Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Monahan's Plan Morphs - Wendy's Peeved

The drama goes on regarding the establishment of ad hoc committee - a "task force" to sort out issues regarding the Costa Mesa Senior Center prior to the renewal of it's contract this summer.


At their meeting last night, the Costa Mesa City Council addressed Gary Monahan's proposal fo
r the establishment of the committee in it's latest permutation. Monahan has been trying to broker an acceptable arrangement with the Senior Corporation Board that also would pass muster with the City Council.

His latest idea is that the ad hoc committee would have two members each from the City Council and the Senior Corporation Board. That quartet would then select the remaining community members with the exception of the representative chosen by the Chamber of Commerce.


This keeps the City Council from stacking the deck with o
utspoken malcontents - something Wendy Leece wanted to do.

Last night Leece seemed quite flummoxed by this proposal. During the discussion with Monahan she, in her own semi-intelligible way, said the following:

"I have a concern that, ah, you know, ah, just as far as objectivity as far as the selection. We would only have two city council members on this task force. I just have a problem thinking that there are more members that apply, just really being fair in selecting the final task force.

The way you presented it to us we were going to select the members and now that's kinda being taken away and I'm concerned that we lose that ability to place the people on who would, I feel, really represent the interests of the city."

She later said:

"Expanding the numbers and then, uh, that kinda takes that out of the control of the city then. Because you got, er, you had a definite number of members, but if we grow the committee then we may lose our influence."

Well, duh, Wendy! And why, specifically, should the city have "control" of an issue involving a private corporation? The city provides the building and some cash, but the volunteers on the board and the staff of the Senior Center do ALL the work. You're not losing "influence" - the game will just be played with fair rules for a change.


Clearly, Leece doesn't like having to work with a level playing field. That's understandable, since she had been part of the "improver" majority during her entire tenure on the council. If this proposal flies there is a chance that the whole non-issue that Leece ginned up will receive something approaching a fair hearing.


The four members of the council who could vote on this issue - Katrina Foley had to abstain and was not on the dais for the deliberations because of a business conflict - chose our young jailer/mayor Allan Mansoor and Monahan to be the council committee members. It's not clear what role, if any, Wendy Leece will play in this scenario. She's the city council liaison to the Senior Center, but that doesn't necessarily entitle her to participate in this ad hoc committee.

The council also decided to re-advertise the application process and provide applications at the Senior Center to facilitate interested seniors being able to more easily participate in this process. Eric Bever expressed some concern that those folks who had already applied might be put off when they find out that a balanced committee will decide the selections instead of the council using their power to appoint members.


Now the Senior Corporation Board will, at their meeting on February 17th, consider this issue again and, perhaps, chose two members to be on the committee. It's still not clear that the Senior Corporation Board is actually willing to participate in this dog and pony show. We'll see how this shakes out now.

Labels: , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy has painted the city into a corner, leaving it with only three choices:

1) Pull it's nose out of the Senior Center Board's business

2) Take over the Senior Center's operation (at a cost of $1 million or more)


3) Pull its funding of the Senior Center (and then watch the thing collapse, leaving Costa Mesa's seniors without a valuable resource).

Near as I can tell, the first is the best option. The whole episode is a damn shame (and STUPID).

2/05/2009 10:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is too bad Katrina has a conflict. As usual, she is our only hope.

2/06/2009 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Byron and Kent both make excellent points. As a taxpayer, I really don't mind the city looking into how money is spent on my behalf and if the expenditures continue to meet the needs of our citizens. The hard part for me to swallow is the adversarial relationship that some people insist on creating. Monahan makes an attempt to dilute the animosity, but really I would think he would be better off dousing it all together by simply asking the city manager to have staff report on the operations of the center and are they meeting the community's needs. Then they can decide if they should continue to fund it. Isn't that what we have staff for?

2/06/2009 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Byron, Kent and Bruce,
Good comments all around... It's clear when you watch the majority in action that this is pure politics. Some members of the Senior Corporation Board have opposed members of the majority in campaign. This is just a petty way to try to "get back" at them. They define "liberal" as anything even slightly to the left of their positions on most issues - which tend to be so far right that there is no room left except to be to the left of them. They demonstrate this juvenile pettiness time after time.

Bruce, your suggestion, of course, is logical and reasonable - which is why the majority will not go for it. Their actions on this issue demonstrate again why we shouldn't elect small people to big jobs. They are bias-driven, which keeps them from even considering an opposing viewpoint.

Kent, you're correct about Katrina's absence on this issue. There's nothing she can do about it, unfortunately, because she has a financial stake in this game.

Byron's first suggestion is the best one... Despite Monahan's attempt to mediate a truce, the council should just step away and replace Wendy as the liaison.

2/06/2009 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There are financial reporting and program effectiveness reporting mechanisms already in place. They've been there for a long time. This entire dustup is being fueled by a few seniors who either don't like some of the programs or don't like the executive director or both, and by Wendy's may-I-take-your-order style of governance.

2/06/2009 11:45:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home