Friday, February 11, 2011

Annexation, Again & Fitzy's Dilemma

Just when you thought it was safe to come out at night, that ugly word - annexation - rears it's head again! This afternoon the Orange County Register, in an article by Roxana Kopetman titled, "City services seen as lures to annexation", HERE, we are told that the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) has peeled the scab off this issue and formed a task force of members Peter Herzog, Charley Wilson and Costa Mesa's very own Supervisor John Moorlach to "develop guidelines and facilitate such transitions."

This article raises old issues about the islands of county property, including th
e Santa Ana Country Club, that Costa Mesa has tried to annex for years. Problem is, the residents don't want to be part of Costa Mesa - they want to be part of Newport Beach. Well, duh! My house is one block from Newport Beach. If we lifted it up and moved it two blocks east the value would increase by around 20-25%. I understand the issue with those folks.

However, as a Costa Mesa resident I'd sure like to see those little islands of county property become part of our city - especially the Santa Ana Country Club. The property tax revenue alone makes this a very desirable potential acquisition. It's going to take a lot of PR on the part of Costa Mesa to make this happen. Maybe these new guidelines that will be conjured up by the task force will make for a smoother transition - which ever way it goes.


Soon-to-be-retired City Manager Allan Roeder, according t
o the article, is not interested in imposing his city on the adjacent communities. He's quoted as saying, "This would not be a hostile takeover. We have no interest in doing that whatsoever."

So, here we go again - one more little project to occupy the leadership of our city, which is now working
with significantly diminished staff resources with which to fight this battle.

With the next Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Monday, Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner and current Costa Mesa Sanitary District Board member Jim Fitzpatrick, is on the proverbial horns of a dilemma. Ever since he ran and was elected to his seat on the Sanitary District Board last fall the issue of whether he can properly occupy both that position AND the planning commission seat has been debated. Recently now-lame duck contract City Attorney Kim Barlow opined that there is a legal view that he might not be able to occupy both simultaneously. She told the council in response to a question by Wendy Leece that if he is sworn in again as a planning commissioner and his ability to hold both seats is subsequently successfully challenged, he would have to give up the previous seat. In that scenario, he would have to abandon the Sanitary District Board seat.

Mayor Gary Monahan, who used
a seat on the Sanitary District Board as a placeholder between tours on the City Council, strongly expressed his view that Fitzpatrick should be able to hold both seats. Monahan did for a couple years following his re-election. It's my understanding that there's some "fuzzy math" involved about the difference between the council and planning commission. IF Monahan legally held both seats it's tough to see how Fitzpatrick also couldn't, since the planning commission is subordinate to the city council.

Now this coul
d be a real problem for Fitzy, whom I referred to as "Sancho" above because he's been "Sancho Panza" to now-appointed councilman Steve Mensinger's "Don Quixote". We don't know if anyone is going to challenge his positions, but if he is forced to give up that Sanitary District seat it could cost him some serious money and benefits and other perks that go along with that seat. Of course, he could resign from the planning commission before he's re-sworn in for another tour and avoid that possible problem. I don't think he'll do that - I think he'll roll the dice and hope nobody challenges him. Should be interesting to watch.

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Anonymous jim fisler said...

Geoff, thought you might like to know that I was elected by the Independent Special Districts of Orange County to replace Charlie Wilson as the alternate on LAFCO a couple weeks ago. I only vote if one of the two LAFCO regulars from special districts are absent but do sit on the dais and participate in all discussions. So Costa Mesa has two reps on LAFCO, myself and John Moorlach

2/12/2011 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Jim, thanks for that update... good news for Costa Mesa... :-)

2/12/2011 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

Here we go again... another elected person who should have abstained from running to allow others who were as or more qualified to sit on a board.

Q: If FitzP leaves either one of the 2 posts, who will select the replacement?

Again the citizens of CM will be "Given" a representative that will be "Hand Picked" by council and not by the CM voters...


2/12/2011 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of complaining from you, OC Longhair, but rarely a suggestion. It's called "Grandma's Rule" - no criticism without a viable solution. Try it sometime. And please don't choose a special election as the solution - we don't have the money.

2/13/2011 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

And with that - and Mrs. Anonymous earlier snide post - once again we slam the door on the "Anonymous" family. Please pick a name - it's not hard. I value your comments but want to be able to follow the discussion.. using "anonymous" as a moniker doesn't get it. Thanks for cooperating.

2/13/2011 11:29:00 PM  

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