Monday, September 19, 2011

OCEA Picnic

Saturday I attended a picnic hosted by the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) at Wakeham Park in the north part of Costa Mesa that I would describe as a "solidarity" event. Wakeham Park is a lovely park, with virtually NO parking.


OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino was the master of ceremonies for this event, which was attended by 50-60 people, including OCEA staffers and other union leaders. Hot dogs and cold drinks were provided to all in attendance.

This gathering fell on September 17th - six months from the date that more than 200 layoff notices were delivered to Costa Mesa employees and young Huy Pham leaped to his death from the roof of City Hall. Berardino made mention of that fact and asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of Pham.

Other speakers included Bob Gibson, President of the OCEA - th
e fellow who has given the go-ahead to continuing the fight against the city's plan for capriciously outsourcing city jobs.


Councilwoman Wendy Leece showed up to provide support to the employees and encourage them to stay strong. She spoke about her role in doing what she felt was best for the city when she voted to approve contracts during an earlier term, and how she still feels it was the right thing to do. She also spoke about being vilified by her Republican compatriots for her stand - doing what was right for the city at the time.

Both former mayor Sandra Genis and Westside activist Greg Ridge spoke to the crowd, offered perspective and encouragement to stay the course.

Helen Nenadal, President of the Costa Mesa City Employees Association (CMCEA) who was introduced by Berardino as the most courageous leader he's ever seen, spoke with determination. She said she's in this for the long haul and encouraged her membership present to do the same. I later spoke with her and she expressed her resolve, but is very disappointed by the treatment she and other speakers receive from some members of the city council. She's disappointed that elected leaders use their position on the dais to chide, harass and vilify those who dare to criticize them.

I would describe the atmosphere at this gathering as subdued. As I looked around at the small crowd, in addition to the employees present, I saw many residents who had spoken frequently before the City Council in recent months - and were subjected to verbal abuse and snide remarks for their trouble. I saw employees who, for six months, have been waiting for the other shoe to drop - the actual loss of their jobs. The mental strain on them was apparent. However, at no time did I detect a slackening of their resolve to continue this fight. They have jobs to protect, families to support and careers to maintain, all of which has been threatened by a couple men on the council aimed at personal political gain.

Those men are so determined to be victorious that they've given a virtual blank check to one of the most expensive law firms in the country to try to defeat the employees in court. Those law firms - Jones Day at $495 per hour for even the lowliest first year associate, Hansen Bridgett at $325 per hour and our outsourced contract City Attorney who bills us at $175 per hour to oversee the work of the other two firms end up costing us nearly $1,000 per hour to defeat the employees. Staggering!


In my opinion, the bargaining units should have presented proposals to the council for its consideration, if for no other reason than to test their sincerity. We'd find out very quickly if this council is honestly trying to do what's best for the city or trying to impose a philosophy from outside sources to break the bargaining units and the pensions that are attached to the employees.

In the meantime, the RFP process for outsourcing continues and the first of them will be discussed at the City Council meeting Tuesday evening. More on that in another post.

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Anonymous RickandJenn said...

"solidarity" picnic. Hmm. More employees have been laid off in Newport Beach due to outsourcing than in Costa Mesa. Costa Mesa's number is--ZERO. The union continues to shill Huy Pham for their gain, disgusting.

Question for Wendy Leece. Does she or does she not regret the taxpayer giveaway she gave Police and Fire in 2010? In the LA Times, she said she regretted it because pensions were not a "front-burner" issue. Now she seems to say they were okay. So glad the union represents the small fringe-minority of folks in this City who do not want change.

9/19/2011 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

I don't know what's worse, the way "Thugadino" uses Huy Pham, or the way he uses Wendy Leece. Both are pretty sad. I think Leece is more sad because she doesn't even realize it!

9/19/2011 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

I can appreciate that the city's work force is intent on keeping their jobs. They are no-doubt a great group and I sincerely like every one that I have met, so I am not inclined to disparage them individually or as a group.

With that disclaimer, and that I have made no secret of the fact that I have not been happy with the tone of the debate, I see no reason for the council to back out of the RFP process at this point.

The council has claimed to have one fundamental goal and that is to reign in expenditures. I won't debate the financial crisis as it is clear that different camps have very different qualifications for what constitutes a crisis.

I also consider it reasonable conjecture on my part that there is a dose of GOP anti-labor sentiment baked into the council's decisions. As we all know, organized labor has been very effective in local, state and national elections in ways that do not favor the GOP and arguably, taxpayers.

With all of that as background, even if the employees were willing to provide concessions, there is no reason to do so until the council is at the table. First, the council will not make a decision until they understand what privatization will do. Second, it weakens the labor union's bargaining position should they ever get to the table.

RickandJenn - I can not speak for Ms. Leece, but what I will tell you is that as long as I have known her and watched her in politics, and trust me, we do not see eye to eye on any number of issues, I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt on her votes as much as I do Mayor Monahan. I believe she made the best decision she felt she could based on the information put in front of her by staff and the City Attorney. The fact that the GOP feels betrayed is in my opinion an internal party issue.

9/19/2011 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Carol Ann said...

Wendy Leece made a very conscious, well thought out decision to bankrupt the City of Costa Mesa the evening she cast her vote.

What do you find the least bit commendable about the action taken by Wendy, Mr. Krochman, and why would you thereafter ever give her the benefit of the doubt about anything?

I too voted for Wendy Leece but will NEVER do so again. She has proved to be a brainless twit.

9/19/2011 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Don't See Support said...

50-60? Wow, that seems pretty low for all the supporters who say they have support in this City.

I got a dozen signs voluntarily removed by residents this weekend alone. When the facts are shared, not the typical emotion and fear shared by unions, the residents are often embarrassed they allowed a sign to go up.

Where are all the lines at the Council meetings? Gone. Ridge and Genis are still there. A couple others, but nothing much.

Where are all the Recall cries? Gone too. The reality is that the Union did all this pollign and they found out that the reality is that they found out that they do not have support from Costa Mesa voters. And, the Union is still waiting for a decent candidate to emerge. The truth is there are not any viable Union candidates at this point.

That is a classic picture of Nick. Looks like a thug. I bet his followers gave him rave reviews.

Helen, can anyone tell me what Helen actually does to earn a paycheck? How does she find time to attend all these meetings and court dates? Back to work Helen.

I think the Council meeting tomorrow night will provide great examples of how challenged many of these groups are to add any value in the process. I anticipate a poor offering and many Council challenges.

9/19/2011 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Carol Ann said...
Wendy Leece made a very conscious, well thought out decision to bankrupt the City of Costa Mesa the evening she cast her vote.

This is just further proof of the level at which polarized members of our community rely on vitriol to condemn those they disagree with. Nice example Carol Ann!

9/19/2011 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Harold said...

"What do you find the least bit commendable about the action taken by Wendy, Mr. Krochman, and why would you thereafter ever give her the benefit of the doubt about anything?"

Bruce, it appears to me that you don't have an answer to Carol Ann's question. Ummmm ....

9/19/2011 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous ContinueToFight!!! said...

As always, very well written Geoff! However, I don't understand why you think the union should make an offer. None of what's happening is about money Geoff, I thought you understood that. The council will not be happy until they fire everyone, privatize all city jobs and therefore ridding of the pensions. I thought you understood.

Let me remind people that NOTHING is standing in the council's way of them drawing up an offer and presenting it to the union. This is not a council vs. union problem. This is not a "no one will come to the table" problem.

Clearly, Righeimer, OCGOP along with the rest of the councilscum (Leece excluded) want to privatize government jobs and therefore ridding of pensions. It is NOT about money.

The clueless RickandJenn doesn't understand that Newport Beach is a Charter City, just like Bell. Charter cities can do anything they want. For example, have their Mayor vote on a project which he receives over $100,000 a year in "consultation" fees. Consultation is code for kickback/bribe, whatever you want to call it.

Costa Mesa is a General Law city, where they CANNOT outsource to private companies.

I think it's absolutely hilarious people think this "fight" is over or running out of steam. The employees received a protective injunction from a Superior Court Judge ordering the City not to outsource to private companies. It's a lawful order from a well-respected judge. So much so that the City has to waste $1,000 an HOUR in their uphill battle to rid of it.

This all reminds me of John Moorlach's waste of $5Million in trying to rid of deputy sheriff pensions. He lost appeal after appeal, just like Costa Mesa is.

Continue to stand in solidarity friends! You ARE winning and thank you for fighting for the ones who are too scared to fight. Your actions are not going unnoticed by us real residents who call Costa Mesa home!

9/19/2011 06:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Beaver is MIA said...

@don't see support

Replace the name Helen with Eric Beaver.

9/19/2011 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Something's Wrong W/Carol Ann's Medula Oblongata said...

Carol Ann,
Don't forget Monahan "made a very conscious, thought out decision to bankrupt the City of Costa Mesa the evening HE cast HIS vote" for the current employee contracts. Apparently you have "consciously forgotten" that Leece voted WITH BOTH Monahan and Foley for the very same contracts.

Also, how do you explain Mayor Monahan's previous Council actions, and then he votes for $1000/hour law firms (with no finite spending limit for legal fees) fighting employees contracts that HE JUST VOTED FOR less than a year ago?

The City will not go bankrupt because Leece's AND Monahan's contract votes, but instead, it will go bankrupt fighting a politically motivated lawsuit that hard-working CM citizens will be paying for years to come.

So, Carol Ann, please pull your thumb out of your a$$, and point it at Monahan (along with Righeimer, Mensinger & Bever) when the City finally goes bankrupt.

9/19/2011 07:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Done. Stick a fork in it said...

Thanks Continue to Fight for making the case for a Charter City. The Residents appreciate it. See you in November. It is not sound thinking to actually believe your own press. Certainly not to believe the press of the Union.

We can't wait to call over to City Hall and actually get someone on the phone on a Friday ... back to work.

Do you know what Helen does? We can't figure it out?

Do you know if Nick is from New Jersey, or spent any time at the Jersey Shore?

Do you think Wendy will have her best tin foil at the Council Meeting? We find it helps her understand her followers, or two.

If you add up the out of town Union people, then subtract the people who brought kids, divide by Greg Ridge, Sandy Genis and Geoff West ... can you really count the others on one hand?

There are more homeless in Lions Park than attended this rally.

Union math says " Council is about ridding of pensions not saving money."

Try your flawed union logic in Santa Ana. Or, avoid the rush, try for disability now.

You will see tomorrow night ...

9/19/2011 08:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Wendy is anything but a “brainless twit,” Tom Egan said...

Carol Ann said...
[Wendy Leece] has proved to be a brainless twit.

Leece is anything but a “brainless twit.” I’ll just repeat my comment from the previous blog on the 55 project:

Wendy Leece knows “what is going on.” Just look at how many of the agenda items she asks penetrating questions about. You can’t fake that kind of performance.

A good way to describe Wendy Leece’s approach to responsibilities is, “She does her homework.” Her binder of well-studied agenda reports bristles with so many yellow sticky notes that a porcupine would be jealous.

She is persistent. Once she decides what’s right, she locks onto the issue like a pit bull and doesn’t let go. Even though she works for a living, she conscientiously works over time to accomplish her goals.

She is truly invested in doing what’s right for the community. I respect her commitment to the good of the city, even though she and I have some major, major policy differences. I have worked with her for several years on certain city issues we have in common (we don’t touch the things we disagree on) and know that she practices responsible politics.

Further, she has integrity, a rare trait in modern politics. Integrity is vital to the success of our representative democracy, as we loan a lot of power to leaders to act in our stead. We need to be able to trust leaders to work for us, not for someone else, nor for someone else’s agenda.

And she does all this with grace. She keeps her cool. She’s a class act (and any commenter who wants to make a sneering, ad hominem remark based on the words “class” and/or “act” should immediately go back to middle school and join the children trying to grow out of such puerile behavior).

We report, you decide.

9/19/2011 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Arguing or attempting to "debate" with shills is a waste of time.The recent abundance of trolls and shills here a la the Daily Pilot tells me the extremists are starting to panic.

Anyone with an ounce of brains can easily discern the good from the bad in this gestalt.

Let me help:

Geoff West, Greg Ridge, Wendy Leece, Sandy Genis, many others: Good people who care about our city.

Das Riggmarshal, Smirkmarshal Mensinger, Bever, Monahan: People who have not been acting in the best interests of the city AND who have been petty and vindictive toward our employees and citizens.

One dead, many wounded so Righeimer can get a seat in Congress.

9/19/2011 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Harold said...
"What do you find the least bit commendable about the action taken by Wendy, Mr. Krochman, and why would you thereafter ever give her the benefit of the doubt about anything?"

Bruce, it appears to me that you don't have an answer to Carol Ann's question. Ummmm ....

Dear Harold, Please re-read my reply. I would hope that you would find the answer to your question there. If not, I am afraid that any response I provide you would be confusing. All my best, Bruce.

9/19/2011 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Danny Boys says Support Integrity said...

To have integrity, a rare trait in modern politics. Integrity is vital to the success of our representative democracy, as we loan a lot of power to leaders to act in our stead. We need to be able to trust leaders to work for us, not for someone else, nor for someone else’s agenda.
Too bad the CITY COUNCIL (minus Leece) can't read...

9/20/2011 05:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Mikey needs to get a l said...

@done. Stick a fork in it. Real name. Mike Gilbert. Daily pilot handles: cm optimist, husker2112

What a moronic fool you are. Tired of not getting attention from the pilot's blog? You remind me of a 7 year old who can't spell and craves negative attention.

Real residents are tired of the councilscums self-serving agenda which is really causing our city to go info bankruptcy. Instead of saving for their required portion of Pers contributions, they waste $1,000 an HOUR to appeal an injunction They're going to lose appeal after appeal just like Moorlach did.

Get a life Mikey and sell your lies somewhere else! Us real residents who actually care about the city and have nothing to gain from the councilscum want them gone!!!

9/20/2011 07:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry said...

All of this is academic. Outsourcing is done--just like in every other OC City. Residents have woken up to the unions nonsense and hate politics. The Council has the support of the RESIDENTS, maybe not the out of town cops, but who cares. The fringe element on this blog continues to represent only the extremists in the City. The nameless folks on this blog don't matter because they don't live here!!

9/20/2011 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous motleycrue said...

having Genis mark up your agenda with sticky notes does not make you a smart councilwoman. that is why Leece had to call for public speakers to come to her rescue while she "searched" for her appropriate notes. If she was the one who did her own homework she could "wing it" and talk from the heart but she needs her union cheat sheets. anyone who has followed her up there knows she was never one to agendize items, call out relevent sections of city code, etc. All of a sudden she got a brain? Nope, just a couple coaches who send her in too early, not prepared for a counter punch. She starts strong , then can't figure out where she is, mumbles, and votes against her own agenda items. A lot like Chris Steel in behavior except Steel never even opened his agenda packets until he was up on the dais. The Pot Stirrer called her a "barnacle" many times, still true.

9/20/2011 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous I'm bot buying what Union sells said...

Union spin is slowing and growing old, older by the day. Support is decreasing, no matter what they try to tell you.

Now Santa Ana is necessitated to consider outsourcing. Union wages & benefits are over 80% of budget.

Union pride will get in the way here. You will see it at tonights City Council meeting.

Lots of emotion, no facts.

Notice the age of dissenters, the folks that do not want or handle change well. Do they have families? Kids I'm school? Do they even live in Costa Mesa.

9/20/2011 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Joe - Yeah, no kidding, where are all these people when posts go up that don't go in their favor (i.e. court decisions, polls, etc) ? No arguements there ? Or are they here just to crap on a picnic for working families? Such nice people, these city council supporters are.

9/20/2011 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Harold said...

Bruce, I see that you are still at a loss for an answer to Carol Ann's question, in spite of all the verbiage you provided.


Carol Ann 1
Bruce 0

9/20/2011 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Colin wrote:
"Or are they here just to crap on a picnic for working families? Such nice people, these city council supporters are."


They're nicely bought and paid for. So many sell-outs and shills in Costa Mesa these days. The extremists have vast resources to use attacking and demonizing our employees and citizens.

The problem is, people like Riggy and Menssy have no finesse. They might be big boys in their little corners of life but out in the big world they're more TRANSPARENT than this city will ever be.

9/20/2011 02:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Dont hate on Muir cuz she's hot said...

@feramit and pot stirrer

Hilarious! Now we know who was and wasn't there.

Geoff, yes, she is quite the lovely hotty! Perhaps the city can learn something from the hiring manager of OCEA. The public is more likely to believe a young, fresh face journalist over an old bald good ol boy who was involved in a federal lawsuit where fraud was alleged.

9/20/2011 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Sorry Harold,

Again, read my post. It stands on its own.

Carol Ann does not get to put words in my mouth and then let you re-frame the debate.

Great tactic for unwitting targets, but not for me.


9/20/2011 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Phildo said...

Righeimer is an idiot. The man talks like a 5 year old kid and has zero public speaking ability.

Why is the man talking about Santa Ana? So what if Santa Ana is looking to outsource? Will Santa Ana hndle the layoff situation as pathetically as our city council? Why is the fat man blaming employees? Why does the fat man talk to the people from dais in such a blatant tone of disrespect?
Why does the fat man speak to the people as if they are stupid? The fast man needs to go back to Fountain Valley.

9/20/2011 09:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Tommy Burger said...

Dear Mr. Mayor,
please take some public speaking courses. I understand you're a busy man. Between pretending to be a leader, running that hell hole of a bar (that habitually puts drunk drivers on our streets) and dressing up like a clown it must be difficult to focus our your speaking and leadership skills and it shows. You sir are a sad sad example of what leadership is supposed to be about. I have a feeling it could be due to your stature and that you probably suffer from little mans complex. In any case please learn to speak and then maybe you can actually lead.

9/20/2011 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous unionquiltersforleece said...

any "ex parte" communications with the Unions Leece? Looks like you were there. Please disclose before voting no on RFP's

9/21/2011 10:42:00 AM  

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