Sunday, August 04, 2013

Colin McCarthy Got It Wrong

This weekend Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner and former City Council candidate Colin McCarthy produced a commentary in the Daily Pilot titled, "Don't burdern C.M. businesses with higher fees", HERE, that attempts to mislead the readers with inflammatory, inaccurate rhetoric on the subject of a possible Business License Tax increase.

McCarthy attempts to use the red herring that, if the voters were to approve a modest increase in the Business License Tax - it has had NO substantive change in the structure and/or amount since the 1960's - Nordstrom would pull up stakes and shut down the South Coast Plaza store.  Hog wash!  And, of course, he offers no evidence to confirm his allegation - only his rhetoric.

McCarthy is only regurgitating the party line of those in my Republican Party that are against ANY kind of increase in taxes, even though revenue shortfalls could cripple the ability of Costa Mesa to provide sufficient coverage for public safety - police and fire - and severely limit other services, too.  This kind of stubborn, irrational reaction to this serious situation makes us realize that the safety and future of our city is less important to those ideologues than their own personal political agendas.

Presently Nordstrom - or any of the other high-grossing, top-tier retailers in Costa Mesa - pays a maximum of $200 per year for a business license.  That's a bargain in anybodies book, for sure.  And I don't discount the fact that our laughably small tax may attract businesses to our city.  But, if it was $400 or $800 for those same folks, would that fact alone cause them to pause when considering Costa Mesa as a business venue, or to leave if they are already here?  I doubt it.

No, because the Financial Advisory Committee - packed by the current City Council with folks who share McCarthy's aversion to considering even a modest updating of the Business License Tax - has now shoved off any further discussion of the issue until the impact of recently-acquired software designed to help track down scofflaws who have not paid the tax they owe is known, this issue seems to have been placed into suspended animation for six months.  That's what makes McCarthy's commentary so peculiar.  Why now?

Well, we are just over a year from the next election that will select at least one new council member, so I suspect McCarthy's ill-timed and inaccurate rant is designed to lay the groundwork for a campaign platform for one or two candidates next year.

The comment thread on his commentary is enlightening.  Several residents have taken issue with his views and have debunked his claims one at a time.  I won't repeat them here, but they're worth reviewing if you're at all interested in this issue.

THE "$10,000" OOPS
A year ago this issue was discussed by the City Council with an eye to placing a proposal before the voters last November.  Unfortunately, as part of the staff report presented to the council at the time, Finance and Information Technology Director Bobby Young used one model that would have increased the maximum fee charged to the highest-grossing retailers at $10,000 - a number just pulled out of the air.  I watched as, almost like ballet dancers in unison, the council at the time flinched, then rejected any further discussion.  Obviously, the memory of that $10,000 number has remained stuck in the memory of some people in power.  And, unfortunately, it's impeding any serious discussion of the issue a year later.

The Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, a body that certainly should have an opinion on this issue, had no negative comments on a possible modest increase last year.

The issue is actually pretty simple.  Members of the current City Council majority, and some of their acolytes like McCarthy, have cried "poverty" for the past couple years as a preamble to disingenuous contract bargaining with the employee associations that are beginning now.  They have rejected highly qualified professional recommendations for appropriate staffing levels for public safety organizations and the availability of more funds, like an increase in the Business License Tax, renders those self-serving positions moot.  It is crystal clear to many observers that political agendas are being served here - not the residents, business-owners and visitors to our city.

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Anonymous There is a God said...

This exactly why McCarthy didn't make it to the council. He is completely out of whack, and along with his lack of personality, smarmy attitude and ego, and commitment to out of town politicians rather than our city, he is unelectable.

8/04/2013 07:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Poseidon Adventure said...

One of the real gems in the article's comments is Fisler bringing up Poseidon. Looks like someone will be getting a call from the Newport bosses after they recover from Mansoor's wedding yesterday.

There is a definite ocgop plan for desalination which is tied to Fisler and Mesa Water.

As for McCarthy, he's just writing out the party line as ordered. They nicknamed him "Colon" for a good reason.

8/04/2013 07:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Dripping with Sarcasm said...

Well I plan on putting Colin McCarthy's commentary to good use. I am going to print out a copy of the commentary and go to any retailer, restaurant, etc., that ever charged me sales tax and demand an immediate refund of whatever I paid in sales tax. What I never understood until after having read McCathy's commentary is sales tax is a BUSINESS'S responsibility to pay and not MINE. Thank you for setting me straight once and for all on this particular subject. In fact, you've done me such a solid that I can't help but return the favor. Know that prior to online commenters posting their remarks on comment threads, they may use their computer's search engines to good use, and any information found via a search may be used to support, or in your case DEBUNK, the opinion presented to the masses. A good example of this would be the comment thread on your particular commentary.

8/04/2013 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous stop growth now said...

Fisler wants jobs for people?
Fisler wants water for people?
Too radical for me.

8/04/2013 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous water wise said...

What jobs?
If Poseidon jams a pipe through Costa Mesa it will create dozens of temporary jobs for mostly out of town “union” (oh the horror) workers. When the job is done they’ll be unemployed again but it’s cool, their unemployment payments just got extended, so they can chew through more taxpayer money.

What water?
The for-profit water factory will sell water to the highest bidder. We don’t need it and no one living in the county now does either. It’s way more expensive than imported water. We may end up drinking the junk and dumping it on our gardens because we’re closest to the factory.

8/04/2013 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous water wise 2 said...

More info on the Poseidon misadventure...

What flows downstream is water credits, not the water itself. The end user gets whatever water is closest to them. If the factory ever gets built, the ones who’d actually use desal are the people closest, and it’s our citrus trees and gardens that will be poisoned by the boron build-up in the product.

Whose money?
The subsidies Poseidon needs from public agencies equal corporate welfare, more taxpayer and water ratepayer money to subsidize a private enterprise.

What’s the OCGOP tie-in?
Is their one? It’s a good question. Most of the supporters on local water boards, councils and planning commissions are connected with the Baugh faction of the local GOP. Other Republicans find the concept fiscally unsound. It’s more the politics of money and power than party membership.

The weird part is that it involves heavy public subsidies to be economically feasible, despite the vows Poseidon made that it would not use any taxpayer money. The whole idea of handing out government subsidies is very un-GOP. Additionally, it’s an environmental disaster on several fronts. Greed crosses party lines

Why is it coming up now?
Here’s an insider secret (as told to some of the GOP fringe faction). Public discussion is not sanctioned by the real dealers, the less said about Poseidon the better until they quietly get all the approvals and financing they need.

Mesa Water has a lot of cash on hand. Maybe they want to join in and subsidize this scheme with ratepayer money?

Sad but true:
Most residents don’t have a clue about what may be coming down the pipe.

8/04/2013 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous wise water said...

OCWD is taking applications for a citizens committee on the Poseidon subject. If you want to participate in public input early, join it or attend. Later, the water boards will have public hearings. Most likely the Poseidon water will be mixed in the basin with the imported water and rain capture from SA River and spreading grounds. Facts are friends, rumors and attacks not so much.

8/04/2013 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous fact check said...

actually, Poseidon would pay to wheel their water down south should that be in their plans, good for local ratepayers. There is no final plan though, there are many options. There is already a pipe from plant site to the GWRS at OCWD. water "wise" is either completely in the dark on this or is being dishonest on purpose. Contrary to what "wise" states, It is the actual desal water molecule that goes south should that be the final plan, not in lieu water as he/she states. Also, Met Water subsidies are given for a multitude of projects that have proven they can add additional water supply to this arid region since Met has stated all water supply increase will have to be local, the Delta and Colorado River (dangerously low water level there)cannot be counted on. Our local water agency is getting 23 million dollars in subsidies for their new facility. Subsidies are not unique to Poseidon. Desal plants are operating all over the world to provide this essential element of life without causing environmental disasters. Of course the downside is that people and business could be more secure in their water supplies and some are totally against that. The OCGOP tie in is hard to pinpoint. It is not in their platform. People from both sides of the aisle support the project in concept. Details to follow to see if feasible. EIR has been done, challenged, and found to be sound. Coastal commission still to weigh in on this.

8/04/2013 04:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Bottom LIne said...

Private Profit, Public Risk:

Follow the money. Ocgop has an agenda. Its pawns will push this project.

8/04/2013 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous water wise said...

The pipe has outlets in CM so can go directly to us along the way to San Joaquin reservoir. Then it returns to CM, not diluted enough to be safe for sensitive plants like Citrus. No way does the desalinated water molecule go directly to the end user. That’s hilarious. You don’t understand the water business or science, just propaganda.

Subsidies of public funds for public use are one thing, subsides for a for-profit private company are another.

Go pull someone else’s leg.

8/04/2013 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous No Bridge said...

San Joaquin reservoir is a reclaimed water reservoir owned by Irvine Ranch.
It is a result of older technology that required a surge tank that the connection to the OC-44 line is connected to East Orange County Feeder #2 at that point.
Any water pumped uphill through an enlarged OC-44 would be available at the Mesa Water turn outs presently used to take the small amount of Metropolitan water Mesa Water now takes, which is less than 5% per year (closer to zero).
Therefore, the amount of desalinated water with potentially higher than desirable for some plants Boron would be very small indeed. Many homes where well water would dominate the supply would receive no desalinated water at all.

8/05/2013 11:58:00 PM  
Anonymous water question said...

No Bridge: where does Metropolitan water come from?

8/06/2013 06:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

water question - Met gets it water from several sources but Colorado River dominates. We also get water from Diamond Lake, various collections from the area watershed and some is pumped up.

If you take the Leadership Tomorrow class, they have a great two-day water trip where you follow the water, the different ways they treat and process it and get it to us. It was eye-opening.

According to the Mesa Water District website, 25% of our water is imported (but they don't say from where).

8/06/2013 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous water question said...

so the statement about 100% of our water being local is a lie? They made such a point at the Concerts in the Park of stating that 100% of our water was local. Hmmm...

8/06/2013 07:55:00 PM  
Anonymous No Bridge said...

Water Question:
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MET) gets its water from the Colorado River and from the State Water Project. In addition, there are local projects that MET sponsors such as Mesa Water's recently expanded MWRF (treating colored water since the 1980's). These projects improve the overall water supply by using otherwise unusable water for potable supply or by cleaning up the basin. These sorts of things come under MET's local resources program.

Mary O'C':
The Diamond Valley Lake is a storage reservoir for water Metropolitan gets from the Colorado River or from the State Water project.

It sounds like the Mesa Water website needs to be updated. They used the 25% number as a fair average for years.

8/09/2013 04:18:00 PM  

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