Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Here We Go Again

Ah, once again, neighbors, it's time for another Costa Mesa City Council meeting. You will recall the last one - on September 6/7 - lasted from 6 p.m. on Tuesday until 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday and was laced with controversy and hostility. It won't surprise me if we get more of the same this time around. I've made a pass at the agenda for tonight's meeting and find plenty to chew on, depending on how the council decides to "manage" it. The fun begins at 6:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall.

A note for you high-tech observers. The council chambers is now wired for wi-fi. Use password "cmcouncil" to access that system for your smartphones and Ipads.

In the Consent Calendar section - which will be passed with one vote unless somebody yanks an item for individual discussion - includes some of the most interesting issues. Before I talk about some of those, though, be advised that one of the two Warrants that will be approved includes a payment to Jones and Mayer - our outsourced contract City Attorney - of $110,194.66. That's slightly less than the most recent previous months, but still spinning that counter at a rate much faster than anticipated when the budget was prepared. The City has begun providing, as part of the CEO's E-Briefing each week, a breakdown showing the amount of legal fees allocated to the General Fund (the budget) and which are applied to the Self-insurance Fund.

Also on the Consent Calendar are three outsourcing RFPs - Jail Services, HERE, Video Pr
oduction Services, HERE and Building Inspection Services, HERE. I don't really expect those to be voted on as part of the Consent Calendar. I expect each will be "pulled" for separate discussion, which may take awhile since so much is at stake.

For example, the Staff Report on the Jail Services RFP is 76 pages long! Those who think every council member will read every word of that report, please raise your hands. Yeah, me neither. We can barely get a quorum these days without expecting them to do their jobs, too.

It's going to be
very interesting to see what kind of discussions, if any, are generated by these reports. The council majority may simply just decide to release them to the public and see what comes back in response. We already know there will likely be responses to the Jail Services RFP - there were two to the previous version, which was recalled when somebody finally decided to follow the rules.

Most of the original 6-month layoff notices issued on March 17th were extended to the middle of November. Considering that these three RFP's won't be going out for proposal until the third week of September, it's unrealistically optimistic to expect responses will be received before the end of October, which leaves only a couple weeks for the City to evaluate them and make decisions before that layoff date rolls around. Every time I begin thinking that the City can't find any further ways to screw-up this process, Bingo!, they do.


Following the Consent Calendar the Council will morph into a joint session with the Red
evelopment Agency to consider three issues required by new state legislation that extorts money from municipalities in exchange for their ability to retain their Redevelopment Agencies. They then morph back to the City Council for the remainder of the agenda.

Under Public Hearings they will consider three items of special interest.

The first is an ordinance modifying the municipal code relating to residential second units, Granny units and accessory apartments, HERE. The 27 page staff report outlines the particulars, but one thing that caught my eye was that the new ordinance reduces the number of residential lots permitted to erect second units from 100% of all residential lots to 40%. If you're concerned, read the staff report.

The second is an ordinance dealing with sign regulations, HERE. Several VERY significant changes are being proposed, including a reduction in height of free standing signs
from 25 feet to 12 feet and a modification of the definition of mural or supergraphic signs which may make some vendors more than a little unhappy.

The third is a resolution ad
opting an on-line recreation registration system use fee, HERE. This one drags our recreation registration into the 21st Century and has a dazzling fee configuration and some questionable security issues.


Near the end of the meeting the council will consider the re-naming of an existing p
ark for former Mayor Jack Hammett, HERE. Among the parks being considered are The Farm Sports Complex, Brentwood Park, Del Mesa Park and Civic Center Park - the potential home of a new Central Library.


I don't expect this meeting to stretch until tomorrow, but one just never knows with this mob. Among the interesting things to watch for will be how many times Steve Mensinger leaves the auditorium during the session. We can't really expect him to go without outside communication via text and phone calls, can we? And, council watchers will be curious to see if Eric Bever finally shows up for this one. I hope to make it to this meeting, but will report on it whether I'm there in person or not.

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Anonymous Barry P. said...

Jail, video and building inspection are no-brainers for outsourcing. Most other cities have already outsourced these. Expect the proposals to go out and the savings be significant. Also expect the union to keep complaining that this is an attack on the middle class and hold more silly unity picnics. Anyone see the OC Register story on Santa Ana? They are in BIG TROUBLE. Bankruptcy is even being considered. Maybe Thugadino should spend more time there than trying to takeover our City. My bet is in 6 months the liberal, union-dominiated City of Santa Ana will have outsourced twice as many services as Costa Mesa.

9/20/2011 02:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Union advocates ATTACK! said...

Geoff West refers to our City Council as a “Mob” and says the meeting will depend on “how the council decides to "manage" it.” His words. His assessment. Nothing about the Unions approach and behavior.

West’s assessment is emotionally and myopically and typically biased.

Someone sent me a link to the Repair Costa Mesa Facebook page. As all know, Repair Costa Mesa is the Union entity. They have been doing TV commercials, internet advertising and creating misinformed blight with all the signs in our neighborhoods.

Here is what the OCEA funded efforts are advocating on Facebook as an approach to tonight’s meeting:

Meeting preview for tonight's City Council meeting. On the agenda, the council will consider sending out RFPs for three city departments, including jails. Let's tell them how we feel about that during public comments! Cancel the layoffs!

Me, I will be looking to see how Weathervane Wendy handles the scripted comments prepared by Sandy Genis.

I will be looking to see if CMPD has the perspective and intelligence to analytically and subjectively present their outsourcing item.

I suspect it will not, so I will look forward to Righeimer setting CMPD straight.

You can clearly see that the Union is not advocating restraint. Not advocating keeping an open mind. Not encouraging to get informed on the process.

But the Union is advocating attack, attack, attack. The only behavior they know. Sad, very sad.

9/20/2011 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous unanimous said...

The proposed Granny unit item looks spot on. Why should R1 be denser than MD? This will correct that and make them equal. Hopefully two parking spaces is enough. With size limited to 1200 square feet it probably will be enough in the majority of cases. Wendy may pull it because she is partial to illegal Granny units, at least if they belong to friends, depends on what Genis tells her to do though and Genis is pretty sharp on land use. I would guess she will give Wendy the OK to go along.

9/20/2011 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

Union advocates ATTACK!

"But the Union is advocating attack, attack, attack. The only behavior they know. Sad, very sad."

I think instead of union you meant City Council. Your projection is showing. :)

9/20/2011 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Barry, maybe you should read the city by city comparison data because, what you just said is not true, in fact we get a lot more bang for our buck than other cities that have outsourced. The majority of cities have kept things "in house". In fact , Seal Beach outsourced their jail, but in 2006 they terminated that contract and went back to city employees.......but like Geoff alluded to in his article, we don't expect you to actually READ this.........your mind is made up.

9/20/2011 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous use your own brain said...

LOL Barry and following clan way to post and sound like idiots yet again!
Thanks for the Tuesday laugh,
A person who bothers to read

9/20/2011 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous unanimous said...

we all like our employees and may get maximum bang for buck when cash flow is good, work load is high, etc. However, with an outsourcing contract, that contract can be amended rather quickly to balance lower cash available or less of a workload. Also, we may have gotten more bang for our buck we gave employees but unfortunately we owe a quarter billion dollars more to the employees. Actually we owe more, this is the unfunded part. No unfunded parts with outsourcing. Is your mind already made up?? maybe something here to consider?? Check out Lake Forest, a contract city. awesome results.

9/20/2011 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

'Union advocates attack'--
If Geoff is so "myopically and typically biased"
then why is he allowing your comment to remain
on his blog?
On the subject of restraint, why don't you mention
Mensinger's total absence of it? He is the most rude,
condescending, interrupting person I have ever seen in a council seat! He acts like an attack dog, not a councilman. You vehemently attack those who have differing opinions yourself.
For every finger you point at Geoff and the
unions, three fingers are pointing right back at you.

9/20/2011 05:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Danny Boy said...

Barry P- Eye opener: The RFP for Building Inspections went out months ago and the results came back: Guess what bozo? The city would not save money. This is a fact- you can ask The City Manager's Office
(Tom Hatch is well aware becausae he saw the report) or the Development Services Director. The previous Director, Kim Brandt told the City Council the news. All documented baby.. so read it and weep. What do you call someone (or in the case a group of four men) who keep asking the same questions and expect different answers?

9/20/2011 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Ridge & West are selective said...

Anyone see Steve Smith's column. Riggy & Mensinger as the Unions Bogeyman. Good analogy.

The only value West contributes to the conversation, per usual, is spelling. Ha

Once again Greg Ridge shares one example of a reverse.

But neither Ridge nor West reference Beverly Hills.

They use the same company cinder consideration. Hmmmm. They freely use the reputation of former Chief Snowden so many times. But choose not to when it submarines their case

Guarantee it comes up tonight

9/20/2011 05:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff Gallagher said...

Hmmm. Maybe before voting on the granny units issue, the city council should look at the federal laws which prohibit the prohibition of granny units by local entities.

9/20/2011 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous i found your kneepads said...

Steve Smith's knees probably hurt from spending so much time on them around Righeimer and Mensinger. Seriously I am embarrassed for him. Steve, that is not what people mean when they call you a teabagger. You are pathetic, simple minded, and your writing is not even good enough to be in a high school newspaper. I am sorry you are such a failure in your career. That must make you feel very small.

9/21/2011 01:29:00 AM  
Anonymous wethepeople said...

If the RFP's show no savings then there will be no outsourcing. But it is a good idea to see if there are savings to be had. Private sector workers are just as good as government workers, just less spoiled. But if no savings can be made from outsourcing we still have make savings happen somewhere. That could cause a huge reduction in services if layoffs are the only answer. Time for unions to step up and take a haircut in pay/benefits before it is too late. To hold on to hope that you can win a new majority in the next election (what would be your campaign message? "Pay Us"?)and face no cuts would only be a small victory because the city will eventually go broke at current pension levels. The most you could "win" would be a couple years more of extravagent benefits, then "poof", no more money. Have some vision folks.

9/21/2011 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Beverly Hills wasn't in the city by city comparison data, so obviously, You ( ....West are Selective) stupid name by the way,.

Never read it.

9/21/2011 08:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Piggy!!! said...

I just came up with the greatest idea for a new city logo and mascot since the councilscum love youth sports and give them $10,000 without blinking an eye.

A Piggy Riggy!!!

Come on, this IS funny!!!

9/21/2011 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

If you are wondering why there was never a recall, copy this link and paste in address bar. Can't get anyone to respond to a simple petition... if this petition is not worthy, please design your own... I'm curious as to why nothing was ever done.


9/21/2011 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous RetIrvPD said...

I think outsourcing is a decision that should be made by whichever city is considering reorganization. Just because it works in some communities does not mean it will 0r will not work in others.
I called Beverly Hills staff yesterday to see what they did and found a key issue that has made jail outsourcing a viable choice in that city. ALL of those employees who were displaced by jail contract employees were absorbed into other vacant positions in the city. They told me two jailers retired and a jail supervisor left to another community closer to home before outsourcing was considered.
They saved approximately $70k first year and no one lost their job.
If Costa Mesa outsources their jail, my question is and so should yours be: are the current jailers going to be given other city jobs?
I don't know what happened in Seal Beach as I couldn't reach a staff person knowledgeable on the issue
to ask.
I only met Chief Snowden once many years ago. From what I heard from BHPD Staff, I would wager if he were here and the jail were outsourced, no one would be losing a job, only the title of jailer at an equivalent pay rate.
I hope our new Chief sees it the same way.

9/21/2011 04:25:00 PM  
Anonymous yet another nonreader said...

wethepeople I guess you have missed the multiple concessions, ie pay cuts, taken by all costa mesa employees over the past SEVERAL years. Or do you just choose to ignore those facts and only want all employees to make minimum wage like your local fry frier?

9/21/2011 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Council: Savings be damned, outsource away! Tom Egan said...

wethepeople said...
If the RFP's show no savings then there will be no outsourcing.

That's too big an assumption to make with this council majority. They don't do the logical, prudent thing ... unless you buy into their apparent goal of totally eliminating city workers and their pensions and unions.

Think back to the $5 million or so that the helicopter program had in its piggy bank. Did they use even a dime of it to briefly extend the program to cover the extra risk from fireworks in the first few days of July? Something residents were begging them to do?


Did they use the apparently at-risk $1.4 million in the RDA piggy bank to help the budget "crisis" when it seemed obvious that the State was going to Hoover up any loose change in RDAs? Something the residents were begging them to do, since they had claimed poverty?


I'm guessing they'll go ahead with every outsourcing they've proposed, even if it would be MORE expensive. The stated reason will be that, appearances notwithstanding, it will be better "in the bye and bye."

The real reason, the one that fits every decision they've made, is to put every city job in the hands of for-profit businesses. Except, of course, their own council jobs.

We report, you decide.

9/21/2011 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Nauseous Blogger said...

Considering the education and qualifications of some of your vociferous bloggers who want to demonize police officers and pay them minimum wage with no benefits, consider the following:
Most, if not all, modern police officers undergo intense training and education unmatched by any but those in the medical or legal professions. Ok, add astronauts. Nearly all have advanced degrees. They must be computer literate, be seasoned counselors, child psychologists, know the law as well as most attorneys, know much more than just first aid and CPR, excel at defensive driving, know how to deliver a child in the front seat of a car, wrestle drunks and violent suspects, know when and where to administer the proper level of force, deal with domestic situations in an unbiased manner, tell bad guys from good guys, write reports which will become primary evidence in court trials, know how to handle evidence, how to deal with victims, possess compassion for victims AND suspects, insure that our streets are safe, how to direct traffic, keep in shape, keep up to date on all current policies, procedures and laws, maintain firearms proficiency, build rapport with community members, find lost pets, children and vehicles, know how to give great directions and make sure ALL people are treated with dignity. I could add much, much more.
Which of you can match this in your profession or trade?
You should be ashamed at the way this council not only treats them, but by the way they treat you if you happen to disagree with them. Last night was a prime example. I sat there and was aghast at the way the Mayor and Vice Mayor treated speakers who spoke out. Rude is a mild description of their behavior to speakers.
I drove through the east side today and wondered if all the MANY "Stop the Layoff" signs instead read "RECALL", what would the council be doing.
Do these people even realize that the vast majority of the persons they insult daily in public safety are (were) Republicans? The very votes they count on to make our current President a one term one? There are over 40,000 police officers in California and at least that many more who are retired and vote. Add to that teachers, active and retired, firefighters, active and retired plus sheriff deputies, prison guards, CHP, Parole agents, Deputy Da's, Probation Officers and countless others that are watching these guys across the state and wondering which is the lesser of two evils when they vote. Which party is NOT insulting them by attempting to remove benefits that were fairly negotiated for and awarded by the powers in office at the time.
Evil my friends is right here in Costa Mesa. Some writing on this very blog and for sure, four sitting on the dais.
Get a clue.

9/21/2011 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous dems display logic said...

Nauseous blogger, say what you want about democrats- they sometimes don't agree with the death penalty, they want police to have fewer powers and more supervision (arguably a good thing sometimes), and they want more diversion and less of a lock them up mentality. While these beliefs are probably annoyances for police officers in general, at least the dems are realistic as to how hard the job is and they believe officers should be compensated as such and they have a right to bargain for better and safer working conditions and a nice living wage. Do dems think pension reform is needed- yes. But do thye think the reform should be outsourcing to private for profit businesses to eliminate public workers or drastically cutting wages or attempting to get out of a contract? No.

Honestly, I will take a democrat every time over a republican who hates the middle class and somehow believes it is fair to tax the richest .02% of Americans at a lower tax rate than those of us in the middle class. BTW OC republicans with the exception of maybe 10 people, you are not the .02%, nor will you ever be, and you are getting royally screwed here. I would say wake up but you are too far gone on your teabag fumes.

Are all you council pawns aware that the pay for a US Senator or Rep is about $174,000 starting, plus free medical and other cadillac benefits, plus a defined benefit pension that can best be described as 3% at 45 closer to 40? No wonder Riggy wants to join after his detour in Sac.

9/21/2011 07:30:00 PM  
Anonymous wethepeople said...

it is a mathematically proven fact that the current pensions, especially for public safety, cannot be sustained. Not just in our City but pretty much all of them They will all fall like dominos unless something is done to cut them back. So, after all this bickering back and forth, suspicions of motives raised and countered, the usual suspects complaining about the same thing over and over, the union lies, the Righiemer heavyhandedness, it really just boils down to simple math. California has been in a recession for twenty years since aerospace declined. There were a couple blips up with the tech boom and the housing boom but they ended badly. The new demographics lean heavily toward blue collar Latino workers who want schools for their kids. The State will keep grabbing all the money they can from local governments. The math lays it out: unsustainable. Deal with how you wish, the longer you put it off the uglier it will get financially until we have virtually no services and are spending all our money on current cops and firemen and the retired cops and firemen. Nothing else.

9/21/2011 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Nauseous Blogger said...

Dems display Logic: You are correct with your comments. The reason most of public safety are Republicans are the reasons to mention about the lack of lock up mentality, etc..
The Dems definitely have more respect for the working class and less for the .02% you speak of. Although, many Dems are part of that .02% and reap the same benefits as the GOP .02%.
I seriously doubt Righeimer will ever make Congress. He is being outed at every council meeting for the corrupt, bullying politician he is. One Richard Simmons in this world is enough.

9/21/2011 09:19:00 PM  
Anonymous constitution revisionist said...

Wow another idiot comment by wethepeople. I guess you missed the part where California before this recession was the 5th largest economy in the world. A recession for 20 years? I guess that puts us back to the policies of your saint... what were they called, oh ya, Reaganomics. Fail. Tell me wethepeople, what is it like to be so ignorant to reality and downright confused? I would think it is similar to taking PCP.

9/21/2011 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

Revise the Constitution... Well that says it all!

How about we revise it to support only Socialism. Maybe Communism. If you had it your way, maybe only Radical Liberalism would be allowed... let's mandate the every citizen MUST belong to a Union; they would be allowed to choose which one of course. Freedom of choice IS the American way.

FYI... 30 years ago Reagan's first term was used cleaning up Carter's 4 years of record unemployment and a 19% prime interest rate.

To cut Jimmy a bit of slack, 11+ years in Viet Nam (Kennedy and Johnson's legacy) and 30 years of a Democrat controlled Congress didn't help.

Quit blaming Reagan for everything! That mantra is getting old and you have nothing to back up your regurgitated, socialist puke.


These are FACTS!

> National: Financial Information

Annual Dues Paid to Unions:

Total Union Assets: $8,804,794,935

> National: Total Spending

Representational Activities: $4,081,097,858

Political Activities: $579,624,489

External Contributions: $321,121,214

Overhead: $3,905,927,269

Unions that FAIL to pass Department of Labor audits: 92%

> National: Union Officials

Total union officers and staff members: 173,503 people

Total compensation paid to union officials and officers: $1,141,540,980

Total compensation paid to union employees: $2,562,757,481

9/22/2011 02:05:00 PM  

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