Here's My Wish List...
WE KNOW THE PLAYERS...
Well, the counting is over, the Registrar of Voters has certified the election and we know who our new municipal leadership will be. Newcomer John Stephens and returning member Allan Mansoor will join Jim Righeimer, Katrina Foley and re-elected Sandy Genis to form what will certainly be a better-balanced City Council. No longer will major decisions be made by two men - Righeimer and ousted Steve Mensinger, who assumed - correctly - that Gary Monahan would just go along. Now decisions will be made based on what is best for the community, not best for a bunch of special interests. I look forward to those discussions.
...NOW WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN?
We don't yet know who will be running the show - nobody has yet been sworn-in and no Mayor nor Mayor Pro Tem elected - but that's going to happen next Tuesday. I'm suspecting neither Righeimer nor Mansoor will be in those roles. So, here are some of my random thoughts about what I would like to see happen downstream, beginning in January.
- Abandon this CEO
nonsense! Tom Hatch
is our City Manager, period! This bogus experiment of trying to run the
city like a business has failed - miserably! This is a CITY, and the only business it's in is to provide safety and services to the community.
- Begin City Council
meetings at 6:00 p.m., not 5:45. This is another hair-brained Steve Mensinger idea that needs to go - NOW!
- Resume Study Sessions. We need to return to the Study Session format at least once a month, maybe more, so ideas from staff and ALL members of the City Council can be fleshed out in an informal, free-flowing setting.
- Abandon the requirement that Public Hearings begin immediately at 7:00 p.m.! It makes no sense to be forced to stop other city business just to begin those hearings.
- Stop trailing Public Comments to the end of the meetings. Begin them early in the meeting and let the speakers address the council until everyone who wishes to has been heard.
- Stop trailing items pulled from the Consent Calendar to the very end of the meeting. This was a bogus scheme implemented so developers wouldn't have to sit around in council chambers. Let them sit.
- Re-assess what appears on the Consent Calendar. In recent months there have been too many items that should have been part of the agenda.
- Expect Hatch to have something to say more than, "Nothing tonight, Mr. Mayor." during his time in the agenda.
- On that note, give
Hatch a chance to do his job. Stop micromanaging his
office. He's an experienced professional who has not been
given the chance to perform. Give him direction and turn him loose. If
he gets the job done, fine. If he doesn't....
- Also, on that note, council members should quit prowling the halls of City Hall, giving direction to staffers. If you have an idea or a problem, tell Hatch unless he otherwise delegates it to someone else.
- Ease off on the
heavy-handed prohibition of expressions of appreciation
and/or approval (clapping) by the audience. Stop treating members of the audience like criminals on a perp walk. It smacks of
dictatorship. You can't demand respect, but you can command it by your actions.
- Discuss abandoning the COIN program. It's proven to be non-productive, costly and impractical.
- Meet in good faith with representatives of the Firefighters Association and resolve contract differences.
- Discuss the implementation of Chief Stefano's deployment model, utilizing the Rescue Ambulances for most patient transport. Utilize an independent company for overflow/Basic Life Support cases. If the current provider, CARE Ambulance, continues to balk at that change, put it out to bid. There will be someone out there willing to do the work.
- Re-assess the staffing model for the Police Department. Crime is up and recent laws and the proliferation of Sober Living Homes and Homeless folks in our community leads us to believe it will continue to rise. Ramp-up police hiring to bring the staff to appropriate levels - probably no fewer than 150 sworn officers.
- Re-install a K-9 unit.
- Discuss the abandonment of the Small Lot Ordinance which was designed only to make life easier for developers and has placed extraordinary stresses on our single-family neighborhoods.
- Roll back the Harbor and Newport Boulevard Overlay schemes in the new General Plan.
- Evaluate the impact of Measure Y - the Smart Growth Initiative - on current and probable projects around the city.
- Evaluate the impact of Measure AA on the previously approved projects that are currently part of the Fairview Park Master Plan. At a recent Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Commissioner Byron de Arakal suggested the City Attorney perform that analysis.
- de Arakal also suggested re-constituting the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee, which had been placed in suspended animation pending the completion of the General Plan, to have that body do an analysis of Measure AA impacts on Fairview Park projects. That idea should be abandoned and that dormant committee should be thanked for their efforts and disbanded. Measure AA has resolved those issues.
- Disband the Senior Commission with our heartfelt thanks for their efforts. That group has proven to be unnecessary. We have an excellent City Staff running the Senior Center now.
- Create an Airport Advisory Committee to stay abreast of John Wayne Airport issues and report back to the City Council. We have ignored that very important issue and all signs lately are that the Eastside will soon feel an even greater impact. We, the City, needs a seat at that table.
disbanding the Pension Oversight Committee. This
committee has accomplished very little. Either give them
direction or thank them for their service. Without state
intervention, the only solution to our pension issue is
municipal bankruptcy. Whatever assignments they might have
had in the future can be handled by the Finance Advisory Committee, if
- Discuss the performance of our contract legal department. When that contract was bid it was presumed that the winning bidder would be able to provide the full range of legal needs, including litigation. This has proven not to be the case. Establish a council sub-committee of Katrina Foley and John Stephens to lead an analysis of Jones & Mayer's performance and advise the full council.
- Discuss exactly how Measure EE will be implemented now that we have a new council seated. How will district conflicts be resolved? What is the process to fully implement this new law?
- Ramp-up recruitment efforts for Public Services. Our city is NOT well served in the long run by hiring contractors to fill the holes in that organization. We have a dozen openings now that need to be filled.
- Revisit the CMCEA contract. It is non-competitive and is a disincentive for employees, creating a revolving door.
OK, that's about it for now. There will be much more to be addressed as we move forward. I'm sure most of you will have other items to add to the list, but that's my first pass. I'm looking forward to watching all five of our council members working collaboratively together. My fingers will be tightly-crossed in anticipation of real progress being made.
Labels: Costa Mesa City Council