Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Week Ahead (Amended)**

The week beginning Monday, January 9th could not possibly be as hectic as the previous one, which had three meetings of major importance to Costa Mesans on three consecutive nights. This week there are only two biggies - piece of cake for those of us who actually attend them.

Monday the Planning Commission, led by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer sycophant
Colin McCarthy, has what may be a short meeting to start their year. However, there are two interesting items listed under Public Hearings.

First is the re
quest, recommended for approval by the staff, to create a PRIVATE youth recreation venue on north Harbor Boulevard. The applicant really wants to build an office tower, but has requested this use for "approximately 7 years" - whatever that actually means. You can read the lengthy staff report, complete with drawings, HERE.

The second is a
new ordinance to regulate Wireless Communication infrastructure in our city. You can read that equally lengthy staff report HERE. As I read through the report I kept wondering what Righeimer will think of it when it comes before the council for a vote. After all, he's been fully-immersed in the wireless communication business for years. The image shown here is the wireless tower constructed in my neighborhood that apparently launched all this activity last year. As you can see, it looks like a suppository on a stick.

Tuesday there are two meetings back-to-back and each is VERY important to our city. The first is a meeting of the Costa Mesa Redevelopment Agency at 6:00 p.m. in council chambers in which the agency members - the City Council in a fancy dress - will likely discuss the recent California Supreme Court ruling that may permit the State of California to close down ALL redevelopment agencies and raid their treasuries for spare cash. That's not as big a deal for Costa Mesa as it is for many cities around the state that have finagled their financing to rely heavily on redevelopment agency monies for normal operations. However, and this IS a biggie, the City loaned the RDA $10 million way, way back when it was formed as seed money to get projects rolling. The future of that loan is still up in the air. We cannot afford to have the pirates from Sacramento pillage our coffers for that money. **NOTE: The staff report for this meeting, apparently called as a Joint Meeting of the RDA and the council, finally showed up this morning on the city web site. You can read it HERE.


The second meeting is a Special City Council meeting called to be the first mandatory Public Hearing on Righeimer's bogus Charter scheme. That meeting begins at 7:00, also in council chambers. This is a single-item meeting, so folks shouldn't expect to vent their spleens on other items that may be bugging them - this one alone will provide plenty of fodder for those cannons.

The City has provided much information for residents to consider and not very much time in which to do it. Even at the information meeting last Wednesday senior staffers were unwilling to provide an accurate timetable. Until very late last week we were being told that Tuesday's meeting would be the ONLY time suggestions for additions to the Charter draft cobbled together by Righeimer last month would be accepted. After that, we were told, only deletions could be considered. Well, that was WRONG. Suggestions, additions, deletions and comments will be accepted and considered by the council right up to the date of the second mandatory public hearing on February 14th. The final vote on whether to place a Charter on the June ballot, and the verbiage of that Charter, will be decided by the council on March 6th.


The City has provided resources available on the City web site, including Righeimer's
Draft, references from the League of California Cities, copies of other city Charters AND all the suggestions accumulated as of last Friday, January 6th. You can read that list HERE and the other information is available by clicking on the "Charter City Information" link on the Home Page of the web site. I STRONGLY recommend that you review the comparison between General Law cities and Charter cities provided by the League of Cities.


It shouldn't surprise anyone, least of all Righeimer and his cronies, that there is a growing groundswell of opposition to his Charter scheme. Residents have been plastering every neighborhood in our city with fliers denouncing this scheme and inviting resident action. It won't surprise me if we have a full house at City Hall Tuesday. Of course, the proceedings will be televised live and also be live on streaming video for those who choose to stay at home.

This issue - to convert Costa Mesa from a General Law City to a Charter City - is the
second most important municipal decision in the city's history. The first was the decision to incorporate a half century ago. For this reason, it offends many residents to see Righeimer and his minions attempting to jam Righeimer's Charter down our throats to meet some arbitrary personal political agenda. This decision is too important to our city today and in the future to be rushed, and FAR TOO IMPORTANT to be the sole handiwork of a carpetbagging political opportunist. Former Mayor Sandra Genis, who has remained active in community affairs, penned an excellent commentary in the Daily Pilot last week challenging the pace at which Righeimer and his pals are pushing his scheme. You can read it HERE.

While the meetings may not go long into the week, because of the content, they are certain to be entertaining - and frustrating. Please join me in following along...

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Anonymous We coined AWM said...

Thanks for your hard Geoff!

This morally and ethically bankrupt council needs to go. All but Leece that is. How stupid do they think Costa Mesans are to buy into their Charter City SCAM? Do they think we forgot all about The City of Bell scandal?

Folks, changing Costa Mesa to being a Charter City is just the beginning. NO ONE on the council except for Leece cares about the City. She is NOT a career politician like the others. How desperate IS Monahan to host a pot rally? Perhaps he's done a few lines in his days so a little puff isn't such a big deal. He constantly fighting with the police and let's face it, NO ONE trusts his leadership.

Wake up folks! The time to get involved is NOW. The employees are too weak to fight and too scared to lose their jobs like Larry Grihalva who was let go all of a sudden when he spoke against Righeimer's private paramedic scam. By the way, the paramedic company he was pushing for just happen to be a campaign contributor. Starting to see the picture folks?

1/09/2012 12:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Just the facts said...

Did you read the fliers? Pretty misleading - implying that other local cities had an elected charter commission to adopt their charters. That just isn't true - but what else would you expect from the same people who are behind repair CM?

1/09/2012 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous SaveOurCity said...

How stupid does CMforRG (past lives: return to reason and cmfirst, both losers)think the residents of Costa Mesa are? Did they forget about the high pay of police and fire and outrageous benefits they receive? The lies of Ridge, beradinao, and muir? The teamster threats? Folks, changing CM to a charter city is just the beginning of a great chapter for our city. Just like our neighbors in NB and HB, we will have more local control. General law cities are old style, set up years ago. Charter is the way to go. Wake up and get involved to get this charter passed! But do it legally, not the way our opponents do things. They illegally put up cancel the layoff signs in our medians, they put those same signs in rights of way where it was only legal from Friday to Sunday but left them there far longer. They had no contact information on almost all those signs though a few had pasted on contact info, AND now the anti charter flyer lands in my mailbox, again ILLEGAL. if it is not mail, it can't go in a mailbox. They are rushing in, violating rules. Let's not be like that my fellow taxpayers.

1/09/2012 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous RickandJenn said...

The Charter will pass. In the end, voters will have a simple choice- be more like Sacramento, or be more like Newport and Huntington Beach. The union hate and venom spewed out on this only fuels more interest by normal residents.

All I have seen against the Charter is the process. No one in the fringe groups has ever stood up to say the document is bad, just villify the messngers. Why? It's because in reality the Charter is really a good thing for Costa Mesa. When you get past the lies on the flyers, you start to ask questions about why this minority group doesn't want Costa Mesa to govern itself. I feel so bad for the haters.

Where can my wife and I donate to support passing the Charter?

1/09/2012 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

Spin Doctoring 101:
One of the pillars of propaganda is to have your message contain at least a grain of truth. Why? Two reasons: Outright lies come back to bite you, and, more importantly, you don’t want your target audience to know too much, because they might come to a different conclusion from the one you want.

For example, the city is happy to tell us on its website charter pages that there are 120 charter cities in California. Impressive, eh? This invokes the “Bandwagon Effect” that makes you want to jump on the “obviously popular” charter bandwagon.

But here’s what the city’s spinmeister doesn’t tell you: there are 362 other cities in California that aren’t chartered, that are general law cities just as we are now.

Now how do you feel? Maybe this lets some of the air out of the bandwagon’s tires?

We report, you decide.

1/09/2012 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

"Where can my wife and I donate to support passing the Charter?"

Take the funds out of your left pocket and put them in your right, shill.

1/09/2012 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Nothing Face said...

If this Charter is such a good idea, then why was it created by one member of the council and why is it so important that it be on the June ballot and not research it more for Nov. ?

1/09/2012 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Just the Facts is Factless said...

Well Just the Facts, Irvine had a charter commission when it developed its charter back in the 1970's. Both Huntington Beach and Newport Beach used commissions when their charters were updated. There is nothing wrong with using charter commissions. It insures residents have a part in developing the charter. Not a bad idea.

1/09/2012 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Just the facts said...

Most big cities are Charter cities. Lots of small cities with small populations work well as general law cities - obviously we do not.

Good spin doctoring, Tom!

1/09/2012 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

SaveOurCity. in the spirit of Tom Egan's post, what SaveOurCity didn't tell you is that NB and HB both negotiate with their employees the same way CM does (unless you count the demonizing that has been done the last year, because NB and HB haven't done that). NB and HB still must adhere to state contract and negotiation laws the same as any general law city does. Charter city or general law city makes no difference. Take a look at Santa Ana, a charter city who just had something like $20 million taken from it by the state. Being a charter city made no difference.

Since he or she seems to want to dump on CM public safety, let it be known that NB cops make more in pay and benefits than do CM cops (remember NB is a charter city). Irvine is another charter city and their cops make the most of any cops in the county.

I guess my point is they are selling the charter city idea as the be all end all of solutions, and that is just not the case. Would you care to know that CM cops were among the first three departments in the county to pay a portion of the employee contribution toward PERS? To date less than 1/3 of the departments in the county pay anything towards the cost, and no one pays more than CM cops do. Does this mean a charter shouldn't be looked at? Of course not. A possible better way of doing things should always be looked at. But this does show things can and do get done in general law cities as well as charter law cities and taking a long, hard look at any change should be the rule of the day. Rushing it to a June ballot without a city appointed charter commission is just not the best thing.

1/09/2012 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

Another “Bandwagon Effect” that the city spinmeister ginned up is a list of ten O.C. cities – fine, upstanding ones including our immediate neighbors Newport Beach, Irvine, and Huntington Beach – that have charters. This is the bandwagon, “all our fine neighbors are doing it; we should too!”

A suitable response to this is the same one your mother gave you: “If everybody wanted to jump off the cliff, should you?”

More specifically, though, you might ask, what’s wrong with such a list?

What’s wrong is that, while it’s true as far as it goes, it’s not enough of the truth to give us a fair and balanced take on the advisability of charterhood.

For example, the spinmeister left off the cities of Bell and Vernon, which also have charters. They’re also in the neighborhood, only about double the distance to Anaheim, a city that’s on the list. And the AAA shows both Costa Mesa and Bell on its map of “Metropolitan Los Angeles.”

But putting Bell on the list of charter cities would have put a different, quite negative cast on it.

BTW, the Righeimer charter can’t get around the corruption potential of charters by including a paragraph limiting councilmembers’ pay ... remember another outrageous bit of corruption in Bell: their City Manager Robert Rizzo finagled a salary & benefits of $1.5 million for managing a city about one-third the size of Costa Mesa. (For perspective, the President of the United States gets a salary of only $400,000.)

But can’t you protect against corruption with a detailed charter? Fact: Bell had a long, detailed 21-page charter document. The Righeimer cut-and-paste charter draft has “only” 7 pages, and he was proud of its brevity.

Length, though, is meaningless in the case of charters: it’s not what you put into it, it’s what you take out of it. Bell's council and managers clearly took out a king’s ransom from their charter.

We report; you decide.

1/09/2012 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

RickandJenn - There were like two ro three different people in the previous mentions of these that told you why this is bad. Did you read that ? Are their specific questions you had from those comments that weren't addressed ? It's not the charter, although this charter doesn't look like there's much thought into it. It's the entire process that's the problem. Like with Skosh's pot thing, he might be doing it in earnest and from his heart, but he's told too many lies and done too many bad things, at least in the last year, that I question all his motives. Same with Jim. Once you have destroyed trust, it's impossible to get back, and that's exactly what these gentlemen have done.

1/09/2012 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Tinarello said...

You people who want so much to be like Newport and Huntington should move there.

It may be hard since I highly doubt A. you can afford it & B. One of you has all ready called HB home and it apparently didn't work out.

1/09/2012 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Just the facts,. please explain how we are not working so well. Seems CM worked just fine since it's incorporation in 1953. Just because an out of town hired gun like Righeimer says CM is run badly does not make it so. If you recall, there was analysis done about mid year that stated CM was about average in terms of how things were financially in the city. Some cities were better off, but many were also worse off then us (See Santa Ana, a charter city). In case you forgot, the city came out with a $3.8 million surplus as a general law city. You are not suggesting a positive such as this is actually a negative are you?

1/09/2012 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

Yep, I agree with Tinarello. One of the major reasons I moved to Costa Mesa over 7 years ago is because it's not like Newport or HB or Irvine. I don't want to be like those bland cities. I like Costa Mesa, it's vibrant, active, arty and has great people living here with lots of interesting things going on and a wide variety of opinion. I understand this doesn't have much to do with this particlar charter persay, but just cause this other "model" cities are doing it, doesn't mean it's best for Costa Mesa.

1/09/2012 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Just the facts said...

Just the Facts is Factless - that is besides the point and not what the flyer says or implies.

Wyatt Earp - what is wrong with a charter? Fact is, the opposition is all about Righeimer, not about the merits of a charter.

1/09/2012 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Kim Marie said...

It is irresponsible to expedite the process just to get the charter on the June ballot. The city is going through too much turmoil and uncertainty, because of the council majority, to rush something so far reaching. We shouldn't even be asked to contemplate a decision that requires that much thought and examination.

1/09/2012 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous FV vs CM said...

Fountain Valley voters were smart enough to give Righeimer the boot.

Do YOU trust Riggy with even MORE power? Do you see what he is causing YOU to spend on consultants, spokesmen and lawyers. Dont be fooled.

Thought so.

May you get what you deserve.

We are not necessarily against Charters, just against Righeimers PROCESS.

1/09/2012 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Angry White Man said...

Can someone explain to me EXACTLY what control that Sacramento allegedly has over Costa Mesa and how a charter will put an end to it?
PLEASE don't give some party line answer like "no more union thug control" or some other drivel, how about a real example....

Are you saying that with a charter we could make up our own laws? could we bring back slavery? change the speed limit to 125mph? avoid paying state income taxes? change the drinking age to 17? (bet Skosh would if he could) Is that what you mean by more local control?
Rick and Jenn, help me out please share your vast charter knowledge and give me some specifics
Thank You

1/09/2012 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

AWM, check the links on the City web site. There's an excellent chart from the League of California Cities that compares a General Law city to a Charter city... too long to post here.

1/09/2012 11:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Soft on Geoff said...

We coined AWM said...
Thanks for your hard Geoff!

I am trying to figure out this lead in to the following discussion.

Any ideas???

1/10/2012 02:15:00 AM  

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