Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Long Night In Costa Mesa

What did we learn while watching the long, l
ong Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night? I mean except the fact that our leaders remembered how to use up an entire night - the meeting finally ended at 11:59 p.m.


Well, one thing remains clear - Eric Bever's presence on the council does not guarantee the debate of issues will be enhanced. Quite the contrary. Early in the meeting he struck out at critics who had wondered openly about his absence from the last meeting - one of the most important in recent years. He spat venom directly at Katrina Foley, making an irrelevant and inaccurate comment about her campaign contributions. Watching him in action is just like watching a spoiled little kid who pouts and stomps his little feet when he doesn't get his way. Last night he demonstrated once again that he is a petulant, petty buffoon - a clown unworthy of the seat he holds. I've had some personal experiences with him and, as do many people, came away from those encounters simply shaking my head at what a crude, clueless, infantile clod he is. The sparks that flew between Bever and Foley again last night was kind of like watching a lightning storm! Bever combined hostility with stupidity, so it was entertaining to watch him get batted around a little.

Perhaps the biggest lesson we learned last night, though, is, "Don't Mess With People's Private Property!" Are you liste
ning, Riggy? Yep, the Planning Commission, currently chaired by the carpetbagger, Jim Righeimer, stepped in it up to it's knees when they sent three items modifying residential parking rules to the council for approval. Those items dealt with city-wide ordinances on parking in and around residential driveways. Dozens of people spoke passionately against the proposals - no one spoke in favor. Speaker after speaker asked, "Whose idea was this, anyway?" Good question. You can read the Daily Pilot coverage of the subject HERE.


Seems that Riggy
and his pals were intent on trying to turn Costa Mesa into Stepford or, even worse, Irvine - or so the majority of speakers opined last night. Of course, it's easy to understand how Riggy could misread the residents of Costa Mesa so badly - he's only lived here for a couple years. As a developer, he's used to seeing and building pristine new, cookie-cutter projects, so Costa Mesa's eclectic mix of neighborhoods must drive him nuts. My suggestion to him - and based on the sentiment of many speakers last night, I'm not alone - is that Old Jim pack up his carpet bag and look for another nest. Heck, if he moved to Irvine he'd really stand out in the crowd. He might be the only Republican in the entire city!

The discussion of those parking issues took more than 4 hours, but the time flew past as the sp
eakers sprinted to the podium to have their say. It was fun to watch. Many first-time visitors to the council chambers arrived with a full head of steam and used the opportunity to vent their spleens. Based on their collective attitude, one almost expected to see their pitchforks and torches parked outside...


I was also interested to see how the council would handle our young jailer/mayor's suggestion that they all take a pay cut. The two issues - the other involved a re-sche
duling of benefits increases - actually got very little discussion. The council approved a motion to reduce their pay by 5% - something that cannot happen until after the next council election in 2010. Mansoor, once that vote was cast, jumped right in. He leaned over and looked at City Manager Allan Roeder and told him that he, Mansoor, wanted to take an immediate 5% pay cut at the earliest time possible. Roeder said OK, and that they would implement it based on the requests of the individual members. Leave it to Mansoor - when he's in a grandstanding mood, he just keeps bleeding it for all it's worth.


Mansoor couldn't get a majority to make changes to the timing of their benefits payout, so the issue was eventually "receiv
ed and filed", which means it stays the same - their benefits will get annual adjustments in January of each year. So much for "sharing the pain".


An interesting sidebar to that little drama was when Be
ver asked Mansoor if he wanted the pay reductions to go into effect only if the employee unions agreed to something similar. Mansoor said no. Bever said that he'd brought this forward a few months ago and was trying to act in the spirit of unity with the staff. Mansoor, with a perfectly placed backhand, said, "I'm acting in the spirit of leadership". Leadership, of course, is an alien concept to Bever. What a schmuck.

During public comments early in the meeting Senior Center rabble rouser Ernie Feeney again prattled on about the up-coming gold sale fund raiser planned at the center in the near future. She worried about the city's liability if relatives of seniors who took gold and other precious metals and diamonds to the center for their "gold sale" function later complained that their loved one had been ripped off. Feeney, and her equally obnoxious husband, John, seem to be carrying Wendy Leece's water in her witch hunt at the Senior Center lately. When asked, the City Attorney affirmed that there was very limited liability for the city.


During her comments time Leece mentioned a presentation by former councilman and Senior Center Board member Mike Scheafer at the Senior Center Board meeting earlier that morning. Scheafer apparently addressed the board and told them that if their critics (I'd read that Leece and her posse) continued their harassment and interference with their fund raising efforts, perhaps it was time for the Board to step aside and turn the operation of the Senior Center over to the city. That, in my view, would be a very unfortunate development, since the city currently only contributes a portion of the operating costs of the Center. It would almost certainly result in a reduction of services to the seniors in our city and could, in these dire financial times, result in the closure of the center.

So, the beat goes on...

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Blogger mesa verde madman said...

And Bever once accused me of 'juvenile bullying' due to comments I wrote in the Pilot. As my 3-year-old would say, 'What a bucklehead.' I would use stronger language...

And I was pleased to read that so many came out to fight the ridiculous parking restrictions. God forbid the uniqueness of Costa Mesa be Irvine-ized. But I kid you not - the Planning Commissioners themselves have their own personal parking issues they should be addressing before worrying about everyone else. I'll take you on a guided tour and show you myself.

Keep up the fight, and way to show leadership, like our esteemed jailor/mayor (tongue firmly in cheek).

4/23/2009 08:09:00 AM  
Anonymous said...

mv madman: You don't have to give me a guided tour but just give me the names of the Planning Commissioners who have their personal parking issues. It was great so many turned out to the council meeting, too bad no one came to the PC meeting to speak out. The next issue on the radar to protect our city is the current planning commission discussion/fine tuning of the live/work overlays. We may end up with very high density residential all over the westside if the developers and their supporters push their agenda through. No one has been coming out to speak up at the PC meetings concerning this.

4/23/2009 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

mesa verde madman, the term "bucklehead" does seem much too civilized. I expect your 3-year old's language will evolve, however. :-( I always appreciate your participation here.

Commissioner Jim, welcome back! I, too, did a double-take when our young jailer/mayor asked the audience how many of them had presented their views to the Planning Commission and, by his reaction, I assumed many had raised their hands. I couldn't tell from the television view how many held their paws in the air. However, I watched this discussion before your commission and I don't recall if ANY people spoke against it. I found myself wondering if this would have made it past the commission if those passionate neighbors had showed up to speak to you and your peers on the commission.

I agree with you that the trend that appears to be forming regarding the live/work developments is troubling. It's not surprising that a developer-oriented Planning Commission would be sympathetic to the developers, especially when the Chairman has very shallow roots in the city. You and Sam are in the minority - frustrating, huh? That's not a jab, just an observation.

We can only hope that Riggy has learned something from Tuesday's council meeting. Please come back and participate any time.

4/23/2009 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Chris McEvoy said...

Mr. Filser,

With all do respect I remember recently speaking on this exact issue at a Planning Commission meeting during public comments. Here are my comments from the March 9, 09 minutes

"Chris McEvoy, Costa Mesa, asked that the City reconsider the Overlay Zone stating that existing industrial base zoning is an
asset to the community. He also made a comment that he hopes the Commissioners put the residents of Costa Mesa first"

I also referenced cut through traffic, parking, overpopulating and making decisions that have better long term outcomes.

In fact I remember speaking about pending appointments at a recent council meeting and requesting that our Council Members appoint commissioners with the understanding to avoid further crowding our overpopulated city.

I also talked about what I believe to be financial conflicts of interest made by City Council members in recent appointments to the Planning Commission.

I do not intend to come across in a confrontational manner. To be honest I don't really know much about you. It is impressive that you are commenting and putting yourself out there. Your comment makes me think we may see the same potential problems with this overlay direction.

4/23/2009 10:53:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

I do remember you speaking to the planning commission about the overlays and your comments were much appreciated by me. When I said in the earlier post that no one spoke to the planning commission I was talking about the recent parking rules agenda item that brought out all the citizens to the last city council meeting. When this was before the planning commission no one spoke up. In fact it had been sent to council by us and they sent it back to us but they had little input to give us except to say that they wanted a definition of a bedroom futher detailed with regard to the 3rd car space in a garage to be required when adding a 5th bedroom. I also appreciate your comments on the commission selections. Appointments are, and always have been, very political in nature. It used to be that one just helped with footwork to get someone elected and they had a chance to be appointed to a commission seat. I know that in my case I was specifically asked NOT to donate any money if I was going to apply for a commission seat since it would have the appearance of a conflict of interest. Times/ethics have changed I guess.

4/24/2009 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger Chris McEvoy said...

Mr. Fisler,

My response was to the last sentence in your first comment. Thank you for responding, I do appreciate the dialogue. Sorry about the miss spelling of your last name.

Campaign contributions, ugh. On a couple separate occasions I have heard something similar about donations and applying for a commission seat. It was along the line ‘it wasn’t always done like this’. Righeimer and his wife each gave Mayor Mansoor $249 back in ’06 on the exact same day and this was prior to Righeimer’s appointment. I would consider this to be a $498 donation from Righeimer, because an argument could be made that his wife was acting on Righeimer’s behalf. Were you asked not to donate because it would appear like the person would have a conflict of interest, would it appear like you had a conflict of interest or would appear that you both had a conflict of interest?

I know there is another speaker who has the exact opposite idea as mine with regards to the Westside, he encourages your commission to get out the rolodexes call a few of your developer buddies and make it happen. I have a whole laundry list of issues with this but a good one to consider is he writes about needing to re-industrialize. Based on that alone I think his input needs to be taken with a grain of salt and motives need to be questioned.

I get the feeling that there is a rush to get this done. Why the hurry? That land isn’t going anywhere. I am not convinced this is the best plan. What can be done to stop this live/work overlay?

4/26/2009 09:28:00 AM  

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