Thursday, January 17, 2013

Application Period For Parks Commission Extended

Last Tuesday the Costa Mesa City Council, apparently dissatisfied with the number and/or quality of the candidates who had applied for one of the four vacant slots on the Parks and Recreation Commission, instructed the staff to push the selection process out to a future meeting.  At the time resident Harold Weitzberg asked if the application period would be re-opened.  In the subsequent conversation that ensued it was unclear to me whether that happened.

 The answer, confirmed by Interim City Clerk Brenda Green this morning, is yes - the council re-opened the application period, which will extend until Thursday, January 24th - a week from now.  I may have been the only person who didn't get it Tuesday night, because a couple of new applications have been received already.

So, the council will have more candidates to add to the previously-submitted eleven (11), which is now down to ten because Auto Club lawyer Timothy Sesler was appointed to the Planning Commission Tuesday.  Until the council appoints more commissioners the Parks and Recreation Commission cannot meet due to a lack of a quorum - only Dean Abernathy remains since Kim Pederson's term has expired.  That means the people's business will be put off until March, the next regularly-scheduled meeting of the commission.

I've looked over all the applications submitted previously and found at least a half-dozen who certainly seemed qualified.  What doesn't show on the applications are the political allegiances that apparently form part of the selection criteria for some members of the council.  Some will recall that when former Parks and Recreation commissioner Ethan Temianka - who resigned to fill the Mesa Consolidated Water District seat to which he was elected last November -  was considered, his singular qualification was that he had played on some Costa Mesa fields.  Oh, yes - he did share a business address with Mayor Jim Righeimer, though.  During the meeting Tuesday Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger complained about having insufficient time to contact and interview all the candidates after receiving the application packet.  I guess it takes quite a while to make the rounds and see who's willing to kiss your, er, ring.

In a more perfect world each elected council member would have the right to appoint a commissioner to each commission.  However, with the resignations and staggered council terms that sometimes get tossed askew by resignations and appointments, that "perfect world" just doesn't exist.  I'm not so politically naive that I don't understand why a council majority will want to stack the commission deck to suit their personal political agenda.  However, it's a shame that, for example, Sandra Genis - the highest vote-getter, by far, in any recent election - will not get the opportunity to select commissioners who may be more in tune with her philosophy.  Such is life when local elections - which in theory are non-partisan - get politicized.  Today it's cronyism over qualifications.

So, to those residents who are in a hurry to have the Parks and Recreation Commission hear your plea for a tree removal or address paving over part of Fairview Park, you're out of luck until March. Sorry about that.  The council majority has played loosey-goosey with the appointment process for a couple years.  In fact, Righeimer is the poster boy for this kind of manipulation.  You will recall that, when he was appointed to the Planning Commission after only being a resident of the city for seven months, he failed to submit an application within the prescribed time limit.  That didn't stop then-mayor Allan Mansoor from appointing him and rejecting his loyal foot-soldier, Paul Bunney three times to do it.  During the council meeting Tuesday Righeimer said that they could appoint anyone they wanted.  Of course, that's not true.  Each appointee has to be verified as a registered voter in the City first.  Again, the rules are for somebody else with these guys.  Contact your council members if you want to complain.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Blogger kwahlf said...

You summed it up very well, Geoff.
" Today it's cronyism over qualifications."

That's so true.

1/17/2013 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

It seems that this is a ploy to reshuffle their favorite players. In a typical schoolyard clique's move it has come down to this - if you are an insider and didn't get picked to play on the planning team, quick, re-apply for parks and rec. Let's ignore all the folks who played by the rules, were willing to serve and had at least the same qualifications as the newly appointed Bob Knapp. Why are we wasting time with this charade?

1/17/2013 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

No, Mary Ann, Bob Knapp was HIRED as an EMPLOYEE, not a volunteer for a commission. His "Recreation Managment" experience included two sons who are great golfers and being Gordon Bowley's son-in-law. Don't get me wrong - Bob is a GREAT guy, but had no qualifications for a job as a municipal recreation manager.

1/17/2013 04:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Geoff - I am aware he was hired. My ill-drawn point was that they required less to hire him than they seem to want from their volunteers. Help - is it hypocrisy, irony or both?

1/17/2013 07:46:00 PM  
Anonymous unimpressed said...

They seem to be taking their time to line up the right people. Righiemer and menstinger are trying to recruit from Costa mesa united so they can get rid of the planes,trains and open space in Fairview park. More parking lots and football fields for the other cities to use. Qualities of life lost. These area are sharred by all ages. The old and young fly planes and ride trains. The old and young run and walk in fairview . Enough with the sports fields and parking lots.

1/17/2013 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

unimpressed: yes! I agree. Enough with the sports stuff. How about something for the rest of the people in this town? Some people still like to bowl. Some people like to ice skate. You used to be able to do those things in this town. No more. What are people supposed to do on a night out? There is really no entertainment in this town for older people to enjoy, only high school sports and high school skateboard park. Its time to think about the rest of the residents.

1/18/2013 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous YoMama said...

This older lady and her family used to bowl and ice-skate just up Harbor Blvd. a couple of blocks from our house. Our two sons flew their planes at Fairview Park. We now re-create there on our feet and our bikes. SpOrts fields? Parking lots? NO.WAY.PUHLEEZE.

1/25/2013 12:19:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home