Friday, April 29, 2011

Yes, Costa Mesa, The Sky Is Falling...

Tonight I had intended to write a nice entry talking abou
t the Fair Boards "Hire Local" program, HERE, which was kicked off at their meeting on Thursday by announcing the names of eight Costa Mesa students who have signed up for summer jobs at the Fairgrounds this year.


And I was going to tell you about the Orange County Marathon which runs Sunday. Rather than go into detail about that you can read about the Marathon course, HERE, the half-marathon course, HERE, the street closures HERE and more information for businesses and residents HERE. Suffice it to say, a big part of both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach is going to be hamstrung by this event on Sunday.

But my plans changed late
this afternoon when I received word that after 23 years working for the City of Costa Mesa, Development Services Director Kimberly Brandt is departing for greener pastures. Her last day on the job in Costa Mesa will be, appropriately, Friday, May 13th. She is moving all the way across the fence to Newport Beach, where she will become their director of their newly created Community Development Department. Kim Brandt is a true professional and Costa Mesa's loss will certainly be Newport Beach's gain. We here at A Bubbling Cauldron do wish her well.

I'm very disappointed that we will be losing yet another excellent senior staffer, following in the wake of recently-departed Director of Administrative Services, Steve Mandoki, Recreation Director Jana Ransom and the retirement of icon City Manager Allan Roeder. In fact, following Brandt's departure the roster of department head positions remaining not occupied by contract personnel is down to two - City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch and Public Services Director Peter Naghavi.

Her departure was announced in the Daily Pilot in an article that featured the fact
that more than 20 members of the Costa Mesa Police Department seem poised to depart, too. The article by Joseph Serna and Lauren Williams, HERE, includes a quotation from Mayor Gary Monahan that is so apathetic that I just can't bring myself to type it. Go the article and read it for yourself.

Costa Mesa Police Association
president Jason Chamness is quoted as saying, "It is my understanding that approximately 20 officers have applied to other departments and several have received conditional offers of employment from other agencies. In speaking with some of these officers, a significant motivating factor is a fear of layoffs." He added, "The training, experience and noble qualities of our officers make them highly desirable employees." After reading that last sentence I found myself adding, "in cities where those characteristics are appreciated."

In fact, this situation may actually be worse - I've heard a very recent rum
or that the number is closer to 30 officers seriously looking for new jobs. It's like watching a bunch of parachutists bailing out of an airplane, for goodness sake. And who can blame them? Since last year, when Jim Righeimer made it clear that he was going after every single employee pension and took on the police association nose-to-nose in his campaign for City Council it was clear to every observer that this kind of exodus was possible.


I find myself wondering tonight, just four months into this new regime, just what it is going to take for the residents of Costa Mesa to get involved? What else must happen for them to realize that the direction this new City Council is taking our city is WRONG! How long is it going to take for them to realize that the hostile working environment created by the council majority - and led by Righeimer and Steve Mensinger - will chase out whatever number of employees that are left after their bogus outsourcing scheme is consummated? How long will it take for them to realize that Righeimer is just using this city, and its gullible voters, as a stepping stone to higher office? How long until they realize that he doesn't care what kind of a mess he leaves in his wake?


How long will it take for that council majority to realize that they cannot operate a city like some frat boys running a booster organization? How many lawsuits will it take? How many rules will they break before the residents of this town finally tell them to STOP!? What kind of a disaster is it going to take?

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Anonymous TalesItNeverFails said...

20 Police Officers applying else where? That ratio works well since 50% of the 911 Operators are also in final interviews with local agencies. Think about that when you dial 911, you just may be placed on hold, no different than LAPD.

4/30/2011 12:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Pentagon Hexagram said...

Nobody could have predicted that when you demonize your employees they would start looking for jobs.

Who is going to evaluate the outsourcing proposals? Riggy and Mensy? BWAHAHAHA.

And what's the over/under on Naghavi?

4/30/2011 06:05:00 AM  
Anonymous mike m said...

Maybe they'll outsource the calls to India... that's a great 'business model,' but doesn't do much when a quick reaction is required. Bravo, Council, Bravo!

When all the 'Union Thugs' are gone, all we'll have is contracted thugs, and they'll be much, much worse - unqualified meat heads with guns!

4/30/2011 07:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Mrs Barry Would like A word said...

Doesn't surprise me a bit. Every single person I know employed with the City of Costa Mesa has been affected by the demonizing of the employees. Geoff, Tom Hatch turned down the request to place a memorial for Huy Pham at City Hall. Feel free to confirm. The employees are enduring much more than the public is aware of on a daily basis, for fear of their jobs they can't speak out.

Lawyers have been retained by many who are documenting each abuse. The CM press is entirely infatuated with the City Council that they have lost their news investigating edge. The GOP have a 10 year plan for the City of Costa Mesa. If the taxpayers don't wake up these GOP guns will have City services in chaos for years to come. 30 police potentially leaving more like 85% of the police force is looking. This city will be run by outsourced individuals with no interest for the well-being of the City. It is has gone beyond a Union vs Us- this is the City Council vs City Services. These individuals will bully, fabricate, instigate and yes perpetrate evil to get their results. Actions can't be as little as speaking up at a Council Meeting. Actions must be to recall these individuals before every viable resource is gone.

4/30/2011 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous The Fake Gus Ayer said...

At the next City Council meeting, will the police be there to protect Mensinger from us, or vice versa?

Police work isn't flipping burgers. You can't easily replace seasoned police officers with the judgment and temperament to do the job. It sounds like the police department will become home to rejects and problem cops from other cities - like Maywood. That's a morale killer for the police who choose to stay.

Does it matter? Yes, because without smart cops, complaints go up. So do lawsuits against dumb cops that the city will have to pay. Maybe this is the lawsuit settlement Charlie McCarthy was talking about at the Feet to the Fire event.

Also, why would any business want to local here now? There is less police, less reliable planning and less predicable code enforcement.

Doom is right.

4/30/2011 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous It has started said...

With good cops leaving, CMPD will ONLY get a lower tier of applicant. Lawsuits, and mistakes will result.

Residents, you have no idea what you are in store for.

4/30/2011 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous CMteacher said...

Sounds like what our (indicted) Superintendent did. When asked what he would do about experienced teachers who want to leave, he replied, "Nothing. We can easily replace them." Many of them did leave, including me. When you demonize your employees the whole organization turns to crap. The master plan of the OCGOP is to trash the city this year, and then take over the school board next year and trash the schools. Good luck with that, Costa Mesa. You used to be such a beautiful place to live.

4/30/2011 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous mike m said...

Loved Monahan's quote about how he encourages his own employees' career growth. I guess when a dishwasher at Skosh's has the chance to move up to busboy at a Hooters, he makes that move every day of the week. What leadership! Mensinger's next idea might be to get rid of the PD altogether and form an all-volunteer community watch, run by his beloved football players. That'll take a bite out of crime!

All you hear about these guys is what smart businessmen they are (Suncal wasn't their fault, that was Lehman Bros. and the overall economy. Guess they didn't see that coming, so they can't be blamed).

They should be very familiar with the old saying 'you get what you pay for,' because that's where we're headed - quickly. Keep up the great work, Team America!

4/30/2011 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Where does the Segerstrom family stand on all this?

While certainly conservative, they are savvy enough to see the future ruin of all their hard work..

4/30/2011 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous saying bye is easy now said...

I am 100% certain that I have not been counted along with the 20 officers number. That said, you should add one to that number because my departure is imminent as well and truth be told I have been gone for a long time. I have no desire anymore to work for a city I have grown to love, for a department I loved from the beginning, in a profession that was my calling. I simply don't need the stress or heartache and neither does my family.

4/30/2011 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Kent Morrow said...

If a police officer leaves Costa Mesa to go elsewhere, where there is absolutely no threat of a layoff, are they still entitled to taxpayer paid, city council negotiated, pension?

4/30/2011 11:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Eastside Phil said...

Just a few years ago the CMPD was staffed with 164 officers. Today its at 144. Tomorrow 124 officers. That is about a 25% decrease in the number of cops in just a few years...Ask anybody in law enforcement if that kind of drastic change in staffing can be done and there be no overall difference in the service level...

4/30/2011 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. Barry is right on said...

I have to agree with "Mrs. Barry" about the local press. Look at the columnists in the Daily Pilot: One who covers society, one who covers surfing, one who writes about OCC, a mom who writes mostly about parenting, one who writes silly Sunday stuff. Gray writes about large national issues. Oh, and a gardening guy. No one is kicking up any dust here - all safe and boring. Very boring. No wonder people are turning to blogs.

4/30/2011 01:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

Get rid of them all. Lets get new cops who actually care about the city. They caused the problem with greedy union contracts. They have no solutions. 221 mil is absurd. When they leave they have only their union to blame. Most residents get it. Loud mouths on this blog don't live here. we don't really care what you think. We are broke.

4/30/2011 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

- Re mike m's comment: "All you hear about these guys is what smart businessmen they are (Suncal wasn't their fault, that was Lehman Bros. and the overall economy. Guess they didn't see that coming, so they can't be blamed.)
- One of the councilmen's justifications for the upheaval is that "the city should be run like a business." They're all businessmen, so they should know, right?
- I've written elsewhere an analysis of that assumption and concluded that, while there are some similarities, the differences
between a for-profit corporation and a for-service city are so large that it's a bogus assumption.
- However, it's only fair to say that there is one condition where their analogy fits. It's when the business is a sole proprietorship, not a corporation. And it's the condition they've set up by making decisions in their two-man "study groups" without any public input, and then refusing to budge, no matter what the public says, or, presumably, what staff says.
- This looks to me like how a sole proprietorship works. Take an example: Suppose Mr. Righeimer wholly owns a company with an annual budget of, say, $100 million and an employee headcount of 500. And further suppose that he wants to sell out so he, a man with big dreams, can leverage his way into ever larger operations. But he's got to find a way to make the company look profitable so he can peddle it (it's currently got a negative cash flow). He doesn't need to worry about the long term effects of his decisions, because he'll be long gone when they kick in.
- This, in his mind, allows him to burn the deck chairs if he wants. And, since he's the sole proprietor, he doesn't have to answer to anybody; he can do what he darn well pleases. He certainly won't listen to the people who work for him, nor even the customers ... he's going to leave them all in the dust anyway.
- It's this condition where a business (sole proprietorship) is analogous to a city (if it's one that's being run by unresponsive
- You've got to hand it to them, they've created their own reality.
- But it wouldn't have happened without the complicity of Eric Bever and Gary Monahan, both longtime residents of Costa Mesa. I can see that Mr. Righeimer, a recent transplant from Fountain Valley, might not care that much about a city that he'll be moving up from anyway, if his strategy works.
- What really puzzles me, though, is why Mr. Bever and Mr. Monahan have turned on their hometown. Surely they could have foreseen the trashing of their city by their undemocratic actions.
- Don't they expect to continue living in the new, but trashed, Costa Mesa?

4/30/2011 03:27:00 PM  
Anonymous what a dump said...

When a department is no longer able to keep or attract quality police officers, it becomes what cops refer to as a "dumping ground". Two type of applicants want to work at a dumping ground. #1 are officers who have been fired from other departments and bring liability. #2 are less valuable untrained officers that are looking to receive costly training and jump ship once the have enough experience (these officers also bring liability).

Both type of officers are very costly for a city. How much do you think wrongful death lawsuit will cost the city?

After quality officers jump ship and retire, Costa Mesa will need to hire cops sooner than everyone thinks. It takes at least six months for the hiring process, six months to complete a police academy and 6 months for field training. Just take a guess how much that 18 months for each officer will cost the city. Even if we get quality applicants, which we wont, you will have a bunch of rookie cops running the streets.

4/30/2011 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Some Sanity Please said...

Barry, you are one of the extremely few bloggers on this website that actually has a brain, (yes, a real brain).

The only message I have for those 20 cops is this:

Bye-bye. Please feel free to move on to greener pastures. You did not serve me well so I will not be missing you.

4/30/2011 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous ProudAmerican said...

Tom Egan is one of the smartest guys around. He nails the core issues about what is happening to the City. However, on the point of Monahan caring about the City .... Tom, Monahan has always been about Monahan right from the beginning. He effectively wore the mask of being the good beloved guy. Now the real Monahan is out from under the mask. Don't worry about what's in it for him just trust that something is. Beaver? Who the heck knows. Maybe he is besotted by virtue of the power and connections of Riggy and Messy or Costa Mesa's perpetual Mayor Monahan. Shame.

4/30/2011 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous bobbie said...

Blind said, Barry pull ur head out. Guess what when our Fine Officers leave one by one and we get jail cops or new boyz it will be another LAPD lawsuit after lawsuit....Hope u don't need a cop too quick anytime soon....

4/30/2011 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous The Crapper said, said...

Its gonna take so long to fix what they are tearing down, that I dont blame our city workers to look elsewhere. Interesting our pride employees are getting picked up so quck elsewhere, I suppose they are the best and deserve better...

4/30/2011 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous mike m said...

Can't we just get rid of Barry instead? I live here, so I can vote for that!

5/01/2011 06:40:00 AM  
Anonymous protect yourself said...

Some sanity I hope you become a victim of crime and that victimization rips that smug smile off your face. Good day.

5/01/2011 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Dear "protect yourself",

I find your comment disgusting.

There is no place in civil discourse for wishing that anyone become victimized by criminals for any reason.

5/01/2011 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous protect yourself said...

Dear "Bruce Krochman"

Like Righeimer, I stopped caring what other people think a long time ago. And I am not wishing, I am hoping and rooting for it. Good Day
And Bin Laden was killed today, as a christian was I not allowed to hope for that as well, or is it okay sometime moral police? Good day.

5/02/2011 02:18:00 AM  

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