Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Brevity To Start The New Fiscal Year

The Costa Mesa City Council met for the first meeting of the new fiscal year Tuesday night.  You can read the agenda HERE.  I thought, because of that brief agenda, this meeting might finish very early.  Well, they didn't even get started until 6:45!  The closed session took a lot longer than anticipated.

Big news from the closed session... the council has authorized a law suit against the County of Orange Department of Finance to attempt to get back the more than $10 million they took as a result of the closure of the Redevelopment Agency.  Watch those legal meters begin to spin again!  Good grief!

Under the Council Members Comments section Sandy Genis emphasized the update of the Emergency Operations Plan, HERE.  She stressed the importance of this document.

Wendy Leece addressed the concern about the Poseidon Desalination Plan in Huntington Beach and the plan to run pipes through our city.  She also addressed the problems at the Volcom Skate Park.  Asked for consistent application of the law.  She also reinforced resident's concerns about the renewed plan for the I-405 expansion.  What's the plan?  She emphasized the need for community involvement on the General Plan Update.  The next meeting, on the 17th in the Emergency Operations Center, is on "circulation" within the city.  She addressed the Banning Ranch Conservancy proposal that Costa Mesa partner with them to save Banning Ranch.  She covered the fireworks issue for this long, long holiday explosion season.  She asked for an update on the Jones Day payment on the CMCEA lawsuit - we paid them over $17,000 last month.  She talked about the recent awards bestowed upon the city for the Neighborhood Improvement Task Force and for the Environmental Quality and Sustainability Award for the Fairview Park Wetlands project.  Good for us.

Mayor Jim Righeimer complains about criticism of its financial management.  He told us that most of the council members run their own businesses, hire and fire, etc.  He told us that "we may not be sexy, but we've got a lot of pavement and roads." He criticized people for "bringing up old issues."
He talked about the money on the Consent Calendar for a new dispatch system and the new equipment for the Fire Department to provide better coverage in the city.  He stressed this new plan will reduce four (4) firefighters per shift.  Addressing the Anniversary celebration, he said "Sometimes you just have to do what is good for the community."  He told us the council has done a good job of increasing our reserves and, predictably, again brought up a "quarter million dollars of unfunded pension liability".

At 8:00 Steve Mensinger addressed the 60th Anniversary Celebration and gave kudos to the organizers.  He wants to have a scaled-down version next year!  Good grief!  We lost our fannies on this one, so I guess we'll "make it up on volume"!  He attempted to remind us of the meaning of Independence Day.

CEO Tom Hatch addressed enforcement at Volcom Skate Park, described as "things we wrestle with on a daily basis."  Some critics say we're too heavy handed, others say we're too lenient.   He stressed that staff is ready for the 4th - ready to enforce illegal fireworks prohibitions.   He complimented the Planning Staff for their booth at the 60th Anniversary Celebration, doing polling for the General Plan.

When it came time to address the Consent Calendar - which EVERYBODY hoped would blow through without anything being pulled - Gary Monahan decided to pull the item on the Third Party Liability Claims Administration, HERE.  Curiously, Monahan used this to permit the second bidder on the proposal, Keenan, to make a pitch to the council.  Seldom does this happen and makes one wonder what brought this up?  This is not the first time Monahan has inserted him into the process of selecting an insurance vendor for the City.  The spokesman, a former politician representing Keenan, was pretty darn glib.  Wendy Leece asked staff how they arrived at their recommendation.  Lance Nakamoto emphasized that their more than two dozen years experience with the current vendor, Carl Warren and Company, has been excellent.  The President of Carl Warren, Mike Reed, addressed their partnership with the city and emphasized their charges.  He provided background on their experience with the City and responded to intense interrogation by Righeimer, Monahan and Mensinger.  Sandy Genis wondered why a flat fee was requested for this proposal.  The response was for ease of budgeting.  The CEO of Carl Warren added emphasis to their qualifications and stressed their goal to bringing down the total cost of risk.  Wendy Leece reinforced that Carl Warren is the low bidder by double.  She moved to approve Carl Warren and Genis seconded.  Monahan jumped in and practically accused this vendor of being "lazy".  He said we're missing the big picture if we focus on the contract amount.  Monahan offered a substitute motion for Keenan and Mensinger seconded it.  Righeimer said he won't support that motion.  That vote was defeated, 2-3.  Carl Warren was selected on a 4-1, with Monahan voting now.  Very curious.

Steve Ray, now representing KOCI radio, pulled the Emergency Operations Plan, to announce that they are hoping to have a show about the plan - an hour long show to inform the residents.  He hoped to kick-off the community awareness of this document.  No date has been determined.  The item passed, 5-0.

Sandy Genis pulled the item about cancelling the August 20th council meeting.  She's concerned about balancing the content of the meetings.  She said she's not concerned about cancelling the meeting as long as the meeting before or after doesn't turn out to be "the meeting from hell".  A way, way too long discussion ensued about the length of meetings.  Genis and Leece said we should keep the consistency.  The motion passed, 3-2, with Leece and Genis voting no.

A resident who is embroiled in a lawsuit with the city pulled Item 11, the computer aided dispatch system, HERE.  He was concerned about sales tax and warrantees.  He's worried about records destruction.  It passed, 5-0

So, that's it from this short, pre-Independence Day holiday council meeting.  They shut down at 8:50 - longer than I expected, but at least it's not midnight!  We here at A Bubbling Cauldron hope you all have a very enjoyable and safe holiday.  As the three days of fireworks begins tonight, and your pets require medication to make it through it all until Friday, please don't forget - "It's all about the kids."  Please be sure to drop Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger a little note after the holiday to thank him for his consideration for the rest of us.

We're turning the old cauldron down to simmer again for awhile.  Although there's always a chance we might post something the rest of the week, we're actually looking forward to some Independence from it.  Thanks to all my friends who work at City Hall for making it through another fiscal year.  There are many of us out here who really DO appreciate what you do for us.  Over this holiday weekend I want to especially thank the members of the Costa Mesa Police Department and the Costa Mesa Fire Department for the long hours they will put in over the next few days, trying to keep us safe in spite of ourselves.
Click HERE for a little something to get you into the old Independence Day holiday spirit.

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Anonymous ohfercrisakes said...

I can't imagine who'd criticize Riggy for bad financial judgment, can you? I mean, seriously, just because he can't do a damned thing right, we shouldn't notice?

7/02/2013 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger zz said...

Three LEGAL days of fireworks begins tonight. We have been hearing rockets and firecrackers nightly for the past week. Last night we heard them being fired in Marina View Park past midnight.

7/02/2013 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yeah, we don't do much about illegal fireworks here in Costa Mesa, the whole "we'll be proactive" words from Police and Hatch are pure words, little more.

zz, I hope you called those in?

7/03/2013 07:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Food Court said...

Did Scott Baugh get ANOTHER "Mayor's Award?"

7/03/2013 07:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Jack Tripper said...

Was there any word on if the Council signed off on the Fire Department plan to purchase the new ambulances? Haven't seen or heard anything. Hope they chose to listen to Chief Arnold.

7/03/2013 09:09:00 AM  
Anonymous pipe dream said...

missed seeing the meeting so my comments may be, are probably are, off of what was said by Leece but heck I am doing nothing else so why not post a comment.
Did Leece mention that there are already pipes in the ground where Poseidon wants to lay larger ones. And this is not a given, no official plan has been put forth. Did she mention that due to age of pipes the water company will dig them up and replace them in a few years anyway? BUT it will cost the ratepayers tens of millions to do so? If Poseidon replaces them for free and saves 60 or 70 million dollars for the ratepayers would that be bad? Can't wait to hear what she said and didn't say. Does she want to throw away tens of millions because Sandy does not like desalination being done in Huntington Beach?

7/03/2013 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

The council approved the item last night. $1.4 million for the trucks and some other equipment. See the details at the link I provided.

7/03/2013 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Not only should concerned residents,fed up with five+ straight days of illegal fireworks in their neighborhoods, drop Mensinger a note, they should CC it to all the other council members.
Wendy and Sandy will listen to you and respond. The other two will know Fireworks Unlimited is no bueno for many in our city.
I feel sorry for all the animals in Costa Mesa right now. A neighbor's dog is so scared now on July 3rd, she can hardly eat or sleep.
Remember, a ban on fireworks in CM was narrowly defeated the last time it was on a ballot.

7/03/2013 02:00:00 PM  
Anonymous unionquiltersforleece said...

although I have a strong dislike (as mild as I can put it) for alf and her rants, I agree with her on illegal fireworks.
I don't see the connection to Riggy, Mensinger, Genis, or anyone to illegal fireworks though.
Where is it? The sale of safe and sane fireworks? They don't disturb my dogs, it is the loud booms that cause them to tremble. Get the jerks that shoot off the illegal ones. Let the kids enjoy the safe and sane shiny objects.

7/03/2013 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Proud Bootlicker said...


Finally sonething you and I agree on. I support a ban on fireworks also.

7/03/2013 07:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Today's joke said...


7/04/2013 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Illegal fireworks are discharged under the guise of the Safe and Sane variety.That way the jerks shooting them off hope to escape detection. As soon as the S&S go on sale the illegal fireworks are discharged after dark, sometimes before.
I explained the connection during Public Comments over a year ago when the extended hours were up for a vote. The councildudes ignored this reality and pushed through more sales and discharge days.

7/04/2013 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Allowing the city to blow off any fireworks, opened the doors for illegal fireworks. By tonight we will have traffic from other cities parking along our streets, blowing up whatever they can find, legal or illegal, stomping our gardens, dumping their trash, and then taking off.

The very concept that we should have to drug our pets is barbaric.

They have been blowing off fireworks in the parks, including Fairview Park, for well over a week. Legal or illegal, they cause fires.

7/04/2013 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous regal beagle said...

Did I see that correctly? Piggy complaining about $250,000 for their pers contribution requirement and they spend how much on an unnecessary party and several hundred thousands on parking lots?

7/04/2013 07:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Bootlicker said...


I usually dont agree with you but on this topic I do. I would support a ban on all fireworks except for professional displays.

7/04/2013 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous James Rivera said...

Bootlicker/kwalf, as I try go to sleep now at 1030 I agree more and more.

7/04/2013 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous cypherin' phool said...

250,000 or 2,500,000 what's the diff to Geoff? And he puts down the Pension Committee and Finance Advisory Committee? lol
And remember his story about Hatch's 10K/yr raise that he said would cost us a lump sum of 40K because it was retroactive 4 months? wow. real bad math. must be hanging around the anti desalination folks too much, the champions of bad math.
On the bright side, it IS mathematically proven that a negative X a negative = a positive. So with his two bads Geoff is now in the positive.

7/05/2013 06:40:00 AM  
Anonymous here and not going anywhere said...

By banning fireworks we have created a situation where only lawbreakers have them. We could legalize them and then there would be no lawbreakers, you know, sort of like legalizing all the illegal aliens would stop illegal aliens. with me alf?

7/05/2013 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Not that is matters much, since Righeimer said he's not interested in paying down the unfunded pension debt, but that number is somewhere north of $230,000,000 - it seems to fluctuate depending on who's saying it and which axe is being ground at the time.

And, to correct a typo, the vote on the Emergency Plan was 5-0.

Hope you all had a great holiday.

7/05/2013 08:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Dynamite is not fireworks said...

Does anyone know if CMPD is clamping down on illegal fireworks? The 'bombs bursting red glare' have been going off for days.

7/05/2013 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

I can't believe I'm saying this but I agree also with Bootlicker. A professional display such as the one at the CM Golf Course Wednesday night, would be wonderful. Those fireworks weren't even that loud and we are only 4 blocks away. But these that blow up in the streets are awful. These projectiles were landing on peoples' roofs and cars. Personal displays such as what is happening in Costa Mesa now is a very bad idea. (See what happened in the high desert with the fireworks? Lost 14 homes).

7/05/2013 06:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Look Up said...

The CMPD is not staffed at a level were they can respond to all the illegal fireworks calls. They used to be but not anymore. I know it's hard to imagine but there are all kinds of other things going on after dark on the fourth to keep the few officers busy.
Of course if we did have enough officers, we could use the helicopter to spotlight the perps and direct them to who's doing it. Then maybe a few examples could be made so they would think twice about the risk of breaking the law in this manor.
Oh yea.... we don't have one of those anymore either.

7/06/2013 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

PB and B,

Thank you.

7/06/2013 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Leece not fit to serve said...

Wendy's comments have no basis in reality. she does not understand the water issue and like the other issues simply fans the flames of fear doubt and misinformation .

I am recalling Moorlachs opinion that she is not fit to serve.

My favorite part of city council is when Sandy disses Wendy or throws her a you are crazy lady look. priceless

7/07/2013 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous pathetic posturing said...

Leece not fit to serve said...
Wendy's comments have no basis in reality. she does not understand the water issue and like the other issues simply fans the flames of fear doubt and misinformation .

I am recalling Moorlachs opinion that she is not fit to serve.

My favorite part of city council is when Sandy disses Wendy or throws her a you are crazy lady look. priceless

Had to repost, so true. Genis is campaigning from the dais against Dewane (thru caldesal mentions, done it twice recently)because he may be the next council member should he so choose. She calls out Mesa Consolidated because of them spending 1/4 of 1 per cent, not all of it, in fact not most of it, could be deemed over the top. and to boot, her two favorite targets were the lowest spenders and her two favorite directors were the highest. go figure, karma is fun! shout out to merle, deb, robin, and sandy. conflict of interest next item up?

7/07/2013 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Off topic Wendy bashing going down.
Scott Baugh has spoken!
Wendy's comments are based in reality and facts, things that elude the councildudes more often than not.
Pick any speech by Righeimer at a CC meeting responding to criticism or Mensinger falsely accusing others BY NAME of crimes or offenses they are innocent of as examples. Oh yes, according to Mensinger he "got the most votes" in our last election-Not!
Wendy, like Robin Leffler are threats to the OCGOP, good ole boys network regime. Scott Baugh has deployed his minions to trash them at all costs.Moorlach and the councildudes are a part of that network. Lying is a big part of their strategy. Scott Baugh wouldn't have any other way.

7/07/2013 12:11:00 PM  

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