Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why I'm Considering Leaving Facebook

I've been giving a lot of thought recently about Facebook. When I joined up I did so mainly because I wanted another way to advertise my blog. I wasn't planning to make "friends" of folks I'd never heard of before.

And, as it turns out, it has been a handy vehicle for staying in touch with distant friends and relatives.

However, as each day passes I find it harder and harder to find enough return on my i
nvestment of time to make it worthwhile.

Maybe it's because it gets harder every day to pretend some of those 179 people listed as friends on my Facebook page are actually "friends". Heck, I don't even know many of them, for goodness sake.

Maybe it's because Facebook has diluted that word - friend - to the point where it's practically meaningless.

Maybe it's because the recent changes on Facebook make me feel even more manipul
ated than before.

Maybe it's because I've found myself spending way, way too much time scrolling through Facebook, gleaning little snippets of peoples lives - and feeling a little like a guy hiding in your closet.

Maybe it's because I've decided that I don't REALLY want to know so much about so many people who are barely acquaintances.

Maybe it's because folks just seem to post whatever stream-of-consciousness thoughts that might float through their heads, ignoring the fact that many strangers are going to be
reading them. Even worse, their boss may be reading them.

Maybe it's because I've received the amusingly inconsequential "punishment" of being "de-friended" by a couple boneheads who don't like my take on their role in local politics.

Maybe it's because of this Toyota commercial:

Or, Maybe it's just the case of an old fella not being able to keep up the pace anymore.

I don't think founder Mark Zuckerberg will miss my presence on Facebook - he's too busy trying to figure out how to spend the billions of dollars Facebook is pulling in these days.

So, I've decided to give Facebook a few more weeks. We're turning the old cauldron down to simmer for a few days for a little "decompression time". Comments on the blog will be slow to get posted for awhile. As we approach Halloween - maybe sooner - I'm going to decide whether I want to remain a "Facebook Friend" or not. I'll let you know...

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Painful Parks Meeting

Last night I watched a snippet of the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. I say a "snippet" because watching ANY of it has become a very painful experience - like pulling teeth. As well-intentioned as those five men may be, none of them have a clue about what it means to run a meeting, including Chairman Jeff Mathews.

It's as though they completely forgot the concept of "homework" from when they were in school. They approach the agenda as though the first time they saw it was when it hit their desks on the dais. None of them seem to have read the staff reports, which is especially frustrating for viewers and, I'm sure, for the staff.

One of the problems, as I see it, is that they only meet every other month. Watching an idea run, er, crawl it's course through this commission is worse than watching sap run.


For example, in August they held a special meeting at which three groups presented their ideas about how they would propose operating the TeWinkle Sports Complex as a commercial entity. Each had their strengths and weaknesses. The upshot was that the Parks and Recreation Commission would propose to the council a Task Force to do co
mmunity outreach and study this issue, then present their findings.

However, that "process", such as it is, only now began to take shape. Last night the Parks and Recreation Commission suggested a 9-person task force and staff will pitch this to the council at an October meeting - maybe the one next week. The way it's going, we wont' see that task force constituted until January.

In the meantime, our current city council is operating like a Nazi blitzkrieg - blasting through the city, laying waste to what's left of the staff, ignoring policies and laws - apparently hoping to get "things done" before folks realize what they're doing. At it's meeting last week the council directed staff to get those vendors back to make a pitch to the council - ignoring the fact that their appointed Parks and Recreation Commission already had that ball rolling. But, meeting every other month, there's no way it can keep up with the commandments of this council. Perhaps it's time for the Parks and Recreation Commission to go back to monthly meetings.

This whole thing reminds me of this old Abbott and Costello routine. Those of you too young to remember these guys from much, much simpler times - just sit back, relax and enjoy...

In closing, I mentioned after the previous Parks and Recreation meeting that Righeimer sy
cophant Ethan Temianka, asked the staff to come back with a methodology to require permits for 5 or more persons playing in our parks. He did some fancy backpedaling on that issue, using some actions of the Homeless Task Force as a cover story. I suspect he felt the wrath of the community when he pitched that hair-brained idea. Again, probably didn't do his homework first. This is what happens when you appoint your campaign manager to a commission whose only qualifications for that assignment were that he once played on Costa Mesa fields. Geez!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Costa Mesa Minute

Interim Communications Director Bill Lobdell announced the creation of The Costa Mesa Minute - a brief, daily video presentation to be presented each weekday morning shortly after 8 a.m.

Video Production Coordinator Dane
Bora will be the primary anchor of these very short - 2 to 3 minutes - video clips which will announce recent news snippets or advise us of things to come. You can view the first three by clicking on these links:

I think these efforts are just one more excellent tool to communicate with the public and to respond to recent questions at council meetings in a very timely fashion. You'll find a link on the city web site.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

City Confirms Interim Positions For Naghavi and Munoz

In a press release issued Monday, September 26, 2011, Costa Mesa CEO Tom Hatch confirmed what he announced at the last council meeting on September 20, 2011 - that Public Services Director Peter Naghavi has been appointed Interim Assistant Chief Executive Officer and that City Engineer Ernesto Munoz will replace him as Interim Public Services Director effective on that date. You may recall that I reported these moves last Wednesday, HERE.

As I said in my earlier post, I believe this is an excellent move by Hatch. Naghavi has
been a rock-solid manager since arriving in Costa Mesa more than two decades ago. His presence in this position will take the pressure off Hatch to find someone soon and, perhaps, select the wrong person for the job. Munoz has been Naghavi's strong right arm. In an organization whose management ranks have been decimated in recent months by budget constraints and the hostile work environment imposed by the current City Council, we are very fortunate to have such high quality, competent men available to fill these slots on an interim basis. The text of that press release follows below.

Peter Naghavi named interim assistant
chief executive officer for Costa Mesa

COSTA MESA, CALIF.—Director of Public Services Peter Naghavi has been named the City of Costa Mesa’ s interim assistant chief executive officer and City Engineer Ernesto Munoz has been promoted to interim public services director.

The appointments, effective today, are expected to continue for several months until a permanent assistant chief executive officer is hired.

Naghavi, a 21-year employee of Costa Mesa, served as director of the Transportation Department for Somerville, Mass before being recruited by the City of Costa Mesa in 1990 to serve as the City's transportation manager. He was promoted to the director of the Public Service Department in 2007. As acting assistant chief executive officer, Naghavi will help run the City’s daily operations and take on special assignments.

Munoz, who has previously worked for the City of Cypress, came to Costa Mesa in 1993 as the city engineer. In his temporary assignment, he will run the Public Service Department, which includes the City’s Administration, Transportation, Engineering, Maintenance, and Parks and Recreation divisions.

City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch made the appointments after an initial search for a permanent assistant chief executive officer didn’t produce the perfect candidate. Another search is underway.

“We are fortunate that throughout our organization, we have people willing and able to step up and help in any way they can,” Hatch said. “Peter and Ernesto will help us get through the next couple of months without missing a step.”

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Costa Mesa Recruiting Volunteers for Committees

The City of Costa Mesa is actively recruiting for volunteers for several city committees. Here is the text from the most recent press release on this issue.


COSTA MESA, CALIF. — The Costa Mesa City Council is seeking community members to serve on the following Council committees:

Cultural Arts Committee: This committee works to promote the City slogan: “City of the Arts.” The Cultural Arts Committee has started a Youth Gallery in City Hall and maintains a directory of local artists. The Council will appoint four regular members and two alternate members. For further information, please contact Lisa McPherson at (714)754-5322.

Historical Preservation Committee: The Historical Preservation Committee serves to maintain, preserve, educate and promote the City’s historical resources, and advises the City Council on such matters. The Council will appoint one regular member and one alternate member. For further information, please contact Lisa McPherson at (714)754-5322.

Redevelopment and Residential Rehabilitation (3R) Committee: This committee promotes understanding of, and involvement in, the redevelopment of housing throughout the City and commercial properties within the redevelopment area. The committee serves as an advisory board to both the Redevelopment Agency and the City Council on housing-related and neighborhood issues. Committee members provide input on the eligible uses of Community Development Block Grant, HOME, and Redevelopment Agency funds. The Council will appoint five regular members and two alternate members. For further information, please contact Alma Penalosa at (714) 754-5692.

Investment Oversight Committee: The purpose of the Committee is to review the City and Redevelopment Agency’s portfolio and investment strategies for compliance with the City and Agency’s adopted investment policies. The role of the committee shall be advisory to the City Treasurer. The Council will appoint one committee member and one alternate member. Candidates may either reside or conduct business within the City and should have a background that includes experience in securities trading, financial planning or banking. For further information, please contact Colleen O’Donoghue, assistant finance director, at (714) 754-5243.

Costa Mesa Senior Center Board of Directors: The Costa Mesa City Council is recruiting individuals interested in serving on the Costa Mesa Senior Center Board of Directors. The Council will appoint one director to fill a vacancy and to serve on the board to represent the City for the remainder of a two-year term (to be extended to October 2012). For more information, please contact Donna Theriault, recreation management analyst, at (714) 754-5636 or email

Application Process: Individuals interested in serving on any of the above committees should complete a “Committee Interest Form” available in the City Clerk’s Office or on the City’s website at The completed form may be mailed to: Costa Mesa City Clerk, Post Office Box 1200, Costa Mesa, California, 92628-1200; faxed to (714) 754-4942; or hand-delivered to the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. The City Council will make selections from applications filed in a timely manner. For further information, please contact City Clerk Julie Folcik at (714) 754-5225 or