Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year Fast Break

For the residents of the City of Costa Mesa the new year will break fast out of the gate. Before the year is two weeks old residents will have at least four very important meetings to consider. Here's a rundown on each.

On Tuesday, January 3, 2012 the City Council will hold its first meeting of the new year. It will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers and will be preceded by a closed session an hour earlier. Although the posted agenda might lead you to think this will be a relatively short meeting, we've learned that one should be prepared for anything.

For example, in the Consent Calendar which might simply be passed with one vote without comments, there are some items that might provoke a council member or resident to pull them for separate discussion and vote.

Two of the three warrants hold some interesting information. #2400, HERE, lists a payment to Jones & Mayer in the amount of $113, 336.85. On the next warrant, #2401, HERE, there are two entries for legal fees. The first is to Hanson Bridgett, LLP for $20,190.17 and another to Jones Day for $133, 782.21. Those numbers total $267,309.23! If you multiply that number by 12 you get $3,207,710.70! Since this "fiscally conservative" council approved a budget for legal fees of $800,000, you can see that their actions have forced the city to exceed those projections by four times!

The council may also consider increasing towing fees, HERE and for community garden space rental, HERE.

Later they will discuss Athletic Field Allocation, HERE.


The last item in the Consent Calendar is the new Request of Proposals for CMCEA President Helen Nenadal's Facility Maintenance operations. This RFP has been delayed from previous meetings and will likely generate discussions by council members, the public and city workers, too. You can read it HERE.

Two items that will probably produce some discussion late in the meeting. The first, the creation of a brand new position in city government - Economic Development Director - is consistent with previously announced plans by this council. Based on an analysis of the staff report, HERE, it is easy to assume that former Director of Public Services and current Interim Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Peter Naghavi, has the inside track for this slot. The staff report includes a clue when it talks about how this job will be funded - by NOT filling the City Engineer position previously occupied by Ernesto Munoz - currently filling Naghavi's old slot as Interim Public Services Director. Personally, if Naghavi does get this job I think it's great news for the City. He's a man who has served Costa Mesa honorably for more than a quarter century and has shown that he can get the job done. I hope the council approves the creation of this position and then immediately fills it with Naghavi.

The other issue is the discussion of new financial policies for the city. This one is a doozy! You can read the staff report HERE. If passed as written, this council will require tens of thousands of dollars to be earmarked as savings and and require specific percentages of the budget be earmarked specifically for capital improvements. Unless this council finds HUGE new income sources, the only way they can meet the goals stated in this staff report is to cut staff - that's where the money is.

On Wednesday, January 4, 2012 there will be an informational meeting to discuss Jim Righeimer's scheme to turn Costa Mesa into a Charter City. This meeting will be held at 7:00 at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue - at Lions Park. City staff will present an overview of the draft Charter that Righeimer created and will take questions from the audience and accept suggestions for modifications to the Charter.

This scheme will fundamentally change city government forever, but it's not getting nearly enough publicity. Although Righeimer promised between 8 and 10 public meetings on this subject, it appears that timing will permit only THIS meeting before the council finally votes on whether to place the issue on the June ballot. There are other public hearings scheduled, but this is the only informal meeting on the agenda now.

Then, on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 7:00 at Eaders Elementary School in Huntington Beach, Supervisor John Moorlach will hold a public meeting on the 19th Street Bridge. It's unclear why this long dead issue has been resurrected at this particular time. Cynics - like me, for example - suspect it may be part of the smoke screen to distract Costa Mesa residents from the Charter issue. Regardless, the issue of a bridge over the Santa Ana River at 19th Street - officially opposed by the City of Costa Mesa for decades - will be discussed and concerned residents are encouraged to attend to hear what Moorlach has up his sleeve. I provided you with a map of the location in an earlier post.

Finally, on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 the Costa Mesa City Council will hold a Special Meeting in Council Chambers at 6:00 to discuss the Charter proposal. At this point no agenda for that meeting has been distributed. It is a mandatory meeting, required by the schedule to get this issue on the June ballot. The City is in a full court press on this issue, with additions to the City web site to facilitate public input on this subject and to provide lots of background information. Go to the web site and follow the links.

It's going to be a VERY busy year if the first couple weeks are any indication. In anticipation of that pace, we here at A Bubbling Cauldron wish all of you a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. It's going to take a lot of effort by a lot of people to stop the current City Council. Like a runaway train, they seem determined to just keep throwing coal into the boiler until it explodes or derails.

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Anonymous OCLonghair said...

I, for one, love a good conspiracy.

We [Costa Mesian’s] have been privy to daily information and reminded of upcoming events on our newly formed “Costa Mesa Minute (or two)”. This has been fun and informative.

Soooo… why, with so many critical upcoming events list in this post, did they retreat for a 2+ week hiatus?

Holiday breaks… OK.

Paid vacation… Great for them.

Finding use for the roles of duct tape this council keeps on hand, atop Mt O’Fairdrive… ???

Unhappy New Year Eric. Having fun finding a spot for your lump of coal? Call... I have a few suggestions.

12/29/2011 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea declared Kim Jong Il's son and successor "supreme leader" of the ruling party, military and the people during a memorial Thursday for his father in the government's first public endorsement of his leadership. (

Mayor for Life Jim Righeimer declared solidarity with North Korea and the ghost of Kim Jong Il. In a statement broadcast on Faux News today, Righeimer called himself the "blood brother" of the late leader, and vowed that, "The Charter I wrote for Costa Mesa will make North Korea's Constitution look like month-old kimchee." (parody).

12/29/2011 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous No more 5th floor positions said...

I have to disagree with you Goeff. I do not think creating a position for Naghavi is the wise and prudent thing to do. Nothing is stoppping him from returning to the position of Public Services Director and Ernesto Nunez returning to the position of City Engineer. Peter is great at transportation and other engineering related issues. He has absolutley no experience in economic development. It just looks like the city is padding the 5th floor with over paid executives who really don't do much work to justify their existence. I thought this council was for reducing the size of government. I guess that was just a ruse.

12/29/2011 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

No more 5th floor positions.....Do you really think any of the unfab four care about the size of the city government? Did they ever? Look at what they did to the police department. They paid something like $39,000 to one of the most experienced and highly respected law enforcement consultant firms only to ignore the consultant report on the optimum size of the department. Remember that? The report said the PD should be 139 officers strong. Righeimer and the rest (including Hatch, likely on their orders) ignored that and ordered 131 officers because they saw an officer to citizen ratio on the last page of some other document and that ratio is the same as Irvine. Is CM like Irvine in any but the most minor ways? Of course not. But it is the best example to show they don't care about the size of the government.

12/30/2011 07:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Stop the Charter scam said...

The city of Bell was a perfect example of what costa mesans can expect from a charter city. CORRUPTION!!!

Take a look at Righeimer's countless judgements against him on He has a proven track record of running businesses into the ground. He will run our city into the ground too.

Stop of insanity. Vote NO on the new charter scam!!!

12/30/2011 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Question said...

Newport Beach is a Charter City. What do you not like about the way they are doing business???

12/30/2011 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Newport Beach does have a Charter, a good one. Well written and very specific. That is NOT what Costa Mesa is getting. What Righeimer cobbled together in a couple of weeks without any of the NB provisions is a joke. This is NOT how Newport, Huntington Beach or any other respectable city has gone about the charter process. This is just insane.

12/30/2011 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous It's really simple. said...


The answer is simple. The selfish members of the CM Council have ZERO interest in the City of Costa Mesa.

Bever rarely shows up for meetings. (Lamest of ducks)

Righeimer is a grandstander out for personal gain. (Hiring cronies while cutting services to the public)

Mensinger doesn't have a clue. ( Nose in Blackberry and near Riggys behind)

Gary is weak and clueless. ( Great pilot piece by Tim Vasin)

There is NO WAY to compare leadership of the two cities.

12/30/2011 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous mike m said...

I think saying Riggy spent a couple weeks putting his charter proposal together is being FAR too generous. I'm sure one of his minions took no more than an hour cutting and pasting that nonsense together, because I don't know that he could operate a computer...

12/30/2011 08:02:00 PM  
Anonymous mike m said...

DP103 online... shocker who the first 2 are...

12/30/2011 10:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Get Rid of Bloat said...

Wow. Look at the salary range for the new Economic Development Director. Ok all you CM Tax Payer Association members. How do you justify this and the new Asst. CEO position? What ever happened to reducing the size of government to get rid of bloat? Has the council majority been scamming us all along?

1/01/2012 02:29:00 PM  

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