Saturday, July 02, 2016

Claire Flynn Bids Costa Mesa A Very Fond Adieu

A LIFE-CHANGE AWAITS
Early last week I got some news that I received with very strong mixed emotions... Costa Mesa's Assistant Director of Development Services, Claire Flynn, is moving on.  Her last day with the city she's served for more than fifteen years will be next Friday, July 8th.  I'm happy for her, but sad for the loss it means to our city.
CANNOT LET HER GO WITHOUT COMMENT
Claire is a very private person and didn't what any kind of hoopla to be made as she leaves.  So, I waited as long as I could, but cannot let her departure go without comment - she's been too important to my city to just watch her fade into the sunset.
A LOCAL STAR
A Costa Mesa High School graduate, Claire came to the City of Costa Mesa from Mission Viejo's Community Development Department in 2001.  During the decade and a half with the City she's held five progressively more responsible roles in planning and development and has been in her current role since 2011.
STRONG GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT
She worked under some excellent leaders - Don Lamm and Kimberly Brandt were among her most influential mentors.  Lamm moved to the City of Westminster as City Manager and currently has his own consulting firm.  Brandt is presently Community Development Director for the City of Newport Beach.  And, of course, during most of her career at Costa Mesa she worked under the guidance and leadership of City Manager Allan Roeder.

WILL LEAVE A VOID
Many of us who follow city issues recognize the huge hole this leaves in the Development Services Department.  Claire has been the rock - the consummate professional who could always be depended upon to provide the right answers at the right time to those decision makers she served.
A REAL PRO
Personally, I've always found Claire to be patient, approachable and professional - always ready, willing and able to provide information on development issues to even the most dense of us.  I'm going to miss her.

BALANCING LIFE AND CAREER
Claire will join a private sector organization where her planning education - she has a Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning - and more than twenty-two years experience can be fully utilized and also provide her some time flexibility.  Her goal starting this new chapter of her life is to achieve better balance in her planning profession and family life.
 GOOD LUCK, CLAIRE - AND THANKS
So, as she moves off into the sunset of her Costa Mesa career I want to thank Claire Flynn for her service to our city and wish her all the best.  Her talents will be well-utilized in her new assignment and her young daughter will certainly benefit from more quality "Mom time".

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Voting District Formation Open House Tuesday



A CRITICAL ISSUE
OK, let's ease back into this with something that is critically important to EVERY resident of the City of Costa Mesa - the plan to completely change the way our elected leaders are chosen henceforth.
LITIGATION FORCES THE ISSUE
Presently each of the 5 City Council members are elected "at-large" - everyone votes for every candidate.  As some know, there is litigation that is forcing the City to come up with a plan to carve up the City into voting districts in order to provide an opportunity for our Latino population - 37% of our residents - to have a greater say in how the City operates.  Under the requirement, candidates will be chosen by a vote of the people in their district - not at large.

WORKSHOPS
A series of workshops have been held, preceded by some one-on-one meetings with the consultant, David Ely, to craft examples of what such voting districts might look like.  I've attended all the workshops and reported on each one.

PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY
Tuesday, July 5th, in a Public Hearing on this issue at the council meeting held that night, the council will consider the most recent options produced by this effort and MAY, at that time, choose how this issue will be presented to the voters on the November 8th ballot.  We'll know more when the agenda is released sometime Friday.
OPEN HOUSE - 4:30-5:30 TUESDAY
Prior to the council meeting - which usually begins at 5:45 - there will be an Open House from 4:30 - 5:30 in Conference Room 1A, adjacent to the City Clerk's Office.  The City announced this event HERE.  It's my understanding that the maps displayed at the last workshop have been changed based on input at that meeting and subsequent correspondence.  Those maps, which will be available for review and questions to the consultant at the Open House Tuesday, will be available online as part of the agenda package released Friday, July 1st.  Translation services for Spanish and Vietnamese speakers will be provided, just as they have at each workshop.
COMMUNITY INPUT HAS BEEN PROVIDED
Those of us who have attended the workshops have presented questions and offered potential solutions for consideration.  By far, one of the iterations of a 5-district model was preferred at EVERY workshop - it wasn't even close.  It is, in the end, the City Council majority's decision about which alternative(s) will be presented to the voters.  Based on their behavior in the past, it's not a sure thing that they will listen to community input.
DIRECTLY-ELECTED MAYOR SCHEME
One of the recent additions was a scheme - requested by at least one council member - for a 6-district model that would include a directly-elected mayor, which makes the odd number on the dais.  Currently our five council members are subject to term limits.  For example, lamest of lame ducks Gary Monahan is termed out - again - this year.  Unless provision is made in a 6-district scheme for the directly-elected mayor to be subject to term limits we could end up with a mayor for life!  The image below was the latest version at the June 15th workshop.  It has likely changed.
PLEASE ATTEND THE WORKSHOP AND ASK QUESTIONS
I encourage you to attend the Open House and, if so moved, stick around for the Public Hearing and let the council know how you feel about the choices - or their choice.  All that's at stake is the future of our city.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Life's Detours

"GOOFIN' OFF AGAIN?", YOU ASK
So, you're asking yourself, where the heck is The Potstirrer?  Is he gone on yet another vacation?  Is he just goofin' off?  Well, some of you already know the answer to that question, but for the rest of you, and to attempt to chart the future, let me tell about my last week.
"PE"
Back in Junior High School the term "PE" meant physical education - you know, running around, burning off energy and getting all sweaty.  As I moved on through life that term came to mean other things - like Project Engineer, or Professional Engineer, for example.  Well, I now have a new definition for "PE" - Pulmonary embolism.
COUNCIL MEETING PAIN
Last Tuesday night I was hunkered down at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting taking copious notes, photos and screen grabs, trying to keep up with the proceedings.  You may recall from my previous entry, that the agenda was packed and the meeting ended at midnight. 

 TOO POOPED TO POST
Around 10 p.m. I began to experience sharp pains in my back and was getting shortness of breath, to the point where I had to leave the meeting.  I went home and watched the remainder of the meeting on television, but instead of posting an entry of the meeting so it would be waiting for you in the morning I went to bed.  The pain made it to difficult to focus. 
TOOK ALL DAY AND NIGHT
After a mostly sleepless night I got up and struggled to get that blog entry posted.  It took me the entire day - I finally hit the "publish" button at 8:12 p.m. and my sweet and very patient wife was not a happy person.  Eventually, because the pain and shortness of breath persisted, I had her drive me to Hoag Hospital at 11:00.  I still can't get over having valet park at the hospital!
SEEMED LIKE A WEEK!
I'll give you the shortest version of the next couple days that I can.  My ER doctor finally got to me after a few tests had been run and told me she was glad I made it - I could have died - and the tone in her voice implied that I was not out of the woods yet.  More tests and pain killers (yea!) later she decided to admit me.  She diagnosed the pulmonary embolism and they really needed to keep an eye on it, so they eventually hauled my carcass to a room on the 10th floor, which I would discover a couple hours later had a wonderful white-water view.  At 3:00 a.m. my wife headed home knowing I was in good hands.

SLEEPLESS...
There's not much sleeping going on in hospitals - particularly on the 10th floor, which is usually reserved for the sickest among us.  Usually you're lucky if you can snatch 20 minutes without interruption.  At 7:30 a.m. my internist was standing over me, glowering at me.  He told me he had been in touch with the doctors at the hospital and understood more tests would be conducted and that I was in their good hands.... and left.
TESTS, TESTS, AND MORE TESTS
We're now at Thursday morning, with more tests ahead.  I've had two CT scans, a couple bouts of Ultrasound tests, and my blood pressure and temperature taken more times than you can imagine.  I watched the lifeguard boat patrolling the riptides most of the day off and on.
AND MORE...
They hooked me up with oxygen and gave me blood thinners to keep the clot in my lung from moving and to, hopefully, prevent more from forming.  And, we're still not talking about checking out of the hospital yet.

WHAT TIME IS IT?
At 3:00 a.m. (time apparently has no relevance in hospitals) I was wrestled onto a gurney and moved to another room, this time on the 3rd floor, with a lovely view of Newport Harbor.  More tests, more drugs, etc. 
HEADED HOME FRIDAY AT 4:00
Finally they processed me out and my sweet wife came to fetch me around 4:00 p.m.

IPHONE TO THE RESCUE
Some of you already know much of that part of the story - I had my phone and, while more loopy than usual from the pain meds, I could still attempt to communicate.

DID WATCH THE PARKS & REC. MEETING
I missed the Parks and Recreation Meeting live, but watched it after I got home. This was Julie Mercurio's debut and it was uneventful.  The agenda was light and she actually seconded a motion to validate her existence.  I noted that Costa Mesa's wannabe Dope Czar, Jimmy Fitzy, was among those who spoke in her defense.  One interesting element was during public comments when speaker Alex Reich made it clear with his presentation - including visuals - that he didn't think much of her candidacy.  Here's one of them.
ON THE RADIO
I also understand Ms. Mercurio was on Tom Johnson's radio show Sunday morning, but I missed that one, too.  If it's available on streaming video I'll find it.  I know one thing... she should have had plenty of words saved up for Tom, because she was almost mute during the meeting Thursday.

PLAY IT BY EAR
So, here's the future for me as I know it now.  I'm lucky there are not meetings I would normally attend this week, but next week will be a doozy.  I'm not sure whether my physical condition will permit me to travel to those venues and, quite honestly, I'm not sure whether I'll be able to write much about them, in any event.  A doctor visit tomorrow will give me more clarity.
WHAT'S IMPORTANT?
Life sometimes throws you curveballs - this is one of those times.  It certainly will cause me to re-assess what's important in my life, and how much time and energy I'm going to be willing to put in on the blog and all that entails downstream.  We'll know more next week.

THANKS FOR THE GOOD WISHES
I want to thank all of you who found out I was ill (my sister blabbed it on my Facebook page) and communicated with me your kind wishes.  Thanks very much for that.  Now those of you in Mesa Verde know what all that cheering was about  going on near the country club last week!  Seriously, though, I was at a pretty low ebb and those messages of encouragement meant a lot to me.
PAY ATTENTION AND SPEAK UP!
In the meantime, pay attention to what's going on... attend the meetings, speak your piece.  Don't let Righeimer and Mensinger intimidate you into silence - they win if you do.
AS ARNOLD SAID IN "THE TERMINATOR"...
I'll be back soon... I hope.

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