EXACERBATING A MISTAKE
According to an article in the Daily Pilot by Brad Zint
late this afternoon, HERE
, today Contract City Attorney Tom Duarte
apparently provided an opinion to the City of Costa Mesa that the mistake made with the vote by the Parks and Recreation Commission last Thursday night regarding the user status of Matt Leinart Flag Football was OK, thereby erroneously granting Group 3 User status to that organization for another year. How does one completely ignore the actual video record and decide what the commissioners THOUGHT they were voting on?
CONFUSION ON THE DAIS
I wrote a lengthy report on that meeting and included my summary of what had happened when the vote was taken, HERE
. At that point in the meeting I suspect everyone in the audience was exhausted by the emotion of the issue, the history between the competing groups and passion of folks on both sides of the issue. Chairman Kim Pederson
almost took a break before the issue in question received a vote, and he may not have been the only person on the dais not paying attention.
ASKING THE QUESTION FIRST...
the vote was taken Commissioner Byron de Arakal
asked a pointed question of Recreation Manager Travis Karlen
. He asked if Leinart remained a Group 3 user NOW
. He emphasized that last word because it was important. He then read from the staff report for his motion, which included ONLY
the permanent Group 1 users. In fact, even de Arakal was off his game, because he failed to say "Group 1" - he said "group users
". The commission voted on that single issue, period!
READ THE QUESTIONS...
Let's be absolutely clear. The following is an image of the section of the staff report in question. Item 1, dealing with the FUAP, was voted upon by the Commission on a 4-0 vote, with Don Harper
abstaining - as he inexplicably did several times that night. (Click on the image to enlarge it)
THE QUESTION, THE VOTE, THE RESULT - NO DOUBT
Then, de Arakal asked Karlen if they needed a vote on number 2, the "user group" question. The response was yes, but Pederson apparently didn't hear it and proceeded to call for a break. de Arakal reminded Pederson that they needed a vote, to which he stated that he "thought it was included
de Arakal asked his pointed question about the Leinart status, and when Karlen affirmed that it had Group 3 status NOW
, de Arakal stated his motion. He read the first sentence of item 2 verbatim, but DID NOT
include the second one about the Group 3 status of Leinart. There is NO DOUBT
about that. The commission voted, 5-0, on that issue.
During the break it was clear that confusion reigned on this issue. Karlen was on the phone with CEO Tom Hatch
, letting him know that there were issues with the vote and apparently looking for guidance. At one point the discussion at the well - the front of the chambers where the staff sits - I heard a comment by someone saying, "Well, what do we do now? Everybody has left
.", meaning that all the interested parties in this issue had departed the council chambers.
SHE GOT IT WRONG
When Harper asked the clerk to read back the minutes he was told by her that the actual minutes were not available - they needed to be transcribed. She then tried to RECREATE
the motion from her memory - and GOT IT WRONG
! She included the Leinart sentence.
DUARTE PERPETUATES IT
And now Duarte perpetuates the mistake, obviously ignoring the video record of the event. How does one make this kind of a mistake? It befuddles me.
WHAT WILL THE COUNCIL DO - IF ANYTHING?
So, now the City Council will hear the issue of the FUAP sometime in July, but it's unclear to me if the assignment of Group status for those organizations, including the Leinart organization, will be part of their review. Even if it is, the Leinart group has received preferential treatment for more than a year and, some say, it is highly favored among certain city officials. One might suspect that this error - major screw-up, actually - will permit them to continue this preferential treatment and cost the city thousands of dollars.
TWO MORE QUESTIONS REMAIN
Remaining to be answered is whether the Leinart group can, 1) become a legitimate non-profit instead of using the ruse it's been following for the past year? and, 2) can it prove that it has the necessary ratio of Costa Mesa residents to qualify for Group 3 status? If the answer to 1) is "NO", it will pay higher fees. If the answer to 2) is "NO", it automatically will default to Group 5 status and lose priority in field assignments.
HOPING FOR COMPETENCE
One hopes for better from those in positions of responsibility in our government. One would hope our commissioners would pay attention during the meetings. And one would hope for better decisions by members of the senior staff. It's not too much to ask, is it?
Labels: Byron de Arakal, Don Harper, Kim Pederson, Parks and Recreation Commission, Tom Duarte, Tom Hatch, Travis Karlen