Thursday, November 15, 2012

The End Is In Sight... We Think

Below you will find the updated numbers on the local races.  The clock is ticking for yet another update tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.  It looks like we may not even know the final numbers until after the weekend.  So, you can continue to tear your hair out, or just kick back, sip something cool and refreshing and wait, and wait, and wait...


As it stands right now, Sandra Genis added 28 votes today and leads Steve Mensinger by 1,731 votes.  He holds a 258 vote lead over Gary Monahan.  In the critical race for the third seat Monahan added 28 votes and gained one over John Stephens, who trails him by 132 votesColin McCarthy, who is 384 votes behind Stephens, Harold Weitzberg, Al Melone and James Rader trail the field.

So, folks, we'll be back here tomorrow - same time, same place - and hope to be able to report the final results to the Costa Mesa City Council race.  Quite honestly, since we don't know exactly how many ballots remain to be counted - there were 1,504 two days ago - there's really no way to begin to accurately speculate how this race will turn out.  All the others are over for all practical purposes.  So, just keep on humming that Jeopardy! theme...


Peter Naghavi - The Perfect Public Servant

Last night I was honored to be invited to a little retirement party thrown for Peter Naghavi - the Costa Mesa employee with the longest title in the building.  Currently his title is "Economic and Development Services Director/Deputy Chief Executive Officer".

The man who hired Naghavi in the Transportation Department almost two dozen years ago, retired Public Services Director Bill Morris, put this event together and was the Master of Ceremonies.  He invited folks to stand and praise - or otherwise address - Peter Naghavi's long and illustrious career with the City of Costa Mesa. 

Among those who stepped up were former City Manager Allan Roeder, former council members Mary Hornbuckle, Jay Humphrey, Sandra Genis and current councilwoman Wendy Leece.  Naghavi's current boss, CEO Tom Hatch, shown below with his wife, Vanessa, stepped up to praise him, as well.

Former co-workers like Perry Valantine, shown here with his wife, Pam and Naghavi, stood to share stories about their time with Naghavi.  Valantine brought down the house when he identified himself as an 8-year retiree who has learned to speak in 3-minute increments. 

Employee association president Helen Nenadal stood and presented what may have been the most serious moment when she thanked Naghavi for "being there for us" during the very trying past nearly two years.  She referred to the events of St. Patrick's Day, 2011 and praised Naghavi for being their rock - always there for them.

Former Segerstrom spokesman Paul Freeman stepped up and shared stories that I'm sure were edited for a "general" audience - there is probably a much more "adult-oriented" version that he really wanted to tell.  Freeman and Naghavi have become great friends through their business contacts.

Naghavi's son also spoke about life with his father and his friends.

The thread through all the comments made by Naghavi's friends and co-workers was that of a consummate professional - a man of his word that you could count on.  Whether he was your peer, boss or subordinate, the message was the same.

Personally, I've gotten to know Peter Naghavi over the years that I've been paying attention to city issues.  He was always responsive to questions I've had for clarification on one issue or another.  He never turned me away and, based on the comments last night, it sure sounded like that's how he treated everyone.  He's been a cheerful, enthusiastic, honest man to deal with - again, part of the thread of the comments last night.  He may have been the perfect municipal employee.  I'm proud to be Peter Naghavi's friend and wish him every success wherever his post-retirement takes him.  He's much to young a man to simply just pack it in, but I suspect there's a lot of travel in his near future.  He will leave his post with the City in December and will be sorely missed.
(A special thanks to Soraya Julian for the use of several of her photos from the event last night.)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Getting Close, But Not Over Yet (UPDATED)*

The Registrar of Voters site now has the most recent results of the local races.  You can see that page HERE.  No idea yet how many ballots remain to be counted.  Chunky chick still warming up...  The next update will be Thursday at 5:00 p.m.   *Spoke with a representative in the Registrar of Voters office at 9:30 Thursday morning.  They are NO LONGER going to update the "ballots remaining to be counted" numbers by District.  That means we just have to be patient for the final count and not twist our brains into knots trying to predict the results.  So, just relax and wait...

Sandra Genis still holds a commanding lead in the race for a seat on the Costa Mesa city council dais.  Steve Mensinger trails her by more than 1,700 votes.  Gary Monahan solidified his hold on the all-important third seat by increasing his lead on John Stevens to 131 votesColin McCarthy trails Stephens by more than 350 votes.


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The Triangle Signs - Half A Loaf

Last night the Costa Mesa Planning Commission approved the use of vinyl signage on a 300 square foot location at the Newport Boulevard/Harbor Boulevard corner of that star-crossed shopping venue.  That's the short version of events.  You can read Bradley Zint's account of the event from the Daily Pilot HERE.

In the past couple weeks Eastside neighbors have become incensed at the possibility that the commission would cave in to the current owners of The Triangle (formerly Triangle Square) and permit them to sell so-called "off premises" advertising on two locations on the building - the aforementioned southwest facing 300 square foot site and the 600 square foot wrap-around site that faces the terminus of the 55 Freeway as it emerges from the ditch at 19th Street.

Activists complained - see Katie Arthur's excellent letter from the Daily Pilot, HERE -  that permitting such ads opens a Pandora's Box because once such signage is permitted, because of 1st Amendment considerations,  it would be impossible to control the nature of the messages delivered by the signs.  The complaints of the specter of condom ads and other equally offensive signs apparently caught the ear of several commission members and Don Lamm, the representative of the owners, Greenlaw Partners, because he withdrew the request for off-premises signage at the beginning of the presentation.  Lamm is a former Costa Mesa employee - an executive in the Planning Department and former City Manager for the City of Westminster.

Residents would have preferred that NO signage be permitted on either location, but that ship had already sailed.  The commission approved the vinyl signs on the larger location last March.Since vinyl signage had previously been approved for the large, wrap-around location, all that remained for the commission to consider was the smaller sign site.  They approved it on a 5-0 vote.

Many residents, including Arthur, spoke against the off-premises signage.  Only one resident spoke in favor of it - a grumpy old fella who pretends to be a real estate developer among other things and who lives far, far away from the location in question.  He's the same guy who has badgered The City for more than a year for a sign identifying the so-called "19 West" part of town until the most lame of signs imaginable was finally stuck in the center divider on West 19th Street just to shut him up.

Kudos to Lamm and Greenlaw Partners for recognizing the concern of residents near their center and pulling the request for off-premises signage.  The current plan for more restaurants at that location might make it work.  We'll know in pretty short order.  In the meantime, very extensive and expensive renovations to the site continue and the gym in the basement thrives.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stephens Loses Ground - 1,504 Votes Left

The following is the latest numbers provided by the Orange County Registrar of Voters in the local election.  The update was delayed by nearly an hour, finally being posted at 5:55 p.m.  You can read the full results HERE.  The next update - maybe the final update, will occur tomorrow, Wednesday, at 5:00 p.m.  I hear a portly gal humming in the background...

UPDATES AS OF 5:55 p.m. 11/13/12

The big news here is that Gary Monahan moved further ahead of John Stevens.  He stretched his lead over Stephens by 13 votes.  Sandra Genis held the lead and stretched it to 1820 votes over Steve Mensinger, who is 258 votes ahead of Monahan.  Colin McCarthy trails Stephens by 468 votesThere are only 1,504 votes remaining to be counted.

There remain only 1,827 votes remaining to be counted in these races.  The incumbents cannot be caught.
These races are over.  If the trailing candidate received all the remaining votes they could still not overtake the leader in each of the three races.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Uh-Oh. Look Out Gary - Here Comes John!

The Orange County Registrar of Voters has updated his site with the latest numbers as of shortly after 5:00 Monday, November 12, 2012.  It is anticipated that the counting will continue for a few more days before all ballots have been counted and the Registrar, Neal Kelley, can certify the election.  You can read all the results HERE.


Sandy Genis stretched her lead over Steve Mensinger to 1,527 votes.  Mensinger holds a 277 vote advantage over Gary Monahan John Stephens has closed the gap between him and Monahan and that critical 3rd seat to 110 votes.  Colin McCarthy remains well behind Stephens - 378 votes.   According to the Registrar's site as an update at 5:24 p.m. this afternoon there remains 4,482 votes left to count.

The gap widens in the Measure V race, with nearly 60% of the voters rejecting Jim Righeimer's Charter.

It would appear that the Sanitary District race if all but over with 4,828 votes left to count.

With only 730 votes remaining,  Fred Bockmiller extended his lead over Eric BeverEthan Temianka extended his over Trudy Ohlig-Hall with only 1,071 votes remaining.  Dan Worthington made up a little ground on Jim Fisler, but not much.  With only 685 votes left nearly 500 votes separate them.