors, I'll ask Lennon and Maisy to help me say Thanks.  Girls...



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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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Friday, October 31, 2014

OC Register Shifts Position On Measure O?

NASTY TIMES, THESE..

In one of the most contentious election seasons I can recall, where friends are pitted against friends, family members against each other and vitriol has reached new heights - or lows, depending on your viewpoint - today there was another twist.

OC REGISTER ON "O"...

Earlier this month the Orange County Register Editorial Board opted to support Costa Mesa's Measure O, the bastard child of Jim Righeimer's soundly defeated Measure V from two years ago.

WE REJECT IT...

We here at A Bubbling Cauldron have been unwavering in our rejection of this bogus document, and have cited our reasons many, many times.  We've followed the creation of that document, attending almost every meeting and watching the interaction of the Baker's Dozen of residents - the stacked deck - who crafted it.

FATAL FLAWS
When the document was finally blessed by the City Council I was disappointed, but not unhappy, because within it are some fatal flaws that should make EVERY voter pause before marking their ballots.  Sections 104 and 806 provide an open door for mischief at the very least and flat-out corruption if carried to an extreme.  They potentially lay waste to citizen's rights without the nasty old protections currently provided to us as a General Law City.

REGISTER TURNS AROUND...

Today, in print, the Orange County Register listed it's endorsements and among them they recommend a NO vote on Measure O.  I have gone online and have reproduced the entire list of endorsements so you'll have the proper context below.
 ONE MORE TIME...
Measure O is a dangerous and unnecessary document and should, once again, be soundly rejected by the voters of this city.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

And The Campaign Paper Blizzard Continues...

NEW LOW LEVELS OF NASTINESS AND DECEIT
From my perspective, the political campaign season this time around is the most vitriolic, nasty and distasteful of any in my memory, regardless of which race you examine - and I've been watching this stuff for a long, long time.  If you believed half of what lands in your mailbox these days, every single candidate should not be running for office - they should be drawn and quartered!

HIDDEN SOURCES
Distortions, fabrications and outright lies appear every day in the form of glossy fliers for almost every candidate.  Most of them cannot be traced directly back to an opposing candidate - they are hidden behind the shield of political action committees and other out-of-town organizations - on both sides.  A few concerned residents have done a good job of uncovering the funding sources for several of those groups and have posted that information on social media sites and elsewhere.

JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM...
Today there was an exception.  Along with a half-dozen other political fliers, there arrived one clearly annotated, "Paid for by Costa Mesa Police Association Independent Expenditure Committee" - lest there be any doubt about it.  Here is the front:
 SHOULD BE FAMILIAR
This will look familiar to many of you - this image has been making the rounds in social media and was worn by a couple dozen members of the public at a recent City Council meeting.

The reverse side of the flier looks like this:
 (If you have difficulty reading this image 
or the one above, just click on it to enlarge it)

THE CORE OF THE ISSUE
The issue of police staffing has been one of the many hot-button points of discussion during this campaign season.  On this site we've discussed the reasons for the depletion of the staff of the Costa Mesa Police Department several times and who we hold directly responsible.  This flyer doesn't cover all the details, but gives you the facts of the current situation.

RIGHEIMER IS THE CAUSE, NOT THE SOLUTION
There is nothing in recent history that leads me to believe that the continuation of Jim Righeimer on the City Council will do anything but exacerbate the situation with the CMPD and the rest of the employee associations.  He's demonstrated, over and over, that he has great animosity for the CMPD - from what I believe was a contrived confrontation at a DUI checkpoint while he was on the Planning Commission right on through to the bogus lawsuit he, his wife and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger have filed against those brave men and women.  When the issue of police staffing shortages was brought up at a recent City Council meeting Righeimer's response during one of his many mini-tirades was, "We're gonna be just fine."

FOOT-DRAGGING
Although the CMPA has been ready, willing and able to begin contract negotiations, they've been stalled because Righeimer and Mensinger are not eligible to participate because of that lawsuit and their compatriot - Gary Monahan - has been a no-show at scheduled meetings.  They have, however, given us every indication of how those negotiations will go with the result of the contract just completed with the Costa Mesa City Employees Association - the so-called "miscellaneous employees".  That one was so draconian that take home pay for many of the members has been rolled back to numbers not seen for a decade!  You may recall that one of Righeimer's first acts on the City Council was to initiate an attempt to layoff more than half of that group.  That illegal act violated established city policy and the lawsuit it generated to protect the rights of the employees is still percolating.

CMPD IS NOT ALONE
The flyer clearly outlines the staffing difficulties within the CMPD, but the reluctance to properly staff organizations so they can provide even minimal service levels is felt city-wide.  There have not been the number of vacancies in city staff positions that we see today for decades!  And that is only comparing them to the authorized staff. The authorized staffing level is down from optimal staffing levels of just a few years ago by more than 30%!  Righeimer paved your streets by not providing adequate staffing for other critical areas, including public safety.

THE BEST SOLUTION FOR A SAFER CITY...
Thanks to the members of the Costa Mesa Police Association for producing this informative flyer, and for pointing out, once again, that the best solution for a safer city is a vote for Jay Humphrey and Katrina Foley on Tuesday.

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La Femme Wonkita - Numbers, With A Vengeance

 SANDY'S ON THE CASE
Over at the La Femme Wonkita Blog, councilwoman Sandra Genis has produced some very provocative entries over the past couple days.

DISSOLVING THE MYTH
On Tuesday she gave us an essay, HERE, which dissects the myth of a budget surplus, complete with graphics.
DEBUNKING THE BUNK
Then, on Wednesday, she continues her challenge of the budget process, HERE, debunking Mayor Jim Righeimer's claim of producing a balance budget.
 LOSING PATIENCE WITH THE FOOLS
One gets the sense that our councilwoman is rapidly growing impatient with all the fabrication that has been going on around her on the dais and seems poised to push back in real time as it happens in the future.

ONE MORE TIME....
Yet another reason to vote for Jay Humphrey and Katrina Foley for City Council and to vote No on Measure O.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Three More Police Recruits Graduate!

THREE MORE COPS ON THE STREET
In a press release today the Costa Mesa Police Department announced the graduation of three new officers from the Police Academy yesterday.

WELCOME ABOARD
New officers Shane Anderson, Isidro Gallardo and Daniel Holl will now join the CMPD and begin their training with a Field Training Officer.  Congratulations to all three men and welcome to Costa Mesa.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Only One Surprise At Planning Commission Meeting

SHORT AND NOT-SO-SWEET
In a Planning Commission meeting that lasted just over 2 hours there were very few surprises.

NUMBER 1 CONTINUED
The Public Hearing for a Conditional Use Permit for a church at 1901 Newport Boulevard was continued until the meeting of November 10th.

ITEMS 2 AND 3 PASSED
Both Small Lot Developments on the agenda were approved with minimal modifications to the terms on the staff reports.  Both were praised by the planning commissioners as precisely the kind of projects the Small Lot Ordinance was intended to facilitate - with plenty of parking and open space and virtually no deviations or variances.  Of course, nobody mentioned that the Small Lot Ordinance did away with the items that required variances - those protections in the municipal code to protect the character of our neighborhoods.  Now we'll just be cramming more and more dwellings on small lots and smile about it.  Both items passed on 5-0 votes.

HEALTH CLUB APPROVED, TOO
The final item on the agenda was the proposal to install a health club in the corner of the KMart Plaza Shopping Center.  Everyone was giddy over this one, too.  The representative pitching this plan was Bill Fancher, who lives over near Mayor Jim Righeimer and who was on the Charter committee.  The commission passed this one on a 5-0 vote.

STEVEN WHITE SPEAKS OUT
Perhaps the most uncomfortable moments of the evening came at the hands of former employee, Steven White.  He used his three minutes to castigate members of the commission and actually demanded to know who was responsible for what he called slanderous comments made about him on the Costa Mesa Taxpayer's page.  Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick is the President of that group.  Colin McCarthy is a founding member and past president.  As expected, he received no answers to his questions/demands.

THAT'S ALL FOR NOW
So, that's it until after the election.  The next Planning Commission meeting will be on November 10th.  The next City Council meeting will be on the 17th.  In the meantime, we can all just immerse ourselves in the nastiest political season in recent memory.

 WHY NOT RIGHEIMER?
And, if you want to know why I won't be voting for Jim Righeimer for City Council, read what I wrote recently HERE.

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