Smart Growth, Medical Marijuana, Affordable Housing Bond And More
I paused for a long time today before posting this lest you, my dear readers, thought it was one of the many April Fool's Day spoofs being perpetrated on the public today. But, alas, no - it's true. The Costa Mesa City Council will meet again on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 beginning at 5:45 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall. The Closed Session will precede it at 5:00, where the City Clerk will take role, read the six (6) items on that part of the agenda then Public Comments on those items will be taken - nobody ever shows up, but you're welcome to come address the council on those items if you wish - and the council will adjourn to Conference Room 5A in the 5th floor bunker to deliberate the secret stuff. You can read the agenda for the meeting HERE.
SIX CLOSED SESSION ITEMS - THREE ON REHAB ORGANIZATIONS
MAY NOT START ON TIME
Presuming the closed session finishes promptly - never a guarantee with so many items to consider, at 5:45, following the Call To Order, Pledge of Allegiance, a Moment of Solemn Expression and Roll Call, apparently there will be a report on the Solid Landings litigation - two of the above mentioned items involve that organization.
TESLA - REALLY?
Apparently Mayor Steve Mensinger is going to give the Mayor's Award to "Tesla", although no reason is given. I guess as long as there are car dealerships in town Mensinger will never be at a loss for folks to bestow what is supposed to be a prestigious award for some kind of community service.
There will also be proclamations naming April as Donate Life Month and April as Community College Month and naming April 21st as Coast Community College District Day in Costa Mesa.
By this time we will have rolled around to 6:00 or later and will then have Public Comments, Council Member Comments and the CEO Report - if Mensinger let's Tom Hatch talk at all.
ANOTHER LARGE CONSENT CALENDAR
The Consent Calendar, items that are theoretically routine in nature and can be voted upon with out discussion and as one vote, comes next. Council members, staff or members of the public may pull an item for separate discussion and vote, but it will be trailed to the very end of the meeting, forcing the person who was interested in this item to remain until - sometimes - past midnight to be heard. So, let's talk about a few of the ten (10) items on the Consent Calendar.
Item#2, Warrant #2554, HERE, lists nearly $7 million of your money spent by the city. As has been my practice, I'm going to list a few of those items - ones that caught my eye. They will appear below in the order they appear on the warrant, so you can scroll down through the list for more if you wish.
- City of Huntington Beach - $21,000.00 - Helicopter Svcs - Jan 2016
- Civil Source - $38,880.00 - Construction Staff Svcs - Jan 2016
- Costa Mesa Conference and Visitor Bureau - $281,025.35 - BIA receipts Jan 2026
- Inter-sky Inc - $21,470.50 - Skylights @ Senior Center
- Show Development West Inc. - 25,900.00 - Holiday Lighting and Stage Rental
- Department of Conservation - $9,381.24 - SIMP Fees Collecgted Oct-Dec 2015
- Government Staffing Services Inc. - $3,808.00 - Temp Svcs Purchasing 3/6/16
- KOA Corp - $6,575.00 - W. 19th St Fac
- Matrix Imaging Products Inc. - $8,750.00 - Bldg Permits Conversion Svcs
- Civil Source - $94,538.00 - Staff Support, various
- Newport Mesa Unified School District - $277,533.00 - Developer Fees, Jan and Feb. 2016
- Rimini Street Inc. - $121,648.00 - Support Services Agreement
- Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth - $31,681.20 - Legal Svcs various
- AKAL Consultants - $9,250.00 - Study E76 Prep. Svcs
- Accountemps - $1,089.60 - Temp Svcs, Treasury Mgnt, 3/4/16
- Environmental Science Associates - $13,528.30 - No Description
- Landworks Development Services - $7,380.00 - Prof. Svcs Agreement
- Michael Baker International Inc. - $10.580.00 - Prof. Svcs Agreement
- Safe Moves - $9,325.00 - Bicycle Education Services
- Scientia Consulting Group Inc. - $10,759.69 - IT Services 1/24-2/20/16
- Tandus Centiva US LLC - $11,533.25 - City Hall 1st Floor Carpet Repl.
- Traveltech Enterprises - $5,328.00 - SrCntr Travel-2/21/16 Laughlin
- Clean Street - $57,291.98 - Street Sweeping Feb 2016
- Endemic Environmental Services - $19,310.00 - Wetlands svcs vaiours Feb 2016
- G4S Secure Solutions Inc - $53,125.14 - Jail Facilities Svcs Feb 2016
- Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $51,389.87 - Legal Svcs Various
- Merchants Building Maintenance LLC - $29,622.67 - Janitorial Svs - City Bldgs
- Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce - $10.000.00 - Dntn-16 ArtOfLeadership
- Government Staffing Servcies Inc - $5,593.00 - Temp Svcs Fire Admin and Buyer
- Granicus Inc. - $4,650.00 - Web Streaming Svcs 4/1-6/30/16
- Interwest Consulting Group Inc. - $13,222.50 - Sr. Bldg Inspec Jan 2016
Item #7, HERE, is a three-year contract at $150,000 per year for street striping and thermoplastic markings, with a provision for two (2) one year extensions.
CRITICAL ENGINEERING NEEDS
Item #8, HERE, is for the Emergency Purchase of Professional Engineering Services for staff support on capital improvement program projects. The vacancy of six positions in the Engineering Division, and the untimely and tragic passing of Engineering Manager Fariba Fazeli recently, have created a critical condition and impacts the city's ability to move forward with millions of dollars of projects. HERE is the proposal by Interwest Consulting Group to provide those services. This is, de facto, another "outsourcing" of critical city services, very likely created by the recent imposition of an unsatisfactory labor contract which places the city's "General" employees - the Engineering staff is included in this group - at the low end of the labor market, which has created instability in the workforce. You can thank the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for this latest move to outsource every job in the city.
AMENDMENTS TO SOBECA AND OVERLAY ZONES
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is the issue of amendments to the SoBECA and Westside Urban Plans. These changes are a result of several meetings over many months. The chart below outlines the changes. Click on the image to enlarge it for easier viewing.
BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB LEASE EXTENSION
Old Business #1, HERE, is the Lease Agreement with the Boys and Girls Club of the Harbor Area, Inc., extending it for another 48 years at $1 per year, per the existing agreement. Although discussion took place at the March 1, 2016 meeting about reducing the term of the lease, the Boys and Girls Club Board has rejected that idea, indicating a shorter term would impair their ability to attract large donors.
THE "SMART GROWTH" INITIATIVE
Old Business #2, HERE, is an interesting - and controversial - item on the agenda. This is the "Review of Agency Report on Initiative Petition Qualifying For Ballot; Consideration of Adopting a New Ordinance; Submission of an Initiative to the November 8, 2016 Ballot.
In this staff report the recommendation is for the City Council to:
1 - Adopt the ordinance, without alteration;or
2 - Order placement of the measure on the November 8, 2016 consolidated municipal election ballot. Resolutions calling for a consolidated municipal election, and submission of the measure to the ballot, to be adopted at the June 7, 2016 City Council meeting; and
3 - Consider providing Staff with direction as to the preparation of an alternative measure.
The staff report provides the history of the initiative and includes a 30-page report, HERE, which outlines in GREAT detail the impact of the initiative and compares it to other similar measures passed in California over the past two decades, including the Newport Beach "Greenlight" initiative. As I read through it today I found myself wondering how many of the council members will do the same before the meeting. I'm guessing two will read it. The other three already have their minds made up.
In the Fiscal Review it is estimated to cost $10,000 to add the initiative to the November 8, 2016 ballot. The report by Keyser Marston Associates, Inc. cost an estimated $28,000 and it is estimated to cost between $10,000 - $20,000 to retain outside counsel to prepare an alternative measure.
This is going to be an interesting discussion, probably dominated by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer as he rants and raves about how terrible the initiative is and how it will stop all growth in the city. Of course, that's not true, but it might impact his developer-buddies, which will likely be in the house Tuesday night. If you can't be there, watch it on CMTV or on live streaming video.
RIGHEIMER'S AFFORDABLE HOUSING BOND
New Business #1, HERE, fulfills Righeimer's threat to put a $20 million bond issue on the November ballot to see if "the people" really want to support Affordable Housing in Costa Mesa. Readers may recall his fit of pique when advocates for affordable housing in the city presented their case before the council many times. The staff report outlines the cost of two firms, Fieldman, Rolapp & Associates ($23,000) and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, P.C. ($40,000) to do the work necessary to place this item on the ballot. However, through all the verbiage I could find NOTHING that says how the money generated by the bond might be spent. There is only the amorphous phrase "affordable housing purposes" - whatever the heck that means.
TELL ME HOW THE MONEY WILL BE SPENT - FIRST
In my opinion, as much as the city apparently needs affordable housing stock, this issue should NOT move forward unless there is a clear definition of just how $20,000,000 of our taxpayer money is to be spent - not just "affordable housing purposes". If this thing gets placed on the ballot without a clear definition of the use of the proceeds of the bond I'm voting NO.
GARY'S MEDICAL MARIJUANA SCHEME
New Business #2, HERE, is the discussion of resurrecting the Medical Marijuana Initiative proposed by lame duck councilman Gary Monahan. There WILL be two Medical Marijuana initiatives on the November, 8, 2016 ballot. The proposal would be for the City to offer the voters yet another alternative - Monahan's issue or a new measure - with the top vote getter winning. The staff report is lengthy and thorough and includes an excellent comparison chart to the two earlier initiatives, Monahan's original proposal and the Santa Ana law. Read it HERE. I suspect this will generate a lot of discussion Tuesday night.
YET ANOTHER PLAN AT 3350 AVENUE OF THE ARTS
New Business #3, HERE, is a screening request for a proposed 150-room hotel at 3350 Avenue of the Arts (formerly the Wyndham Hotel). This is a second proposal for the site. This one involves the demolition of the existing parking structure and adding a new 15-story hotel tower with multiple banquet rooms and 150 guest rooms above a 6-level parking structure.
LIGHTED FIELDS AND SYNTHETIC TURF
HERE, is the much-delayed discussion of a feasibility discussion for permanent lighting and synthetic turf at multiple locations. This issue will become more critical if AB 2496, which eliminates Daylight Savings Time, is passed. The council will be asked to approve this concept and provide authorization for a letter and check for $45,000 to be forwarded to the Newport Mesa Unified School District initiating a feasibility study for sport field lighting and synthetic turf fields at Kaiser Elementary, Davis Middle School and Parsons School.
GONNA BE ANOTHER LONG NIGHT
I'm guessing the council meeting will drag well past midnight... Ugh!