Monahan, Maintenance And Hostile Takeovers
COULD BE A SHORT MEETING
The Costa Mesa City Council meets again for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 commencing at 5:45 in City Council Chambers at City Hall. There is NO Closed Session preceding this meeting this time around. You can read the entire agenda HERE.
MAYOR'S AWARD TO MONAHAN - FOR WHAT?
Right off the bat we have a curious situation. As some know, Mayor Steve Mensinger has become addicted to presenting the Mayor's Award - it happens almost every single meeting. We've had a wide array of recipients - almost all of them worthy of the recognition. This week, however, he apparently is going to present the Mayor's Award to a sitting city councilman - Gary Monahan. To say this is unusual doesn't begin to cover it. Monahan will be termed out this year, ending his second tour of eight years each - separated by some time on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board. In the past we've seen departing long-term council members receive recogintion - I'm OK with that. But I sure don't recall such an award being presented when the council member had a few months left on his term. There's lots of speculation going on about this presentation. I'm thinking maybe it's some kind of recognition for being a good soldier - a guaranteed third vote - for Mensinger and and Jim Righeimer as they try to control every aspect of city government. Any ideas?
The Consent Calendar contains a few interesting items - a couple of which probably should be pulled for separate discussion, but likely won't. Anyhow, here's a little summary for you to chew on:
Item #2 is Warrant #2564, HERE, which represents just over $3 million of our tax dollars being spent on a variety of issues. I won't give you a long list, but here are some issues that caught my eye. If you want to review it yourself just go to the link and scroll down through the entries.
We continue to rack up thousands of dollars for consultants and temporary employees, filling holes in the organization and meeting increased work demands. Legal fees continue to dominate the numbers. We spent nearly $100,000 on legal fees this time, and that was with Jones & Mayer submitting only one amount - $24,157.90 for work on Yellowstone. We see a correcting entry issuing a check to the City of Huntington Beach for helicopter services for June, 2016 in the amount of $26,040.00. There is a reversal entry in the same amount for a check that apparently was erroneously issued to the City of Newport Beach - I mentioned this some time back.
PARK AND LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE RATE INCREASE
Item #4, HERE, is an increase in the contract with Complete Landscape Care of $10,600.38, taking the annual cost to just over $717,000 per year. This is per the terms of their contract for park and landscape maintenance services. This contract ends June 30, 2017. (see below)
CHANGES TO HOMEBUYERS PROGRAM
Item #6, HERE, deals with proposed modifications to the Costa Mesa Homebuyer Assistance and Single Family HOME Program. It seems curious that this complex staff report would be dealt with on the Consent Calendar - particularly since there has been no Study Session for months at which this may have been discussed.
OUTSOURCING LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE
Item #7, HERE, is interesting. Earlier this year the Costa Mesa City Employees Association, during the negotiations for their current contract, apparently agreed to permit the outsourcing of all landscape and maintenance activities in our parks, medians, etc. No employees would be laid off and a half dozen employees would be retained to manage the outsourcing contracts. This contract, with Marina Landscape Maintenance, Inc., was the successful bidder, at $2,099,567 with a contingency of just over $210, 000 included. This organization will take over where Complete Landscape Care (above) leaves off. Their contract begins July 1, 2017.
OLD BUSINESS SECOND READINGS
There are two Old Business items on the agenda. Both are second readings of zoning code changes dealing with changes in the New General Plan. The first, HERE, is for the Fairview Developmental Site on Harbor Blvd. The second, HERE is for the Mixed-Use Overlay on Harbor Blvd and Newport Blvd. I doubt if either will get much discussion and will promptly pass.
TEAMING WITH OC PARKS FOR TALBERT PARK RESTORATION GRANTS
New Business #1, HERE, is a resolution for the partnering with the Orange County Parks Department in order to apply for grants and other funding opportunities for the Talbert Regional Park Final Habitat Restoration Plan. The staff recommends $50,000 be set aside for this process.
OPPOSING PROP. 57
New Business #2, HERE, is Mayor Steve Mensinger's request for a resolution by the City Council opposing Proposition 57, the "California Parole for Non-violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative". Read the staff report for the details of this issue - it potentially springs more criminals back into the general public earlier than would be the case before this proposition. Some of the crimes that would qualify for early release are: rape by intoxication, rape of an unconscious person, human trafficking involving a sex act with minors, drive-by shooting, assault with a deadly weapon, taking a hostage, domestic violence involving trauma, possession of a bomb or weapon of mass destruction, hate crime causing physical injury, arson causing great bodily injury, discharging a firearm on school grounds, corporal injury to a child and false imprisonment of an elderly person. You know - some really BAD stuff!
PANDERING TO THE ELECTORATE
Now, I don't disagree with the need to vote this measure down. It, coupled with previously passed Prop. 47 and AB 109, will make our cities much less safe. However, it's a little late in the game for this move. The election six weeks away. Part of me thinks this is just a grandstanding effort by Mensinger, who is running for re-election and wants to pretend he's a pro-law enforcement guy when he's not. We'll see how this goes.
PUSHING A BOGUS SCHEME FOR HOSTILE TAKEOVER
The final item on the agenda is New Business #3, HERE, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer's scheme to help his buddies at the Mesa Water District get a favorable vote on their bogus scheme to attempt a hostile takeover of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District. Righeimer wants the council to adopt a resolution of support for this plan and will likely get it since he controls the majority on the council. I expect there to be spirited discussion on this issue Tuesday night. I do know that Costa Mesa Sanitary District President Mike Scheafer plans to address it with the council. I expect there will be folks from Mesa Water in the audience to speak on it, too. My opinion? This is a bogus scheme, hatched by power-hungry politicians trying to consolidate their power over Costa Mesa residents. The CMSD is a well-run, fiscally-sound special district with cash in the bank. Mesa Water is cash poor and continues to raise our rates. The ballot measure in question - Measure TT - has no authority of law. It's only an advisory measure, but if it passes you can bet the folks at Mesa Water will try to jam their idea forward with the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), citing the "will of the people" as measured by the election. The numbers they used are invalid - created by consultants without contact with the CMSD board. Nor did Mesa Water give the CMSD board time to appropriately respond to their demands - they just plowed ahead. NO on TT...