Thursday, March 06, 2014

"Preserve Our Neighborhoods" Task Force Formed


Yesterday the City of Costa Mesa announced, via a press release, HERE, the appointments of seven individuals to the "newly formed Preserve Our Neighborhoods Task Force".  Keen observers will recall that Mayor Jim Righeimer announced the names of the individuals he appointed to this group at the last council meeting Tuesday.  I wrote about it HERE.

The names of the individuals appointed are Jeremy Broderick, Kerry McCarthy, Scott McClane, Joe McGreevy, Lisa Morlan, Tim Sesler and Larry Weichman.  A few of those are familiar names, while others are brand new.  Sesler and McCarthy are Riganista insiders, currently appointed to other committees.  Sesler - a lawyer, which I mention only because Righeimer made a big deal about it at the council meeting -  is a planning commissioner and also serves on the Pension Oversight Committee.  McCarthy, wife of Planning Commissioner Colin McCarthy, also serves on the Charter Committee.  Weichman is a highly-respected realtor and volunteer in the community  Morlan, a fellow Eastside resident, has been one of the most vocal residents on the issue of Group Homes recently.  Apparently Broderick runs sober living facilities locally and McGreevy lives in the belly of the beast on the Eastside.  I have no information on McClane at this point.

The press release says this task force "will explore ways to lessen the negative impacts of group homes on Costa Mesa residential communities."  It will be very interesting to see how this evolves.  As I understand it, because it is a "task force" - clarified for me by Communications Director Bill Lobdell this morning, in which he said this is like a "mayor's committee".  He compared it to Wendy Leece's Town Halls, in which she ran the whole thing and the city supported it.  As I understand it, as a "task force" this group is not subject to the Brown Act, which means they can meet whenever, wherever they wish and have no responsibility for any kind of public reporting of their activities.  I'm just a teensy bit uneasy about that...

Righeimer is quoted in the press release as saying, "The city is committed to spending the resources needed to maintain the character of our Costa Mesa neighborhoods and their safety."  I'm trying to square that comment with his behavior over the past three years, in which he has almost single-handedly destroyed one of the best law enforcement organizations in the state.

He goes on to say, "The City Council recently passed a nuisance ordinance that will help curb bad behavior in our neighborhoods, and we are looking to the task force come up with other solutions that keeps the integrity of our neighborhoods without discriminating against any group."  OK, I get that, and recall that he told us at the last council meeting that dealing with the Group Home industry - which he described as a "billion dollar industry" and likened it to the pornography industry when comparing the impact on communities - was going to be expensive.  He said, "This is gonna cost a lot of money - litigation does."  He said "It's going to be a long, hard, painful road."

Let there be no doubt - the Group Home issue is a HUGE problem for our neighborhoods and I'm happy the City is moving forward seeking solutions.  Righeimer told us last Tuesday night that Newport Beach made big mistakes in it's handling of their Group Home problem and are now paying millions in legal fees/settlements as a result.

According to the press release, this new task force will convene for the first time "within the next few weeks and establish a regular meeting schedule."  I'm keeping a positive thought about this process and hope their combined concerns,  passion and backgrounds - whatever they are - can facilitate some solutions to the issue that other cities have not yet discovered.

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Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

Definition. A task force is generally appointed for a short, defined period of time with only a few specific tasks (hence the name) to complete. A committee is more nebulous in it's structure. So, my question for Mr. Lobdell is, "Is it a task force or a mayoral committee?" The words are not interchangeable and a good spinmeister should know that.

3/06/2014 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

And yet he did use them interchangably. I confirmed with Asst. CEO Francis that this is the Mayor's show, that the task force is NOT subject to the Brown Act and has, at this time, no reporting responsibilities - except to the mayor.

3/06/2014 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

"So, my question for Mr. Lobdell is, "Is it a task force or a mayoral committee?" The words are not interchangeable and a good spinmeister should know that."

"The term agitprop gave rise to agitprop theatre, a highly politicized leftist theatre originated in 1920s Europe and spread to America; the plays of Bertolt Brecht being a notable example.[2] Russian agitprop theater was noted for its cardboard characters of perfect virtue and complete evil, and its coarse ridicule.[3] Gradually the term agitprop came to describe any kind of highly politicized art."

3/06/2014 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger valan2 said...

I recall a Brown-Act-exempt Council subcommittee that recommended issuing pink slips to half the City staff a few years ago. Their unsupported recommendations were accepted by the Council majority with little question. That didn't turn out too well, to say the least.

Let's hope this committee isn't setting the stage for a similar blunder. I don't know what they're going to talk about or, certainly, what they're going to recommend, but I hope their conclusions will be well supported, fully explained, and discussed openly before action is taken.

3/06/2014 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

They are not subject to the Brown Act,
and can use resources ( tax dollars) with no oversight.
Too much can go wrong here.
I hope it doesn't.

3/06/2014 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger zz said...

Of course this committee is subject to the Brown Act! They are discussing city business and will report and recommend to the Mayor on City business. Clearly, this is not personal advice to the Mayor; he is acting as Council liaison to this committee and is going to bring the report and recommendation to the rest of the City Council for action. Pretending otherwise is dishonest and certainly counter to the much-touted claim of "transparency."

3/07/2014 03:50:00 PM  

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