The Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday night started out on a very happy note with the presentation of the Mayor's Award to former Costa Mesa Police Chief Roger Neth
- a man who served this city proudly - as one of the first three officers hired and the second Police Chief- for more than three decades.
NICE NETH PRESENTATION
Costa Mesa Television prepared a very nice tribute video about Neth's career. Mayor Steve Mensinger
gave a preamble and a key to the city. Current Chief Rob Sharpnack
also paid tribute to Neth as he spoke about the core values he instilled in the department and the Chief also spoke about a few of the things of which he was most proud. He mentioned that the Costa Mesa Police Department was on the cutting edge in using technology, such as the CAD/RMS system, videoing DUI suspects. He didn't mention the helicopter program which he began, nor did he mention that Costa Mesa provided contract policing for the brand new city of Irvine, instilling those same values in that department. Many of the contract employees became Irvine police officers when that department was formed. That City is acknowledged to be one of the safest in the country.
WHERE WERE THE COPS?
It was a very nice ceremony, with some of Neth's family present. However, I, personally, was disappointed that there were no other police officers except Sharpnack in the auditorium. That surprised me...
POINTING OUT FALSEHOODS
The meeting fell straight off the cliff following the Neth presentation. During Public Comments Mary Spadoni
criticized the decision made at the last meeting regarding keeping the medical transport situation as-is, and cited chapter and verse from previous meetings where council members agreed to move forward with medical transport - and pointed out the falsehood made previously.
FIREFIGHTER'S PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT
Costa Mesa Firefighters Association President Rob Gagne
then stepped up and also expressed his disappointment. He gave a history of the steps the CMFA took to help the city with their contract and their support of Interim Chief Tom Arnold
's 17-point plan. He then directly criticized Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer
for statements attributed to him from an Orange County Register article, HERE
, in which he made false statements . In that article Righeimer accused the CMFA of blocking more efficient options, which Gagne vehemently denied last night.
At that point Righeimer flew off the handle and demanded a "point of personal privilege" to respond to Gagne, even though he would have time during his Council member comments segment. As it turned out, he used BOTH
opportunities. He ranted and raved, saying he found it "shocking
" that the Union President would make those statements. He went on and on. Not only was it embarrassing, but he lied during his rant again.
TAMAR RIPS THEM
began her three minutes by hoping out loud that there were still firefighters in the house because Righeimer's rant caused her blood pressure to rise. She then cited Chief Neth for his service and the standards he established. She mentioned a conversation she had with former Chief Tom Gazsi
- now the Chief of the Los Angeles Port Police - in which the performance of the members of the department was discussed. She observed that, despite the unpleasant atmosphere created by the council majority, those men and women who had not departed continue to perform at a high level. She said Gazsi attributed that to the culture created by Neth and other chiefs who preceded him.
reminded us of the current candy/easter egg collection for the children of the 1/5 Marines at Camp Pendleton.
An unidentified person provided a personal anecdote about the difference between Costa Mesa Paramedics and CARE Ambulance drivers, citing the inexperience of the CARE staff.
JAY TURNS HIS BACK
Former councilman Jay Humphrey
, who lost a seat on the council to Righeimer by 47 votes in the last election, and a regular speaker before the council was apparently so upset with how the meeting was going to this point that he abandoned the several things he had planned to address and told the council that it was clear that they don't listen. So, he decided to use his three minutes to communicate with them the only way he could - and he promptly turned his back to the council and just stood there. He made his point.
WENDY JOINS THE CHORUS
Former councilwoman Wendy Leece
, who has stayed involved in city issues since being termed out, also expressed disappointment in the Medical Transport vote.
also stepped up to express her disappointment in the council's unwillingness to listen to its staff and the consultants on the Medical Transport issue. She spiced up her commentary, then simply used the remaining half of her time holding this sign.
HOPING FOR ACCORD
joined in on the Medical Ambulance issue. She indicated that friends called her a "Pollyanna
" because she continued to hope for a good solution.
INITIATIVES AND MORE
told us "I'm no Pollyanna
", then blasted Righeimer, saying, "That is not a pulpit and you're no preacher.
" She then spoke of the citizen unrest and cited the Smart Growth Initiative that is in the works and the new Fairview Park Protection Initiative for which signatures are currently being gathered. She also talked about the meeting Saturday at Fairview Developmental Center where input is being solicited from the public. And, she encouraged folks to attend the meeting on February 10 in Morro Bay to reject the plan to oust the current Director of the Coastal Commission by developer groups.
CHAD (?) CONFERENCE
During Council Member Comments Katrina Foley
mentioned the "CHAD" (?) conference in November.
GENIS ON CMPD PERFORMANCE AND FAIRVIEW PARK PLANS
thanked the Costa Mesa Police Department for the professional way it handled the recent incident in her neighborhood where a man ran from an accident, fired a shot at police, but was later captured. Among other things, she mentioned the recent agenda for the Parks and Recreation Commission that included items dealing with Fairview Park, citing the road that's planned, plus the parking lot lights, neither of which are part of the Master Plan for the park. She also commented on CARE Ambulance response times, then mentioned that no council member may unilaterally decide on a relationship with another agency - that requires a discussion by the council and a vote.
GARY SEES DRUGGIES ALL THE TIME
addressed CARE Ambulance and his vote. He said he didn't like the numbers provided by the consultant. He talked about Sober Living, citing the fact that Costa Mesa has two laws on the books but the courts have put a stay on their enforcement. He spoke to the drug deals going on throughout the city- a speaker brought it up. He said, "I see them all the time.
" Interesting, no? He also told us he profiles customers in his gin mill....
ANOTHER RIGHEIMER RANT
Then it was Righeimer's turn. After mentioning the police action near his home, he went off on another anti-union screed about paramedics. He reiterated the lie again that he didn't vote to buy the medical vans to transport patients, despite the fact that speakers had refuted his comments earlier. He told us he was "Tired of this charade.
" He said it twice. He said he's only got 3 years left, then mumbled something. Can he be that stupid? Gee, I guess so. By the way, while we're back on this subject, some of you may not have seem my commentary in the Daily Pilot Sunday on this issue. You can read it HERE
Then came time for the CEO's report. Tom Hatch
had three issues. The first was the closure of Redhill from Main Street to Pullman starting soon. Here's a chart that shows it.
FAIRVIEW DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER
Then he addressed the Fairview Developmental Center issue, speaking that the General Plan would address that site for zoning for re-use should the State actually close it and sell the land.
FRANCIS' HOMELESSNESS REPORT
He then turned the segment over to Assistant CEO Rick Francis
for an update on the Homelessness issue in the City. The following series of slides explains what he told us. Click on them if you need to enlarge them.
BROWN ACT VIOLATION?
As the council members began to discuss this issue Genis interrupted and asked City Attorney Tom Duarte
about the propriety of this practice - having an item presented without being agendized and having a discussion ensure. She was concerned about Brown Act violations - this is not the first time this has happened. There was NO mention of this presentation on the agenda. Duarte told the council to keep any comments general in nature. Mensinger blew it off, stating to Genis, "We have our City Attorney's opinion.
" The arrogance of these guys is just unbelievable!
Finally, at 7:35, they got to the Consent Calendar and one item was pulled - the Warrant. It would be discussed later.
FIFTEEN GRAND TO THINK ABOUT A FEASIBILITY STUDY
At 7:38 we got down to business on the only item on the agenda, New Business #1 - Katrina Foley's request for $15,000 for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District to BEGIN
a feasibility study to provide more bleachers and other enhancements at the new Costa Mesa High School athletic complex. This should have been a quick issue - it wasn't complicated until the council got their hooks into it. This request is simply the starting point - and $15,000 likely wouldn't be the only funds necessary. Earlier they had approved $50,000 for a feasibility study. Round and round they went, trying to resolve issues that were not before them.
SCHOOL OFFICIALS AND MORE
Costa Mesa High School Principal Jacob Haley
spoke briefly. Costa Mesa High School Football Coach Glen Fisher
addressed the need and thanked the council for moving this forward. Two "football parents" spoke, also in support of the plan, as did Gay Royer
Foley asked Dr. Kirk Bauermeister
to come up from the audience to speak to the issue, providing some insight to the school district's process. He affirmed that they needed the $15,000 and a letter from the City outlining what they were looking for in order to proceed. He also said there was no guarantee that they would proceed.
FINALLY, A VOTE
And round and round the conversation went before Monahan moved to follow the staff recommendation, but increase the amount to $25,000. It passed, 5-0 at 8:30.
PEA GRAVEL AND SHODDY CONSTRUCTION
The Consent Calendar items were heard. Al Melone
complained about a couple bucks paid for pea gravel at the bark park. An unidentified person wondered why we were doing business with Blackrock Construction, since we fired them for shoddy construction on streets projects in the city and resident, and former council candidate Lee Ramos
was injured and sued the company.
COULD HAVE BEEN EARLIER
We were out of there at 8:40 - an hour later than we would have been except for Righeimer's rants. I think I have a solution... the way he waves his arms around when he gets wound up, perhaps we should just have the Sergeant-at-arms handcuff him to his chair - or just slap some duct tape on his mouth.
Labels: CARE Ambulance, Costa Mesa Firefighters Association, Costa Mesa High School, Gary Monahan, Jim Righeimer, Katrina Foley, Rob Gagne, Rob Sharpnack, Roger Neth, Sandra Genis, Steve Mensinger, Tom Duarte, Tom Hatch