Thursday, October 06, 2011

More Adventures in CouncilMania

My sweet and patient wife and I were supposed to be out of town on a much-needed vacation this week, but the "cold gods" thought differently and I've been fighting a whopper since late last week. We canceled our plans, came home and, with lots of rest, fluids and some nifty drugs, I've got my cold in a strangle hold now, so I'm going to give the last Costa Mesa City Council meeting a little attention - finally.

I'll start by
telling you that, once again, our city council just couldn't find a way to complete its work in the same day they began. Once again this meeting ran past midnight. By the time they finished with the closed session, I doubt if many of them got home much before 2 a.m. Wednesday. This is a pitiful way to do business and certainly doesn't serve the community well. Maybe part time, part time councilman Eric Bever anticipated this long meeting and decided to stay home again rather than be bored with the whole thing. What was his phrase again? "I didn't sign up for this!" Yeah, that was it. I've used his photo here so you won't forget what he looks like.

At the request of Mayor Gary Monahan, CEO Tom Hatch and contract City Attorney Tom Duarte will begin giving their reports earlier in each meeting - immediately following the Public Comments segment. This is a good idea and will provide timely, relevant information to the audience - both in the chambers and watching at home - before they have departed or nodded off. Rather than attempt to quote Hatch verbatim from his 14 minute presentation I've provided a clip of that segment. He provides lots of good information - the schedule for some very important study sessions, for example. Without further comment, Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch:

As mentioned in an earlier post, three new RFPs were presented on the Consent Calendar. Those were 1) Animal Control Services; 2) Street and Storm Drain Maintenance Services and 3) Graffiti Abatement Services. Each was pulled for separate discussion and each was passed on a 3-1 vote, with Wendy Leece voting NO. Responses will be due back in a month and the staff will then evaluate them to determine whether the responses are more cost effective than continuing to perform these critical services by city staff. It is interesting to note, once again, that "pricing" is so heavily weighted - 50% - that it is almost impossible to imagine anyone but the lowest bidder being selected. This is what happens when "money" replaces "service" as a priority on our city council.

The "Granny Units" ordinance and the change to the "Sign" ordinance both received second readings and passed, 4-0.

Then the BIG item on the agenda, the future of the TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex, was heard. I confess that I DID NOT watch all of the presentations from the three competing vendors - I'd already sat through those presentations at an earlier Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. As it was, the presentations and conversations stretched this issue more than three hours, late into the night. It came of absolutely no surprise to me that Big League Dreams, USA was named as the vendor chosen to work with the task force authorized that evening to flesh out community and user groups concerns. This, of course, gives them a HUGE leg up if, and when, this scheme finally is placed out to bid.

Although I've been feeling poorly, a loyal reader has done some research for us on Big League Dreams, USA. Without further editorial comment I (we) provide to you the following links to articles on several of their facilities/proposals for your own interpretation. Just click on the city name:

Oxnard, CA - Chandler, AZ - League City, TX - Chino, CA - El Paso, TX - Fresno, CA

As mentioned by several speakers and councilwoman Wendy Leece, this whole process stinks. The whim of Monahan rapidly evolved into a full-blown series of presentations BEFORE members of the community had a chance to provide ANY input. It's putting the cart before the horse. No determination has been yet made by the city that it even wants such a complex to exist at TeWinkle Park. Certainly, there has been NO public outreach, nor have comments been solicited, on this issue. Sadly, this is now typical of our current city council. Led by opportunistic Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and the arrogant and ever-impatient councilman Steve Mensinger, they continue to show blatant disregard for public input and for the need to follow the rules established long ago for the conduct of city business. Tuesday night we heard from several members of the contiguous community, including Jeff Wilcox, President of the Mesa Del Mar Community Association and Lisa Reedy, a past president of that group. They, and the other speakers from that community, expressed concern about this latest overture. Noise, parking, trash, vandalism, public urination and lights were all mentioned as existing major concerns. All were opposed to ANY further development of the TeWinkle Park Sports Complex that will exacerbate those problems.

Among the many speakers addressing this issue was former member of the City Attorney's office and long-time Westside activist Eleanor Egan, a woman who has served this community with distinction for decades, both as an employee and a resident. She cautioned the council to be certain about deed restrictions BEFORE moving forward. Here's her brief cautionary comment to the council:

Clearly, this train is moving down the track - a "fast track" to use a phrase uttered by one speaker. In my opinion, it's very important that the public get out in front of this thing before it becomes a fait acommpli. The public needs to make its views known to every council member and attend meetings of the task force as they occur to monitor the proceedings and provide input when solicited. I find myself wondering just who has what to gain in this process? One might be curious about any gain Monahan might receive in this little adventure. Will his pub, for example, become the conduit through which the alcoholic beverages that will be served at the new complex flow? Just wondering...

At the end of the meeting, just as they were about to head for the Closed Session, in a move that is unprecedented in my memory, Hatch told the public specifics about issues that were going to be discussed in that closed session. In all the years I've watched these meetings I can never recall ANY discussion of closed session items, and particularly not labor negotiation issues, outside those walls. Because of the nature of this disclosure I've provided a clip of Hatch's comments here:

Before we close this one, and to provide more fodder for the cannons of some of the anonymous yappers whose mindless drivel I continue to permit to appear in comments on this blog, I feel it's important to address how some members of this city council treat members of the public who take the time to speak before them. As I suspect is the case in most municipalities, there is a cadre of folks in Costa Mesa who take the time out of their otherwise busy lives to address the council with their concerns on a variety of issues in our city. Some speak on most issues, offering their perspective on the subjects. Others show up when a favorite subject is going to be discussed - the outsourcing, for example. These folks are not whacked-out street people, living out of carts in the weeds of Talbot Park. Most are solid citizens by anyone's definition.

Among the regular speakers are a couple former elected council members - former Mayor Sandra Genis and former Vice Mayor Jay Humphrey - each of whom "did their time" on the dais and are still involved in community activities. Others include Tom and Eleanor Egan - Westside residents and activists who have devoted decades of their private time to try to help make this city an even better place to live. Eleanor, as mentioned above, is a former member of the City Attorney's office. Robin Leffler and Cindy Brenneman, both residents of Mesa Verde and officers in their community association, each devote hundreds of hours a year on community issues. Beth Refakes, an Eastside resident who adjusts her work schedule so she can observe and participate in almost every public meeting in the city, presents clear, thoughtful commentaries to the council and commissions on many issues. This year former employee Perry Valantine - a key member of the Planning Department for three decades - and long-time resident of the city, has found himself distressed about the way this city is headed and has taken his intellect, institutional knowledge and wit to the speaker's podium to address many important issues. Similarly, soft-spoken and courteous teacher Tamar Goldmann has become so frustrated with the way things have been going that she now frequently quietly steps to the microphone to instruct the council.


Each of those speakers, and many more who speak with less frequency but I've neglected here, are not some schmucks who are pushing shopping carts around town. They are concerned citizens who are using the opportunities guaranteed to them to address grievances before the folks that make decisions that affect their lives and those of their neighbors. And, for their trouble, from their seats on the dais some members of this council chide, belittle, criticize and dismiss them as though they are swatting flies. The greatest offender, of course, is our non-elected councilman, Steve Mensinger. As I've said before, perhaps if he actually had to RUN for office instead of landing his seat of power by receiving only 3 votes, he might consider the views of the public a little differently. The arrogance and condescension with which he addresses these folks and others is unacceptable, boorish behavior. It needs to stop.


Speaking of Mensinger, he dropped a bombshell at the end of the meeting just at the stroke of midnight. He asked Hatch to bring back at the next meeting a proposal for "a hiring freeze across the board until we have a second tier in place for new employees". I could almost hear the necks of the staff left in the audience snap as he uttered those words. At press time this afternoon no information was available about how many current vacancies are actually actively being recruited, but this raises some interesting questions. And, I wonder if he might have violated state laws about labor negotiations with that request? Is he holding a gun to the employee associations heads?

For example, does the freeze include the new positions authorized that appear to be ear-marked for Dan Joyce and Bill Lobdell? What about that Park Ranger Mensinger bullied Police Chief Tom Gazsi about at the last meeting? What about the Community Service Specialists approved in a recent meeting? What about the 5 police positions to be filled by a Grant? How will this affect all those "interim" positions at City Hall? Peter Naghavi is Interim Assistant CEO now. Ernesto Munoz is Interim Public Services Director, replacing Naghavi.... and on and on. What about Joyce's and Lobdell's current jobs? This is yet another example of Mensinger's shoot-from-the-hip style - that old "Ready - Fire - Aim!" approach to doing business.

On a positive note. I'm really enjoying the daily video Costa Mesa Minute presentations. I hope you've signed up to view them each morning. They give you timely information about good stuff going on in the city, and good news is pretty hard to come by these days. Congrats to Dane Bora and Brad Long for putting these gems together and to Christine Cordon of the City Clerk's office for her recent cameo appearance.

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Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

I thought there was a second tier in place for new hires? I know the general employees and the managers approved it. I will have to go back to last October to see if police and fire approved it also. If they haven't they absolutely must do so now. They also need to pay their portion to CALPERS like the general employees already do. As for Big League Dreams at TeWinkle, I think it is a bad idea at that location, but an excellent idea for Fairview Park.

10/06/2011 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger valan2 said...

One interesting moment in the hearing on the TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex was when Wendy Leece encouraged members of the Council to disclose any ex parte communications they'd had with the firms who submitted SOQs.

Wendy said she'd had no contact, and then we all bowed our heads for a moment of silence while no one else said anything. This, despite earlier comments between the Mayor and at least one of the firms, indicating that they'd had what sounded like extensive contacts prior to the hearing.

It's one thing to choose not to adopt a formal policy requiring written reporting of ex parte communications - as the Council did a couple of meetings ago. But, it's quite another to refuse to respond when specifically asked about it in an open hearing.

It reminded me of the "no questions" news conference after Huy Pham's death, where the Council walked silently out of the room, ignoring questions from the press. And, it indicates a complete indifference to public perception and fairness of the process.

In addition - and perhaps worse - the fact that three Council members voted for the same firm without any public discussion of pros and cons on the dais, makes one wonder if there was some pre-orchestration.

10/06/2011 08:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

valan2, I think that's a fair question to ask. It seems like some of the council members have everything orchestrated beforehand.

10/06/2011 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

valan2 and Max,
Yes, it's an excellent question - one that should have been easy to answer, unless....

I was remiss in not mentioning it in this post... age and a cold will do that.

10/06/2011 11:42:00 PM  
Anonymous U R Angry said...

Wow Geoff, bad cold, bad eyes, bad knee . Who knows what other ailments. No wonder you are growing more angry as you grow older.

Interesting you blame council for such late meetings. But say nothing of Sandy Genis , Robin Laffler, Jay "let me tell you why I am wearing these eear muffs" Humphries, Perry " I have my big fat pension but I am going to protest Business License irrelevantly" Valentine

Ya ya, I get the right to speak, no matter how daffy, but could they sit closer so we don't need to wait for the ceremonial parade to the podium, every time, on every item?

I think once again that Geoff has misplaced his anger.

10/07/2011 05:08:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

I am willing to bet money that Big League Dreams has one or more of those guys in their back pocket. And the fact that they are trying to push this as fast as possible just stinks. How come people can't do business normally ?

10/07/2011 06:07:00 AM  
Anonymous givemhell said...

These meetings are way too long and it is hard to make good decisions at a late hour. Let's take a good look at who/what goes on that causes such long meetings and see if it can lead to shorter meetings. Anyone see anything obvious?? I sure do.

10/07/2011 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

For Whom the BELL Tolls..

10/07/2011 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

It's nice to see the day-care center has internet access. I resent your comment - I am neither "big" nor "phoney". And, you probably should have spelled the other word "phat" - just for fun.

As far as putting my money where my mouth is... in 12 months I will be doing EXACTLY that, thank you very much.

10/07/2011 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Another spot-on commentary.

My poor neighbors must think I'm deranged as I was yelling at my TV at 11:45PM on Tuesday.

Tewinkle: 2 out of the 3 companies said it was too early to consider a company and that the city needed an RFP before anyone should be considered. The one without the scruples got the job and, to me, is a predictor of what we will get from them in the long run.

But I was most stunned by the arrogance and rudeness of Misters Righeimer and Mensinger. It seems our mayor pro-tem thinks that only he and his lackey are capable of making reasoned decisions. Righeimer actually said the citizens are unable to make business decisions and that's why one of the vendors needed to be added to the task force. Oh, how DO I run MY business daily without his help?

Then Mensinger went on personal attacks calling out people by name! (these are the same guys who were terrorized by "stink eye" a few months ago, but freely wield intimidation). He attempted to defame Ms. Leece and when she called for a point of order, she was dismissed by the Mayor! That's when I started yelling, "Listen boys, you work for US, not the other way around. And since you are all so fond of pink slips, you will love it when you get yours." Yes, I yelled it in my living room,but it had just as much chance of being heard had I been in Council Chambers.

Geoff, thanks for your insights and for this forum where we can actually be heard.

10/07/2011 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Mary Ann,
That's why we're here. Thanks for participating.

10/07/2011 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

What if, Daisy, the plan for this park has ALWAYS been to build it at Fairview Park?

I've attempted to educate the masses on how to read these guys; to no avail.

Righeimer: We need this park and Tewinkle is the only location the REAL council members think it should go. We don't need those damn SH.TY ducks taking all the taxpayers money.

Public: It's too big; not my Dream; no parking and bad roads; too many and too bright lights; what happens for the month of OCFair; not in my back yard.

Mensinger: Well, we're going to put it in because I want a place for college scouts to watch my kids play.

Mayor: I want the booze concession… or, uh… I mean… yah… I want a place for my girls to cheerlead.

Leece: NO! NO Way! Not here, not now, NOT EVER!

Bever: “Sorry, I’m unavailable to answer your call. Leave a message and I will reply in the order the calls were received. You are caller 900,666"… BEEEEP

Righeimer: Well we're going to have my… uhhhh… the… Big Dream in our city!

Mensinger: Mr. Mayor, I would like to make a substitute motion. Build this privately owned and operated, Monster facility; using taxpayers dollar we save after we fire… ooooh… uhhhh… lay off more city employees; knowing full well that it will cost more than and take longer than agreed upon.

We have all that wasteland just sitting at Fairview Park with a stupid train on it. We can kick him to the curb faster than the Fair Board to a swap-meet. And, build it close to my house; where I will be able to police it from the roof of my new third floor addition the City will be paying to build.

Mayor: Call for the question…

Julie: Motion carries… 3-1, with Leece voting NO, and… and… and… where the hell’s Bever?

The next day…

Geoff: Here we go again… No public comments, nobody saw this one coming; here come the lawsuits.

OCLonghair: I give up!

10/07/2011 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...



To: All Foot Soldiers and Trolls
From: Das Riggmarshal

Commence new attack on all citizens questioning my regime!

Focus on West, Genis, and Ridge. Call working people thugs.

I'll be in Newport with the real fatcats stuffing my face and thinking up ways to get publicity at Costa Mesa's expense.

When I'm finally in Congress you vill all be rewarded.

10/07/2011 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger unemployed said...

"and to provide more fodder for the cannons of some of the anonymous yappers whose mindless drivel I continue to permit to appear in comments on this blog"

If the stuff on this blog is mindless drivel to you in 'A Bubbling Cauldron' and on this blog etc. and the stuf is not being addressed then why would anyone want to post on your blog if it is all just mindless drivel to you? I've been out of work since 10/2010 and the local unemployment rate is 14 percent or higher in Costa Mesa CA and Mensinger wants a hiring freeze when they have 7 pages of jobs on their city website that are not being filed because thier processes and procedures are so screwed up that no one is hiring, I even got a message from thier hiring
co-ordinator where he told me that I am wrong about the 7 pages that they have on thier website. "If the processes and procedures are NOT working then why are they following those same processes and procedures that do not work?

10/07/2011 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Question 4 Pot Stirrer said...


Is there anything you can see your way to support that is in front of the council?

As an example, Sandy Genis, no matter what, either opposes or finds fault in everything. Never met a recommendation she could not argue against. And on topics of things like growth, she locks arms wit other tinfoil hat wearing folks.

I watched Santa ana follow the same recommendations the Union made to this council. SA is hiring the same pots of money guy OCEA did. Yet CM is in a better fiscal spot.

I understand you may not Luke some of the how, but I am surprised to see you not support of the what.

What's up? Old? Cranky? Fearful of change? Or so blinded with anger against individuals you have lost sight of the bigger picture?

You don't think any change with any sense of urgency is appropriate?

10/07/2011 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

OCLongHair - ha ha ha, spot on. I don't know why they keep giving away public assets to private companies, and it's not something anyone is asking for ! Righeimer is nothing but a dirty thief for his connected buddies.

10/07/2011 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Yes. I support most of the initiatives to improve transparency throughout city government. As I said in this entry, Hatch's presentation about the closed session is unprecedented - we've never seen that kind of disclosure before.

I support the kind of information that is now available to residents on the city web site and am looking forward to the renovation of the site itself - theoretically coming soon. I especially like the Costa Mesa Minute snippets each day.

I was pleased to hear that they've requested each of the six bargaining units to revisit their Memorandums of Understanding. This should have been done 9 months ago - before they tore the fabric of the city apart with their premature and ill-advised outsourcing scheme.

My biggest concern is the haste with which this council is moving. It's unnecessary and, because they've ignored policies in place, damaging to city operations.

I am NOT unhappy that they chose to look at most city operations - that's just sound management. I'm angry about the WAY they've gone about it, causing unnecessary turmoil. Of course, measured, reasonable actions don't get the headlines and won't get Righeimer's face plastered all over the media - local, national and international - to help with his future congressional campaigns.

Old? Yep. I turned 70 this summer and those years have given me some perspective. Cranky? Yep. I'm cranky because of what I see happening to my city. I've got more than half my life invested here - I'm not some short-term carpetbagging opportunist trying to make a name for himself at the expense of the city. Fearful of change? Sure - fearful of change that 1) doesn't make sense and 2) is destroying the fabric of the city. Blinded by anger? Don't think so. My anger at the way these guys are going about this has only sharpened my focus.

Finally, I think Ben Franklin had it right: "Haste makes waste"...

10/07/2011 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Not ALL the comments are "mindless drivel", but if you read some of them I think you'll agree that they're only posted to criticize ME, not my views. Many, if not most, of the comments posted here are thoughtful opinions of the questions posed on the blog. I'm grateful for those - like yours. I understand your frustration. I don't have an answer for you - yet - about the inconsistency of the job postings. In defense of the city staff, it must be tough trying to keep up with the changing directions they're getting from the council. It seems like it changes like the wind changes - on an almost-daily basis. Thanks for participating.

10/07/2011 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger unemployed said...

Well at 70 I guess they could call you a CURMUDGEON then. LOL - But it still doesn't create jobs or creating new businesses when everything in town is shutting down, we lost the Marie Callender's on 17th Street not too long ago because of the city council's actions and I've seen at least a dozen other businesses go out of business in the interim and I've only been here 11 years, 5 of those in Costa Mesa itself.

10/07/2011 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger unemployed said...

Unemployment rate in the City of Costa Mesa California is 14 percent (some say as high as 19 percent) currently and there is no job creation programs currently in place. No Jobs equal no money in the society to pay rent or bills with, I myself have been out of work since 10/2010. I have no money to pay my rent or bills with and nowhere to go to get relief, I am way behind already.

10/07/2011 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger unemployed said...

Picture: Post this: I'm sure the fans will get the gist of it.

10/07/2011 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger unemployed said...

"Listen boys, you work for US, not the other way around. And since you are all so fond of pink slips, you will love it when you get yours."

**email comments directly to the mayor and mayor pro-tem and others.

email addresses:

10/07/2011 02:50:00 PM  
Anonymous HadEnuf said...


NOW they want to send out letters to the respective bargaining units?

Less than a year ago, I was more than ready to pay the full portion of my employee contribution to PERS, even though that being paid for by the city had been negotiated as part of my total compensation years ago. I was also cognizant of the fact the a two tier retirement system would be the prudent thing to do. I still think eventually thats where things will end up. If I'm not mistaken, the CMCEA offered up a two tier..haven't seen that in effect yet. I also know the Police Assoc. brought up a two tier retirement option in negotiations, but that was summarily dismissed at the time by council. Had they done that, they would be saving tremendously on pensions with 20-25 sworn persons that will likely retire by the end of this contract.

Had they built consensus and worked with people from the beginning, not only would I have made more concessions, but they would still likely have some semblance of employee morale, and saved a butt load on attorney's and PR fees. Just how much WERE they saving on vacant positions anyway? (arent we down about 1/3 employees from a couple of years ago?)

In years past employee groups have ALWAYS worked with the city during fiscal crisis and uncertainty. However, now I will not vote to open contracts, nor would I encourage anyone else to do so. There is ZERO trust in this council majority. To give them anything now means they will only try to take more later anyway.

Clearly this CC's tact is largely vindictiveness against public safety. ABLE was the perfect example- it could have continued for 2 full years at 0 cost to the city. How much consideration did they give to Adderton's public/private partnership idea? They've skewed the numbers so badly, few understand we are basically paying the same hourly cost to HB, only savings we are seeing is due to less hours of flight time.

Another dispatcher just left for another agency and a custody officer is on his last week before going to another agency. If half of the jail staff is gone by December, how does Mensinger propose to fill those positions with his hiring freeze? If 5 full time employees leave, how many part time (since not hiring anyone with a pension) will need to be hired to cover those 20 shifts a week? Never mind we pay to interview and do backgrounds, but then send them through a 6 week academy and they will be gone as soon as anything full time elsewhere opens up...

All theyve managed to do is run off good employees, decimate city services and ruin Costa Mesa's reputation.

10/07/2011 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous You, You, You're not listening to me said...

Here is a great example of misplaced anger. A condition suffered by many. Many have no idea why, but they are mad as help and they are going to vent it at Council.

They pissed off guy about the helicopters. "Stop spending all this money on the helicopter, you, you bad, bad Council"

"actually, sir, we cut the bill to about $300k, between CM & NB, we have saved about $4M"

Then he comes back , as angry as ever, and pops off in an emotional and uneducated way to argue that CM has not balanced the budget with $1.5M allocated savings from outsourcing.

Obviously an emotional guy who has no experience with a budget, kind of like Wendy.

So, Pot Stirrer, et al, you really want council to listen to this guy? Wouldn't he be better served seeking some anger management? Or spend time getting educated?

10/07/2011 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

You, You....
You bet! I expect - DEMAND - that the council listen to EVERY person who steps to the podium to address their grievances with them - even if that person doesn't sprint to the microphone. That's part of what they "signed on for", to paraphrase our part-time, part-time councilman, Eric Bever. They are OBLIGATED to quietly listen to folks who address them with concerns.. that's the job, even if you're not elected to it, Steve. And that's part of the job that's NOT going to change, so any of those buffoons on the dais who don't want to hear it can do as Mensinger does from time to time, and just wander off the dais to somewhere back in City Hall.

There are plenty of frustrated, but uneducated, people who speak out. Clearly, some don't have a firm grasp of the issues - but that doesn't disqualify them from speaking. It seems not to make a difference, by the way, because the council chooses to ignore those who ARE schooled on the issues and who can clearly articulate their views.

What you're looking for is a dictatorship, my friend.

10/07/2011 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous memo said...

if Genis, Leffler, Humpty, PV, Brenneman, and the old lady with the weird tilt would not talk 15 minutes on 6 items and in public comments we could shave an hour and 45 minutes off of the meeting time. Plus they do the perp walk from the back of the room, at least sit closer. That could save another 15 minutes. no need to explain the muffs anymore either. council members should have all the ex parte meetings possible to learn about the subject. Leece had NONE?? (bow heads) Nice homework there councilwoman. Guess all you need are the talking points from Genis.

10/07/2011 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chris McEvoy said...

OCL is not making wild assumptions with the Fairview Park field. Developement of sport fields within that property was a item at the Costa Mesa United council debate. These guys want this done.

There is nothing wrong with nice fields but lets not take away the little open space we have. I think this should be done on the NMUSD properties, they can use the fields, can handle the parking, would benenfit from assumed maintance savings and finally enjoy the revenue.

10/07/2011 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dimel said...

Like some of my fellow co-workers and certainly many of my fellow residents, we would have loved to believe all that has been done or being done by council was for the best intentions. That what they say in every instance is the truth and can be relied upon to guide our decision making and ergo support of them. However, from experience I can say that there has been a problem with factual statements. We are being told that this is all a “math problem” and that we have to “put the emotion aside”. However, much of what is reported as factual budgetary issues are really misrepresented (I don’t want to use the word “lies”) numbers put up in an effort to create fervor among supporters of the council’s position.
Case in point: Mr. Righeimer has repeatedly given false budgetary numbers with regard to ABLE. I have heard 6 million dollars, 5 million dollars, and just this past week “4.9 million dollars” (I will give you the 100k for consistency’s sake with the 5 million dollar claim). In reality, none of these numbers are true. To be clear, yes, I was a pilot with ABLE. No I do not believe that ABLE will ever come back. That’s not my intent in writing. Simply put, I am tired of seeing these spurious claims, and no one ever knows the difference.
The ABLE budget had two main components. Maintenance and Operations (M&O) and personnel. Because Newport and Costa Mesa jointly owned the program, the M&) was split down the middle for each city. Subsequently each city was responsible for its own personnel costs for the employees assigned to ABLE. It was true cost sharing. Costa Mesa never carried the larger financial burden of ABLE, as has been claimed. Cost Mesa Finance was responsible for maintaining/managing the ABLE budget. Subsequently all of the liabilities for ABLE were carried in the budget by Costa Mesa Finance. At first blush it could be misleading if one only looked at the expenditures portion of the budget. Further back in the budget is the “revenues”. That reflects the monies paid into ABLE (via Costa Mesa finance) by Newport (for their half), Santa Ana for their contract payment, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (for their half of the rent on the hangar, and contractual use of ABLE mechanics for the Sheriff’s helicopters), and any other outside agency that used ABLE services and was subsequently billed for that service.
So, by the numbers, the last year’s ABLE M&O was $980,510. That was split with Newport, so that each city paid $490,255 toward the M&O. Newport was responsible for their personnel costs on top of the M&O, as was Costa Mesa. I do not know what their total cost was, as I do not have their personnel expenditures handy, and that is a Newport problem anyway. My focus is on the Costa Mesa issue with misinformation. Once the personnel costs were added in on top of the M&O, Costa Mesa’s total buy in was $854,000. Now, to reflect the appropriate budget numbers, the Santa Ana contract revenues need to be backed out of the total. The Santa Ana contract was split evenly between Costa Mesa and Newport, and each city received about $180,000. The Santa Ana revenue was backed out of the M&O, and not the personnel side, which brings Costa Mesa’s total M&O contribution to about $310,000.
With an M&O of less than one million dollars, I fail to see where there is anywhere near 4.9 million dollars anywhere in the budget. This budget reflects the reduced flight time mandate issued by council/city staff. Even if it were doubled, it would not be 4.9 million dollars.
When I hear misrepresentations or blatantly false statements on a topic I am familiar with, I have to stop and wonder whether what I am being told about the topics I am less familiar with is true or not. It really is as simple as that.

10/07/2011 11:31:00 PM  
Anonymous muah hahahaha said...

The city associations' response to opening the contracts: (laughter) followed by: "no, no, no, no, no and hell NO! (The last no belonging to the cops who have been decimated)

Nice try boys, maybe you should learn from other cities how to properly treat employees and people so you can work together. Oh, I'm sorry, I said learn and work together- two things this council are not capable of.

10/08/2011 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

To: Footsoldiers
From: Das Riggmarshal

Keep Dimel on "bad" list one more year. Remember: CMPD, helicopter: Bad. Whatever number me or Smirkmarshal Mensinger say: Good.

Citizens who talk at my Tuesday speech (council meeting): Bad.

Leece baddest. Keep saying West old and angry.

10/08/2011 07:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Danny Boy said...

Now that HCD is moving to 2nd Floor- the ordering has begun! The new furniture will be delivered any day now for the City Council's private offices. What a disgrace to Costa Mesa. These four men to gripe at every meeting how little money we as a city have.. spending it left and right on coffee machines, custom sofa's and desks.. What the employee's furniture we have been using is not good enough? Come On' Tom Hatch.. show some brains.

10/08/2011 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

911... Someone call PETA. There is a group living in the shadows of Costa Mesa, and they are beating dead horses.

FYI... what's done is done! The longer CM citizens (here come more clichés) dwell in the past; they are going to show up late for the future. The best defense is having a better offense. While you are so busy looking in your rear view mirror at where you have been, you’re going to miss the “Danger Ahead” sign flashing in front of you.

I can empathize with many of you that are feeling the crunch. But, while you are fretting over what happened, these guys have made their next move; anticipating and orchestrating their next three.

Make no mistake, for this council, this is a game of Chess; or Stratego. If you think in military strategies, ‘RISK’. In all three games it is imperative to observe; look for patterns, then adjust. When you lose a piece, and you most certainly will, you can’t waste time thing “how did that happen”; you need to figure out how to use it to your advantage.

This council is ‘Too sharp by half’; you just need to listen closely to what they say, not how they say it. Remember, they are ALL politicians and they will phrase things in a way that suits their needs, at that particular time and situation. No more, no less.

10/09/2011 12:53:00 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

@ oclonghair... Are you sure their not playing McDONALD'S monopoly??
Back on subject. Where is the Tewinkle park money coming from? The savings from senior staff? ABLE being grounded? Police officers numbers dwindling? Just wondering.

I have several ideas for that $5m, how about add sidewalks to some eastside streets so that 30 something families can take a walk in what is left of our safe city. How about set up an account to assist hard working families pay a bill.

10/09/2011 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger unemployed said...

Read the book or get the audiobook Sung Zu The Art of War.

10/09/2011 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger unemployed said...

The Costa Mesa City Council has already broken numerous laws with what they are doing and attempting to do and they should be censured for it. But the republinuts will loose the next election but they are trying to get as much damage passed as they can before that happens because they do not care about the people of this city and they have shown that with thier actions. It's run by Bush Republinuts. It's not democratic in any way.

10/09/2011 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

unemployed, the final two of your last four comments are completely irrelevant to anything being discussed here and, therefore, were not published. I understand your plight and am sorry you're unemployed. If you have something to contribute to the discussion here, fine. Otherwise, your rambling rants on irrelevant issues will be rejected.

10/09/2011 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger unemployed said...

No Pot Stirrer they are not irrelevant it's just that you are the official moderator of this particular blog and the opinions of this blog are your own and you reject anything that is not of your own opinion therefore I'm glad that you want to be the censorer of anyone else's opinions but that of your own. So I don't care if you you listen to anyone else but yourself. I am gone.

10/09/2011 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger unemployed said...

And I quote:

"Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval".

Re: The Pot Stirrer: 70 year old CURMUDGEON - He's pissed at everyone else but himself but I digress

10/09/2011 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Don't let the door hit you on the way out...

10/09/2011 06:31:00 PM  

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