Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eagle Shot Down - And That's Not All

To the surprise of nobody in the auditorium, last night the Costa Mesa City Council voted, 4-1(Wendy Leece voted NO), to dissolve the Airborne Law Enforcement Program (ABLE) despite broad public support for the program and the presentation by Commander Tim Starn which outlined several alternatives to grounding the helicopters.

Before a cr
owd of more than 100 concerned residents the council listened patiently as eighteen of their number presented their views. Most spoke with passion in favor of ABLE, describing personal anecdotes, quantifying the value of the helicopters, quoting statistics and expressing fear for their safety should ABLE be folded up. A few spoke in favor of ending ABLE, citing the noise created by the "Ghetto Bird" as it flew over their mostly Westside neighborhoods. I found myself smiling because it's very likely they will be among those to first suffer from the absence of the helicopter program.

Officer Jason Chamness, the new President of the Costa Mesa Police Association, introduced the four officers who would be cut loose if ABLE is shut down. Each were highly trained men, all of whom had three years or more with the city. None of that made any difference - the majority on the council already had it's mind made up. ABLE, which has served our community and those of our neighboring cities for more than four decades, is now history. If nothing happens between now and the end of June to change things, the helicopters and equipment used to maintain them will be sold, the four staffers who are Costa Mesa employees will be absorbed back into the CMPD and layoffs will occur.

According to the city staff, when the four pilots return to the CMP
D they will exercise bumping rights - which will ripple down through the organization. We were told that before the four officers mentioned above are bounced the city would first dump the six reserve officers currently working in the department. Later Mayor Gary Monahan asked the City Attorney - Harold Potter sitting in for the resigned Kim Barlow - to investigate a way for the reserve officers to be spared. While I understand the emotion of his question, I found it curious that the council majority is willing to cut loose four highly trained sworn officers and retain the reservists.


In an effort to possibly save ABLE, the staff was directed to continue the overtures already begun with the county and other cities to investigate a regional airborne law enforcement entity. According to Starn, the current joint powers authority is designed to be the framework for such an effort - it has the capability to fold in other cities. Unfortunately, for any such organization to be formed in time to save ABLE actions would have to take place with almost light speed - something that almost never happens in government at any level. If progress is not made, ABLE will be shuttered the end of June.


The council then voted
to abandon the two police officer positions that have remained open for four months. It was not a good evening to be a Costa Mesa police officer last night. And, during all this anti-police rhetoric absolutely no mention was made of the fact that we're still paying Police Chief Chris Shawkey while he's on Administrative Leave. His package is worth over $300,000 per year - enough for a couple police officers.

The council also voted to significantly increase the rental of utility and ball fields and, in a subsequent, separate item, agreed to "rest" some fields, which will result in a loss of revenue in excess of $18,000 per year.

The council gave second reading to the ordina
nces that authorized the amendment to certain contracts with employee associations that provided for "Cost Sharing", which had been previously negotiated. One was an "urgency ordinance", which permits this issue to become effective today.

Three items involving City Manager-in-waiting Thomas Hatch were heard last night. The first was the approval of his contract - the first of such for a City Manager in Costa Mesa's history. However, most other cities in the county follow this practice. Hatch will get a nice raise and benefit package and enough severance, should that ever become necessary, to keep his nose firmly planted on the grindstone. As a result of his compensation package negotiation there will be a modification of the city council policy 300-2 regarding Executive Severance.

And, finally, there was unelected co
uncilman Steve Mensinger's proposal to change Hatch's title to Chief Executive Officer (CEO). This is an unnecessary bit of grandstanding on the part of Mensinger, which he acknowledged was purely symbolic. When Wendy Leece inquired about the amount of legal staff time necessary for this item, Potter responded that it was a "no-brainer" - it probably took less than an hour. In his typical flippant, in-you-face style, Mensinger asked what it cost and said he'd write a check for it. We're only a couple months into his term and this attitude is already getting mighty old. And, even worse, history shows us that, based on his tour on the Planning Commission, he's going to get even more cocky and condescending as time goes on.

The council approved a
n adjustment in this year's budget of $200,000 for consultant services for a city-wide organizational review. Hatch laid out just how that money was earmarked:

$34,000 - Police Department - ($24,000 + add'l expertise $10,000)
$15,000 - Finance Department for 5-year plan
$30,000 - Economic Developm
ent Plan
$20,000 - Enhanced Communication
$50,000 - Redesign of Web Site
$50,000 - Additional consulting (OCFA RFP, etc.)

Total - $199,000

, in light of the staff reductions in several departments, including the City Manager's Office, this kind of expertise is essential to craft timely plans in response to the impatient city council's objectives and timetables. If no other cuts are made to the budget, or if the revenue stream is not greater than anticipated, the city will end the fiscal year with a deficit of $1.6 million.


The council also passed another "Mensinger Resolution" - this one to proclaim that Costa Mesa encourages local businesses to hire Costa Mesa Youth. This is just another merit badge on his "Hey, look at me!" sash - nice, but not necessary

I cam
e away from the meeting last night unsettled for several reasons. The first, of course, is the demise of the ABLE program and the impact its loss will have on the Costa Mesa Police Department. This program has been the model after which all other municipal helicopter programs have been designed. If one believes, as I do, that helicopters are "force multipliers" in local law enforcement, then - as former mayor Sandra Genis said last night - the closure of ABLE will likely mean more than simply the loss of four airborne officers... it will mean a SIGNIFICANT diminishing of public safety in our city.

I'm also co
ncerned about the cavalier way some members of this council, including Monahan, seem willing to ignore or abandon council policies and/or practices when they're inconvenient. Each of those issues were hashed out and refined over long periods of time. This council - and you will recall that I predicted this - is willing to run roughshod over us all. Righeimer and Mensinger are impatient guys, used to answering to no one. It's clear now that they intend to overlay their management style on our city regardless the damage it will do. If they had not already pre-judged ABLE they might have read the staff report, which gave them a way to balance this year's budget AND still retain ABLE.


I'm concerned about the implementation of the so-called "working groups" - two-person teams of council members charged with investigating several issue in the city. This is the first meeting where the results of those groups can be seen and it raises concerns in my mind - and others with whom I've discussed it - about Brown Act violations. Clearly, some on this council are not going to be swayed by the voices of the residents of this city - they already have their minds made up and they are not going to let facts nor residents opinions get in the way.

Finally, I was very distressed by the implication expressed by Mensinger and Righeimer r
egarding the previous - and current - management of this city. I heard Mensinger quite overtly criticize the management several times, indicating that he "had to sit four years" and watch the previous council make mistakes. He implied that retiring City Manager Allan Roeder was a culprit in this problem while smiling down at him from the dais and saying "no offense". He's proving to be a guy who will smile and shake your hand with one hand and stab you in the back with the other.

I know from having watched Roeder in action that he did all he could to advise previous councils about their budgeting practices. Every year he'd tell them that the use of fund balance to balance the budget was not a solution, it was the result of them not making the hard choices - doing their jobs. I don't know how Roeder feels about this, but I suspect these next couple weeks - he retires as of March 4th - will be mighty long and painful. It's truly sad that his long and illustrious career and his tireless dedication to this city for three dozen years will be tainted by egomanical political hacks on the council as he departs. He probably should have retired in December...

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Anonymous Goldvan said...

What do you expect from a mayor who serves drunks daily at his rat infested dive.

How do you think the majority of these losers get home?

That's right, we have a mayor who contributes to the amount of drunk drivers on our city streets!!!

I wonder if he was drunk at last nights meeting.

2/16/2011 07:14:00 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

Dear Residents of Costa Mesa....This is just the beginning of the mess that a majority of the council is going to make. Just so you know your thoughts and opinions mean NOTHING to them. They whispered sweet nothings in your ear so that you would vote them in and now that it is done they are in it solely for themselves. If you want to get a clear idea of the personalities you are dealing with I highly suggest you research them on the internet. You will see friendships with the corrupt Sheriff Corona, bullying, poor business management and other things. Guaranteed at least two of these destructive men will try and weasel their way higher in the political chain. Let these 4 years be the farthest they get. Please!

2/16/2011 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Just the facts said...

It would have been easier to keep ABLE if the department had presented data showing that it contributed to a significant reduction in crime or an increase in public safety. Saying the program is "second to none" or that it is a "very effective program" doesn't cut it. If they had the data, they should have presented it.

2/16/2011 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Just the facts...
They did, in fact, provide a sheet in the staff report that quantified the number of call by type for several years. Starn discussed it in length, explaining what each column represented. They didn't care - they already had their minds made up.

2/16/2011 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry Peterson said...

I love that this blog has become a ranting ground for the Police in our town. Sad that Chamness was so quick to toss his new guys under the bus. It's the union greed and unwillingness to agree to long-term financial solutions that brought this on. ABLE is an operational joke. It's a money pit--that's why other cities don't have helicopters. Starn said so himself. Helicopters should be County-run, not City-run. Starn had years to fix this thing and make it fair but he failed. Good riddance!

2/16/2011 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous wassupwiddat? said...

Sandra Genis is the kiss of death to any agenda item. Whatever she supports loses, same as candidates she backs in elections. While she means well she could probably stop her 0 for 75 batting slump and win one by simply not speaking.

2/16/2011 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

I'm not pleased with the outcome of last night's meeting, but taking cheap shots at Righimer's wife is little over the top.

Barry Peterson, what was there to fix? ABLE is run very lean and efficiently. Have you looked at the ABLE budget? The county does not and can not run as lean as ABLE does. While it's true that other cities do not have helicopters because of the cost; it's not really the operational cost that is prohibitive, it's the initial start-up cost.

Not sure I understand your "make it fair" comment. Do you care to elaborate on that one?

2/16/2011 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Ty Webb said...

Although certainly predictable from the current city council majority, the loss of ABLE was a shock to those of us who are made more secure by knowing our eye in the sky was watching out for us. The council, with the exception of Wendy Leece, is simply nuts! Arrogant, inconsiderate fools who are making back room decisions which will have a huge affect of the lives of those who choose to live in Costa Mesa. They are no doubt doing so to build a record of being ultra conservative to enhance their chances for higher office just like Alan Mansoor did before them. They are closing parks (hey Millard, no more soccer players. Right from your game plan), laying off cops (sheer insanity), and refusing to consider obvious methods of raising revenue.
I can only hope that their arrogant back room decisions soon catch up with them. Their obvious Brown act violations will soon come to light and reeks of Bell.
Gary Monahan used to be a good public servant and I can’t help but wonder what has happened. The deals he must have cut with the new  unelected member and Righeimer will come home to rest when they are done using him and he is sidelined to make room for another crony to fill his seat. Mr. Mayor, don’t say I did tell you so.
I have watched Allan Roeder manage our city for many years. From my citizen’s perspective, he is the best in the business. Righeimer: at least Roeder has ethics. He pays his bill and doesn’t have bill collectors knocking at his door. How dare you offer him business advice. Mensinger: Your arrogance on the dais is starting to remind me of your Alaskan Airlines fiasco.
Three of these people will go down as the worst city council in Costa Mesa history: Monahan (although he had some good years until he drank the coolaide), Mensinger and Righeimer. Too bad the citizens have to wait until their terms are over. Sadly, by then the City won’t be the great or as safe as it once was.

2/16/2011 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry Peterson said...

Officer Dimel, by "fair" I meant fair to the residents. Starn admitted last night it's only flying 5 hours a day. Santa Ana is not contributing equally to the program. It is a dinosaur of operational inefficiency. That's why only 4 cities out of 35 in OC have a helicopter. It makes no sense financially for a City like ours to have its own copter. I like the shared idea. Why hasn't Starn made that happen? I also read that Starn hasn't flown in a long time. Why are we paying him $200k a year to sit at a desk and not fly? ABLE is a black-hole of money. I'm glad the digging stopped!

2/16/2011 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Just the facts said...

Mr. West: I beg to differ. I watched the video again and although there was a reference made to the staff report, there was not one bit of data presented showing the impact ABLE on reducing crime or increasing safety. Stating the number of calls and the type is not the data that would have kept the program. The police needed show results. IMO, the police did a poor job of saving ABLE due to the lack of quantification. Thank you.

Mr. Dimel: Running a department cleanly and efficiently is never grounds to maintain it. Every department in the public and private sector must show value; must show worth. If there was data showing lives saved, property protected, etc., it would have been hard to cancel the program. Otherwise, it is just an expense and therefore easy for the council to cut. They will not be picking on the police: Every department is up for overdue scrutiny. Every department will have to justify its existence or budget by showing what it returns to taxpayers. Had we had this mindset during the unfortunate Mansoor years, we would not have our current fiscal crisis - or at least its severity. Thank you.

2/16/2011 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Just the facts the public comments from the gal who has worked as a emergency dispatcher for thirty years....her testimony is hard to refute.

2/16/2011 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Of course, you all realize that facts won't change their minds. They have an agenda and ABLE is a high visibility target because it is it's own entity with an easily-identified budget.

2/16/2011 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

I wonder how many gang members in Santa Ana are fist bump'n (or whatever they do) over the news that the "ghetto bird" is going down. I think I just heard the SA border move south a few inches.

2/16/2011 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Without Shame said...

Roeder should be feeling some pain. He did his best to throw our fairgrounds under the bus on his way out the door.

Where was his "tireless dedication" to the fair loving taxpayers when he paved the way for developers to take over the fairgrounds? He's the real person responsible for the sale of the fairgrounds to Facilities Management West.

2/16/2011 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

Mr 'just the facts'.... You say if there was any data showing lives saved or property protected, "it would be a different story".
When ABLE stopped and caught the guy aiming a high power lazer at the pilots of airliners coming into John Wayne, did they possibly save any lives or should we assume that because he hadn't been sucessful in downing a plane to that point.... no.
When ABLE found and directed the persuit of the armed bank robbers after they hit a bank in Newport Beach a couple months ago, did they protect anyones property or does the banks money not count?
It's clear that many people don't have a clue what a resource is being lost.
Now with less officers on the streets and no help from above, the job of being a cop on the street at night in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Santa Ana just got a whole lot more dangerous.
Yes, having ABLE is expensive but it has been just one of the many ingredients that have all worked together to provide a quality of life that is taken for granted in Newport and Costa Mesa.
Now the first of those ingredients is being removed and next you'll be told that the Sheriffs Dept will provide the same services for less money and same for the Fire Dept.
Welcome to the world of living in just another contracted city. Newport will keep their depts because they're special but Costa Mesa... not so much anymore.

2/16/2011 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous R. J Johnson said...

I laugh at you people. I thank Costa Mesa and only wish you got rid of that ghetto bird sooner. The only reason I'm doin 25 to life in the fed pen is cuz those air pigs caught me and my homies after we took down downey bank in 07. Won't gotta worry about them now.
I dare the cops to catch my crews now. We gettin stronger and you gettin weak, slackness. Why you think we come to the OC caperin? Freeways everywhere and smoov sailin back to souff central. Keep on helpin da brotha out cuz you OWE us that

2/16/2011 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Listening to Righeimer spout off about "the tough choices" and "balancing the budget", makes me want to lose my lunch. He has some cojones saying something CONSIDERING HOW MANY BILL COLLECTORS HAVE COME AFTER HIM AND HOW MANY TIMES HE HAS BEEN SUED. Someone needs to stand at the podium and remind him of that at the next council meeting.

And I love how he implied too many Firefighters are protecting and working for the city. Since he has only lived here for what.... a few weeks before the election... I will remind him that in the 90's CMFD lost over 10 positions, and just 6 months ago they lost another 12. ALL FROM BUDGET ISSUES. Its all about what the citizens and council are willing to chance on response times. They have gone from avg 5 min. to 5m 30 sec. and IF THE COUNTY TAKES OVER THEIR AVG. IS 7 min and 20 sec. BECAUSE THEY RUN BAREBONES.
How much savings is worth a 50% greater response time when your family is in need.
Heck, Righeimer , put one Fire Engine and one Paramedic at the fair and run 24 personnel.....BUT THEN WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE FAMILY WHO LOSES A LOVED ONE BECAUSE IT TOOK OVER 10 MIN TO GET CARE? Oh, that's right. You will have moved on to other political aspirations and left the city in shambles.

2/16/2011 06:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

Doesn't the total for the consulting budget come to 199k, not 149k as shown? Did I screw up my math?

2/16/2011 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob Dimel,
Nope, you're correct. When I was putting this one together in the wee, wee hours of the morning I had a brain burp! I work with the other side of it anyhow! :-) Thanks for the catch..

2/16/2011 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Actually my favorite part of the meeting was Mesinger saying the public sector was "weird" to him. Well Mesinger, just because you don't understand something doesn't make it weird, it makes you uneducated.

A close second Mesinger moment would be the numerous times he rolled his eyes when he was forced to listen to public comment with a different opinion than his, or when he got up and walked off. I sat in my seat for five hours and didn't move, he could do the same for the members of public who were brave enough to speak up to a council who simply doesn't care what the public thinks.

I got quickly tired of Righeimer feeling the need to pontificate from the dais for every vote he made. STFU we all already know your agenda.

I will say that Sue Lester brought up some good points that the council ignored and I for one am thankful she is there watching the council and calling them on their crap... I personally don't care if she is the owner of a legal marijuana business or not, she would have been a better choice for council.

2/16/2011 08:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Just the facts said...

almostdone: I am not sure what line of work you're in but please allow me to educate you on the proper way to preserve a budgeted program. Good decisions are made on facts, not anecdotes, suppositions or theory. Even if each of your stories is true, they lack the context necessary to preserve a multimillion dollar program; that context being the answers to two questions: 1) What is the total number of lives saved or injuries prevented and the total value of property preserved versus the total cost of the program? 2) Could the same or better results be achieved through a different(less costly) approach? Neither of these questions were answered, so the council made the only decision it could have and should have made.

Understand that I have no opinion on the merits of the program, I am only pointing out that the police presentation failed to provide the basis for continuing the program and relied instead on human interest instead of solid data.

2/16/2011 08:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Barry Peterson, there is nothing greedy about the unions. They voluntarily agreed to give back, at the request of the city, $1,000,000 in compensation in 2009. In 2010, the cops gave a proposal to the city that would have saved more money than the agreement eventually reached with the city. The city ignored the proposal for 4 1/2 months, costing the city untold hundreds of thousands of dollars when the contract expired. The agreement that was reached saves this city millions over the life of the contract. This is hardly union greed. It is ignorance and incompetence on the part of the city.

2/16/2011 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Thought this story was a good indication of what Costa Mesans can look forward too when everything is outsourced. The county has outsourced a lot of it's IT to the tune of 45 million in no bid contracts. Apparently when contractors want to run up a bill they just call it "rebaselining":

2/16/2011 11:02:00 PM  
Blogger meadowcream said...

After council last night, I witnessed the 2nd rising of HIlter Righeimer and his third Reich .....Citizens of Costa Mesa wake-up and start a recall on your Council Members!! With the exception of Wendy Leece who is subject to sit in the mix of the third Reich. These men are racist, ignorant, criminals. Google them!

They are slowly tearing the City apart piece by piece and exposing the fine residence of Costa Mesa to slower response time for fire/medical aid. Cutting a minimum staff of officers already to loss of 4 more officers. Citizens bare arms incase your a victim of a crime the helicopter won't help you because their gone. Officers are being cut good luck on a response times they can handle only one emergency at a time.

Council had even suggested using volunteers to answer in coming 911 Calls and medical emergency to save cost, rather than experienced trained 911 operators handling your calls and giving pre arrival medical aid.

Maybe Council should cut cost by giving up their paid medical benefits to show an ounce of good faith.

I noticed that new faces are popping up to speak at council. These are plants by are own council members. The are using fake names and giving opinions that council has fed them. The first speaker of the night does not exist. He gave false statement regarding orange county sheriff departments dispatch center. He lied about staffing, he lied that the handled fire calls, he lied that he volunteered for the sheriff department Mr. Howard Ho. I called the sheriff dept...they have never heard of you. They don't have volunteers working in the dispatch center simply because they are not qualified!

Mr. Mensinger stop sending in you plants!

Citizens of Costa Mesa demand your council have speakers produce ID to prove they exist! Why would you want opinions of a person who simply does not exsist.

Mr. West, you need to investigate and ask to see the speaking cards they are public record you might be amazed!

2/16/2011 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Meadowcream, I understand your concern. That speaker is, indeed, Mensinger's pal, Howard Hull. He apparently shares much of Mensinger's views - I've seen them at events together frequently. There's nothing that requires speakers to fill out a card, much less be truthful on them, sadly. Costa will not be a safer city with these guys in control.

2/16/2011 11:47:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

Mr 'Just the facts'.... I will tell you what line of work I'm not in. I'm not a cop and never have been. Thanks for the education though.
The "stories" as you call them are true and just a couple of hundreds that would justify ABLE for anybody who cares about protecting the public against crime.
Now let me educate you about the way things are normally done in a city whose council agenda is what's best for the long term interest of the city.
The "facts" that you are talking about are normally presented to the city manager and city council by dept heads and program supervisors during the day-to-day business that would be called... running the city.
That is done over the course of time. Not based on what can or can not be presented in a few minutes before the podium in a open forum.
Also... the "facts" as you put it for what ABLE has done can not be clearly defined in a statistical form such as x number of lives saved and x amount of property protected. Much of what they do is prevention and most of what they have done is best defined in "stories".
So... while what you are saying may be true about the facts that were presented (not being sufficient to entirely justify the program) that should not and can not be the way decisions like this are made.
Open/public shows like this are a way to show the concerned citizens what is going on and make the views and opinions of others available for them to consider. Not provide information to the city council for the first time.
What's really going on here is... a couple of guys have snaked their way into these elected positions and are going to use the city of Costa Mesa as launching platform to hopfully make a name for themselves in the world of conservative politics. The way to do that is to be 'newsworthy' and dismantling a city's services like this is certainly going to put the spotlight them.
In four years they will move on and the more damage they have done, the bigger stars they will be in the ultra conservative political world that they want to be players in. It's all really just about THEM!
Costa Mesa is going to lose programs like ABLE (and their Police and Fire Depts if they have their way) and when they're gone, they will be lost forever and Costa Mesa will have lost what little makes it different than any of the other crappy places to live.

2/17/2011 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Meadowcream.......and others,

Get up and speak at the meetings. I know it's shouting into a vortex, but your three minutes of public comments are all we have right now.
As much as I love this blog and the "townsquare" forum it provides, it's not enough.
The new cabal, has many supporters. The driving political philosophy of "shrinking government down to the size so it can be drowned in a bathtub", is being implemented at our expense. With willing sychophants enthusiastically regurgitating this garbage.
There are more of us than them.
Fiscally conservative law and order republicans, independants, DTS's, progressive democrats, of all stripes have a common distrust of this right wing establishment OCGOP pushing a take no prisoners party line agenda.
They are more organized and have a greater voter registration advantage. Even then, Mensinger had all his Latino Football players , out campaigning for Righeimer, and speaking for his appointment onto council. Sad really, to exploit the hero worship these boys have towards his leadership, against a group that would deport some of their own parents, and deny them citizenship through the Dream Act, but this is how they win elections.
Get involved. Speak up. Keep up the pressure.
It's hard to get a "know-it-all talking down to" by Riggy at every vote he takes against overwhelming public comments,but that's his "style".
Get your schools and neighborhoods, follow the issues, keep posting your opinions on blogs , and speak up at public meetings.
It has never been more important, than now.

2/17/2011 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger meadowcream said...

I agree....the residence of costa Mesa need to ban together For a recall. Support you police and fire dept. If the fire is outsourced to orange county, the POLICE will be next.

They said in study session council that was not true. When a city employee asked them they said no. More lies. That is what the $200,000 consultant if is for. They lie when they say it is to down size the police department it is to get a recommendation to get rid of the police dept.

Why else do they not have a police chief, fire chief and no administration? They are not filling the position because they want to get rid of the police. They are keeping the police chief on paid leave when the already know they are going to terminate him. But if they do they will need a chief and they want to keep it open so the city will be vulnerable to a take over by the sheriff department. Just like the fire dept is vulnerable with no administration. It's a done deal the city of costa Mesa will no longer have their own will be subject to slow response times less quality service and believe me we will be paying for taxes for that service and additional charge for them to respond. County fire charges if you need a response from them in addition to what you pay in taxes!

I attend council meetings ...I have spoken in the past and will continue. I only pray this city survives before they burn it to the ground!

2/17/2011 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Going to be on the road for a few hours... be patient... I'll post any comments when I can. This has turned out to be a VERY interesting comment thread - thanks to all of you on both sides of the issue for your views.

2/17/2011 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Fairview said...

Just the facts - You say you listened to the meeting twice, so that means twice you missed ABLE stats presented by Commander Starn at the request of Council Member Bever. The stats were an attachment to his report, which is also available on the city website at (scroll down to the last page to view attachment 3) But best to view the meeting because it was helpful to have the Commander explain the written numbers to understand categories like "Initiated Arrests"… hundreds of arrests in which the helicopter was on routine patrol and spotted crimes. These stats are what made a local program so valuable

2/17/2011 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Fairview said...

Goeff, would you consider removing Carter's foul comment about Mrs. Righeimer? It's unbelievably inappropriate.

2/17/2011 12:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Carl Spackler said...

All of this doom and gloom stuff is ridiculous. Public employee unions had their heyday for the last decade with the insane increases in pensions that came about due to SB400. That was a result of weak and stupid politicians pandering to strong and savvy public employee unions. Time to roll it all back and stop the insanity.

The unions, cops and firefighters are in control. They can unilaterally propose much more significant retirement concessions and save ABLE, avoid layoffs and balance the budget. But no, they are perfectly willing to sacrifice 4 quality cops and dozens of other employees to save their pension status quo. Stop blaming this council for trying to fix years of bad fiscal policy.

2/17/2011 02:43:00 PM  
Anonymous mike m said...

Prediction - if they do in fact outsource the police and/or fire, they will then in turn blame the rise in crime on 'illegal immigrants,' right out of the OCGOP playbook...

2/17/2011 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

I think the personal attacks on M rs. Righeimer and Gary Monohan are out of line.

You can disagree with the decision, the politics, the way this went down and voice those concerns without making unfounded accusations.

I have mixed emotions about the helicopter being grounded.

On the one hand, why does Costa Mesa have to bear the brunt of the program cost for several cities?

On the other hand, will we have helicopter support when we need it from the county and at what cost?

Something has to go people. We are broke. What do you want to cut first? Everyone seems to want to keep everything, but as a whole we are not willing to pay more in taxes. That simply does not work.

2/17/2011 06:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Sissy Casper said...

I was in the audience on Tuesday for the City Council Meeting. I listened with disbelief and anger at the words I was hearing. Disbanding the ABLE program without a second thought? This is insanity at it's finest? RECALL this idiots.

2/17/2011 08:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Fletch for Mayor said...

Hi Geoff,love the quote that Vern Nelson atributted to you in his most recent piece about Super Sleaze Dave Ellis.You need more than hand sanitizer if you get anywhere near him! Next time try a full haz mat suit! This city council and the OC fairboard seem to share the same family stump.Go to his blog site and check out your quote you are in good company, everyone thinks he is a piece of work or of something.Where do we meet to start the recall effort of these poor excuses for civic leaders? More importantly when?

2/17/2011 09:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Le Rivage said...

It is a shame that most folks that live here in Costa Mesa just don't have the mental bandwith to appreciate the genius that is Le Femme Wonkita( Sandy Genis).This town is so full of metal midgets and self serving politicians; the next order of business for the council should be another ballot measure to rename our city OZ,oh but they don't like horses or people of a different color so Oz might be out as an option, oh I know, how about Berlin 39?

2/17/2011 10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

I wish you would stop calling these 4 men "Stupid"!

They are probably the smartest group that have sat in those chairs over the years... unfortunately, they have chosen the way of the dark side and are using their talents to dismantle CM for personal gain.

Everything these men have done over past few years have been calculated, planned and amazingly executed. The things they are doing now and are planning to do to CM in the future are not the acts of "Stupid" people.

2/17/2011 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger meadowcream said...

You are correct they are not stupid men. They did and continue to do back room agreements. They all have a hidden agenda and have their pockets lined with money or a promise to approve financial backers agendas in costa Mesa. Dirty politics at it's very best.

Riggy has a personal agenda on attacking public safety employees since police/fire refused to support him during his election. They checked his history and past and can see corruption in the making and refused to support him. Let's not forget Beaver famous quote "giving me the stink eye"....another anti police councilman.

I'm still baffled on how they can elect each other as mayor and pro tem mayor ...and appoint a person who was not elected by the residences of costa Mesa.

We need to get the word out on the street for a recall! I agree where do we start and when?

2/17/2011 11:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

Bruce K:

I agree with your comments regarding cheap shots at family members. Detracts from any reasonable argument.

However, I disagree that Costa Mesa has borne the brunt of the ABLE program for "several cities". That's just plain false. Minus personnel costs, Costa Mesa's cash contribution this fiscal year was $490,255. Newport matched that. Santa Ana's contract contribution was $360,000. Costa Mesa and Newport split that contribution (@180k each), which brought CM's total cash contribution (again minus personnel) to 310,255. So, Santa Ana's contribution was actually GREATER. If any other non-member city used ABLE's services, they were billed at over $1,800 per hour. The program hardly "oozes money" as was stated from the dais.

2/18/2011 07:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry Peterson said...

Wake-up to a new reality. We have to cut things like helicopters to pay for our employee benefits. They are draining us. You want a helicopter. explain how to pay for it. To Gericault, people are standing up for change. The change that comes with a realization that we simply cannot afford to continue on this track. I worked until 65 and funded my own retirement. Why can't our employees do the same. Wisconsin is alerting to folks to the real facts at issue--where will all of this money come from? Our kids, our grandkids. Just keep kicking the can. Thank you City Councl for stopping the can kicking. I love our employees and they do a terrific job but to pay the average police officer $150k in salary and benefits when many Costa Mesans are on fixed incomes is outrageous. It needs to stop.

2/18/2011 08:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Just the facts... said...

Fairview: I reviewed the document and it does not provide the data that a panel would need to make to support the program. It is not enough to cite numbers - you have to be able to draw a direct line from the numbers to value, i.e., show how has the city saved money or been improved as a result. These documents did not do that. And even that is not enough: Proper case-making includes providing information that there is no better use of taxpayer dollars to achieve the same or better results. I've made this case twice already. It's not rocket science - it is what goes on in budget meetings everyday all over the world. I've had to do it countless times because it is standard operating procedure for the self-protection of a program or budget.

As I wrote - I have no opinion of ABLE other than as it relates to the facts. If the case had been made by answering the two questions I posed earlier, I'd be the first one to demand that we keep the program.

I reviewed your document, now I ask that you review mine: If you want to see how it is done, go back to the Study Session report of July 13, 2010 (I am sorry - I do not have a link and thank you for providing one for me). At that time, the city's sanitation department was asked to justify the weekly sweeping of Costa Mesa's streets and a bi-weekly alternative was proposed. In a classic case-making document, the dept. not only showed their "value data," the numbers showing the return on their cost, they also showed that there was no viable alternative to their program. It was so good, the program was not cut back, it was expanded vertically. I was very impressed with it and I am one CM resident who thinks weekly sweeping is extravagant.

2/18/2011 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

People.... you ain't seen noth'n yet! ABLE is just the first shot.

That $200k that was voted in for "consulting" was to put a 'outside' (if you believe that I've got some property) voice in place to present the cost savings proposals of outsourcing all of public safety.

The Fire Dept will be the first to go. OCFA will be standing by to make a offer to provide those services for less.

Something else that few are aware of... this same cast of characters have been working with some county counterparts on the introduction of private ambulance company's being allowed to provide paramedic service (hello Schaefer) for the first time in Orange County.
Apparently they have been sucessful, so wait and see if that isn't the next cost saving measure to go along with the reduced coverage you'll be getting when County takes over Fire.
Note*** That will go un-noticed by most because only the unfortunate individuals (and their familys) who have to use this life saving service will suffer.

The big target though will be to replace the Police Dept entirely with OCSD, and that will have the biggest impact overall on the enviroment you live in.
It's not so much that a Sheriff can't do the job of a city cop when it comes to knock'n some lowlife in the head, because he can.
The change is going to be in the minimal coverage and the lack of 'community' service that has made a difference here. In time you'll see the effects of that.

In many South County cities the type of coverage that OCSD provides has really been the only option because the start-up costs and teething problems of getting a new Police Dept off the ground dictated that route.
Those cities (like Mission Viejo) have been somewhat immuned to the kinds of 'innercity' problems that a place like Santa Ana has because they are recently developed/master planned communities.
Here...? You are truly going to get what you pay for and that is going to be a huge step in the wrong direction for the city that sits next door to Santa Ana.

In reality though.... the deal is done. Nothing that is going to be said or presented to the city at this point is going to make any difference in the direction they are going. The agenda is a political one with the personal interests of the characters involved being the catalyst.

The only thing that is going to prevent this scenerio at this point is for the voters in Costa Mesa to take a step back and say oh,oh... we made a mistake and recall these guys.

2/18/2011 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

Does anyone know anything about what happened at the rally Scott Baugh and the OCGOP held yesterday? I bet money some of our councilmen were there ra-raing with him.
I tried researching it but the original site i found it on for some reason shut down yesterday.

2/18/2011 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

So Barry Peterson, in your world you only pay cops what the citizens of that city can pay? So Irvine, Newport, etc. would pay more? Is there any doubt where the best cops would go to work? What happens to the quality of police work in CM then? Is there any reasonable expectation that any quality cops would choose to work or stay at CMPD? Of course not. Cops are humans and want to make the best money they can. All CM is doing is helping other cities get better cops because the good ones will leave or never come here (except to gain experience to get hired somewhere else). CM does not pay there cops any more in pay and benefits than does most other cities. In fact, CMPD is always at the middle or upper middle of the pack for OC.

To Carl Spackler, CMPD cops voluntarily gave back to the city over $1,000,000 in pay and benefits in 2009-2010. The contract agreed to in October 2010 will save the city over $4,000,000 over the life of the contract. The city ignored a proposal from the cops on June 1st of last year. If the city had simply accepted that offer, it would have saved more money than the contract they eventually agreed to. In fact, the contract agreed to was an offer from the CITY. How is that the cops fault? Also, because the city chose to ignore the initial proposal and waited until October, the city paid an extra well over six figures when the old contract expired at the end of August. Again, not the fault of the cops the city chose to ignore the proposal for 3 1/2 months. So how much is enough? Another $1,000,000 to bring back crime prevention? How about $500,000 so the front desk can stay open longer. At some point it becomes the employees financing city services with cuts to pay and benefits.

Finally, revenue for the first half of this fiscal year is up something like 9% over projections. Not exactly cause for a New Years style celebration, but it at least begs the question if this machete cutting mentality is a bit premature or at least should slow down for some more reasoned thought.

In the end, we citizens lose out. This council is hell bent on remolding city services to their vision, whatever that is. If their ultimate vision is to hack it down and then contract out to the Sheriff's, just keep in mind OCSD may save some money, but they do so through sharing services. Example, CMPD currently has 9 officers dedicated to plain clothes work dealing with drug dealers, prostitution, probation/parolees, career criminals, etc. Nine officer working 40 hours per week in the city on these issues. OCSD has two 6 person narc/vice units for the entire county. Is there any doubt CM would have to fight for these services and we would be lucky to have them in town more than a few hours per week? Take a drive around and look at all the flea bag hotels, the New Harbor, Motor Inn, Regency Inn. You think OCSD would be effective at dealing with these in the small amount of time they would spend in town? Of course not. This does not even begin to cover the halfway houses, rehab houses, etc. in town. CMPD fields a 2 person DUI team 40 hours per week dedicated to reducing DUI's and injuries and deaths as a result. You think OCSD would give us that? Of course not. Again, shared services. The bottom line is you get what you pay for and there is no magic panacea out there.

2/18/2011 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


First, I don't understand why you removed personnel costs. I would have to assume (bad choice I know) that the personnel associated with ABLE are not average with respect to their salary ranges. I am sure pilots cost more than patrol officers and mechanics/ground support are more expensive than auto mechanics and garage support.

Also, as with any program, there are unattributed costs that are absorbed in other ways.

If Costa Mesa is covering those additional costs above and beyond the financial commitment you outlined, then I come back to my assertion that we are bearing the brunt of the costs of the program.

We haven't even mentioned equipment acquisition costs that we have already absorbed as well as depreciation. Are your figures reflecting those costs or are you reporting cash flow numbers?

2/18/2011 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry Peterson said...

Wyatt Earp, your logic is terrifying. If the union pumps $100k (like they did in this last race) and succeeds and buys the Irvine City Council and gets cop salaries there up to $200k, other OC cities must follow or risk losing "talent." That's called extortion. If all of your friends jumped off a bridge would you also? Justify for me why in the 21st century we would ever pay our average officer $150k a year and let them retire at the age of 50 and cover their retirmeent, while the rest of us chumps pay for our retirement, and work until 67 maybe to get a small piece of social security. Gray Davis sold us out to the unions and we are stuck with a system that we cannot afford. If the police and City employees are truly our "neighbors and friends" why don't they get compensated as such? What you fail to admit is that programs like ABLE and ROCKS had to be cut because our budget has to pay for salary and benefits for our employees. Don't blame Council or the employees-blame the system that needs to be fixed. Thankfully, our newly elected officials understand that and are trying to fix the system. You can complain all you want, at the end of the day it's simply a matter of numbers. What we can and cannot afford.

2/18/2011 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

I removed the personnel costs, because I didn't have the total figure. Not to obfuscate. I would be happy to get it and post it.

The 3 mechanics, and commander's total compensation is reflected in that 490,255. That's because those are shared costs with Newport. The mechanics are actually City of Newport Beach Employees. That number is our total maintenance and operations budget figure.

The personnel costs are for the three line pilots and you are correct in your assumption that the pilots do get paid more than a patrol officer. That figure is about 371k (total).

As far as acqusition costs go; again, that was all split with Newport. It is all equally shared, thus, when the assets are sold, split equally. So it would follow that any equipment depreciation, each entity will have the same amount of loss.

As far as unattributed costs that are absorbed in other ways; any of those are funded by ABLE. The cities make their contribution each budget year. It is ABLE's responsibility to work within their budget, as there is no going back to the cities with our hand out.

ABLE has historically come in at or under budget. That "fund excess" is set asside as undesignated fund balance and is used for those costs you mentioned.

2/18/2011 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Barry Peterson said...

Officer Dimel made over $176,000 in 2008. I'd love to give more current figures, but according to the City, the Police union lawyer threatened to sue the City if they disclosed further information on individual employees. I'm sure officer Dimel is a fine public servant, but to make 4 times the median income of a Costa Mesa resident as a Police officer is troubling to me.

2/18/2011 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

Barry, the average officer does not get paid 150k per year. I would be happy to meet with you and show you my W2.

I can't argue your angst over the 3@50, other than to say very few officers go at 50. Most go in their mid 50's. But, let me ask you this: do you want a 65 year old beat cop out there? My dad is in his mid 60's. He couldn't hold his own against me in my 40's. How would he do in a fight with someone in his 20's? There is the ugly side to police work, wherein you have to fight bad guys. While the threat of getting shot is in the back of every officers mind, it's the threat of getting hurt in a fight. Blowing out a knee in a foot chase, while wearing a 20 pound belt around your waist, blowing out a shoulder trying to handcuff a beligernt drunk. It truly is a young person's game. There are not enough jobs elswhere in the department to move into at the sunset of your career.

Most officers sign on knowing they can perform into their 50's. But the ability to do so into their 60's is questionable.

2/18/2011 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Carl S. said...

Wyatt Earp,

Nice try. A cop's salary is often less than half of their total compensation. Pension contributions, OT, and other pay double the total compensation.

The offer presented to the city in June 2010 was obviously not a good offer. The whole rigged negotiating game - where the POA sues if the City tries to go back to the start due to lack of money - is a joke. The City could not offer anything less than it did without violating the rules of rigged game.

Keep it up, keep playing the game, CMPD will just lose more talented junior cops and experienced staff so the ones with seniority can cash in.

The POA scare tactic backfired. now the public sees what they are losing, 4 young, hard-charging cops so that 4 older pilots keep their jobs and benefits. Are those pilots going to be out there chasing gansters down alleys or will they be flying a desk while 4 young cops are working in Newport and not on CM's streets? ABLE could stay here, where it is needed and the pilots can do the job they were trained for if people got real about what we can or cannot afford.

No one needs to lose their jobs, PD and FD just need to get total comp down closer to salary. That happens through OT and pension reform. In 2008, PD and FD OT was $5.5 million. How much of that was actual emergencies as opposed to covering shifts when people take vacation days and other gimmicks? PD and FD pension payments were $9.7 million in 2008. $15.2 million on OT and pensions - not salary, not cars and fire trucks, not the helicopter.

2/18/2011 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Average Taxpayer said...

You people need to start facing some hard facts. If there is no money, there is no money.

Also, for your information, the police association's sense of entitlement is nauseating to the average tax paying citizen of Costa Mesa.

2/18/2011 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Arse du Cheval said...

The City of Costa Mesa is going to follow these horses asses, until Costa Mesa is the next Compton.

You have a bunch of idealogues who are really only in this for themselves, so they can hear the sound of their own voices. They run off at the soup coolers about public employees until they have painted this evil picture of our local governement workers. I'm here to tell you that the Republican party I knew was about smaller FEDERAL govt. and more control at the local level. Not chopping the hell out of local goverrnment, because a bunch of tools at the Lincoln Club said so.

Mensinger is as big a douchebag as the rest of them. Anybody ever wonder why he didn't actually run? He has too much "baggage". Having two candidates with baggage would have been too much and both he and Riggy would have lost.

Mensinger was sued for sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, unfair business practices and that just scratches the surface. Then, there was the incident, where he used his bought OC Sheriff's badge to try to intimidate an Alaska Airlines employeee at John Wayne airport. He didn't get the immediate level of service he wanted, so he browbeat the woman and flashed a badge. He had no police powers, he got the badge as a trinket for giving to disgraced Sheriff Carona's campaign. If there is anyone here that doesn't believe that Carona was a douchebag, you need to get your head examined. Coumpound that with the fact that Mensinger and Riggy and all their pals were tight with Carona, and you can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes with these dorks.

They can blow hard from the podium all they want about "righting the ship" or whatever. It's not for the people, it's to stroke their own egos, so they can say "look at me".

These guys are no worse than the Democrats. the Democrats created class warfare and railed against "corporate greed" and tried to make "corporate greed" a household word. These fools use public employees as their scapegoat and are creating the same warefare against them, by making "unsustainable" and "unfunded liability" household words.

All of this crap is human nature. We pick a group to blame for our poor circumstances, envy what they have, then try to burn them down. I happens every generation. The French Revolution in 1789, the Nazis with Kristallnacht in 1938 and throughout the war. Same story, differnet generation, different group, same human behavior.

In the end, we all lose. Hopefully the employyes all push back, and we can end up with pure Anarchy. That would be great, because then the prepapred will prevail.

If you have any question as to Mensinger's true character, check these:


2. - - Cached


2/18/2011 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger ERIC said...

Hey Carl and Mr Peterson, clearly you both have drunk the GOP koolaid, and really don't understand things clearly. You take the words of Righimer and the other GOP cronies and twist them around. (Righimer- amazing to here him talk about financial prudence when he has bill collectors coming after him... anyway)

3% at 50 DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU GET 100% PAY AT 50 YRS OLD, its a formula... and only after working 30 years do you come close to the 90% max... 30 years of Christmases away from family, multiple days in a row on firelines away from family, sleepless nights, being insulted, thrownup on, bleed on, and dealing with the worst of situations and hazardous materials. All for the good of the public. Many if not most Firefighters / police retire with aching medical problems from their public service. AND SINCE THE FIRE DEPT HAS AN AVG HIRE DATE OF 27-28 yrs old, To max, you would be 58 yrs old, thank you. We do what many can not nor want to do. Maybe you GOP zombies would rather all of us run for office and work a couple terms and get fat paychecks, full benefits and full medicals and what ever else "kickbacks" come with the political tag.
I sure dont see Righimer , Mesinger or Monahan taking less for their $180/hr job, with FULL PAID MEDICAL FOR THERE ENTIRE FAMILY, AND A RETIREMENT IN PERS.

LETS NOT OVERLOOK THE REAL PROBLEM, the city leaders never managed well, they never looked at real revenue generating ideas and NEVER MANAGED THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THEY POCKETED FROM "PUTTING" EMPLOYEES IN PERS. Now Firefighters and Police are the wipping boys of a Political driven, power hungry few. If you cant see that, then strap on a Breathing apparatus, a gun, a bullet proof vest, or turnouts... apply for a job and STAND A POST.

2/18/2011 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

51 comments........Whats the record Geoff?

2/18/2011 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gericault, this one makes 56 and the hits just keep on coming! Thanks to all for participating. I've offered no editorial comments, yet. I'll let you all exhaust yourselves first. :-)

2/18/2011 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

This was just over the helicopter......Wait for this other shoe to drop......

Costa Mesa Might Dismantle Fire Department

"Costa Mesa officials Friday announced that the city might dismantle its fire department and contract out for fire protection."

2/18/2011 04:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Kathleen said...

I'm not the least bit impressed by most of these comments. They are a combination of police and fire personnel who just want to have their way with the taxpayers. In addition to the usual suspects, we have one permanently unemployed cheerleader, hoping for favors when this is resolved.

Everybody wants something. If it weren't for their present fear and neediness, all these guys would be out somewhere, spending the big bucks they've managed to wring out of the city treasury. How crude and thoughtless of them. A lot of people are out of work now and they are not publicly wallowing in self pity.

2/18/2011 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger feral390 said...

OK here is the "how to" manual... the question is, do the fine people of this city have the guts and tenacity to pull this off

2/18/2011 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Carl S. said...

ERIC, when did 3%@50 start?

2/18/2011 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Johnny Rotten said...

Hey Kathleen, I don't think anyone needs to impress you. Our opinions are as valid as yours, so get over yourself. I am neither a cop nor a fireman. I am just a citizen who knows a sleazeball when I see one. The problem is I am but one voice and ours didn't add up on election day. Had the vote not split between Lester and McEvoy, we would have a horse of a different color. Instead, we ended up with the horses ass as another poster put it.

You lemmings must be blind to see that this is all a well orchestrated, scripted plan by the GOP. They put Righeimer up, and gave him the play book to "fight the evil unions". Then, they convice Foley to run for the school board, freeing up her seat. In this highly polarized partisan fight the GOP actually supports Democrat Foley...hmmmm, why do you think that was? So they could then appoint someone to her seat, since she was a no brainer for the school board.

Who didn't know it was going to be Mensinger. Sure he's charming, but seriously, that dude just makes mee feel oogey just looking at him. He thinks he's Rico friggin' Suave'.

Once they had Mensinger in, they knew they could manipulate the leprochan, and the Stephen King/Hair Club for men president. Leece is probably the only one up on that podium with an original thought and that aint saying much.

You ever wonder why less than two months into their term, the city attorney called it quits. Too bad for the attorney client privilege, she could probably tell stories from their short tenure to curl our hair.

But it's ok, they are better and smarter than the rest of us and they will make sure we know it.

I think one of the best analogies I have seen was 1930's Germany. After the fact, we look back and ask how did that cretin ever end up in power? Well, he demonized a group, blamed the unemployement, and depressed economy on a group, and rallied the frightened, ready to believe in something public behind him. Way to go Riggy, Mensinger and the rest of the GOP, you have pulled one right out of the National Socialist playbook.

2/18/2011 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Gordon Gecko said...

@Kathleen, who has fear and neediness? Your boys on the dais do. I haven't see any cops or firemen wallowing in self pity as you put it. From what I have seen they have had enough of putting up with a bunch of self righteous people who can't appreciate the service and sacrifice they give.

Instead, You clowns want to think they are out lighting cigars with $50.00 bills. How many cops or firemen you actually know? My guess is that if you do, you wouldn't have the guts to sit with one of them and look them in the eye and say "hey you make too much money".

They are not what's wrong with this country. Yhey are what keeps it safe, so you can come on sites like this and kick them in the crotch. the problem is you and those who are like you.

2/18/2011 08:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Green Mountain Boy said...

Hey let's just outsource it all! I heard Blackwater needs some new contracts. I bet they could get some guys together to work the mean streets of Costa Mesa.

They could oust the "leadership" and set up a provisional government. Isn't that what these "let's run the government like a business" types do?

The problem is that it's not a business, that's just all they know, so they sound like a broken friggin' record.

2/18/2011 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Johnny Rotten is eloquent ......Cheers !

2/18/2011 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

Wow... that was fast! I hardly got "the FD will be first" out of my mouth and it's already done.
And just to be clear.... it's done! Don't think for a minute this isn't going to go through.

I read the entire proposal and today I'm wondering if I'm the only one that noticed..... While OCFA will be closing one fire station (plus reducing manpower by 10%) and the calls are going to be routed through CM to OC for dispatch, that somehow they are going to have faster response times and a higher level of service!? Let's see.... there are fewer engines covering larger first in areas, yet they get there faster even with a extra step in the dispatch. They must be rotating in faster fire engines!
If a car salesman told you something that made as much sense as this, how much of what else he told you would believe? Just say'n!
I'm don't want to knock OC Fire. They are every bit the FD that Costa Mesa is. It's not like you're going to be getting a inferior product steping off the engine when they get there.
But... due to the nature of the business, fire depts are all about response times and fewer fire stations are not going to accomplish that no matter how the politicians and sales people spin it.
The way this works is..... the proposal looks good because it is. It's what happens down the road when the dust settles and nobody is paying attention anymore. Ajustments can always be made. Removing the paramedic aspect of the fire dept is going to one of the next cost saving considerations after this is all done and everybody has had a chance to adjust to the fact that the sky didn't fall.
Everybody will be paying attention when that starts to happen... won't you.... Right.

2/19/2011 07:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Carl S, not a good offer? The offer saves more money than what the city eventually agreed to, but it is not a good offer? Again, how is an agreement the fault of the cops. The agreement they reached was what the CITY offered back, so how can we complain about it and blame the cops? Oh, that's right, public employees are the GOP's designated whipping boys. As for OT, you guys decide. Police work is a 24 hour operation. The department is faced with a decision, run short when someone is sick, on vacation, at training, etc., or fill the shift with someone working beyond their designated time, often against their will. If you run short, response time lags, proactivity suffers, etc. You as a community can decide this. Run short, but don't complain about the side effects.

Average Taxpayer, sense of entitlement? Saving $5 mil for the city is a sense of entitlement? I would hate to see what your definition of generosity is.

Barry Peterson, again, your way is to only pay what the average salary is for the citizens of a particular city? So tell me, do you honestly believe Santa Ana would have anything but the bottom of the barrel cops because Santa Ana's medium income must be terrible. Where would everyone work? Irvine? Newport? Your dam right they would. Cops are human and want to earn the best money they can. Your theory is terrifying.

Eric, 3@50 came about roughly in the late 90's or early 2000's. 2@50 had been around forever. The change came about because cities and counties had for a long time paid nothing in contributions because the return on investments PERS made were so great. The investment returns covered the cost of contributions. CM paid NOTHING toward the cost of the contributions for its' cops from 1989 to 2002. Do you think they saved any of that money? No. PERS finally found a way that the employees could share in the investment windfall. That is how 3@50 came about. Also, CM for a long time had provided a 1% annuity for the cops in addition to the PERS 2@50. The city received a $16 mil payout when they made the switch to 3@50 because they had so much money in PERS no additional cost was associated with the switch. Did the city save that for rainy days? No. They city also ignored pleas over the years from employees to consider slowly raising business license feed, TOT, etc., to cover the eventual cost. City ignored it. You want service, you gotta pay for.

CM cops do not have any benefit every other cop in OC has and they do not pay anymore that what most other cops have. It is a fact. Have you heard about any other cities doing what CM is doing? No. It is your city. You will decide what type of service you have. Irvine pays $25,000 more than CM? Is there any doubt CM cops would try to go there? Who wouldn't? Let's say you work at IBM, but Microsoft pays $25,000 more for the same job. Would you anyone stay at IBM? No, they wouldn't.

2/19/2011 07:33:00 AM  
Anonymous mike m said...

@Kathleen - some of us, as already mentioned, are just ordinary citizens who have called CM home for 40+ years, went through the schools k-12, graduated from college, came home and chose to rent and then buy to live in Costa Mesa, because it WAS a great place to live. Believe me, I'd sell my house in a minute right now if it was an option, since my income was cut 50% after being out of work for a year and staying home with two young kids before finding work again at a salary that doesn't cover the mortgage any more.

These arrogant nitwits have come in and upturned everything, but let's not forget the previous nitwits like Mansoor, too, who got the ball rolling. I NEVER thought I would say Leece is the voice of reason, but she is. They've got their playbook and they will follow it to a T.They initially endorsed her, then through her under the bus when she had the guts to go against them. Wait until you are the one who needs assistance from the police or fire dept., as the response will be significantly slower.

I've had the good fortune not to have needed them in the past, and I still get uncomfortable when I see a cop in my rear view mirror even when I'm doing nothing wrong, but I have a feeling that once it all gets outsourced so these fools can brag to their GOP brethren about their accomplishments, we're all going to need them more, and they won't be here.

2/19/2011 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Carl said...

3%@50 was a direct result of SB400 in 2000. Public safety survived and thrived before 3%@50. 3%@50 is unsustainable and must be eliminated for new hires.

No one is blaming cops and firefighters for taking the deal, I would have! They should be honest about how it came about. That deal came from a rigged negotiating system that is being attacked nationwide. Collective bargaining and the rigid rules of negotiations are total crap. I don't have any rules when I ask for a raise, I sit down and ask and my boss tells me yes or no. If the business is in danger, my pay gets cut, and I don't get to sue or bitch and whine and threaten to not do my job. I either quit and find another job or work harder to help the company survive. And guess what - my retirement savings disappears with the market, and I have to cut everything to hang on to my house while my kids don't get any new clothes or toys for the duration. That is reality, your guaranteed wages and pensions arent.

PD and FD needs to deal with reality. Your 10 yr old pension formula is over, no one can afford it. It went up when times were good, it should go down when times are bad.

2/19/2011 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Geoff, what do you know about several of the council members snooping around the Fire Chiefs office and checking out whatever lay on his desk. He had to ask maintenance to put a lock on his door.

Speaking of response times, do they have the "Bruce Almighty" power to get cars out of the way?

Johnny Rotten and OC Longhair perfectly said. To think the jocks (the amigos) thought the punks and metalheads only ditched class to get high, listen to music and play Intelivision.

Are the Amigo's collectively trying to be Elliot Ness and "Clean up" this city to make a name for themselves. I think Arse du Cheval is a starting point.

I guess The Beve has the final say to Mr. Vasin when he was demanding an apology.

God Bless Wendy when all this goes to trial.

2/19/2011 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rich, I know nothing at all about that... had to have been awhile, since we've not had a "chief" since Morgan left...

2/19/2011 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Sitting inside looking around said...

Geoff, it actually happened last week. I over heard when the request was made to please have locks changed because they were snooping.

These guys are also walking around asking employees if they live in the city.

Employees are sitting around scared and supervision doesn't seem to have any power to protect them.

Yeah, it reminds me of a movie I watched once, where some people were made to wear a star of David on their clothes.

2/19/2011 03:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Carl S, you are correct when you say SB400 allowed 3@50. It is the mechanism that allowed. It did not, however, require it. Each city and county was free to negotiate for or against it with their departments. No cop got this thing for free. They passed up several pay raises in order to keep and maintain the benefit, in short, they paid for it by forgoing pay raises over the years. Again, cities and counties paid nothing over almost a decade before 3@50 came about. The cities spent money that otherwise would have gone to pension costs on other things such as senior centers, rose gardens, etc. PERS simply wanted the employees to be able to share in the windfall that was and is the investments PERS makes.

With regard to how to negotiate a pay raise, cops bosses (sgts, lt's, capts, and the chiefs) do not have authority to authorize pay raises in the way private employers can. Besides, how do you measure when a cop deserves a raise? Number of tickets written? Number of arrests? What is the inevitable result? Persons who otherwise did not deserve a ticket or arrest would be arrested as cops would want to see their paychecks increase. Does anybody want that? I think not.

With regard to your compensation at a private company, the company has an incentive to compensate you well so that the company will do good. If some other company will pay you more to do the same job, you would leave and go there.

I am with you on the new hire thing. They should have the option of paying their own way into the 3@50 or some other formula that makes sense. One problem, the sheriff's did that and the IRS is apparently holding it up.

2/19/2011 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Carl,
Until the corporations that you chose to work for decided to keep their profits for themselves and their stockholders, private employees had defined benefit packages too. In fact, what happened in the private sector was that YOU employees got greedy, decided you wanted some of those amazing stock options that the execs. had that had amazing returns, not your crummy defined benefit (Who can get ahead on that?). You bought your summer home, you know, to summer in, the benz, sent your kids to private school, and lived the big life. Well guess what? You got screwed too. Those execs have laughed all the way to the bank since your greed means they no longer have to give you a defined benefit package and your stocks aren't worth the paper they are printed on. I'm sure public employees would have made the same choice, but since cities don't have stocks they never got the chance.
All you have done is to have turned this into a race to the bottom. That is not what the United States is about. Public workers have been vilified before and will be villified again in the future, history is cyclical as many other posters have pointed out. Costa Mesa as a whole is in the same boat... racing to the bottom of cities; a laughing stock worse than Santa Ana now. Congrats!
And just one final thought for good measure... since when do cops become more worthless with more experience as is implied by many of the posters here? The inverse would seem true. We should be mourning the loss of four officers no matter if they are the helicopter guys or the newest guys. It is all bad for Costa Mesa.

2/19/2011 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The firefighters deserve a medal for taking the future of their careers out of the hands of this city council with an agenda and putting it in the hands of people who don't...

2/19/2011 06:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

Oh my gosh...I go away for a day or so, and this thing ran amok. I just wanted to check in and see if Barry Peterson was going to take me up on a W2 review. I guess not. I won't even weigh in on the rest of it. I wouldn't even know where to start.

2/19/2011 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Rob Dimel, congrats - you're #75 on this thread! I, too, was away for the past couple days but tried my hardest to keep up with the comment posting as best I could! I thought this thread was interesting at around 30, but now... Whew!

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and for keeping it relatively civil.

2/19/2011 11:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Sandlot Sam said...

Wow the inmates are running the asylum in Costa Mesa and the Goathill (Jonestown) masses have an unquenchable thirst for Cool Aid.Remain calm, even the biggest tyrants end up being hung, go to jail, or eat a bullet.Start the RECALL ASAP and I like the Rotten/Ridge/Earp.Ticket!

2/20/2011 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Rob Dimel, you and I both know this has nothing to do with facts and everything to do with politics. Revealing your W2 would not convince Barry Peterson or anyone else of anything. People can dispute your facts all they want, but the loss of ABLE will affect the department's ability to complete their mission. If even one crook gets away that would have otherwise been apprehended with ABLE's help, then service level is affected. The question is whether the drop in service is worth it. This council has decided it is worth it to lose ABLE.

How much would the city save if it closed the jail and sent officers directly to Orange County Jail? $800,000 per year? $1 mil per year? How many arrests does CMPD make per day? 20? 25? That is 25 trips to Santa Ana everyday. 30 mins up, min 1 hour process time, 30 mins back. 2 hours per trip equals 40 to 50 working hours per day that officers are out of the field. Is it worth it? Maybe so. But it results in a loss of service to the community. That is what is frustrating. The belief we can cut and still expect the same service level. The citizens lose in the end.

2/20/2011 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous CM Taxpayer said...

After reading everthing on this blog subject, I'm in favor of outsourcing both the fire and police departments. Sorry about that.

2/20/2011 02:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

CM Taxpayer, you must be ready for reduced service from the Sheriff's department? I obviously do not know where you live in town, but don't come back here if the Sheriff's take over and complain about the hookers at Harbor and Gisler, or the doper crooks at the New Harbor or Regency Inn that are stealing your car/identity/anything in the middle of the night. And don't even think about the transient that have taken over Lions Park because the few deputies patrolling our town will not have time to deal with them. No one can get around the fact that you get what you pay for.

2/20/2011 04:46:00 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

Ummm CM Taxpayer I get the idea u already thought that way before reading this. If u really read this u would think twice about being in favor of outsourcing. It will be interesting to read your opinion say 6 months from now. Unless you are friends with council. Then there just is no hope for you.

2/20/2011 04:49:00 PM  
Anonymous calm in CM said...

Wow CM taxpayer thanks for your opinion now I can sleep.Thanks for the apology, but your competence to even tender an opinion on this matter doesn't mean ANYTHING, especially in light of the fact that you don't support your opinion with any facts.

2/20/2011 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


Thanks for the analysis. I am somewhat lost in this thread so we will have to pick up again some other time. I think I have a good view of your input though.

2/21/2011 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Just another thought said...

The problem with politicians making any kind of policy strategy is that they are not disciplined to research all the long and short term, positive and negative consequences resulting from the implementation of proposed policies. Instead their main concern is whether the policy idea is popular enough with the public to get them re-elected or elected to a higher office.
City Councilman Righeimer’s plan to transfer emergency response activity to ambulance service from fire and safety reveals his lack of understanding the seriousness of policy implementation such as this. Like the unwise decision to dismantle ABEL leaving our residence vulnerable to wave and newly released felons (I assure you they are headed for sunny Costa Mesa to embed themselves in the culture of the homeless where they will receive free food, shelter, dental services). Moreover, I fear that this newly self-appointed oligarchy has plans to make further cuts to police department that will ultimately increase crime rate and leave the city residents vulnerable to burglary, rape, assault, vandalism; all come with of which come with a hefty monetary and personal price tag.
Mr. Righeimer’s idea to transfer safety and rescue services to ambulance companies shows his naiveté concerning the issues. For he failed to recognize the need of the fire and rescue equipment in case a catastrophic disaster, for which Costa Mesa is particularly vulnerable because it is a high level terrorist target. Removal of ABEL along with removal of trained fire and safety employees and equipment increases the likelihood of being attacked because the enemy is even more cunning than our present city council members. I think he should run his ideas past the Segerstrom clan; after all they are monetary contributers to politicians with big political aspirations and they have a boat load of profit at risk in light of the changes Councilman Righeimer is suggesting for CM police and safety.

2/25/2011 01:20:00 PM  

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