Friday, April 15, 2016

Loaded Agenda Guarantees Late, Contentious Council Meeting

A LONG, BUSY NIGHT AHEAD

The Costa Mesa City Council will meet on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 beginning at 5:45 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall for the latest meeting.  It will be preceded by a Closed Session starting at 5:00 p.m.  You can read the agenda HERE.  My head hurts already!

HIGHLIGHTS (OR LOWLIGHTS)

Let me quickly highlight some of what will appear on that agenda for you.
In the Closed Session:
  • An issue dealing with the Voting Rights Act (also dealt with in the open session)
  • Some kind of property negotiations between Vanguard University and The City of Costa Mesa involving 2374 Newport Boulevard, 115 Santa Isabel Avenue and our Civic Center Park.
In the Open Session:
  • The COIN hearing for the Costa Mesa Police Association contract.
  • Creation of District Boundaries for District Elections.
  • Appointments to Various Committees.
  • An Inclusionary Housing Ordinance.
  • A City Medical Marijuana Initiative.
 Now, let's take it from the top...

We have no more information on the Closed Session items than is provided at the beginning of the agenda item.  We have more information before the meeting.  If so, I'll post more about it.

BIG CONSENT CALENDAR
The Consent Calendar contains fourteen (14) items - those deemed to be "routine in nature" and that could be handled with one vote.  If anyone pulls an item it will be trailed to the very end of the meeting.

HOW WE SPENT OUR MONEY

Item #2, Warrant 2555, HERE, lists more than $3.5 million of our dollars that have already been spent.  Here's a brief list of some of the more interesting items:
  • City of Huntington Beach - $17,570.00 - Helicopter Svc, Feb, 2016
  • Johnson Favaro LLP - $202,928.02 - NCC/DRC Architecture Design Svcs
  • Jones & Mayer - $139,064.01 - Legal Services - Various
  • Stradling Yocca Carlson &Rauth - $10.677.00 - Legal Services - Various
  • Hinderliter De Llamas Associates - $8,769.88 - Sales Tax Audits
And, of course, there's much, much more if you care to scroll down through the list yourselves.

SPENDING MONEY TO MANAGE OUR INVESTMENTS

 Item#4, HERE, is the renewal of the Professional Services Agreement with Chandler Asset Management, Inc for investment management services - $50,000.

I-405 IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Item #11, HERE, is the Cooperative Agreement with the Orange County Transportation Authority for the I-405 Improvement Project.  Like it or not, it's coming...

PLANNING CONSULTANT CONTRACT EXTENSION
Item #14, HERE, is the extension of a professional services contract with Lilley Planning Group.  Due to the demand for planning expertise, and the fact that we've had a hard time retaining planners, this item extends the term of an existing contract and will be paid out of salary savings due to the unfilled vacancies.

POLICE CONTRACT
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is the COIN Ordinance-required second reading of the various proposals for the new contract between The City and the Costa Mesa Police Association, CMPA.  You can read the details in the staff report.  I see NO mention in the staff report of the report lame duck Councilman Gary Monahan requested of Contract City Attorney Tom Duarte detailing what would happen if the council chooses NOT to approve this agreement.   Mayor Steve Mensinger and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer will have to leave the auditorium for this discussion/vote because they are still embroiled in the bogus lawsuit they filed against the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department.  Approval requires that all three remaining council members approve it, not just a majority of the three.

ELECTION BY DISTRICTS BEING FORCED UPON US
Public Hearing #2, HERE, Plan For Community Participation in Creation of District Boundaries for District Elections, is directly related to that curious Closed Session item, above.  This is a BIG DEAL!  According to the staff report, a lawyer named Shenkman has threatened to sue The City for assumed violations of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) unless The City places before the voters the option to create voter districts on the November 8, 2016 ballot.  The staff has recommended that The City hold the required public hearing, approve a community participation plan and direct staff to implement the plan.  They've already hired a consultant to facilitate this process and, presuming the council approves, it will begin post haste in order to get all the required meetings completed in time for the council to meet the deadline in August for a vote to place the issue before the voters.  Please read the staff report and the attachment, HERE, that outlines the proposed process because things are going to happen very fast.

A "GAME CHANGER"
To describe this as a "game changer" in Costa Mesa politics doesn't even come close to defining the impact if this item passes in November.  The obvious reason for this action is to provide certain minority groups - Latinos and Asians - a better chance to have representation on the City Council.  The council positions would be elected by district, but it won't affect the upcoming election.  However, the NEXT one, in 2018, will be a doozy!  Under one interpretation of the law, the entire City Council could be ousted and a new one, using the districts, could be elected - using staggered terms as is presently the case.  The drawing of boundary lines is going to be very interesting.  It's impossible to imagine any configuration that would put our current mayor and mayor pro tem in separate districts - they live a few yards apart on the golf course.  Of the remaining three council members, it's likely that each might be in different districts - but none live in what will likely be a "Westside" district.  This is going to be VERY interesting!  And, no mention is made about possibly increasing the number of council members to seven (7).

FINGERPRINTING COMMISSIONERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS
New Business #1, HERE, is the request by Councilwoman Katrina Foley to require all current and future City Council appointees to the City's commissions and committees to submit to a fingerprinting procedure prior to taking their respective positions.  This process is "Livescan" screening.  This discussion will be interesting.

CITY COMMITTEE APPOINTMENT
Speaking of which, New Business #2, HERE, is the appointments to various committees.  There are 28 positions, both regular and alternates, available for consideration and a large number of applicants applied to one or more of those committees.  Read the staff report for the details.  Also read the attachments which provide information and qualifications for each of the applicants by committee.  The committees for which vacancies will be filled are:
Bikeway and Walkability Committee - 3 regular
Cultural Arts Committee - 3 regular, 1 alternate
Finance Advisory Committee - 9 regular
Historical Preservation Committee - 5 regular, 2 alternates
Housing and Public Service Grant Committee - 4 regular
Pension Oversight Committee - 1 regular

INCLUSIONARY HOUSING ORDINANCE DISCUSSION
New Business #3, HERE, is the discussion of Katrina Foley's request for an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance to be presented to the City Council to facililtate the creation of affordable housing in the city.  According to the staff report, it was not clear if the council majority supported such an ordinance, so this staff report was prepared to give the council more information with which to make a decision regarding such an ordinance.  If they do, they must provide more direction to the staff on several segments of such an ordinance so staff can complete the task.  I think there is ZERO chance the council will approve moving this forward.

ANOTHER MEDICAL MARIJUANA INITIATIVE
On the other hand, New Business #4, HERE, the resurrection of Gary Monahan's Medical Marijuana Initiative - or some version of it, has a pretty good chance of passing and being placed on the November 8, 2016 ballot.  There are already two (2) competing citizen-initiated medical marijuana initiatives that WILL be on the ballot.  In the election, only one - of two or three - would become law.  The idea here is to craft a measure that would beat the other two and provide a framework for governing medical marijuana in Costa Mesa.

FUNDING CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AT NEWPORT HARBOR HIGH SCHOOL
The final item on the agenda, New Business #5, HERE, is a proposal to approve a resolution for funding commitment for sports facilities capital improvements to include Newport Harbor High School in addition to Costa Mesa and Estancia High Schools.  60% of the students at Newport Harbor are Costa Mesa residents.

A LONG NIGHT AHEAD...
 This is going to be another highly-charged marathon meeting - bring a pillow.






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4 Comments:

Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

So let me understand this. The councilmen budget for 100 employees, hire 15, then take the money they budgeted for that? Why is no one screaming bloody murder? Dickheads!

4/15/2016 08:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Is it true that perennial volunteer Howard Hull has never been Livescanned?

4/15/2016 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Flo Martin said...

The Tea Party's mantra is SMALL GOV'T, right? Budgeting for 100 employees is technically not downsizing the City Hall staffing, right? Uur city's population is growing, so we need all city employees on board, right? Keeps the voters off the council majority's backs, right? Hiring only 15 and using the left-over monies to pay for consultants keeps the business community happy, right? Keeps the OC Tea Party happy, right? Sleight of hand...now you see it, now you don't, right?

4/15/2016 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Flo, that number was an example of what the councilmen are doing. The figures are different but the M.O. is exact.

4/15/2016 03:07:00 PM  

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