New Council Seated - Foley Elected Mayor, Genis Mayor Pro Tem
PACKED HOUSE SEES THE CHANGE IN COMMAND
Well, it was a glorious evening in the Costa Mesa City Council Chambers Tuesday evening and a packed house enjoyed the proceedings. I missed the event, dealing with my Christmas cold. Darn! So, my sweet and also sniffling wife and I watched the event on good old CMTV.
ADIOS, STEVE AND GARY
Mayor Steve Mensinger and Councilman Gary Monahan were given an appropriate sendoff in their last official acts in those roles. Monahan is termed out - again - after serving sixteen years on the council. Mensinger was defeated in his run for re-election after serving six years - two as an appointee and four when he was elected in 2012.
Among the nineteen speakers was Tim Whitaker, representing Vice Chair Michele Steel of the Board of Supervisors. He made presentations to both Mensinger and Monahan.
Assemblyman Matt Harper also stepped up to the speakers podium to praise both men for their service, and to acknowledge the winners in the election - particularly Allan Mansoor, who preceded him in Sacramento.
During Public Comments most of the speakers thanked Mensinger and Monahan for their service to the community and also congratulated the winners - Sandra Genis, John Stephens and Mansoor. Some of the speakers tip-toed right up to the edge of being disrespectful to Mensinger, who must still be smarting at his defeat, where he didn't even come close to retaining his seat on the council.
There were a couple obvious partisan Mensinger fans who spoke, and more than a few who are not his fans. That's OK.
Beth Collins is a Mensinger fan, and didn't much like it when some in the crowd reacted to her praise of him.
Jay Humphrey, who ran strong race for City Council and has been a tireless volunteer, thanked all those who supported him and congratulated the winners. He also thanked all those who worked so hard for Measures Y and AA.
Cindy Brenneman was nearly giddy with the results of the election. She thanked Monahan, citing their long relationship, and also thanked Mensinger, but was less cordial. There was clearly a "don't let the door hit you in the butt" vibe then. Can't blame her.
Former councilwoman Wendy Leece referred to the "In God We Trust" motto hanging on the wall behind the council members, acknowledged all the hard work it takes to be a council member and thanked Mensinger and Monahan for their dedication to the city. She quoted from Shakespeare, Henry V.
Terry Koken crooned a tune.
TAMAR AND DAN
Tamar Goldmann congratulated Genis for being the top vote-getter, again. She hoped for a more cooperative relationship with law enforcement personnel. She praised Jay Humphrey for his good run and his tireless dedication to the city. She also praised Leece for her continuing work on behalf of the residents.
Steve Ray, Executive Director of the Banning Ranch Conservancy, offered congratulations to the winners and hoped his organization might be of help to the council in the future.
Robin Leffler stepped up as the President of Costa Mesans For Responsible Government to thank all the volunteers who worked on the many campaigns. She observed that it took the efforts of hundreds of volunteers to push to victory, not only for the candidates, but for Measures Y and AA. Clearly, she was happy.
COSTA MESA FIRST
Cynthia McDonald thanked all who supported Measure Y and mentioned Eleanor Egan specifically for her defeat in court of specious lies on the ballot measure argument.
FAIRVIEW PARK PRESERVATION ALLIANCE
Kim Hendricks, speaking as a member of the Fairview Park Preservation Alliance, thanked the voters and the volunteers who supported Measure AA - an overwhelming 70.9% of the votes cast were in favor of that measure.
STEVE, THE HUSTLER...
Richard Russell, a Mensinger fan, stepped up last and praised him for his efforts. At one point he observed to him that , "you have been a hustler" - meaning he was always on the go, getting things done. I smiled when I heard that, because that phrase isn't always a positive description. Russell and I might agree that it fits Mensinger, but probably don't agree that it's a favorable term.
City Clerk Brenda Green asked the outgoing council to certify the election, which they did, 5-0.
STEVE SAYS GOOD-BYE
Mensinger and Monahan were given a chance to address the audience. Mensinger thanked the City Ctaff for their efficiency. He praised CEO Tom Hatch and his strong right arm, Kelly Shelton, for their support. He thanked both Police Chief Rob Sharpnack and Fire Chief Dan Stefano... and he thanked the citizens of Costa Mesa. Then, kind of out of context, he said, "Governing is one thing, criticizism is another." I don't know exactly what he meant, but he probably didn't like the ongoing criticizm he'd received during his terms.
SO DID GARY, KINDA
Monahan already said his good-byes at the last meeting, so his comments were very brief.
Both Mensinger and Monahan then received proclamations and memory books from the City and they were done by 6:45 p.m.
JUDGE ROBINSON ADMINSTERED THE OATHS
Then the administration of the Oath of Office was administered by former Mayor and current Judge Karen Robinson. That was a VERY special moment for all. Mansoor lugged his youngest child with him.
FOLEY BECOMES THE MAYOR, GENIS MAYOR PRO TEM
Then came an interesting moment. It was time to elect a mayor, so Righeimer nominated Genis. She, in turn offered an alternate nomination - Katrina Foley - which was seconded by Stephens. Genis then asked that her nomination be withdrawn. When the vote was taken to elect the mayor the result was 4-1 - Allan Mansoor voted NO! So, it didn't take long to see how this is going to go with him. When Genis was elected Mayor Pro Tem the vote was 5-0.
Each of the new members made short speeches. Foley thanked her family and, in particular, her 90 year-old grandmother, who was sitting down front.
LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS
Genis was grateful for the large turnout and hoped many would continue to be involved in city issues.
STEPHENS' STAND-UP ROUTINE
Stephens took his time and polished up his stand-up comic routine as he thanked his family, business associates, all the volunteers who supported him. One thing is very clear - this is a VERY different council than the previous one.
Mansoor thanked his family, specifically his wife, Jannifer and his mother-in-law who cared for their children during the campaign events. He thanked the city staff for being so professional and supportive. He thanked Chief Sharpnack for his help and observed that it may be time for another sweep of vagrants in Talbert Park.
FOLEY SETS NEW RULES AND AN AGENDA
Foley observed that the next meeting will be January 3, 2017. She asked Hatch to amend the agenda so all speakers during Public Comments are permitted to speak early in the meeting - no more trailing them to the end. She also observed that she wanted to do away with speaker cards. She also wants to trail Council member comments to the end of the meeting. That's a GREAT idea, since Righeimer used to speak for 15 or 20 minutes, spewing his mantra and sucking up valuable time. She also told Hatch that he would be City Manager henceforth, not CEO. She also asked for a presentation on how to get Fire Station #6 open and fully staffed without overtime. That's going to mean more firefighters. She also asked that Chief Stefano bring back early in the year a plan for implementation of the new staffing model that integrates the rescue ambulances for transportation of victims.
IT'S GOING TO BE INTERESTING
It's going to be a VERY interesting first few months. Righeimer seemed collegial enough. Mansoor is clearly not in step with the majority, so his presence and his inability to clearly articulate his position on issues will complicate the business of the city getting done. We'll see.
CONGRATS... NOW LET'S GET MOVING!
Congratulations to Katrina Foley and Sandra Genis on their new leadership roles. Congratulations to John Stephens on his election and to Allan Mansoor to his election. Time to move forward... I thought it was time to present this for your listening pleasure... it seems very appropriate.