Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tuesday's Going To Be Fun!

I'm going to bed in a few minutes and will sleep straight through until Tuesday around noon to bank sleep in anticipation of what promises to be one very memorable evening at City Hall.

Not only will the City Council meeting be packed with controversial items, sure to guarantee a very focused crowd in the chambers, the there will be a Public Safety rally outside beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Read what I wrote about it last Friday HERE.

The agenda, HERE, is full of interesting stuff, so just take a deep breath and let me plow through it for you in the order it's presented.

The Consent Calendar, which is supposed to include items that won't require separate discussion and vote so could be passed on one vote, has taken on a very different look in recent months.  This one is no different, with sixteen items listed for consideration.  From the top:

#1 -  This is the reading folder and has no staff report, but does include transfer activity on eight (8) liquor licenses.  Every time I see entries like this I wonder why we permit there to be so darn many businesses in this town that sell liquor.  It certainly must contribute to the fact that our police staff rack up huge numbers of DUI arrests every year.

#2 - This one, with no staff report, is a procedural item about the reading of issues.  They've been doing this for years, so I wonder why it's necessary?

#3 - This is Warrant 2489, HERE, which includes some very interesting items, including yet another whopper of a check to our contract attorneys, Jones and Mayer, for more than $128,000, including a charge for the Benito Acosta appeal.  Further on down we find a charge from Woodruff Spardlin & Smart for $17,645.85, also for Acosta.  He's the gift that keeps on taking.  We also find $7,378.00 to Management Partners for the last two weeks in July - we assume for the services of Tammy LeTourneau, who is making a career of being a consultant to our city.

#4 - This is Warrant 2490, HERE, which begins with an interesting entry - $37,968.16 for "Misc. Procurement Card Purchases".  I find myself want more detail for nearly $40,000 in miscellaneous purchases.  We also find $6,998 to Keyser Marston Associates for consulting services and $6,049.80 to Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for legal services - they provide our negotiator.  Perhaps the most interesting entry, although not about much money, is $102.00 to reimburse Margaret Chang for 4 birth certificates for 4 homeless people.  And, among the several 60th anniversary celebration charges scattered throughout this warrant and the previous one is $6,875 to "We The Creative" for PR materials.  Funny, that check was cut September 6th - fully a month after the scandal broke and well after folks requested records on bills.

#5 - This is establishes a $90,000 annual budget for the Housing Authority for this fiscal year, HERE.

#6 - This is the proposed Housing Element Update for the 2000 General Plan, HERE.

#7 - This is for more than $500,000 in costs for the West 19th Street Corridor Pedestrian Improvement Project, HERE.

#8 - This is a proposal to reinstate the Aquatics Programming Year Round at the Downtown Aquatic Center, HERE.

#9 - This is renewal of the agreement with the Orange County Model Engineers, Inc. (OCME) for use of a portion of Fairview Park, HERE.  This group, who currently holds a 25 year agreement that expires this month.  The Parks and Recreation Commission recommends an extension ONLY until December, 2014, despite the fact that the OCME has been an outstanding tenant in the park and have provided a very positive image for our community.  I suspect the good folks who form that organization are just a little uneasy with this turn of events.

#10 - This repeals a section of the Municipal Code based on a recent Redondo Beach legal ruling that has determined that our Section 10-354 violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and may no longer be enforced, HERE.

#11 - This is the $125,000 6-month Administrative Budget for the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency, HERE.

#12 - This is the review and approval of the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS) for the last six months of the fiscal year, HERE.

#13 - This one is the Long Range Property Management Plan (LRPMP) for the Successor Agency, HERE.

#14 - This is for the purchase of new Fire Data Mapping and Administration software for the CMFD, HERE.  With the new deployment model, having accurate, timely data will be essential for efficient operations of the New Fire Department.

#15 - This one is a doozy!  Take a few minutes to plow through the staff report, HERE.  The shorthand version is - the city loaned Civic Center Barrio Housing Corporation a bunch of money to purchase affordable housing units decades ago.  Those units are about to go into default and the only way to protect the city's interests are to appropriate $350,000 from the General Fund to pay off the loan, take title to it via the Costa Mesa Housing Authority and find someone to run the places.  Good grief!

#16 - This modifies the Single Family Rehabilitation Loan and Grant Program policies and procedures due to increasing costs of materials, HERE.

OK, take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee (or Diet Coke, Jim and Steve) and we'll move on to the "real" business for the evening.

The first Public Hearing of the evening - who knows when that will begin - may be the most controversial.  This is the now-infamous Public Nuisance Ordinance that has been juggled around between the council and the staff until they think they've finally got an ordinance that will be effective and (probably) not sink the city with lawsuits.  You can read the staff report HERE.  Among other things, it is presumed that this ordinance will facilitate regulation of rehabilitation homes that have begun popping around town like poison mushrooms and also enable more enforcement efforts for so-called "problem motels".  However, it seems to me after a quick read of the ordinance and Attachment 3, HERE, that this is still way too broad and has the potential for mischief by folks in charge.

One of the things that got my attention is the penalties section of the new ordinance.  Section 20-12, Civil Penalties, reads as follows:

(a)    Commencing the day following the expiration of the period provided in the notice to abate, a fine of up to $1000 (one thousand dollars) may be imposed until the violation is corrected. Fines shall be set by city council resolution.

(b)    Unpaid fines shall be collected pursuant to Section 1-48 of this code.

(c)    Any fines collected for failure to maintain a property acquired through foreclosure or deed of trust shall be solely directed to the city’s nuisance abatement program.


The way I read that, if you are found in violation you could be fined up to $1,000 PER DAY until the violation is corrected!

The second Public Hearing, Councilwoman Sandra Genis' Fairview Park Entryway Concept Plans Appeal, HERE, is likely to pack the auditorium with folks who are not happy with the plans recently approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission.  If Mayor Jim Righiemer's recent Meet The Mayor event on Pacific Avenue is any indication, the nearby neighbors are not happy with this plan.  You can watch the video clips recorded by Righeimer's presumed personal videographer, Barry Friedland, at his Costa Mesa Brief YouTube site.  You can see the first 35 minute segment HERE and the second 47 minute clip, in which Righeimer describes the neighborhood as "third world" - twice - at around the 8 minute mark, HERE.  I don't know whether he captured the entire evening, but the second one seems to end early and I'm told by those in attendance that the first segment left out part, too.  And, the second segment had big difficulties with the sound and Friedland forgot about backlight, so Righeimer and Ernesto Munoz are only shadows at the end of the second one. 

There is no Old Business, but there are three New Business items on the agenda.   The first one is an urban plan screening request for a 20-unit live/work development at 1695 Superior Avenue, at the intersection of Superior and 17th Street.  You can read the staff report HERE, which includes links to other relevant documents.

The third New Business item is a curious one.  The staff report is HERE. It's a request for a payment to an outfit called Cognify, Inc. of $52,274.63 and authorize previous payments of $34,387.51 made beyond the original professional services agreement of $49,900.  So, what the heck happened with this one?  I'm sure it's just a coincidence that we somehow managed to overpay this outfit without authorization and the CEO of Cognify, Mace Wolf, is a contributor to Mayor Righeimer's campaign, right?

So, that's it for that meeting.  It's going to be a long night...  I'll try to report the results as quickly as possible, but no guarantees.

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Anonymous seedling said...

there was one other incident where he called the community third world-- earlier in the evening when referring to sidewalk work that are necessitated because of the density of the area-- you can tell the crowd was agitated in the clip, but the way the mike was set you couldnt hear the front half of the audience!

Just a reminder: if you care about the park please sign!

9/16/2013 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Anyone else think that Righeimer referring to the area around Pacific as "3rd World" is funny? If he'd lived in Costa Mesa any length of time, he'd know that a lot of folks over there have 7 figure net worths and have never been involved with Bankruptcy. Riggy himself is a little Third World dictator wannabe.

9/16/2013 06:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

It looks like Barry used a cell phone to record that meeting. Hope he's not getting paid for this.

I'm betting that there will be another scandal...called Cognify. This is the contract they approved with the completely staged and lousy acting from the dias with regard to the computer contracts. This deserves a second look.

9/16/2013 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Public nuisance ordinance looks great. Seriously Geoff, if someone were to really have a court-ordered 3rd-party clean up a property (receivership), that would be appreciated by so many in my neighborhood (Only by the non-hood rats, of course).

You ever see a house/property actually unjustly siezed by the city, you go ahead and report it to the NY Times. It will NOT come to that.

9/16/2013 07:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

And fercrissakes, can someone recommend a good barber to Righeimer? That flippin' flyin' hairdo has to go.

9/16/2013 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Hold em Accountable said...

I considered moving to CM about 15 years ago.
So glad I didn't.

It is SO entertaining though. WHY do the voters put up with Riggy and his band of merry men?

Gary? Climb out of the bottle long enough to see what you have enabled. You won't lose your cadillac benefit package....Do the right thing.

9/16/2013 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Marquis said...

"Commencing the day following the expiration of the period provided in the notice to abate, a fine of up to $1000 (one thousand dollars) may be imposed until the violation is corrected. Fines shall be set by city council resolution."

That does not say $1000 per day. Maybe "per day" was what was intended, but the way that paragraph is written says a fine of up $1000 - total overall. If the ordinance is adopted with that exact language, any lawyer could limit the total fine to $1000.

If they actually make it $1000 per day, lawyers will also have a field day with that. But that's what Costa Mesa's city councils do - make lawyers rich.

9/16/2013 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous seedling said...

Its not just nimbys that care about keeping the park as it is!,0,5502628.story

9/16/2013 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

Section 20‐12. Civil penalties.
Commencing the day following the expiration of the period provided in the notice to abate, a fine of up to $1000 (one thousand dollars) may be imposed until the violation is corrected. Fines shall be set by city council resolution.

I am with Marquis interpreting this legal language…The language seems to make it clear through silence, that the maximum fine is $1000, with the city council assigning a dollar value up to $1000 per notice of abatement.

I also believe that if the intent was to have any fine over $1000, or a fine that increases after the day of expiration, that could and would be tested upon appeal through the court process, as it is currently written.

I think the maximum fine intended, is just how it is written, $1000.

There does not seem to be any ambiguity here.

9/16/2013 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

I checked with city staff today. My interpretation (fear) was accurate. The day following the period during which a violator is supposed to correct whatever the problem is a maximum fine of $1,000 may be imposed - PER DAY - until compliance is reached.

Clearly, this is aimed directly at the problem motels that Righeimer has previously stated he wants to squeeze until they sell - to a developer!

9/16/2013 05:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

Thanks for checking that out Geoff, that certainly makes my point very clear.
It will be in court the first time it exceeds $1000, as it is written, since it does not state there is a daily fine.
I believe city staff has it clearly stated there is a maximum fine of $1000.
Words can be interpreted different ways, and a judge will be the one who decides this, not me, that's for sure.

9/16/2013 06:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

Government Code Section 36934 requires proposed ordinances to be read aloud in full. However, the City Council may waive reading and refer to the ordinance by title only.

9/16/2013 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Well, I'll be durned... Barry kept the references to "third world country" in there. Good for him.

This meeting is going to be so awesome. Getcha popcorn ready.

9/16/2013 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

He didn't have a choice since it is so widely spoken of now.

9/17/2013 10:43:00 AM  

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