Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Budget Drama

Today, Thursday, Costa Mesa CEO Tom Hatch and Budget and Research Officer Bobby Young will hold their annual Community Budget Workshop at 6:00 p.m. in Conference Room 1A at City Hall. In years past this meeting was held following the adoption of the budget and was meant simply as a briefing for interested residents. Last year 12 of us attended and the three previous years only had three members of the public in attendance.

This time ar
ound, though, the budget has not yet been adopted. In fact, it's my understanding that we may need to wear rain gear on Tuesday because there will be a lot of stuff hitting the fan.

I think it's important to understand what the Jim Righeimer-led City Council is trying to do. He campaigned on a platform of "pension reform", but can't do squat about it because the bargaining units contracts don't expire until after his first (and, hopefully, only) term expires. So, he's trying to do the next best thing and that's using a fabricated budget crisis to flush as many employees out of the city as possible and thereby get rid of those nasty, inconvenient pensions.

At the very end of the Study Session Tuesday, which you can watch on streaming video HERE, Righeimer again tipped his hand (I think I'd like to play poker with
this guy). If you go to the site and drag the scroll bar across to 04:03:30 you'll see him say the following: If you want to look at this 4.1 million dollars. I understand, like I said, the fire we really don't save because we have minimum manning, we can't lower the amount of people here and if we lower them they're going to end up being there. I'm not looking to fill any of these fire positions. I clearly don't want to fill any positions, especially in the fire, until we get some kind of second tier in place for new hires. I don't want to continue on this bizarre process of retiring people at 50 years of age.


From the list of 28 such positions within the city workforce totaling more that $4 million in costs, there are eight (8) approved but vacant Fire Department positions that he's going to hold hostage until the association capitulates and changes their contract to install a 2-tier pension plan for new hires. This, of course, violates the contract, but he doesn't care - they're bumping the legal budget from $600,000 this year to $1 million for the new budget in anticipation of just this kind of hi-jinks. And, of course, there's still the proposal by the Orange County Fire Autho
rity that is pending - and we don't know how Righeimer's posture on this issue will affect that potential contract.

In the Daily Pilot today, HERE, there's a good piece about the punch in the gut Righeimer delivered to Hatch at the end of the Study Session when he brushed aside Hatch's balanced budget and handed him an additional $2.9 million to come up with. This is how the council has been playing this game. They give Hatch a target and when he hits the bulls-eye they just pick up the target and move it further away and instruct him to keep on shooting.

And now comes word of the latest shoe to drop in this drama. Today the City Council an
d staff received a copy of a PowerPoint presentation, HERE, from Colin McCarthy's Costa Mesa Taxpayer's Association - the fiscal megaphone of the OC GOP for Costa Mesa - that will almost certainly "blow-up" the budget process next Tuesday. We got a little hint of what's in this presentation from Righeimer last Tuesday (Again, I'd like to play poker with him) during the mini-bombshells he dropped near the end of the Study Session.

In the history of our city there has never been a budget cycle that has made more information available to more people than this one. There has also never been one filled with so much chicanery.


I fear that, with the increased fiscal demands already being handed to Hatch by Righeimer, and this added mountain of manure to be presented by CMTax, there is NO CHANCE of a balanced budget being approved on Tuesday, the 21st. That means that the council must meet again before the deadline of July 1st - probably on the 28th - to have a budget completed. This stinks!

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Anonymous what are they smoking? said...

That CM Tax Assoc. powerpoint is laughable. It shows a complete ignorance as to how public financing works and is not worth the paper it is printed on. Did they outsource the powerpoint to some member's kid to do as his high school economics project? Seriously, that kid does not get to pass the exit exam.

6/16/2011 05:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

"smoking" We're not members of the tax group, but several of our friends are. At least they're pitching. Nobody on this blog offers any ideas. I've watched the meetings on tv, you are silent, choosing instead to hide behind names and complain on the blogs. Go to the meetings and offer some ideas on how to balance the budget. Please do something!!

6/16/2011 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous missing something said...

With riggy moving the target and these last minute changes to make hatch fail, What is the end game? Does he still want bankruptcy or a strike? What is it they are trying to force. This economy does constitute an emergency, running for a short time on savings has merit. Not putting out your house fire because their is a water shortage is stupid.
Is there another bomb shell or mine that we are missing?
With riggy and mensi money situation, where is the pay off?

6/16/2011 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger feral390 said...

Jennifer...the whole argument of "what ideas are the employees and residents offering?" is a complete joke. The employee associations and residents have made suggestions and offers. Sadly they fall on the deaf ears of the council because the council DOES NOT want a balanced budget. I don't know how many more tiimes it can be stated. IT IS NOT ABOUT MONEY, it's about Righeimers political dreams, the OCGOP plan on union busting and the destrctiuon of the working class. If you can't see it for what it is, you are either too ignorant or you are simply part of their machine.

6/16/2011 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger ERIC said...

Where to start.... its really hard to imagine anyone more ignorant, egotistical, and just plain rotten then Righeimer. I really think he would stab his own mother in the back if the GOP told him to do it.

Its increasingly difficult to watch him and this council spout lies after lies. There are too many to list but lets talk about the big ones.
Its amazing that after all the layoffs and eliminating positions, and after Hatch "hit" the imaginary budget number, that Righeimer says we need $2.9mil more. Was he really a "business man" before? He keeps pulling numbers from his BUTT, which are flat out lies. For example, that all fireman retire at 90% at 50. He could plead ignorant but didnt they just get a CALPERS report completely defacing that... THUS HE IS KNOWINGLY LYING.
Truth, per CALPERS, LESS THEN 1% OF "ALL" RETIREES GET 90% @ 50.
Actually the avg retiree in CalPers is 58. And of those who put in 30 yrs, their avg. life span is 7-10 years. (Years of hazards/physical efforts/disease take their toll)

He also keeps talking about , "why did we finance the $750k fire truck". He seems to miss the point that a large part of that loan was INTEREST FREE. ( thus the city can make its own interest-idiot) and with the other creative financing it saved the city about $70,000- give or take. Roeder reviewed it and agreed to it. I think his 36 yrs doing city financials has a little more weight then your made up numbers. Righeimer and Mensinger continue to wonder why so much of the budget is service personel..... AAAH DUH, a City's main job is to have SERVICES for its citizens. ITS NOT A BUSINESS. A CITY DOESNT PRODUCE LAPTOPS, CARS OR OTHER PRODUCTS. They continue to say we need to run Costa Mesa like a business..... but we have seen their business results... COMPLETE BANKRUPTCY. Not one viable business between them and Monahans is struggling too.

The fact is if you remove the ADDITIONAL $400K for legal (DO THE RIGHT THING AND YOU WON'T NEED IT), stop paying almost $500k for "CONSULTANTS", and have the Council take the same % cut the employees took, from THEIR $45k compensation for part-time work employees (where is that talk). You would have a large windfall/surplus in the city.

Perhaps all should read a well respected economist report on Public vs private sector jobs... it proves PUBLIC WORKERS ARE UNDERPAID IN COMPARISON.

6/16/2011 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger ERIC said...

I would like to add on a personal note.

Firefighters and Police perform their jobs without fanfare, without accolades, and with a general desire to help the public. In fact I would say most Costa Mesa employees work here (or did) because they love the community and want to make a difference to its citizens. They actually CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY.

Mr Rigeimer, Mr Mensinger, Mr Monahan, and Mr Bever....... what do you contribute? So far all we see is a community ripped apart, a few bankrupt companies, a bar, and who knows what the hell Bever does. What I see is are leeches on the public it serves. Sucking all life from anyone around you.

6/16/2011 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Not true, Newport Beach is reporting $3-4 mil in savings from Police and Fire. Where are our savings? In Newport, PD and Fire were part of the solution, in Costa Mesa, they are part of the problem. Result: Newport has a balanced budget where everyone gave something, Costa Mesa-not.

Newport is laying off 19, in Costa Mesa you even talk about layinig someone off and the employees sue, throw bricks and dump paint on your care. The difference is in Newport the employees are mature and want to be part of the solution. In Costa Mesa they just cry. I love are employees but their actions really make me upset. They need to step up.

6/16/2011 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

It is pretty clear that the majority on council want pension reform. I don't think that there are many of us taxpayers that opposed that goal.

A two tier system seems to me the only way we get there. The sooner the unions come to grips with that the sooner we will get moving forward.

Are the tactics that are being used ham-handed? Yes. On both sides.

6/16/2011 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous we can only explain so much said...

Jennifer don't you get tired of making the same post over and over and over? We are tired of you and your post too.

6/16/2011 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger feral390 said...

Jennifer...I won't even try to address your posts, you are too far gone. And Bruce Krochman I have stated here before there is already a two tier pension system for the general employees.They have taken furloughs,layoffs(yes remember last year)and there is a two tier pension system. But again it doesn't matter because......wait for it....THIS IS NOT ABOUT MONEY. IT'S ABOUT RIGHEIMER AND HIS CARPETBAGGING PLANS TO BECOME A CAREER POLITICIAN. How many times does this need to be said?

6/16/2011 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

"explain" no one has explained anything. I've watched the last few study sessions and none of you have said anything. Do you call your personal attacks on Councilmembers contributing to the solution? Where are you all? If I'm so wrong in my analysis, explain it. Explain it to the Council. The residents are on board with this. If you have another plan to balance the budget, let's see it. I'll be watching the video clip of tonight's study session waiting to hear from you!

By the way, Police and Fire have offered NOTHING to close the gap. NOTHING. Where are they in all this? Highest paid PD in Southern CA and they won't offer anything. 31 fireman over $200k a year and they won't offer anything.

6/16/2011 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

To be clear, if the budget workshop today is held in Conference Room 1A, as is planned, there will be NO television coverage - not live and not tape-delayed. If the crowd is too big and it is moved to council chambers, as of 12:30 no decision has been made about televising it. In the past this has been a few people sitting at a conference table and just talking about the budget.

6/16/2011 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Oh Yeah! said...

Jennifer, You are obviously uneducated on this topic or have drank more than your fair share of the Kool-Aid. I wont waist my time educating you, but I can say that there has been many good recommendations that have been dismissed, employees have done there share to "close the gap" and the PD is not the highest paid in So Cal.

6/16/2011 01:13:00 PM  

Jennifer, you are clearly out of your mind.

First, the way Newport generates its extra money from the Fire Dept is
THEY DO THEIR OWN TRANSPORTING. Where Care Amb. becomes the middle man in Costa Mesa. Also I believe Newport Beach Fire charges much higher fees for service.
AND not to confuse you with facts, but CMFD approached the city council not once, BUT TWICE with a plan to transport. It would have generated millions. But the council voted it down. They didnt want to take money from private industry. That was a lack of hindsight on there part.
As for layoffs at Newport... they are not. They are positions they are doing without.... JUST LIKE COSTA MESA FIRE DID 8 MONTHS AGO. THEY DROPPED THEIR STAFFING BY 12 AND LOST A FIRE ENGINE.

FINALLY, as for Police and Fire offering nothing? Are you that stupid? They along with the other work groups came up with over 50 ways the city could save and/or generate money ( Ambulance transport, etc) and do you know how many they used????? ZERO at the time. ( TOT tax just recently )

As for the salary you posted, those are Inflated/ Misguided numbers from Righeimer and the GOP. They show benefit values that are used over a career, not as one lump sum. ( just another inaccurate shock headline from the GOP) They also use OT numbers that are distorted. For one, on large fires lasting weeks, the state REIMBURSES THE CITY (at higher amounts by the way, ie- the city profits) , and for Police, the city is REIMBURSE FOR THE FAIR COVERAGE ( again the city profits)
They also include numbers brought on by the council/city.... Remember, Righeimer even admitted he will not allow those departments to fill vacancies.

**** Geoff- that is a correct number by the way ***

And a 11th position is open because he is FIGHTING OVERSEAS FOR OUR COUNTRY.

Hate to tell you, someone has to protect and serve the city. Unless you believe in Mensinger's plan to "call someone, call something in when an emergency happens"

Again, hate to confuse you Jennifer with facts, but Costa Mesa Fire and Police run about 30,000 calls a year..... that is a lot of non-coverage without manning.

So Jenn, hope I didn't use too big of words for you and I am sure you will dismiss them anyway.
Perhaps when Righeimer and the GOP remove there hand from your derriere you will think more clearly. ( You might need to look that one up to understand it )

6/16/2011 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Oh No! said...

Oh Yeah!

Your spelling and grammar are so bad that you are the person who needs educating!

6/16/2011 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Jake said...

Jennifer is right on all counts.

The recall crowd will lie, steal, and cheat to keep their exorbitant salaries. Taxpayers are sick and tired of all their ranting, raving and whining (most of all, the whining).

Costa Mesa needs to dump ALL the city employees NOW. If the employees don't appreciate what they have, they can darned well do without it! There are PLENTY of unemployed, highly qualified people waiting to take their jobs.

Bring it on ........

6/16/2011 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Ptred said...

Jennifer, you need to refill your marijuana prescription because you must have been high when you wrote your comments. If you truly don't know what's going on, then shame on you! I live in Costa Mesa and I am a home owner. I do not agree with the fab 4 city council members and I am extremely tired of them screwing up our city!! They all just need to go away!

Oh ya- Jennifer, don't compare Costs Mesa to Newport because we are not the same. You are trying to compare apples to oranges. Our city has also turned into a dumping ground for all the other cities and its just getting worse - thats a completely different topic though.

Jennifer, You really need to get a clue.

6/16/2011 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Chinabeach45 said...

The residents and employees have been offering ideas for years. The council lifts their leg on the ideas. The budget is, or was balanced as of Tuesday at 5pm, but now Righeimer would like to squeeze even more out of the city. Why are they considering putting GPS units in all of the vehicles in the fleet, and replenishing the vehicle replacement fund when they want to outsource all of the drivers and mechanics for the fleet, eventually having no fleet? Makes no sense to me.

6/16/2011 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Ptred said...

GPS. - go for it. All you are goona see is me going from call to call taking reports that used to be handled by non-sworn personnel until our wonderful city council decided to fire them. Trust me, if you see my car sitting for more then 20 minutes and not on a call it's because I'm writing a report or going to the bathroom. But hey - go ahead and waste another million dollars on something the city of approximately 16 square miles doesn't need. All you are gonna get from micromanaging and installing big brother 24/7 is a justification to pay us more for work that we are currently doing and not getting paid for.

6/16/2011 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Gee I wonder if Jake and Jennifer have a thing going or maybe they are same person. The budget is balanced. I do not know how many times it has to be said. I guess some people do not want to believe what is right before their eyes.

6/16/2011 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Ptred said...

Jake- OMG!! You must be related to Jennifer and smoking the same stuff!! If you are an educated individual, then I challenge you think for yourself and make your own conclusions based on FACTS, not fiction. If you still come to the same conclusion, then share with us all the undeniable truth, not the OCGOP propaganda. And yes, I use to be a life long republican but I cannot stomach their lies any longer and am changing from republican to independent party..

6/16/2011 06:35:00 PM  

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