Thursday, May 05, 2011

More Council Meeting Quotes

During the City Council meeting last Tuesday many speakers rose during Public Comments to address issues important to them - predominantly the outsourcing and peripheral issues. The streaming video of that event is available for viewing HERE. The Public Comments section begins following the Presentations and before the Consent Calendar - at about 00:23:00 on the counter. Just drag it over to the spot you choose. Among those speaking were the following:

Long time resident and former member of the self-named Westside Improvers, Janice
Davidson, drove her powered wheelchair up to the podium and told Mayor Gary Monahan that he needs to do better or step down. She implied that her group - the Concerned Costa Mesa Citizens, which has been dormant for a few years - had become active again. When the spotlight of publicity was shown on their activities they folded up their tent and went into hibernation.

Mike Tucker, an eleven-year employee, told the council that, in addition to doing his job every day, he attended Pepperdine University nights and weekends to obtain a degree to help him move up in the city structure. He has now begun actively looking for employment elsewhere because of the actions this council has taken.

Tamar Goldman, self-described mild mannered Costa Mesan, admonished the council that they should listen to the employees, even though they may not be residents. She said that she, and many of the speakers before them tonight, don't march to the union beat, but the council has the power. She acknowledged that the people of Costa Mesa NEED the help of the union because the council has hired not one, but two, PR people "who do their best to defend the indefensible. The outsiders you must stop listening to are the political machine that is behind the whole outrageous agenda."

Long time resident and uber-activist Cindy Brenneman stepped up to relate a story about positive encounters she had with Costa Mesa public safety staffers the previous week and said, "Somebody said something interesting to me tonight. They said that our current council is trying to whittle us all down and hope that we all go away. Unfortunately, it kinda seems that way. Too bad." Then, focusing her gaze directly at non-elected councilman Steve Mensinger, she said, "And you can wipe the smirk off your face, Mr. Mensinger, and I wish you would stop texting from the dais. It's really annoying." She then finished her story...


She was followed directly by former council candidate Chris McEvoy, who challenged the council to show some character and do the right thing by rescinding the pink slips. He also wondered how Mensinger managed to get a copy of the police report for the incident with Joel Flores so quickly, since others must wait much longer. He used his own personal experience as an example. It was a very good question.

Resident Katie Arthur th
en stepped up and told the council, specifically Mensinger, that she was a resident of the city, not an outsider and wasn't a member of a union and didn't plan to become one. She begged the council to rescind the pink slips because "you've wrecked this place".


Paula Parsley
, the woman who told Monohan that he had "small man's
complex" at a recent meeting, gave "guidance" to the council on money management by citing anecdotal information, told them that they needed an "outside internal audit" and again refused to stop speaking when her time expired. If you watch the tape you'll see her fleeing up the center aisle, being pursued by a security officer... pretty funny stuff.


Amy Leece Fox, Wendy's daughter, spoke respectfully, related some of the causes of action in the City of Bell case, comparing each to Costa Mesa and told the council "Transparency does not equal trust. It's going to be very hard to regain the trust of the citizens of Costa Mesa again after how many times they've been lied to about several issues."

Some folks - including his anti-tax buddies at the OC GOP - may
be interested in a comment made by Mensinger during his discussion about the Fireworks issue. If you drag the scroll bar across to around 02:40;00 or thereabouts you'll see the exchange between them. Following his backhand slam at Wendy Leece and before her reply, he said, "I do support the motion tonight." (Keep in mind that no successful motion had yet been made!) "I think it's critical in tough times to look at ways to generate more revenue in terms of tax revenue by allowing additional sales." Really? So, Steve, does that mean that you'll support an initiative next year to increase the Business License fees in Costa Mesa - currently the lowest in the county? What do your pals in the OC GOP feel about your pro-tax increase position? Careful, or they'll label you as a radical backslider as they did Wendy Leece.

In response to a question I posed to the CEO, Tom Hatch, I've been advised that, contrary to a comment made during the Council meeting, there is not presently a reward fund for information on the incident where a brick was apparently tossed through the window on the door of Mayor Gary Monahan's pub recently.


Today the Ci
ty issued an update on the RFP Tracking list to help interested parties stay abreast of the status of each of those items to be considered for outsourcing. You can view that updated list HERE, or go to the city web page.


The council will meet in a study session in Council Chambers next Tuesday, May 10th, beginning at 4:30 to continue the dialogue on the budget. They will continue the new practice that permits speakers to comment following each segment, just as they do during a normal council meeting.

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Blogger Gericault said...

Oh Geoff you're being Way too generous......

Costa Mesa doesn't just have the lowest business fees in the county......we have the lowest business fees out of 35 counties in the whole state.

5/05/2011 08:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Duh! said...

Gosh, Gericault, do you think that maybe - just maybe - that has a connection to the influx of significant new business on Harbor near the freeway? Nah - let's raise fees and drive away business.

5/05/2011 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Interesting how many speakers repeat wording that previously appeared on this very blog. Coincidence?

5/05/2011 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Jeff, Geez, I hope not!:-)

5/05/2011 11:52:00 PM  
Anonymous mike m said...

Yea, those businesses on Harbor certainly aren't coming for the heavy traffic that passes them every day - it's all about that low business fees. In the long run, they'd still pay what it takes to open up shop there, but we just give it away.

5/06/2011 06:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Cast of Characters said...

What a cast of characters ... you missed a few like Greg Ridge and Sandy Genis. Imagine that, the Council is not listening to this crew. Leece's daughter even said she did not live in the City. If there is a recall, it will go down in flames. But also imagine if Council started listening to this group ... boy oh boy

5/06/2011 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

No Duh!, I don't think it has any factor at all.
Multi million dollar corporations do not base their business locations decisions on piddling little factors like that. They base them on traffic flows, demographics and property locations. Not charging normal fees that EVERY other city charges, just makes Costa Mesa look stupid. These businesses are opening in other cities that don't provide subsidies at the expenses of the residents. Here you get ocean breezes , great freeway access AND it's basically FREE to do business.By your logic there should be NO vacancies in the entire city.....and businesses shouldn't be opening in any other cities. But there are, and they are. The only difference is , we aren't collecting our proper fees.

5/06/2011 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I still don't understand why "Charlie Sheen" Mensinger insists on texting from the dais while others are speaking. Sounds like an obsession.

I guess this is better than playing sheriff at the airport or physically attacking teachers.

5/06/2011 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry P. said...

I'm so tired of hearing Greg Ridge simply bang on the "raise the business license fee" drum. Greg, do the math. Many businesses don't even bother getting a license. Raising our business license fee significantly will only yield $1-$2 mil AT MOST in additional revenue. That barely pays the $1.6 million hole Mr. Hatch said we are in to make to June 30. What about the other shortfalls? Where are we going to get money from? How can we fix our pension debt, or replenish the fund balance, or bring back our recreation programs that we all miss? I'd love to hear some solutions from you. My friends and I will vote for a fee increase if it fixes our problems. Sadly, it doesn't even begin to dent them.

5/06/2011 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Moon said...

Sales tax, property tax, franchise tax, permits, fees, court fines, interest earnings, and transfers from utilities the city operates are the sources of city funds.

Has the city council reviewed and compared costa mesa revenues with cities in California? I'll bet Mr. Righiemer, Mr. Mensinger, and Mr. Monhahan have not.

Are all new and proposed developments (i.e. Banning Ranch, airport expansion) paying the costs to bring water, power, trash, and road service?

5/06/2011 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Barry, if your totals are correct, $1-$2 million more from business license fees, along with the over $1 million this council left on the table from the redevelopment agency, would immediately eliminate the deficit for this fiscal year and take a massive chunk out of the alleged deficit for next fiscal year. Further, a modest increase in business license fees would go a long way toward paying for the alleged unfunded pension liability. $1-$2 million more from business license fees over the course of 30 years is $30-$60 million over that time. This goes a long way toward paying that debt alone. Thanks for the enlightenment.

It goes without saying outrageous business license fees could have an effect on the ability of a business to open in CM or remain in CM, but being consistently near the bottom in these fees for over 30 years has been exposed as a liability against the basic services every city, including CM, provide to residents and businesses. The bottom line is these services aren't free and CM pays their employees near the middle and upper middle range for the county. Someone earlier mentioned considerations such as location, traffic access, freeway access, etc., are more important factors for a business. The business license fee simply becomes a cost of doing business.

5/06/2011 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Karen said...

I'm quickly losing my desire to watch anymore city council meetings. It's just one nut job after another parading up to the microphone to display their need for attention. I must assume they are hoping to be grabbed up by some talent scout. All they do is make fools of themselves.

It's no wonder Mensinger directs his attention elsewhere. Having to sit through such unadulterated manure is painful for all the viewers. And yes, Greg and Sandy should have been included in the lineup. They are the worst offenders.

Our city council was elected to run this city. They shouldn't have to sit through such torture. What purpose does it even serve?

Personally, I think public comments should be eliminated. All they do is drag every meeting out and send people home exhausted.

5/06/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Barry P. ......."'Im so tired of hearing Greg Ridge", coming from you that makes my day.
That piddly little $1-2 million , as you claim without any sources to back up that number (could be closer to $3-4 depending on how it's structured).
Even at $1-2 million , thats over $60 million lost over the last thirty years of not bothering to do it.
Thats our entire rainy day fund , you all are complaining about having to use during the last three years of unprecedented recession. That doesn't include the lost TOT fees. By not even showing willingness to have this as part of the discussion just proves that this current regime cares nothing about the actual revenues of this city or it's financial health. This is ALL about politics and a political vendetta against public service workers, of which, in Costa Mesa they have traditionally been Republicans.
Instead of wasting hundreds of thousands for consultants and PR tools, why don't we study a structured business fee increase and look at long term growth revenues. Our paid city finance dept. has been advocating that for years.
I guess you are a CM Tax Whiner, that is all up in arms. Even though the personal tax rates are the lowest in this country since 1958, the corporate tax rates haven't been this low since before 1929, and the city is one of the lowest of the low in the entire state.
Now you're upset because we can't pay for anything?

5/06/2011 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry P. said...

Greg Ridge, the Council can't do anything about the business license fee. It must be approved by the voters. No election until 2012. They just put the TOT on the ballot last time. Even if they put the license fee on the ballot in 2012, what are you going to do until then? I'll vote for increasing it. I'll even bite on your $3-$4 million figure. Okay, so we've raised taxes. What about the $10-$15 mil we still need. Even your friend Wendy Leece says we at least need $5 mil next year to stay above-water. That is a very conservative figure. Where are you getting it from. Give me some plan or some idea. I'll buy in. Just don't complain, offer a solution.

5/06/2011 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...


Can anyone link Greg Ridge speaking at the last meeting........cause I would love to see that.

5/06/2011 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Karen - How else are the citizens of this community supposed to make their voices heard ? You can't eliminate the commets you don't like and keep the ones you do. That's now how democracy works. Everyone has a voice and the right to say what's on their mind. You can skip the public comments in the videos if you like. I disagree heavily with taking away citizen's right to speak against their government.

5/06/2011 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Re: Outsourcing - If the "savings" we are supposed to receive from the outsourcing proposals don't make up the 10 year, 30 million dollar cost to pay off pension contracts, then the outsourcing is a non starter, from an economic point of view. Otherwise, how would we make up that money ? The city savings in pension payouts won't cover it.

5/06/2011 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I keep reading businesses are moving out of state due to costs of conducting business. Do you think increasing costs of doing business in Costa Mesa will have a similar affect?

5/06/2011 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

We have the $5 million. This city isn't broke. What are fund reserves for? To use when you need them. Like during the worst economic recession since the great depression.....I'm not even going to go into who i think caused that.
Where is the thirty million a year for ten years, going to come from when they opt out of CalPERS?
Answer me that Barry P.?
How can we afford to pay that and pay for all the new outsourcing at the same time......and why would we want to?
The mindset of the cabal in charge doesn't care.
We can't even have a serious discussion about it when you are "sick of me" for trying to have a comprehensive discussion by bringing revenues into the equation.

5/06/2011 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous get a clue said...

gericault, enough with the business license fee charade! Business license fees should only cover the staff time to process them, they should never be a revenue generator. The business activity itself is the revenue generator, in jobs, sales tax, goods and services purchased by the business.

"Our proper fees" who determines that? Are you again suggesting that we take a percentage of gross revenue?

Should we copy what other cities do on everything? How about we copy the cities that are slashing pensions and laying people off? Not pink slips required by union contracts, but actual layoffs. Why don't we copy proposals in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Carlsbad or San Diego and raise retirement ages, increase contributions and institute mandatory furlough days? Or would you prefer we copy Vallejo?

Focusing on the license fees is short-sighted and typical of those who don't have a clue. Claiming that we'd have $30 million if we'd just raised the license fees 30 years ago is hilarious.

5/06/2011 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Civics 101 said...

Karen. You are eligible for an audition to a wacko show. Why not move to Cuba, China, Russia or the Mid-East!
Be careful what you wish for. You sound really ignorant.

5/06/2011 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger feral390 said...

Karen, I'm sorry you find democracy in action so offensive. Does this mean you prefer a government where the people have no say in what their so called leaders do ? If that's what you prefer I can think of numerous countries in the Mid East or Africa where that form of government is standard. Do you need any help moving ?

5/06/2011 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

get a clue.....Lots of facts......

5/06/2011 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...

Civics 101 and feral390, you need to go back to school and learn the basics of reading and writing.

If you want to complain to the city council, write/email them a letter. Don't make the whole town suffer while you "show off" in front of the cameras. It's getting to be disgusting.

The Public Comments part of the city council meetings is hardly "democracy in action".
It's more like a sick need for 15 minutes of fame.

5/06/2011 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

Karen wants no public comments; sounds like she approves of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin’s why of governing.

Meet in the backroom of a cigar bar, make laws, and then shove them down our throats; that damn Declaration of Independence, always getting in the way.

BTW Geoff, I told you that the Brat Pack would extend applications for appointments because they needed time to get more "Cronies" involved. The application submitted,ON TIME, where only from citizens that want what's good for ALL CM, not just sit and do as they're told.

5/06/2011 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

To LongHair - yeah no kidding, I thought that was odd the only one that was filled was the art one, nothing much happening there as far as the city's finances are concerned. I bet a lot of submissions were made to the other 3, just not the "right" ones. It will be interesting to see who is offered the positions.

Karen - PUBLIC RIGHTS PUBLIC TESTIMONY: Public may comment on agenda items before or during 54954.3 Ch. IV & V consideration by legislative body. Time must be set aside for public to comment on any other matters under the body’s jurisdiction.

This is under our California Brown Act, passed in 1953, so old law, been around awhile.

Letters can be thrown in the trash and unread. This is the only chance to have the citizens, in any city, talk to their council and know their voices are being heard. Just because you don't like what these people are saying, or how they say it, doesn't mean they don't have the right to say it. Everyone does, which is why this country is pretty cool. :)

5/06/2011 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Gericault, I agree. Rainy day funds are for rainy days. Thanks to the Great Recession, it's now a rainy day. Previous councils were smart to have created one when times were good.

By the way, I don't think Barry P. has a clue about how Riggy and friends missed out on the RDA funds or how the city manager said our budget is balanced or saw the good news about the higher than expected revenues (at least higher than what Riggy told us they would be). Barry is in his own little world where Riggy misrepresentations and mistakes are good things.

5/06/2011 04:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Karen, I know of a great country for you to live in. North Korea not only doesn't have transparency, but they really don't want to hear from their own people (unless it's praise for their dear leader). You would love it and I have a feeling there are lots of people that would love to have you there.

5/06/2011 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous "Revel-ution" said...

My revenue generating "solution" is to have a City- sponsored fireworks stand so as to capitalize on all of us party-pooper, oops I mean, unfortunate Costa MISERY residents that oppose this "new & improved" yet Rigdiculous ordinance.

The City's stand could sell red, white, & blue earplugs, "stars & stripes" patriotic respirators, and the ever popular: "I Survived the Four Costamazing Days of July" (hopefully) limited-edition t-shirts.

Hmmm....Maybe Monasham, Der Righsheister, & Misdemeanor will wear them (80's crop-top style of course) while they delegate new CMPD shift-schedules, supervise the ninja-like "volunteer" clean-up crews, and double-count the gross sales because there was at least two firework selections available.

All the "Fund-Balance-raising" proceeds will pay for PR: public "revel"-ations as well as more "con"sultants services which will now include in the annual fiscal budget.

5/06/2011 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Jimmy Fitzy said...

Don’t beat up on Greg Ridge, he is coming up with a specific solution . We all need to do that, then we can debate it. I would suggest you challenge Greg Ridge on his solution as something I support, to have a modest increase in Business fees. But I think that should correspond with an increase in services to Business.

Greg, I am not attacking you, as you suggest. I am challenging your suggestions, and in most instances, the lack of suggestions and the presence of emotional arguments and personal attacks. To increase a tax to fund historical budget misappropriations, and unsustainable budget elements, is a mistake.

I support a modest increase in the Business Fee, but that cannot occur until a Ballot Budget decision is made in next November, next November in 2012. We have issues now, and need to make specific decisions now, about specific amounts, and on specific timelines, now.

And those funds, in the distance, should not go to fund pension issues, they should go towards structural investment in infrastructure we can all benefit from.

I have not attacked you, as you suggest, I have challenged your ideas and solutions, and, quite frankly, I have found them to be, as of late, and on this topic, to be , pardon the relevant pun … “horseshit” !

5/06/2011 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Be advises: I normally don't permit profanity here. However, I made an exception for my "pal", Jimmy Fitzy, this time because it 1) demonstrates the deficiency of a poor education and 2)it apparently made his point.

5/06/2011 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Jimmy Fitzy said...

Pot Stirrer ... consider me advises

5/07/2011 08:45:00 AM  

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