Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sanitary District Fireworks (Amended*)

Except for the great community "coming together" event - the placement of the Snoopy House on the lawn at City Hall - it's been a pretty slow news week so far. (Grand Lighting event at 5:30 today) That gives us a chance to look around and see what's happening in other arenas of local interest.

On Thursday, December 15th, the Costa Mesa Sanitary District will hold its
final regular meeting of the year, and this one promises to be a doozy. You can click HERE, then on "Dec. 2011" to reach the agenda report for this meeting. That 179 page (!) pdf document is FULL of interesting stuff.


For example, if you scroll dow
n to page 20 you'll find yourself in the middle of the minutes from the previous meeting on November 30, 2011. On that page, which is page 9 of the minutes, begins a discussion of an agenda item titled, "Incompatibility of Office between Costa Mesa Sanitary District and Mesa Consolidated Water District", which apparently was placed on the agenda by Director Art Perry. If you read the summary of the discussion you'll find an account of what reportedly was a very rancorous debate. Apparently Director Jim Fitzpatrick felt this was an attack on him for holding both the Sanitary District seat and his Costa Mesa Planning Commission seat simultaneously.

The discussi
on went round and round and resulted in the broader issue being placed on the agenda for Thursday's meeting. The rancor also apparently spread through the Directors Comments section, which immediately follows this item in the agenda. It makes for fun reading.

Then, if you scroll further down the pdf file to page 176 you will find a y
ear-old memo from District Legal Counsel Alan Burns to the Board addressing this question in detail. As I read that memo it seems clear to me that Fitzpatrick may, in fact, be violating the rules by holding both seats simultaneously. And, as I read the memo, if he is challenged the Sanitary District seat would have to be forfeited. It seems clear that Fitzpatrick had this memo last year - before he accepted the appointment to the Planning Commission.

I'd suggest we all convene at the Board Room at the Sanitary District offices on Thursday to see how this plays out, but that room is way, way too small for any kind of public turnout. They have space for only a half-dozen visitors in that room. I guess we'll just have to wait for reports from the scene to see how this is going to shake out.

Some will recall that then-termed-out councilman Gary Monahan held sea
ts on the Sanitary District and City Council simultaneously for a couple years. Based on the memo from Burns, he WAS permitted by state law to hold both simultaneously. (This is corrected from the original text.)

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Anonymous cmresident said...

It seems the most logical action is for Fitzpatrick to step down since he knew it was an issue up front.

12/13/2011 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Logical, yes... practical, from a personal financial standpoint, probably not. JimmyFitzy has a lot to loose in this situation, including in terms of reputation if he did, in fact, just ignore sound legal advice last year.

12/13/2011 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Retraction said...

Geoff, I suggest that you read the memo again - in fact the attorney came to the exact OPPOSITE conclusion you did.

"2. City Counci!member
The position of city council member is also an office. (73 Op~.C.I .Atty.Gen. 354 (1m); 63
Ops.CaJ.Any.Gen. 607 (1980).) Analysis of whether the two POSilioru are incompalible is
unnccenary because the legislature un b~ IilalUte allow dual office holdin". (McClain v. Calliif}'
of Alameda (1962) 25 CaLRptr. 660.) The leaislaturc has specifically authorized the holdinil of
the positions of cily council member and sanitary district director. (Health and Safel~ Code
Section 6480(b).)"

I'll assume for now that you misread the memo, as opposed to deliberately misstating it in order to attack Gary.

Either way, you need to retract your statement and correct your post.

Curious that the CMSD made public a memo clearly intended to be privileged attorney-client communications - who made that call?

12/13/2011 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Fitzpatrick's Conscience said...

Don't worry- Riggy's custom charter probably allows unlimited positions and compensation for all true believers..

12/13/2011 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Your typos notwithstanding, you are correct. I, in my haste, misread that section. I'm going to modify my post accordingly. Thanks...

12/13/2011 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

What could possible be the conflict? Doesn't the planning commission deal with planning stuff and the sanitary district deal with garbage? Where is the connection.

Slow news day for the Bubbling Cauldron so they just want to attack someone they don't like for nothing. Usual stuff.

12/13/2011 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Not an attack, Barry... just providing information for the taxpayers here. Show me the "attack"!

12/13/2011 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous MLK Was an Amazing American said...

Barry has a writing style similar to that CM racist blogger.

12/13/2011 02:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Retraction said...

Geoff - that was a cut and paste hack job, sorry about that. Here is what it says, without the chopped up text:

2. City Councilmember
The position of city council member is also an office. (73 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 354 (1990); 63
Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 607 (1980).) Analysis of whether the two positions are incompatible is
unnecessary because the legislature can by statute allow dual office holding. (McClain v. County of Alameda (1962) 25 Cal.Rptr. 660.) The legislature has specifically authorized the holding of the positions of city council member and sanitary district director. (Health and Safety Code Section 6480(b).)

12/13/2011 03:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Curious said...

I wonder what the real issue is - why do Art Perry or Mike Schaefer all of a sudden, a year later, care about this? Schaefer is so concerned about what the residents elected him to do, seems like he would want to avoid spending money trying to undue what residents elected Fitzy to do. Is Fitzy making life uncomfortable over there? Maybe he wants to upset the apple cart by putting trash hauling out to bid - which would only benefit those of us property owners.

12/13/2011 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I made no editorial comment about who, if anyone, wants Fitzy out. Read the text of the minutes to get a feel for the discussion. It sounded to me as though Fitzy was the one getting agitated. Of course, both Perry and Scheafer were ALSO elected to serve the interests of the rate-payers in the district. I don't know if Fitzy is a loose cannon, but wouldn't be at all surprised if he is - that's his track record on the Planning Commission. I also don't know if he's extended his practice of bullying the staff to the Sanitary District, but also wouldn't be surprised. He's got way, way too much time on his hands - he needs to get a job.

12/13/2011 04:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Pony Boy said...


"he's (Fitzpatrick) extended his practice of bullying the staff to the Sanitary District, but also wouldn't be surprised. He's got way, way too much time on his hands - he needs to get a job."

Hmm.. Who could he have learned BULLYING from?

I thought his full time job was to lick Righeimer's toes?

12/13/2011 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

@ curious... Im curious at how putting trash collection out to bid will save me money? According to my home property tax records I pay 239.41 for trash disposal fee. That is 19.95/mo.
My business property is not assesed a fee however I pay 72/mo to an outside company to throw away less than I do at home.

Now, my sewer fee for my residence is 1/2 of my business and the land is the same square footage while my home is larger than the business.

So please explain to me how that would benefit us property owners. BTW, the sanitary district tried to charge me $2500 for a plan check when I remodeled my house. We werent going out to the main line in the street...

12/13/2011 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Pony Boy re Fitzpatrick:

"Who could he have learned BULLYING from?"


Pop Warner?

The Dais Diva with new spectacles?

Someone who knows more than everyone else?

The big guy who is not afraid to chest-bump a measley public servant like Teacher Flores?

12/13/2011 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Ready, fire, aim said...

ANOTHER error? This is becoming routine. And no apology for the error, either...

12/13/2011 11:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Fire Fire Fire said...

Aim, ready, Fire.. Awww are you going to be ok? Get over it!

12/13/2011 11:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Angry old white man said...

Oh the good ol' "San District" where Fitzy wants to follow in the councilscum's footsteps and outsource...

The "San District" is completely separate from City Hall and let me tell you, there is a lot of money in managing crap. Open their books. They're LOADED!

There's always something happening in Costa Mesa alright. Always ILLEGAL activity behind closed doors. When you see either the councilscum or fairboard members together having say, a magnum bottle of wine on the taxpayers dime (fairboard money...cough cough) it ain't dinner folks. It's a crime scene!

Its truly disgusting how the councilscum is trying so hard to make a positive image for themselves. Nevermind countless millions they're wasting in their completely illegal outsourcing scam.

The councilscum disgust me. These clowns sure have brought the circus to city hall. If they wanted an accurate depiction of what its like inside city hall, it wouldn't be camp snoopy. Sadly, it would be more like Buchenvald Concentration Camp.

12/13/2011 11:52:00 PM  
Anonymous X said...

evergreen contracts a problem @sanitary. look into it, thanks fitz!

12/14/2011 07:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Central Valley Farm Animals said...

X said...
"evergreen contracts a problem @sanitary. look into it, thanks fitz!"

Yes, Master Menssy, anything you say boss. Can I come by and wash your and Riggy's cars?

12/14/2011 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous cmresident said...

I say Fitpatrick's reputation should be more effected by refusing to give up a seat at the cost to rate payers.

12/14/2011 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Curious said...

Curious comment, Rich - trash pickup is already an outsourced function. putting it back out to bid could only result in a lowere bid or better services for the money.

12/14/2011 02:13:00 PM  

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