Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Budget And OCC Meetings Scheduled Thursday Night

Two very important meetings are scheduled tomorrow, Thursday, and I'm not attending either one due to important family commitments.  However, that doesn't mean YOU shouldn't attend them and report back to me how things went!

6:00 P.M., ROOM 108, ADMIN. BLDG, OCC
Orange Coast College will hold yet another community outreach meeting to continue the discussion of their Vision 2020 expansion program.  This one involves the possibility of Student Housing on Campus and begins at 6:00 in Room 108 in the OCC Administration Building.  Here's the text of the most recent announcement of this meeting:

Reminder: Orange Coast College will be hosting a Community Meeting on Thursday, May 21 at 6 p.m., in Room 108 of the OCC Administration Building to report on the feasibility studies the college has conducted in regards to the possibility of the construction of student housing on the campus. A representative of the consulting firm of Brailsford & Dunlavey will be at the meeting to provide an overview of the firm’s findings related to the feasibility of adding residential housing on the OCC campus.

The meeting will be in the OCC Administration Building at Fairview & Arlington. Free parking will be available in Lot B next to the OCC Admin. Building. If you have additional questions please contact Doug Bennett at (714) 432-5126.

As you can see from the attached map, the Admin. building is immediately adjacent to Lot B at the Arlington Drive entrance.  Parking is free.  Click on the map to enlarge.
I've found these OCC meetings to be very informative and conducted in a very civilized manner.  The folks speaking typically are respectful of the questions asked and appear to do their best to provide answers.  Having attended several of them by this time, one thing is VERY clear - they DO LISTEN to the voices of their neighbors and other concerned residents.  That's very refreshing.  I hope you'll attend and participate.

Simultaneously, across the street at City Hall, the staff will conduct a community meeting on the proposed 2015-2016 Municipal Budget.  You can find the entire nearly 400 page document HERE

This meeting also begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in Conference Room 1A on the first floor of City Hall, immediately behind the City Clerk's office. 

In the past these meetings have been poorly attended, but have been quite valuable for those of us who did show up.  I suspect tomorrow's meeting will have a larger turnout than in years past.  The format has been more casual than, for example, a council study session.  Generally, the staff has been interested in hearing from the community on this subject before the council makes the final decision on this document the first meeting of June.

If I were to attend there area a few things I'd like to discuss.  Perhaps others might have the same questions.  Some of mine are:

1 - Why are we not budgeting money to expand Fire Station #4, which is pivotal to the full implementation of the deployment plan created by former Interim Chief Tom Arnold and modified by CEO Tom Hatch?

2 - On the same subject, why do we NOT cancel the contract with CARE Ambulance and begin transporting patients ourselves - and generating between $1-2 million in annual revenue for the city?  Could it be political?  Seems like a good question, since CARE has been a big campaign contributor and also contributes to events around the city.

3 - Why do we not require department heads to produce a more realistic staff requirement?   By over-projecting the needs it results in theoretical budgeted money saved by not filling positions, which is then used by the council as a piggy bank for their pet projects. 

4 - Why do we budget $4 million for the Library/Neighborhood Community Center project instead of putting at least part of that money toward more public safety staff?  Today we are nearly 30 positions short of our diminished Police Department authorized staffing level.  The Fire Department staff continues to be required to rack up horrible overtime hours because we do not adequately staff that organization.

5 - What kind of fiscal responsibility is it to have half our brand new fleet of Rescue Ambulances - at $250,000 a piece - sitting dormant?  This is directly related to the above items.  We cannot fully implement the Arnold plan.

6 - Why do we not purchase a new emergency generator - Capital Improvement Budget wish list line #93?  This is long, long, long overdue.

There are MANY other questions I have about the fiscal management of our city.  All are policy questions.  Things like what kind of a political character will put potholes before public safety?  Sure, the streets are nice, but our priorities are so screwed-up because of the hatred of the Police Department by a couple hack politicians that our city is NOT safe today.  No A.B.L.E.; A severely diminshed Gang Unit; No Narcotics Unit; A severely diminished Detective Bureau; 3/4 of our motorcycles sit unused; No K-9s, etc.  We cannot hire cops - new or Reserves -  fast enough to keep up with the hemorrhaging of officers retiring early and/or departing to other venues, including some of our most recent hires.  All this at a time when our streets are made significantly less safe by the increase of parolees and probationers in our community and the epidemic of sober living homes infesting our city.

So, attend the meeting.  Ask your own questions and listen to the answers.  I'm sorry I'll miss it, but we're getting our first chance to visit with our newest grand niece from Omaha, Miss Harper Hartte Cunningham, and we have our priorities in order. 

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Anonymous Papa Smurf said...

Police staffing is actually down by over 60. The police staffing levels used to be approximately 166 sworn officers prior to this council's decimation of our Police department. This staffing level was also pre prison re-alignment and prior to the proliferation of sober living homes in our city amongst the other issues we now have. We need to get these numbers up so our police can be proactive and not reactive.

5/21/2015 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...


5/21/2015 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

What a sweet baby! Kiss her for me, please.

5/21/2015 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Done and Done! :-)

5/21/2015 09:47:00 PM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

Well, it was a good thing you didn’t come to the budget meeting because we needed your chair. There was a really good turnout of residents, and what appeared to be a few students from a poly sci class.
Hatch and staff got an earful when it came to the concerns of the residents and things got a little testy at times. Hatch and Munoz like to talk circles around questions, but we know when they aren’t giving answers and will pursue them. I learned a lot from the residents’ questions and comments.
At the beginning of the meeting Hatch stated that it was an informal meeting since it hadn’t been noticed per the Brown Act. That make me wonder if the residents’ comments and suggestions are actually going to be incorporated into the public record. Perhaps those in attendance need to make a formal request to the City to make sure that happens.
Also, the video cameras were rolling, so if you want to see what went on, you might want to ask for the tape.

5/22/2015 09:24:00 AM  

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