Monday, June 17, 2013

A Packed Agenda Coming Up On Tuesday

The Costa Mesa City Council is going to have a VERY interesting afternoon/evening on Tuesday, June 18th.  The Closed Session of the council meeting will begin at 4:00, not the normal 5:00, which tells us that the three items on the agenda - two bits of litigation and discussion of negotiations - are anticipated to be time-consuming.

Then, the regular meeting begins at 6:00 and this one is guaranteed to be action-packed.  There are a few items that promise to be contentious and may drag out during the deliberations.  So, one more time, let's take it from the top...

The consent calendar has fifteen (15) items on it!  Yikes!  Most, of course, will likely be considered in one vote, but there are some that look ripe for separate discussion.

There are two Warrants, #2476, HERE, and #2477, HERE.  On the first one we see that contract City Attorney Jones and Mayer were paid over $130,000 for their services last month.  And, there is an entry for $163,897.35 for six (6) Honda Motorcycles for the CMPD.  OK, I get that, but there is a duplicate entry on the second warrant for the same amount for the same purchase.  We also spent over $14,000 to Apple Computer for some Mac products and over $13,000 to Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for legal services (contract negotiations).

Item #5 is the 2012 review of the 2000 General Plan, HERE.  State law requires this review of the progress being made on the 2000 General Plan and the 80 page staff report provides exhibits demonstrating that progress.  And, of course, The City is in the midst of preparing the 2013 revision of the General Plan right now.

Item #11 is interesting, HERE.  The staff recommends the City Council reject all applicants for Insurance Brokerage Request for Proposals - two - and re-issue the nearly year-old RFP to try to find more interested parties.  Apparently the responses received were inadequate.

Item #12, HERE, is a request from the Parks and Recreation Commission to revise the Athletic Field Use Allocation Policy.  This one could generate some very serious interest on the part of current so-called "Group 1 Users" because the suggested change could severely adversely impact some of them.

The final item on the Consent Calendar, #15, HERE, is the much-discussed amendment to the employment contract of CEO Tom Hatch.  You will recall that Mayor Jim Righeimer let this cat out of the bag before the staff report had been released - and before this item has been voted upon.  According to the staff report, Hatch will receive a 5% increase in pay, a bump in his car allowance to $650 per month and something called a "technology allowance" of $250 per month.  He also has several items in his contract - vacation and sick pay - reduced.

We have five (5) Public Hearings on the agenda Tuesday night and it looks like none of them are going to be short discussions.

The first one is the new Public Nuisance Ordinance, HERE.  This one should be a doozy!  Among other things, it provides an exhaustive list of conditions and uses that qualify as public nuisances, including:
a) Unsafe occupied, vacant, abandoned, or partially constructed structures.
b) Dead, decaying, or overgrown vegetation that is not in compliance with the City’s landscaping standards, likely to harbor rats and other nuisances, and may be dangerous to general welfare.
c) Nuisances that are dangerous to children, including: broken equipment, hazardous pools, etc.
d) Unsafe disposal of toxic materials.
e) Use of a garage as a living space.
f) Buses, tow trucks, tractors, truck trailers, and any other commercial vehicle over 25 feet long, eight (8) feet in height, or 90 inches wide in a residential zone or on residentially-developed property.
g) Property in a condition that is defective, unsightly, or in a condition of
deterioration or disrepair that is detrimental to surrounding properties.
h) Property that generates an unusually high number of calls for police and/or fire service.
i) Property that continuously generates excessive or unreasonable noise which disturbs the peace or quiet of any property within the city.
j) Property that generates an unusual amount of traffic and/or parking shortages, noise, second hand smoke, trash, or other disturbances which interferes with other residents’ or business owners’ quiet
enjoyment of their property,
k) Any business or other activity not consistent with the City’s zoning code and approved permits.
l) And other nuisances and details identified in proposed Section 20-11.

It also provides the City to declare a public nuisance and fine violators up to $1,000.

This new ordinance, in my opinion, has the potential to be a sledgehammer in the hands of Code Enforcement in cases where a scalpel is more appropriate.  For example, if you're a working person who uses a truck in your business, item f) above looks to me like you're going to be in big trouble.  Yes, this ordinance will address many issues that have been big problems for years in the city.  However, I'm concerned about just how it will be enforced, and by whom.

Public Hearing #2 is the CDBG Service Grant Allocations, HERE, that saw some very serious changes when reviewed at the Study Session last week.  Councilman Steve Mensinger made it clear that he wanted to use more of these federal dollars to patch potholes instead of helping people.  He suggested several of the items be funded out of the General Fund, and the staff report for both items implies that will be done.  However, there are no guarantees with the budget.

Public Hearing #3, HERE, is the establishment of priorities for the use of CDBG and HOME funds.

Public Hearing #4 is the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Municipal Budget, HERE.  I have no idea what time of the night we will finally get to this one - maybe after 10:00 - but this could take awhile because of the changes demanded by certain council members at the last Study Session.  Hatch had presented them with a balanced budget, but this time the council will have to make some potentially difficult choices for it to remain balanced.  We'll see.  There are fifteen (15) items listed early in the staff report that require some serious consideration.  The first four include Hatch's recommendations for funding.  The remaining 11 will require the council to give alternative funding sources some serious consideration.

Public Hearing #5, HERE, is the state-mandated establishment of an Appropriations Limit The City of Costa Mesa for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014.  This one won't take long since the state requires it and the formula to determine the amount is fixed.

Old Business #1, HERE, is the award of a three (3) year contract for managed investment services.  As I've said before, I'm curious why we need to do this.  I guess the reason is because the staff is too busy to pay attention to our investments so we need to pay someone to do it for us.

New Business #1, HERE, is an appointment to the Pension Oversight Committee as a result of the resignation of Mesa Water Director from this committee Shawn Dewane.  The council will cull through the applications previously submitted, HERE, and pick a replacement for him.  Hopefully, the person selected will have already determined that he has time to do this job.

New Business #2 is the final item on the agenda, HERE.  It is a Master Plan screening request for 38 live/work units on the Westside.  This one shouldn't take long, either.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this one gets moved up on the agenda.

So, that should be it Tuesday night.  I just hope it doesn't drag on into Wednesday morning.

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Anonymous Mesa Bluffs said...

I read in the Daily Pilot that Steve & Co were going to vote to put parking lot lights in Fairview Park on Tuesday night.. I don't see it on the agenda. Any word?

6/17/2013 04:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Any clothesline, decoration, design, device, fence, structure, or vegetation
that is unsightly by reason of its condition or its inappropriate location;

That one part right there is so subjective they can target any homeowner they want. Welcome to the new HOA.

6/17/2013 08:02:00 AM  
Anonymous pirate press said...

item F to ban these large vehicles from our streets is spot on. they are a safety hazard and eyesore.

FAC recommendation to agree with staff for an outside company to handle investments is again spot on. If you would study the issue or attend FAC meetings you would be in a better position to comment.

Shawn Dewane resigned Pension committee not because of lack of time but because coordinating of schedules of all committee members ended up with a Wednesday night meeting time. He is President of OCWD which meets that Wednesday. Thus, not a lack of time, but a schedule conflict, nice try.

6/17/2013 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur T. Nern said...

"item F to ban these large vehicles from our streets is spot on. they are a safety hazard and eyesore.
FAC recommendation to agree with staff for an outside company to handle investments is again spot on."

There's definitely a spot. On what still needs to be determined.

Has anyone asked around regarding friends of the Developer owning or wanting to build storage places?

Investments? Self-evident.

Call me cynical.

6/17/2013 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous What a Crock said...

If you do the math, Hatch is getting a HUGE salary AND HUGE perks!

It's just a typical Costa Mesa spin and dog & pony show folks.

6/17/2013 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Bartender, I'll take a diet coke said...

I wish I could buy stock in Jones Mayer because the councilmen love to play fast and loose with made up HOA type rules that they turn into city law. Costa Mesa has a code enf team full of inexperienced "officers", two of which are pets on the 5th floor who run down to the second floor to ask a former CSI guy how far they can stretch the law.

I hope residents and business owners wise up to the civil citations and fight their case in front of a real judge. Just turn the ticket over, read on how to go to superior court and pay the $25. A real judge will be reasonable, he is not a developer who is trying to takeover the city.

6/17/2013 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous CM Pessimist said...

I had a good laugh when I read the vote to approve Hatch's raise was on the Consent Calendar. Anyone else and this would have turned into a three-ringed circus consisting of a study session, a council meeting and the coin ordinance.

6/17/2013 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous This is not Irvine... said...

Just wait until the charter passes.... They will soon tell us which 4 shades of beige we can paint our homes.

People were surprised that Irvine, being such a new city was a CHARTER CITY. Please keep in mind that IRVINE was a "planned community" .... farmland, "developed" into cookie-cutter housing tracks and people moved there because they wanted that.
I can't even begin to tell you how many people settled in Costa Mesa because of all the Irvine-charter city-restrictions.

6/17/2013 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

These affordable "cheap" live in / work units look just like the ones in Santa Ana. I guess we're emulating Santa Ana now?

6/18/2013 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Faye D said...

This city needs better Code Enforcement rules and better abilities to enforce them. It is a big jump to say we are turning into Irvine because there is a push to deal with people who do not take care of their properties. The trucks you mentioned are unsightly and have no place parked in the street or in driveways - remember these are commercial trucks, so this is not your standard pick up.
Costa Mesa has been the step up from Santa Ana for some time. There is a way to maintain the uniqueness of the City without burdening it with additional ordinances, but good grief people it starts with property owners and many are not doing us any services with how they maintain their homes, rental properties and businesses.
This is a great step and I hope the City will utilize it once it passes.

6/18/2013 07:00:00 PM  

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