Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Now I Understand! (Updated*)

I had a good feeling about last night's City Council meeting when it started - before a standing-room-only crowd - with a presentation to a Pop Warner Flag Football team - a group of tykes coached by a city employee who had an outstanding year. Members of the League Champion Estancia High School Eagle football team - all dressed up in their traveling blazers - were there to support these little guys and two of the stars from THAT team stepped up to praise them, extol the virtues of football and encouraged them to stay together. Senior Ozzy Magana reminded them that it didn't matter whether they went to Estancia or Costa Mesa. What mattered was that they were Costa Mesans. It was one of those "I'm-glad-I-live-in-Costa-Mesa" moments that we don't see often enough these days. Unfortunately, that was just about the last "good feeling" I had last night.

Remember how I've told you that our city council makes bad decisions when they let the meetings stretch into the next day? Well, their record is intact. The council meeting that began at 6:05 Tuesday evening finally ended at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday - today! And, it began short-handed as Mayor Gary Monahan failed to attend due to a serious family emergency.

I knew we were in trouble when the only Public Hearing to be held - the change in holiday hours for the Target Store on Harbor Blvd. - stretched an hour and a half, only to end up being continued until January 17, 2012 because both votes taken on the issue resulted in 2-2 ties, which means each vote failed - the result of Monahan being absent.

The big item of the evening/morning was the discussion of the Cha
rter City proposal put forward by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer. That discussion began at 11:05 p.m. and stretched until 1:15 a.m. This issue never should have been on the agenda in the first place. Such a significant issue should have been scheduled for a Study Session, where a thorough vetting by the council could take place. That, however, wouldn't fit Righeimer's plans. Like almost every other initiative he's launched since taking office last January, this one was going to be on a fast track, one way or the other.

As it turns out, Righeimer created the draft Charter included in the staff report all by himself, by cutting and pasting segments from several other city charters. He's in such a hurry to get this issue before the voters that he couldn't wait to have the City Attorney cobble something together, nor could he wait to have a vote taken by the people to authorize the creation of a charter commission. Nope, this is his baby and he is doing it, period!

One of the reasons for his haste became very clear as we read through the Charter draft. Actually, he read it to us, just like my folks used to read the Sund
ay funnies to me many, many moons ago. You can read it in the staff report, HERE. When he got near the end and came to Section 603, Voluntary Municipal Employee Political Contributions, I understood what this is all about. Here's the verbiage of that section: (click on image to enlarge)

As some may recall, Righeimer has been on a nearly two decade crusade against organized labor. He and a couple other pals, Frank Ury and Righeimer's lawyer/brother-in-law, Mark Bucher, burst into national prominence with their ill-advised "paycheck protection". You can read about that HERE and HERE. The text above is only the most recent attempt by Righeimer to de-fang organized labor's fund raising resources. Clearly, it's the cornerstone of his efforts to rush this Charter initiative onto the June ballot.

In my previous post on this subject I provided a schedule - a time table - for the
processing of this issue in order to get it on the June ballot. Well, the first thing I noticed Tuesday night was that there's a new schedule, not the one in the staff report. This one shifts the timing out a week, which may eliminate an opportunity for at least one of the Town Halls anticipated in the previous schedule. Here's how the new schedule looks, taken directly from the agenda addition last night:

Dec. 6 - City Council Meeting: Report on possible City charter, including introduction to what's a charter, pros and cons of b
ecoming a charter city, and procedure for being a charter city (including proposed time line); first draft of the charter will be presented and discussed; public comment will be taken.

Dec. 20 - Deadline for notice posted for the mandatory First Hearing of proposed charter on Jan. 10, 2012.

Jan. 5, 2012 - An informational Town Hall has been added to the schedule at 7:00 p.m. - location to be determined.

Jan. 10, 2012 - Special City Council Meeting (First Hearing);
The City Counc
il will look at potential provisions to include in a charter for Costa Mesa, take public comment and may vote on a first draft of a charter, which can be edited by the council throughout the process.

Jan. 23, 2012 - Deadline f
or notice posted for the mandatory Second Hearing of proposed charter on Feb. 14, 2012.

Jan. 24, 2012 and/or Jan. 31, 2012 - Potential town hall meetings on charter;
If needed, the City of Costa Mesa will present information on the charter and charter process. (During the meeting Righeimer added a Town Hall on the 24th for sure and kept the option open for another on the 31st.)

Feb. 14, 2012 - Special City Council Meeting (Second Hearing); City Council will receive public comment and may continue to hone the draft charter toward completion.

March 6, 2012 - SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING to vote upon resolution directing that the Charter be submitted to the Voters; This is the earliest date in which Council may adopt a resolution directing the charter to be submitted to the voters.

Once the vote is taken and the paperwork is submitted to place the issue on the June ballot there will be three months of politicking from both sides of this issue. Righeimer speculated that "the unions" would be throwing money at this issue to defeat it.


The meeting ended with council member comments - which has devolved in recent m
onths into whine-fests, in which some of the male members of the council take pot-shots at Wendy Leece. Last night both Eric Bever - our part-time, part-time council member took his turn at bat, throwing zingers at her across the dais. And then, like the bitter after-taste from a bottle of cheap wine, Steve Mensinger launched off into another of his woe-is-me tirades, telling us that his wife and kids were all home in bed and yet here he is, serving the public. I wonder if he ever gets a cramp in his arm from patting himself on the back for his "sacrifices". Maybe he should just do what he said he REALLY wanted to do during his acceptance speech last January - quit the council and coach. He should listen to Ozzy Magana...

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Anonymous Righeimer is Desperate said...

Scary times are ahead for Costa Mesa. My only hope is there are enough knowledgeable and caring residents of Costa Mesa who actually give a damn about their city to oppose this. No other city has ever had one man draft a charter like this. If this is not a power grab, I do not know what is? Why is this not illegal? A charter commission should be the only legal way to establish a charter city. Both Newport and Huntington Beach had charter commissions for the initial charters and all subsequent updates. This is the right and prudent way to proceed.

12/07/2011 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger feral390 said...

I'm starting to believe that Righeimer is not merely a power hungry, greedy, self serving right wing whacko but he may actually have some type of obsessive compulsive mental disorder (among other things) welcome to bizzaro world

12/07/2011 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Meeting said...

Yeah, Mensinger needs to stop letting us all know how hard he works but Bever was right about the emergency funds use and Wendy should not have opened her mouth. When he's right, he's right.

12/07/2011 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Meeting, sometimes he's right. I always cringe when he begins one of those little rants because history shows us that he's capable of getting both feet in his mouth with great frequency.

12/07/2011 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

All this information will come out in the time before the election. This is such a blatant power grab and the voters are going to notice. People are paying attention now and this kinda thing can't be hidden away anymore. And all this anti union talk over the last year has really died down in the public's minds, since they looked at the issue and found no problem with unions on the whole. These guys won't have their seats in the next elections.

12/07/2011 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous It's all about the unions said...

When Newport Beach presented its plans for Sunset Ridge Park and Bluff Road to the Coastal Commission, one Commissioner remarked that it appeared to be plans for a road with a park wrapped around it. Likewise, Righeimer’s presentation looks like a kill-the-unions initiative with a charter wrapped around it.

12/07/2011 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

I was puzzled by Righeimer's rush to get his charter dream on the June ballot. I know it's one of the hallmarks of his behavior -- rush, rush ahead, torpedos be damned -- but why such an incredible rush for such an incredibly important civic action?

My guess is that he thinks voters of a Republican persuasion will be more likely to vote his way than anyone else.

Fortunately for him, there will be overwhelmingly Republican turnout in June, because there will likely be more than one person still trying to be the Republican presidential candidate.

President Obama won't have any challengers, so Dems won't get excited enough to turn out.

Bottom line: Righeimer's framing of his charter dream in familiar Republican virtues, including talking points from his (failed) Prop 226 anti-union initiative from 1998, should attract a lot of Republican voters.

12/07/2011 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Righeimer is in such a hurry said...

We are told Costa Mesa needs to slim down. But Righeimer is in such a hurry to show the weight loss that, instead of putting the city on a diet to rebalance intake and outgo – more veggies (business license tax and other revenues) and fewer calories overall (reduced service levels and capital expenditures) – , he just cuts off a leg here, an arm there, and now he wants to cut out the City’s heart. He’ll reach his political goal, but the Costa Mesa we know and love will be dead.

12/07/2011 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

After Bever's little fit re the emergency funds, wasn't it brought out that the funds had been replenished??

Maybe I missed something because I don't like or trust the guy.

12/07/2011 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

As proposed, the Charter is good news for the residents and taxpayers and bad news for the greedy unions. Anytime the teamsters get involved to oppose it, you know it must be good. That's enough for my vote. It will pass 60 to 40 percent. Only that close because of the taxpayer money the unions will spend fighting it.

12/07/2011 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I'd be for being a charter city if Righeimer never got elected. I can't imagine a more obnoxious politician. He's only doing this for a personal crusade. This was never brought up as a campaign issue when any of the current council members were running. This is clearly an afterthought.

12/07/2011 03:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Homeowner said...

Talk about transparency! This Council is such a joke! I'm so embarrassed to admit I live in this town. No wonder we have a PR guy.

Yeah, you'll say - go ahead and me, I'm trying! It's hard to sell your house when there's mattresses, shopping carts and other furniture dumped all over the neighborhood.

Way to put Costa Messed Up on the Map! Council needs to take some lessons from the Segerstrom's on how to be successful!

12/07/2011 03:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike M said...

Riggy will have a large bankroll to push his plan... those that aren't informed will follow like lemmings. Spread the word - NO CHARTER on Riggy's watch, or form a charter commission at a minimum!

12/07/2011 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Union money said...

Classic union noise. The real reason Rancho Palos Verdes charter went down was because they did not include the prevailing wage clause and the unions attacked. A very small city all of a sudden was flooded with union funded fliers critical of the charter - all because they want their piece of the pie.

Don't be fooled, when a Teamster shows up and outright threatens the council with the full wrath and funding of the Teamsters, you know you hit a nerve.

These aren't the local associations, these are the Jimmy Hoffa guys - Righeimer's on the right track.

12/07/2011 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Righeimer's fear mongering with his current buzzword, 'UNIONS!' looks like it has worked with a few of you. This is the same mentality perpetuated during the Salem witchcraft trails and the hearings in the House of UnAmerican activities under Joe McCarthy.
Thankfully, the majority who have responded here are thinking for themselves and drawing their own conclusions.

12/07/2011 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Baaaaaaa(like the sheep)rry... Enough said on that

Riggy is trying to change the whole playing field because he has a gripe with one of the players. He thinks this is HIS city to govern. I did not know CM was a monarchy. I did not vote for him, nor would I vote for HIS charter city.
I said it in another post, Riggy is cutting and pasting the goodies from other cities. I also said I am for a charter, give me a rep from my area, someone in touch with reality, MV can keep Riggy.

12/07/2011 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous nevernervous said...

The usual speakers at public comments did their usual thing and then some. One after another they recited past history of decisions and statements from the last year. All that was missing was someone reading Chief Stavely's "retirement" letter as if it is on par with the Declaration of Independence. So there the complainers are, using their energy to recite was HAS ALREADY happened. No vision. No proposals. This is probably how they think they can win next election-nothing but complaints and no exciting programs prosposed. Duh, losing! Still looking at shiny objects while the train pulls away leaving them scratching their heads. Then Ridge gets up and very authoritatively states that the IT Department is the last thing the City should consider outsourcing. What a nut! It is one of the first and most easily done things, if the price is right. And boy, does our IT department seem screwed up. Ridge said "institutional knowledge" of our wires and computers would be hard to replace. LOL. What we need is a systems analyst to come in and see what the employees need to do the work and then bid it out to a cutting edge company to move us forward ten years. Not a computer guy telling the employees what they can have, we have to give them the tools they need. Of course Ridge, always the anarchist, stated the first thing outsourced should be ATT since it is a corporation. I am no fan of ATT but his point is he doesn't like business and/or electeds. Do what HE says and follow the visions in his head produced by inhaling too much varnish as he refinishes furniture. And if that union lady head and the mechanic are the ones who outnegotiated the City for contracts I am very thankful that the City now has a professional negotiator. She is dull and drab and the mechanic is somewhat sharp but doesn't seem to be a brainiac. Complainers, get a vision and stop living in the past and propose something or you are doomed.

12/07/2011 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

The riggclones have been given their marching orders and have already begun their stupid ranting.

The charter fight will be Righeimer's last stand.

When this locust moves on to another city, hopefully some of his supplicants will follow.

12/07/2011 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost.
-William Lloyd Garrison

12/07/2011 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous New Drinking Game! said...

Every time Pop Warner is mentioned at a Silly Council meeting, drink a shot of your favorite beverage!

Try it! It's the newest drinking game!

12/07/2011 09:01:00 PM  
Anonymous CMtaxpayer. said...

Are those glasses supposed to make Jimmy look thinner? Or appear more intelligent? or are he and best bud Stevie dressing alike for fun? I sense a political consultant at work here. He doesn't look quite as shifty with the glasses, true. However, no matter how he looks, I would not trust this man with a City charter. It would be like asking the fox to guard the chicken coop.

Charters may start out reasonable, but inherent in their structure is the framework to mutate into a type of government the people never imagined.

12/07/2011 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

Moving towards a charter is not such a bad idea; more local control.

But what scares me is, what happens when Rig loses his majority (due to a lot of pissed off Repub/Indep voters) and we get radical Lefties with all the power a Charter City can bring.

You want more and stronger Union influence... be careful what you wish!

12/08/2011 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

nevernervous......Typically the main points get lost in your enthusiam to bash those who disagree.

I stand by every point I made re: IT outsourcing.
After watching Mensinger and that old man consultant they brought it , it just furthered my suspicions they have no clue how to move forward.

When re-vamping an entire IT system and dept. you have to start somewhere, or else the providers will come in and sell you a lot of stuff you don't need.

There isn't ONE cutting edge company that provides everything this city needs in voice and data.
It's a conglomeration of many moving parts that all have to work in synch.
Municipalities are much different than other businesses. Often providers will provide equipment to them at much lower costs because they won't be out of business in a year and you can negotiate those costs into a longer contract.

The fact is this, you need someone to tell the telcom consultant what you need. They won't even know how to start designing your "cloud" unless they know specifically what and how your applications are for. LeTourneau, when she started this RFP didn't know what phones they were using if they were "in" contract with anybody, or even what is available out there to purchase. Hardly the person who should be making these decisions on upgrading the cities system.

You need to use your current employees to help you design what is needed, after that process it could turn out that some of the job duties would be handled by the contracted out suppliers, but you need to build from the ground up and not from the top's as simple as that. The employees that currently work with the existing systems are the ones who know what they need. Mensinger complaining for 5 minutes that it takes 27 seconds to pull up a web page, and wanting to know if they will all get smartphones, is not a productive way to build your network.

but at that time of night , in that long of meeting ....I didn't want to waste 3 minutes of time explaining that to a bunch of "know-it-alls" that weren't even listening to begin with.
Watching the process....I predict that the City will over pay, for things they don't need, to unscrupulous vendors, that will lock them into long term contracts, and laugh all the way home.....but Steve will have a smartphone.

12/08/2011 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Union money said...

Union hack:

"Righeimer's fear mongering with his current buzzword, 'UNIONS!'"


Real-life, self-identified Union Representatives speaking at the council meeting, -

5:55:20 and at 6:01:39

The last guy was Teamsters, and he openly said that the Teamsters would get involved and join with the local employee associations and fight the City if prevailing wages weren't included.

Teamsters Representative, starting at 06:02:53 - "'re going to expand the dispute you have going with the public sector, you're going to expand it to a whole bunch of us, and I don't think you really need that."

You guys keep pretending the public are idiots, see where that gets you. Worked real well in the last election, didn't it?

12/08/2011 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous nevernervous said...

a systems analyst can easily define what is needed and the RFP will be very clear. outsourcing this is a no brainer even without the institutional knowledge Ridge thinks we need. And the council doesn't need him to explain things, they are seasoned businessmen and this is a simple fix.

12/08/2011 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous After the Charter Defeat said...

Righeimer rides through Fairview Park with Mensinger and other toadies on his way out of town:

12/08/2011 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Troll re Ridge's IT Concerns:
"a systems analyst can easily define what is needed and the RFP will be very clear."


Council Majority Proposal to "Easily Define":

1. Systems analyst from Newport Beach area:


2. New Equipment with Direct Hook-Up to Tea Party, OC GOP:


3. Fees to Lobdell or Swaim to Explain the New System:


4. Technicians from Newport or Pop Warner to Install New Equipment:


5. Legal Fees to Defend Procedure:

$1,000,000.00 to start, then millions more as needed.

12/08/2011 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike M said...

Looks like Team Riggy's folks have been stuffing the ballot box on the Daily Pilot poll about the charter city...

12/08/2011 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Libertarian Utopia said...

@Mike M...of course they have. The only way to keep an Astro Turf movement alive is to give the appearance that you are the groundswell through subterfuge. The uninformed readily buy into appearances because they don't look below the surface of people or issues. A person is smart, people are dumb; it's groupthink mentality. if people thought for themselves and didn't frame their opinion of these guys in football boosters and pop-Warner, our two main culprits would have been put on the last thing smoking out of town a long time ago.

12/08/2011 08:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Mayor Pro Team #1 said...

Mayor Pro Team Riggy sure is confident that this smoke and mirror trick is going to work. Does this guy have anybody around him that will ever tell him to stop it, or are all his followers to dumb to say something. It's OK to tell him to knock it off.

12/08/2011 10:44:00 PM  

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