Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two Charter Hearings Next Week

Katrina Foley reports from Orange County Superior Court that the hearing before Judge Miller is over.


Next week there will be two hearings. On Monday, 3/26, there will be a hearing to determine just which parties may intervene. In addition to Foley and Costa Mesa lawyer John Stephens there was one other person at court today. Then, on Tuesday, 3/27, a hearing will be held to determine whether the county may accept Costa Mesa's late filings for the June 5th ballot and will hear arguments from the parties involved and any others the judge ruled the previous day may "intervene".

In the meantime, this week is full of deadlines for paperwork to be filed and swappe
d between parties.

Interesting sidebar... the lawyers in court today were from Jones Day, inclu
ding their managing partner. That is the expensive outfit we contracted with (open-ended contract, by the way) for the OCEA lawsuit. I wonder what kind of dollars they're billing us for THIS little foray? Doubt it was part of their contract, since the Charter is unrelated to the OCEA lawsuit. Way back when we hired Jones & Mayer one of the reasons given was because they were a full-service firm, with lots of litigators on staff. Now it seems like contract City Attorney Tom Duarte is doing mostly supervision of other firms - at great expense to the city.


So, the beat goes on.. The drop dead date for getting Jim Righeimer's Charter on the ballot is April 1, 2012. I know, that seems some how VERY appropriate. The next two weeks are going to be like the fall harvest for lawyers dealing with The City. Listen to the meter spin...

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Blogger Mike H. said...

I'm setting the over/under on a Jones Day law firm lawyer at $400 an hour.

3/20/2012 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous stop destroying my city! said...

How much more money is this city going to waste on supporting Righeimer's schemes? None of what this council doing helps us residents who just want a nice and safe place to live. Jones Day bills $500 an hour and Jones Mayer at $200 an hour to supervise.

When will this nonsense stop? We need to outsource the councilmen and start fresh. We need more life-long residents like Wendy Leece on the council. Unlike Righeimer, she has no political agenda.

3/20/2012 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Themosticles said...


Grossly incompetent.

That's the only way you can describe this management and legal team at the City of Costa Mesa.

Whether it's the flacks in the Ministry of Truth, the hired guns, or new hires like Rick Francis, this is what happens when you run off people who are competent and replace them with lackeys who will do whatever Riggy demands.

3/20/2012 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Jr. said...

If you don't like it, tough luck!!

3/20/2012 01:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Sam Grady said...

The problem I have with this is the precedence it sets for future ballot measures or candidates for that matter. In the recent "Feet to the Fire" column about the Assembly District 74 face in the OC Register, Barbara Venezia states:
"Then there was Independent Paul Vann from Irvine who threw his hat in the race a few weeks ago. When I called him March 15 to say I didn't see his name on the O.C. Voters Registrar website as a qualified candidate, he seemed puzzled. He called there immediately. Apparently he missed something in the instructions and didn't file the necessary paperwork by the deadline date. So he's out of the race."

Vann missed the deadline and he is out. The charter proposal missed the deadline and it should be out too. I guess Vann could have sued to get his name on the ballot, but he probably doesn't have the deep pockets of the a City to help pay his legal fees. Besides any competent judge would realize the precedent and not approve Costa Mesa's plea either. The bottom line is the City of Costa Mesa screwed up.

What is the harm in waiting for November if this charter approval is is a shoo-in per Righeimer and company?

3/20/2012 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Earplugs said...

What? No high priced Union thug lawyers?

We think they will be there next time.

Glad this was not a City Council item. Would not want to hear Katrina Foley's high pitched whine.

3/20/2012 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

Aren't these fees the result of incompetence by our City staff? Didn't Julie Folcik screw this one up? Will she be fired? Or at least get the legal bill. Sorry haters, can't blame this one Righeimer. He didn't screw up. The employees did. I'd be fired at my job if I messed up this bad.

Why is Foley involved? Is she trying to thwart democracy? Don't the residents have the right to vote yes or no on the Charter? Why is she tryinig to stop our voices from being heard. Seems pretty shady to me!

3/20/2012 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Troll Patrol said...

"What? No high priced Union thug lawyers?"

Nothing available for fees- all the money was spent by the Righeimer Gang.

3/20/2012 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Open ears said...

Ear Plugs: Wear them, put on dark glasses, put you head back where the sun doesn't shine and don't worry about listening what you don't like to hear.
Let me guess. You are an unemployed, stay at home person who has NO life so you read blogs and spew hatred for those that do work for a living. Right? I thought so.

3/20/2012 03:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Barry, if you read this carefully and read the complete brief that was submitted by Katrina you would see that she is staunchly defending "democracy." She is not asking to keep this off the ballot at all; she is asking that the City be held to the same standards as everyone else,and the measure be moved to the November ballot.

The City missed the deadline, the law and the case law is clear, so it should not be allowed on the June ballot. More of us would have access to the democratic process when we vote in a general election (Nov) rather than during a GOP primary (June).

If more people would read all the material before commenting I believe the conversation would be more civil, more would get done and our vulture-like attorneys would stop soaking up our funds like sponges (pardon the mixed metaphor).

3/20/2012 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Mary Ann,
I didn't post the links to the legal papers Katrina filed - didn't have them at the time. I agree with you, though.

And, we except most metaphors here, mixed and otherwise.

3/20/2012 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

Barry..... I thought you said you were a retired burger flipper living on minimum social security.
What's to get fired from?

3/20/2012 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous I HATE EVERYONE TOO said...

@Mary Ann O’Connell,

You are very naïve. Don’t you know that this blog IS for the haters? Most people here hate the city council so much that they have to attack just to release some of the anger they have. So in the spirit of this blog and the hate fest we have here, I will second Barry’s comments. Anything Foley says is suspect. I wish she would just concentrate on schools and go away.

3/20/2012 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Geoff: They were on the CM4RG site and FaceBook link. But thanks for the correction.

3/20/2012 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Mary Ann,
Wasn't trying to correct you, kiddo. I just didn't have them. I do now - all of them - and it's a prodigious pile of stuff.

And, again, we do love metaphors here.. :-)

Off to the council meeting, so comments won't get posted until really late tonight.

3/20/2012 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Vote in June or Nov said...

Mary Ann O'Connell:

"More of us would have access to the democratic process when we vote in a general election (Nov) rather than during a GOP primary (June)."

EVERYONE has access to a charter vote in June. Whether they choose to excercise their rights is their decision. Enough with this bogus assertion that a June vote will disenfranchise anyone.

3/20/2012 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Ah, the inner workings of democracy are not as pretty as some would like them to be, eh?

Yes, Julie missed a deadline. The city could ignore it and put the charter on the November ballot. The problem, as has been widely reported is that the GOP presidential primary has a good chance of driving GOP voters to the polls. On the other hand, Obama has no opposition, so the Dems have no reason to show up. This is simple election calculus.

Julie gave the unions a gift by missing the deadline. Righeimer and crew are trying to retake that gift. Why OCEA isn't all over this I don't know. Unless they are in a background advisory role.

Honestly, the city attorney should be taking the heat for missing the deadline. If he was doing his job he would have clearly outlined the requirements for getting the charter on the ballot and there would not be any question in any one's mind as to what should have happened when.

Fun and games!

3/20/2012 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Good points Bruce, you would think with all those attorney's and over-priced executives on the 5th floor, someone would of made sure the required paper work made it to the Registrar of Voters in time, even if it had to be hand delivered. Other agencies and groups managed to do it. I am not sure about your comment on OCEA. Julie is in management and is not represented by OCEA. If anything Julie is more aligned with the Righeimer crowd then any other group. My problem with the whole thing is the amount of money that is being spent to fight something that the City screwed up on. If Costa Mesa gets a pass, what is going to stop any other group from asking for the same consideration. If Righeimer is so confident that his charter will pass easily, let it go on the November ballot. He could spend the time improving his image, because right now he looks like a buffoon.

3/21/2012 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Daisy Mae,

I was not tying Julie to OCEA. My comment wasn't clearly constructed.

I was observing that OCEA does not seem to be involved in defending the Registrar of Voters against the Costa Mesa City Council suit. I also suggested that if they were, they were taking a background role. Perhaps they hired Foley? Who knows? I just found that their lack of obvious involvement interesting.

As for this setting precedent, the state legislature has long ignored deadlines for putting things on the ballot. That puts enormous pressure on counties who have to design and print ballots. In this case, the Secretary of State has not released the state's list of candidates yet, so there really is little if any discernible cost to missing the deadline.

More broadly though, there is great president for going to court to add or remove measures and candidates to/from the ballot.

Right now the city of San Jose is fighting off a challenge to a measure they put on the ballot to change pensions in their city. In that case they met the deadline but the unions are challenging the legality of the measure and want it removed from the ballot.

As for Righeimer being confident, my guess is that he is more confident that it will pass on the June ballot than on the November; just a guess though on my part.

It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

3/21/2012 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Bottom Line said...

Katrina Foley is suing the City. That fact should not be lost

3/21/2012 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Bruce touches on a lot of points.

The deadline was missed. The reasons explained to me were multi-faceted. The common denominator being the incredibly rushed deadline imposed by Righeimer to make sure this charter was on the June Ballot. Righeimer has orchestrated this Charter in the tightest deadline possible, basically springing it in full form, and providing the minimum of debate in the least amount of time required by state law. Good for his agenda but bad for a well crafted charter and the interests of the residents at large.
Of course, the Republican primary and low general voter turn out is paramount to his plan , as very few "regular folk" follow local politics or come to splash over here in the Cauldron.
What happened on the way to the Forum is actually pretty ironic. In the scheme to place it on the ballot, one of the back issues was the counter arguments being formulated by folks at CM4RG and the very learned players and foils to this Keystone Council. Those arguments needed to be turned in by a certain time and date. The City,(Duarte) tried to change that date to their advantage, expose the counter argument and be able to craft their own in response up on the 5th floor. That window was very slim. What got lost in the shuffle was the deadline the city had to comply with, being different with the deadline for the counter arguments. Blame the clerk, blame Duarte, blame Righeimer, blame them all, for a hurried rushed process that doesn’t allow for any shenanigans.
So in essence, by trying to game the system they lost the ability to play at all. Until the next round that is, or more plainly, the November General election.
Now Righeimer is pissed. That is clearly losing his advantage. The Charter and three council seats will now all be going before the voters at the same time. The Charters benefits and disadvantages will be fully vetted before the voters, along with supporters or detractors running for a council majority. Not exactly what he had planned.
Time to waste more money on lawsuits to benefit his timing and agenda, citizens be damned.
One major problem.
Duarte is a mess. Lets face it folks , he is. It’s his job to counsel the council, and unfortunately all he is doing is playing “yes” man. He doesn’t know how to read the fine print, and he’s in over his head. Now he is very clear and resonant on his opinions, but his opinions haven’t held up in court. He’s consistently proven biased to the cities detriment, and I hold him responsible for the huge legal morass this city finds itself in. An attorney gets threatened to be sued everyday, a good attorney knows when they will win. Duarte is not a good attorney, but he makes a ton of profits for his firms balance sheets.
Thats why we had 3 Jones Day Attorneys including a Managing Partner at the Charter Court hearing. Even though this wasn’t in their original contract with the city, remember they have no ceiling limit on expenditures.
The only reason “why” we are fighting this is because the less voters Righeimer gets the easier it will be for it to pass.
The sad thing is...it doesn’t hurt the city to have the vote in November. It does no damage to have it at a later date, in fact I say it benefits it. Fighting this is like trying to have your vote counted if it was turned in one day after the election. It just doesn’t count. Courts like to uphold the rules. Righeimer likes to bend them.
So we are now spending tons more money, that we supposedly don’t have, to have another fight we don’t need, to further an agenda that we don’t want, to get a charter that doesn’t address the problems, Righeimer says he wants to fix.
I don’t know how much more, you people that are sitting on the fence need to see, before you realize that this city is being terribly mishandled. Righeimer is definitely running this city like a business, unfortunately he’s running it like one of his own.

3/21/2012 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Bruce, Do you have any specific example other than San Jose, where a government agency or citizens group has successfully put a ballot initiative on the ballot after the due date? From what I understand about San Jose, the union is suing to remove the item from the ballot, not trying to put one on the ballot.

If it has been done before, then there may already be a precedence. If not, then the City would have a slim chance of the judge allowing the charter to go on the June ballot, since it could easily go on the November ballot. I appreciate your input.

I find all of this fascinating and almost surreal that it is happening in my hometown.

3/21/2012 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Daisy Mae,

Yes, San Jose is a case where the opponents are trying to take something off the ballot. Not the same issue, but a similar tactic in that they are trying to use the courts to advance their position. I didn't mean to imply it was the same situation.

I would have to do some research to find an example of an administrative deficiency being challenged by the proponents of a measure to get the measure on the ballot. It is most likely to have happened with statewide measures.

I have been working in elections for so long that I think I have seen every possible example of these kinds of things. If I trip over one I will post it as an example for you.

3/22/2012 02:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Daisy Mae said...

Thank you Bruce, This whole scenario would be a fascinating topic for a political science course at our local colleges. Most students think of the national elections and issues. This is happening in their own backyard. It also shows how easily people are led by an arrogant blowhard and then wonder how despots get into power.

3/22/2012 04:49:00 PM  

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