Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Town Hall Wrap Up

(Sorry for the delay... My computer has had a mind of it's own this morning.  Grrrrrr!)
A small, but very focused and outspoken crowd of our neighbors attended councilwoman Wendy Leece's most recent Public Safety Town Hall last night in the north part of Costa Mesa.  You can read Daily Pilot editor Bradley Zint's account of the meeting HERE.

Nearly three dozen people attended the meeting to hear Corporal Doug Johnson present crime statistics for the area and to give the audience information on the broader crime prevention challenges the Costa Mesa Police Department faces today as they attempt to keep the city safe from crimes.  He reported that the area closest to our location last night had 1200 calls for service since January, for which 170 actually had reports written.  The bulk of the crimes were burglaries - home, garage and vehicles - and petty thefts and ID thefts.  He attributed those crimes mainly to "dopers", indicating that Costa Mesa has a lot of drug users looking to steal items that can be quickly turned into cash - jewelery, electronics, etc.

Apparently prostitution within our city continues to be a major problem.  One resident told of having a van-load of hookers unloaded on our streets at the same place every Friday night, immediately adjacent to her office near the I-405 and Harbor Blvd.  A recent trip to Singapore - where crime is punished promptly and severely - caused her to suggest we try a similar approach.  Unfortunately, our current legal system prohibits prompt resolutions.

Johnson told us that we are getting good service from our current helicopter contract and, when a resident asked what happens if Huntington Beach cancels their program like we did, he explained that there are still other options - the Sheriff's Department, for example.

He told us of pending new program to provide crime statistics online that may be available by the end of the year.  Residents will be able to see crime patterns throughout the city.  One resident expressed concern that crooks would have that information available to them so they'd know where to go to commit crimes.  Johnson indicated that the police would be waiting for them.

Johnson spoke about the impact of the recent "early release" program that dumped 60+ criminals onto our streets - a very disproportionately large number when compared to neighboring cities.  That number is growing at 6-10 criminals per month.


He explained how the city provides police coverage and how mutual aid works with neighboring cities, emphasizing that Newport Beach is our most responsive partner fighting crime.  He also bemoaned the revolving door that is our legal system, explaining that the police will apprehend a criminal, process him through the system, only to have him show up back on the streets within a matter of days.  Activist Sue Lester told a personal story to emphasize that issue - where a bike thief she turned in ended up back in front of her home to harass her after getting out of jail in a matter of days.

City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch also attended this fifth edition of Leece's town halls.  He gave us an overview of the plans being formed to deal with issues like homelessness and the associated crimes.  The crowd didn't let him off easy, asking very pointed questions about specific kinds of crimes.  Among the things Hatch told us was that Costa Mesa was done being "mister nice guy" when it comes to having homeless folks shipped to our city from other local venues.  While homelessness is a regional problem, he told the audience that Costa Mesa will do its fair share, but will no longer absorb neighboring cities share of the problem.

Hatch explained, for example, that Costa Mesa has 26% of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in the county and that the City is working hard to "manage" that number but has significant restrictions because of state laws governing those facilities.  If a residential home is occupied by 6 or fewer "clients" the City has no authority to control it. 
At last count Costa Mesa had 130 such facilities.


He emphasized that he expects every city department to participate in new methods of assisting the police department in keeping our city safe.  He pointed to code enforcement as a very logical tool, and mentioned hiring two new code enforcement officers to work specifically on targeted areas of difficulty.  For example, he has one code enforcement officer working specifically on those rehab homes.

Candidates for city council Harold Weitzberg
and John Stephens attended and asked questions and absorbed the atmosphere of the evening.  They actually listened to what the residents of the city had to say and asked some questions of their own.

The Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T) was represented and passed out informational materials.  Cindy Brenneman spoke briefly about their programs.

United Neighbors also had a table full of important materials and Diane Hill also spoke about their activities throughout the city.

I've attended all of these town hall events and this one, perhaps because of the intimate size of the group, seemed the most lively and engaged.  Residents were persistent but respectful as they pushed Hatch and Johnson for answers.  At one point during the discussion Weitzberg asked Hatch how much it would cost to hire a dozen "lateral" police officers - fully trained and experienced officers.  The answer was around $1.5 million per year, including the load for benefits.

At the end of the evening Johnson opined that, under the leadership of Hatch, the city seems to be making progress with crime fighting initiatives, mentioning the use of new technologies specifically.  Hatch chimed in with his mantra for fighting crime - "Go Extreme!" - looking for non-traditional ways to fight traditional problems. 

Thanks to Wendy Leece for another excellent event, and thanks to Corporal Doug Johnson and CEO Tom Hatch for attending and providing perspective and answers.  The next such event is scheduled for later this month, on October 29th.  I'll report more on that later.

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Anonymous Eleanor said...

Regarding the report of a van unloading prostitutes every Friday night at the same location: I hope the cops will be waiting and will arrest the driver and charge him/her with human trafficking.

10/09/2012 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Clown Car said...

The "van full of prostitutes" was simply the 3 stooges making a campaign stop together. Also- it was a golf cart, not a van..

10/09/2012 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous robutto said...

it was a van of union prostitute thugs planting weitzberg and perry signs at every illegal place they could find. arrest these girls and stop the pension spiking.

10/09/2012 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous compUSA said...

sorry two here about your're copmuter problems. Sum won once said garbage in, garbage out. eye think ewe put in two much garbage photos and fowled up the copmuter. oar maybe two much democratic incantation crap spewing forth from the palpitating fingers of your long lost youth predicated the demise of the dang thing. either way: garbage.
stop the pension spiking.

10/09/2012 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Informed Voter said...

CompUSA, please show us all how pension spiking is occurring. And while we are at it, please define pension spiking. What is it?

Thank you.

10/09/2012 06:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Typical... No answer at all to the pension spiking questions. Just a lot of hate-filled spewing from the hate-filled cc union and its minions. Typical.

10/09/2012 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Onan said...

"No answer at all to the pension spiking questions."

Because like brick, paint, and non-DUI, it's just another made up Rigg-Fable.

After Mrs leaves for God knows how many jobs to support their family, Jimmy has to fill the time by riding around in a golf cart stalking others or writing nonsense online.

The charter, Mensy, Monahan, and "Smirk" McCarthy are all losing big time.

10/10/2012 07:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Unions go Home said...

Another couple YES on V and McCarthy, Mensinger & Monahan signs were vandalized with spray paint last night. Haters will try and fool you into thinking that this is yet another act to get attention. The Anti Growth and Lack of Reasonable Thinking crowd will encourage all to sit back and wait until the culprits are found. That is from the Playbook.

Meanwhile the Unions roll into town.

The good news is the Unions will be silenced in November. Until then the good people of Costa Mesa will just have to endure. Hang in there. We are almost at the finish line.

10/10/2012 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Informed Voter said...

Yup, saw the signs. And unless the "unions" have become part of a tagging crew, you would be right. That was a tagger, and those idiots will paint anything that stands still long enough. If it was "unions" as you assert, it wouldn't have the stylized nature that it does. It would probably have been acros the whole sign.

Just keep blaming the "unions" you one note fools. By the way did you file a vandalism report with the PD. I'm sure their graffiti guy can show you pictures of the same tag in multiple other locations that aren't your silly signs.

10/10/2012 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous City Council Retierment Land said...

Unions Go Home--please explain how the "unions will be silenced in Nov."?

You're right about one thing" we are almost at the finish line"--that is Mr. Bevers' political career(if you can call it that), Gary and his foul mouth on the Council, and Steve-o being the bulLY OF the bully of the Council.

10/10/2012 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Not Mr. Nice Guy Any Mo' said...

The Daily Pilot reported today that the City of Newps settled a lawsuit by purchasing a 17,000 sq ft office building located at 1499 Monrovia Ave. Their city was considering turning it into a community center for West Newport.

Maybe our City's Homeless Task Force will suggest to them about utilizing the large space for a homeless shelter like the City of Laguna Beach. This could be a very good location b/c it's currently surrounded by mostly light industrial businesses, and not in CM's bustling downtown area.

The space could provide centralized services such as food, shelter, personal belonging storage, and other homeless-related resource services as well.

This could be an effective collaboration b/w our two cities by working together in moving forward in lowering our homeless population and "doper" crime rates...

10/10/2012 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Keep Your Homeless In Costa Misery said...

Mr nice guy, if the City of Costa Mesa wants a location for the homeless, maybe they should purchase a place. Newport bought this for Newport and not Costa Mesa.

10/10/2012 03:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Hotel, Motel said...

If Costa Mesa wanted this place, or any motel, it would take the City almost ten years (500,000 a year, multiply that by five years) to get. Great looking out City Council, way to save for the future.

10/10/2012 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous unionquiltersforleece said...

buying buildings on the backs of the employees pensions is not the way to run city hall. raise taxes if you want something. any money you spend now cannot be given to employees and we have , and want to keep, the bestest. Invest in employees, not buildings. buildings get old and go away. employees will still get checks for many years after they retire. employees first!!

10/11/2012 06:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Do not touch signs said...

It has been confirmed by multiple reliable police sources that the signs where not tagged nor is it graffiti.

Sorry to inform all those that like to compartmentalize this as non union thug actions.

This was a malicious defacing of signs and is a crime.

For others that think they are being cute by picking up the sign and laying it down, thinking because they are not stealing signs there is no infraction, news flash, you are trespassing and do not have permission to touch those signs.

Keep defacing and destroying signs. It works against your cause and gains support for those you so despise.

10/11/2012 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Good for the goose said...

News flash! Signs on both sides are being stolen and defaced.

Please stop trying to make it seems as if only 3M's are bearing the brunt of sign theft & destruction.

Are you just as concerned with the flagrant muni-code violations that the 3M's and yes on V signs are violating right this very second?

10/11/2012 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Becca@Locksmith Melbourne said...

Ideally, the law should be written so that it is “available” to the public and not just specialist lawyers and judges.

12/03/2012 09:26:00 PM  

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