Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Decorum Takes A Vacation

A week ago today, while nursing the infirmities guaranteed by my most recent birthday and recovering from a little surgical procedure, I tried to watch my tape of the Costa Mesa City Council meeting from Tuesday, September 6th. The combination of needing to apply ice to my wound and the anesthetic getting flushed out of my system caused me to take twelve hours over two days to watch what was already an eight-hour marathon session.

I blamed
my impatience on my general discomfort as I watched that session, figuring I was seeing it through a drug-induced stupor. But, I've viewed it all again and changed my mind. I think I was impatient because this meeting may have been one of the most distasteful and frustrating I've observed in the past decade.

I watche
d as decorum on the dais took a vacation, the low-light of which was non-elected council member Steve Mensinger getting into a shouting match with speaker Greg Ridge. Ridge criticized Mensinger for voting, in a previous meeting, to give Costa Mesa Pop Warner Football $10,000 to pay a debt it incurred all on its own while Mensinger's wife, Robin, is an officer of the Pop Warner Board and responsible for fund raising. Steve Mensinger took exception to Ridge's comments, saying his wife WAS NOT involved in fund raising for Pop Warner. I captured that segment below.

However, you can read two links that refute that argument. The link HERE, shows her named as a member of the Executive Board.

The link HERE, identifies her as "Fundraising/Sponsorship Coordinator". These images were captured from the Costa Mesa Pop Warner Football web site yesterday, Tuesday.

Clearly, Mensinger was peeved at being criticized for his part in the discussion of that $10,000.
In my view, in that previous council meeting he should not have been involved in the discussion AT ALL, much less taking the lead in the request/demand for the money. He presented his version of the circumstances and there was nobody left on the city staff to refute them - all the other parties have either retired or moved on to greener, less hostile, pastures. He bullied the council into paying a debt for which the city had no legal responsibility.


I watched as Wendy Leece called-out Mensinger and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer for texting on the dais during the meeting. You can hear Mensinger file a "cross complaint" for criticizing him. Have I mentioned that he doesn't like criticism? You can watch that short segment below.

Following that incident, which occurred early in the proceedings, I
watched Mensinger go on frequent "walkabouts", wandering out of the chambers - maybe to make his phone calls and send his text messages - throughout the evening. It was so bad that at one point outsourced City Attorney Tom Duarte had to briefly call a halt to the proceedings because there was no quorum - another member had also wandered away!

Later, during the discussion of the report from the Homeless Task Force, Mensinger pushed brand new Police Chief Tom Gazsi - on the job for about six hours - into a corner by demanding that he either provide a Park Ranger or a Security Guard at Lions Park immediately. Eventually, Gazsi guaranteed there would be a presence there "in a month". You can see that exchange below.

Later in the evening Mensinger hailed Costa Mesa City Employees As
sociation President Helen Nenadal, who was sitting in the audience near the back of the auditorium, and TOLD her to get the air-conditioning fixed in Hatch's office because he was too hot in there recently. That request should have been directed to Hatch, and probably not in open session. Mensinger was just flexing his muscles, trying to show Nenadal who's boss - which he is NOT.

The point here is that Mensinger constantly oversteps his authority on the council. As clearly stated in this extract from the Municipal Code, any direction to the staff MUST come through the City Manager/CEO - that's Tom Hatch. Some members of this council, especially Mensinger, have just elbowed Hatch aside and are providing specific direction to staff on a variety of issues. This needs to stop - immediately.

The Costa Mesa Municipal code is quite specific about the lines of authority. Here's the entry from the Municipal Code that addresses this:

Sec. 2-106. - Interference by council in administrative affairs.

The city council and its members shall deal with the administrative services of the city only through the city manager, except for the purpose of inquiry, and neither the city council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the city manager; provided, however, that the manager and the council may vary the provisions of this section by the establishment of contrary policies.

And hereby lies
the problem. Mensinger, and to a similar extent, Righeimer, just don't get it. There are rules of decorum, lines of authority and established policies and procedures in place to protect the rights of the residents of our city. Those rules are designed to provide the framework for municipal actions. They both act like they can just make up new rules as they go along. Mensinger, in particular, is - in my view - temperamentally unsuited for the role of a public servant. I think it's that "servant" part that is the problem. He's used to having them, not being one.

Look, I think Steve Mensinger is probably a really great guy. Clearly, he pl
ayed a huge role in resurrecting youth football in our city - I've said that before. But municipal governance is an entirely different ballgame - pun intended. Yes, we need his business acumen and energy. Yes, we need his deep roots in the community. But, most importantly, we need him to understand that you can't just flail around like a bull in a china shop in City Hall, making unilateral decisions and causing damage to the very fiber of this city. He needs to quit spitting back at speakers trying to provide a opinion to him and the other council members. He needs to just calmly sit there and listen to the residents of this city. He didn't get 12,997 votes like Righeimer or 10,846 that young Chris McEvoy received last year. Mensinger got 3, one each from the three other men on the council. Perhaps if he'd had to walk precincts, gathering votes one at a time, instead of simply being appointed, he'd have a greater appreciation for the opinions of the voters. If he is to be an effective leader of this city he needs to learn to negotiate, not dictate. That learning process has started and we hope he's smart enough to understand it.

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Blogger Flo Martin said...

I'm sitting here in Scotts Valley and feeling very sad. What has happened to us? Such divisiveness, such rancor, such blatant disrespect.

Thank God for you, Geoff, keeping us real, working so hard to inform your neighbors, staying up all hours of the night to share information.

9/14/2011 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Football Fan said...

I seriously doubt Steve will ever be suited for public office even if he does learn to play by the rules. He is so like the dad who lives vicariously through their kids playing sports. He only knows how to give orders and to react to others in a defensive, hostile manner. Kind of like yelling at the umpire for not agreeing with his view of a play. Go watch him at a game sometime. same behavior, all that is missing is the dais.
For him to be picking on our new chief within hours of him being sworn in is simply a power play. He should have r
made a request through the City Manager for a feasibility report on staffing the park.
One can only hope that things will improve come election time. Between now and then, it would be a good idea to try and identify some viable candidates. They are out there for sure, but who would want to sit up there with Righeimer?

9/14/2011 11:03:00 PM  
Anonymous hoping for mersa said...

Somebody tell Steve the park rangers were laid off, the police officers that are left respond to serious/felony call after felony call constantly so there is no manpower to go round up the homeless sheep. If he would like a security guard, that sounds like outsourcing to me so you can add that to the lawsuit. Maybe, he can get off the dais or the football field and use his yelling skills to yell at the homeless. I am sure that will work out well for him and the police will be sure to quickly arrive to save his ruby encrusted badge flashing ash. Go play deputy again Stevie.

9/14/2011 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

At the meeting where the Pop Warner 10K was given away, I thought outsourced attorney Duarte stated Mensinger had no conflict.

In light of the new info re Mrs. Mensinger, should Duarte revisit the issue? If there is a true conflict is the vote invalid, therefore making the funds owed back to the city?

9/14/2011 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Thanks for a sane and reasoned look at what is at the core of our city's problems: people who are ill-suited for public service. You are able to separate the personal from the job. We can thank Misters Reigheimer and Mensinger for wanting to serve, but we are not all good at doing everything and they have over reached.

But there is one other issue here: hubris. These men seem incapable of admitting they have any shortcomings at all. Neither will admit mistake, misunderstanding or any other foible. Learn from the classics - hubris is a "fatal flaw" and it always brings calamity.

9/15/2011 07:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Stop Wasting Our Money! said...

Glad you were able to view another joke of a council meeting Geoff! We all know the scum on council don't care about laws. If they did, they wouldn't be wasting our hard earned money on unnecessary legal costs at $1,000 an HOUR!

We would love it if you would get up an speak your mind one day!

9/15/2011 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike M said...

How about Colin McCarthy's 'community commentary' propaganda in the Pilot today? Funny how many facts he leaves out - and how few he actually uses.

These guys are unbelievable - you almost have to admire their perseverance. My biggest fear at this point is finding smart, qualified candidates for the next election.

9/15/2011 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Frank & Christy said...

What an absolutely corrupt council!!! I am FURIOUS!!!

Mensinger votes to give our $10,000 to bail out his football team where his wife is on the board! Talk about a serious conflict of interest!

What's sad is his 3 buddies would have voted for it anyways.

What's sad is that we can sit here and complain all day and nothing will change. Residents both republican and democrat must stand united as costa mesans and make sure no one in this council or planning commission ever get into office again.

Here's an idea for a welcome sign, "Welcome to Costa Mesa, the most openly corrupt city since Bell".

9/15/2011 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous This just in said...

I consulted a friend who is also a Psychiatrist about Geoff West to see if he could help me explain why Geoff is so much of a Hater.

Without the benefit of family of origin detail, I shared as much as I knew. Once a good guy, now angry. HR profession, etc.

My doctor friend remotely diagnosed Geoff as having a “Popular guy attachment disorder”. He indicated this is commonly prevalent in older adults that had some early childhood development issues.

Sufferers seek out and attack the popular people and do so on trivial aspects like grammar, spelling, eating & weight. One might find these sufferers taking pictures, then comparing the individual to other iconic symbols. Sufferers will ignore the important aspects like when improvements are actually occuring.

My buddy also indicated that other old geezers are likely to follow like moths to a flame. The senior crowd that freaks out when change occurs. And the underdogs that may have been locked in a locker by the popular kids in school may also follow like sheeple.

Lastly, my doctor buddy encourage me to watch out for this disorder as it may manifest itself in things like a so called blog that will masquerade as graffiti with punctuation.

As some in the community indicate they find value in the rants of a geek trying to become important in the affairs of the city, I thought I would share these valuable insights.

Unfortunately, the only cure is the one car funeral that awaits Mr Geoff West.

9/15/2011 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

Is this the same $10,000 that the Woodbridge cross country meet at Jim Scott stadium is producing?

The way I understand it is the Woodbridge facilities are inadequate, so they brought their big meet to CM. The fee for Jim Scott Stadium is 10K. CMHS and EHS football each get a 40% cut of intake from somewhere (snack stand) and EHS cheer gets 20%.

Meanwhile pop warner football pays 10K for the use of the field for the season. So the city takes both fees and awarded pop warner a $10k donation?

Again the question is, is this the $10K the city gave or did pop warner get $20K from the city?

9/15/2011 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous savadisc said...

Unfortunately, the only cure is the one car funeral that awaits Mr Geoff West.

That sounds like a threat.

9/15/2011 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

@ this just in
practicing medicine without a license is a felony, oh wait psychiatrist are not real doctors and most of their so called conditions are not even backed by real science. Your "Dr." friend is also in violation of HIPPA and is very unprofessional for even taking your third party account as an assesment tool without speaking to the involved individual.

Gilbert, if this is you, you should stop coaching pop warner. Millard, well I wouldnt expect anything less as you hide behind screen name after screen name while begging the kettle to call you a kettle.

9/15/2011 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Troll "this just in" spewed an anti-Geoff rant using pseudo-psychiatry, then, referring to Bubbling Cauldron, wrote:

"things like a so called blog that will masquerade as graffiti with punctuation."

Congrats Geoff! Your honest reporting and commentary has rattled the bad guys' cages! Don't stop!

To troll:
Congrats also! Your mommy gave you 10 bucks so you could go see the movie "Contagion" and plagiarize the blog joke uttered by the Elliot Gould character.

Read more pseudo-psychology, imitate a self-abusing hermaphrodite.

9/15/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Doomsday said...

Oh my God, did "This Just In" just present the most crazy analogy I have seen in a long time? Where do these people come from? Do they crawl out from under a rock just to post some ridiculous banter on someone's blog? What is sad is that people like him think the behavior of people like Mensinger is ok. Geoff is not a hater. I have never, ever heard him say that he hates Mensinger or anyone else on the council or a commissioner. Yes hes disagrees with many of their policies and actions as do many people who live here in Costa Mesa. What is it about people that support and hero worship bullies? I don't get it.

9/15/2011 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Conrad Murray said...

Hey "this just in".. Doctor buddy? Seriously? That is all you could come up with?

Well, MY Doctor buddy says he can kick your Doctor Buddys' a$$!!

C'mon man grow up!

9/15/2011 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Messy Piggy said...

@this just in (mike gilbert), husker2112, cm optimist and many others handles in the daily pilot

Mikey, get a life man. Go post your trash on the pilot Nd let us educated folks have our discussion.

I think its hilarious camp riggy out of town supporters come on here to hate. Costa Mesans, no matter which political party they belong to, are sick of this council and want them gone along with the planning commissioners who serve no one but themselves. They hate mexicans playing soccer and they hate the blue collar workers with a ladder im their truck. Get real fitzy & mccarthy. You will NEVER be on city council!

Hatch had his monthly employee management meeting today. To sit there and watch and listen to him makes me want to vomit. This guy plays like he's doing whats right for us residents and employees yet he doesnt stand up for any of us. Quit the act Tom, we're not stupid!

9/15/2011 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous football follies said...

At $5 per car for parking they will take in 10K in parking fees over the 2 days.

An audit is in order if they take the cities money. Will they be charged security for the officers working overtime.
The traffic will be a nightmare on placentia and require a Police presence.
Follow the money
Mensingers,hatch and riggy will be there.

9/15/2011 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous worried said...

My real question is "what can we do?".

9/15/2011 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Richard Blaine said...

Robin Mensinger's name on those two documents do not prove that she helped raise money as she easily have recused herself from this part due to an anticipated conflict of interest. The only way to prove it is to call some or all of the donors and ask if she was involved. But if you're not willing to do that, you've got nothing but a guess.

9/15/2011 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous football fan said...

One must wonder what This Just In's psychiatrist would say about Millard, Mensinger and Righeimer? I imagine Riggy wearing pajamas made to look like a Napoleon outfit, standing by the bed with his hand in his pants..
Mensinger dreaming he wa actually a football star in college and all the yelling was cheering him on. Millard? He probably has nightmares about being in the rubber room and being force fed Mexican food. I don't know who Mike Gilbert is. Probably a good thing.

9/15/2011 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Football fan wrote:
"I imagine Riggy wearing pajamas made to look like a Napoleon outfit, standing by the bed with his hand in his pants.."

Hahaha! Classic!
And yelling his new mantra in his Richard Simmons voice- Don't stop!!

9/15/2011 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Wow Nelly said...

Anyone else read Messy Piggy post and think one of two things?

Either this is an employee, or a liar. If the employee was at the CEO Management meeting, and then posting at 3pm, I think that is a serious issue and should be investigated. Anyway you look at this indicates that the CEO does not have a Leadership Team that he can trust.

Management 101 says that a good Leader needs to fix this right away.

I hope all on any side of the discussion would agree that you cannot have loose lips sinking ships within the City Management. Many have an allergic reaction to change and I think much of that we are seeing on a daily basis.

We now have a new leader as CEO, as Police Chief and we need more in other leadership positions.

9/15/2011 06:52:00 PM  
Anonymous abogado said...

I am glad football fan did not continue his visions to the point of describing Genis and Brenneman. I just ate so thank you football fan. But just the thought of them thinking they are cheerleaders going to the prom.... left at dance.....pandoras box...lemme tell ya.....

9/15/2011 07:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Richard Blaine - regardless of Robin Mensinger's involvement, Steve Mensinger until recently ran the entire Pop Warner operation for the most part. It's a blatant conflict of interest regardless of her involvement - his previous involvement shows his bias, and you can't argue there's a budget shortfall and then hand money over to your own pet project - PERIOD! That said, her name IS all over those sites, both of them are at every game, etc... if that's not a conflict, I don't know what is. Perhaps you are due for a refresher course on the subject.

9/15/2011 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Steve Mensinger's wife isn't on the Pop Warner board just like SunCal and Bethany group haven't filed for bankruptcy.

9/15/2011 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Teamster up against evil said...

@wow nelly

First of all, Tom isn't a leader and definitely not a good one. Tom is in a word, spineless. Want an example of a good leader? Chief Stavely.

Its the loose lips of employees that helped the forensic auditor find $26million that the city was hiding. The city is lucky the employees are weak and scared. What they should do is Teamster up. Thank God for Beradino and a superior court judge that saw right through the citys scam.

No one trusts anyone at city hall. Its to the point where camp riggy has to waste another $684,000 in new yesman positions to defend their illegal scam. Welcome to the new Bell people! "Costa Mesa, the most transparent and corrupt city since Bell".

9/15/2011 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Millard is a Tard said...

Your writing style is a dead give away, please just post your drivel on your own website. Your not fooling any well-read A BC bloggers or DP readers. Keeping time tabs on "City" employee posts, and wasting brain cells on lame fictional anecdotal stories is getting rrrrrrrreally old.

I loved today's post b/c it was so spot on, and incredibly funny as hell. I really appreciate your dedication too. I wish you a speedy recovery, and I'm glad you're feeling much better. Thanks for taking the time to enlighten us as well as, most importantly, entertain us on a daily basis.

I think Mensinger needs a sticker on his wittle twuck. How 'bout:

"Murtha" Truckin' Jacka$$"

9/15/2011 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Football Fan said...

One day, Mensnicker, Pigrhymer and Moonahen went to a football game. Their team was behind at halftime so they devised a plan. Moonahen would dress like a cheerleader in his plaid skirt and wait on the sidelines among the other girls and try and trip the opposing team as they ran by with the ball (alla Woody Hayes). Mensnicker said he would wait until a call was made against their team and then rush onto the field, chest bump the ref and if he tried to get up, he would pull out his fancy badge and arrest him for making a bad call. Piggy said he would wait in the stands and make nasty comments to the opposing team fans when they made comments about their team.
Unfortunately for them, the crowd had seen and heard them before and was waiting for them. They were thrown out of the game by the cops and went to Mallard's house for tacos.

9/15/2011 10:25:00 PM  
Anonymous CMtaxpayer said...

This just in, I for one take your comments seriously. I read your post and am concerned. You are obviously angry and distressed about the events going on around you. Have you talked with your doctor "friend" about adjusting your medication?

9/15/2011 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous MillardIsARacistTard said...

@wow nelly

Oh Millard, you racist angry moronic tard. Loose lips on a sinking ship? Leader?

What world do you live in? You think that the employees are going to keep their mouth shut about how they feel and illegal activites at city hall? For example, using Dan Baker as their little watch puppy on the 5th floor using cdbg funds? You write as though employees who are being attacked for no other reason than righeimer's political agenda somehow owes some degree of loyalty to the city by keeping their mouths shut about disgust? You're an idiot!!!

I'm glad the employees can use your blog as an outlet Geoff. Keep up the great work!!!!

9/16/2011 07:57:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

This just in...

FYI... I have a buddy who's a Psychologist and remotely diagnosed you and your buddy.

He suggested that anyone connected to a person or persons with such Grandiose Delusions (Delusion of Grandeur) and homoeroticism for megalomaniacs in power, as you constantly demonstrated in your writings; must be avoided at all costs.

He also is highly suspicious of your buddy’s credentials, attempting to use them in diagnosing, if all you suggest is true, a psychological problem.

My buddy adamantly reject the notion that your buddy, a proctologist specializing in dumb asses, is hardly qualified to diagnose a psychological disorder.

He offers further proof of your delusions with homoerotic tendencies, by adding penis envy; after seeing your identity choice “This just in”.

My doctor buddy was curious if that was a conscious decision on your part, or just a Freudian slip?

9/16/2011 08:28:00 PM  

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