Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tonight's Council Meeting Could Get Rowdy

Today, Tuesday, is going to be a very interesting day for the residents of Costa Mesa. This is the day when the first real City Council meeting since the disastrous events of March 17th and 18th will take place. This is the first time the residents will have a chance to stand and address the members of the City Council on the subject of outsourcing since nearly half the city staff received 6-month layoff notices and young Huy Pham leaped to his death from the City Hall roof. Maybe someone will ask Steve Mensinger what a "Report for Proposals" is. We all know he meant to write "Request for Proposals" in his commentary in the Daily Pilot last week. But, then, close is good enough for these guys...

This will be the first time for folks to address Mayor Gary Monahan following his despicable behavior on St. Patrick's Day, when he chose personal profit over his responsibilities as the mayor of our city. It is also the first time residents and employees will have a chance to let Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer know how they feel about his face being all over the media since the middle of last month, misrepresenting the facts of our financial condition so he can implement his marching orders sent down from "God" - Scott Baugh - and the rest of the Orange County Republican Party honchos.

While we're speaking about Righeimer, just in case you've missed it, this image is from the OC GOP web site. Any doubt you might have had about their attitude about Costa Mesa and our employees should be gone when you read that banner. It's clear that they, and Righeimer, consider themselves at war with the Costa Mesa employees and are pulling all the stops to win that war.


If you go to the web site, HERE, and see that banner you can click on the little red box and see a video clip. I've embedded it here to save you the trouble:

This is 3 minutes of Righeimer at the recent fundraiser/launch party for Colin McCarthy's Costa Mesa Taxpayer's Association, held at Monahan's bar a couple weeks ago. As you watch that video you'll hear and see Righeimer portray members of the Costa Mesa Police department as monsters, recounting something his 6-year-old daughter said to him apparently after seeing his photo on the ad trailer the CMPD was towing around town - the one with the circle/slash over it. He tells the room of supporters that she said, "Daddy, are they going to come into my room tonight?" It's as though we're right back in the fall last year!

Then you will hear him tell the crowd, "Let's keep the rhetoric down.", but goes on to fan the flames of discontent. While talking about those nasty pensions and the employees who have them he says, "We'd all have taken the deal, let's be honest." And yet he's going after the employees as though they were some kind of thieves in the night, trying to raid the municipal coffers. Yeah, Jim... let's keep the rhetoric down, by all means.

It's going to
be the same old fabrications from him and his pals. They are making up numbers that support their plan to get rid of the pensions - by getting rid of the people who will draw them.

ortunately, today Joe Serna in the Daily Pilot finally shines some light on this issue. In his piece HERE, titled, "Finance officials: High pension estimates are subjective" he opens by telling us that the pension cost estimates Righeimer and his buddies "are using to rationalize their dramatic restructuring and layoffs efforts hinge almost entirely on a single, negotiable premise." That's right... the numbers are bogus.


Serna goes on to quote Budget and Research Officer Bobby Young, referring to his 5-year projections provided to the council earlier, as stating, "It's an assumption. It's subjective, because if employees are requested to, if they come to the ta
ble, it would reduce future costs." Unfortunately, the numbers the council demanded of Young could only be achieved by making assumptions - very conservative assumptions - that the employees WOULD NOT come to the table and negotiate a continuation of what they are currently paying. That is a false premise...

And, the most interesting part of this scenario is that nobody has asked the employee bargaining units if they are willing to sit down and talk about this issue. Nope, the numbers demanded by the council and presented by Young play right into their plans, so they're not about to negotiate with the employees - they're just going to dump them all eventually.

At the close of the meeting tonight there is a closed session scheduled and one ite
m on the agenda for that section of the meeting is a discussion with CEO Tom Hatch and Administrative Services Director Steve Mandoki (who received HIS 6-month layoff notice two weeks ago, too) about the employee bargaining units.

Rumor has it that the
meeting tonight - theoretically a short one based only on the published agenda - is going to be playing to an overflow house, including a very strong police presence to maintain order. I fully expect dozens, if not more, residents and employees stand to ask questions of, and make comments to, the council. It will be interesting to see if Righeimer simply dismisses them with a wave of his hand as he did a couple meetings ago as, "just employees". We'll see...

If you attend the council meeting tonight please keep it civil. I won't be surprised if t
here is very little tolerance for rowdy behavior this time around. That almost guarantees that former mayor Sandra Genis will get tossed from the meeting - she just can't stop chatting. If you're going to ask questions or make comments, don't be rude, crude or insulting to the council. While they certainly deserve it, bad behavior will only get you tossed from the meeting and your chance to express yourself will be lost. I remind you that Allan Mansoor had Benito Acosta dragged bodily from the council chambers and arrested a few years ago.


Almost forgot... I've asked Tom Hatch and City Attorney Tom Duarte to look into the probability that the City Council Working Groups are, in fact, "legislative bodies" as defined by Section 54952 (b) of the Brown Act. If so, the way the meetings are being conducted violate the act. You can look it up if you wish. I've provided a link to the text of the Brown Act over on the right side of the page. As of the close of business Monday there had been no response, but I think I'll hear later today.

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Anonymous OC Progressive said...

And maybe somebody will ask why they hired a personnel consultant for over $200 an hour without any competitive bidding, whose only government references were the City of Compton and the Compton School District.
They're either trying to run Costa Mesa like a business, or like one of the Southeast LA cities in the belt of corruption known for patronage.
Or both?

4/05/2011 02:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

The cops are monsters? Really? The same cops he forced to work overtime on St. Patrick's Day against their will to escort him home and watch his house until midnight while he and Mensinger met with John Moorlach at Mensinger's house? Wow, the hypocrisy here is amazing. What is even more amazing is that no one is challenging him or them on any of this garbage. It is nice to finally see someone, Joe Serna, look into some of these "distortions" of fact (I am not quite ready to call them liars, but it seems we are well on our way). I hope this article about the misleading PERS numbers is just the beginning. Keep digging Joe, no one wants to be duped.

4/05/2011 06:43:00 AM  
Anonymous mike m said...

He's playing both sides of the fence regarding the employees in his little fireside chat - 'they're great workers and people with families, etc.' - while simultaneously attempting to pull the rug out from under them. Stay classy, Riggy...

Lucky for him, "the world is watching and praying for them." If there is a God, I think he's got bigger things to worry about than helping these clowns.

4/05/2011 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous LongTime Maggie said...

FINALLY, the Daily Pilot produced a fact-finding article that sheds some light on the budget situation and gives us some specifics, not just a summary of the four councilmen's "spin."

This is a good starting point in terms of residents being able to determine the actual facts and being better informed to address the horrendous rush to dismantle city services.

4/05/2011 08:39:00 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

Geoff, the city employees are MORE than willing to talk and put forth towards their pensions. Yes Mr. Serna keep digging. Mrs. Leece keep digging to. You are the one who originally called Bobby Young out for those number projections he gave at that council meeting.

Now Geoff I think it is fine to make it known that you requested Hatch and Duarte to look into whether or not these little meetings are a violation of the Brown Act. However, please do not expect an honest answer. Both of these guys are yes-men to the council boys and that is how they will stay. Neither have an ounce of self respect.

I agree that people who attend the council meeting need to keep their comments to the point. State you peace in about a minute and then use your last 2 minutes to ask questions. Even if these numb-nuts don't officially answer the questions are out there and those who have the ability to will dig and get those answers out there no matter how hard the little boys try and hide them.

4/05/2011 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous LongTime Maggie said...

By the way, Mr. West, thanks, so much, for the opportunity to express one's opinion on this blog and for the invaluable information you provide. I would know very little about what's happening in this city during these troubled times if it weren't for this blogspot. Thank you, much.

4/05/2011 09:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Max said...

Jim Righeimer has been quick to throw his family under the bus and use them as a human shield since day one. When his policies were getting attacked at the first feet to the fire forum, he immediately took things personally and said don't attack me because I have a family. At no time did anyone make a personal attack against him or his family.

I find that dirty and despicable. That's also a terrible thing for a father to do. Unfortunately his ego is so big that if you attack his policies, he immediately throws his family in front of the criticism. He should protect his family and say things like, it's not me they are against, it's my policies that people don't like.

People don't want to live in a communist HOA type city and we don't want second rate city services because a politician is carpetbagging his way to the top for a career in government. We also want politicians that can handle criticism. With such a fragile ego, Riggy is in the wrong business.

4/05/2011 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Geoff, if the meeting goers weren't upset enough before I'm sure your post will really get their blood boiling. Fanning the flames of hatred?

4/05/2011 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Jeff, are you really angry now? Will we see you at the meeting tonight?

"Fanning the flames of hatred"? I prefer to think of it as reminding folks that they DO have a place to air their grievances - at the speaker's podium tonight. Would you deny them that opportunity to tell their elected leaders what they think? Sounds like you'd prefer a dictatorship..

4/05/2011 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous reason said...

Geoff, take it down a notch. You aren't helping matters at all.

If the council majority is going to push through with their plans, mitigating the impact on employees and unilaterally putting forth proposals are the answer, instead of hanging onto contracts pushed through weeks before an election under threat of litigation that still leave the city paying significant portions of employee contributions to PERS and that save only 1/10th of what has been lost in revenue.

Rushing through layoffs is bad, but so is ignoring the reality of the money problem.

4/05/2011 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Helping who - you? "mitigating the impact on employees" - that's a good one! You mean "mitigating the impact on the employees THAT ARE LEFT", don't you? Just keep on drinking the Kool-Aid and spin the facts and I'll continue to remind folks that they DO have a place to tell the council what they think.

I don't think ANYBODY is "ignoring the reality of the money problem", but the council already has it's mind made up and isn't even asking the employees if they are willing to further participate in a resolution. That's a fact!

Thanks for commenting. Your views are always welcome, even if they are pushing the "party line".

4/05/2011 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Something to Ponder said...

I heard some very interesting statistics on the radio yesterday. Back in the eighties (which really wasn't that long ago), the work force in this country consisted of 22% NON-governmental employees and 11% governmental employees. Today, the American work force consists of 11% NON-governmental employees and 22% governmental employees.

It should be easy to see that we are not-so-slowly, but surely, heading toward communism. Our real estate is rapidly devaluating, and the banks and the government employees are rapidly taking possession of our cash. True communism cannot not be far off.

Why is it we now need so many government people in our lives today telling us what to do? Needless to say, they are sucking the life blood out of the taxpayers.

A reduction of Costa Mesa city employees would be most appropriate at this juncture. There are simply too many of them.

4/05/2011 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Get your mind right said...

How hypocritical you are, Mr. West. You write: "... I'll continue to remind folks that they DO have a place to tell the council what they think." But when the CMTA organized to do just that, you criticized them even before they had their first meeting. You write that it's time to tone down the rhetoric, or words to that effect, but I see you repeatedly mentioning the suicide, making suppositions, casting aspersions and fanning the flames of divisiveness. Try taking some of your own advice, Mr. West, before you tell the rest of us how to act.

4/05/2011 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Gary Craig, CPA said...

Ponderous indeed....
Does that mean that 67% of americans have been unemployed since the 80's?

Christ, it is as bad as they say!

Please elaborate.

4/05/2011 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Something to Ponder said...

Mr. Craig,

As I said, I heard these statistics on the radio.

The 67% difference is made up of the unemployed (those on unemployment), those on welfare (the perpetually unemployed), those on disability, the usual slackers, the mentally ill, those who are retired (on social security and pensions), and the vast number of children we have that are not yet able to enter the work force.

Like the program host observed, we Americans have stopped being a country of MAKERS, and instead, have become a country of TAKERS.

This view of the status of our country really made me stop and think (as we all should).

It's a mere 11% of us who are now supporting the entire country. You can see why our four city councilmen are being pressured into taking action. Someone has to.

Wishful thinking will no longer get the job done. It will take gonads the size of China to accomplish the task at hand.

Let's give our city council some slack. I'm not "pro" anybody. I just don't want to watch Costa Mesa slip into bankruptcy.

Nor do I want to aid and abet the communism that may be lurking on the horizon.

4/05/2011 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Gary Craig, CPA said...

"Like the program host observed, we Americans have stopped being a country of MAKERS, and instead, have become a country of TAKERS."

Yes...Pondering things in a different way...
In the words of poet Gil Scott Heron, when the producer names the tune, the consumer has to dance.


He also has a rather timely analysis of political mandates...from 30 years ago.

It sure does feel like these public employee issues are a distracting smoke screen while anything of value in our city gets hustled out the back door.

Tonight should be interesting indeed.

4/05/2011 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous CM said...

What's your email? Have you seen Have you seen Lobdell's FAQs about Costa Mesa's budget crisis?

4/05/2011 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

CM, you can use the email address on the Profile page of this blog. Yes, I saw the press release. I also saw Steve Mensinger's call to arms for tonight's meeting which included the same "talking points" as he called them. Thanks for asking...

4/05/2011 04:40:00 PM  

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