Rants Top Council Meeting Last Night
FITS AND STARTS
The Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday night was a strange one. First, there were not enough council members present for form a quorum for the Closed Session, so it was abruptly cancelled.
ABRUPT AGENDA CHANGE
A few minutes before that an amended agenda was distributed deleting Public Hearing #2, the appeal of the Planning Commission approval of the Arts and Learning Conservatory on Airway Avenue. One had the opinion - since a crowd had showed up for that item - that this was a hastily-arrived at decision. The item was shoved out to the meeting of November 1, 2016.
When the meeting finally began only three council members were present. Katrina Foley and Gary Monahan showed up a half-hour late.
Perhaps the highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the Mayor's Award to Randy Barth of THINK Together Shalimar Learning Center. Sorry, but I got no images of that presentation.
COYOTES A BIG CONCERN
Twenty-two people spoke during Public Comments, many of whom were very concerned about what appears to be a growing problem with coyotes throughout our neighborhoods. Most of those with coyotes on their minds asked for a plan from the City and cited many personal anecdotes regarding contacts with coyotes. One of the main requests was for the City to begin keeping track of coyote reports, even if there's going to be nothing done, so the data can be used to bolster the need for action. Others suggested closer communication with Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, each of which have coyote problems, too.
ANGRY ABOUT BEING DELAYED - AGAIN
Pastor Mark Linn of the Berean Church, which was a party to the above-mentioned Public Hearing Item #2, spoke with great disappointment because of the shoving out of his issue. He provided a timeline of just how this process has been stalled for several months.
PROTECTING FAIRVIEW PARK
Kim Hendricks shrugged off the coyote issue and spoke about the need to save Fairview Park by voting YES on Measure AA. She spoke about the burrowing owl as reason enough to protect that habitat.
DOOR-HANGER FULL OF LIES
Jay Humphrey spoke of the now-infamous door hanger being circulated by the Mensinger/Mansoor/Ramos campaign team - Team Costa Mesa - which is filled with lies and misrepresentations.
SPEAKING OF LIARS
Chuck Perry, one of the signatories of the now-rejected rebuttal argument for Measure Y, the Smart Growth Initiative once again rose to praise the council for their efforts. Poor guy. I suspect he had zero to do with the composition of the rebuttal argument, but he is now painted with the same "liar" brush as the others - including Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and candidate Lee Ramos.
FUN FILM EXPERIENCE AT THE SENIOR CENTER
Charlene Ashendorf stepped up to praise the recent film showing at the Senior Center, and praised the Center in more general terms.
GOWN DRIVE A SUCCESS - NOW IT'S CANDY
Beth Refakes told us that the gown drive for the Marine Wives at the 1/5 Marines at Camp Pendleton was a great success. More than 100 dresses were donated. Now comes the candy drive, in which individually-wrapped candies will be collected until October 21st.
ANGRY ABOUT LIES
Tamar Goldmann opened her statement with this phrase, "How low can you go?", addressing the above-mentioned door hanger. She specifically mentioned the lie about the Smart Growth Initiative being sponsored by developer money.
TOWN HALL THURSDAY
Mary Spadoni told us about the CM4RG Town Hall on Thursday at which Public Safety and Sober Living Homes will be discussed.
SINGING ABOUT MANSOOR
The irrepressible Terry Koken sang a song about Allan Mansoor's previous tenure on the council, including Benito Acosta in the lyrics. It was actually pretty funny.
Tea Party Tom Pollitt stepped up and muttered something about unfunded pension liability rising.
RIGHEIMER/FOLEY SPAR - FOLEY WINS THIS ONE
Jim Righeimer broke into the flow of comments to chide one speaker, saying "she does this all the time." Katrina Foley tossed it right back at him, citing that person's right under the Constitution to say whatever she wanted. She reminded him that he was the only person on the dais to be officially labeled by a judge as a liar. We knew this evening was going to be very special.
RIGHEIMER RIPS FIREFIGHTERS
During Council Member Comments Righeimer led off by asking CEO Tom Hatch to investigate what can be done about the coyote issue, and told us he won't let his daughters walk the dog in his neighborhood. He then launched into a full broadside attack on the Costa Mesa Fire Fighters, waving around a copy of an email flyer announcing an event that group will be hosting at TeWinkle Park on October 1st. He ranted about "overtime" and said he "relished a debate about overtime", implying that the firefighters actually wanted to work hundreds - sometime thousands - of overtime hours because they are greedy. He told us it's all about money - that they don't really care about the residents of the city because none of them live in town. This is a chant that's been developing among the lamebrains at the Costa Mesa Public Square for the past few days. He told us he's not going to let this issue go. His words were, "I'm gonna expose this thing no matter what happens in November."
Once again, we have a high-ranking public official threatening an employee group, apparently to intimidate them from supporting certain council candidates.
USELESS LETTER FROM USELESS MAYOR - AND MORE
Then Mayor Steve Mensinger took over and asked Hatch to craft a letter to Governor Jerry Brown opposing Proposition 57, the latest iteration of stupidity coming out of Sacramento that is on the ballot in November that will further infest our neighborhoods with early-release criminals. Apparently Mensinger thinks Brown can do something about it - he cannot. This is up to the voters. Nah, that was just another ham-handed political stunt to try to make people think he knows something about law enforcement - he doesn't. He then perpetuated Righeimer's rant about pensions and labor contracts, even though the City is in negotiations with the Firefighters Association. It's all about politics.
FOLEY SHREDS THE LIARS
Next up was Foley and her presentation was worth the price of admission. She immediately launched into a monologue denouncing Righeimer and Mensinger as liars, citing chapter and verse. She rejected Righeimer's claim that the firefighters are "destroying California" by pointing out just how many of them are risking their lives this fire season trying to keep us safe. She was priceless! She also reminded us of the School Board Candidate Forum tonight at the Neighborhood Community Center beginning at 6:30. She also spoke of the Home Tour, and how it will include the Heroes Hall this year.
GENIS DID, TOO
Sandy Genis also spoke of coyotes and at length about the misrepresentation of facts regarding firefighters and staffing. She spoke of CARE Ambulance vs. our transportation of patients which has been forbidden by a Righeimer-led movement on the council. Did we mention there are those who think Righeimer has a familial association with the parent of that company?
UH, OH - HE'S SPEAKING!
Gary Monahan, usually mute when it comes to comments, decided to speak up this time - a big mistake. He should only speak when he's in full control of his faculties, which he appeared not to be last night. He demanded that Hatch do something about the coyotes. He said, "I'm getting serious on this." Good for him! He mentioned the Police and Fire Department understaffing and also that he's running for a seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board. He politicked against Measure Y, citing that the new senior facility near Harbor and Adams - AZULON - could not have been built with Measure Y in effect. Of course, he has NO way to know that. When Mensinger told him not to campaign from the dais he said, "Everybody else is!"
HATCH WILL STUDY THE COYOTE PROBLEM
During his time Hatch promised to address the coyote problem, but had nothing specifically to offer at that time.
3 CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS PULLED
Three items were pulled from the Consent Calendar for discussion at the end of the meeting. The rest passed on a 5-0 vote.
VACATION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY PASSED QUICKLY
Public Hearing #1, the vacation of right-of-way along 17th Street near Superior Avenue was guided by Transportation Services Manager Raja Sethuraman. The discussion didn't take long and was passed, 5-0.
#2 CONTINUED TO NOVEMBER 1ST
As mentioned above, Public Hearing #2, was continued to November 1st.
FAIRVIEW DEVELOPMENT CENTER ZONING PASSED
Public Hearing #3, the rezoning of the Fairview Developmental Center generated some interesting discussion, dominated by Genis and Righeimer, during which some small sections of the language were changed before it passed, 4-1, with Foley voting NO.
BOGUS OVERLAYS PASSED
Public Hearing #4, the Mixed Use Overlays along Harbor and Newport Boulevards, was next. This passed, 3-2, with Foley and Genis voting NO.
HOME RANCH AMENDMENT PASSED
Old Business #1, the 4th amendment to the Segerstrom Home Ranch Development Agreement took only about 2 minutes and passed, 5-0.
ASHENDORF REJECTED, PARKING SELECTED FOR SR. COMMISSION
New Business #2, the selection of a new Senior Commissioner, moved quickly. After the council members drew lots for the order of nomination Foley nominated Charlene Ashendorf - an outstanding choice - and Genis seconded it. When the vote was taken the male majority voted NO. Mensinger, who was second, nominated Gary Parkin and he was selected on a 4-1 vote. Foley voted NO. Mensinger asked about his request to have two more members. Hatch said they would study it... he clearly didn't think it was a good idea. Of course, it's not.
MEETING MOVED SO MAYOR CAN ATTEND A PARTY
The final item, New Business #2, was the cancellation of the October 18th council meeting so Mensinger could attend an event honoring his former boss and major campaign contributor, George Argyros and his wife Julieanne. One speaker ripped into Mensinger for this action, indicating that the business of the city should come first. Similar views were expressed by Foley and Genis. In fact, Foley asked Monahan if he was going, because the three of them could run the meeting if Mensinger and Righeimer were going. She got no answer, but the council voted, 3-2, to move the meeting ahead to Monday, October 17th. Yet another reason to NOT vote for Mensinger in November.
MORE DETAILS FROM JONES & MAYER SOON
When the trailed Consent Calendar items were heard, the first one was the Warrant. An unidentified person questioned the legal fees, specifically the long list of items under Jones & Mayer. She asked if a line identification could be provided for those individual items and was told they could. This is GREAT news. Now we'll be able to get a clearer view of how they are spending their time - and our money.
RIGHEIMER'S CELL TOWER BUSINESS
The second one pulled, #4, dealt with a cell tower on a building. Righeimer left the room because the applicant is his customer. After the same person as above asked about how many cell towers he has around town, and specifically on the old Bethel Towers, the council passed the item, 4-0.
NO DELAY IN FIRE STATION #1 REPLACEMENT ASSURED
The final item was #11. Beth Refakes wanted to be sure that this process - the temporary structures necessary to house firefighters while Fire Station #1 is being re-built - would not delay the construction. Interim Public Services Director Jim Ross assured the council that we had enough engineering strength in-house to manage this project and that it would move forward briskly. The council passed it, 5-0. It was a good thing they did - it took a 4/5 vote to not re-open the issue.
OUT-OF-TOWN DEVELOPER POLITICAL INFLUENCE
Finally, the remaining two Public Comments that had been trailed were presented. Cindy Black stood behind her sign and chided Mensinger for some of his out-of-town campaign contributors - Howard Ahmanson and George Argyros. She also spoke of the aforementioned mailer, full of lies, and speculated that it was a work product of Dave Ellis, notorious campaign consultant. She left them with a new mantra to use - "3 to 2, Screw You", citing that this has been the way they operate.
WHERE'S THOSE DEVELOPER BUCKS, STEVE?
Cynthia McDonald addressed the infamous door hanger and specifically as it misrepresented Measure Y. On that section it says it was secretly funded by developers. McDonald said that she guessed Mensinger's developer-friends hadn't gotten the word because none of their checks had arrived. She gave an address to which they could be mailed - tongue-in-cheek - and reminded everyone that Measure Y was created by the people, for the people and was funded by scraping up scraps from people.
FOLEY DEMANDS AN ACCOUNTING OF RUTAN AND TUCKER
At the very end of the meeting Foley again demanded that she get an accounting of the costs being charged to the City by Rutan and Tucker for their part in the creation of the Measure Z, the competing issue to Measure Y, and for the defense of Righeimer, etal in the bogus rebuttal argument. City Attorney Tom Duarte assured her she would get it soon. Uh, huh... I'm thinking Foley will not be holding her breath.
TAKING ROVER FOR A WALK
The meeting ended a little after 9:00 p.m - plenty of time for Righeimer to go home and walk his dog, since his girls couldn't do it because of the coyote scare. Yes, he said that earlier.