WOW! THIS IS GOING TO BE INTERESTING
If the agenda for the January 3, 2017 Costa Mesa City Council meeting, HERE,
is any indication, it's going to be a VERY
interesting first few months for this new council.
SPECIAL CLOSED SESSION
Right off the top, this council will hold a Special Closed Study Session commencing at 3:30 p.m.
in Council Chambers. Following the opportunity for Public Comments of the ten (10)! items on the closed session agenda the council will recess to Conference Room 5A to complete the closed session.
TEN (10) ITEMS IN CLOSED SESSION!
This is an extraordinary closed session. I cannot recall ten items being discussed in any past closed session. As you scroll down through the agenda for that closed session you'll find the full gamut of legal actions, including so-called "problem motels", individuals, Sober Living Homes, and an ambulance service. Plus, there are a couple unidentified potential legal actions at the end. This is part of the legacy of the outgoing City Council and their arrogant heavy-handedness - something we, the taxpayers, will be paying for in the years to come and issues the incoming council will have to deal with for months - at least.
REGULAR MEETING AT 5:45 - MAYBE
The regular City Council meeting is scheduled to commence at 5:45 p.m. in Council Chambers, presuming that two hours for that special closed session is enough time to deal with all those issues. Following Public Comments, Council Member Comments and the City Manager Report there will be the Consent Calendar - items that, in theory, are of such a routine nature that they can be considered on one vote. However, council members, staff members or members of the public may "pull" an item for separate discussion and vote. There is no mention of trailing items pulled for discussion as has been the practice in the past, so one presumes that any pulled items will be discussed immediately and not trailed to the end of the meeting.
Item #2, HERE
, is the Warrant number 2568, which represents the expenditure of more than $7 million in city funds for various items. I won't attempt to comment on all the items - you can scroll down and find all the consultant charges and legal fees. I will observe that Jones & Mayer
were paid $,153,634.66
on this warrant for a long list of legal activities. PLUS,
there is an additional charge further down on the Warrant $64,452.09
for Yellowstone - there was also a Yellowstone charge in the first one. That means this Warrant contains legal charges to Jones & Mayer of more than $244,000!
We also paid Kimley Horn & Associates, Inc $36,244.56
for Community Improvement Consulting through October.
One thing that caught my eye was a charge for $24,741.71
to Westminster Press, Inc
. for mailers for the various city-initiated issues on the November 8th ballot. You know, the Marijuana Initiative, the Voting District Mailer, the Anti-Smart Growth Initiative and the Anti-Save Fairview Park Initiative. I must confess that these charges just ripped the scab off a festering wound. This was a bogus expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
AND MORE INTERESTING STUFF
We also forked over $253,065.68
to Travel Costa Mesa
, which represents their cut of the BIA receipts for October, 2016. We paid Jim Jordan $8,250.00
for consulting fees for December and Management Partners $6,130.75
for one week service for our contract Assistant Development Services Director, Sheri Vander Dussen.
You can read the remaining four items on the consent calendar by clicking on my link above and scrolling down.
URGENCY MARIJUANA ORDINANCE
Public Hearing #1, HERE
, is an Urgency Ordinance to the Municipal Code areas dealing with the cultivation of Marijuana and/or Medical Marijuana. Read the staff report, but the key phrase in it seems to be the following:
The proposed amendment to the Zoning Code is intended to preserve the status quo
and prohibit all marijuana related uses within the City to the extent allowable under
I suspect we'll see a pretty good turnout from the folks in the Marijuana business at this meeting to address this urgency ordinance.
Public Hearing #2, HERE
, is a review of the Planning Application for HOLIDAY
, the club formerly known as Lion's Den and Maison, at 719 West 19th Street. This establishment has been an ongoing source of controversy for the past couple years and, most recently, the concerns about noise coming from the establishment expressed by neighbors has been significant.
TRAFFIC IMPACT FEES
Public Hearing #3, HERE
, is the Annual Review of the Citywide Traffic Impact Fee program. The Traffic Impact Fee Ad Hoc committee, following an analysis, recommended a continuation of the current fee, $181.00 ADT (Average Daily Trips). The staff recommends approval of that recommendation.
CHANGE CEO BACK TO CITY MANAGER
New Business #1, HERE
, is the amendment to the Municipal Code changing the title of Chief Executive Officer back to City Manager, and the title of Assistant Chief Executive Officer back to Assistant City Manager. This is a barnacle from the past administration that needs to be scraped from the hull of our city government.
COUNCIL MEETING CHANGES
New Business #2, HERE
, deals with modifications to the Order of Business, Public Comments and Consent Calendar on the City Council Agenda and setting the Commencement Time for Closed Session and City Council Meetings. Mayor Katrina Foley has
suggested the following changes to the order of business and related issues:
(a) Closed Session - 4:00 p.m. (as needed)
(b) Call to Order Regular City Council Meeting - 6:00 p.m.
(c) Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
(d) Moment of Solemn Expression
(e) Roll Call
(f) Closed Session Report
(h) Special Presentations
(i) Public Comments
(j) Consent Calendar
(k) Items Removed from the Consent Calendar
(l) Public Hearings
(m) Old Business
(n) New Business
(o) Council Member's Reports, Comments and Suggestions
(p) City Manager's Report
(q) City Attorney's Report
And, speaker cards are only required if a person pulls an item from the Consent Calendar for further discussion. All other speaker cards are purely voluntary.
STARTING ANEW WITH ALL COMMISSIONS
New Business #3, HERE, is a biggie! Foley has requested that ALL commissioners be released from their appointment and every position on the three commissions, Parks & Recreation, Planning and Senior, be advertised for recruitment.
SPECIAL MEETINGS IN JANUARY
She also requests special meetings be held on Tuesday, January 24th to interview the applicants and on Tuesday, January 31st to complete the interviews and make the appointments.
NEED FOR CONTINUITY
Here's my take on this... I understand the interest in starting afresh in each of the commissions. However, I hope any current commissioner who chooses to apply again will be given consideration. It is important, for the purpose of continuity and transfer of institutional knowledge, that some consideration be given to placement of current commissioners on the new commissions. If it's up to me, I'd probably want Rob Dickson and Stephan Andranian on the Planning Commission again. And, I'd want to have Byron de Arakal's leadership and Kim Pederson's steady hand on the Parks and Recreation Commission.
NO SENIOR COMMISSION
As I've said before, I see NO need for a Senior Commission. We should thank those folks who have served and disband the commission. That's just my opinion and doesn't reflect in any way on the contributions the commissioners have made and their dedication to their assignment. I just think we have a thoroughly competent city staff who can manage the Senior Center affairs of this City.
ABANDON CLOSURE OF FIRE STATION #6 AND FULLY STAFF WITHOUT OVERTIME
New Business #4, HERE, deals with Fire Station #6 and Related Staffing issues. Times have changed since the old council recommended closure of this site - our newest Fire Station. The staff report goes into great detail about the reasoning behind this new recommendation. The staff recommends abandoning the plan to close Fire Station #6 and to immediately commence full operation without using overtime, which will require the addition of 3 Fire Captains and 3 Firefighter positions.
IT'S GOING TO BE VERY INTERESTING
If this agenda is any indication, the next few months are going to be humdingers! To say that "change is in the air" dramatically understates the obvious. It's going to be interesting to watch.
Labels: City Manager, Costa Mesa City Council, Costa Mesa Planning Commission, Fire Station #6, Katrina Foley, Marijuana, Parks and Recreation Commission, Senior Commission