Thursday, June 20, 2013

A "Visioning" We Go!

Last night I joined almost 30 other people, nearly half of which were city staffers, in the first "visioning" exercise as part of the public outreach for the development of the city's General Plan.

The consultants who guided this process hoped for twice the number that showed up, which is one reason for the large number of staffers.  They were going to help groups at individual tables form their thoughts.  Everyone participated and it worked out just fine.

Council member Wendy Leece was the only elected official in attendance.  I saw no planning commissioners nor were there any parks and recreation commissioners present, either.  Among the city staffers at the meeting were Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz, Acting Development Services Director Claire Flynn, Zoning Coordinator Willa Bowens-Killeen, Principle Planner Minoo Ashabi, Senior Planner Mel Lee, Management Analyst Hilda Veturis, Transportation Services Manager Raja Sethuraman, and brand new Economic and Development Services Director/Deputy CEO Gary Armstrong, who just took San Benito County through its General Plan Update before starting with Costa Mesa a week ago.  Several other staffers were on hand to help, too.   I hope they will forgive me for not listing them individually.

The attendees split into three groups that had been randomly selected and set about trying to craft their "vision" for Costa Mesa through the year 2035.  Yeah, I know... the General Plan is a document with a decade shelf life, but we were encouraged to think further out than that.


The process required each group to address the positives and negatives about Costa Mesa.  On the plus side, Fairview Park, The Fairgrounds, South Coast Plaza, Neighborhood Parks, Diversity, Strong Neighborhood Identity were among those things I overheard being mentioned.  On the negative side, we heard about Crime, Traffic and Homelessness, to name only a few.

The individual groups spent an hour working through the issue, then their anointed spokesperson presented the results of the effort to the assembled mob as a whole.  It was fascinating to see how similarly each group thought when the process was done.

As the summaries were presented we heard phrases like these over and over:
  • Maintain Distinct Neighborhoods
  • Vibrant Downtown
  • Community Gathering Place
  • Public Safety
  • Preserve The Fairgrounds
  • Improve Infrastructure - Walkability and Bikeability
  • Prudent City Government
  • More Diverse Revenue Sources
  • Foster Home Grown Industries
  • Continuing Partnership With Education Organizations
  • Innovation
  • Traffic - Congestion, Mobility
  • Develop Programs To Encourage Young Families To Move To Costa Mesa
  • Green Public Transportation 

The next opportunity for the public to participate in this process will be during the 60th Anniversary Celebration on June 29 and 30.  A booth will be manned at which members of the public can step up and provide their input.  Snoopy will be on hand to help out.  The booth will be available all day Saturday and from 3-5 on Sunday.

The next formal meeting will be held late in July and is scheduled to address Land Use.

Please tell your friends and neighbors about this wonderful opportunity to participate in creating the map by which the future of our city will be guided.

I noticed something I thought was peculiar at the meeting last night.  There were no members of the public present that I would associate with the current city council majority.  Not a single person who had stepped up and spoken for initiatives Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger have launched over the past couple years.  There were some familiar faces - folks who attend many meetings and speak at most - but there were also several "newbies" - folks who don't usually get involved.  We need more of those.

And, by the way, I heard no mention of the word "Charter" heard last night during the discussion of the vision for the future.



Anonymous MV said...

Really, no 'visionaries' from Team Riggy there? That's telling, seeing as how they lack... wait for it... vision, beyond a charter, anyway!

6/20/2013 06:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Empty Land Bad, Tall Buildings Good said...

If you want to see what's probably the Developer's vision for all of Costa Mesa, including Fairview Park, take a ride over to Harbor and Mesa Verde Drive East.

There's a reason he left Fountain Valley and it wasn't the food.

The property managers and the builders need to eat. The rest of you should just quiet down and pay your rent on time. Those who own should also quiet down and be grateful Old Fis branded the drinking water for you.

6/20/2013 06:46:00 AM  
Anonymous MV said...

Correction - they have a vision, they just don't want us to know what it is until after they try (unsuccessfully) to push another charter down our throats.

6/20/2013 08:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Relevance? said...

What would the charter have to do with a general plan visioning session? Nothing. Way to stay relevant, buddy.

6/20/2013 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Actually, quite a bit. Many things were discussed by the groups, including quality of governance. But, then, you wouldn't know about that because you chose not to participate.

6/20/2013 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous CM Pessimist said...

I would like to serve as an unofficial proxy for team Riggy regarding this whole visioning-thing. I will be following the Planning Commission"s lead on this one and would like to suggest that even more burger joints be introduced to Harvor blvd. Just a few culinary delights I would like to see added are:

*Farmer Burgers
*White Castle
*Johnny Rockets
*Bob's Big Boy

I would be especially psyched about the addition of my last suggestion. I hate having to drive all the way to Toluca Lake to enjoy the legendary Big Boy. Just the savings alone on the gasoline would likely cause me to splurge a little, which would result in even more tax revenue for the city.

6/20/2013 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous MV said...

Would seem to me, Relevance?, that the charter would have everything to do with a general plan. I get that the charter is about local governance, but you're saying that doesn't tie into planning, or a vision of the city? Isn't planning part of governing, and wouldn't it be nice to see some of the people that support the current regime weigh in with their thoughts? Shouldn't we hear what our leaders envision for the future, other than fewer cops, more development in an already built-out city?

6/20/2013 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous num num num said...

@ pessimist

I second having a tommys or a farmer boys. Could more burger joints really be that bad? :)

6/20/2013 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Relevance? said...

My point exactly. "Quality of governance" is an entirely separate issue and completely irrelevant in the context of general plan visioning and a complete waste of staff time and resources.

Every second spent opining about "quality of governance" is staff and public time stolen from the critical task of visioning what our development policies should be for the next decade - whether or not a charter is adpoted will have no impact on the general plan update these meetings address. You should know this.

The Government Code is very specific about what a general plan is, the first sentence of Government Code ยง 65302 is unambiguous.

"The general plan shall consist of a statement of development policies and shall include a diagram or diagrams and text setting forth objectives, principles, standards, and plan proposals."

6/20/2013 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Well, since you WERE NOT at the meeting you're not in a position to know what was or was not part of the discussions. And, of course, you can pontificate anonymously from behind your mask, coward.

Show up the next time and bring your "wisdom" to the group. HA!

6/20/2013 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's Eagle? said...

What a waste of time. Geoff, we all already know why there was a low turn-out. The scumbag councilmen on council will do whatever they want. This "exercise" is just a dog and pony show. They've already proved that they don't listen to PAID consultants. Why in the world would they listen to volunteers?

6/20/2013 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Viz Sean said...

Fitzy already revealed their "vision", and apparently he re-coined that term as "mission statement"...

6/20/2013 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous yummy said...

thanks Fis! good job.

6/20/2013 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Relevance? said...

Hey Geoff, why don't you call the cops or other city employees anonymously posting all kinds of inside information on your blog "cowards"?

You know, details about police applicants, code enforcement officers, etc.

Enough with the double standard. Stop being a petty partisan - you know that people post anonymously for a reason. Juts ask Wyatt Earp...

6/20/2013 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous claustrophobia is ensuing said...

@empty land

Yes, i recently moved away from mesa verde/harbor area. We were kicked out for the remodeling of the apartments. Im glad they are making use of that empty lot behind the vons. It was just empty for years. BTW- on the newest planning commission agenda is an item regarding the re-purposing of much of the fairview development center land for high density housing!

Due to progress we were forced to move out. So we bought a place on westside bluff area, best bargain of my lifetime. As soon as we moved in they were starting here! Ive been living across the street from the slowest home building construction for a year, 1 development in escrow along pacific, another (the site of the unitarian church) is getting underway (in tear down phase)! The town is changing! And it seems to be following me! They seem to want to squeeze in as many houses as is allowable-- its going to get cramped here. I really want them to take their paws off of fairview park and leave talbert to the county! Open space is priceless

Have you driven through fountain valley lately along brookhurst? Construction everywhere! The osh is apparently to be torn down for condos (according to an employee). Ah. "progress".

I sense a new bubble afoot

6/20/2013 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Bye Bye Fairview Park said...

"I sense a new bubble afoot"

You're right! It's here:

Developers don't care. They and their builder friends get paid and move on. The mortgage-owner gets stuck underwater after the bubble deflates.

The CM Planning Commission kowtows to the Developer, who gets his orders from the ocgop. Resist if you love Costa Mesa.

6/20/2013 05:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Wyatt Earp said...

Relevance?.....what are you afraid of being disclosed?

6/20/2013 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

One thing that will attract young families to move to Costa Mesa is affordable housing with yards for their kids to play in.
A backyard ( or front yard for that matter) is becoming a vanishing item in the overly dense new construction I see in our city.

6/20/2013 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous I heart Bubbling Cauldron said...


You havent seen anything yet! Camp Piggy needs to realize that there are a lot more of us than there are them.

Do you guys at camp piggy really think people are going just sit on the sidelines and watch you guys destroy our town?

We've stood together to defeat the charter proposal a few months ago and we'll defeat it again.

6/20/2013 09:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Claustrophobia said...


I agree! I bought a condo just wanting something i pay off in less than 10 years. One thing lacking, a decent yard. This wasnt meant to be a forever home, but a starter home. if this bubble trend continues I dont see having any large backyard bbqs in my future. I could have bought a house 1 year ago for what my condo is worth now. Its crazy! If i wait it out long enough im sure the next bubble will pop as well. Hindsight is 20/20.

6/20/2013 11:49:00 PM  

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