Monday, September 19, 2011

SR-55 Improvement Project Open House

Last week, on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, I attended the two hour open house at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center conducted by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). I was joined by a disappointingly small crowd - I would guess that no more than 50 residents and other interested parties attended - a much smaller number than the homeless folks loitering in Lions Park adjacent to the Community Center as I arrived. I do know that OCTA, city staff and consultants outnumbered residents at any time during the evening.

I saw Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy leaving as the event was about to start and Planning Commissi
oner and Sanitary District Board Member Jim Fitzpatrick wandered in, looked around, stayed long enough to qualify for a meeting stipend, then wandered off into the evening.

If you recall, this is not a new issue. I wrote about it many times
in the past, including HERE, three years ago when this study went into hibernation. Last week it was as though the needle on the record had been placed back in the groove and we start to move forward - hopefully.

Basically, there is no new news. Three years ago the process for improving the stretch of SR55 - Newport Boulevard - as it passes through Costa Mesa's "Downtown" section, went on for several months and resulted in 4 options:

1) Do nothing - the so-called "No Build" option, which leaves Newport Boulevard as it is today.

2)The second involves a Transportation Management System(TSM), which would involve signal timing and bus turnouts.

3)The third involves elevated turn lanes at each end of the improvement zone - 19th Street and Industrial Way.

4)The fourth is the "Cut and Cover" option, which would dig a huge trench along that right-of-way through which traffic going through Costa Mesa to and from Newport Beach would pass and it would be 'covered' with a separate section of highway to accommodate local traffic. It is kind of like a pre-fab tunnel.

There are no funds identified for this project at this time. Right now OCTA is launch
ing a Data Collection element. You can view the entire presentation by the OCTA at the workshop HERE.

This is a frustratingly slow process, but most folks who drive this stretch of highway - more than 100,000 per day at the last count - will agree that "something" must be done. If the most costly of the current choices - the cut and cover - is chosen, the chaos in that area, including the residential neighborhoods in Eastside and Westside Costa Mesa and the Newport Heights section of Newport Beach, will be almost unimaginabl
e. The impact on those businesses along that section of the highway - many of which are barely surviving now - will be cataclysmic. I seriously doubt if ANY of them could survive what would likely be at least a year of construction - maybe double that.


If you have views on this issue, now is the time to share them with OCTA and the City of Costa Mesa.

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Anonymous West is one angry guy said...

Thanks Geoff, you old curmudgeon. Let me if I got this right. You criticize some for not showing. Then, those that do show, you criticize for showing, or not showing enough? That right?

So, I make the leap to conclusion that the type of elected and appointed you want is for them to be just like you. Retired, nothing better to do than hang out at meetings.

Looks to me like you have Fitzpatrick in one of your pictures studying the options. I saw him speaking with City Staff, the consultants and engaging Newport Beach Staff. I bet if you were to ask him questions he would demonstrate a clear understanding of the project. You know he has a family. So rather than sit bat and zip your trap, you choose to challenge an individual who is doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing

I’d like to see a Q&A with McCarthy, Fitzpatrick and Leece. I bet Leece would demonstrate she has no idea what is really going on. But Geoff likes that, and is AOK with it.

But, again, all you want is some old cranky time on their hands person to think and behave like an old cranky time on their hands person like yourself. Really sad on how angry you have become.

Will be interesting to see your take on RFP’s. I bet you get it wrong, again.

9/19/2011 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Ah, brave anonymous "West is one angry guy", how easy it is for you to yap away without having to take ownership for your comments.

I expect those we elect to the City Council and those who are appointed to commissions to find the time to do those jobs well, not just show up so they can collect a stipend from another job. Yes, I know Jimmy Fitzy has a family - he lives not too far from me. I think he's got his priorities messed up - I'd have thought he'd be looking for a job so he can provide for them instead of focusing his time on being a political bootlicker. Guess not.

As a matter of fact, I think "hanging out at meetings" is pretty important, which is why I do it. There are a few folks out there who actually care about what's going on but don't have the time to attend meetings, so they rely on newspaper reports and things they read here for information. I'm happy to provide the service - how about you?

9/19/2011 08:28:00 AM  
Anonymous selfproclaimedexpert said...

somehow doubt Fitz gets paid a stipend from his other elected position. pure speculation on your part, just like Ridge did. no proof, just tarnish them. if the plans impact sewer lines perhaps he should get paid. Wendy got paid forgoing except she got paid whether or not she went. and she cashes in unused medical $$. and she probably has no clue as to what she saw/heard (my speculation)
Still love your blog but I agree you really are getting crankier and meaner. u used to attack actual events, now you speculate and condemn whether true or not

9/19/2011 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Anonymous "selfproclaimedexpert",
Each member of the Sanitary District may receive a stipend for other public meetings they attend with a max. established. It's like found money. Should he have been there? You bet! The cut and cover option will almost certainly impact sewer and power, among others.

Sorry you don't like what you read here. I certainly don't want to add to the stress in your life, so please immediately stop reading.

9/19/2011 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Thankful for this blog said... these haters wake up angry and just go into attack mode? Just shows you're getting to them Geoff! Keep up the good work!

9/19/2011 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous West gets angrier by the day said...

Geoff West is very angry and it certainly clouds his judgment. Rather than seek facts, he tarnishes the reputations of elected & appointed officials taking time away from their families and investing energies in our city. These facts are readily available. Yet Geoff West ios a lazy old turd and does not take that step but communicates emotionally.

So, Geoff wants our appointed to go out and get a job. And show up to every meeting and hang around. How absolutely rude and assuming that Geoff West wants us all to behave like the old foggie he is and to think and behave like him. Geoff West is from another generation. To impose those value standards and traditions on another generation is exactly why families need to stay active in this community.

What if Jimmy Fitzy had an agreement with his wife that he could take time from his career to participate in civic activities? What if Jimmy Fitzy was out there looking for additional work in this tough economy? How is it right to treat another resident like this? Do you see the stinkin thinkin by the old fart Geoff West?

I embarrassed for him

He calls out some that challenge him, but anyone who challenges the Council majority can remain anonymous, hide behind fake names, insult with broad stokes, without challenge by Geoff West, even though many are Cops, City Employees and Union stooges. Even though many post at work.

What an angry and myopic individual. I read this so I can keep in touch with the lunatic fringe. I need to get back to work now.

9/19/2011 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Barry P. said...

"West Gets Angrier", don't waste your typing. Geoff West and this blog have become the "Grandpa Simpson" of Costa Mesa. Old, angry and bitter. Kind of like the old, grumpy neighbor who calls the police on kids playing ball in their front yard. He cares nothing about improving the community, only criticising everyone, everywhere. This blog used to offer insights into the interworkings of Costa Mesa. Now, it's just a bunch of crumedgeons. If you stop by Denny's at 4:30 today you'll see West eating his dinner. A true picture of what Costa Mesa was, not what we want it to be!

9/19/2011 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...


G.West, general city employees, CMPD,CM Fire: Bad.

Carpetbaggers, petty hustlers: Good.

Have a nice day.

9/19/2011 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

West is one angry guy . . . .

Geoff maybe a tad angry, but if you aren't pissed off in these recent times, then you really have no clue how bad things are getting, city, county, state and federal level. We are being robbed by the very wealthy day and night.

And for the 55 improvements, I would go with bus turn outs, improved traffic lights, and other minor adjustments. There's not a whole lot of space to widen roads and a tunnel under Newport is just an unworkable solution and too costly. And as far as I know, Newport wasn't too keen on having a flood of traffic open up in their area either. But that was about 3 years ago when this first came up.

9/19/2011 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Your recollection is accurate. Several other options were rejected three years ago. I attended the only meeting on this issue held in Newport Beach - sparsely attended and little interest expressed. This was "a Costa Mesa" problem - except for those few folks from Newport Heights that saw the handwriting (grafitti) on the wall and realized that ANY major project would severely impact their community, too.

An "anonymous" commenter (we don't post those) asked why bother with this meeting if there's no money... a good question.

As to the question of my "anger" - get used to it. If you're not angry about what is going on in this city you're simply not paying attention.

9/19/2011 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Newsflash said...

I have a newsflash for you - there are much more effective ways of communicating your preference for one of these plans than commenting at one of these meetings. OCTA is required to hold these meetings, but what actually gets addressed are written comments.

9/19/2011 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

You are correct. They provided comment sheets at the meeting. There was no "presentation", just a continuous loop slide show and exhibits scattered around the room. Staffers wandered around and answered questions and actively encouraged folks to leave their written comments to be considered.

9/19/2011 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

Well, it's come to this...

When ignorant people don’t have anything constructive to say, instead of “not saying anything (as most were taught as children), they MUST attack personally.

When someone chooses to run for public ANYTHING and unless they were raised in a bubble, they know they will take hits from all sides; if they don’t fully understand what public ANYTHING entails they shouldn’t have sought that position in the first place. Actors, Politicians, Sport Heroes… they know and understand this; they may not agree or appreciate what is said about them; but they understand it comes with the territory.

Following the local rags... Times, Pilot and Register; blogs like the Cauldron, OC Weekly and even the Republic; it has become crystal clear those in the minority, the “Disciple Ad Hominem” (for those of you too lazy to look it up)…

an argument is rejected, or advanced, based on a personal characteristic of an individual rather than on reasons for or against the claim itself. (Y. Raley 2008).

… have singled out this attacking Geoff on a personal level. They are using this strategy to discredit, divert and/or sway readers away from the truth, facts or reality about our sitting City Council.

These “Disciple Ad Hominem” practice their treachery, in hopes of gaining favor in the eyes of their demagogue.

9/19/2011 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

I know at one time Mansoor proposed putting pedestrian bridges over Newport Blvd so people could access Triangle square. A waste of money.
Living in and doing business in this area, I would like to see the red light cameras make a comeback, a better traffic light control from industrial to the 55. Where do they propose putting the bus cutouts. How about no busses in this area during high traffic times. This corridor is also highly used by ambulances running to hoag so getting the busses out of the way may help.

Geoff, with all these people calling you grumpy, is it because of the fire near your house on Friday night?

9/19/2011 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

No fire near MY house Friday night. Nope, I'm just grumpy, period - ask the commenters here, who obviously know me so well. :-)

9/19/2011 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Do Nothing said...

Doing anything other than nothing will only encourage more traffic to inundate PCH. That would be an untenable situation.

9/19/2011 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Wendy’s got the “right stuff,” Tom Egan said...

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 08:26:00 PM  

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