HUGE Issues At City Council Tuesday Night
Anyhow, the next big event in Costa Mesa is the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Proceedings begin at 5:45 in City Council Chambers, although there is a Closed Session that begins at 5:00, but you and I cannot attend. You can read the full agenda for this meeting HERE.
NO MAYOR'S AWARD?
For the first time in months there is no Mayor's Award scheduled. I find myself wondering if Steve has run out of friends... I know... not fair, but then, neither is he if you believe the T-shirts around town.
PUBLIC, COUNCIL AND CEO (MAYBE)
A BIG WARRANT
Item #2 is Warrant #2559, HERE. These are expenditures already made on our behalf. This time it represents almost $10 million in payments, so you might wish to take a little peek at it. Here are some of the entries that caught my eye:
LOST IN THE MAIL? WHAT?
The first four (4) pages show us something I've never seen before in all the years of checking out the Warrants! It presents nearly $30,000 in items that were either voided or lost in the mail. Lost in the mail? What the heck is that all about? How does that happen? Did someone steal our outgoing mail? Moving on...
Apple One Employment Services - $6,023.70 - Temporary Services, various
Stephen M. Mensinger - $2,456.96 - Refund Permit (assume it's for his new mansion)
City of Huntington Beach - $25,900.00 - Helicopter Svcs, April 2016
Clean Streets - $57,291.98 - Street Sweeping, April 2016
Costa Mesa Conference & Visitor Bureau - $451,909.16 - BIA receipts, Feb, March, April 2016
Costa Mesa United - $52,295.24 - Athletic Field Improvement, Estancia
Elasticsearch, Inc - $42,000.00 - 12 mos. Dev. to Gold Consulting ?
Jones &Mayer - $148,489.81 - Legal Services, various.
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $64,992.65 - Legal Services, Various
Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Inc - $97,091.80 - GP Update and EIR
Accountemps - $4,527.84 - Temp Svcs, Treasury
Anaheim Regional Medical Center - $9,000.00 - Victim Physicals (9)
Aviation System - $3,500.00 - Prof Svcs Agreement (7)
Benefit Funding Services Group - $6,250.00 - Retirement Plan Consulting, 1/1-3/31/16
CSG Consultants, Inc. - $6,374.66 - Plan Check and Inspection Svcs
Government Staffing Services Inc - $14,698.50 - Temp Svcs, Various
Info Tech Research Group, Inc - $12,935.00 - Membership?
Keyser Marston Assoc. - $2,918.37 - NIP &HTF Consulting
Michael Baker Intl. - $12,907.67 - Consulting Svcs, various
RJM Design Group, Inc. - $9,881.80 - Open Space Master Plan Update
Scientia Consulting Group, Inc. - $2,623.00 - IT Services
Costa Mesa United - $142,032.00 - Improvments, CMHS Gym, NHHS Fence
Johnson Favaro LLP - $28,910.52 - Arch. Des. Plng
Jones &Mayer - $43,145.88 - Dadey, Timothy
Keyser Marston Assoc. - $36.399.75 - NIP & HTF Consult.
San Joaquin Hills Transp. - $241,776.00 - Fees for March, 2016
Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth - $27,590.68 - Legal Svcs, Various
Accountemps - $4,160.48 - Temp Svcs, Treasury
CSG Consultants, Inc. - $1,638.15 - Plan Review Svcs
Fieldman Rolapp &Assoc. - $13,310.04 - GO Bond Election Analysis
On this warrant we find more than $284,000 in legal fees! And, we continue to rack up consultant services and temporary services at an amazing rate.
EXTENDING CARE AMBULANCE CONTRACT
Item #5, Extend Term of CARE Ambulance Services Agreement, HERE. Well, this extends this contract out until 2018 - about the time Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer is termed out. Many in the community think there's something behind his rabid support of this contract when we have a half-dozen expensive Rescue Ambulances being used about half-time. While CARE Ambulance may be fulfilling their contract terms - that's what the staff report says - the fact that Righeimer refuses to let Chief Dan Stefano implement the deployment model that serves the community best is unconscionable. None of Righeimer's public utterances hold water, so we wonder if there's more to it.
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is the adoption of the FY 2016/2017 Appropriations Limit.
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is the adoption of the FY 2016/2017 Budget. This budget represents a reduction of 6.2% from the previous year, most of which comes from a reduction of nearly $10 million in the Capital Budget from the previous year. It also includes a lot of position juggling which are covered in detail in the various attachments. One thing I did NOT see was the creation of a Public Affairs Manager for the Costa Mesa Police Department, but perhaps I just missed it in the morass of job title shifting. If the council does not approve this budget they will have to call a special meeting before the end of the month.
GENERAL PLAN ADOPTION!
Public Hearing #3 is the 2015/2035 General Plan and Final EIR, HERE. Funny, I get the sense that this process - which has taken nearly 4 years now - still seems rushed. There's a kind of frenetic rhythm to the process recently which leaves me feeling like things may fall through cracks. We have already seen uncharacteristic sloppiness in some of the staff work and I'm not sure whether it's at the consultant end, or whether the beleaguered, understaffed staff just has too much on its plate. Regardless, it's discomforting. This discussion should be interesting.
NEW SENIOR COMMISSIONER
New Business #1, HERE, is the appointment of a replacement of Stella Adkins on the Costa Mesa Senior Commission. Her term expires in February, 2019. Seven individuals applied for this position and their applications may be viewed HERE. It appears there are some good choices available, including council candidate Lee Ramos, who probably has not yet attended a Senior Commission meeting.
New Business #2, HERE, is the latest iteration of the funding mechanisms for the Lions Park Projects and Fire Station #1. Suffice it to say that these projects have morphed into something that is hard to get your arms around. At this point, the current scheme is for a combined project cost of $46,000,000! To see the details of how this plan plays out read Attachment #1, HERE. CAUTION: This is going to make your head hurt!
FAIRVIEW PARK INITIATIVE**
New Business #3, HERE, is the discussion of the processing of the so-called "Save Fairview Park" initiative put forward by the Fairview Park Preservation Alliance. The signatures have been certified by the Registrar of Voters in sufficient numbers to be placed on the November 8, 2016 ballot. The council will be asked to accept that certification.
Additionally, the council will be asked to adopt the ordinance immediately, without alteration, or within 10 days after it is presented; or
Order placement of the measure on the November 8, 2016 ballot; or
Order a report; or
Consider providing staff with direction as to the preparation of an alternative measure.
**I spoke with Brenda Green, City Clerk, on this issue. The council MAY order a report and MAY direct staff to create an alternative measure. That DOES NOT mean they can refuse to authorize the placement of the existing measure on the ballot.
DOES THAT MEAN THEY HAVE A CHOICE?
Now this is the dicey part. The details of all those items are found on the staff report, but that last one implies that the council COULD choose to NOT place this item on the ballot. Perhaps I'm reading that wrong, and I'll follow up with the City Staff Monday, because I don't believe they have an option. They CAN order an alternative measure which would compete with this one, just as they will be doing with the Medical Marijuana issue (see below) and, perhaps, the Smart Growth Initiative.
JUST ADOPT IT, FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
My suggestion would be that they avoid placing this item on the ballot and simply adopt it immediately and save staff time and money. We'll see what they do.
CITY MEDICAL MARIJUANA INITIATIVE
HERE, is the consideration of a City Initiative Petition regarding Medical Marijuana Business. As many know, there are already two competing Medical Marijuana initiatives qualified for the November 8, 2016 ballot. The City has already authorized that action. This measure will compete with those items and allow the city to manage this kind of business. If the voters pass all three, then the highest vote-getter becomes the law.
LOCATION AND TAX
This issue - the proposed ordinance can be read HERE, controls where Medical Marijuana businesses may operate in the City - basically west of Harbor Blvd. and north of South Coast Drive - and imposes a 6% business tax on each such business. I suggest you read the staff report AND the ordinance for the details.
ANOTHER LONG NIGHT
Tuesday night is going to be another long one. I suggest you pack a lunch and bring a pillow.