Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A Strange Evening At City Hall

Well, I thought we might end up with a short meeting, and predicted to an inquirer earlier in the day that it might end at 9:00 p.m.  Close, but no cigar!  The Costa Mesa City Council wrapped it up at 9:15!  And that's not the most interesting part of the council meeting, either.

For the first time in years a Costa Mesa City Council considered and voted on the Consent Calendar as a whole without a single item being pulled for separate consideration!  Quick!  Somebody check the weather report in Hades for signs of freezing!  Of course, it helped that one of the more potentially confrontational items - the distribution of freebie tickets - was removed before the meeting.  However, we'll be thankful for small blessings and rejoice for the brevity.  It was nice to get home by 9:30 for a change.

The meeting began with two high notes.  First was the recognition of the bright young people from our sister city, Wyndham, Victoria, Australia.  As Mayor Jim Righeimer said last night, perpetuating this sister city relationship is good for our community.

Second was the bestowing the Mayor's Award on Shaheen Sadeghi, the visionary developer behind The Lab and The Camp shopping and dining venues along the Bristol Street corridor.  There may be no more perfect representation of the diverse, eclectic nature of our city than those two venues.

During Public Comments many residents stepped up to address the "urban coyote" problem.  All pleaded with the council to find some way to address what is apparently becoming a major problem throughout the city.  Fears for the safety of young children seemed to be the driving force behind their concerns.

Others addressed the ongoing problem of homeless folks in and around Lions Park.  One young mother who lives across the street expressed fear for the safety of herself and children.  Despite all the good efforts of the Homeless Task Force, Lions Park - and to a lesser extent - many other areas throughout the city continue to be enclaves of homeless, many of whom have mental health issues and some of whom are aggressive and potentially violent.  The young mother spoke of the recent knifing on the Westside of one homeless person by another as an example.  This is not an easy problem, but - just as is the case with the coyotes - it is one that simply MUST be handled.

Residents of the soon-to-be defunct Anchor Trailer Port stepped up to complain about the ongoing problems they're having with the developers of the property.  According to those who spoke, the developer is not meeting the terms they agreed to several weeks ago.  CEO Tom Hatch, during his presentation, indicated he will have the staff follow-up on those issues.

When the council members took their turns to comment Steve Mensinger, addressing the coyote issue, spoke of "harvesting" them, then went on to say he is a hunter and environmentalist.  The CMPD has already rejected that "harvesting" approach, citing studies that indicate when coyote populations are reduced by such methods they only return in greater numbers.  I'm thinking Mensinger isn't an advocate of that philosophy.

Hatch, during his time, informed us that the Fairview Park Wetlands will be officially opened with a public ceremony and walk-through on February 20th.  He also told us the mid-year budget review and an analysis of the Consolidated Annual Financial Report (CAFR) will take place at a study session on February 12th.  And, on February 26th there will be a special study session on Pensions, which will include participation by outside experts.  He also showed us a five minute video featuring Rosemary Nielson, an outreach worker dealing with the Homeless folks in the city.

Public Affairs Manager Dan Joyce and 60th Anniversary Committee Chairman Mike Scheafer presented the work product of the committee to the council and requested $125,000 of the total budget anticipated to be $315,000 to get started on the various elements of the planned celebration.  On a 5-0 vote the council approved the distribution of the funds, which will be taken from Hatch's slush, er, contingency funds previously approved by the council.  There was also a discussion of an Art in Public Places plan, and the potential for attempting to fold the dollars necessary for that part of the celebration into the 2013/2014 fiscal year budget.

Next came Sandra Genis' request for a re-hearing of the previously-approved selection of two planning commissioners - those seats were to be filled by Jim Fitzpatrick and Timothy Sesler, two sycophants of the current power elite on the council.  To the surprise of most in the auditorium, Righeimer joined Genis and Wendy Leece in voting FOR the re-hearing, which will be held on February 19, 2013.  Gary Monahan and Mensinger voted NO.  That means that, for the time being, current commissioners Colin McCarthy, Sam Clark and Ed Salcedo will be asked to rejoin Rob Dickson and Jeff Mathews and participate in the Planning Commission meeting on February 11, 2013.  Fitzpatrick and Sesler are in limbo until the 19th.

Then the council addressed the issue of replacing Salcedo - the next item on the agenda.  It was decided - on a 4-1 vote (with Monahan voting NO) - to put this decision off until the 19th and fill all the vacancies on the Planning Commission on that night.

The last item on the agenda - the selection of four (4) Parks and Recreation Commissioners - began at 8:45.  Genis decried the selection process while acknowledging that nothing can be done this time around.  Candidates Harold Weitzberg, Dan DiBassio, Don Harper, Teresa Drain and Bob Graham spoke on their own behalf.  During council comments Righeimer acknowledged that, with 16 candidates this time around, the council faced a "high quality problem".  I agree.  There were many solid candidates available for their consideration.

When they finally got around to voting they used the same procedure as the previous council meeting.  Each council member took a number from a bowl.  Since there were two 4-year seats and two 2-year seats available it was decided to select the 4-year seats first.

Number 1,  Leece, nominated current Parks and Recreation Vice Chair Kim Pederson.  Monahan seconded the nomination and Pederson was chosen on a 5-0 vote.

Number 2, Righeimer, selected  Harper for the second 4-year seat and Mensinger seconded it.  He was chosen on a 4-1 vote, with Leece voting NO.

Next  Genis nominated DiBassio and Leece seconded it.  His nomination failed on a 2-3 vote - all the men voted NO.

Monahan was next and he nominated former commissioner Graham for the first 2-year seat and Genis seconded it.  He was chosen on a 3-2 vote, with Mensinger and Righeimer voting NO.

Finally Mensinger nominated former commissioner Byron de Arakal for the remaining 2-year seat and Monahan seconded it.  He was confirmed with a 5-0 vote... and we were done for the night! So, those four - Pederson, Harper, Graham and de Arakal -  will join hold-over commissioner Dean Abernathy when the commission next meets in March.

A couple of observations...  Righeimer, once again, seemed to be in a much more jovial mood.  He frequently attempted to make jokes, especially during the presentations.  Based on the crowd reaction, I suspect we're going to have to install an "Applause" sign when the council chambers technology is upgraded one of these days to prompt us when to laugh.

And, if anyone had an inkling that Genis' de novo hearing request was going to change anything, Mensinger removed that idea when - just before they voted to move the selection of the 2-year seat replacing Salcedo to the 19th - he said, "I will support the motion but it doesn't really change the outcome."  That's right, folks - the choices have been made, but he'll go along with the charade.  Nice, huh?  I guess on February 19th we will see Fitzpatrick, Sesler and Colin McCarthy chosen for the Planning Commission - just like we did at the last council meeting.

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Anonymous Ron K. said...

We're not fooled by the "Jolly Jimmy" facade one bit; his extremist agenda didn't vanish overnight. Someone's coaching him for the possible "promotion" to County Supervisor.

But at least Righeimer knows how to and does conduct a meeting in a professional manner. Contrast this with the lowlife, 7th grade antics exhibited by Bever at every meeting last year.

2/06/2013 06:29:00 AM  
Anonymous time passages said...

steve said it doesn't change the outcome of HIS votes for planning. his mind is made up and he will be consistent with his previous choices and votes. Hope that is ok, didn't know you had to change when re voting! again, a bad spin on council wrap up. we sycophants are getting tired of it.

also, harvest the damn coyotes. we will have many more born soon. kill the mothers now, it is kinder on the pups. these ARE urban coyotes. there has been no problem with coyotes here for many years and now in the last five or so years they are everywhere because they were not harvested. the police don't seem to think that harvesting criminals makes for more later since there are more pickings. false study. the more you remove, the less there are. that is a mathematical FACT. Harvest now.

2/06/2013 06:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Coyote Ugly said...

Despite the studies, there has to be a solution to the coyote problem somewhere between doing nothing and letting "Hunter-gatherer-environmentalist" Mensy loose in town to do a special "harvest."

2/06/2013 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

As usual, Mensinger is wrong, it does change the outcome. This time the votes will be legal. Little detail, but one which matters to some.

2/06/2013 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

time passages,
Actually, Steve said EXACTLY what I said he did - I was there and wrote it down verbatim.

If you "sycophants" are tired of reading what I write just stop reading. Most people would stop whacking themselves on the head with a 2X4 when it begins to hurt.

You'll have to take up the issue of your "mathmatical FACT" with the CMPD. They provided evidence on this several months ago. Deals with the availability of food in a foraging area. As long as neighborhood pets are easy pickings the critters will feed.

2/06/2013 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

*laughing so hard at the thought of Mensinger as a hunter* Yeah, right. A developer-environmentalist? Yeah, right. This guy is a legend in his own mind.

2/06/2013 09:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Wyle E. Coyote said...

Have you not seen my extensive body of work over the years, I am "Wyle E. Coyote.... Super Genius!", 'nuff said.

2/06/2013 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Since we have had a coyote problem in our neighborhood for a few years, I've studied it and CMPD is right: no matter what we want, nature will work hard to maintain a balance.

I am a cat owner and used to let mine roam. Not any more. Take in the pets, take in the pet food, water and garbage, harvest your fruit trees and they will look elsewhere for food.

Two days ago my cat was on the roof (he still escapes) and I saw a hawk try to carry him off! Thankfully, he is a big cat and too heavy to carry, but will the next move be to kill the raptors?

Let's just realize we are camping on the animals' habitat and learn to get along. We humans and our pets are not that special in the grand scheme of things. Just cogs, like the rest of the creatures.

2/06/2013 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous harvest moon said...

mary ann: we need to kill the coyotes. the blood of a senior citizen and/or child will be ON YOUR HANDS if we don't. I have lived here since 1969. the coyote problem is NEW. the police are wrong. removing them makes their population less. it is a simple math : x - i < x

Mensinger does not need to change his mind.he did his due diligence and met with the candidates. contrast that with Windy who DID NOT MEET WITH THEM because her choices weren't picked last time. woo woo, so sad. right amy?

Geoff, if you don't like council actions why don't you quit going to meetings? quit whacking yourself over the head !! lol good advice to you.

2/06/2013 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

harvest moon,
If I stopped going and reporting you'd have nothing at all to do on Wednesdays. If you don't like what you read here just stop reading, fool!

2/06/2013 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Mary Ann has it right.
My family lived near the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains for many years. We quickly learned to adapt to living in coyote country, which Costa Mesa has now become as coyote habitats in Crystal Cove were developed into Newport Coast and driven them into our city. They were here first.
Keep your pets in at night, take in ALL water and food sources at night.
Just ask anyone who lives in mountain and wilderness areas and they will tell you- it can be done successfully without mass shootings of coyotes. Of course, this is an experienced and logical answer concluded after years of cohabitation.
It's not a bang-bang, shoot 'em up approach which seems to be the only approach some lacking in experience and understanding know.
KIlling them is not the answer, but it doesn't surprise me that self proclaimed "environmentalist" developer Mensinger would suggest this. Coyotes are not produce to be "harvested"- Gee, where did I hear a similar comment regarding our city workers???
Kinder and gentler may be coming from Righeimer right now with a recall hanging over his head, but
Mensinger never got that memo.

2/06/2013 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

I certainly love when the anonymous and clever-named come out and present "facts" in their capital letters.

Meanwhile, in the real science-based world, coyotes live with us in urban environments. They eat a lot of goose eggs, rats, and other disease spreaders. It's when we leave "food" out for them at night that causes problems.

Other than that, it all looked strange and predictable. Thanks for the follow up, Geoff. I appreciate it.

2/06/2013 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Geoff- AMEN!

Harvest moon,
No - YOU quit reading Geoff's blog and commenting here. You will not be missed! In fact, I'm sick of reading your drivel here- I wish he would block you.
This is GEOFF'S blog- not your sounding board!!

2/06/2013 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Shrek 6 said...

"mary ann: we need to kill the coyotes. the blood of a senior citizen and/or child will be ON YOUR HANDS if we don't."

Similar to how your masters bear some responsibility for the death of Huy Pham?

2/06/2013 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous international harvester said...

shrek: very similar. that's where i got it!

good to hear from Mike H the coyotes live with us in the city eating a lot of goose eggs! maybe that's why we don't have many goose eggs here. lol. how many goose eggs have been eaten in costa mesa? they do eat a lot of cats and many children have lost their favorite pets to them.. so what is your answer? or just keep all pets indoors, give up on fruit trees since you have to pick all fruit to keep them away. yeah, we could give up a lot or just get rid of the damn killer coyotes. they have attacked seniors in laguna woods in broad daylight. even ate their pooches on leashes. still like coyotes? and alf: cats and dogs were not produced to be harvested by coyotes in our backyards. it is the coyotes causing the problem. remove them. don't just drain their swamp.

2/06/2013 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous time passages said...

mensinger said it won't change the outcome of HIS votes. you conveniently left off the next sentence. very nice.

2/06/2013 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

time passages,
You may be correct, but that's not what I heard last night. The video is not up yet, so neither of us can verify EXACTLY what was said. When it is available I'll review it and report verbatim from the tape.

2/06/2013 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous harvest moon said...

alf, you really don't want me to post. your life could just consist of:

fuqua: great post geoff

wilcox: yes, terri. the truth is reported here no matter how hard the boys try to hide it.

clarisse: yes karen and terri, the boys are corrupt. at least we have wendy to stand up for all the real citizens of our city.

mary ann oconel: it is good to get the truth here, not from all the bought off pilot reporters.

fuqua: and all their friends are unqualified for anything

wilcox: oh, they can jump when riggy says to.

all: hehe hehe hehe, so true.

robin: eleanor was in good voice last night. whcih reminds me, Tom got rid of crows with just his slingshot.

2/06/2013 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

My dear, anonymous friend: Your trite attempt to put my position in a convenient little box is not going to work with me. It must be nice to sit there behind your clever nom de plume and take pot shots at me.

I'll cut you a deal. You tell us your real name, and I will tell you my real position on what to do with these pests.

2/06/2013 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Harvest moon, if thats a threat, I don't see you have much ammo. Just dribble from a copied page. *yawn* You are a sad, sorry, little drunk. And you'll never be as good at is as Monahan!

2/06/2013 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Never Too Late said...

A certain person appears close to a breakdown.

He should read this article and seek help:

Also, just in case he has a drinking problem, there are lots of meetings available in the area:

2/06/2013 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

international harvester -
" drain their swamp"-
MM, You don't need to lecture me about coyote behavior. You are no authority here. How about you? How long have you lived in coyote territory? And your solution,
"just get rid of the damn killer coyotes."
Brilliant and well thought out as usual, MM.
Isn't that your solution to everything you don't like?
Your reputation precedes you.

2/06/2013 07:31:00 PM  
Anonymous coyote tehachptyl said...

alf, please let us harvest the coyotes. your opinion is so important to this solution. it cannot go on without you. we propose a study of harvesting the coyotes and then seeing if there are more left than before we started. and i am not MM, another wrong guess by your group. just call me fitzy and stay consistent.

well said mary ann
yes, alf agrees
at least wendy speaks for the coyotes
so true
riggy says jump, they ask how high
that's right
while taking freebies from developers
it is a war on women
at least he has a real job refinishing furniture
the boyz don't work at all

2/07/2013 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

coyote tehachptyl,

2/07/2013 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous well said said...


2/08/2013 07:29:00 AM  

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