Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Fat Lady Is Tuning Up

Well, the moment has arrived. This evening, at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting that begins in Council Chambers at 6:00 p.m., the council will decide whether or not to place Jim Righeimer's Charter on the June 5, 2012 ballot. You can read the full agenda HERE.


This item comes near the end of the agenda, so there's no telling what time they will get to it. There's a pretty good chance that more than a few folks will rise to speak on this issue, so unless Mayor Gary Monahan decides to shuffle the deck and move agenda items around, it may be late before this item is heard. Regardless, you can read the entire staff report, including the five (5) resolutions necessary to place Jim Righeimer's Charter on the ballot, plus the Proposed Charter itself AND a summary of what may appear in contract City Attorney Tom Duarte's "impartial analysis", HERE.

Some folks have criticized me for referring to this document as "Jim Righeimer's Charter", because changes have been made since he - single-handedly - wrote the original draft. Well, those changes were only window dressing - the guts of the Charter remains exactly as Righeimer wrote it. The most egregious segments - like the latest version of his old "Paycheck Protection" plan that went down to defeat in a state-wide election a decade and a half ago - remain untouched.

It's curious that, in his staff report, Duarte states the following (The emphasis in red is mine):

"In the fall of 2011, City Council asked the City Attorney to investigate the benefits and variations of the Charter form of city government. The City Council subsequently provided direction to City Staff and the City Attorney's office to draft a charter ("Proposed Charter") that could be submitted to the qualified voters of the City for the June 5, 2012 election. To that end, City Staff and the City Attorney prepared the Proposed Charter, submitted it to the City Council for review/revision and for the purposes of conducting public hearings (as required by California Government Code Section 34458(b)."

Duarte's statement is not entirely accurate. Based on several public statements in open meetings s
ince the first of this year, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer has taken full credit - often complaining about the effort he put out - for the creation of the initial Proposed Charter. Some will recall that he read, verbatim, his first draft from the dais. He spoke about "cutting and pasting" sections from other city's charters, using the excuse that he wanted to insure that we had "tested language".

Although many informed residents will rise to speak about Jim Righeimer's Charter and the process that got us to this point, there is no doubt in my mind that each of the five motions necessary to place it on the ballot will pass, 4-1 (Assuming part time, part-time councilman Eric Bever and Monahan both show up this time). Wendy Leece will almost certainly vote against this scheme. Some of those speakers may criticize this council for rushing this process to take advantage of the disproportionate voter turnout at the June Primary Election. It is assumed that only Republicans will contest in the Presidential Primary and our State Assembly race will be contested by mostly Republicans, so the voter turnout will be predominantly Republican. Of course, that appears to be part of Righeimer's scheme. I doubt very much that he wants to trust his move to take over the city to a broader electorate in the General Election in November. He's a loser who's getting tired of losing, so has manipulated the system to stack the deck, er, ballot box in his favor.

Tomorrow, once the council has voted to place Jim Righeimer's Charter on th
e June ballot and no further changes can be made to it, groups of residents that have been coalescing around this issue for most of this year will spring into action. Informational meetings will be held, precincts will be walked and literature will be distributed to inform the voters of this city just WHY this particular charter is such a bad idea. I suspect some of the discussions will revolve around TRUST - we just can't trust Jim Righeimer with the future of this city. In the nearly fifteen months that he's been on the City Council he has demonstrated, over and over again, that the rules are for somebody else. If he doesn't like them, he just doesn't follow them. The passage of his charter will permit HIM to now MAKE the rules - the specter of which should make every resident of this city shiver. Let the games begin...

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Anonymous WWrigD said...

No criticizing here Geoff. It's HIS charter.

3/06/2012 05:01:00 AM  
Anonymous YES in June said...

This too shall pass. Just like cancel the layoffs is old news, the sky didn't fall .

I wonder if the Unions will bus in the outside Union peeps?

While the lunatic fringe continues to invade City Hall, I choose not to go near the place.

I plan to vote YES in June.

3/06/2012 05:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Nicole M. said...

I hope the Charter will be on the ballot. It is a great idea, regardless of how the few who hate Jim Righeimer trash it. It's a simple issue of local control and local governance. I let the Councilmembers know my feelings on it yesterday, I hope you supporters will also do the same today and tonight.

3/06/2012 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Jimbo is the Fat Lady said...

We know what needs to be done now.

3/06/2012 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

To: All Shills
From: Your Charter Riggmarshal

Talk it up! Charter super! Charter will solve all problems! Concerned citizens stupid!

Jimmy knows what's best!
Unions are bad, will hurt workers!

3/06/2012 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Jello Boy said...

To Nicole M: would you trust Riggy with all or any your financial matters? If you can honestly say yes to that question, then maybe the one man created charter is for you, but for most people this thing is a joke and we see it for what it is, a way for one man to try and garner all the power and make people suffer.

3/06/2012 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Why are you against Costa Mesa said...


Sadly, your own commentary proves just how misguided and wrong you are on this issue.

You state that it is a matter of trust. The charter is a piece of paper with words printed on it. There is no invisible ink, or sleight-of-hand. The charter as proposed is what it says on its face.

Long after Jim Righeimer is no longer on the Council, the charter will govern.

Your opposition to this is a classic example of cutting off ones nose to spite ones face. You oppose it because you don't trust Jim Righeimer, regardless of what the actual document says. That is just plain foolish.

The charter is good for Costa Mesa - it frees us from the shackles of Sacramento, plain and simple.

You also complain about paycheck protection. That issue is really the best example of emotion and great PR trumping common sense.

Why in the world are Costa Mesa municipal (taxpayer) resources utilized for collecting and disbursing union dues? That is absurd on its face. If Costa Mesa's employees want to be in a union or association, they can pay dues directly to that union or association.

The plain and simple fact is the union or associations are worried that, without mandatory paycheck deductions, they won't get paid. That is a pretty strong indicator that perhaps union or association membership is not as voluntary or benign as they want you to believe.

Why do you, Geoff West, care about whether or not the union or associations collect their money directly from their members? Why do you want City resources to be utilized for that purpose?

Prevailing wage - what do you care? Less than 10% of all labor in the US is unionized. The claim that non-union work is sloppy or poorly managed simply because it is non-union is plainly false. The fact is, not requiring prevailing wage will save Costa Mesa taxpayer money.

This is not about Jim Righeimer. This is about a group of otherwise very bright, engaged citizens who have let emotion and good PR hijack common sense.

Why are you and others fighting the union battle against the citizens of Costa Mesa? That is the real question. Is it just because you don't like Jim Rigehimer?

3/06/2012 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous My Charter is a Farter said...

Nicole M: what is your definition of local control & governance? The flock of Riggy always speak of this magical "local control". Do you really think that anything is going to change, there isn't going to be this great moment when all the problems that are facing the City disappear. The only thing that will happen will be Riggy and his merry band of idiots will ruin this great City more than they've done already.

I'm sure that the councilmen where very interested in your support, because they don't give a damn about the anybody that questions the charter. Keep drinking that Riggy kool-aid, but I wouldn't turn my back on him, he might just slip something else in there.

3/06/2012 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Friendly Neighbor said...

If the city attorney stated that the proposed charter was prepared by city staff and the city attorney then does that mean it was the creation of a charter commission and not just the city council? If the proposed charter was prepared by a committee or commission then the law states it has to be approved 95 days before the election date.

3/06/2012 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

To any Costa Mesa citizens who believe Righeimer’s charter is good for their town:

I look at it this way. Even if I had written the draft charter, making it say everything I thought was best for my city, I would still say this: It’s no good, because it wasn’t drafted by a commission of citizens elected by popular vote.

If Monahan, Bever, and Mensinger go along with Righeimer on this, we will have descended from participatory democracy (that’s us running the show) to oligarchy (a small number of people running the show).

Examples of notorious oligarchies include: North Korea; the Party in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four; the former Soviet Union where only members of the Communist Party were allowed to hold office; and the race-based (apartheid) South African oligarchy during the 20th century.

“But,” you may protest, “this council will not be an oligarchy.” To that I’ll respond, “They’ve been one since Righeimer took office. It’s not likely they’ll release the increased levers of power when they’ve had so much fun with the limited powers of a General Law city.”

3/06/2012 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Seriously? said...

Tom Egan,

The same state legislature that currently mnandates what is best for general law cities, and what you are proposing is better than the proposed charter, also provided for charter drafted by the council and voted on by the citizens.

Your oligarchy statement is pure nonsense. The comparisons to "North Korea; the Party in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four; the former Soviet Union where only members of the Communist Party were allowed to hold office; and the race-based (apartheid) South African oligarchy during the 20th century" are laughably unbelievable. Do you really believe that nonsense?

3/06/2012 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Easy Answer said...

Who do you trust more- either Egan or a Riggtroll?

3/06/2012 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Easy Answer asked:
Who do you trust more- either Egan or a Riggtroll?


Either Egan. Mr. Egan's analogy is wholly accurate, the troll's rap is just a script they were ordered to post.

3/06/2012 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Kim Marie said...

We need to vote NO on THIS charter!!! Our city is going through too much now and we don't need to spend the extra money to put it on the June ballot. You are correct Geoff, the only reason Righeimer wants it for June is because it's a Republican primary...and yes, he's a loser who wants to stack the deck.

3/06/2012 03:11:00 PM  
Anonymous laughingstock said...

The problem with local control is people like Jim Righeimer think they are smarter than everyone. Riggy is a large man, but not in the brain, only in the ego and arrogance.

3/06/2012 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Oh Joe... said...


You are reliable, I'll give you that.

3/06/2012 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Pro Charter said...

If Tom Egan and Geoff West are against the Charter, then I am definitely voting for it in June!

3/06/2012 07:08:00 PM  

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