Monahan - The High And The Low At The Council Meeting
Yeah, I know... what kind of a title is that? Well, you kinda had to be there. Here we go...
A FUNGUS AMONG US
I arrived very early for what would be my first council meeting since my little health adventure last June. I'd been to a few other events - ones at which I could keep moving without causing a distraction - but this was my first council meeting. And I arrived to find what looked like a fungus growing from the seat I had occupied for most of a decade. It turns out it was just defrocked Sanitary District Director/Planning Commission Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick, doing his best to make me angry.
SITTING WITH PROS... AND INFANTILE GOOFBALLS
I found another seat where I could get up and move around without bothering anyone else and settled in for what I thought would be a short, fairly uneventful meeting. HA! I should have known better. I was sitting in the back row surrounded by real journalists - Luke Money of the Daily Pilot and Louis Casiano, Jr. from the OC Register. In our row was Fitzy and several of his noxious CMPS minions, performing their best impressions of junior high school students throughout the evening. They were on Facebook all night long, including during a break, when some of them scampered out onto the porch of the council chambers and got in the face of other attendees with their smart phones to record video clips which they later posted on Facebook. It was only one of the many childish events that night.
MONAHAN'S HIGH POINT (I GUESS I CAN SAY THAT, RIGHT?)
Back to the meeting. It began nice enough, with the Boy Scouts presenting a flag ceremony. Then came the high point for Gary Monahan. He was presented the Mayor's Award. I had to chuckle when Mayor Steve Mensinger fumbled and stumbled through the prepared speech from the dais. A very nice video presentation by the pros at CMTV was shown, mostly narrated by retired City Manager Allan Roeder, with clips of folks like former Mayor Peter Buffa and others. It was a nice homage to Monahan who, particularly during his first eight years, made a big, positive impact on the community. His last tour, not so much. He's become a willing, predictable third vote for Mensinger and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer as they attempt to re-invent the City. Monahan is the classic guy who has stayed too long at the dance. During his acceptance speech, referring specifically to the Boy Scouts, Monahan said, "The better that we can teach them on how to act, how to behave, how to volunteer and how to go forward the better we're gonna be." Uh, huh... More on that in a minute.
During Public Comments Costa Mesa Sanitary District Director Bob Ooten stepped up and asked that the agenda item regarding the Mesa Water Takeover, scheduled for the end of the meeting, be removed from the agenda. He congratulated staffer Dan Baker for his staff report, but it is incomplete since it does not include the FIRST study Mesa Water contracted for earlier in the year.
Former mayor Allan Mansoor stepped up, carrying his young daughter and her backpack, to address the council. He praised the police chief, then launched into a denigration of the former leadership of the Costa Mesa Police Association. He also criticized the Costa Mesa Firefighters Association for hiring a former member of the law firm the CMPOA had employed. He condemned the organizations. What a jackass!
Who is this guy?" It turns out to be the mayor. Odd that she'd use the CMPS to find creepy guys, isn't it? She also gave credit to her pal, Julie Mercurio, for all her hard work on the CMPS - a closed site that only the blessed few may participate on and/or observe.
Kim Hendricks stepped up to promote Measure AA, to protect Fairview Park and denounced Measure BB - the city response to AA - as a pack of lies.
MONAHAN'S THREAT! HE'S UNFIT FOR OFFICE
Let us pause here to place what happened next in context. We'll revisit Mr. Willmet again shortly. Sandy Genis urged Mensinger to let him continue, which he begrudgingly did. Katrina Foley reminded Mensinger to reset Mr. Willmet's time and then Monahan lost his mind! He apparently slammed his hand on the dais between him and Foley, frightening her. She accused him of assault and he yapped back at her. It got so out of control that members of the audience were shouting, "Arrest him!" Mensinger called a break in the proceedings to let things cool down. During the break Foley, angry and frightened, moved out onto the porch where she was hounded by the CMPS minions trying to take video of her in a conversation with John Stephens, her friend and fellow lawyer. When Mensinger called the meeting to order again a few minutes later Foley was not on the dais. Remember that Monahan quote above? Well, this was the beginning of several instances where he set anything BUT a fine example for any children in the audience. This guy is a washed-up political hack and unfit for any future elected office.
Next came Steve Chan, who spoke on a variety of issues. First was AB 1322, which authorized hair salons and barbershops to serve drinks to customers without an ABC license. That led him to a discussion of ABC noise requirements and a petition he's currently circulating regarding noise at entertainment venues.
When Chan finished another person tried to speak there was an inane diatribe in which both Mensinger and Monahan told the speaker to use her name - something the Brown Act states specifically they cannot do. It was a circus.
MENSINGER MOANS ABOUT MONAHAN TREATMENT
During Council Member Comments Mensinger praised himself then pandered to the police with a disingenuous rant and bemoaned the treatment of Monahan. He said "Let him enjoy his last couple meetings." He then launched into an inappropriate comment on his lawsuit against the Costa Mesa Police, clearly intending to evoke public sympathy during the election season. He held up a copy of the Daily Pilot to emphasize the story. He accused some folks of trying to ruin a person's family for political gain.
FOLEY REFUTES EARLIER CLAIMS AND CHIDES MONAHAN
Katrina Foley refuted the claim by an earlier speaker that the city is in good shape. She cited the false information that motels are the highest crime generators - and quotes statistics indicating that apartment complexes generate more calls for service. She cited that we are about 36 officers and support staff down now, so we don't have enough staff to go around. She cited the treatment by members of the City Council of individuals in public safety roles. She specifically referred to a post by Monahan on Facebook in which he told Costa Mesa Fire Association President Rob Gagne to "f-off", called him a "sleazeball" twice and told him to take his retirement and leave the city. What kind of atmosphere does this create when we're trying to recruit for a department that is severely depleted. I've seen that post. It looks like Monahan may have been drunk when he wrote it, but we'll never know. It was part of a thread on the CMPS that Mensinger started, so those of you who are permitted to enter that site can probably find it. I've got it for posterity. She explained why she reacted to Monahan's bad behavior earlier, citing growing up with a drunken, abusive step-father. She was clearly still rattled by the event and told Monahan to never do that again.
GENIS ON COPS AND CAMPAIGN TACTICS
Sandy Genis spoke briefly about the police department, citing the lack of specialty units and spoke sympathetically of Chief Sharpnack's plight. She spoke of cap and trade money that is going to become available from the state. She said Costa Mesa is positioned to take advantage of some of the grants for things like parks, pollution clean up, etc. She also expressed disappointment in measure BB and the misleading language in it. Mensinger interrupted her - a typical tactic. He was clearly unhappy with her explanation... the only campaigning from the dais is going to be done by him and his pals! Having two smart women on the dais is really problematic for the guys... and it makes me smile. She said putting a tracking device on a council members car is reprehensible and discussed briefly the process Chris Lanzillo went through. She then discussed the campaign dirty tricks that had been perpetrated on her the last time around, including a half-dozen hit pieces that found their way into her aging and ill mother's mailbox and late night phone calls. She also spoke of the defacement of some of her signs, replacing the first letter of her last name with another letter.
MONAHAN FURTHER DEMONSTRATES HIS UNFITNESS
Monahan, during his piece, began by apparently condoning what had happened to Genis by telling her she "should see some of the hit pieces over the years and years" that his kids have seen. He then refuted a comment that said only 5% of the homeless are dangerous. A member of the public called out, then left. Mensinger identified him by name and Monahan said, "What an idiot!" He went on to explain his personal experiences with homeless folks. He excused his offer to do a party of the dead pedophile. After that screed he said, "I've only got two more meetings, so I'm going on."
He, snearing, criticized the Fire Association for funding campaign flyers. He attempted to explain the criticism of lack of enforcement for sober living facilities. He talked about the two ordinances that are tied up in court. He said, "Ya got a better idea? Come on up here. Take care of it yourself." He said he wasn't going to talk about the other - referring to his scaring Foley - and he said "I'm going to apologize to you, Katrina. I just get tired of the interruptions up here. I have a hard time getting the mayor's attention. Half the time he ignores me. Seriously!" He went on to eventually say, "I apologize. I crashed my hand down. I did get your attention - apparently too much. That's what I wanted was attention because half the time I don't get it." He went on to give his version of the Lanzillo event, complaining about his son's reaction.
RIGHEIMER DISPLAYS HIS ANTI-EMPLOYEE BIAS
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer then had his turn. He explained his version of what new folks to the council meeting were seeing, blaming it on a national mood and it's election time. He said he wanted to "finish this conversation" about what really happened at Gary's gin mill in August of 2012. He said it "has nothing to do with dirty tricks." He went on to explain, in his own convoluted way, the tactics he perceives being used by the Fire Association - trying to scare everyone and blaming it on the council majority. Well, yeah! He said it's all about the money - how much it costs to provide the safety. He accused the law firm and their investigators of extortion. He said the pension system is crumbling the state. He went on, and on and on about the case, the law firm, the investigators and the Fire Association trying to influence who runs the city.
CEO Tom Hatch used his time to introduce Jay Trevino, a consultant who has replaced Gary Armstrong as Deputy CEO and Director of Development Services. Armstrong's last day is October 7th. Hatch introduced him as Interim Deputy City Manager/Economic and Community Development Director. He comes from the City of Santa Ana. Wonder how the guys will accept that gaffe - "City Manager" vs CEO? I found myself wondering what seasoned pros like Trevino and Interim Public Services Director Jim Ross were thinking about this meeting.
OLD BUSINESS #1 - FAIRVIEW DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Finally, nearly two hours into the meeting, we finally get to the stuff on the agenda! First up was Old Business #1, the second reading of the rezoning, etc. of the Fairview Development Center property that was previously codified in the General Plan update. It should have been a slam dunk, but wasn't. After lengthy discussion the council approved it, 3-2, with Genis and Foley voting no.
OLD BUSINESS #2, HARBOR AND NEWPORT BLVD OVERLAYS
Old Business #2, the same situation with the Harbor Blvd/Newport Blvd Overlays, took less time with the same result - a 3-2 vote, also with Foley and Genis voting no.
TEAMING WITH OC PARKS FOR GRANTS FOR TALBERT PARK
Just before 8:00 the council tackled New Business #1, the proposal to team with the County of Orange on seeking and acquiring grants for the Talbert Regional Park Habitat Restoration Plan. Several members of the public spoke, including Bob Wilson, President of Orange County River Park, Inc. who encouraged the council to proceed with this plan. Cindy Black and Robin Leffler spoke with concerns about the plan. Genis was concerned about losing funding for Fairview Park improvements. The council approved it, 4-1, with Genis voting no.
PROPOSITION 57 RESOLUTION
Next up was Mensinger's idea for a resolution opposing Prop. 57, the latest scheme to release serious bad guys from prison and turn them loose on our streets. Mary Spadoni spoke about attending a recent meeting of the California District Attorney's Association at which this item was discussed. She said it was going to be sold as a cost savings device. She described it as worse than Prop 47. She said at least 16,000 criminals will be eligible for early release under this proposition and would likely result in an increased crime rate. When Monahan moved to approve the item Mensinger seconded it. Foley wondered what the plan would be. She specifically asked staffer Dan Baker "What action are we taking?" She expressed concern that this was just another political campaign ploy by Mensinger to get his name in front of the public as the election draws near. She speculated that Public Information Officer Tony Dodero would be dispatched to issue a press release touting Mensinger's tough stand on crime, so the residents pay for his campaign activities. She suggested that Genis, also running for re-election, should be included in any press release. Genis suggested all five council members be mentioned. Eventually the council voted, 4-0, to move forward with the resolution. Foley, who had previously indicated she would abstain from the vote, was absent from the dais.
MEASURE TT RESOLUTION - HOSTILE TAKEOVER SUPPORT
Last up was New Business #3, the proposed resolution by Righeimer in support of Mesa Water's scheme to place an advisory measure on the ballot to support their plan for a hostile takeover of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District. During the early discussion Foley was suspicious, and wondered if there had been any discussion of the City taking over both districts. She wondered if there would be a press release or flyer to the residents. Hatch said he did not anticipate any such action. Foley suggested that this item be continued to a future date so both sides - Mesa Water and the CMSD - could make proper presentations. That was rejected out of hand
During public comments Jim Fitzpatrick, city council majority sycophant running as a slate with Monahan for seats on the CMSD, presented his rotund presence to proclaim he's for smaller government. His first attempt at being clever was his comment about breaking the "Foleybuster". He then told the world that he had championed the combination of the two special districts when he served - illegally - on the Sanitary District Board.
Terry Koken exercised his three minutes to provide us with another bit of linguistic fun revolving around TiTi CaCa.. you can fill in the blanks.
SNARKY HIPSTER STEPS UP
Then up stepped hipster Ethan Temianka, First Vice President of the Mesa Water District Board for what turned out to be a snarky bit of discussion. He repeatedly turned from the council toward the audience and Foley repeatedly reminded him to speak to the council - something Mensinger and Righeimer have done in the past ad nauseum - and he snarked back a reply each time. He defended the Arcadis study, but didn't really provide much other information. As he stepped away Foley tried to ask him some questions but Mensinger forbade her to do so. I thought at the time it was more than a little curious, since they were, after all being asked to pass a resolution supporting Measure TT and he was apparently representing the Board. He eventually bailed out when the council was interrogating Mike Scheafer and it looked like they might have to permit questions of him.
Alex Reich, Mesa Verde resident and candidate for Jim Fisler's Mesa Water Board seat stepped up to criticize Mesa Water for including a political message on their bill and spoke of a violation of the public trust.
After a couple other speakers CMSD Board President Mike Scheafer stepped up and gave a three-minute presentation to the Council, outlining the CMSD view of the issue briefly. He told them that the CMSD NEVER refused to meet with Mesa Water on this issue. Coincidentally, in the mail yesterday many of us received the quarterly news letter from the CMSD which is full of important information on this issue. Unlike Temianka, Scheafer was grilled by council members. He told the council that CMSD is hosting a Town Hall beginning at 6:00p.m. at the Neighborhood Community Center on Wednesday, October 19th at which this issue would be discussed for the public. We received a small card in the mail announcing that event, too. During the grilling Righeimer asked Scheafer about their reserves, and specifically about reserves for the trash side of the business. Scheafer had a minor brain burp and didn't answer it correctly.
When the council voted on this issue it passed, 3-2, with Foley and Genis voting no. Neither thought it was appropriate for the City to chime in on this issue. Foley said it was purely a political stunt. Genis needed more information and planned to attend the Town Hall to get it.
LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE CONTRACT
The trailed Consent Calendar items were up next. The person who pulled the Warrant was absent, so it passed, 5-0. Foley pulled #7, the Landscape Maintenance contract issue. Concerns were expressed by Foley about the number of people involved. Hatch told us that none would be laid off. Mensinger made a comment about not having to pay pension costs for 15 people. The item passed, 5-0.
LEWIS RIPS MANSOOR
The trailed Public Comments were next. Local businessman Tim Lewis addressed the plague of campaign signs, then spoke about how negative Mansoor's presence had been on the council the last time. He referred specifically to the Benito Acosta experience, mentioning the presence of Jim Gilchrist and others who supported Mansoor. He asked Mensinger, "Mr. Mayor, what kind of madness caused you to run for re-election partnered with the worst person ever to sit in your chair."
RIGHEIMER INTERRUPTS REICH
Alex Reich tried to speak but Righeimer interrupted him early in his presentation - a typical tactic to throw him off his pace. He spoke about bogus signs. He also spoke about the $8500 mailer against Measure AA. He also criticized Mesa Water's current watering policy. He also criticized Mesa Water for not televising their meetings and their billing practices.
CYNTHIA CORRECTS A LIE
Cynthia McDonald spoke about Costa Mesa First, dispelling the lie that her organization was funded by developers. She spoke about Eleanor Egan's nearly single-handed win over big time lawyers on the bogus ballot rebuttal argument. She also announced the first "Eleanor Egan" award for public service.
JAY ALSO CORRECTS A LIE
Jay Humphrey presented a brief slide show rejecting the No on Y argument, citing the judges ruling on the bogus rebuttal.
FINALLY SOME NON-POLITICAL INFORMATION
Beth Refakes told us about the success of the Gown program and reminded the us that Military Affairs Team is now collecting individually-wrapped candy for the children of the 1/5 Marines.
MORE LIES FROM FITZPATRICK
Porky Fitzpatrick stepped up and told us of a "proud Dad moment", his daughters salute police and firemen. He then went on to regurgitate the information about union contributions. He misspoke about association contributions. He demanded that Genis recuse herself from negotiations. Genis rejected that allegation.
KOKEN SINGS ABOUT MMR
Terry Koken spoke of the Mensinger Mansoor Ramos slate - the MMR. He referred to Measles, Mumps and Rubella - childhood diseases. Again, his clever wordsmithing entertained most of us - except maybe Mensinger.
CHALLENGING ON SOBER LIVING
An unidentified woman spoke on Foley's meeting the previous week regarding Sober Living. She suggested a referral to Congressman Daryl Issa's recent bill and suggested writing him a letter.
HOW MUCH DID RIGHEIMER'S LIES COST US?
Foley asked City Attorney Tom Duarte the amount spent by the City to Rutan and Tucker on the rebuttal issue. She demanded to know the amount of the bill. Prior to answer Mensinger wanted all communications between Rutan and Tucker. Foley said she's opposing Rutan and Tucker in court. She wondered if it was $29,000 to defend Righeimer in court. Per Duarte, $24,000, he thinks.
A GAFFE TO CLOSE THE MEETING
Mensinger totally botched the adjournment. He fumbled and stumbled the name and someone else was added that nobody identified. So, we think it was adjourned in memory of Bob Robins and somebody named Fisher. Geez, can't he even get THAT right?
Here's the scoop on that "other person" Steve couldn't remember. It seems the name he botched was that of Hal Fischer, Costa Mesa Police Lieutenant for 20 years; Police Chief of Marysville for 3 years; Police Chief of Placentia for 9 years, where he retired. He and his wife, Sharon, were founding members of Calvary Chapel, then occupying that little church on Church Street. They were instrumental in hiring Chuck Smith to guide the church, which became one of the largest Christian movements in the world. Yeah, he was nobody - just a law enforcement leader and a Christian. Steve, you are an idiot!
Labels: Allan Mansoor, City Council, Eleanor Egan, Ethan Temianka, Gary Monahan, Jay Humphrey, Jim Fitzpatrick, Jim Righeimer, Katrina Foley, Mike Scheafer, Sandy Genis, Steve Mensinger, Tom Duarte, Tom Hatch