Feeling Safer? Why?
Here's a little something for you to contemplate as you plan to ring in the new year. The City of Costa Mesa is not safer this year than it was last year. And, sadly, this is a DIRECT result of policies and attitudes by the current City Council majority - specifically Mayor Steve Mensinger and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer.
NUMBERS TO CONTEMPLATE
Here's a little information for you, plucked straight from the pages of the city web site. I've provided the last three months available for your consideration, but you can find all the rest at the city web site HERE. (Click on the individual charts to expand.)
POTHOLES BEFORE PUBLIC SAFETY
So, as we enter the new year, full of hope and anticipation, keep in mind that some of your elected leaders have chosen to place potholes before public safety. They care more about their legacy as measured by paved streets and alleys and fancy new center dividers than the safety of those of us who live or work in and those who visit and shop in Costa Mesa
FEWER COPS... AND DROPPING
As of the end of the year the Costa Mesa Police Department will have fewer than 100 officers ready for duty. There are nearly 30 vacancies in the department. Of the authorized staff level - which is well short of optimal - five are so-called "grant cops", officers being paid through a 5-year grant. The time on those grants is expiring, which will reduce the authorized strength of the department's sworn officers even more!
INTENTIONALLY STALLED THE PROCESS
And, you may recall that Mensinger and Righeimer refused to let then-chief Tom Gazsi begin the hiring process for new officers for more than eight months, putting the department so far behind the curve that it will take years to recover.
AN EVEN GREATER NEED!
Even without the impact of a growing drug problem, and expanding homelessness problem, AB 109 releases and Prop. 47, it would be tough to properly police this city. Add those elements to the mix, PLUS the fact that Costa Mesa has the highest percentage of rehab homes in the county - by far - than any other city and those places have been demonstrated to be incubators for homeless criminals. When they are bounced out of the rehab homes for failure to complete the programs there is no mechanism or requirement for them to be returned to their home of record, so they end up on our streets. A recent incident where a resident clobbered a burglar with a flashlight emphasizes that problem, HERE.
And, of course, we have the CMPD contract to consider. The men and women of the CMPD are working without a new contract for more than 500 days. Only three members of the City Council - Gary Monahan, Katrina Foley and Sandra Genis - may be involved in the negotiations because the other two men have sued the men and women of the CMPD. And those three must reach unanimous accord on the contract.
ROOKIES CANNOT REPLACE VETERANS
And, there is the loss of experience caused by the retirement and/or departure to other venues by skilled, season veteran officers. Yes, we can hire some of the best new officers available, but they simply don't have the experience yet to actually fill the void - that takes years.
"THANK" THOSE RESPONSIBLE
So, I encourage you to drop a little note to the two top elected leaders in our city to "thank them" for caring more about their legacy than our safety. I'm sure they will welcome a little note from you. I suspect Mayor Pro Tem Righeimer will remind you of what he constantly says - "Having more cops doesn't mean you have a safer city." Yeah, really? Well, it's a great place to start!
HOPING FOR A SAFER, HAPPIER NEW YEAR
And a Very Happy New Year to you all.