Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Costa Mesa Charter Committee Meeting Tomorrow

The Costa Mesa Charter Committee meets again tomorrow, October 23, 2013 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) near the Costa Mesa Police headquarters.  You can read the agenda for that meeting HERE.

Scheduled for discussion, under "Governance" are "Firewall between CEO and Council Members", HERE, local control in decision making, and "Compensation of Council Members and top management", HERE.

If you're interested, you can also review the comments submitted by committee members to the other members via the City Clerk, HERE.  These comments are anonymous - curious practice - but it does give you a sense of the views of some members.

Snowbound, I missed the past two meetings of this committee, which made some "progress" when it finally cobbled together language regarding the Prevailing Wage issue.  However, since that decision Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 7, which severely penalizes cities - including Charter cities - if they fail to pay prevailing wages on certain projects.  It will be interesting to see if this issue is discussed tomorrow - it's not on the agenda.  Since two members of the public who regularly attend the meetings, Charles Mooney and Mike Harmanos, published letters to the editor in the Daily Pilot today, HERE, addressing this issue, I suspect it is likely that one or both of them may choose to address it with the committee during their two-minute Public Comments opportunity.

In my opinion, going forward with any consideration of a charter at this time is a colossal waste of time.  The cornerstone of the plan for this change in municipal governance as espoused by its primary sponsor, Mayor Jim Righeimer, was to save the community tons of cash by eliminating the Prevailing Wage requirement.  Whether that would have been the case has become a moot point now.  In my view, there is no longer any reason to abandon the protections provided to us as a General Law city - not that there ever was in the first place.  Although I hope rational folks within the City government will realize the folly of moving forward with this process and call it off, I doubt that will happen.  No, these volunteers and the folks facilitating their actions will just plow forward to present a document to the council that will have virtually no chance of passage if it reaches the November, 2015 ballot.

So, if you enjoy watching sausage being made by a committee that is usually cordial and compatible, although their opinions differ greatly on key issues, join us at the EOC.  It's my understanding that the last meeting included some fireworks that caused one member to storm out in anger.  See you there...

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Blogger Joe said...

Das Rigmarshal needs a charter for:

1) Greater personal power;

2) He needs to convince his out of town funding that he's accomplished something other than discord and destruction since arriving in Costa Mesa.

(Yes, sycophants, we know all about the streets being paved. That was done with money and planning that started long before the takeover).

So the committee will go on. And on. And on...

10/22/2013 04:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Skeptical in Costa Mesa said...

Prevailing wage is and was just a ruse to get a charter passed for more power in the hands of Larry, Moe and Curly Joe.

10/22/2013 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

A charter provides the electorate greater autonomy from the union/association/big-labor controlled legislature in Sacramento by way of the members they pick for the city council and direct control via the ballot box.

How scandalous...

if you are a big-labor supporter.

10/22/2013 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

I wonder if Scott Baugh will allow Righeimer to drop his charter scheme altogether.

10/22/2013 08:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin Leffler said...

Bruce, we have ballot box control now. We actually have more protections for citizen’s rights of legal remedies, referendum and initiative without a charter than with. A charter does very little to alleviate Sacramento’s control. Prevailing wage was just about the only area, and now that’s gone.

Unless very careful language is included in a charter, becoming a charter city would take more control from the voters and concentrate it in the majority of a city council, resulting in bigger, more powerful local government and less recourse for voters to fight unpopular decisions.

10/22/2013 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Bruce, I highly recommend that those of your political persuasion find someone to run against Jerry Brown for Governor. Then this person can presumably veto all of the so-called "big labor controlled" bills the legislature passes. Best of luck.

10/22/2013 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Today's lesson will be extremist buzzwords. Now repeat after me:
"union, big labor, union, big labor."

I'm a Democrat. I vote and support progressive causes. The only "big labor" I'm affiliated with took place on my original birthday.

10/23/2013 06:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Hold em Accountable said...

Oh, Bruce...Did Labor control Mansoor, Bever, Monahan, and the like when they voted FOR the association contracts? Step away from the Kool-aide.

What a bunch of BS. The economy tanked because of Wall Street greed. Don't blame the rank and file. The cops and firefighters didn't have any lawyers negotiating for them. It was Hayman and Perkins vs the association board members which were the APPROVED by Mansoor, Bever , and Monahan...and others.

Get a clue!

10/23/2013 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

The prevailing wage component of the Charter is over stated. Only 121 cities in California have charters. Of those 121 cities only 50 have some exemption language regarding prevailing wage. Of those 50 , only 20 cities have power to fully exempt themselves in some cases. Righeimer and supporters are just using this issue to try and ramp up the electorate. It's pure rhetoric, as Bruce Krochman so deftly illustrated. The real slippery slope in this Charter boondoggle, lies in the way the City can address contracting, and governance of public spaces, like parks. That's where they could really wreck havoc. As the travesty of the 60th celebration municipal violations unfold, and in light of the City Councils actions regarding the lack of stewardship over TeWinkle and Fairview Parks , it's plain to see, they can't be trusted with greater autonomy. Now is not the time to unleash these Councilmens power.

10/23/2013 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Arrg, it seems I never have the time to fully respond to all of the comments. Sorry about that because they do deserve attention.

I have to pick and choose or bail on the whole discussion, so I'll try to stick with the larger issue; local control vs State control.

Several comments seem to decry the ability for the city council to do bad things with local control and advocate for state control.

I am perplexed by this argument.

The reason being is that even if 100% of the residents of Costa Mesa wanted to do something that is under state control, members of the legislature could override us. I think there is only one member of the legislature that is from Costa Mesa, so we have to do what representatives of every other city in the state wants us to do even if we are all 100% opposed to that.

Now, state control is good for "progressives" and "big-labor" supporters, because that is what the legislature now represents. So I guess Greg is happy with having the state control how we operate, because he doesn't need local control, he aligned with the legislature from a policy perspective and supports expansive government.

I am quite sure that if the shoe was on the other foot (kind of an odd saying, now that I see it typed out) he would be just as vocal for local control as I am.

That is the difference between him and I. I want local control regardless of who runs the state, the GOP or CTA, doesn't matter to me. Local is better because we, as a community, can decide how issues that affect us are handled.

10/23/2013 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

There are already many other governmental bodies that hedge the autonomy of Costa Mesa. I'm just acknowledging that fact. I'm not sitting here praising Federal Government or State or County, or The Water District, Sanitation, OC Transportation , LAFCO, the NMUSD, or the myriad of other regulatory agencies that exert influence over Costa Mesa. I'm just acknowledging that they do exist and Costa Mesa is NOT an island.Your "Local Control" argument polls well, but it doesn't exist when you try and apply for State and Federal grants for any and all infrastructure projects.It's just a disconnect from how Government works.You misinterpret my relief that there are currently regulatory agencies that are stopping the Councilmen. Without them, right now Steve would continue pushing for the destruction of Critical habitat , and bulldozers would be plowing up a Nationally Registered Historical site without following any CEQA rules.As it stands now you have a hand picked group of "supporters" dreaming up ways to develop a highly protected natural and historical resource. This group has actually suggested planting Sequoia Redwood groves in Fairview Park.It's still on thier "wishlist".I'm happy that we have someone overseeing what occurs there because this group is woefully uninformed and lacking any sort of environmental sense. The majority were picked because they support building in the Park, nothing more. This is just one instance,where , safeguards have protected the local residents from the destructive policies of this Council Majority. Bruce, answer me this one hypothetical....If this council had true "Local Control" and they could do whatever they wanted, Do you think they would dismantle Public Safety and hire a private security firm?.....Yes or no?

10/24/2013 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


You are only happy for oversight agencies because they support your view of the world. If you believed in your heart of hearts that planting sequoias in Fairview Park was a good idea, you would be right there with that mob you disparage.

Yes, there are far too many oversight agencies that exist in our world. Each one brings their own special form of manipulation. I only have to refer you back to the fire ring fiasco in Newport Beach. But that is just one of millions of stupid decisions that are made by governmental entities that you or I (maybe on occasion even you and I) might see as egregious interference.

Why not take the opportunity to pare that back, even if just a little? Sounds like a good reason for a charter to me.

As for your hypothetical, we already have a private security agency, it is called the CMPD. They are all private citizens working for a paycheck that report to a management structure that is overseen by city management and ultimately the city council. Do I care that they are paid directly by the city or through an employee leasing agency or through the OCSD or some other structure? Not as long as the services that the residents of this city are provided are at a level we can live with and at a cost that we can afford. It matters not to me who provides them or how they are provided.

10/24/2013 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...


As always, your comments are welcome here. That being said, I must disagree with a segment of your comment.

The men and women are NOT rent-a-cops. Yes, they are private citizens, but they are SWORN law enforcement officers - employees of the city with a very specific obligation to it for the safety of everyone within the borders. That includes residents, business owners and visitors. I find the fact that you apparently equate them to private security firms very troubling.

10/24/2013 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


I equate law enforcement services with services. They are just that. The legal structure (sworn officers) is simply a matter of meeting specific legal requirements. For example, lawyers in private practice have to meet certain legal obligations. If you start throwing around terms like "rent-a-cop" then you just insert pejoratives into the conversation for effect.

Trained and qualified personnel, regardless of the employment relationship, are required to do the job. That doesn't mean we need a CMPD. It means we, as citizens, require a certain service to be performed. If the current structure is the most effective, then great. That doesn't mean that I, in any way, would claim this is the only viable structure and the only possible way to provide that service.

10/24/2013 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

You and I obviously have a VERY different view of law enforcement. Yes, it is a "service", but I want my service provided by well-trained, SWORN officers, not somebody who may or may not have met the standards I feel are necessary to fulfill the safety demands of this - or any other - city. I want a police "service" that is beholden to the community and to the OATH they take to protect and serve us. In my view, anything short of that standard just gives us "rent-a-cops", mercenaries like the Hessians or the French Foreign Legion. Quite honestly, your position baffles me...

10/24/2013 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


Again, more pejoratives? Mercenaries? Really?

How about "Professionals"?

Are they only qualified if they draw their paycheck from the city treasury? What about the cities that contract with OCSD? Are those cops "mercenaries"?

I think your romantic image of city life is starting to sound awfully Costa Mayberry-ish.

So yes, if you are stuck with that image of policing, then we have decidedly different views on providing public safety services. I am not stuck with one paradigm. I am open to change.

10/24/2013 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

By the way, the oath police officers take, according to the California Commission on Police Officer Standards and Training is as follows:

“I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States… that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.”

I don't see "Protect and Serve" in there anywhere. That may be their mission statement or some other artifact of service, but I don't see it in the oath.

10/24/2013 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

The answer was ...yes....and how can you assume to know my view of the world considering we have never shared any those together?

10/24/2013 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Volo pro Veritas said...

Bruce is actually way off base. Peace officers while actively employed do so with a commission from the state. The state oversees training and certification. With our system of government, we have the legislative, executive and judiciary branches. Peace officers fall under the executive branch and as such are considered "executive officers" under the penal code.

They are not simply "private citizens" getting paid to perform a service.

10/24/2013 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


The answer was mine, and mine alone, so you can't in any way project that on Righeimer or the council majority.

My answer, if you can't really find it in all of the words I wrote, is that a private security provider could replace CMPD given appropriate legal compliance, if that even exists.

There is no special power that government conveys upon a police department that can not also be conveyed on another organizational structure that would prevent that other structure from conducting the same activities that CMPD conducts.

About those sequoias; is it possible that Fairview Park was populated by sequoias millions of years ago and that mob you refer to is just trying to re-establish a native species?

There is also a compliant that the local community is trying to build youth sporting fields on the Fairview site where indigenous populations had populated the area. Maybe those indigenous peoples had children that played in that very field. Maybe they played some organized form of games in their time. Maybe we are just following in their footsteps by allowing our children to do the same thing. Wouldn't that be a tribute to them?

Perhaps we worry too much about the past and not enough about the future.

10/24/2013 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

"Woefully un-informed and lacking any environmental sense"... Bruce, you should have joined your pals on the Fairview Park Advisory committee. What's the real shame is there are currently numerous affordable options available to us , right now, that would increase sports fields across the city. The Council under Steve, refuses to even consider those options, or bring them up for debate because we are in an "all or nothing" game strategy trying to develop Fairview . Fairview is protected. Instead of forcing this issue, wasting everybody's time, and costing the city more tax dollars in a wasteful lawsuit, they need to understand the rules governing the public asset. Ernesto has completely botched this whole process by omitting facts and downplaying the biological and archeological significance. They are just wasting everybody's time.

10/25/2013 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


I wanted a sporting clays range at Fairview. Apparently that didn't get much traction.... :)

10/25/2013 12:36:00 PM  

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