City Council Holds Only Meeting Until September
ONLY MEETING THIS MONTH
The Costa Mesa City Council meets for its only official meeting until after the Labor Day holiday tomorrow, Tuesday, August 2, 2016 beginning at 5:45 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall. This meeting has a fairly short agenda, which you can read HERE. The council has previously agreed to cancel the meeting scheduled for August 16th. It will be interesting to see which council members show up for this one.
MESA WATER "UPDATE"? ABOUT WHAT?
I did note with interest that early in the meeting Mesa Water District General Manager Paul Schoenberger will present an "update". I wonder if he will talk about the one-sided bogus survey Mesa Water recently contracted for, and which apparently has caused their board to place a non-binding "advisory" measure on the ballot asking the voters if Mesa Water and the Costa Mesa Sanitary District should be merged? Based on the public record of events and official utterances from folks on both sides of this issue, it certainly seems like this is just a hostile takeover attempt in a fancy dress. And, it's my understanding that Mesa Water will spend over $150,000 to place the item on the ballot and conduct community outreach efforts to convince you voters of the value of their idea. No biggie, right? They'll just raise the rates if money gets tight.
The Consent Calendar has fourteen (14) items on it. You will recall, in theory these items are of a routine nature and, therefore, could be voted upon with one vote without separate discussion. And, the Mensinger/Righeimer council has implemented a policy whereby if a member of the public, council or staff chooses to ask for a separate discussion on any item or items, they will be trailed to the very end of the meetings - which sometimes turn out to be the next day. I'll address a few of these items that caught my attention.
Item #2 is Warrant 2561, HERE. This is a roster of bills paid by the city. This time it amounts to more than $8 million dollars! Some of the entries you may find of interest:
- Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth - $31,044.75 - Legal Svcs, Various
- Best Best & Krieger LLP - $10,211.42 - Legal Svcs
- Government Jobs.com Inc - $8,856.00 - App. Tracking System
- Interwest Consulting Group Inc - $7,360.00 - CIP Prog. Mgt.
- RJM Design Group Inc - $11,490.15 - Open Space Master Plan Update
- Jones & Mayer - $150,682.70 - Legal Svcs, Various
- Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $32,000.08 - Legal Svcs, Personnel
- Civil Source - $82,281.00 - Staff Support Various Proj. Apr & May
- Costa Mesa Conference & Visitor Bureau - $217,571.61 - BIA Receipts, May 2016
- HYM Engineering Inc. - $113,332.34 - Const. Contract City Pro (?)
- Johnson Favaro LLP - $115,632.00 - NCRnvtn Proj
- Jones & Mayer - $49,153.82 - Legal Svcs (Ddey)
- Lilley Planning Group - $19,890.00 - Sr. Plng Svcs May and June
- Newport Mesa Unified School District - $508,432.12 - Developer Fees, April, May, June
- Wigmore Insurance Agency, Inc - $100,353.00 - Excess Wrkrs Comp Ins Rnwl
- Carl Warren & Company - $3,250.00 - Wkrs Comp Admin Fee June 2016
- Continental Interpreting Services Inc - $4,204.50 - Interpreting Svcs, 5 Dist. Voting Meetings
- Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $5,864.00 - Legal, Negotiations
- Orange County Treasure Tax Collector - $13,186.49 - Teletype Svc for June 2016 (?)
- State of Califorina Dept of Justice - $13,695.00 - Fingerprint Apps, June, 2016
- Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. - $425,300.12 - Insurance Premiums (Excess)
- Moore Iacofano Goltsman Inc. - $57,578.87 - Genl Plan Update and EIR
- RJM Design Group Inc - $16,521.62 - Open Space Master Plan Update
- WLC Architects Inc - $54,844.61 - Fire Station #1 Design Svcs
- Best Best & Krieger LLP - $8,137.64 - CEQA Legal May 2016
- Compass Demographics Inc - $5,000.00 - Dist Formation
- Templeton Planning Group - $8,800.00 - Prof. Svcs, June
LEGAL FEES AND INSURANCE COSTS!
So, on this warrant we see nearly $290,000 in legal fees - just under $200,000 for Jones & Mayer alone. And, I was interested to note the insurance costs on this warrant. We spent nearly $600,000 for insurance costs. Take a few moments and scroll down through the various entries. I won't try to cover all the rest of the Consent Calendar items - you can scroll down through the agenda for that information. There are a couple, though, that require comment.
SWAP A CODE ENFORCEMENT SLOT FOR A PLANNER
Item #9, HERE, is a request to swap one full-time Code Enforcement Officer position for a new Assistant Planner position due to the overwhelming workload in Development Services.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT SERVICES FOR "LIONS PARK PROJECTS"
This one is a contract for nearly $3 million for project management services for what is now being referred to as "Lions Park Projects" - the demolition of the Neighborhood Community Center and construction of a new library; the renovation of the current Dungan Library building as a community center and other park improvements - the total anticipated costs for which are $30 million. The planning part will go through July, 2017 and the construction phase from that point forward to March 2020.
OPPOSING ELIMINATION OF DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME
Item #14, HERE, in which it is recommended that the City Council direct staff to draft a letter in opposition to Assembly Bill 385, which proposed to eliminate Daylight Savings Time in the state of California. The Parks and Recreation Commission is opposed to this bill because it would severely restrict daylight field use - almost 4,000 hours of playable hours of field time - from March through November.
VACATION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY ON WESTSIDE
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is for the vacation of excess right-of-way at 671-673 W. 17th Street at two locations: W. 17th Street and Superior Avenue. Significant new construction is taking place adjacent to these two sites.
APPEAL OF PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVAL
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is an appeal of a Conditional Use Permit and Share Parking at 3184 Airway Avenue involving a proposed Arts & Learning Conservatory. The appellant, an attorney for Koll-Irvine Community Association, is asking the council to reverse the Planning Commission approval indicating the proposed use is not compatible with the other uses withn the complex. This will be a "de novo hearing", meaning they will start over and can consider the project in it's entirety. When this was heard by the Planning Commission the house was packed with interested parties.
CAMPAIGN SIGNAGE CHANGES
Old Business #1, HERE, is the second reading of changes to ordinances regarding campaign signage.
ANOTHER SMALL LOT DEVELOPMENT - 1974 CHARLE STREET
New Business #1, HERE, is a request to amend the land use designation from General Commercial to High Density Residential at 1974 Charle Street. This proposal would replace existing commercial building with a 6-unit detached small lot subdivison.