Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lobdell "Checks The Facts"

Costa Mesa's Interim Communication Director, Bill Lobdell, seems to be earning his keep today. Following his earlier Press Release regarding the Special Budget Study Session on April 26th he fired off another one this afternoon and is posted verbatim below.


The second video ad released by Repair Costa Mesa is completel
y inappropriate, for the reasons indicated in the Press Release. I've spoken with some of the folks who accept responsibility for this ad and they are unrepentant about the lies contained therein. For me, this is very problematic.

As anyone who even casually reads this blog certainly knows, I'm sympathetic with those who oppose the current City Council and their tactics, but I fail to see how matching them lie for lie does anything but alienate residents and taxpayers in this battle. Instead of using the many reasons available to criticize Jim Righeimer, Steve Mensinger, Gary Monahan and Eric Bever for things they have done and the programs they are trying to implement, they now present their own chins for that quartet to take a swing at. It's a stupid, counterproductive strategy, in my view.

Here's Lobdell's Press Release.



April 12, 2011


Bill Lobdell, (949) 887-2541




Twitter @CityofCostaMesa

Costa Mesa Fact Check: Repair Costa Mesa ad #2

COSTA MESA, CALIF.—In its continued effort to increase openness and clarity on city budget matters, the City of Costa Mesa has initiated Fact Check to correct factual errors that have been published in various media.

In the latest 33-second Repair Costa Mesa video ad, two false assertions are made. To insure the public receives accurate information on the budget debate, the city asks Repair Costa Mesa to promptly correct the mistakes.

Repair Costa Mesa Statement: Costa Mesa City Council has laid off half its workers, including firefighters and paramedics.

Fact Check: No workers have been laid off, including firefighters and paramedics. Two hundred thirteen employees (about 42% of the workforce, not half) were given six-month notices that their jobs would be outsourced, a half-year warning dictated by employee association contracts. The council currently is studying the viability of outsourcing those city services, and decisions aren’t expected until summer.

The city’s 90-plus firefighters, who asked the city to consider outsourcing the Costa Mesa Fire Department to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), have already been promised a job with the OCFA if the deal goes through. If other jobs are outsourced, the city will have provisions in the contracts with the companies it uses for interview and hiring preferences for city employees.

Repair Costa Mesa Statement: The city manager earns a $10,000 per year car allowance.

Fact Check: City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch receives a $477 per month ($5,724 per year) car allowance. This is the same rate as other Costa Mesa department heads.

Bill Lobdell I Interim Director of Communications I 949.887.2541



Twitter @ CityofCostaMesa

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Blogger Gericault said...

The City has already laid off, or not filled the positions, of 1/4 of the workers over the last two years....that was before the 213 workers in the latest round lay off notices.This city....if the lay off notices aren't rescinded, will have lost almost 2/3rds of it's work force. The lay off notices said, In a one line sentence. "We regret to inform you that the city no longer needs your services".Yes , it was a six month notice, but the fact is they are laid off. The workers who received their notices at that time, will be gone.That's a fact. If those circumstances change, we are not yet sure of what is going to occur. The workers though, are laid off.
As for the car allowance, I questioned that also . I could only find $5700. So , I'm conceding that point.It's still a big perk. Almost $6000 a year for car allowances for top execs in the city?
Maybe we were off $4000, but thats a far cry from the millions and millions this council keeps screaming about.
If we are going to actually fact check why doesn't Lobdell explain the $15 million that Righeimer has been touting on Fox News and everywhere else he can get air time.Not too mention the CalPERS projections that are made up on pure speculation and the assumption no employee or new hires will ever make a contribution ever again. Thats where this gets purely politically driven.

4/12/2011 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous facts said...

The very well financed, professionally produced and distributed Repair Costa Mesa videos are a textbook example of professional union organizers taking advantage of well-intentioned citizens who bought their lies. Spread fear and misinformation - standard gameplan. Shame on Ridge, Genis and the OCEA.

4/12/2011 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

The City, over the past nearly three years, has attempted to deal with the budget shortfall and, as a result, has reduced the headcount from 611 to 472. The 6-month notices - a hasty and ill-advised move by the council - are required by the contract with the bargaining units. If the analysis of the responses to the RFPs shows that the operations in question can be more economically performed by city employees those notices will be rescinded. The employees are not, "in fact" laid off - yet. Don't keep distorting the reality of this situation.

I have NO problem with the car allowance - it's a very standard perk of executives in industry and the public sector. I DO HAVE a problem with the lie and your willingness to simply shrug if off, just as you did the release of the first ad. As Scott Baugh said, this is a battle. You are NOT going to win it by lying to the public you are trying to influence. Every time you try to rationalize it - as you did here - you just dig yourself and your cause deeper into the muck. The very sad thing is that you've got plenty of ammunition without lying...

4/12/2011 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Like a chess game where one's opponent leaves an opening, Mr. Lobdell has properly exploited the weaknesses.

Errors in Repaircostamesa's 2nd video:
A) Laid off vs. Received notices; B) The actual amount of the car allowance.

I want "Repaircostamesa" to succeed. This is a battle for hearts and minds, and misstatements get neither. Fix the ads.

As to Mr. Lobdell, who does he really "represent" with his work today? Yes, I'm aware of the stated contract position, but let's consider: Aren't the interests of the City Council or any of its individual members now different than that of "The City?" Is a city employee completely "unrepresented" by anything Mr. Lobdell now says? What if that employee is also a resident of the city of Costa Mesa?

Does Mr. Lobdell also speak for Wendy Leece?

If at some point Mr. Lobdell concludes that Monahan, Righeimer, Mensinger, and Bever are doing damage to the city, will he leave his present position?

4/12/2011 08:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

I can see where this is about the definition of what a layoff is. Usually when you get a pink slip, that's it. You have a day to clear out your stuff and you are gone.

This is the same thing except except our city employees have six months before they are without a job.

No one knows at this point in time if all 213 will be laid off or not. Maybe no one will be laid off. However, if no one is laid off, that would mean that the layoffs would have to be rescinded (ie. someone decided to not layoff those city workers).

Let's not forget Righeimer hasn't given anyone proof that this isn't going to cost us more in the long run. It was too hasty to send out layoff notices (ie. a notice that says you are being laid off). His two person committee made a big mistake. They are clearly just dreaming that outsourcing is automatically going to save us money.

And nope, I'm not a city employee. Just a concerned taxpayer that doesn't want Righeimer ruining our city.

4/12/2011 09:25:00 PM  
Anonymous checkyoursix said...

Perhaps Ridge, Genis, and OCEA could look at what happens routinely at school districts where they give these notices to teachers and in the end do not lay them off. Seems to happen every year. After researching this maybe they could see a connect between the processes of the school districts and the current city council. Perhaps then they could rescind their lies. For someone who is so anal about every word, paragraph, and comma in agendas you would think Genis at least could realize they are lying and maybe decide to deal with facts. But I believe she is intelligent enough to know what is going on and has decided to distort facts so she can get applause from her koolaid drinkers.

4/12/2011 11:04:00 PM  
Anonymous it's not the easter bunny said...

My understanding is that unless these "outsourcing" notices get recinded then the current city employees in those jobs are out of a job. In other words, the "outsourcing" notices are in fact layoff notices similar to the ones that gave a 1 month notice to the employees who were in fact laid off last year. So, it will take an OVERT act by council to stop these "outsourcing" notices from being upheld. The way I see it, these "outsourcing" notices are basically layoff notices with a six month time frame. I have a feeling the employees see them as the same too. This sounds a whole lot like something that looks like a duck, quacks like a duck... it is a frickin DUCK! Today the duck is outsourcing notice= layoff notice.
These people are laid off (in the future) unless an action is taken by council to stop it. Sounds like the video was as accurate there as a soundbite allows. The car allowance thing tho- no bueno.

4/13/2011 12:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Pentagon Hexagram said...

The polling and ads are produced by OCEA's over-priced, tone-deaf political consultant, the Strategy Group. It's the same firm that brought you the clueless John Leos campaign in Anaheim and the ludicrous attacks against Shawn Nelson in Fullerton for supporting the Fox theater.

While they might have helped in LA helping guys like Rocky Delgadillo and Tony Villaragosa get elected, their over-produced, inaccurate crap is counterproductive.

As long as OCEA keeps using these clowns, they are going to have their asses handed to them everywhere in the county.

4/13/2011 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous LongTime Maggie said...

Aside from the correction that is needed regarding the car allowance,
Lobdell's press release seemed more like a counter argument in a political ad campaign than a mere fact correction. I was hoping Lobdell would not be a tool for the four councilmen who are running the City, but this is what it sounds like to me. Disappointing.

4/13/2011 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous mike m said...

Agreed - take the high road and be completely factual, not wishy washy or not completely honest. That just gives the council and their lackey ammunition to fire back, like they did here with this release. Don't play their game - they'll fail on their own when all is said and done.

I like the 'Fact Check' name, though. That's rich, considering they rarely trot any actual facts out (i.e. $15 million). Although Husker in the Pilot sure seems to accept as fact that our dog catchers make more than $100k a year!

4/13/2011 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Costamazing Resident said...

I know standard "perks" come with every executive position. However, when this Council claims the City is broke shouldn't they lead by example by temporarily eliminating "perks"? At least to reassure CM residents that they are the most fiscally prudent leaders in these most difficult times? And even if it hinders our "competitive" mantra? So be it.

Maybe the TOT Tax should have been slightly increased even more to at least "above average" to help pay for our "above average" staff and there executive "perks". The Council's recently approved contract with new CEO Tom Hatch should have temporarily eliminated "perks" such as the car allowance. I'm confident that he still would have accepted the CEO position regardless if there were no more City-leased car allowances.

Also, the Council would be able to slurry-seal at least several small roads, or purchase the requested lap tops for Code Enforcement if they would just reduce, or better yet, refuse there monthly stipend, or maybe refuse their medical benefits (i.e if they're previously covered).

Their fellow City Employees have made numerous concessions over the past several years. Could you please at least make one significantly worthy gesture to your CM constituents (i.e. refuse or reduce your compensation), so as to validate your sincerity towards "righting this ship"? Or are we just resigned to the fact that you can't fight city hall? Lead by example, your "kids are watching", along with everybody else.

4/13/2011 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous checkyoursix said...

Leece touted that she only used 400 dollars a month on her medical plan (most likely Kaiser)during the election. Yet records show she got 17K. Council members are apparently allowed to "cash out" unused medical $$ if Leece got 17K. She should be more transparent and admit to cashing out if true. I hear Righeimer takes nothing.
The union could also put in their tape the compensation for the top 5 or so firefighters and police while they are at it, don't limit it to execs.

4/13/2011 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Checkyoursix, good questions. Perhaps the Feet to the Fire forum on Monday will shed some light on this issue. Seem like questions you'd want to present to one of the inquisitors for that forum - John Canalis at the Pilot, for example.

4/13/2011 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Aware Citizen said...

"Repair Costa Mesa" is a name invented by an individual, and it does not apply to any citizens' group I know of. A group has been formed, as yet unnamed, but it has not authorized, approved, or been consulted about the ads. These ads are not the work of any citizens' group I belong to or know of.

4/13/2011 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Flo Martin said...

The NMUSD gave me a pink slip, AKA layoff notice, on March 15th of 1978. In June, I received a letter of termination and with that letter, qualified for unemployment insurance benefits. Later that summer, the last week of August, I got the call from NMUSD offering me the same job back. This pink-slip/termination letter/rehire cycle repeated for 2 more years. I had had enough of the devastating uncertainty and potential loss of income, so applied for and found a teaching position with another school district. Years later, awarded the honor of State of California Outstanding Teacher of the Year, I received a congratulatory letter from Marian Bergeson, who had served years before on the NMUSD Board of Trustees. She stated that she wished I had been a teacher with NMUSD. Little did she know that I had taught with NMUSD and that those friggin' pink slips caused me to look elsewhere.

The pink slip is indeed a notice of layoff, no if's and's or but's!

4/13/2011 04:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

checkyoursix, what about the other council members? How much did Monahan use in health benefits? Doesn't he also get a pension?

4/13/2011 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Flo, I agree. A pink slip is a notice of termination which is the same as getting the axe, getting fired, terminated, and of course, laid off. There are a lot of euphemisms used for de-jobbing someone because it's such a harsh thing to do. In the end, it's all the same.

It's gotta be hard for those 213 employees to plan for anything. Do they take another job elsewhere? Or do they hang tight? If they hang tight, will they really want to work with our current council? I don't see our current council bringing out the best in anyone.

4/13/2011 04:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

So Lobdell has been promoted yet again, from "Acting" Communications shill to "Interim" shill.

I've still got that $50 that says he's on the staff to stay and that the fake temporary names are a ruse to slip him in through the back door.

Lobdell's job is not supposed to be refuting the accusations of the public or any organization. If it were, he'd have a full time job doing just that because smears will continue long after "Repair" has folded. His job, as described originally, was to make every possible public matter even more public. That is what a transparency specialist does. Instead, he is shilling for the council majority.

But that is to be expected from a guy whose own website could use a transparency specialist because 1 of his 3 testimonials is from his wife, Greer Wylder, who writes for the Daily Pilot, and another is from a close personal friend, Hugh Hewitt. Neither relationship is disclosed.

It would be funny if it were not on the taxpayer's dime.

4/13/2011 08:17:00 PM  
Anonymous The Fake Gus Ayer said...

Pentagon Hexagram sounds extremely bitter. The kind of bitter that comes from losing out on a contract to this Strategy Group.

4/14/2011 08:24:00 AM  

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