Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dispatches From The War Zone

You know, sometimes trying to provide accurate, timely information on the activities in Costa Mesa feels a lot like being a war reporter - like that old curmudgeon, Andy Rooney, was in World War II. You know - "We sent 230 bombers to take out Hamburg today, but those darn Hun shot down 50 of them! Better luck next time, fellas!"

I constantly find myself trying to sort out the "real news" from the pr
opaganda, with both sides doing their best to skew the news to their advantage. Most of the time it's pretty darn obvious, since we're dealing mostly with numbers and they are available for everyone to read and interpret. Sometimes, though, the parties engaged in this epic battle provide us with only one half of the equation and expect us to take it as gospel.

It has gotten almost comical lately. Last Friday the lovely Jennifer Muir of the OCEA fired off the first of her "Waste Watchers" pieces criticizing the "jewel-encrusted" badges provided to Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger - $175.00 a piece plus case and tax - as another example of wasteful spending. She also mentioned Bill Lobdell, the city's official mouthpiece, was making more than the Governor's mouthpiece.

Over the weekend Lobdell fired back a volley in the form of a "Factcheck", explaining the "badges" and the mischaracterization of them. He didn't mention his pay.

Yesterday we get another wa
ste-watcher submission from Muir, this time griping about "$7.8 million on planned cosmetic repairs at City Hall." I've not seen any reply from Lobdell yet.

In the meantime, the OCEA-sponsored Repair Costa Mesa ads continue to run on cable TV and continue to infest virtually every web page I open up with misleading and inaccurate "facts" and the OC GOP-guided (or misguided if you choose) minions of Righeimer - Colin McCarthy and Ethan Temianka - continue to spew their own version of faulty "facts" at their meetings of the Costa Mesa Taxpayer's Association meetings.

You can vi
ew a 33 minute video clip of the last such meeting, HERE, hearing McCarthy and Temianka as they toss red meat to the rabid few - maybe 20 people - who attended. You'll have to bear with it because the quality of the video is pretty terrible, not to mention the "facts" presented. You'll hear "some of the usual suspects" on the tape - Mike and Judi Berry and Jeff Mathews, for example, as they gobble-up the slop being tossed in the trough.

At 29:00 on the counter you'll hear McCarthy say, "The real issue on the outsourcing, just so that everybody knows, that what gets my neighbors so fired up about it isn't outsourcing fire or police or any of that stuff, it's outsourcing just some of the silly stuff that we don't even know that we have at City Hall. The Print Shop. The guy that gets the pension, benefits and great salary for photocopying when Kinkos could do that. Or the oil change. The guy that maintains the vehicles and changes the oil that gets a salary and benefits and a pension. Couldn't Jiffy Lube do that for a fraction of the price?"

At 31:20 you'll hear Temianka, Righeimer's young associate, get to the nut of the issue when he says, " Outsourcing a few of these departments isn't the end all be all. But, what it's going to do, hopefully, in the next few years is get come of these ridiculous pensions off our backs basically. And if we can even do that and save maybe a million or two a year an get by until those other contracts expire then we have a lot more negotiation power when they come up."

So, this afternoon when I attend the most recent City Council Study Session in council chambers beginning at 4:30, I'll continue to try to sort the wheat from the chaff and try to decide whether Jennifer Muir is actually our "Tokyo Rose" and if Jim Righeimer and his OC GOP buddies view Costa Mesa as the Sudetenland - to be taken over in the first strike of this war.


Today we will learn about 1) The Budget Update - plans are for the draft budget to be pr
esented to the council on the 17th.
2) Retiree Medical Benefit Program.
3) Marketing and
Communication Initiatives Update - we assume this is the Lobdell/Dan Joyce arena.
4) Consultants updates - could be a long presentation since we have so many of them these days.

Also, this week it was announced that Khanh Nguyen, formerly the Building Official will act as the Interim Development Services Director, replacing Kimberly Brandt who departs on May 13th and moves on to greener pastures in Newport Beach as of May 23rd.

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Blogger Colin said...

Does the dude who works on cars for the city do more then oil changes ? Cause if he's donig tire, AC, shocks, etc, then some of that stuff Jiffy Lube can't do. And Jiffy Lube has stripped my screws on my oil pan before. I'd rather pay a full time guy to work on cars relaiabliy, then a hungover teenage. Just because things are cheap, don't mean they are better.
And once again, how are we going to pay for the CalPers pension shortfall if we go forward with outsourcing ? No one on the council has addresses this. And you don't get rid of the existing pension payouts but cutting your current employees. In fact it costs the city more to cover these. How will this be paid for ?

5/10/2011 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Simple Barry said...

Don't these idiots on the City Council realize:

1. The pension payouts will have to be paid even if they lay-off employees.

2. Employees talk. Everyone (and I mean everyone) knows about the interior designers hired to redocorate the lobby. The CC comment "We don't care." Citizens-this is your money being wasted down the drain.

3. Ask about the Homeless Committee? Who feeds them? Would you be surprised if I told you YOUR tax dollars and it AIN'T cheap. YEs, the committee members are served free dinner- ironic huh?

4. You are damn stupid if you think these are the big shady deals going on in city hall- much more is going on that you have no clue about. Get someone to ask for a papertrail.

5/10/2011 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Blog Detective said...

Simple Barry: You gave yourself away this time. I'm not going to tell you how, because it'll be easy for me to see when you do it again. Go back to your own blog. ;)

5/10/2011 08:43:00 PM  
Anonymous unionquiltersforleece said...

simple barry: "idiots" on council? Leece used the word "petri dish" therefore scientific analysis is being done. Not exactly e=mc2 but it is a start. Genis uses the term also, she must be smart !! so relax, don't worry, scientific principles are in play ! and the pensions are paid by calpers not the city so relax. Yes the rate the city pays per remaining employee will go up but total dollars will go down (=two coats of paint can be applied at city hall !). 1.67@65 = new retirement formula now in petri dish.

5/10/2011 08:45:00 PM  
Anonymous DB Barg said...

UnionQuitters- Blog Detective (DB) Yes, we all know. The entire City staff knows and we laugh at you.

Paint? The Interior Designer hired by The city of Costa Mesa is not only painting. He is ordering new furnishings to include an expensive sofa or two, chairs, coffee tables sets. Light fixtures, pictures ect. To you and the CC cronies and wantabes(DB) this may seem to be cents but when the total monies to be used add up to "thousands" this is not chump change. Or maybe it to those who on the GOP side who don't care they are wasting taxpayers money and lying about it. Money is being spent just follow the papertrail.

5/11/2011 04:45:00 AM  

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