Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Question Unanswered - Why?

Tuesday afternoon the Costa Mesa City Council held a Study Session beginning at 4:30 - before most folks could get off work and attend - to theoretically discuss whether Costa Mesa should, once again, consider becoming a Charter City.  It ended promptly at 6:30 for a Closed Session.  You can read Bradley Zint's coverage in the Daily Pilot, HERE, and Mike Reicher's coverage in the Orange County Register HERE - but you have to be a subscriber.. sorry about that.

Fewer than 50 people, including staff and members of the media, attended this meeting and I suspect most left with a feeling of deja vu.  A year ago we were in the middle of the same kind of issue.  One person told me tonight it was like being in the Bill Murray movie, "Groundhog Day".  Yep, that's about it.


Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow led the discussion, and began by covering the six questions on the first page of the staff report, HERE.  There actually should have been seven questions.  The first one read as follows: "Should the City pursue becoming a charter city?"  The second question should have been "Why?"

As the meeting progressed it was clear that the council majority had its mind made up - we WERE going to have a charter, so the only reason for this meeting was to cobble out the methodology for getting there.

Nineteen speakers addressed this issue and, interesting enough, the ratio that opposed Jim Righeimer's Charter last November - 60% - was very close to the ratio that spoke against this idea Tuesday night.  68% of the speakers opposed a charter.

Mayor Righeimer expressed a level of contrition, stating that he learned a lot from the campaign last year.  I had to smile because we're heading down that same path again.

Both Council Member Sandra Genis and Council Member Wendy Leece expressed concern about the way this was being handled - with nobody ever expressing just why it is necessary to change from a General Law City to a Charter City.  Oh, yes, a couple of the people who spoke mentioned that we could "take charge of our lives" and not be under the thumb of Sacramento - but nobody gave specifics.

The Unfunded Liability was mentioned, but nobody said how that problem could be fixed if we were a Charter City.

In my opinion, until somebody explains in clear, unambiguous terms, WHY we should become a Charter City, moving forward with this scheme is premature.

The issue will be on the council agenda for their meeting on May 7th.  We can only hope that somebody will come up with at least one good reason to even consider this change.  Otherwise, it looks like Righeimer's anti-union predisposition and the arrogance of power is forcing him to try this one more time.

It was clear tonight that the council majority has no interest in creating a Charter Commission - it would have to be elected by the people and the earliest that could happen under current law is June, 2014.  And, the council would have no control over what that commission created and placed on the ballot - probably in November 2016.

So, it looks like the council will appoint a committee - very likely stacked with their pals - to craft a Charter for the city.  Once that job is completed the council will make the final edits.  You know what that means, right?  It means we will be right back where we were in November, 2012 - with a document full of Righeimer's pet projects - like his much-defeated Paycheck Protection Plan, for example.

I hope more residents will take the opportunity to sign in on this.  Until we know WHY it is necessary, this is just a waste of time.

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Anonymous MV said...

So instead of the Righeimer Charter, we'll have the Righeimer/Mensinger/Sesler/Fitzy/Popp/Hull/Mora/Matthews/McCarthy, et al, Charter, right? And it will look almost exactly like the one that was already soundly defeated, right? Note Monahan is not on there - sure glad he ran and got re-elected, since he's nothing more than a rubber stamp these days.

Can't wait!

4/24/2013 08:23:00 AM  
Anonymous private eyes said...

as to why: to not have some assemblyman from san francisco make our rules. charter works for newport, will work for us.look how easily nb outsourced jobs

4/24/2013 08:36:00 AM  
Anonymous George Ponzini said...

"as to why: to not have some assemblyman from san francisco make our rules. charter works for newport, will work for us.look how easily nb outsourced jobs"

You meant your home planet Stockton, right? Look how easily it and soon San Bernardino ended up Bankrupt. We don't need "Riggy's Rules" in Costa Mesa; all they do is support developers at the expense of the majority.

4/24/2013 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous OK with a charter said...

Here is the strategy. Put
Ipstick on the pig, the old charter, by saying look this time the charter was created by a committee of residents. What they won't say is it's a hand picked committee by Riggy.

Now they have 2 things in their favor, a false impression the charter has been fairly written and then the fact Riggy brought out that many charters pass the second time around.

As a voting resident I am not opposed to a charter but I want a charter that works for the benefit of us and not Riggy and Mensy's developer friends.

4/24/2013 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

What's the definition of insanity......doing the exact same thing and expecting a different result.
A committee is not a commission.
Somehow we are to expect that, even after the last charter went down in flames, somehow they will get two out of every six voters who voted a resounding NO to suddenly change their minds?
Another thing that bugs me....
Why do these guys on Council even want to live here?
They don't like the City employees ,staff, or services, despise the charities, bemoan the youth sports facilities, deride the residents, need to change the General Plan, need to change Fairview park, want to privatize the sports fields, hate the open space at Banning Ranch, consistently claim the Westside needs improving but do all the improvements on the Eastside and on Harbor north of Baker. Would it kill them to plant a tree south of Wilson?
Maybe it resembles "Mayberry" to some, but it won't when they get through with it.
If Righeimer's plan is to keep Costa Mesa in perpetual campaign mode than he better prepare to reap the harvest. Much like everything else he has done in this city, it might not turn out exactly as he has planned.

4/24/2013 09:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Eileen Truxton said...

Thank you Bradley Zint for citing Righeimer's quote - "I will tell you, I learned a lesson. It was a very hard lesson, but I learned it." So, I'm thinking the first question should be, what did he learn? Sounds like absolutely nothing!

4/24/2013 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Same old game, different time with additional players.
Scott Baugh must be so proud of you Councildudes!
You have done his bidding.

4/24/2013 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

You had your chance to make your rules in Measure V, my dear anonymous friend. You made 16 mistakes that would have opened up cans of worms and snakes. No council should ever have that kind of power that you granted in Measure V. The voters saw right through it.

Speaking of Newport, they elect 7 council members by district. Will that "work for us" too? Details matter - don't get distracted!

4/24/2013 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

It's not as though the California Legislature were some dictator or foreign occupier imposed on us. We elected those people. And they don't sit around thinking up schemes to control cities. They respond to requests from the people they represent -- us. Someone perceives a problem and asks their representatives to solve it. So the Senator or Assembly Rep and his or her staff work on a solution. If enough people agree, the solution becomes law. It's called DEMOCRACY: government of, by and for the people.

Another thing: If a matter is of statewide concern, i.e., if people in other areas of the state are affected by something, the state law controls, in charter cities as well as general law cities. There aren't a whole lot of issues that concern only Costa Mesa, and none I can think of that a charter would solve.

Most charters either allow the city to operate a public utility (water, electricity, public transportation) or deal with something peculiar to that city (public beach/harbor, as in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, or a specific industry such as Disneyland in Anaheim)or restrict what the City Council can do (no sale of public land without a vote of the people; no approval of major development projects without a vote of the people, as the Greenlight provision in Newport Beach). So charters are not without benefit in some cases. But I have not yet heard anyone say how a charter would benefit Costa Mesa, except for vague, emotionally charged generalities such as "join the big boys" or "get free of Sacramento." I wouldn't vote for a charter unless I know how it will be used and if I approve of that.

4/24/2013 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

From what I am hearing, Riggy has even less support from residents than he did last time. I guess he wants to chalk up another loss for his resume.

Can't say we didn't warn him.

4/24/2013 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Is the GOP brand ruined? said...

Yes, Riggy is in trouble and his fractious faction of the GOP has been reprimanded, but is still in denial. If you didn't listen to the debate between Mark Bucher and Keith Curry (Republican mayor of Newport Beach) that the Pot Stirrer posted earlier you should. It's an eye opener about what is going on internally in the GOP.
Paste http://ocpolitical.com/2013/04/17/audio-post-3/ into your browser. It is worth 30 minutes of your life if you wonder if the GOP can survive the damage inflicted by Righeimer and his ilk.

Jim is getting "how to act like a nice guy" coaching but he is still the same. He tried to throw his weight around at an ACCOA meeting and it went over like the proverbial lead balloon. Although we try, you really can't talk with a guy like that. That is, you can talk with him, but he doesn't hear it unless it fits in his very narrow world view, so narrow that it doesn't see any corner of the Republican Party but his own distorted one.

4/25/2013 12:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Shiny Objects said...

I can’t believe that Mr. Righeimer seriously intends to put this divisive measure on the ballot. He’s too canny to have his name associated with such a widely despised measure and to risk the very probable outcome that his name will go down in flames along with a sure loser. 60% opposed is a landslide and too recent to be forgotten.

It’s more likely that all the fuss now is one of those “shiny objects” some of the insiders gloat about on this blog. Righeimer has his sights set on the character of Costa Mesa itself. While the frogs wear themselves out distributing flyers opposing the decoy, he and his council accomplices will quietly amend the general plan--allowing his developer buddies to lucratively build higher-density, under-parked, over-varianced, ticky-tacky projects to spring up in “nodules” around the city. This process has already begun.

While the extravagant show is going on, we can also expect other recently stacked committees to accomplish Righeimer’s other objectives, with a veneer of “community involvement,” while the populace is blinded by the shiny objects.

4/25/2013 02:29:00 AM  
Anonymous puppet, level 1 (new recruit said...

why worry about the proposed charter? you defeated it last time. shirley you can spend a bunch of money again and defeat it this time around. sweet victory is yours. accept it humbly, no need for denigrating comments because someone sees things different than you. you look petty. plenty of tv time coming up, polish up on real speaking points.

4/25/2013 04:54:00 AM  
Anonymous furniture never sleeps said...

gericault dream: tax the internet, taxthe flu vaccine, tax stock trades, extract money fronm nordstrom....ahhh ahhhh ahhhh

4/25/2013 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous ridgeroute66 said...

gericault asks for definition of insanity? lol

4/25/2013 06:46:00 AM  
Anonymous MV said...

Who is Shirley? Did you mean surely?

4/25/2013 01:11:00 PM  

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