Friday, March 13, 2020

Costa Mesa Girds For The Coronavirus War



PREPARATIONS FOR WAR
Like many cities and states and the federal government, Costa Mesa continues to prepare for the war against the COVID-19 pandemic.
SLAMMING THE DOOR AT THE FAIRVIEW DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER
The first battle began when the City, in the person of Mayor Katrina Foley, sued the state and federal government to stop them from depositing persons infected with the COVID-19 virus at the Fairview Developmental Center, right in the heart of Costa Mesa.  That particular skirmish was won by the City when the federal government officials advised that they would not pursue placing infected persons from the Diamond Princess at the FDC.  Round 1...

EMERGENCY MEETING ON FRIDAY, THE 13TH
Late today, Friday the 13th of March, 2020, the City announced a special Emergency City Council meeting, to be held at 5:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, then adjourning to a Closed Session in Conference Room 5A.  The council reconvened in the chambers nearly two hours later to take votes on the two items on the agenda.  You can read that agenda report HERE.

CHANGING THE CODE - CREATING THE TEAM
The first item on the agenda dealt with an Urgency Ordinance, changing the section of the Municipal Code relating to Emergency Preparedness, Organization and Coordination that had not been amended since 1980.  You can read that staff report HERE.  Perhaps the most interesting part of this issue is the proposed ordinance that was voted on tonight.  You can read the full text of the ordinance HERE.
COSTA MESA DISASTER COUNCIL CREATED
I encourage each of you to read this ordinance, which passed on a 7-0 vote tonight.  There are many interesting, provocative and controversial elements that are worth your attention.
COMPOSITION OF THE DISASTER COUNCIL
1 - On page 2 of the ordinance, under Section 6-3, the Costa Mesa Disaster Council is created.  City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison, in her role acting as the Director of Emergency Services, is designated as Chair of the Council.   Emergency Services Administrator Jason Dempsey will be designated as Assistant Director of Emergency Services and will act as Vice Chair.  Department Directors are designated as member of this council.  The final group to become part of this council will be "Such representatives of civic, business, labor, veterans, professional or other organizations having an official emergency responsibility as may be appointed by the director or assistant director or city council."
POWERS - "COMMANDEER EQUIPMENT" AND "COMMAND AID OF CITIZENS"
2 - On page 3, under Section 6-6, the Chair and Vice Chair are empowered to proclaim the existence of a local emergency, which must be ratified by the City Council within 7 days.  Section b states the following: "To obtain vital supplies, equipment and such other properties found lacking and needed for the protection of life and property and to bind the city for the fair value thereof and, if required immediately, to commandeer the same for public use. In so acquiring such property, the city waives no immunities and incurs no liabilities other than those at common law or those liabilities created by applicable state or federal law."  Section c states: "To require emergency services of any city officer or employee and to command the aid of as many citizens of this community as he or she deems necessary in the execution of his or her duties; such persons shall be entitled to all privileges, benefits and immunities as are provided by state law for registered disaster service workers."

ONCE DECLARED IT JUST RUNS... AND RUNS... AND RUNS
Based on this ordinance, once a local emergency is declared and ratified, that designation runs until it is officially declared as over, without any kind of interim review by the City Council periodically.  This is a change from the earlier version of this ordinance.
PENALTIES
3 - On pages 4 and 5, under Section  6-9, punishment for offenses are clearly described.

RATIFICATION OF CITY MANAGER'S PROCLAMATION OF LOCAL EMERGENCY
The second item on the agenda was a fairly straightforward ratification of the proclamation issued earlier by the City Manager declaring the existence of a local emergency.  You can read that staff report HERE.  There are links at the end of the staff report that takes you to proclamations and declarations by the County of Orange and the State of California.
INADEQUATE NOTICE AND SEVERELY LIMITED SEATING
The notice of this meeting was not posted online until just after 2:30 p.m., hardly time for most interested residents to plan to attend.  Based on the image captured by Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens from the dais, there were only 3 people in the audience, and only one of those, Gary Parkin, spoke during the Public Comments section prior to the Closed Session.  And, the image clearly shows the "social distancing" efforts by the City Staff for attendees.  If this plan remains for future meetings, there will be seating for only about 30 members of the public and staff.  While I certainly understand the need for caution in light of the public health threat represented by the COVID-19 virus, Costa Mesans are active in local issues and the seating available will certainly result in stifling public participation on important issues.
NECESSARY ACTION IN THIS EMERGENCY
I am not unhappy that my City leaders are being so proactive in this public health emergency.  I'm glad they quashed the use of the Fairview Development Center for infected people - at least for now.  I'm happy they stepped up and made these Code changes and declared the local emergency.  I'm glad they created a management structure to oversee emergencies.  I just wish there had been a broader announcement of this meeting and a way for the public to participate.  This issue will be address at their next regular council meeting on Tuesday, March 17th, 2020.  There will be a chance for those few members of the public who find a seat in the chambers to address it, if they wish.
FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS...
Our little world is changing very rapidly.  This is when true leadership becomes important, and we're seeing it today in my city.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Byron de Arakal - "We Should Repeal Measure Z"

CONSIDERING MEASURE Z
At their meeting on Monday, February 24, 2020, the Costa Mesa Planning Commission considered, under Public Hearing #3, the discussion of creation of a new development fee and a committee to administer it per the only conditions of the onerous Measure Z that survived the vote.  You can read the staff report on that issue HERE.
THE VOTERS CHOICES IN 2016
In case you've forgotten, the voters voted heavily in favor of Measure Y, the slow growth measure.  It also passed Measure Z by a smaller margin.  As a result, only the elements of Measure Z that applied were those NOT included in Measure Y.  Here's what the votes looked like back in 2016.
THE CHAIRMAN SAYS "IT'S DISINGENUOUS - REPEAL IT"
Following the lengthy discussion, just prior to the vote being called, Chairman Byron de Arakal took a few minutes to explain why he was going to vote no on this issue.  I think it's important to understand just why he thinks Measure Z should be repealed, so here's a transcription of his entire explanation.

“I will not be supporting the motion and I’ll kinda give some reasons why. 

Principally, I think this fee and the ordinance that created it and the committee structure that it also created are wholey duplicative of fees we already have in place, and processes we have in place to administer park fees.  

As I mentioned in the meeting two years ago about this ordinance that a seven member, or seventeen member, committee to recommend to the council how these fee revenues should be spent should be a job that, if they are going to do it, should be recommended to the Parks and Recreation Commission and not the City Council.  We have a Parks and Recreation Commission for a reason.  

And, so this ordinance creates this big committee, and then it creates a new park fee - we already have essentially two or almost two, and now were gonna have three.  

Measure Z was created to chase voters away from Measure Y, and the only thing that could be placed in that measure to make it amenable to the voters to give them the notion to chase them off Measure Y,  is to say, “You know what, we’ll raise a bunch of money for your parks and your open space.”  - didn’t tell anybody that there are already thousands of dollars  per door for parks fees that get applied to these residential developments.  And so, it was really kind of a ruse, it was, you know, a magic show and I hated Measure Y, and still hate Measure Y, and I hated Measure Z, as well, because it was disingenuous.  It’s motive was disingenuous and how it was constructed was disingenuous, in my opinion.  

Now, having said that, we’re about to foist another fee on the development community, at a time when we’re about to have to figure out where we’re going to place 12,000 more housing units, principally, I think, in the area that just so happens to be in this area where this fee’s gonna be charged.  

Now, don’t think for a minute there wasn’t a motive for placing that fee just on this area, because there were people in this community that wanted no residential development north of the 405, west of Harbor and Fairview.  They didn’t want it, so they put a fee in place to chase the development community away because you’re just adding another fee on top of a park fee we already have.  
And so, ideally for me, I would love to see this commission recommend to the City Council that they place Measure Z on the ballot for a straight up or down vote on whether or not to repeal it - but that’s not gonna happen tonight.  

So, I’m gonna vote no on this motion because I think Measure Z was disingenuous from the beginning, I think it adds another fee to the development community, a development community we’re gonna need to meet our RHNA obligation in our new Housing Element.  And, ah, I just think it’s a big mistake.  And then we create this seventeen-member committee, that, who knows how political that could get?  And it cuts out the Parks Commission’s ability to make recommendations in it’s Capital Improvement Budget review because they’ve got this seventeen member committee who’s deciding now what happens to whatever pot of money comes out of this.  So, I’m going to be voting no." 
WHO?
When the Chairman said "...there are people in this community that wanted no residential development north of the 405...", we know who he meant - the sperm donors of Measure Z.
THEY VOTED HOW?!
And, this issue got curiouser and curiouser as the commission voted.  Commissioner Tourje was absent, but, as you can see from the image below, only three (3) commissioners voted "Yes" - Perkens, Russell and Zich.  Chariman de Arakal voted "No" and Commissioner Colbert and Vice Chairman Harlan abstained after consultation with City Attorney Tarquin Preziozi.  Fun fact - Harlan actually seconded the motion.
TO THE COUNCIL ON THE THINEST OF VOTES
So, now this issue will go before the City Council for consideration after the thinnest of votes to move it forward.  This should be interesting.

COMMENTS?
If you wish to comment on this entry you must go to my Facebook entry, which can be found on my page HERE.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sharpnack Claim Morphs Into A Lawsuit

WAIT!  WHAT'S THIS?
Those of us who pay attention to City Council meetings got a little surprise Tuesday afternoon as the agenda for the Closed Session was read into the record by City Clerk Brenda Green before the council adjourned to a remote conference room to consider the seven items listed.   City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow asked the council to add another item to the agenda for discussion that afternoon - the lawsuit filed by former Police Chief Rob Sharpnack against The City of Costa Mesa - which Barlow had just become aware of shortly before the meeting!
BRAND NEW LAWSUIT
The 38 page lawsuit was dated February 12, 2020 and it's unclear whether the lawsuit had actually been served on The City by Tuesday night when Barlow brought it up.  You can read it HERE, if you wish.
NOPE... NOTHING TO REPORT
The City Council approved adding the lawsuit to the Closed Session agenda and they adjourned to deliberate.  When they returned a couple hours later for the regular session Barlow had nothing to report out of the Closed Session - on that or any of the other seven items on the agenda.
SPADONI SPRINGS THE PAPERWORK
In an interesting sidebar - early in the regular meeting, during Public Comments, resident (and former police officer) Mary Spadoni trundled up to the speaker's podium and proceeded to waive the text of the lawsuit at the council.  Apparently she managed to obtain a copy of it via a public records request and posted the link to it on the Facebook page Costa Mesa Sandbox.  By the time Public Comments had ended two people had contacted me about the lawsuit and had retrieved the text from that Facebook page.  One of them shared it with me since I have been blocked from participating on that site.
TRYING TO RIGHT A PERCEIVED WRONG
Some might recall that Spadoni frequently spoke and wrote about information that was eventually included in the initial Claim Sharpnack made against The City.  Much of that is included in the lawsuit.  Clearly, she is an insider in this process and makes no bones about doing her best to defame those she feels are responsible for Sharpnack's situation, including Mayor Katrina Foley, Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens, current City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison, former Acting City Manager Tammy Letourneau and former Acting Assistant City Manager Justin Martin.  The last two now hold positions at the City of Laguna Niguel.
THE TIMING IS CURIOUS
The timing of this lawsuit is very interesting - just two weeks before the Primary Election in which Foley is running for a chance to gain a seat in the State Senate against incumbent John Moorlach and another Democrat challenger, David Min.  Any mud that can be tossed Foley's way will probably go a long way to assuaging the animus felt about her by Spadoni and her pals, particularly if it affects her chances in the upcoming election.
MY SPECIAL INTEREST?
Why am I writing about this?  Well, in his original claim Sharpnack named me as a "witness" - the only non-current or former employee of The City on the list.  It's curious, since I have no first-hand knowledge of any of the circumstances.  Yes, I've written about CMPD issues, including observing about the many, many former police chiefs who have served my city over the past five decades.  This, of course, includes Rob Sharpnack.  I have no idea if I will end up being a part of his lawsuit - I hope not, but we shall see.
HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I HATE POLITICS?
In the meantime, the hit pieces about Foley continue to land in mailboxes all over the the 37th Assembly District and I doubt if it's over with two weeks to go before the election.  And the beat goes on.

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Barrage Of Lies About Foley Continues

ANOTHER HIT PIECE IN THE MAIL THIS WEEK
Many voters, presumably women, received yet another lie-filled hit piece attempting to discredit Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley and impact her run for the State Senate seat currently held by incumbent Republican John Moorlach.  I wrote about the first one last week.  You can read it here if you wish. http://abubblingcauldron.blogspot.com/2020/02/hit-piece-on-foley-is-despicable.html

WE HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED IT, BUT...
We did not receive this particular hit piece, but several friends have and it's been widely shared on social media sites.  It is every bit as despicable as the previous one and clearly demonstrates that Foley's opponents in this race are very worried about her and will stop at nothing to diminish her chances of winning one of the two positions available in the General Election in November by quashing her chances in the Primary Election on March 3rd.
AN INTERESTING SIDEBAR
One interesting sidebar to this race is the venom being spewed on the Facebook site, Costa Mesa Public Square.  Some may recall that my friend, Bruce Krochman, launched this site several years ago as a venue for civilized political discussion.  Apparently unable to keep up with the demands of moderating the comments (I warned him about that in the beginning), he later passed it on to some rabid partisans - frustrated Republicans concerned about the loss of seats in local and state-wide bodies.  Those folks changed the focus and it became the repository of vile, overt partisan rants - despite what their homepage says about welcoming all viewpoints.
I WAS NUMBER 1
Krochman asked me to be participant Number 1 on his site, to which I agreed.  Several months later, as the site grew and it began to dominate my page I bowed out and stopped participating.  Later, as the rhetoric began to take on some unpleasant features, I tried to sign on again, but was rejected.  A year or so later I was begged, twice, by Admin Julie Mercurio, to please sign on again.  I politely declined.  The tone on the site was so dominated by unscrupulous individuals - including some then-current elected officials - that I felt it would be akin to me bashing myself over the head with a 2X4.  And life went on.
NASTY STUFF CONTINUES
However, in light of the uproar about these two anti-Foley mailers, the nasty tone on the site has ramped-up.  A friend who participates there shared some of the recent comments, one of which refers to me as an "ass blogger" and went on to denigrate Foley - the most effective mayor we've had in a couple decades, and the very first directly-elected mayor in City history.
CONSIDER THE SOURCES
I suggest that folks who are in a position to read the bilge published on the CMPS site consider the source of that crap.  Most of them are my fellow Republicans, petrified about the shifting political demographic in our region.  As one commenter on a Facebook thread decrying this latest mailer mentioned today, if you read that last mailer and just turn every accusation presented there 180 degrees you will have Foley's position on the issues.  The liars persist...


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Sunday, February 09, 2020

Hit Piece On Foley Is Despicable

I AM REALLY TICKED-OFF!
Today in my mailbox appeared a hit piece on Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley in an attempt to discredit her with casual voters - those who only pay attention to local politics during an election season.
LIE-FILLED HIT PIECE
This hit piece, paid for by a group called "Keeping Californians Working" in San Rafael, CA, is so blatantly full of lies that it boggles one's mind.  I've provided images of the front, back and inside so you can see the full extent of the lies involved..
LIES AND MISREPRESENTATIONS
On the inside you will see several newspaper headlines, an attempt to link Foley with the bad news each one portrays.  They are called "bad decisions" by Foley.  In fact, in most cases she was not even on the City Council at the time.  In other cases the situation misrepresents the facts.
NEARLY A MILLION BUCKS ON LIES
I'm told the slimeballs who paid for this piece of trash spent nearly $1 million to distribute their falsehoods to Orange County households.  Their desperation about the possibility of Katrina Foley finishing first or second in the upcoming March 3rd Primary Election is obvious.  There are three (3) candidates for State Senate - Incumbent Republican John Moorlach, newcomer Democrat Dave Min from Irvine and Mayor Katrina Foley.
PRESUMING GOP INVOLVEMENT
We presume my Republican Party is responsible for this crap.  They know that Moorlach will have a hard time holding his seat if he has to go head-to-head with Foley, but he can likely crush Min.
MY PARTY HAS LOST IT'S WAY
I don't know what's happened to my party.  The leadership certainly seems to have lost it's way somewhere since Ronald Reagan's tour as President.  Locally, they continue to shoot themselves in the foot and clearly are no longer in tune with the electorate.
CATASTROPHIC INFIGHTING
You will recall a couple years ago when Scott Baugh tried to eviscerate incumbent Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in the primary race.  The terrible stuff that appeared in our mailboxes about those candidates - particularly those criticizing Rohrabacher -  was awful... and it backfired.  Rohrabacher managed to survive the primary election and was paired up against Harley Rouda, a former Republican-turned Democrat.  Then, in the race headed to the General Election, Rohrabacher failed to debate Rouda and ended up losing the seat he had held for 30 years!
MOORLACH IS A GOOD GUY.... BUT....
I like John Moorlach.  He's a smart man and has a record of accomplishment in county government, but he is very outnumbered in the State Senate, where only 10 of 40 Senators are Republicans.  He has almost NO chance of making a difference in Sacramento.  What I DO NOT like is that he's apparently willing to let surrogates act to defame and flat out lie about Foley in order to retain his seat.
I LIKE KATRINA FOLEY
Foley is my friend.  I've watched her as a City Council member and as a Trustee on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Trustees and admired her dedication to our city for two decades.  She is smart, tireless and has a vision for Costa Mesa that is now coming to fruition.  She is a multi-tour mayor, having been elected by her peers, then - in a purely political move - was voted out of that spot.  She then ran for the seat as the first directly-elected mayor in the city's history and crushed then-incumbent and multi-term councilwoman Sandra Genis - one of the perpetrators of her earlier ouster.
I DON'T LIKE THE LIBERAL AGENDA
As a lifelong conservative I am not happy with the way the liberal majority in Sacramento is taking our state.  I disagree with almost every move they make, from the squandering of public funds to declaring California a Sanctuary State - spitting in the eye of the Federal Government, upon who we depend for funding of many projects.  Am I worried about Foley - another liberal politician - facilitating that which I find onerous?  A little.  However, I've watched her work.  She knows how to build consensus.    I will vote for her in the primary election.
WHY THE LIES?
I retired this blog nearly 3 years ago, but this nastiness has so angered me that I felt it was necessary to write about it.  Each of you will have to use your own judgment on this issue... just know that you are being lied to and ask yourselves why...

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Wednesday, February 05, 2020

A DAY OF DRAMA, COAST-TO-COAST

credit Oregon live
FIRST, THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
Tuesday, February 4th, 2020, was an interesting day.  The President of the United States, Donald John Trump, presented us with his State of the Union address in what might be best described as “great theater”.  I watched that entire event and was both amused and disappointed in the behavior of so many of our elected officials.
TENSION FROM THE GET-GO
I watched as The President refused to shake the extended hand of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives.  Upon watching that video clip over and over again, it’s unclear to me if his slight was intentional or not.  He didn’t shake Vice President Mike Pence’s hand, either, as he handed him a copy of his speech.  One thing is certain - that instant in time didn’t do a thing to calm the animosity between the Republicans and Democrats in the chambers.
A GOOD SPEECH AND REPUBLICAN AEROBICS
The speech was a good one, although almost instantly following the delivery many sources pounced on the text and cited phrase after phrase as “lies”.  Very sad.  I was amused when the Republicans, seemingly after every sentence uttered by President Trump, stood in unison and gave him a standing ovation… Up-Down, Up-Down, Up-Down…  
credit PBS
A MEDAL FOR RUSH - AND CONTROVERSY
Also sad was the strained partisanship demonstrated by both sides, even during some very moving introductions of honored guests, including conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, to whom President Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom - the highest award possible to a civilian - right there on the spot.  He had the First Lady, Melania, affix the medal around Limbaugh’s neck.  That award has ignited a firestorm of criticism of Limbaugh and Trump.
IMPEACHMENT IS OVER
Later today the Senate finally voted on the two articles of impeachment filed by the majority in the House of Representatives and both charges were rejected.  The first was rejected on a 52-48 vote, with Republican Senator Mitt Romney voting with the Democratic majority.  In the second vote he stayed with the Republicans and it resulted in a 53-47 vote.  I’ve tried to watch most of the hearings, but they dragged on and on and on and on, so I didn’t see every single word.  It was a colossal waste of time and resources and very likely did nothing at all to bring our country together - quite the contrary.  
credit CNBC.com
NANCY’S RIP AND TEAR PERFORMANCE
The low light, of course, was the image of Speaker Pelosi, standing behind President Trump as he wrapped up his speech to the applause in the chambers, dramatically ripping up her copy of his speech and slamming the torn sheets down on the desk before her.  It was immature and behavior not worthy of the Speaker of the House.

COSTA MESA COUNCIL MEETING SIMULTANEOUSLY
Simultaneously, my Costa Mesa City Council was going about doing their work, beginning at 4:00 p.m. with a closed session that took longer than expected.  The regular meeting didn’t start until 6:15 and ran smoothly right up to the first and only Public Hearing - the ordinance changes recommended to our codes to accommodate and codify the placement of wireless cell facilities throughout our city.

CELL TOWER ORDINANCE MARATHON
That segment of the meeting took nearly 5 hours, including a very long, unusual Closed Session in which the Council and their lawyers discussed the information presented by more than 30 concerned citizens and others.  By the time this item was completed it was 12:20 a.m. today, Wednesday, February 5th.
MANSOOR BAILS OUT EARLY - AGAIN
One of the most interesting occurrences was the fact that, following the vote on that Public Hearing, Councilman Allan Mansoor decided to just up and leave the meeting before the remainder of the agenda was handled.  This is not the first time he has bailed out early.
STEPHENS UNLOADS
That led to a couple interesting comments at the very end of the meeting, right at 1:00 a.m. this morning.  Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens, clearly miffed at Mansoor’s departure said the following when Mayor Katrina Foley asked if there were any additional Council member Comments:
“Yeah, I gotta comment.  So, for those of you that are here and those of you that might see this on video, It’s very important to show up at council meetings.  I’ve never missed a council meeting.  I’ve come to council meetings during trials, deaths in the family, illness in my family and illness to myself.  It’s very important to stay to the end. It’s very important that, if you have something to say, to make a suggestion, that you make that suggestion.  It’s very easy to say nothing and vote “No” and then leave.  And, it’s not helpful.  And somebody said earlier, that you should go with your gut - that move is gutless.  You all know who I’m talking about.  Have him watch what I said.  I want him to respond.”
FOLLOWED BY FOLEY
Then, as she was about to close the meeting, Mayor Foley said the following: “My comment is that I would like the City Attorney to look at our attendance policy and the salary conditions and bring back a recommendation with regards to council members who don’t show up for the meetings, and whether or not they should continue to receive their pay.”
GENIS AS A JACK-IN-THE-BOX
Yes, indeedy, it was an interesting meeting, to say the least.  During this time Councilwoman Sandra Genis was bouncing up and down like a jack-in-the-box, coat on, papers in hand, trying to get out of the room.

MANSOOR THE DULLARD
I have written about Allan Mansoor ever since he was first elected to the City Council almost 20 years ago.  He was not the sharpest knife in the drawer back then and the edge on his blade has only gotten duller - much duller.  He has a very hard time putting together a coherent sentence and certainly cannot be considered a “thought leader” on the dais.  It will be interesting to see if anything evolves from his early departure (again) this morning.
AM I “BACK”?… PROBABLY NOT

In case you’re wonder if this entry means I’m back…. probably not.  I can no longer stay up all night at a meeting, then go home and write blog entries until dawn.  This meeting was important and I did watch my recording of it over the course of today, Wednesday.  See ya…

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