Monday, February 11, 2013

Coming Events

I, along with most southern Californians I suspect, have spent the past several days following the manhunt for former LAPD police officer Christopher Dorner, hoping that he's apprehended soon and without further bloodshed.  However, the business of government goes on, so here's a little summary of what's ahead over the next few days in Costa Mesa.

Monday the Costa Mesa Planning Commission - the "old" commission, since the seating of new commissioners has been delayed until February 19th - will meet at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers for what looks like a fairly short meeting.  You can read the agenda HERE.  Of particular interest will be the fourth item on the agenda, a discussion of Code Amendment CO-12-06, which brings our Municipal Code into compliance with the State Government Code in areas dealing with Emergency Shelters, Transitional Housing and Supportive Housing.  You can read that staff report HERE.  Considering the current situation with Homeless folks in our city, you may find this item informative.

Tuesday the Costa Mesa City Council will hold a Study Session at 4:30 p.m. in council chambers to discuss the Mid-Year Budget Review and the Consolidated Annual Financial Review (CAFR).  You can read the agenda HERE and the staff report on the budget HERE, and the CAFR HERE.  As you go through the numbers - most of you won't - you'll find it interesting to see which departments have spent less than 50% of their budgets and which have spent more.  A hint - the public safety organizations have spent less than half their budgeted amounts.  I look forward to the explanations of the budget.

Last week the City released the most recent, and improved, version of the CEO Briefing, HERE.  You'll find loads of interesting, timely information, led off with a summation of the planning taking place for the 60th Anniversary Celebration.

Among the other items included are a note about Shaheen Sadeghi, developer of The LAB and CAMP retail centers receipt recently of the Mayor's Award; Plans for a 113-unit apartment complex on Bernard Street; promotion of officers Paul Beckman, Keith Davis and Greg Scott to lieutenants by Chief Tom Gazsi; The public ceremony at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20th opening the recently-completed Fairview Park Wetlands restoration project; Costa Mesa Firefighters are going "paperless"; The City finished last fiscal year with a $2.5 million budget surplus; The Fish Fry and Costa Mesa Community Run Team Up; Camp Costa Mesa open for President's Day recess plus a calendar of events for the remainder of February.

A reminder that the Costa Mesa Sanitary District is still taking applications for persons interested in serving on the Board of Directors to fill out the remaining almost two years of Jim Fitzpatrick's term following his resignation.  The deadline is Friday, February 15th.  The Board will likely meet on February 19th to review the applications and again on the 22nd to select a replacement, who will be sworn in at their next regular meeting on Wednesday, February 27th.

Oh, yes.... don't forget that Thursday, February 14th, is Valentine's Day - don't forget your honey!

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Anonymous Brooklynn said...

More apartments in Costa Mesa? Are you kidding me? We have less than 50% homeownership here (I think it is actually around 40%). This type of thinking only cements this city being one of transition with no incentive to attract families who will want to stay in get involved. I wish they would have opted to build more homes versus apartments.

2/11/2013 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Actually, this was SUPPOSED to be condos but the developer went belly-up. There are some condos adjacent to the site - the original project - but this is the most recent "solution" to the use of the land. I agree, Costa Mesa is 60% rentals - not a good position.

2/11/2013 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Rental spaces in CM seem to be just dumps waiting to happen. There are only a very few rental places In CM that are nice, most are barely above livable. The Westside has a huge problem with overcrowding, graffiti, trash all over and miserable parking situations as those single family apartments actually house more than one family. It's a miserable mess that the city cannot or won"t do anything about. Personally, due to the overcrowding already evident in CM, I sure wish they wouldn't approve anymore. Look at the stye over on El Camino. There must be some other way.

2/11/2013 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

Only the State Legislature has the power to prevent overcrowding. They established minimum housing standards decades ago, based on the minimum standards set by New York City for the lowest-rent housing about 100 years ago. (Families lived in coal bins back then; I've seen the photographs.) California cities, including charter cities, are prohibited from enforcing more stringent occupancy standards than the ones established by the State. Why hasn't the Legislature updated the standards? Ask the politicians, not me.

2/11/2013 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

I am not sure about the assertion that apartments are basically over crowded slums. When I moved to Costa Mesa in 1976, the apartment complex my roommates and I had a standard for the number of people residing there that we had to agree to. I moved to several different complexes before landing in the Vanguard Apartments on... you guessed it, Vanguard Way. We did not have multiple families living in a single unit and I would be willing to wager that to this day they do not.

There may be some complexes that do a poor job of monitoring their properties, but all of the units that are around the north section seem to be on top of that problem.

I am concerned about over crowding in single family houses. I know that in the 90's, we had a neighbor that had a family living in his garage. That family was prohibited from using the main house for ANY purpose. Imagine what the kids did to deal with normal human functions.

In any case, the lower cost of property in Costa Mesa compared to Irvine or Newport Beach encourages investment by those interested in building a real estate portfolio that includes rental property. There really is nothing a city can do to change that dynamic short of policies that increase the cost of property.

Add to that the increased proliferation of halfway houses and recovery houses and, well, it could be that Costa Mesa eventually becomes a massive transient population.

2/11/2013 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Not Our Sister City said...

Just when you thought you'd seen the worst:

2/11/2013 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Costa Mesa definitely has a problem with substandard rental slums. These landlords have discovered that they can prey upon the immigrant population. They charge the same amount as nice rentals on the Eastside but rent to those people living in Costa Mesa they know will be afraid to complain about abusive rental practices. This has led to overcrowding, run down units with deferred maintenance , and a devaluation of large segments of the city's single family neighborhoods surrounding those units. Many residents wanting to get assistance from those abusive landlords are still living in fear under the city's "Rule of Law" , and are afraid to come forward to file fair housing complaints. So the problem just gets worse. How do I know this? I've talked to those living on the front lines . There are groups who deal with the problems facing Community Development on the Westside, and these are issues they've discussed with me. Unfortunately, our code enforcement has become more of a targeted code "harassment" program.Sadly, it is being used solely to target those that certain people want targeted. I can assure you , it is not towards wealthy landlord apartment owners.

2/12/2013 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Back in the 70s, even El Camino St was fairly nice. There are a few rentals that are still, but very few. Take a trip through the Westside, i.e. Shalimar and that area and you will see what I am talking about. Those were once nice also. Block after block of rentals that were nice in the 60s and 70s are just shot to hell now. Baker Street is one of them. American Street is entirely duo houses where parking is such a problem they park on other streets in blocks away. Same with Canyon.

According to county stats, each household averages 2.5 vehicles. That means 3 parking places must be supplied in order to not have overcrowding. Do you think that will be supplied? No. It's impossible without a parking structure. And the last I checked there were 16.5 average car trips, to and from, on an average day. That further degrades infrastructure.

2/12/2013 07:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Costamazing "Young Family" said...

I noticed back in the early 90's when the Council & CMPD cleaned up the rampant Hispanic gang activity surrounding the Shalimar St. apts. They put pillars onto the street openings to deter "drive-bys" & "in public view" drug deals. Then they tore down a slum apt, and created a nice little park for the neighborhood kids. MIKA moved in, and has greatly changed that community on a daily basis. I have a few friends that grew up around there during the renaissance of their neighborhood. They've told me that they probably would've be bangin' if it weren't for MIKA, and the City's free afterschool "Playgrounds" & youth sports programs at nearby Whittier School.

But unfortunately, our previous Councils grossly mis-calculated their directives when the gangsters, drug dealers, & "Coyotes" easily dispersed into all the nicer Westside neighborhood duplexes & apts. (i.e. b/w Harbor/Wilson) laying the foundation for the Maple St. & Pomona "neighborhood" gangs...then, even more of these gang members moved over to the Coolidge St. neighborhood apts by Paularino School... then, EVEN MORE thugs moved into to the Baker St. apts. near Harbor. Get the picture?

Combine all these newly formed "neighborhood" gangs settling freely within our city, along with the ridiculous amount of illegal immigration from the prevalent over-crowded "Coyote Houses" from the early 1990's to the present, and voila, over 20+ years later you now have CM appropriately described by OC locals as "Costa Mexico". So, since we border Newps and HB we're now considered the move up town from "SA", and closer to work. Remember the now defunct CM "Job Center" on Placentia/West 17th St? It's been replaced by the 7/11 on Victoria.

Unfortunately, all these older downscale apartments were built into many "family friendly" CM housing tracts except for the Upper/Lower Birds & Balearic/ MV Inner Loop. So, now the haves (i.e. the "successful" ) & have-nots (i.e. the "survivors") live together within the same CM middle-class neighborhoods, except for the "highly successful" MV residents. They're fortunate enough to be physically separated by a massive hill (i.e. the beautifully restored nature preserve at Fairview Park). Lucky them, their only "overcrowded neighborhood" issue was resolved with "parking by permit only" signs near Tanager Park many years ago!

So, I ask, What college-educated young adults, with fairly decent middle-class jobs, aspire to "live, work, & play" or raise their precious families in a overcrowded & deteriorated slum neighborhood? I'm sure there are a few.

But that's not even enough to keep the majority of the Westside CM, MV, & Mesa North parents from transferring their "GATE" tested students out of their NCLB "sanctioned", miserably under-performing, NMUSD ESL "neighborhood school" in droves just to attend a more intellectually challenging, higher API scoring, easily funded PTA programmed, "alpha-parent" involved, Blue Ribbon HBCSD schools".

The only way I really see the "overcrowded Westside neighborhood issue" ever truly resolved is when we finally have the "Big One" (i.e. at least a 7+ local earthquake). And all these pre-1972 built apartments/duplexes come crashing down. Hopefully they'll all be red-tagged due to massive foundation cracks and extensive fire damage. Then CM Code Enforcement won't have to cater to all the various "grand-fathered", and outdated State regulations anymore...

2/12/2013 02:10:00 PM  

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