Saturday, December 03, 2016

Only 152 Ballots Remain To Be Counted!


MONDAY SHOULD BRING FINALITY TO THIS ELECTION SEASON
While you all enjoyed this glorious Southern California weather today, Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley and his merry band of minions were busily counting the votes that remained in the November 8th election.  As of 5:00 p.m. this evening there remain only 152 ballots left to count.  The next report will be Monday, December 5th after 5:00 p.m.

COSTA MESA CITY COUNCIL
There WILL be a change on the Costa Mesa City Council.  Sandy Genis continues to lead in this race, holding an edge over John Stephens of 224 votes.  Allan Mansoor, trailing Stephens by 2,681 votes, has secured the third seat in this race,  and holds a 527 vote margin over Mayor Steve Mensinger.  Jay Humphrey is 191 votes behind Mensinger and Lee Ramos and Al Melone trail the field.
COSTA MESA SANITARY DISTRICT
Incumbents Jim Ferryman and Art Perry both hold commanding leads in this race for two seats.  Both were sworn-in earlier this week despite the fact that this race has not yet been certified by the Registrar of Voters.  Gary Monahan is 4,736 votes behind Perry.  Jim Fitzpatrick and Christopher Luntsford trail the field.
MESA WATER DISTRICT
Incumbent Jim Fisler has defeated challenger Alex Reich.
GROWTH MEASURES
Nothing has changed in these two races.  Measure Y, the citizen-generated Smart Growth Initiative, is passing by a 2-1 margin.  Measure Z, the City-generated measure designed to confuse the voters, is also passing, but by a much smaller margin.
FAIRVIEW PARK MEASURES
Measure AA, the citizen-generated initiative designed to protect Fairview Park from development, is passing by a huge margin - much more than 2-1.  Measure BB, the City-generated measure placed on the ballot to confuse the voters, is failing badly.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA MEASURES
Both citizen-generated medical marijuana sales initiatives, Measures V and W, are failing badly at the polls.  Measure X, the City-generated measure with NO retail sales element, ia passing.
VOTE-BY-DISTRICTS
This measure, hijacked by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer in direct opposition to what the residents preferred, creates 6 voter districts and ADDS a directly-elected mayor.  This measure may not meet the requirements of the settlement agreement since it dilutes the Latino vote.  We'll see.
HOSTILE TAKEOVER OF CMSD BY MESA WATER
This meaningless advisory measure placed on the ballot by the Mesa Water District Board to try to fool the voters into thinking the combination of Mesa Water and the Costa Mesa Sanitary District is good business - it's not.
COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
All incumbents have won their seats back by large margins.
NEWPORT MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
All incumbents in these races have secured their seats again.
74TH STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Matt Harper has soundly defeated Karina Onofre.
37TH STATE SENATE DISTRICT
John Moorlach has defeated Ari Grayson.
48TH UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE
Dana Rohrabacher has crushed Dr. Suzanne Savary.
WHAT'S LEFT TO COUNT?
Esitmate of Ballots Left to Count - 152
Vote-by-Mail Ballots Left to Count - 28
Vote-by-Mail Ballots Returned at the Polls Left to Count - 43
Provisionals Left to Count - 81
Election Day Paper Ballots Left to Count - 0
Eligible Vote-by-Mail Ballots Received After Election Day Left to Count - 0

YES, THE FAT CHICK IS GARGLING NOW...
So, it looks like one more day of counting to go.  With only 152 ballots remaining, it's very likely that Kelley's warriors will complete their task on Monday.  I have no idea whether the votes will be certified shortly thereafter or not.  It's clear that the above numbers represent a done deal in all races.  Mayor Steve Mensinger is OUT.  Righeimer succeeded in fooling the voters with Measure EE.  The Mesa Water Board will whoop and holler about their "mandate" from the voters to take over the CMSD, when it's not true.  The voters knew that was an advisory measure, with nothing really on the line.  So, we will be tapping our toes until 5:00 p.m. Monday - the next time a report is scheduled to be made.

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Friday, December 02, 2016

Friday Night Election Results - 1,648 Votes Left


GETTING CLOSER...
Below you will find the results of the Registrar of Voters ballot counts through 5:00 p.m. today.  It's my understanding that the staff will be counting Saturday, but no word on Sunday.  It is presumed that they are on schedule to meet the mandatory deadline of all ballots counted and the election certified by December 8th - next Thursday.  There remain only 1,648 ballots left to count as of today.  You can read the full Orange County election results at the ROV site, HERE.

COSTA MESA CITY COUNCIL
Incumbent Sandy Genis leads John Stephens by 224 votes.  Stephens leads former mayor Allan Mansoor by 2,681 votes.  Mansoor leads Mayor Steve Mensinger by 528 for the final seat.  Jay Humphrey trails Mensinger by 102 votes.  Lee Ramos and Al Melone trail the field.
COSTA MESA SANITARY DISTRICT
Incumbent Jim Ferryman leads the pack, ahead of his fellow incumbent, Art Perry, by 3,598 votes.  Perry leads challenger and former member Gary Monahan by 4,707 votes.  Jim Fitzpatrick and Christopher Luntsford trail the field.  At a meeting of the CMSD Board today the winners were installed.  Apparently they follow a different set of rules and can, and have, sworn-in winners before the Registrar of Voters has certified the races.
MESA WATER DISTRICT
Incumbent Jim Fisler is trouncing challenger Alex Reich.
GROWTH ISSUES
Measure Y, the citizen-generated Smart Growth Initiative, is passing with an insurmountable lead - more than 2-1.  Measure Z, the City-generated initiative designed to fool the voters is also passing, but by a much smaller margin.
FAIRVIEW PARK ISSUES
Measure AA, the citizen-generated initiative designed to protect Fairview Park from development, is passing by an astounding margin - well beyond 2-1.  Measure BB, the City-generated measure designed to confuse the voters, is failing at the polls.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA ISSUES
Both citizen-generated Medical Marijuana sales issues - Measures V and W - are failing at the polls badly.  Measure X, the City-generated measure with no retail sales element, is passing.
VOTE-BY-DISTRICTS
This measure, hijacked by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and converted from a measure designed to enhance the voting opportunities for the Costa Mesa Latino community into one that actually dilutes that opportunity, is passing by more than a 2-1 margin.  This measure is for 6 voting districts and a directly-elected mayor - a scheme NONE of the participants in the consultants workshops wanted - not a single person preferred it.
HOSTILE TAKEOVER OF CMSD BY MESA WATER
This meaningless advisoery measure, which has no power at all, was foisted upon the voters by the Board of the Mesa Water District in an attempt to sway the voters into even considering the consolidation (takeover) of Mesa Water and the Costa Mesa Sanitary District.  It is passing.
COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
All incumbents in these races are soundly thumping their challengers
NEWPORT MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
All incumbents in these three races are winning soundly.  The old guard prevails.
74TH STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT
Matt Harper has crushed Karina Onofre.
37TH STATE SENATE DISTRICT
John Moorlach has whipped Ari Grayson.
48TH UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE
Dana Rohrabacher has prevailed over challenger Dr. Suzanne Savary.
WHAT'S LEFT TO COUNT?
Estimate of Ballots Left to Count - 1,648
Vote-by-Mail Ballots Left to Count - 28
Vote-by-Mail Ballots Returned at the Polls Left to Count - 63
Provisionals Left to Count - 1,557
Election Day Paper Ballots Left to Count - 0
Eligible Vote-by-Mail Ballots Received After Election Day Left to Count - 0

'TAINT QUITE OVER... BUT VERY, VERY CLOSE
The Registrar of Voters team will count Saturday, but no word about Sunday.  With so few votes remaining to count, it looks like it's over, but I'm going to wait until the bitter end to affirm that fact - after Neal Kelley certifies the races.  The next report is tomorrow night.  Stay tuned.


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Uh, About That Sober Living Marathon....


SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA SHRINKS - MAYBE TO NOTHING AT ALL
You'll recall that I gave you a head's-up about what I thought would be a marathon of Sober Living issues being heard by the Costa Mesa Planning Commission on Monday, December 5th.  I wrote about it HERE.  Well, as is the case most of the time in life, things change... in this case, change BIG TIME!
 "HELP ME!  I'M MELTING!"
The official agenda report was released by The City today.  You can read it HERE.  In this version there are only four (4) items remaining to be heard from that original list we were provided.  The three (3) items removed from the meeting agenda Monday are:
  • PA-16-25 at 2417 Orange Avenue.  This was pulled because of a noticing problem.
  • PA-16-37 and PA-16-38 at 125 E. Wilson Street and 131 E. Wilson street.  There was a noticing problem on one of them, so both were pulled from the agenda.
  • PA-16-06 at 200 Cabrillo was removed because the staff needed more time to analyze the issue.

There was no indication given as to when these items will be heard by the Planning Commission - there is no mention of them on the official staff report.

Remaining on the agenda are the following:
2041 TUSTIN AVENUE
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is a Conditional Use Permit for an All-Male Sober Living facility with 13 occupants at 2041 Tustin Avenue.  The staff is recommending approving the request.

166 E. 18TH STREET
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is a Conditional Use Permit for a Sober Living Home with 14 women at 166 E. 18th Street, including an appeal of the denial of reasonable accommodation.  The staff is recommending upholding the denials.

171 AND 175 ROCHESTER STREET
Public Hearing #3, HERE, is a Conditional Use Permit to operate a State licensed alcohol and drug treatment facility serving 20 person at 171 and 175 Rochester Street.  The staff is recommending denial of the appeals.

235 AND 241 E. 18TH STREET
Public Hearing #4, HERE, is a Conditional Use Permit to operate a State licensed alcohol and drug treatment facility serving 24 persons at 235 and 241 E. 18th Street.  The staff is recommending denial of the appeals.
MAYBE THEY WILL ALL BE CONTINUED...
HOWEVER.... all of these issues - and the other three - are being handled by one lawyer, Mr. Steve Poulan, and we are told that he has officially requested they all be continued until he can be present.  Commissioner Colin McCarthy, during the meeting last week, implied that they, the commission, were being played in this process.   It is our understanding that Mr. Poulan is the attorney that worked the case against Newport Beach that ended costing our neighboring city $10 million, so I suspect our commissioners and city council will tread very carefully in this matter.  It would not surprise me to see all four of these agenda items continued to a date in the future.  I'm told that the staff is completely prepared to move forward with each of the above four items.
YOU CAN STILL ATTEND AND COMMENT
So, all you folks who planned to attend with pitchforks and torches... maybe, just maybe, that will be premature.  There is nothing to keep you from attending and expressing your views during Public Comments, even if the individual items are not heard Monday night.

WHO KNOWS WHEN?
It's probable that NONE of these items - nor the other three that were pulled from the agenda - will be heard on the next meeting on December 12th because that meeting already has a packed agenda.  To my knowledge there are no more Planning Commission meetings scheduled after that until January.... but one just never knows these days.

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City Council Agenda for December 6th



 COULD BE A SHORT MEETING
The agenda for the Costa Mesa City Council meeting to be held on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 beginning at 5:45 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall was posted Thursday afternoon.  You can read that agenda HERE.  A quick look at that agenda leads us to believe this may be a very short meeting.  Beyond the Consent Calendar, there is only one business item to be heard. We'll see.
MAYOR'S AWARD TO JIM JORDAN
First up on the agenda is the Mayor's Award, this time to Jim Jordan and creator of the Snoopy House that will be launched at City Hall on December 10th.  This seems like a worthy presentation for what may be Steve Mensinger's swan song, but I didn't realize we gave Mayor's Awards to consultants (see below).

CONSENT CALENDAR
After Public Comments and Council Member Comments and the CEO Report the council will consider the Consent Calendar.  As you know, I've griped about this segment for a long time, primarily because there seem to be issues on the Consent Calendar that would be more properly part of the open agenda.  Such is the case this time around.  This Consent Calendar has 15 entries!  I'm not going to cover all of them, but let's take them from the top.
SPENDING YOUR MONEY
Item #2 is Warrant 2567, HERE, and, as always, there are items of interest to us all.  I won't try to cover all of them, but here are a few that caught my eye.  I present them in order as they appear on the Warrant, so if you want a peek at them, and other items, just go to that link and scroll down:
  • Civil Source - $42,112.00 - CIP Proj. Staff Support, Sept. 16
  • Complete Landscape Care, Inc - $58,891.00 - Landscape Maint. Oct. 16
  • Jones & Mayer - $74,214.22 - Legal Services, Yellowstone
  • Travel Costa Mesa - $209,756.88 - BIA Receipts for Sept. 2016
  • C3 Technology Services - $9,081.28 - Sharp Television and more
  • James R. Jordan - $8,250.00 - Snoopy House Design Consulting
  • Johnson Favaro LLP - $204,185.00 - Library/NCC Design 9/16-10/14
  • Keolis Transit Services LLC - $49,447.68 - Senior Transport
  • Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $6,142.50 - Legal, CMCEA/Fire Negotiations
  • Management Partners Inc. - $10,788.75 - Consulting Svcs DS 10/1-10/14
74 GRAND FOR YELLOWSTONE
A couple notes... That Jones & Mayer amount is for ONE case - Yellowstone - and represents about 25% of a typical monthly bill from them.  We'll see what the warrant looks like the next time around.
JORDAN A CONSULTANT?
It's interesting that we're apparently paying Jim Jordan - the gentleman who is receiving the Mayor's Award - as a consultant.  I've seen other payments to him in the past.
ANOTHER PILE OF CASH TO ARCHITECTS
And, we've paid Johnson Favaro another couple hundred grand for their work on the Library/NCC project.
MANY, MANY CONSULTANTS... AND STILL NOT ENOUGH
And, I didn't list them all, but this warrant has tens of thousands of dollars spent on consultants for a whole list of things - Plan Check, Building Inspection, etc.  More on this later.

FOR EXAMPLE...
Item #4, HERE, is the Emergency Purchase request for Professional Inspection Services.  Apparently we have so much Commercial building going on in the city that we don't have enough inspectors - staff or consultants - to meet the demand.  The cost for these services will be covered by unpaid salaries of vacant positions.

AND...
Similarly, on Item #5, HERE, is the request for contract change orders for two consulting firms currently working for us increasing the contracts by a combined $750,000!  Earlier the staff asked for, and received, authorization to spend $900,000 for Engineering staff support.  According to the staff report, we currently have eleven (11) vacancies in the Engineering and Transportation Divisions, including two Division Manager vacancies.  The council has approved $42 million in Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects and we have insufficient staff to manage them.  The question here is WHY do we have the vacancies?  The answer may be because the Miscellaneous Employees contract approved earlier this year took them back 3 decades and folks just don't stick around when they can do the same job for more money at other cities.  And, I suspect the toxic work environment imposed by the current council majority may play a part, too.
FINALLY, FIRE STATION #1
Item #6, HERE, is the awarding of the contract to re-construct Fire Station #1 in the amount of $7,767.000.  Finally, this project will get moving!
STEVE'S MEDIAN PROJECT
Item #13, HERE, is the contract for the Median Landscape and Irrigation Improvement Project along Mesa Verde Drive, replacing grass with drought tolerant plants and installing irrigation.  The project cost is $457,737.00.

19TH STREET BIKE TRAIL
Item #14, HERE, is the Cooperative Agreement for the Bicycle Corridor Improvement Program Project - West 19th Street Bicycle Trail.  Two years ago the City secured grant funding in the amount of $1,704,000 for this project.
NEW CODES, PART 2
If nothing is pulled from the Consent Calendar it's likely that we will reach the first and only real piece of business on the agenda, Old Business #1, HERE, well in advance of the 7:00 witching hour.  This is the second reading of the ordinance involving the new California Codes.  The first reading took less than 5 minutes.  This will take 1 minute.
COULD BE AN EARLY NIGHT
So, depending on what gets pulled for discussion from the Consent Calendar, and how many people line up for Public Comments - most will have probably worn themselves out at the Planning Commission meeting on Monday - this could be a VERY short meeting.  We'll see...


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