Sunday, January 03, 2016

First Council Meeting Of The Year Promises Controversy

ARE YOU READY?
Are you ready?  I'm ready!  I spent much of the Christmas/New Year holiday banking my sleep in anticipation of yet another year of fun and games in the political whirlpool that Costa Mesa government has become.

SMALL, BUT CONTROVERSIAL, AGENDA
Tuesday, January 5, 2016, the Costa Mesa City Council will meet for their first meeting of the year beginning at 5:45 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall and, although the agenda is relatively small, there are some items that will almost certainly generate some spirited discussion.  You can read the full agenda HERE.  I'll give you a little rundown, beginning with a little peek at the Consent Calendar - items that are anticipated to all be handled in one vote, without separate discussion, unless someone pulls an item for conversation/explanation.

THE $10 MILLION WARRANT
Consent Calendar Item #2, Warrant 2548,  HERE, is full of interesting information made available to us because Mayor Steve Mensinger required it a couple years ago.  The items listed below struck me as interesting, either because of the amounts or the nature of the expense, and are in order as they appear among the list, which represents almost $10 million in payouts by The City over the past month or so. 

Enterprise Counsel Group - $17,136.88 - legal fees
Jones & Mayer - $125,915.01 - legal fees
KOA Corporation - $35,134.11 - 19th Bicycle Trail 8/3-10/4/15
Lonerock, Inc - $449,632.03 - 2 entries for Water Quality and Storm Drain Improvements
Safe Moves - $15,662.16 - Bicycle Education Svcs - Sept 15
Meyers Nave - $1,574.50 - Legal - Fairview Park
Newport Rib Company - $1,113.00 - Luncheon for Homeless Volunteers
City of Huntington Beach - $24,290.00 - Helicopter Svs- Oct 15
Global Power Group, Inc. - $102.390.51 - 2014-2015 Westside Neighborhood Retentions.
Best Best & Krieger, LLP - $1,300.00 - Special Council Legal Svcs
Government Staffing Services, Inc - $9,169.00 - Temp Svcs
Keyser Marston Associates, Inc - $7,287.50 - Consulting Oct 15
Leibert Cassidy Whitmore - $2,391.00 - Legal svcs, negotiations 2014
Meyers Nave - $469.00 - Legal, Fairview Park
Pacific Municipal Consultants - $8,400.00 - Consulting Svs for Group Home
Safe Moves - $7,995.00 - Bicycle Education Svs -  Oct 2015
Costa Mesa Conference & Visitor Bureau - $238,341.21 - BIA Receipts for Oct 2015
Government Staffing Services, Inc. - $15,096.00 - Temp svcs
Blue Sky Outfitters, Inc. - $8,343.14 - Foam Reindeer Antlers and sport shirts
Costa Mesa United - $7,000.00 - 2016 Golf Tournament Sponsorship
Entertainment Contractor - $4,500.00 - 10 tons of Snow
James R. Jordan - $8,250.00 - Holiday Design Consulting
KOA Corporation - $3,675.00 - 19th Bicycle Trail 10/5-11/1/15
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $10,901.05 - Legal, General
CSG Consultants, Inc. - $16,140.00 - Bldg Inspt. Svs
Civil Source - $53,751.25 - Proj. Mgt.
Enterprise Counsel Group - $35,474.78 - Legal svcs
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $21,928.40 - Legal, personnel, general
Blue Sky Outfitters, Inc. - $8,257.83 - shirts
Government Staffing Services, Inc. - $9,058.00 - Temp svcs
Granicus, Inc. - $13,950.00 - Web Sharing Svcs, Plus more
Interwest Consulting Group, Inc. - $11,935.50 - Sr. Bldg Inspct Oct 2015
James R. Jordan - $8,250.00 - Consulting Srvcs for Dec 2015
Johnson Favaro LLP - $2,391.40 - Lib. NCC Architect Plan
Keyser Marston Associates, Inc. - $4,650.00 - Consulting Svcs
Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth - $8,698.75 - Legal Svcs, various

TAKE A CLOSER LOOK!
So, let's pause here for a moment before continuing on to take a closer look at just those items above.  This warrant contains nearly $225,000 in legal costs!  We spent more than $33,000 to one agency - Government Staffing Services, Inc. - for temporary services!  And, why did we pay Jim Jordan $16,500 in "Consulting Services"?

MESA VERDE DEVELOPMENT MOVES FORWARD
Sliding on down in the Consent Calendar, on #5, HERE, we find the final Tract Map for the 10-lot development at 2880 Mesa Verde Drive,  You will recall this was originally proposed to be a project with more lots, but the developer met with community members and reduced it to 10 larger lots.

BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB LEASE RESTATEMENT
Item #8, HERE, is the restatement of the lease agreement with the Boys and Girls Club of the Harbor Area, Inc. for an additional 48 years.  Some may recall that resident Chuck Perry caused a stink at a recent meeting when he suggested that the club was going out of business based on some rumor he heard.

GROWING WEED

Public Hearing #1, HERE, is the first reading of an ordinance necessary for the City to manage
cultivation of marijuana within the City.  If it doesn't have an ordinance in place before March 1 the State of California will control that issue.  We've written about this before when the Planning Commission heard the issue.

TIGHTENING THE SCREWS ON "RESIDENT ONLY PARKING"
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is an ordinance dealing with "Resident Only" parking restrictions on public streets.  The lengthy staff report outlines the current conditions, cites examples of how other cities manage this issue, and makes specific recommendations for changes to the current policy, which significantly tightens-up this program and, potentially, imposes fees.  Here's the summary of the recommendations:
  • Require petitions with higher majority (70%) support and eliminate the process of gathering license plate information. 
  • Establish permit parking in areas where with the above support, staff can verify that seventy (70) percent of on-street and visible off-street parking available to residents are utilized. 
  • Limit the number of permits to two (2) per eligible household to better manage available on-street parking and the number of guest parking permits to 100 per household per year. 
  • Incorporate a two (2) year permit expiration and serial numbers to provide an up-to-date database and provide future funding for sign maintenance. 
  • Establish parking zones to limit parking accessibility of a permit holder within their parking zones. Permits will be color coded or uniquely marked to identify the parking zone. 
  • Establish a reasonable permit fee to provide funding for better signage, permit software, on-line permit processing, and to recover permit costs.

All current permits would expire in 2018.  This could make for an interesting discussion Tuesday night.

COMMERCIAL ORGANICS RECYCLING ORDINANCE
Old Business #1, HERE, is the second reading of a new ordinance of a new ordinance which is in response to two recent state laws, AB341 and AB1826, and involves regulation of commercial handling of organic recycling.  Effective April 1, 2016 new rules go into effect for businesses.  I don't expect much discussion on this one, just as there was not much when it received the first reading in December.

STEALTH MOVE TO QUASH PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Which brings us to the final item on the agenda, New Business #1, HERE, cleverly titled "Changes to the Temporary Sign Code/Policy".  However, as I angrily wrote when I first saw this agenda item last month HERE, it's MUCH MORE than that.   While it certainly addresses the chaos that has been the campaign sign issue during each campaign season, it also includes a little bit of stealth regarding filming of candidate forums - and I'm still angry about it!

YOU MIGHT OVERLOOK IT
Tucked into the middle of the staff report there is this sentence:
"Additionally, concerns regarding City staff filming any of the candidates’ forums and placement of these forum recordings on the City’s website has also been raised."

REALLY - BY WHOM?

OK, raised by whom?  Let me guess... one or more current male council members who don't like tough questions being asked of them at neighborhood candidate forums because the answers they give exposes the real "them".  As I said in that earlier blog entry and HERE, in a commentary I wrote in the Daily Pilot a couple days ago,  "...this is just another of the many attempts by the current council majority to stifle public awareness of how business is being conducted in Costa Mesa.  It's just a predictable extension of actions already taken by this council majority to quash public participation..."

BOGUS ATTEMPT TO QUASH PARTICIPATION
This is a bogus move on the part of certain council members to prohibit those who cannot attend public forums where candidates for City Council are grilled by concerned community members - like seniors, disabled folks and those with work/family issues that prohibit them from personally attending - from being able to make an informed decision at the voting booth.  With the possible exception of the coverage of important council and commission meetings, there may be NO BETTER use of the talents of the award-winning staffers of Costa Mesa Television than their clear, unbiased coverage of these events.  

STEP UP AND SPEAK UP - OR CONTACT HATCH
Folks should speak out on this issue.  Call or write to CEO Tom Hatch or - the best solution - attend the meeting Tuesday and use the three minutes provided to each of us to tell the council how you feel.  You can bet some of their sycophants will attend and tell them to quash the coverage.

SEE YOU THERE - AND THANKS
It's going to be a very interesting meeting Tuesday night.  See you there.  Oh, yes... Happy New Year to you all.  Thanks for making this blog the most read blog in Costa Mesa - and for contributing for your friendly author being named, one more time, to the Daily Pilot 103 - this time at #76!  Muchas Gracias, Amigos.


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5 Comments:

Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Geoff, I'm also concerned about some of the warrants that are not clear. $18,000 for shirt? Its wonderful that the Snoopy House was donated to the city for the residents to enjoy, but it sure seems that it is costing the city (us) a whole bunch of money, huh?

Its pretty clear that the councilMEN do not desire to be filmed answering questions. They have complained at every forum about how bad they look when questioned. They've been caught in several lies at those forums. Honesty is not their best policy. Or even a policy at all.

It is also clear that once they eliminate the Community Center, the residents will not have a place to meet unless its in a high school gymnasium. None of the other centers, such as Halecrest or Senior Center are large enough. Was this by design?

1/04/2016 08:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

P.S. A "consulting" fee usually means - a "buddy" with his hand out.

1/04/2016 09:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Judy Lindsay said...

Sent email to Hatch today, thanks for your info.

1/04/2016 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

I heard they want to do away with video because people in other cities saw some of Riggy's rants and thought he was a Fairview Hospital lockdown unit escapee...

1/04/2016 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger mesa verde madman said...

$8,343.14 - Foam Reindeer Antlers and sport shirts

WTF? So much for being broke.

1/04/2016 09:10:00 PM  

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