Monday, March 14, 2011

Colin McCarthy Out To Bust Unions?

Over this past weekend Costa Mesa Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy distributed an invitation to a few people in town to join him at a meeting of "Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association" at Skosh's pub on Thursday, March 24th. Since I'm not on McCarthy's list - at least not his "good" list - several friends forwarded the invitation to me.

The message in the invitation begins with this sentence: "For too long in the City of Costa Mesa the taxpayer has had no representation of cohesive voice." Oh really? And what, pray tell, do you call the City Council, Colin? They are your elected leaders - the folks you chose to give you "representation" and a "cohesive voice". And, as a matter of fact, your host for that evening, Mayor Gary Monahan, has been part of that city council for fourteen of the past sixteen years! Eric Bever has been on the council for more than four years, Wendy Leece was elected twice and Allan Mansoor was on it for eight, including several stints as mayor.

McCarthy goes on to say, "Nearly 90% of our yearly budget now goes towards City Employee compensation - while streets, parks and important services are being cut left and right." Well, Colin, that's what your elected leaders decided to do when balancing the budget. They made the decisions based on opinions expressed in public hearings where concerned citizens spoke to these issues. That's how it's supposed to work.

He then says, "The Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association was born out of a desire and need to bring together those of us who think that is simply outrageous. The goal of our organization is to educate the residents of this great City about how their tax dollars are collected and spent." Again, Colin, the city staff has done a pretty darn good job of educating the public. For more than a decade they have won awards for their budget presentations, which have included publications for almost ANY level of interest and have held community budget workshops for all-comers.


McCarthy then states, "We are the only organization in the City of Costa Mesa that speaks specifically on behalf of you the taxpayer, and we ask you to join us in this endeavor." Again, Colin, that's what the City Council is supposed to be doing!

First off, while I agree that more education on the fiscal situation in our city is important, it's clear what McCarthy and his pals' motives are from the get-go. Their target is the Costa Mesa city employees and their salaries and pensions. This is another obvious element of the OC GOP-orchestrated attack on the Costa Mesa employees, designed to make them the bad guys in our budget travails. The current contracts were negotiated in good faith by the bargaining units AND the city councils at the time. Each of the bargaining units have come back to the table in recent years and agreed to concessions requested by the city to help with the budget shortfall.

Perhaps the biggest problem with our current fiscal distress is an apathetic public. Until very recently almost nobody cared about the budget! Yes, one or two people would stand and address the City Council when budget time came around. I've attended the last several community budget workshops. The first few had only three of us. The past couple had a dozen residents in attendance - 12 people in a city of 109,000!

Although I was not invited to this event I know several people who were. I think this has the potential to be a major Brown Act violation! It's not unreasonable to anticipate that at least four of the five council members will be there, participating in the discussion of the biggest issue currently on their plate. I'm not quite sure how they think they will get away with that, since the rules of the Brown Act are very clear on this subject. Then, again, recent events tell us that most of the council members view the Brown Act as merely a nuisance - like a gnat buzzing around your face to be casually brushed aside.


I suppose it might be an interesting exercise if a lot of people showed up at Skosh's at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 24th for some of the free appetizers and a chance to watch some of your elected leaders violate the law. I wonder if some of that OC GOP Kool-Aid will be served to wash down those freebies? It might be fun if a bunch of employees showed up to offer some balance to the discussion. If you go, drop me a note and let me know how the evening went...

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Anonymous CM Resident said...

At least he's doing something Geoff.

3/14/2011 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Barry P. said...

Geoff, I will be there in case any of your readers that don't think I exist want to stop by say hello. I was pleased to get this invitation. Finally, a frank and honest discussion about our financial situation. I look forward to seeing where this group goes! If it's must more GOP chest-pounding, count me out!

3/14/2011 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

CM Resident, so doing "something", even if it's wrong, is OK with you? Geez!

Barry P., have a good time. There have been "frank and honest" discussions" of the financial situation for several years. Problem is, nobody was listening. When the city staff takes the time to put on a community budget workshop and 3 people attend, that is pathetic. And yet, the first three years I attended that's how many of your neighbors took the time to hear about the budget first hand.

This isn't about the budget, it's about the OC GOP and their ideology - pure and simple. I'll be looking forward to your report from the scene... thanks.

3/14/2011 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger valan2 said...

I don't understand why "90% of the budget goes to employee compensation" is a bad thing. The City is a SERVICE organization! They don't manufacture a product. It takes people to provide service. The lawn mowers don't drive themselves, the phones don't answer themselves, and the permits don't issue themselves. Whether they're in-house staff or under contract, they don't work for free.

As for Brown Act violations, I'd be surprised if the rally at Monahan's is the first.

3/14/2011 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Sissy Casper said...

Boy- again BARRY P. - why don't you put your entire name out there?? Why are you hiding behind a few initials?

3/14/2011 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

valan2, they spout that number - it's not 90%, by the way - to get your attention. The city's they compare it to are in the 45-50% range, but with them it's a whole different ballgame. Those cities contract out much of their labor, so the money gets spent but it doesn't show up as employee salaries. It's all a smoke screen designed to cover their real plan. Righeimer is playing to those who don't understand the issue - using simple, easy to grasp terms, even though many of them are flat out lies. It's not a new tactic - many of his buddies in the OC GOP have used them for decades.

3/14/2011 06:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Reggie Dunlop said...

Your hypocrisy is astounding. You offer your opinion that few people take part in the process, then you criticize a group of concerned citizens who are gathering to refine their message to the city council. Amazing. I guess it is OK to meet as long as the attendees agree with your point of view.

3/14/2011 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous mike m said...

Sickens me that someone with such a blatant political agenda is CHAIRMAN OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION! As you so ably pointed out, it's the city government that got us in this position to begin with. The lunacy continues and the beat goes on...

3/14/2011 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Reggie Dunlop, I'm NOT saying people should not attend McCarthy's little party. They need to understand, however, that he approaches this with a specific agenda and it's unlikely that there will be much dialogue that strays from that agenda. Why don't you attend as my surrogate and report back?

3/14/2011 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Hey... I pay a lot of taxes, how do I get an invite. I would love to have a say on how my loot is spent. Plus I've never eatin at Skosh's.
I know this isnt a forum on ABLE, but with the CMPD staffing the minimum, and already overworked, losing ABLE will drastically increase the officer stress level both physically and emotionally. So when the officer shows up 2 hours after the call, and is ticked off that he is so far behind, we can thank the fabulous four lead by the Penguin (Riggy- ever watch him walk, looks like the penguin from the 70's Batman TV show, give him the hat and the long filtered cigarette).
This is a reason I want to know how the tax money is spent. I also want to know what they are going to do with a huge surplus in five or ten years when the economy improves. Probably have to put up new brick walls since they will fall down from the weight of the graffitti as crime will rise. Detroit has 75000 vacant buildings, CM will probably get close!

3/14/2011 08:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Reggie Dunlop said...

"It is unlikely that there will be much dialog that will stray from the agenda." You cannot know that and that's exactly what I mean - you have condemned them before they have even met and have not given them a syllable of appreciation for doing exactly what you have complained about for years. No, I will not report back because i do not believe that this forum will not be fair to my words.

3/14/2011 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Reggie Dunlop, curious comment... I've published every word you've sent here - why do you think I wouldn't publish your report from the meeting?

This blog is my take on issues based on my observations and investigations, but I publish opposing viewpoints like yours.

My view of McCarthy's meeting is based on watching him and his pals in action for years. Prove me wrong by attending and giving me an HONEST report back. I'll print it. If you don't want to post it as a comment, send me an email and we can discuss how it's presented. I can't do more than that.

3/14/2011 09:43:00 PM  
Anonymous CM Observer said...

Rich, minimum staffing? CMPD has 140+ sworn officers. I've heard that there are only a few officers patrolling the graveyard shift - why is that? CMPD has the officers. Three shifts a day means 45 sworn officers available for each shift. What is the real story? It isn't staffing levels.

3/15/2011 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous mike m said...

They even have a Facebook page - says they are non-partisan. Yeah, right...

3/15/2011 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/15/2011 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

...and don't forget to account for 7 days worth of hours and a 40 hour max per officer...

3/15/2011 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

"Observer", sworn officers includes command staff, detectives, gang unit, school officers etc. It's not just the officers assigned to the patrol division.

You could pull officers out of those other positions, and get better response times for calls etc, but then there would be no detectives to follow up on and file the cases produced by the patrol officers. No gang officers to deal with gang issues or traffic officers to deal with crashes.

You can't throw a blanket "that means we have 45 officers available for each shift". That's just an ignorant statement. You have to have scheduled days off, so your available personnel are not "X" available for every shift.

Command staff do not work the field handling calls for service, just as upper management in any company doesn't work the assembly line producing widgets.

You need to take your tinted glasses off and take a real look at the world.

3/15/2011 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Wes said...

"Sissy Casper said...
Boy- again BARRY P. - why don't you put your entire name out there?? Why are you hiding behind a few initials?"

Geoff, you keep some interesting trolls as company. Perhaps your readership would go up if you quit feeding them.

3/15/2011 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Uh, Wes, I'm assuming you're including yourself in that indictment...

This site welcomes almost all comers. Only those using profanity and the moniker "Anonymous" are excluded. So, come on back any time.

3/15/2011 03:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

However you split up the 140 to cover the shifts, complaining about minimum staffing and hinting at 2 hour response times is BS.

Field Operations Division - one captain, four lieutenants, 15 sergeants, and 85 officers.

The Traffic Safety Bureau is commanded by a lieutenant and consists of three sergeants, 16 officers, two traffic investigators, 10 community services specialists, five police aides, and three volunteers.

Three shifts a day, 7 days a week. If the shifts are coming up short-staffed or response times are too slow, move officers around.

3/15/2011 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Geoff

Let's forget about OC politics for just a minute. Instead, let's re-visit something that is near and dear to your heart.

Do you remember writing that article called "The Big One"? Well, I just read it myself today, while searching for info on the Newport-Inglewood earthquake fault.

I want you to take a deep breath ... and think about the math I'm going to show you. This is simple enough - so simple that the two of us could explain it to kids in elementary school. Which means we might just be able to explain it to politcians in L.A. Right?? So hear goes.

Here are the last dates (years) that this important earthquake fault has ruptured: 1769, 1812, 1855, 1933. Now let's look at the time intervals between each of those datesthese. The first 3 earthquakes on the list (1769, 1812, 1855) had gaps of 43 years between them. For the last two quakes (1855, 1933) the gap was 78 years.

How do we interpret this? A reasonable apporach goes like this: This fault usually triggers about once every 43 years, but sometimes it takes up to 78 years before it can rupture and release a lot of energy.

So let's complete out math puzzle for today. The last time this fault ruptured and killed a bunch of people was in 1933 (Long Beach Earthquake), and so if we add 78 years, we get 2011. That is NOW my friend - that is this year!!!

Do we really want to look like all those stricken people in Japan? And by the way, the Japanese were super-prepared for their earthquake. We're far less prepared. My humble suggestion is that maybe we need to shelve the day-to-day stuff and start getting seriously ready ... at the personal level, the city level, and the state level.

What do you think???

Pete, Redondo Beach

3/15/2011 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Because of the past layoffs, patrol officers have taken up much more responsibility, responsibilities that non patrol would normally handle, such as minor complaints, minor traffic incidents etc... Now that the helicopter will be gone, more ground units will be needed in some cases, therefore longer call times. I do not see the penguin et al hiring more officers to replcae the few in the copter.
BTW I am not a cop or a city employee!

3/15/2011 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Observer, your numbers are old. Feel free to call the Costa Mesa traffic bureau and ask how many community service officers they have. And the number isn't 10 and hasn't been since the council stupidly decided to lay them off.
But I know you won't because you just like to make up nonsense and spout it through your blowhole. Let me guess, you have zero experience policing... or did you attend the citizen's academy and you now know everything?

3/15/2011 08:51:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

'OBSERVER' I'm going to assume that you are the same observer that infests the OCR with your dog and pony pals. You guys have dumbed down the commentary on the watchdog over there to the point of making it not worth the time to read. Most have stopped trying.

The OCR has a reason for allowing you guys to post nonstop with your back and forth crap. The higher the hit count on your show, the more advertising they get.

That may be amusing to some but hopfully you won't be allowed to abuse the spirit of opposing viewpoints and do that here.

The numbers you always use are taken from outdated on-line sources and then regurgitated in a misleading presentation that you think makes you sound like you know what you're talking about.

In my opinion, the value of a blog like this is for people who want to hear legitmate viewpoints from both sides of a issue so they can form their own opinion.

The intentional mis-information that you spew is something else all together and needs to be checked hard or there will be nothing but countering the lies and distortions you seem to have all day everyday to spread.

3/16/2011 10:49:00 AM  

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