Council Takes A Mulligan On SoBECA, And More
LAST PRE-ELECTION MEETING ON TUESDAY
The Costa Mesa City Council meets for their final meeting before the election on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 beginning at 5:45 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall. You can read the full agenda report HERE. There is no Closed Session scheduled.
DEALING WITH THE "CONTINUED" ISSUE
You will recall the previous council meeting - the Special Meeting on October 17th precipitated because Mayor Steve Mensinger wanted to attend a party honoring his old boss on the 18th - ended in disarray when Councilwoman Sandra Genis abruptly left before a vote could be taken on the proposed SoBECA Urban Plan amendment that would have permitted up to 450 dwelling units (at 40 dwelling units per acre). Because her absence created a no-quorum situation the vote that was subsequently taken by Mensinger and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer without Genis on the dais apparently was not valid even though City Clerk Brenda Green announced it as passing "on a 2-0 vote". Nothing can pass on a 2-0 vote. Although I immediately contacted the City on this issue I received no response despite followups. Apparently "Transparency" is just a myth. I guess we know the answer now - the item is back on the agenda Tuesday.
WHY REFUND SOBER LIVING BUSINESS LICENSES?
And, because there was no quorum, the continued public comments and items pulled from the Consent Calendar were also not heard. Those consent calendar items are back this time around. One of the questions I had involved the Warrant. This time around Warrant 2565. HERE, is on the agenda with the same issues. My question - as yet unanswered by the folks in the Finance Department - is why we have refunded business license fees to several sober living homes in the city? If I hear about this before the meeting I'll post about it. Perhaps someone will pull the item and ask the same question Tuesday night.
SOBECA HOUSING - WILL IT PASS?
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is the aforementioned SoBECA Urban Plan amendment which was continued from the October 17th meeting. An interesting issue here will be if they have a full council or not. Gary Monahan, the lamest of lame ducks, implied at the meeting where he was given the Mayor's Award that he may not show up for his final meetings. If he holds true and doesn't show up, that could make a four-person council and the strong possibility of a 2-2 vote on this project - which would mean a failure to pass. Never a dull moment.
PUBLIC STORAGE ON BRISTOL STREET
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is the first reading of a request to re-zone the site at 375 Bristol Street to facilitate the installation of a self-storage facility and retail center. It will include a 774-unit mini-storage facility and some retail space. The food court in the original proposal has been abandoned. It's interesting to note that in the original proposal the applicant observed that the city needed more storage facilities - at about the same time just up the street there was another proposal in the hopper to demolish a similar storage facility and build homes. You just can't blink around here!
RE-ZONING OLD LOS ANGELES TIMES SITE
Public Hearing #3, HERE, is the first hearing of the request to re-zone the 23.4 acre site at 1375 Sunflower Avenue - the old Los Angeles Times site and an adjacent chunk of property that is currently a baseball field. There are three parcels involved and this request will change the venue to be consistent with the recently-approved 2015-2035 General Plan.
SINGLE FAMILY HOMES TO REPLACE ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES
Old Business #1, HERE, is the rezone of a 2.07 acre site at 2850 Mesa Verde Drive East to convert the site from Local Business District to R1, Single Family Residential. It involved demolishing a couple dated, but successful, buildings occupied by long-time businesses. It's an interesting coincidence that this project, for single-family homes, is in the approach to the neighborhood where the mayor and mayor pro tem happen to live while throughout the city elsewhere high-density development is being planned/built.
HELPING HEROES HALL - BUT HOW MUCH, AND FOR WHAT?
New Business #1, HERE, is an enigma for me. According to the staff report by Dan Baker, Assistant to the CEO, Mayor Mensinger is asking for more funding for the Heroes Hall Veterans Museum located at the Orange County Fair and Event Center. The council had earlier authorized $25,000 for this purpose. As a resident and veteran, I'm all for this proposal, but the staff report provides no guidance as to how much they want, and what it would be used for. It seems fiscally-irresponsible to just cut a blank check, regardless the reason. According to the staff report, the amount approved - whatever it is - will come from CEO Tom Hatch's slush fund. You know, that $1million this council has authorized for him to be used however the council majority wishes.
Finally, I wonder what kind of theatrics we'll see Tuesday night. It's the final council meeting before the election on November 8th and our local campaigns have been the most nasty and contentious I've seen in my more than 43 years in this city. It seems that some of the candidates have taken a cue from Donald Trump's campaign and kept diving for a new bottom every day.
EXPECTING CAMPAIGNING FROM THE DAIS...
I fully expect Mensinger and Righeimer to campaign from dais although that's supposed to be forbidden. I will not be surprised if one or both mention the support the Costa Mesa Firefighters Association - you know, those so-called "union thugs" that put their lives on the line for us every single day - have given to Mensinger's opponents, Sandra Genis, Jay Humphrey and John Stephens.
...AND MAYBE FROM THE SPEAKER'S PODIUM, TOO
I expect folks on the other side might mention the scurrilous tactics apparently orchestrated by the local campaign villain, Dave Ellis, in which flat-out lies have been told on campaign materials. misrepresenting issues and defaming candidates. I also expect some might address the recent tactic of renting an aged fire engine and driving it around town to present the image of support by firefighters for Mensinger, Allan Mansoor and Lee Ramos. Clever, but dishonest. And, I wonder if anyone will mention that those who rented that engine - I've heard Monahan and our intellect and judgment-challenged village idiot, Jim Fitzpatrick mentioned - instructed the driver to drive past every firehouse, slow down and honk the horn - kind of giving the finger to the firefighters. Despicable!
MORE DETAILS COMING, BUT HERE'S THE SHORT VERSION...
We have a few days left before some of you will enter the polling place and cast your ballots. More on that next time. Here's my short-hand version for your choices...
- Vote for Genis, Humphrey and Stephens.
- Vote YES on Measures Y and AA.
- Vote a resounding NO on every other municipal issue.
- Vote for Jim Ferryman and Art Perry to return to the Costa Mesa Sanitary District to continue mature, experienced leadership.
- Vote for Alex Reich to unseat Jim Fisler on Mesa Water District Board. One position can change the attitude of that organization.