Saturday, December 11, 2010

Final 2010 Planning Commission Meeting Monday

At it's last meeting of the year, Monday the Costa Mesa Planning Commission - without former Chairman Jim Righeimer, who has moved up to the big seat on the City Council - will consider a variety of important issues. It is assumed that they will have enough members present to form a quorum so the City's business can be conducted. Heck, this might be the last meeting for some of these commissioners, period, depending on how the appointment process plays out in January. The meeting begins in City Council Chambers at 6:00 p.m. and can also be viewed via streaming video on the City web site.


We STILL don't know if Jim Fitzpatrick will be allowed to serve on the Planning Com
mission and the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board simultaneously because City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow refuses to let the public know her decision before the City Council is informed. Unless she's derelict in her duties, one must assume that the council has already been informed since this meeting is right around the corner.


First off they
will make a presentation to Righeimer for his contributions during his four years as a planning commissioner. I doubt they will mention his contributions to the discontent among city employees and the city in general during the recent campaign.

Then, as part of the Consent Calendar, they will receive a Code Enforcement update,
which tells them about 15 of our friends and neighbors who have recently felt the heavy hand of the law regarding their property around the city. If you care, you can read that report HERE and look for your neighbor's addresses and infractions.

Following a handful of fairly normal public hearings for projects such as new plans for the recently-vacated Paul Mitchell School Building (the old Edwards theater for you old-timers) and adjacent buildings; a 10-unit common interest development on Thurin Street and two auto repair shops the Planning Commission will consider a really juicy issue.


At a joint study session with the Parks and Recreation Commission early in Nove
mber the City Staff presented information about the current and growing infestation of homeless people in and around Lions Park and adjacent public facilities. The staff will request the Planning Commission to ask the City Council to form a task force to be made up of community stakeholders to study the impact of homelessness on the City of Costa Mesa and authorize the Chair of the Planning Commission to appoint two commissioners to serve on the task force. It's unclear whether any of the homeless will be asked to serve. You can read the staff report HERE.

The previous staff report, which is an attachment, outlines the severity of the problem in very specific detail. Trust me, some of the facts will make you cringe. One of the comments, for example, talks about the need to frequently replace the upholstery on chairs in the Donald Duggan Library because homeless folks use the chairs while wearing soiled clothing. I warned you!


Some of the statistics, available in detail on the staff report, will get your attention, too. For example, "incidents" (ranging from Assaults to Traffic Stops and almost anything you can imagine in between) have gone from 111 in 2008, to 123 in 2009 to 634 for the first nine months of 2010! It's obvious we have a problem and something must be done to fix it. We have reached a point where young mothers simply refuse to take their children to the park, library, historical society and other amenities for fear of confrontation with homeless people.

I don't kid myself that this is going to be an easy problem to resolve. The economy has produced a growing number of homeless people - no news to anyone paying attention as they drive around our city. The formation of this task force seems like the right first step to addressing this issue and I commend Assistant City Manager Tom Hatch for being the point man on this issue.

I suspect City leaders will be soliciting input from residents if they actually do approve the formation of the task force. I know we will hear from some of the usual suspects exhorting us to chase the "magnets" out of our city - the social service entities that provide relief to the downtrodden - and to "drain the swamp" (bulldoze the "slums") so the "alligators" will go elsewhere. At a time of the year, when we normally think of spreading good tidings to all, those suggestions will seem more than a little heartless. Let's hope some of the really smart folks in this town step up with some good ideas on this subject. I'm sure willing to hear yours...

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Flo Martin said...

My son and other folks from Costa Mesa's Rock Harbor Church serve lunch at what my family calls "Airplane Park" every Wednesday. Other churchs are contemplating setting up food tables on other days. So, the "infestation" won't be going away anytime soon.

12/11/2010 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I wondered how long it would take for that word to provoke a response. As offensive as it might be to you, Flo, it seems like an appropriate term for the situation. This is not going to be an easy issue to address or resolve.

My youngest sister created a "feed the homeless" program out of her church in Los Angeles a couple years ago when it became obvious to her and other members of the parish that there was a need.

12/11/2010 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

12/12/2010 07:54:00 AM  
Anonymous A Resident said...

Have any of you seen the documentary "Homeless: Motel Kids of Orange County?" If not, check it out...very sad.

...and with our recent T.O.T. tax increase these families have about a buck fifty less every day to feed their children.

12/12/2010 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

There is nothing wrong with feeding the poor. Just don't do it in the center of town, and especially not in a park meant for small, defenseless, children. Many of the homeless are mentally ill and dangerous.

Magnet operations should be moved to the outskirts of cities where they won't interfere with other lifestyles. After all, we are all entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, ..... not just the homeless.

12/12/2010 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gericault, thanks for the perfect reference to give us some perspective.

A Resident, in fact, I did see that program. It was produced by Nancy Pelosi's daughter and ran on HBO earlier this year. Very powerful stuff and I agree, everyone should try to see it.

And, Ms. Vicki, see - we are not against homeless folks here. I assume you lost your "home" over at the CM Press. :-) So, what you're saying is that you don't mind the homeless, you just don't what to have to see them, right?

Look, this is a TOUGH problem. Yes, more than a few of those sad folks are mentally off-kilter and may present a threat to children. Some of them certainly are not - they are just homeless.

Costa Mesa has been, except for the past few years, a very compassionate city, willing to look for civilized ways to solve these kinds of problems. Today, I'm not so sure our new (and probable) city council will be quite as inclined to create positive solutions for the downtrodden among us. We'll see...

12/12/2010 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

Interesting article about public office. Being that the post was by Council Member Leece, many of Hewey, Dewey and Lewey's followers will keep their heads in the sand and not read the "Great" article mentioned.

About moving the homeless to the outskirts of our city: I know... let's set up a Leper Colony at the OC part of LTA Base in Tustin. There are still dozens of empty building and think of how many "poopy pants" we could store in those unsightly plywood hangars. Heck there is already the OC Mission on the property. I was driving through there a few days ago and there is even an old playground/park with a bunch of old oak trees so the Bums won't even notice that they have been moved.

12/13/2010 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

OCLonghair, I saw Wendy's link to that article. Thanks for providing it.

I'm sure you're going to make new friends with your suggestion for the homeless. :-)

12/13/2010 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Simple solution said...

Rock Harbor Church should host the homeless at its facility, and conduct the feeding operation in their parking lot. Let the homeless camp out there, use their restrooms and facilities. Simple solution.

12/13/2010 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous new CM citizen said...

Simple solution has it right. The church should feed them on its own property.

12/13/2010 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Yes, Simple Solution did get it right, but I would like to take his thinking one step further.

Why not have all the devotees to feeding the homeless simply take them home and feed them at their own tables, alongside their children?

That would reflect true kindness, and compassion. It would also give those poor souls a warm place to eat, clean bathroom facilities, and nice living room furniture with which to enjoy a little television (while their dinner is digesting).

No one could possibly complain about that.

12/13/2010 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Vicki, why don't you go first and set a good example for us all to follow?

Otherwise, it doesn't sound like you were very sincere in your post.

12/13/2010 06:08:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home