Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Surreal Council Meeting - Again

Sometimes I leave Costa Mesa City Council meetings just shaking my head in disbelief. Last night was one of those times. There's so much to talk about and so little space! So, with a deep sigh, here we go...


As mentioned in an earlier pos
t, the meeting was preceded by a special closed session to discuss labor negotiations. As I speculated earlier, this was done to accommodate hired gun Richard Kreisler. The council thought it was wiser to have the closed session before the regular meeting so Kreisler wouldn't be sitting around, twiddling his thumbs, waiting for the regular meeting to end while his $300 per hour meter is running. As it was, they managed to wrap it up and begin the regular meeting only fifteen minutes late - and without Mayor Gary Monahan, who apparently became ill and went home. Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer took charge of the meeting.

The meeting began with some terrific presentations. The Ursini family, operators of the Newport Rib Company, was honored for all they do for the community. The organizers of the recent Woodbridge Invitational Cross Country meet was recognized and our youth ambassadors to our sister city, Wyndham, Australia, were also recognized.

Fifteen residen
ts - many of them familiar faces - spoke during Public Comments, which began at 6:55 due to all the presentations. Concerns included the ill-advised scheme to turn Costa Mesa into a Charter City; the missing CEO report from the last meeting; legal fees; CARE ambulance charges; pensions; curiously incomplete documentation for consultant GrowthPort Partners and volunteerism. Perhaps the most amusing "presentation" was that of Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy showing up wearing the Estancia High School Eagle mascot outfit - apparently paying off a bet he made with frat-boy councilman Steve Mensinger. Righeimer took a break at 7:30 and reconvened the meeting at 7:45.

As an aside, a Council Policy was created that required the council to cease all other activities at 7:00 and immediately begin any Public Hearings on the agenda. The rationale was that it wasn't fair to require applicants before the council to wait. I've disagreed with this practice because it has caused some very herky-jerky meetings in the past and, in the confusion, items get overlooked - like the CEO report at the last meeting. And, sometimes, the re-arrangement of the agenda by Monahan seemed almost vindictive at times. However, there was only one Public Hearing item which involved a General Plan amendment for a project on the Sakioka property on Sunflower Avenue. Righeimer ignored the policy and forced the Sakioka entourage to wait more than four hours - one member of his team had actually been in the auditorium since 5:00 - as the council waded through the Consent Calendar. When he finally got to it at 10:30 Righeimer made a lame joke to George Sakioka about taking a half-hour break first. I was watching - Sakioka didn't think it was funny. The issue took fifteen minutes and, after all that, Righeimer almost forgot to call on Sakioka during the hearing. For whatever reason Righeimer exercised bad judgment and chose to add insult to injury on an issue that involves a highly-respected family willing to invest hundreds of millions of development dollars in our city.

Back to the agenda. CEO To
m Hatch presented his report beginning at 7:45 and addressed a few of the comments from earlier in the evening, including offering a VERY defensive response to Eleanor Egan's criticism of the GrowthPort Partners billings. I don't think many people felt comfortable with his "they reported directly to me" response to the criticism that there is no report of their accomplishments, only bills.

Hatch also mentioned that the Homeless Task Force Report had been pulled from the agenda - that happened VERY late in the day Tuesday, to the surprise of that group - and would be brought back later. Since the staff report that had been distributed earlier seemed VERY thorough, it left some of us who observe these things VERY curious about the motivation for yanking it off the agenda.

He told us that around $127,000 of the $960,000 contingency fund the council authorized as part of the budget had been spent and mentioned how most of it had been distributed - and corrected an error mentioned earlier about the amount contributed to KOCI.

He mentioned that an RFP for a General Plan Update was being prepared and will be distributed in December and a contract is expected to be signed in February.


Hatch also told
us that the City had responded to the Banning Ranch EIR and that there is a new Costa Mesa Bicycle Map and Safety Guide available in City Hall and soon on the City web site. He also told us the long-delayed report on the Worker's Comp program is still being fine-tuned, which is curious since it was originally on the agenda for an earlier council meeting. He said it will be presented at a Study Session, but didn't say when.

He mentioned that Tom Arnold had been appointed as Interim Fire Chief and prai
sed all involved for the highly successful "Battle of the Bell" football game and extravaganza.

Then he di
d something I've never seen before. Hatch told the audience the details of the ongoing negotiations with the Costa Mesa Firefighters Association. That kind of information has not been divulged in the past while negotiations were underway and, quite honestly, this seemed to be a purely political move - an opinion that has become stronger now that I've heard the other side.

Hatch told us that the current contract with the CMFA extends until 2014 and that last year they agreed to pay 5% of the PERS costs to help with the City's budget dilemma. That agreement ended on November 5th. Hatch told us that the 5% represented about $500,000 annualized. He then told us the City had proposed that the firefighters contribute the maximum allowed by State law - 15.839%, but that was rejected and the CMFA countered with continuing the 5% through 6/30/12 and wanted to amend certain layoff policies.

What he DIDN'T tell us was that, on
September 1st, the City asked for the 5% contribution for the life of the contract and CMFA asked for cost projections and other information. A week later, on the 9th, the CMFA offered to extend the 5% though February 2012. They received NO ANSWER until November 3rd - nearly two months after they made their offer.

Hired gun Richard K
reisler has met with the CMFA, first on November 3, when the CMFA offer was re-stated, but Kreisler couldn't respond because he apparently hadn't met with the full council yet. He did mention the 15.839% contribution at that time. They met again on November 14 - at a time when the expired 5% contribution could still have been continued without a mountain of PERS paperwork - but offer to extend to February 2012 was rejected. The CMFA offered to extend the 5% through the end of the current fiscal year and requested modifications to the layoff policies as respects Engineers and Captains. The City replied that the CMFA should email Human Resources if it wanted to extend the 5%, but they rejected the modifications of the layoff policy.

On Novemb
er 15th the CMFA, through their attorney, sent Hatch an official letter offering to extend the 5% and asking for the layoff policy changes.

STS $300,000
So, the City perm
itted the 5% to expire and, according to Hatch's numbers, it will cost around $300,000 through the end of this fiscal year. They could have agreed to extend it two months ago, but didn't. HERE is Joe Serna's article in the Daily Pilot this evening on this subject.

It seems to me that the CMFA has negotiated in good faith and have done so without a high-priced hired gun attorney at their side during the negotiations. In fact, contrary to some recent comments by members of the power elite in Costa Mesa, they have not had an attorney in the negotiations since 2007.

At 8:00 p.m. we finally got to the Consent Calendar, which took two and a half ours
to plow through. Wendy Leece pulled the first Warrant, #2394, for discussion of legal fees. It passed 4-0.

Steve Mensinger, in a display of ignorance that was hard to comprehend
, even for him, pulled #6, the contribution of $40,000 from OC River Park, Inc., for their mitigation efforts in part of Fairview Park. Righeimer also participated in what appeared to be a group brain burp, as they complained about Costa Mesa being a dumping ground for somebody else's mitigation! The fact is, this is like found money. A developer in Huntington Beach wanted to develop a chuck of land. In exchange for permission to do so he had to agree to "mitigate" another piece of open space - like Fairview Park. This kind of thing has been done many times in Fairview Park, which benefits us all. According to Mensinger, we're "just creating habitat you can't use - a weed patch that blooms every 7 years." I guess, in his alleged mind, if you can't stomp it down, reel it in or shoot it, it's not really wildlife. In the end, after a half-hour of aimless discussion, the council voted 3-1 to pass this issue. Righeimer voted NO. Geez!

Wendy Leece pulled #10, wh
ich involved funding to widen the far west end of 17th Street. She was concerned that this would further facilitate the Banning Ranch development and, if so, the developer should be paying for it. (Correction: I must have dozed off during this one. Eleanor Egan, not Wendy Leece, pulled this one. My apologies to the charming Ms. Egan. See her comment below.)

She also pulled #11, th
e "Selective Traffic Enforcement Program" grant. This item had been pulled from a previous agenda by new Police Chief Tom Gazsi, who went back and massaged the grant request. This grant provides $225,856 in funding for DUI enforcement efforts. Gazsi shifted the emphasis from DUI checkpoints to Saturation Patrols, where history tells us we get more enforcement for our money. Instead of 20 checkpoints the new plan is for 10 between now and September, 2012. After some frustratingly obtuse questions from Mensinger - at one point he said, irrelevantly, that "we're borrowing money from the Chinese!" - the council approved it 4-0. I really think they opposed this because it meant overtime money for the members of the Costa Mesa Police Department, who they view as the enemy.

At 9:00 we got to #12, the extension of the c
ontract with the City of Huntington Beach for helicopter service. Now, you'd think this would breeze right through. Our ABLE program is dead - it only needs to be buried once the assets are sold off and the lease expires on the hangar next April - so this deal for $150,000 through 6/30/12 should have just been a rubber stamp. All the battles about ABLE and the costs have been fought and lost, or won, depending on your side of the issue. And yet Mensinger, in particular, grabbed this and shook it like a puppy with a new stuffed toy. Eventually it was approved 4-0, but not after another half-hour discussion that could have been two minutes.


At 9:30 we finally got to the first of the three new RFPs being considered for release - Tree Maintenance. The staff report on this item was 72 pages long - which made me wonder just how many trees gave their lives for it. And then Bruce Hartley lit a fuse when he told the council that 95% of the Tree Maintenance is already outsourced. More than a few of us in the audience wondered why this was generated in the first place. The handful of speakers who addressed this issue wondered the same thing. After another half hour of wasted discourse it was released.


At 10:00 we got to #14, Park and Landscape Maintenance, which received much of the same thrashing from the Council and it only took 20 minutes to release it.

#15, the Fire Service RFP received hardly any discussion except for Leece's inquiry about why bother releasing it if we still have the Orange County Fire Authority proposal pending and new Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold had added a 5th alternative - to possibly re-organize the Costa Mesa Fire Department. The RFP was released on a 4-0 vote.

As mentioned above, we finally got to the only Public Hearing at 10:30, which was passed, 4-0, in fifteen minutes.


New Business #1, the Smoking in Public Parks, etc. came up for the second reading. It passed with almost no discussion in 10 minutes.

At 10:55 we got to what was almost a surreal event - the selection of members for the TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex T
ask Force. The staff report contained names of those nominated by their user groups and homeowner associations, which basically left only two positions for the Council to select - the "At Large" member of the community and an alternate. There were five people who had applied for the job and I thought this was going to be a no-brainer - especially with Mensinger's friend (or maybe former friend) Gordon Bowley on the list. He's been active in sports-related functions for years and seemed like a perfect fit for the at-large slot. NOPE! Out of nowhere Mensinger began throwing out names of people he thought should be considered - but who had not applied! Righeimer chimed in, stating that some folks had also contacted him and wanted to know how to apply - after the deadline! Of course, his sympathy on this issue didn't surprise me - he was appointed to the Planning Commission 7 months after he moved to town after the deadline for applicants had passed. Again, rules are for somebody else.

Anyhow, this discussion went round and round and included Mensinger wanting to re-task the Task Force. Fortunately, contract City Attorney Tom Duarte cut him off at the knees on that one or we'd still be there. Finally it was decided to re-open the application period for another week, then re-visit this issue at the next council meeting. Interim Communication Director Bill Lobdell sent out a press release this morning announcing the extension until November 22nd. Also, Eleanor Egan again reminded the council that the deed to the property on which this facility is located prohibits such a development. Duarte was instructed to investigate that claim. The motion had passed 3-1, with Leece voting NO.

This is yet another example of this council not seeing "the right names" on a
pplications for committees and task forces, so they just want to change the rules so they can stack the groups with their sycophants. You will recall this same thing happened recently when, after a huge public outreach for candidates for several committees, at the council meeting they just arbitrarily decided to reduce the size of the committees and put off placing people on them until the spring recruitment period. Again, the rules are for someone else.

An aside here - these are the guys who WILL be creating the Charter for this city between now and June. This should scare the heck out of every member of the public. The responsibility for creating a Charter - the second biggest event in the history of our city following its creation in the 1950s - is a process that simply should not be rushed and, more important than that, not be entrusted to political opportunists with visions of grandeur and personal gain. This is going to be like sending four foxes into the hen house, drooling all the way. Think "The City of Bell" on steroids.

The last item on the agenda, the issue of Telecommunications Facilities in the Publ
ic Right-Of-Way, was given a short discussion, with Righeimer leaving the room because he's involved in cell tower sites. After the installation of the tower in my neighborhood a couple months ago - it looks like a suppository on top of a telephone pole - the Council agreed that something had to be done and approved staff time to review and recommend a policy on this issue.


Leece led off the comments by suggesting that the council consider creating a Veteran's Affairs Committee, to coordinate and focus the City's efforts to assist and recognize our troops. (Eric Bever later chided her on this issue)


Mensinger began his comments by suggesting that we m
ay now finally put the "urban legend" of the ABLE helicopter program to bed. He said the Town Hall last week was "interesting", but that we should leave race out of it - referring to the fliers that were distributed. And, of course, he raved about the Battle of the Bell festivities.


Then Righeimer launched into his usual late-night rant, starting by saying that "outsourcing is going very well" - which is a crock! Not a single RFP has been evaluated yet and they still have not released all of those planned for release. He harshly criticized the Firefighters for their "unconscionable"contract. He said we had been "hoodwinked" by the fire department. He raved about the benefits of a Charter City, and told us we WILL see it on the June ballot - even though contract City Attorney Tom Duarte has not yet brought the information back to the council. See, facts don't matter - especially when they get in the way of his plans. He described it as a "very routine" situation. Then, in the most self-agrandizing bit of puffery I can recall, he said he would give the city a "B+" on its report card. I sure hope he didn't hurt himself patting himself on the back!

Eric Bever wrapped up this long, long evening by criticizing Leece for, amon
g other things, "flag waving" with her Veterans Affairs Committee suggestion, criticizing her Town Hall because of the translations provided - despite the fact that he was not there. He was using second-hand information. His final contribution to the enlightenment of the populace was to have a blog web address placed on the screen and encouraging everyone to read it because, "in contrast to some of our other local blogs, it's actually factual and quite honest." It will come as no surprise that you did not see "A Bubbling Cauldron" up there on the screen. Nope, you saw the link to a site that is primarily an attack site, focusing on trying to discredit what you read here. The author is an Irvine resident - a good buddy of Lobdell, by the way - who was at one time a writer of some renown. Those days passed after he left the OC Weekly - which he co-founded - under a cloud after getting into a snit with the new owners and then failing in a new alternate weekly in Long Beach. He blames that on the economy. Since he has no dog in this Costa Mesa hunt, it's easy to speculate why he might have decided to throw himself into the fray. My suspicion is that is has to do with dollars - I'd love to know who's bankrolling his efforts.

The next council meeting - the final regularly scheduled meeting of the year, will be held on Tuesday, December 6th. One can only cringe at what might await us at that one.

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Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

It was I who pulled #10 on the Consent Calendar, not Wendy Leece. It seems to me that there is no need for the proposed widening ($800, 000, including a $200,000 grant match by the City). It would, however, facilitate development of Banning Ranch, in which case the developer should be paying the entire cost.

11/16/2011 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous John from Fountain Valley said...

This has to be the most hilarious dog and pony show in city government. I have encouraged my political science students to either attend these meetings or watch the live feed. No where else can you see how to not run a city. Thank God I live in Fountain Valley. We were smart enough to not elect Righeimer. Tough luck Costa Mesa.

11/16/2011 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

It really should come as no surprise the city ignored the offers by the CMFA. The city did the same thing last year when the cops made a proposal the city ignored for almost 4 months, costing the city near $500,000 in tax payer money when the contract expired on August 31st, 2010. So, due to no other reason than politics, the Costa Mesa tax payer is out at least $800,000 in the last year and four months due to these boneheads' political agenda.

11/16/2011 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gee, Wyatt Earp... tell me how you feel! :-) :-) ;-)

11/16/2011 10:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike M said...

These guys are such an embarrassment... but none more so than Bever. What an absolute toady and tool that guy is... so happy he's termed out and will just go away. He has become nothing more than a lapdog to these clowns, and has never shown a single speck of leadership while serving as an alleged leader. Good riddance.

But I wish I could tell you how I REALLY feel...

11/17/2011 06:34:00 AM  
Anonymous X said...

i do not trust the firefighters at all. Let's see, they WANT to go to OCFA, pay a higher pension percentage, take a pay cut, and lose some benefits. HMMMM.........why I wonder? To help our City? LOL Think about if folks. We have firemaen sitting around all day waiting to respond to a medical, not fire, calls. Can't an ambulance do that? Oh, if an ambulance did, then the firestations would be obviously overstaffed. Actually they are overstaffed now and this is the reason they want to be outsourced and even paid for the study themselves. Why? To keep the bloated staffing levels. No wonder the City rejected their "generous" offer. You guys fooled Wendy two years ago but you're in with the big boys now. In other news, Team Genis was off kilter: Leffler praised Fountain Valley for outsourcing workers, Leece made motions to approve outsourcing, Humphries just wasted his time talking with no zingers or gotchas, egan forgot there already is a private tennis club at Tewinkle and the State didn't take it back, and the evil grandmother praised Mensinger. Stangest meeting yet.

11/17/2011 06:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Fire, tell city f-o! said...

Sure doesn't sound like bargaining in good faith on city's part!

I'm all for showing everyone this is what the select groups and city came to agreement on, but this kind of "transparency" is BS!
This was no "negotiation", this is a simple take a 15.8% pay cut demand and if you don't say yes right this minute we're telling on you to make you look bad, you greedy union fire thug!

Negotiations are give and take. How is this ever supposed to make progress if Hatch runs to the media with every pawn move? Other than a massive paycut, what did the city offer in this negotiation?

So the CMFA, which is locked into a contract until 2014 and doesn't have to come to the table, has made two offers to extend the 5%, one to February 2012 and the other thru the 2012 fiscal year, for an immediate $300k savings. Then, maybe I am mistaken, but I thought I read somewhere they offered to continue the 5% for the life of the contract thru 2014, saving the city an estimated $500k a year? This all sounds pretty conciliatory for a group of guys who still don't know if they are going to be employed by the City of Costa Mesa in a few months.

Revenues are way up in Costa Mesa. So what is it..? City is broke, road repair, too many employees with pensions? The budget has been balanced along with having an extra "contingency fund", in spite of the crazy spending that this council majority has bankrolled with taxpayer money. How about we see some progress on the business licensing fees before we gut the employees any more?

If this is how "negotiations" in the city are going to be played out, I don't see and wouldn't blame any of the groups for not opening their contracts prior to 2014.

11/17/2011 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous More bad math said...

More bad math from public safety.

Many people, like Wyatt Earp here, focus on the small amount of dollars.

If Public Safety were to pay their share, calculate that savings, well into the millions.

That is what council is after, and there are many who support the efforts. As evidenced in the last election.

Keep holding out Wyatt, it will make the special election ballot measure and next election a breeze.

In the long run, this will be fixed.

11/17/2011 08:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Bad Faith said...

Yo Fire F/O,

I would not hire a single Public Safety person under those contracts you encourage to stay closed. Not one. We need to keep the FD guys sitting in the Firehouse playing cards. And when the contract does come up, there will be enough facts & data to prove that a big chunk of those card players are not needed and we can replace fire with emt and save a bundle.

As for the Police Union, they appear to want to keep their contract closed too. That is fine, they will not get any new hires based on that one side agreement. Wait until you see the complaints for overtime. You watch, they will come running to the table when layoffs are announced.

Privately, the non public safety employees complain about Public Safety compensation. Even Nick Beradina publically expressed concerns over the public safety comp., questioning their pay and benefits as a cause of what is happening to his union members.

For both Fire & Police, their sense of entitlement and methods of negotiation are going to make getting a Charter City an easy vote, and will certainly carry into losing the elections.

Can you see “Pension” Valentine trying to justify taking PD & FD money, when the Unions are behaving like this? You think watching Geoff West grow more and more angry is a fun sport to watch. Wait until election season. Save me a front row seat!

11/17/2011 09:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Wyatt, please explain to me why the firefighers should not be paying their full amount of the EMPLOYEE portion of the benefits? The only one who looks bad here are the firefighters. Relying on the same old story that we should take whatever scraps they offer us to get some instant savings is exactly how we got into the mess we are in. Glad this Council is fixing this mess. The taxpayers support them!

11/17/2011 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Paying attention said...

Fire F/O and Earp,

Keep it up, please, the numbers don't lie. Take Fire, in 2008, the total regular salaries were $7.9 million, OT was $3.2 million and City-paid pension payments were $3.3 million.

With OT and pension, Fire was getting, and the citizens of Costa were paying, 182% of their actual salaries.

Remember, these are the guys who, when asked to come up with ways to balance the budget, wanted to charge residents for inspections, accident response and paramedic/ambulance service.

Now, Fire F/O calls contributing to his OWN pension a pay cut! I wonder if it is the same guy who stood up at a council meeting and bitched about having payments to make - as if no one else in Costa Mesa (38% of homes in foreclosure or otherwised distressed, closed businesses, etc.) did.

The public is awake and paying attention - and they are not represented bu the same few folks who speak at every meeting.

11/17/2011 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Not Surprised said...

Eventhough I am a big supporter of public safety, I have to agree with many of the poster's here that Fire is not negotiating in good faith. 5% is a pittance in regards to the overall cost of their pension. If Fire had been willing to pay 10%, that would of been bargaining in good faith. Go to the compensation report on the city website. Look how much retirement pension cost is for public safety and check out what % they actually pay. Fire and Police have the City over a barrel because it is not like you can privatize public safety. Even if the City becomes a charter city, the contracts would still be in place. So what is the solution here? Laying off a few maintenance workers will do nothing in regards to the overall economic health of the City. The highest paid workers with the most generous pensions are in public safety. I say contract both police and fire to another public agency, either the county or another city. This way, based on economic conditions, you can adjust the contract to what level of service the city can afford. I doubt you would see a noticable drop in service levels.

11/17/2011 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous The Diaper said...

Riggy got elected because he was the chosen one for pension reform, and now he has instructed his lap dog City Manager to make the Fire Department look bad in the press. I bet this type of tactic never would of happened with the previous RESPECTED City Manager.

11/17/2011 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Phil, no one said they shouldn't pay the entire portion of the contribution. I certainly did not say that. The point I made was politics alone has cost you and I approximately $800,000 in taxpayer money since June, 2010. That is quite a bit of road repair, Pop Warner payoffs, whatever. The FF's aren't stupid. They know they will, at some point, pay that entire portion. If you notice, all they asked in return was to modify some language regarding layoffs. That's it. $300,000 in savings for some language. Wow, I can't imagine how companies run by Rig and Mens went bankrupt.

11/17/2011 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

LOL, please re-post - a glitch deleted your commment from 2:26 this afternoon.

11/17/2011 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous LOL said...

Sorry Geoff I forgot exactly what wrote earlier... it must be all the cocaine I snort as a public employee... it effects my memory, which is probably a good thing since I don't want to remember what this council has done to the city anyway.

11/18/2011 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Pay your way said...

Wyatt Earp,

"no one said they shouldn't pay the entire portion of the contribution."

Then why aren't they? No one is making them look bad except themsleves. The average OT for firefighters is tens of thousands a year, many over $40k/yr. That isn't for some emergency that required actual OT, it is because they're covering shifts.

11/18/2011 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous X said...

genis wants to investigate everything that she can EXCEPT the pilfering of hundreds of thousands of dollars of our money by public safety unions. Oh, but let's investigate Jim F's "maybe" getting a sanitary district stipend of 200 dollars to attend a function! Thank You to council for bringing an end to this no later than 3 years from now. too bad general employees MAY be outsourced (none yet despite the hysterics) IF the price is right. Leece doesn't even want to know a price, it's too fast she thinks. We would not be here except for public safety costs, check the city website for the 200K to 300k cops and firefighters who get MILLIONS after retirement. it is ending, here and everywhere. genis should help with that, not worry about a small stipend.

11/18/2011 05:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Pay your the FF's made themselves look bad by making two offers to the city, both of which would have provided an immediate cost savings? The first is a $300,000 cost savings and the second provides $500,000 cost savings. I get it, you are one of those down is up and up is down types. How much they pay will be negotiated. So far, for a continued 5% payment, they have only asked for some language changes. Wow, stop the presses for those greedy FF's. God forbid what they may ask for a 10% payment, pens to work with? Uniforms to wear?

11/18/2011 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Please help us Wendy said...

So, is Santa Ana Fire refuses to negotiate until OCFA has been evaluated. And Costa Mesa is in the same boat.

How is that going to work?

No way OCFA can handle both , evaluate both, take on both.

So, my opinion is that both cities are being screwied by their Fire.

Typical Fire Union crap. I do not dislike firemen. But I cam live without their Union.

Where is Wendy when we need her?

11/18/2011 07:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Please help us Wendy....CMFD FF's are ready and have been ready for months to go to OCFA. OCFA can handle it because they would absorb most, if not all of CMFD personnel and equipment. There is one reason it has not happened up to this point and that is control. Right now, the council retains absolute control over the CMFD. The council would be nothing more than a contract city sitting at the table with the other 26 or so contract cities. The council would in that case only have input, not control. Do these jokers seem like the type that could stand to only have input, not control? Of course they are not that type. Hence, the no OCFA yet.

11/18/2011 09:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Details said...

Wyatt Earp,

What were the language changes? Don't play us for fools, those language changes could have huge impacts, or not.

11/18/2011 11:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Details, that is a great question and I don't know the answer. Very likely it was procedural type stuff that has nothing to do with compensation. But, you are assuming it will have a great impact. All we know at this point is the FF's offers would have saved money for the city and they are being demonized for it.

11/19/2011 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Details and Wyatt Earp,
I think I can tell you about that "language" change. As I understand it, currently the City layoff policy requires that, for bumping rights, total tenure as a City employee is the deciding factor, not time in their current job. In most instances that works just fine, but in the case of the fire service, that's a major problem.

The CMFA requested that, in the case of only the Captain and Engineer positions, time in THAT JOB be the criteria considered, not total time on the job. The reasoning, as I understand it, is that you might have, for example, a Captain with only one year in that job, but with 20 years total service, "bump" a person with 10 years as a Captain, but only 18 years of total service.

Because of the level of skill, certifications and leadership necessary in those jobs, that proposal makes sense to me. There may be more to it than that, but it seems to be a reasonable request from the CMFA. Although I don't know specifically, perhaps the City is worried about opening up a Pandora's box with that change.

11/19/2011 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous No Thanks said...

We need Weathervane Wendy Leece and Captain PotBelly Geoff West as helpers like we all need a hole in the head.

I see Captain PotBelly posting over on OC Liberal. Funny to see a republican over there. West bucks the trend. Typically you get more conservative when you get old. Flaming Liberal for sure.

Council Members and other bloggers encourage Geoff West to "listen", but he does not. Do as I say be commands, not as I do or think.

Wendy is a lost cause as well. Of the longer Council meetings, how much has Wendy, sandy Genis and the likes of Robin Dafler added? Way to much OS the answer.

We do need to look at the language of the public safety contracts. Any concessions are differed, or contingent upon things like increases in the TOT. Do not trust'em.

West OS a Council Jester & Critic. Imagine where our City would be without Geoff, Sandy and Public Safety Unions.

11/19/2011 03:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Details said...

Wyatt Earp and Geoff,

Agreed we need that info. Sounds innocent enough, I'd like to hear Chief Arnold's take.

11/19/2011 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Me, too. Perhaps we will....

11/19/2011 11:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Central Valley Farm Animals said...

No Thanks wrote:
"We need Weathervane Wendy Leece and Captain PotBelly Geoff West as helpers like we all need a hole in the head.
I see Captain PotBelly posting over on OC Liberal."

Stevie, Go play with your toy sheriff badge and leave the important stuff to the grown-ups. What were you doing on the liberal blog anyway? Read a book instead of stalking Geoff.

11/20/2011 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger lunababy said...

Geoff, I want to thank you for the amazing comments you shared in the Daily Pilot today (11-23). When I read it my eyes filled with tears. As I am writing this my eyes are filling with tears. Maybe today is one of those "more sensitive days" but i really appreciated your words. It makes me proud to have you as a resident of Costa Mesa, someone who sees the situation in the city so clearly and can write about it so eloquently. So Thank You Geoff West for your support.

11/23/2011 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Of course we need more details. But, why do you think the council and Hatch haven't yet released what that is? Because to do so would make them look bad. Because then the FF's would look better because they are willing to trade $300,000 to $500,000 in savings to re-arrange how persons are laid off in the event that were to occur (presuming The Pot Stirrer's guess is correct). What is even worse is it is a great example of the alleged "transparency" occurring under this regime. Any basic, elementary definition of transparency would be that both sides would be publicized. That is certainly not occurring here. Stay tuned.....

11/25/2011 10:50:00 AM  

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