Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Monahan's Plan Moves Forward

Well, as anticipated, the Costa Mesa City Council at it's meeting Tuesday night, decided to move forward with re-tread councilman Gary Monahan's proposal to form an ad hoc committee to study the Costa Mesa Senior Center. The decision was unanimous - with
Katrina Foley abstaining because of a business conflict.


This issue, one filled with emotion on both sides, nearly brought Councilwoman W
endy Leece to tears as she announced that she would not be part of the committee. She cited the fact that it had been "a tough two years" and that she was just tired. That leaves Monahan, Mayor Allan Mansoor and Eric Bever as potential members of the committee. Curiously, neither Mansoor nor Bever stepped forward to fill the second council seat on the committee as Monahan attempted to quick pitch the process and get those slots filled last night. That effort was stymied by the city's legal counsel, Harold Potter, who said they might be flirting with Brown Act violations by doing so last night.

One thing became clear to me as I watched the proceedings last night... this whole firestorm is about politics, not the seniors nor the Senior Center.


One speaker - our old friend, The Mouth From Mesa North - stood frothing at the speaker's podium and went on a tirade about how poorly Ms. Leece had been treated over t
he past months. He stood there, flailing his arms, decrying the circumstances that caused her to withdraw from consideration on the committee - it's his view that she should be on the committee because she's "the only one who will ask the hard questions". This from a guy who has been on a non-stop attack on Katrina Foley since she was first elected to the council more than four years ago! What a hypocrite!


I also got a kick out of his railing against the Daily Pilot and a person he called a "crackpot blogger" - that would be little old me - who dared to criticize his buddy, "Ms. Leece". I told you, I think he's got the hots for
Wendy.... In his current blog entry he goes to great lengths to present his qualifications as a "reporter", admitting that he played one in that terrible movie in the mid 1970s. Yes sir, his 20 or so seconds on the screen before he and his companions were gunned down was some fine acting!

The real truth came out when he told the council that the Senior Center Corporation Board is the last refuge of liberals in the city, stating that i
t was filled with people from Return to Reason - opponents of the majority on the council. I guess he wants to run everyone without a far-right wing view like his out of town, leaving our city a bastion of white supremacists.


Eric Bever pointed t
o the way this council may be heading on this issue when, during his comments, he said that the committee should study the programs operated by neighboring cities - those that run their senior programs on the city dime, without an "outside vendor" - the term he used for the Senior Corporation. His attitude was clear when he said the original contract with the Senior Corporation was "friendly". I guess that means he'd prefer to have a more adversarial relationship. It sure seems like he wants the city to take over the operations of the Senior Center. Interesting timing... As Byron De Arakal mentioned in an earlier comment here, that's fine, but where will the city get the more than $600,000 the Senior Board rounds up each year via contributions from their fund raising efforts? That's a typical Bever move - think to the end of his nose and no further, like some kind of petulant kid.


If the committee is form
ed and moves forward, I think Wendy Leece should be one of the two council members on that committee. Monahan has already earmarked one of those slots for himself. Although Wendy has been a lightning rod for discontent at The Center, she has current, intimate knowledge of the operations and could provide valuable insight during discussions. She would certainly be a better choice than either Mansoor or Bever, who seem not to relate to anyone other than their own age group - and not very well with them.


The configuration of the committee is going to be very interesting. It won't surprise me at all if the council stacks the deck with cronies instead of trying to find a broad cross-section of community interests. Mention was made of inc
reasing the size of the committee - something Monahan resisted because a larger committee would have difficulty getting things done. No sir, sure don't want to clutter up the study with divergent viewpoints, do we? I guess we'll find out in a month, when this committee will be formed...


Maybe it's time for those tireless volunteers who work long hours without compensation on behalf of our seniors to say "Enough!". Maybe it's time for the Senior Corporation to just hand the whole Senior Center operation back to the city and let the City Council deal with fund raising and the few perpetual malcontents that keep things in turmoil.

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