Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's "Charter Committee" Meeting Time Again

In a couple hours I'll be off to City Hall again, for yet another meeting.  I'm NOT attending the latest meeting of the Pension Oversight Committee - it's a waste of my time, since they really don't have anything to do, but meet weekly to do it.

No, I'm heading over to the second meeting of the Costa Mesa Charter Committee, which convenes at 6:00 in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), next to the Police Department.  You can read the agenda for that meeting HERE.  You can follow the embedded links on that one for more information.

It will be very interesting to see how they handle the issue of whether this committee has been charged with, FIRST, deciding whether the City needs a Charter form of government, or if facilitators Kirk Bauermeister and Mike Decker will insist that THEY have been charged by whomever hired them with facilitating the committee to produce a charter without first answering that question, as was the case last time.  Item #12 on the agenda says, "Identify Potential Key Issues the Charter Might Address".  That emphasis on the word "the" is mine, since it appears to presume that there WILL be a charter.

And, it's going to be interesting to see how they handle "Tea Party Tom" Pollitt's request for an invocation at this meeting.  It's shown on the agenda as a "Moment of Silence", during which attendees can apparently ask whichever deity they worship for some guidance - silently.

Last time the members were given a huge packet of information, including copies of charters from several other cities.  One member asked for a copy of the charter that was proposed last year - Jim Righeimer's Charter, that failed miserably at the ballot box.  So, if and when they begin to "cut and paste" pieces from other charters to form our charter, they will have available to them the most onerous pieces of the failed charter to include in their work product.  They might just as well put a gun to the head of the process, since those segments will all but guarantee the failure of this charter, too.

One of the things this group accomplished at the first meeting was to establish "Norms", rules for their behavior and actions as they move forward.  Those are chronicled in the minutes that will be reviewed tonight and appear as #11.  Here's what they look like:
Will they "plop" or won't they?  Will they respect the opinions of others?  This is going to be VERY interesting.

This meeting is open to the public, although you won't be fed, like the committee members will be.  If you're hungry, bring your own grub.  Still, since these meetings are not recorded on video tape, attending them is the ONLY way to get the whole story.  I'll give you my view of the events, but some of you don't like that very much.  Members of the real media may attend again and provide the facts as they see them.

So, off we go on this next step in futility.  These good people will work hard on the presumption that a Charter form of government is superior to being a General Law city - as we have for 60 years and have managed quite well.  If the council doesn't like their work product they will simply "fix it", by stripping out objectionable sections and inserting their pet ideas.  It will be THAT document that is presented to the voters.  The committee needs to frequently be reminded that most of the cities in California that are in deep financial trouble, even considering bankruptcy, are Charter Cities.  The Charter City form of government is NOT a bad form of government, but it makes it easier for mischievous leaders to play fast and loose with the best interests of the residents, as we all saw in the City of Bell fiasco.

By the way, in a curious quirk of coincidence, last weekend while my wife and I were out of town celebrating the Independence Day holiday, we met a fellow who is among those attempting to salvage the City of Bell from the quicksand that Robert Rizzo and the ignorant, inattentive and incompetent city council drove it into.  His stories makes one's head spin and, quite honestly, makes it hard to see how they will be able to dig out.  We'll see.  I sure don't want to see Costa Mesa headed in that direction.

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