Friday, March 08, 2013

More Information On Delgadillo Services

The CMPD just released this item to keep the public aware of plans for services for Officer Mike Delgadillo.  Click on the image to enlarge.

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Setting CMPD Pay Numbers Straight

As you know, at the last Costa Mesa City Council meeting Mayor Jovial Jim Righeimer, during one of his stream of consciousness mini-rants, told us that the Costa Mesa Police Department is the "highest paid" - a statement that rocked those of us who actually follow this stuff.  Why?  Because it's not true, and it represents his willingness to disregard facts and present fabrications from his lofty perch on the "big chair" that are politically self-serving.

In my observations following Jovial Jim's fabrication I said that the CMPD is paid near the middle of the pack in Orange County.  That was a gut feeling based on information from the not-too-distant past.  When you've got a gut the size of mine you pay attention!

In response to this issue I was sent the results of a very recent - January, 2013 - salary survey from a very credible organization that covers three police positions - Police Officer, Police Sergeant and Police Lieutenant - for 21 local cities.  It provides data like number of staff members used in the survey; effective date of the salary levels; high and low salary numbers and additional "compensation" - amounts applied for Health, Dental, Vision and other health-related dollars, like the CMPD Cafe plan.  It totals those up into a column titled "Total Comp", which represents the total monthly pay.  It does NOT reflect any pension numbers.  It seems unlikely that the recent retirements of senior officers, nor the recent promotions, were taken into account.  Nor was the Orange County Sheriff's Department included in this survey.

Since our elected "leaders" have made such a big deal about total compensation on these issues in the past, let me give you a taste of the results.

Police Officer
Total Comp for the cities listed averages $8,271.  Costa Mesa's number is $8,563.  That places them 8th of 21 cities, slightly above the middle.  Anaheim, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Orange and Fullerton were ranked ahead of Costa Mesa.

Police Sergeant
Total Comp for cities listed was $10,306.  Costa Mesa's number is $10,301.  That places them 11th - smack dab in the middle of the pack.  The ten cities ranked higher are Tustin, Orange, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Fountain Valley, Cypress and Anaheim.

Police Lieutenant
Total Comp for this group is $12,397.  Only 18 cities reported data.  Costa Mesa's number is $12,469.  That puts them in 12th place - well below the middle.  The eleven cities ranked higher are Brea, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Orange and Santa Ana.

Another important factor to consider is that members of the CMPD have not received a raise since 8/31/2008.  Sixteen of the 21 cities reporting data have had increases since that date.  The results show that our brave men and women of the CMPD are far from the "highest paid".

So, what do we do with this information?  Well, for one, we can use it to validate our mayor's penchant to play fast and loose with facts to serve his political purposes.  What else is he making up when he pontificates from the dais?  If he doesn't have the information he should just zip his lips until he does.  It's just one more example of the adversarial relationship he has cultivated with the CMPD and it certainly doesn't serve the community well.

Before retiring I made a pretty darn good living recruiting folks, both as an employee of local companies and, for more than two decades, as a recruiting consultant.  While pay is only part of the equation, I understand how difficult it is to recruit excellent employees when your compensation package is not competitive.  Considering the atmosphere between Righeimer and the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association, I see nothing that leads me to believe the contract negotiations next year will be anything but rancorous.

It seems to me that Righeimer and his associates are willing to settle for mediocrity by creating a hostile work environment and hiring hardball negotiators to beat the city employees into submission.  Personally, I'm not willing to settle for mediocrity.  I feel we deserve to have a compensation plan that is, at least, competitive.  I don't think we need to pay the highest salaries, but we sure shouldn't be paying the least.  We should be paying somewhere in the top 25% of all Orange County cities.

So, we watch and wait to see what the next fabricated "fact" comes out of Righeimer's mouth...

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MADD Honors CMPD Team - Again

(left to right: CMPD Chief Tom Gazsi, California Office of Traffic Safety Director Christopher Murphy, Officer Erik Rosado, Officer Crystal Rodriguez, Officer Jose Torres, Captain Rob Sharpnack, Officer Kha Bao, Officer Oscar Reyes, Officer Tony Yannizzi, Officer Chris Brunt, Officer Darren Wood, Captain Les Gogerty, Captain Allen Huggins, Lieutenant Greg Scott and California Office of Traffic Safety Operations Coordinator Julie Schilling)

Yesterday the Costa Mesa Police Department announced awards received by members of the department at the 26th Annual Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Recognition Luncheon held at the Richard M. Nixon Library in Yorba Linda on March 7th.

One of the highlights of the luncheon was the presentation of Century Awards to officers who have tallied 100 or more DUI arrests during 2012.  Of the 21 recipients from nine different law enforcement agencies to receive this prestigious award, one-third - 7 officers - were from Costa Mesa.

Leading the way in Costa Mesa again was Officer Kha Bao with 206 arrests.  He was one of only two to receive the Double Century Award - 200 or more arrests.  You'll recall that Officer Bao was honored last year for achieving more than 400 arrests.

Other Costa Mesa officers receiving the Century Award were Officer Oscar Reyes (113), Officer Jeff Horn (140), Officer Darren Wood (113), Officer Tony Yannizzi (110), Officer Crystal Rodriquez (106) and Officer Erik Rosado (104).  These seven officers accounted for 892 DUI arrests last year.

Congratulations to all those officers for their achievements.  Thanks to them, and all the other members of the Costa Mesa Police Department, for their efforts to keep our community safe in these difficult times.

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Meetings and Minutia

Cleaning out the corners of my alleged mind I offer the following collage of information for you, in no particular order.

This afternoon the Costa Mesa 60th Anniversary Celebration Committee meets again at the Emergency Operations Center adjacent to Police Headquarters at 5:30.  Those tireless volunteers will continue to craft plans for the various elements of the celebration this year.  This is the logo that will be used.  See if you can figure out what the individual elements represent.  They are still looking for more volunteers.  For more information go HERE.

Beginning tonight and running for three nights the award-winning Estancia High School Drama troupe presents a classic - "Guys & Dolls" at the Robert B. Wentz Theatre at Newport Harbor High School.  Performances begin at 7:30 p.m.  You can read Bradley Zint's coverage in the Daily Pilot HERE.(Photo credit: Danielle Ridge and Axel Lomas by Don Leach, Daily Pilot)

The City announced today, HERE, that Mayor Jim Righeimer will hold another of his monthly "Meet The Mayor" events on Thursday, March 28th at Fixtures Living in the SoCo Collection retail center from 6-7:30 p.m.  You will recall his first one was at a pizza store close to my home in which the host venue provided free pizza.  I wonder what kind of chow will be served at this one?  By the way, I find it an interesting coincidence that just a few days following the meeting at the Pitfire Artisan Pizza store that business will request the Planning Commission to approve an application for a conditional use permit, HERE, to stay open until 2:00 a.m. instead of 11:00.

The City also announced a $2.8 million project to capture and control excessive rainwater runoff on the Westside of town, HERE.  This project is anticipated to be completed sometime in 2014, solving what has been a problem for residents and businesses in that area for decades.

We were also advised by the E-Notification system - it really DOES WORK - that the Study Session planned for next Tuesday, the 12th, has been cancelled.  At the last council meeting Tuesday it was mentioned that Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold would be presenting - again - his latest iteration of his plan to improve service and save money by a major reconfiguration of the Costa Mesa Fire Department.  So, that project - already agreed to by the previous council in principle - gets further kicked down the road.  That's too bad, because the plan sounded like a winner.

I already covered the last council meeting, but there were some interesting/amusing elements I didn't mention.  For example, Wendy Leece called out Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger for using the word "culprits" in a quote in an article by Mike Reicher in the Orange County Register that dealt with the pension enhancement negotiated several years ago.  Leece implied that Mensinger was accusing the council that approved of being criminals.  I had to smile as I watched Mensinger jerked to attention in his chair as though he'd received an electric shock, abruptly twisted himself bodily in his chair to confront Leece, but Righeimer held him off until she finished.  Then he attempted to correct the record, indicating Leece didn't understand the word.  Leece promptly read him the dictionary definition of the word - which shut Mensinger up.  Don't mess with a teacher, Steve!

During one of his typical stream-of-consciousness mini-rants Righeimer stated that the Costa Mesa Police Department was "the highest paid".  Well, that's just not true.  He never corrected the record, but I suspect someone will look for data to refute his statement.

The most entertaining moment came, however, when a beautiful Golden Labrador Retriever - apparently some kind of service dog - that was in the auditorium with a handler managed to make a statement many of us who attend council meetings over the years can fully understand.  The poor thing just barfed all over the aisle carpet as folks lined up for Public Comments.  The handler was seen scurrying around with paper towels, mopping up the effluent.

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Call For Volunteers

The City of Costa Mesa has issued a call for volunteers for several city committees.  You can read the entire roster of needs, details about the committees and city staff contact information for each on the city web site HERE.

In a press release today they announced the need for 33 vacancies on five committees.  The committees involved and the number of openings are:

Cultural Arts Committee (6)

Historical Preservation Committee (5)

Housing and Public Service Grant Committee (6)

Pension Oversight Committee (9)

Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee (7)

The deadline for submission of the completed application form is 5:00 p.m., Thursday, March 28th.  The link I provided above includes application information.  You can also contact the City Clerk's office at 714-754-5327 or by email at


Closing The "Abstaining" Loop

Last month I reported about the Planning Commission meeting at which contentious, de-frocked Costa Mesa Sanitary District Director Jim Fitzpatrick was elected Chairman of the Costa Mesa Planning Commission, HERE.

In that entry I criticized Fitzpatrick for choosing to abstain from voting on the only substantive issue on the agenda - a proposed development on the far west end of Victoria Street.  When it came time for him to cast his ballot he asked the City Attorney, Christian Bettenhausen, if he could abstain and was told he could abstain any time he wanted.  I took exception to that advice and quoted the city Municipal code section to support my contention that he was required to vote unless he had a conflict of interest.  Here's that section, 2-69, of the code:
Every councilman should vote unless disqualified by reason of a conflict of interest.  A councilman who abstains from voting acknowledges that a majority of the quorum may decide the question voted upon.  A councilman who is silent or inattentive and fails to vote without stating his abstention or without being disqualified shall be deemed to have cast a "yes" vote.

Following the meeting I wrote to CEO Tom Hatch and City Attorney Tom Duarte, asking for clarification.  I cited an event a couple years ago when then-mayor Allan Mansoor refused to vote on an issue that degenerated into a shouting match between him and then-councilwoman Katrina Foley which prompted then-City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow to call for an immediate closed session to sort the issue out.  At that event, when the council walked out of the chambers to that closed session Mansoor just kept on walking and didn't return to the meeting and the issue of him being required to vote was never resolved.  The remaining council members voted 3-1 on the issue.  So, I wanted a clarification.

This week Duarte called me and explained that the operative word in the code is "should" - I highlighted it in red above.  It is interpreted that a member may abstain for any or no reason at all on any issue.  Had the code used "shall", the member would be required to vote on every issue unless there was a conflict.  So, there we have it.  Words count.  I'm grateful to Duarte for his quick, clear reply.

 Later in the Municipal Code it is stated that once a member abstains from a vote he cannot later choose to vote on it - what's done is done.

The issue that created this question in the first place - the project on Victoria - has been appealed to the City Council.

The question of whether Fitzpatrick can nominate a person - City Building Official Khanh Nguyen - as the recipient of the Mesa Green Design Award is under review and may be clarified at the next Planning Commission meeting.  

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Officer Identified

The Costa Mesa police officer who died last night as a result of injuries in a single car accident on Bristol Street when his car crashed into a cement pillar has been identified as Senior Police Officer Mike Delgadillo.  The photo above is from the celebration of his 30 years with the City of Costa Mesa a year ago.

Flags at City Hall are flying at half staff and the members of the CMPD with whom I've spoken are in shock at the abrupt passing of this highly-respected officer.

A former co-worker, Marty Carver, described Delgadillo in a comment thread in the initial Daily Pilot article, HERE,  thus: "I worked with this man for over 30 years and we was one of the best. He was an excellent police officer, father, friend, and son. Once he was on a case, he was like a bull dog who would not cease until it was solved. He was always a kind, compassionate man who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. One of his strongest qualities was his ability to make everyone laugh."

Here's the text of the press release issued by the Costa Mesa Police Department minutes ago:

On March 5, 2013, at approximately 10:15 P.M., Detective Michael “Mike” Delgadillo, a senior member of the Costa Mesa Police Department, was involved in a traffic collision on Bristol Street at Newport Boulevard.

Mike was heroically treated at the scene of the collision by responding Costa Mesa Police Officers and Fire Personnel, before being transported to Western Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased early this morning. The collision is still under investigation. No further details are available.

Mike honorably and faithfully served the City of Costa Mesa Police Department for 32-years. Mike started his career in October of 1981. Mike did an exceptional job as a young Patrol Officer, which led to him being selected to his first specialty assignment with the South Coast Plaza Unit, providing law enforcement services to employees and customers. While assigned to the SCP Unit, Mike promoted to Senior Officer in 1984.

In 1987 Mike volunteered to return to Patrol as a Field Training Officer in order to help train and mentor new officers. As an FTO Mike received many accolades and was described as a “Great FTO” by supervision. 

From 1988 through 1994, Mike was a Canine Officers, serving the community well with his partner, Police Service Dog Nero. As a Canine Officer, Mike received many commendations.

In 1996, Mike was selected as an Investigator in the Gang Unit, where he served one year before being selected as a Narcotic Investigator in 1997. Mike worked many major narcotics cases during his seven years of service in the unit. 

In 2004, Mike was selected to his most current assignment in the Department’s Investigative Services Bureau, where Mike has served admirably as a Detective. Most recently, Mike was assigned as a Crimes Against Persons Detective. Mike has handled many major cases and has dutifully served the Costa Mesa community and more specifically the victims of the many cases he has worked over the years. 

Mike is described as a loyal, dedicated, hardworking employee. Mike is probably best known for his charismatic personality and his strong desire to train and mentor others, by imparting his vast knowledge and many years of experience to the younger and less experienced.

Mike will be missed dearly by all.

We here at A Bubbling Cauldron offer our deepest condolences to Mike's family and to his CMPD family, as well.

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30-Year Costa Mesa Police Officer Killed!

I awoke to tragic news this morning.  Local news media reports, HERE, that an as-yet unnamed 30-year veteran Costa Mesa Police Officer was killed in a single car accident last night.

More later as details evolve.

Condolences to the entire CMPD family.


Of Sports Fields and Fairview Park

Well, I almost got it right.  The Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday night didn't end at 10:00, as I predicted - it ended at 10:25.  Close but no cigar.

Among the highlights was the passage of the Consent Calendar without any of the 11 items on it being pulled for separate discussion!  So, the council agreed to spend over $1.3 million on a variety of things without any discussion with staff.  Whew!

The discussions that DID take up some time were the ones involving Fairview Park projects and the Costa Mesa High School field renovation.

In the case of the Fairview Park Projects, after lengthy discussion and public comments, the council voted on each of the individual elements separately.  Council members Sandra Genis and Wendy Leece suggested that all times except the formation of the citizen's advisory committee be tabled, to be passed on to that committee for consideration.  That suggestion was rejected.

First was the re-formation of the Fairview Park Citizen's Advisory Committee, which councilman Gary Monahan proposed to be made up of seven members from the community, one council liaison and a city staffer,  It passed on a 5-0 vote.  Recruitment will begin immediately.

New/old Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob Graham's decade-long crusade to get stairs installed to facilitate entry into Fairview Park from Canary Drive was passed on a 3-2 vote, with Sandra Genis and Wendy Leece voting no.  It wasn't as easy as it sounded.  Many residents stood to protest the stairs and the intrusion of unwanted traffic into their neighborhood.  Monahan suggested the motion include an evaluation of resident-only parking requirements at the site.

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger's request for stairs down the bluff into Fairview Park's south end was passed on a 4-1 vote (Leece voted no) with the proviso that the staff will look into Genis' suggestion for a ramp instead of stairs. 

Mensinger's request to consider the acquisition of the Talbert Nature Preserve - which abuts Fairview Park - from the County of Orange met with some resistance, but the council did approve the staff to move forward to make inquiries of county officials to determine if there is any interest before spending consultant dollars on this plan.  The vote was 4-1, Leece voting no.

The final item on the agenda, the plan to spend $15,000 on a design feasibility study on the renovation/relocation of the running track and field within at Costa Mesa High School.  Many speakers addressed the long-term abysmal condition of the field and track.  After a good deal of public discussion about the wisdom of spending the money/increased school district participation, the council approved the Memorandum of Understanding, 5-0.

We learned a couple more things about our mayor, Jovial Jim Righeimer.  First, he's REALLY serious about not sending CalPERS any extra money to pay down the presumed unfunded pension liability, which he referred to a couple times as a "Rat Hole".  He, again, mentioned the configuration of the CalPERS board, implying that they were mostly elected by "the unions", and therefore were incapable of making decisions necessary to control the pension issue.  At least he didn't mention that the president of the board is a glazier for a school district.  He did say, though, that pension reform is going to have to involve existing and current retirees taking less.  I guess that's how he's run his businesses in the past - only fulfilling contracts that were convenient for him and stiffing the rest.

We also learned - because he told us so in rebuttal to comments Leece made about not spending our money on things that were less important when we are still under recommended staffing levels in the Police Department - that the CMPD is the "highest paid".  We don't know if he meant the world, state or just in Orange County.  Sometimes he just seems to speak in tongues up there.  Of course, he is incorrect.  The CMPD is somewhere in the middle of the pack among county law enforcement agencies.  They, like the rest of city employees, have not received a general pay increase since 2008.  They are, however racking up the overtime because of this council's stubborn reluctance to hire enough officers.

We also learned, this time from CEO Tom Hatch, that Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold's plan for the reorganization of the Fire Department will be heard in a study session soon - maybe on March 12th.  Funny, we thought this was all set to go.  Guess we'll find out in a week.  In the meantime, the firefighters are also working lots of overtime to keep us safe.

Hatch also reminded us that tonight marked his second anniversary as CEO.  Many in the crowd stood and applauded, recognizing that ANYONE who could tolerate what he has for the past two years deserves a hand - at least!

The council adjourned to yet another special meeting.  This one, on Thursday, March 7th, will be held at 4:30  and is anticipated to be 2-3 hours.  It will be a closed session to discuss labor negotiations.  According to Hatch, no "report out" is anticipated.  The next open meeting will be that study session on the 12th.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Contemplating Pensions

Much has been said and written about Costa  Mesa employee pensions over the past couple years.  The "dire" condition of our unfunded pension liability has been the cornerstone of much of what Mayor Jovial Jim Righeimer has tried to do since he took office two years ago.  If you listened to him you'd think our world as we know it was coming to an end - that our streets would turn to cobblestones, our playing fields into gravel pits and our parks into weed-filled pastures unless we "solved" the pension problem.  To hear him talk you'd think our fire fighting force will be reduced to horse-drawn hand pumpers and our police service would resemble - wait for it - Mayberry.

Over the past few years the city has provided us with the testimony of "experts" in the field to attempt to assist Finance and Information Technology Director Bobby Young in making the almost incomprehensible mountain of data understandable.  We've heard numbers thrown around in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  At one point we were told by consultant John Bartel that our then-current unfunded liability of around $200 million payable over 30 years would turn into an immediate due-upon-demand bill of over $350 million if we opted out of CalPERS.

Last week Stanford University professor Joe Nation - a former Democratic politician who got a real job after failing to be re-elected - told us in clear, unambiguous terms about our pension situation.  At the end of his presentation and the short one that followed by Young, Righeimer made a short speech in which he told us clearly that he was not interested in sending additional money to CalPERS to pay down the unfunded liability.  I quoted him thus:
"There's no way this is going to get paid off. It can't be paid off. That's another 15-18 million dollars a year.  There's going to have to be some movement from the state legislature and PERS to go ahead and change benefits going forward for existing employees.  That will not happen in the State of California until it crashes." He went on to say, "The situation is 'Where is Costa Mesa going to be when that happens?' and I, for one, am not interested in giving additional payments to PERS.  I don't mind putting it aside somewhere else, but I can't imagine sending them an additional 10-15 million dollars a year when it can just disappear tomorrow and we'll be tossed into the same category with everyone else."

I guess his presumption is that CalPERS is doomed to failure because the state legislature and the CalPERS board are dominated by those nasty Democrats - liberals who will simply let it self-destruct before doing anything - and he didn't want to send any additional monies into that black hole.  I don't know, maybe he's correct, but it's hard for me to imagine any responsible group letting that happen without drastic action - even a bunch of "nasty Democrats".

Some might interpret Righeimer's comments as more political rhetoric.  They might be right.  After all, if a guy's going to run for higher office he needs a plank in his campaign platform that is broader than little old Costa Mesa.  His pal and OCGOP honcho Scott Baugh has stated that our city is "Ground Zero" for state-wide pension reform.

The pension numbers make my head hurt, but Communication Director Bill Lobell and Young have put together a site where you can find every answer to every question you might have about Costa Mesa pensions, HERE.  It also includes a link, HERE, to a letter Young sent to the council in December that capsulizes much of that good information.  The chart below is taken from that letter. (click on image to enlarge)

So, if you REALLY want to learn about our pension situation, visit the city page and just click away on the links provided.  Have a bottle of Tylenol handy.  In the meantime, we'll just have to see what Righeimer has up his sleeve on this subject.  Don't blink...

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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Tuesday's Council Agenda

The Costa Mesa City Council will meet again on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 for their first meeting of the month.  Proceedings begin at 5:00 p.m. for a closed session and at 6:00 p.m. for the regular meeting.  The agenda may be found HERE.

This might be a fairly short meeting, meaning we may actually head home by 10:00 p.m. or earlier.  However, don't hold your breath for that.

There are several items on the Consent Calendar that might interest you.  You will recall that the new, more jovial Mayor Jim Righeimer prefers that nobody pull anything from the Consent Calendar for separate discussion - but that doesn't mean it won't be happening.

Item #6 is the resolution for the closure of several streets for the Orange County Marathon, HERE.  A casual  review of the closures planned show less negative impact on traffic than in previous years.  I guess we'll see.

Numbers 7 and 9 are for the acquisition of 10 Police cars and 5 Police motorcycles for a total cost of just over $450,000.  You can read the staff reports HERE and HERE, respectively.

The only Public Hearing on the agenda involves an amendment to the Municipal Code relating to the establishment of Emergency Shelters, Transitional Housing and Supportive Housing to comply with State Law.  You can read the staff report HERE.  It identifies two areas of town that will be designated as appropriate for Emergency Shelters, among other things.

There's no Old Business on the agenda, but a couple items on the New Business agenda may draw some attention.  Item #2 is "Fairview Park Projects", HERE.  Included is new/old Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob Graham's request for stairs into the park at Canary Drive, replacing the slippery dirt/mud ramp that's been created by visitors over the years.

Also included are several items requested by Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger.  They include the re-creation of the Fairview Park Citizen's Advisory Committee, which will "analyze and make recommendations on future project proposals". The staff will recommend be composed of 11 members - two city council members; two members of the Parks and Recreation Commission; the Public Services Director and six members at large from the community that will be selected by the council after a recruitment effort is complete.  I guess Mensinger still has friends he needs to pay back for campaign support.  This is the third committee he has either asked to be created or expanded since he took office.

Mensinger also asked the staff to bring to the council a proposal for the construction of bluff stairs at the south end of the park to provide direct access to Talbert Nature Preserve and also information on the potential acquisition of Talbert Nature Preserve from the County of Orange.

The final item on the agenda, New Business #3, is another Mensinger brain storm -  the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding between The City and the Newport-Mesa Unified School District for a "design feasibility study" in the amount of $15,000 to analyze the placement and development of a joint use athletic facility at Costa Mesa High School, HERE.  The fifteen grand is chump change, but according to the staff report and the Daily Pilot report by Jeremiah Dobruck, HERE, this is the first step to The City spending more than $3 million to build a complex at CMHS.  That's NOT chump change, for sure.  And, of course, it is the last item on the agenda...

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