Thursday, March 17, 2011

Homeless Task Force Launched

I confess... I did not attend the first meeting of the Costa Mesa Homeless Task Force held Wednesday evening at City Hall. I chose, instead, to stay home and tend to my sweet wife, who is under the weather. However, some reliable sources did attend and have reported some of the nuts and bolts of the meeting.

Warning: Second-hand knowledge coming at you...

It's my understanding that Conference Room 1A was near capacity this evening - a good
thing. No one mentioned whether any actual homeless folks were in attendance or not. You may recall that at a council meeting not too long ago when this whole idea was launched there was, in fact, a homeless fellow who spoke about what a wonderful place Costa Mesa is for the homeless - plenty of services, nice parks, etc. In fact, he told us he intentionally moved from Lake Elsinore to Costa Mesa for all the benefits.

I'm not privy to the actual flow of the agenda for this meeting, but I'm told that PR flack and Daily Pilot columnist (and nanny to us all for so many years) Steve Smith was elected Chairman of the Task Force and the irrepressible Judi Berry is Vice Chair. Among the "city" representatives present were Chief Executive Officer of the City, Tom Hatch, councilwoman Wendy Leece, Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy, commissioner Ed Salcedo and our housing maven, Neighborhood Improvement Manager Muriel Ullman. Sorry if I missed others - my reports are sketchy.

I also understand that several of the organizations who provide support for our homeless provided representation in the meeting, including Saddleback Church.

The meeting lasted a couple hours and included spirited discussions - no surprise
there. If this issue was an easy one to resolve it would have been done a long, long time ago.


It's my understan
ding that future meetings - which are open to the public - will be held at the Neighborhood Community Center at Lions Park on the third Wednesday of each month. Actually, that's a perfect venue because many of the folks we're trying to "solve" with this task force will be right outside the door, sleeping on the grass or, perhaps, using the restrooms in the Center for bathing in the sinks, or dozing in the library.


If you were in attendance and wish to expand or correct my report, please
just fire away in the comments section. I want to hear from you.

In closing, I wonder if anyone else sees the terrible irony in the fact that in less than 24 hours after launching the Costa Mesa Homeless Task Force the city will issue 6-month "outsourcing" notices to 213 city employees. By the end of the day today all such notices will have been delivered. For some of those folks receiving the notices it is possible they may be viewing the "homeless" issue from a much more up-close-and-personal perspective before year's end. It's a very sad commentary on the elected leadership of this city that they put the cart before the horse on this issue and made their decision before ANY analysis had been done. They keep talking about running the city like a business, but if they'd pulled this kind of a stunt in a company their boss would have fired them for incompetence.

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Anonymous Costa Mesa Chaos said...

Sad day indeed. I am one of those people to see a pink slip on their desk today. I will continue to give my time and efforts to the City of Costa Mesa. I will continue to pray for those in Japan and the other 200 folk who will be left in chaos. I am resigned to the fact that Riggy and his crew have their own wishes for the City of Costa Mesa. Riggy who has lived in Costa Mesa a short 5 years with a history of failed business ventures attempts to reign in my city from budget woes. Can I predict the future? I think so: Mensinger and his wife will redecorate the CEO's office with funds from the money they save. Wait.. that is happening now.. Mensinger will stalk the halls of city hall and sit for an hour on chairs talking on his cell phone spying and gawking at citizens and employees doing their jobs.. Wait.. Mensinger was spotted in Development Services on a chair for almost an hour doing nothing but staring and talking on his cell phone.. citizens complained that a stalker was staring at them.. Employees will have their dignity taken away from them.. Wait.. that is happening .. a listing on the City's web-site indicating their names, salaries etc. Sure, that's public knowledge but their name?? What will happen next? The City will be thrown into continued chaos for months while those bozos try to figure out their next move. I think they use a set of dice... Wait.. that is happening now...

3/17/2011 05:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Sissy Casper said...

New expenditures scheduled for City Hall:

New furniture / accessories for 5th Floor Lobby
New furniture/accessories for 1st Floor Lobby
Kitchen/Vending area- new fixtures and furniture

Wow- pink slipping employees and meeting with furniture salesman the very same day??

3/17/2011 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Steve Smith as chairman? Sounds like another committee designed to do nothing. I have no confidence in Steve Smith’s abilities to do anything productive including writing.

I also see a conflict of interest having some of the same people who make money off homeless related services being representatives on this committee. How does that benefit the taxpaying residents of the city? It doesn’t.

3/17/2011 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous What is going on? said...

Wait, are you kidding? Is there actually furniture being bought and redecorating happening? If this is true, then why isn't the city council made to answer for this, and why aren't the citizens being told how this is being paid for? Are the expenses coming out of the budget, the same budget that pays employees salaries? Why aren't answers being demanded????

3/17/2011 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Happy Paddy's Day to All said...

I heard otherwise. Word on the street is that several of our Councilmembers came in over the weekend to paint, clean and fix up the City Manager's office before Mr. Hatch moved in, in order to save money on those items. Never been up there, but I heard the office was in a state of disrepair. If true, good for the Council!

3/17/2011 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Say What? said...

Outsource to Transients to Newport Beach?

3/17/2011 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Cart before the horse said...

"Happy Paddy's Day to All"....

Here is the real story. Yes they painted....They ruined the carpet because they did such a messy poor job. DIY networks always tell you to put drop clothes down. Heck it is just plain common sense at their age.

They, Mensinger I believe along with someone else, replaced the toilet but did it all wrong and broke a few things and told maintenance it was their problem to fix. Couldn't ask maintenance to do it the first time so it was done right

Lastly, they MADE Hatch's secretary work that weekend to help. She had no choice. Sorry but I am pretty sure that is not in her job description. Dont give me the line of "well it is "other assigned" duties" either. That is abuse of power. Plain and simple.

Nothing that this council does is having their heart in the right place. It is poorly thought through. It is poorly executed. It is just a ridiculous.

3/17/2011 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill Swanson III said...

I personally saw the INTERIOR DECORATOR with MENSINGER TODAY.. with my very eyes.. he also sat in Conference Room 1A to discuss swatches.. the entire staff could see it. ALSO, City STAFF.. is going over the furniture selections with the vendors, out of CITY FUNDS.. this is paid for by the citizens. Call up City Hall speak to staff in the City Manager's office and ask who the vendor is for the furniture being ordered. THIS IS done on CITY TIME WITH Management Analysts. YES, done with taxpayer's money.

3/17/2011 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Sissy Casper said...

A friend and co-worker killed himself after jumping off the building of City Hall. He received a pink slip today. This insanity must stop and must stop now. Please keep his family in your prayers.

3/17/2011 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I would think they a narcotics would have extra chairs, desks, etc at the police department and other departments since many positions were eliminated during the last round of layoffs. In fact, isn't there an entire Narcotics office that is no longer needed without a narcotics team?
What a waste of money and an example of how out of touch and arrogant this council is.

3/17/2011 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Let's all rush to judgment! said...

I was at the meeting last night. I don't know what Ridge's expectations were but the meeting exceeded mine. They actually banged out a mission statement. That sometimes takes businesses weeks or months to do. As someone said last night, that meeting was organizational. Every public voice was heard. Anyone who was looking for more is out of touch with the process.

3/17/2011 06:49:00 PM  

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