Sunday, May 18, 2014

Political Puffery By The Mayor

Over at the Costa Mesa Brief YouTube site, publisher Barry Friedland has given us another very Professionally-Produced Pandering Piece of Political Pontification for his buddy, Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer.  Further on down in this entry I've provided a link to it so you can watch Righeimer spew his campaign mantra for 2:32, but before we go there, let's take his piece segment-by-segment for some perspective.

He begins by saying, "We've done a lot of things in the last few years here in Costa Mesa and I wanta tell you just about a few of them."  We are presuming that the royal "we", and that he's taking personal credit for all the things he's about to present... we continue...
He then tells us, "The biggest issue to our city is obviously our budget.  In previous years we have spent over 35 million dollars more than we brought in." He conveniently neglects to tell you that the expenditure of reserves during that period was necessitated by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression 80 years ago!  He and his buddies frequently use the term, "Blew through the reserves." - a simplification of a complex issue by simple, politically-motivated minds.  Those reserves were in place for exactly what happened - created by actual forward-thinking, conservative (not just in name only) civic leaders in the event of such an event.

OK, BUT...
Righeimer then proceeds... "In the last two years we've reversed this.  Last year we saved over 7.1 million dollars on our budget.  In the last two years, 13.4 million dollars."  He goes on to tell you how "we" did that, but neglects to mention the biggest savings came from disemboweling the organization by not hiring people!  He refused to let both the police and fire departments hire replacements in a timely manner and operates with a flawed perception of just how many public safety employees are necessary to actually keep this city safe.  Service levels dropped across the board.

He takes credit for what he refers to as a "minor issue",  a modification of the handling of Workers Compensation claims - a good change that apparently will result in a $500,000 annual savings.  He may consider that "minor" when he and his pals cause the city to spend that much on legal costs in a quarter.

He goes on to say, "We also worked extremely close with our Police Department to reorganize the City Jail, and that reorganization is going to save us 3.2 million dollars over the next five years."  When he says "worked closely" he means that they forced the Police Department to outsource the jail functions to a private firm to chip away at the municipal employee base that he holds in such contempt.

Then he tells us, "One other big issue we had was working extremely closely with the Fire Department to make sure they could be more effective, more nimble and save money."  He then takes credit for the new deployment plan created by Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold that revolves around the acquisition and deployment of new Paramedic Vans and cites a savings of "over one million dollars a year."  What he doesn't tell you is that, even though we have those new magnificent pieces of equipment, they are not yet deployed because we don't have the staff to do it!  We have TWO deployed and four of those quarter-million dollar units sitting around, waiting.  Even when the department is staffed properly the current plan is to deploy only FOUR of them, with TWO in reserve.  Doesn't make sense to me.  And, the klinker here is that we don't have staff to do it, so the staff of the Fire Department is still required to work horrendous overtime hours - sometimes doubling their normal work schedule - in an attempt to provide safety to the city.

He then says, "The other issues we have in this city is to make sure that we keep our city a safe city.  One of the things I always say is 'Crime is caused by who lives in your city and who you attract to your city.'  We've had a big problem with attracting people that weren't good to our city through the motels we've had here."  He goes on to tell us that, "We've worked extremely hard with those motel owners to make sure that they run a tight ship."

What he doesn't tell you is that he has stated many times that those motel owners had a distorted view of the value of their properties, so he's used code enforcement, police calls and fire department visits to bludgeon them into lowering their expectations.  He's used new ordinances - the Nuisance Ordinance and the Excessive Use of Resources Ordinance - to squeeze those operators so they'll be more compliant when developers come calling.  Tuesday, at the City Council meeting, we'll see the results of those efforts with a proposal to turn the Costa Mesa Motor Inn -  one of those "problem motels" -  into 236 "luxury apartments" located on Harbor Boulevard, across the street from Home Depot and MacDonalds.  Earlier in the agenda we will see the Conditional Use Permit for another of those businesses, Sandpiper Motel, revoked.  It's kind of like watching hunters clubbing baby harp seals to death, for goodness sake!

He closes by telling us what a wonderful city we have, citing the weather, proximity to the ocean and South Coast Plaza, then says, "We just have to make sure that we continue to move forward and spend the dollars we have on infrastructure and parks - things that make our city a nicer place to live - and make sure that those things going forward continue to be funded.  That's what I want to do - that's what I'm going to continue to do here as your mayor here in Costa Mesa."

Well, OK, Mr. Mayor.  Your priorities are potholes and parks, not public safety - we get that.  Will those young families you're trying to attract come to a city where the two top elected officials are actually suing the men and women of their police department?  Will they move to a place where, in a fit of pique, the mayor refused to let the Chief of Police hire replacements for most of a year?  We have 28 vacancies - two more highly-skilled officers left Friday for other jobs elsewhere and nearly a dozen officers out with "injured on duty" issues.  As of Monday we will have fewer than 100 sworn members of the Costa Mesa Police Department able to work.  Subtract from that 31 members of the supervisory/command staff and, through the vindictive stubbornness of the mayor and his malleable majority, the CMPD will now operate with fewer than 70 actual officers on patrol!  Will those people feel safer knowing that? 

Will they want to live in a city where the mayor has created such a toxic workplace for the municipal staff that they leave in droves - particularly in the police ranks?  Will they want to live in a city where Fire Department personnel are required to work horrendous overtime hours because the mayor and his council majority refuse to take a realistic view of the staffing needs of this city?  And, will they want to live in a place where that same mayor then chides firefighters about being greedy - referring to them as "$350,000-a-year firefighters", when those numbers reflected one member of the staff who worked more than 4,000 hours in a year, and were a direct result of THEIR edicts about hiring?

Will those young, affluent families he says he wants to attract want to live in a city where the mayor and his pals illegally - and unnecessarily -  attempt to layoff nearly half the so-called "miscellaneous employees", causing one to commit suicide and a lawsuit that has lingered for almost two years?  How will they feel about a huge chunk of the municipal budget being spent on lawyers to defend their bogus schemes?

Their demands backfired a little when their developer-buddies began having a tough time getting their projects processed.  The staff has been so severely diminished that it's been necessary to spend thousands of dollars for technical support consultants to do plan check, inspections and other functions instead of being able to rely on city staffers - with knowledge and experience in our rules and policies to efficiently do the work.  Then, again, I believe that's the mayor's view of municipal government.  As I've said before, I think he wants to outsource EVERYTHING and leave only a City Manager (grandiosely re-titled "Chief Executive Officer") and a handful of contract administrators to oversee the outsourced operations.  No city employees, no employee associations to deal with - just "contracts" with pals and campaign contributors.

As we now enter the campaign season - in less than three months we will know who is actually going to run for the two open City Council positions in November - we will see more of this manipulation of the public by Righeimer and his cronies.  If you want to watch the clip I referred to, click HERE.  I could have embedded it in this post, but it starts automatically and I wanted you to read what I wrote without distraction.  You may wish to return to re-read what I wrote after watching...

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Anonymous Volo pro Veritas said...

When you say fewer than 70 officers on patrol, it's important to remember that's not 70 per's 70 people to be divided up to cover 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. It also includes detectives.

Based on what I've read and the research I've done that's what the PD was staffed at in the mid 1960's when the population was fewer than 72,000.

5/18/2014 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

So, he's taking credit again, huh? With that "we" he means "I". This guy will take credit for anything and everything he can, whether he has nothing to do with it or not. He worked closely with NO ONE! He issues edicts. He demands, he belittles, and he LIES!

Will these young families want to live in a city:

Where the mayor quashes the first amendment right to free speech at every turn? I think not.

Where a 60th birthday party is so mismanaged by (yeah, I'll say it) our mayor that huge sums of money go missing? I think not.

Where the police department and fire department has been so decimated that it cannot function properly? I think not.

Where the city has now become so crime ridden due to the mayor's policies that it is no longer safe? I think not.

Where the mayor calls people out for "liking" a blog on Facebook? I think not.

Where a mayor throws temper tantrums from the dias like a child? I think not.

Where the mayor refuses to sit down and negotiate with the police association like an adult and then blames them for high pension costs? I think not.

Where a mayor sues the police department on bogus charges and lies? I think not.

This ones on Steve. Where a mayor pro tem hires a PI to follow employees around town on their personal time, and then cries when same is done to him? I think not.

This one too. When same fool sues over a sign worth $1.25 and loses? I think not.

Where a mayor refuses to step forward when illegal destruction of Fairview Park occurred under mayor pro tem's orders? Not a word, yet he knew. I think not.

Where a mayor sells off the police helicopter in order to balance a budget so heavily weighted down with his lawsuits? I think not.

Where the mayor and pro tem walk the neighborhoods and take pictures of peoples' private property and turn them in to code enforcement? I think not.

Where a mayor belittles other council members? I think not.

Where a carpetbag mayor moves just over the border to Costa Mesa months before his city council election? I think not.

Where a mayor receives campaign contributions from "friends" and developers and then issues them city contracts? I think not.

A mayor who bankrupted his own business but wants to tell us how he can run a city? I think not.

Who tries to wrestle complete power from the city via his own homemade charter? I think not.

Who, when told NO, tries it again. I think not.

Who throws temper tantrums at will while using his kids as shields? I think not.

Where a mayor issues no bid contracts, such as the one at 1:30 a.m. when he thought no one was watching? I think not.

Who refuses to listen to residents, instead putting his personal and economic interests first? I think not.

The list goes on and on, but I have writers cramp.

5/18/2014 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

@WMC: Well said!

Barry's a little bootlicker who was one of the first to jump on Geoff West when he made the dictator comment. Does Barry have an actual job other than making sure the mayor's jackboots are shiny?

Riggy and his cronies will be out of power in due course, but we'll always remember who sold out Costa Mesa.

5/18/2014 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Thank you, WM Coffee, you covered the main points well.
Is Righeimer starting to believe his lies?
After years of spewing them it looks like he is.
He tells them with such ease.

No wonder he has no remorse or guilty conscientious when he lies.

5/18/2014 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

To Pot Stirrer and Where’s My Coffee?

I appreciate all the work you put into listing the fibs/distortions/exaggerations/sins-of-omission/etc. that James Righeimer is feeding the electorate. If Pinocchio’s nose grew one centimeter for each of them, the nose right now would be about 15 inches long. And the campaign season has barely begun!

Would you buy a used city from this man?

5/18/2014 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

WMC - very well said!! Geoff- love the Rig-noccio illustration (and all of your excellent reporting). And Kwahlf - a sociopath does lie with ease, having no conscience. Remember in November! Dump the chump, and his little charter, too!

5/18/2014 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

Riggy the dictator should really do his homework before he spews more lies to the people of Costa Mesa. He should know that a fire engine or truck will still be responding on every medical call. These new million dollar plus ambulances don't do anything about getting rid of fire engines or trucks going on "slip and fall" medical calls.

5/18/2014 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Surely there must be someone talented among us who can copy the video and make Jim's nose grow throughout his pronouncements.

Also, a video can be made of the instances where he insults citizens addressing the council. If I only had the skills!

5/18/2014 07:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Page two
Would young families want to live in a city where:

The mayor who ignores desires of residents and votes continually in favor of high density, even insuring that the code violations and restrictions are null and void so they can proceed. I think not.

A mayor who hires high salary employees, a week before the new pension and retirement plan goes into effect, insuring that his hires get the good pension plan and all the benefits that he wants to cut from the rest of the employees. I think not.

A mayor, while complaining about large government control, hires more employees for the fifth floor at high salaries than have ever worked there. I think not.
A mayor who strong arms council woman Leece’s turn to be mayor and appoints himself. I think not.

A mayor who has the audacity to try to get rid of the O.C. Model Train Engineers so it could be developed for a sports complex. And the same goes for the Harbor Soaring Society. Shame on him. I think not.

A mayor who continues to vilify our police and fire personnel. I think not.

A mayor who makes snide remarks at the residents who speak at the podium at city council meetings. I think not.

A mayor with a comb over who keeps Fitzpatrick as a pet? I think not.

Wife’s calling me for dinner. Gotta go. More later. There’s just so much. Feel free to add while I’m away.

5/18/2014 08:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

And, of course, the last and worst which I try to block out of my mind: a mayor who so callously and thoughtlessly issues pink slips to half the employees, causing so much emotional grief to one, that he jumps from the roof. I seriously think no young family would want to be around a mayor such as this one.

5/18/2014 08:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

Either Geoff publishes this or lets it go…I think he knows the rest…If I have offended anyone, anywhere, that’s life…

After many decades of Costa Mesa/Newport Beach life, I silently liquidated, and moved out of Costa Mesa last November…I will not be returning…The extra 600,000 people who invaded my culture, gave me pause..

The end for me was when they started building the Victorian Tenements on Victoria…Like it was yesterday in my head, even though it was 1976, I was planting vegetables in the garden with my farmer daughter, right where one of these row houses will sit…I give…

1984 I was standing on my property at Harbor and Hamilton, with water to my hips as the rain increased in intensity…Sandbags every where..I was around Rea before it got to my ankles…Huge mess and losses..How many homes are slated for that little chunk of land now that could end up under 2 feet of water?

When Newport Beach went after Dennis Holland and dancing at Woody’s, I knew it was over…

During the first Planning raid at the Sandpiper, I was required to removed a structure that my grandchildren lived in…Code Enforcement gave me 30 days to remove it, which I did, but 3 of my family members had to move…

Next came the Rolling Homes Mobile Park fiasco a few months later, and with less than 2 days notice, we defeated the developers sneak attack..55 people saved, but not my family…We held a separate CUP for our home on the Sandpiper property, a very quiet hidden gem, unknown to most, that became vulnerable to Planning Inspections… Not the same as the 40% CUP for rooms, but a CUP none the less…Big Brother…

Pressure and temperature run most things…

You have to live the game to play it efficiently…

The Sandpiper was cited for many violations, that were corrected, and all of the inspections passed, with no current citations as of the day I moved out of our home there…Mike should have listened when I warned him in 2009 to institute better front desk practices, but he refused…His loss all the way around, and not recoverable now that he is slated for more pressure…

I am a fast study, and understood after the last year, that Costa Mesa will never be the same,ever...Best wishes to those who have the desire to stay and live out the changes, as I did for decades...

Anyway, I could lay it all out here, but some things are better left unsaid to protect the innocent and the guilty…

5/18/2014 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

So, I guess we bid Ken Nyquist a fond adieu.... again. I suspect there's much more to the stories he presented to us in his parting submission. We wish him well.

5/19/2014 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

We all know Rig's wrong for Costa Mesa, but it's still amazing to see all his foibles listed out like WMC has..

5/19/2014 07:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

WMY - how about the RIGmeister's accepting the DRAFT of a traffic mitigation agreement from his banning ranch developer pals, despite MAJOR citizen opposition, where'd the city get a paltry 4mil to cover the massive traffic issues forever that will be brought to our city if banning ranch gets built, and to top it off, his willingness to sign off on taking away any further rights of our city to have any further recourse with banning ranch developers!
Even though he ended up not signing the the draft agreement, the fact that the RIGmeister and his puppet majority voted to accepted it in the first place is horrendous. They'd sell out OUR city to their developer pals for a DRAFT of a traffic mitigation agreement!
Or how about his unilateral decision to cut and paste a charter together from other cities' charters, thinking it would be his big ticket stepping stone to further his own political career? And of course he thought he could use his charter to outsource everything possible to bust up the city employee association, and police and fire depts. since he couldn't do it by trying to illegally lay off half the city employees.
Or, how about, while the RIGmeister was just a city councilman, trying to bully the police out of doing their job at a DUI checkpoint on Harbor because he was stuck in the traffic it created and he didn't like the inconvenience it made for him?
If one had a choice, why would they want to live in a city with a "mayor" like that?

5/19/2014 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Disgusted: Yeah, thank you. I forgot that.

His willingness to sell us down the road for 4 million.

5/19/2014 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Skeptical in Costa Mesa said...

Costa Mesa is just a stepping stone for the rigmiester. He'll be long gone to higher office before the Banning Ranch thing ever materializes.

5/20/2014 08:23:00 AM  
Anonymous jrs36 said...

What exactly did they do ?

Correct me if I'm wrong but, The Planning commission found that the
Sandpiper Motel was in violation (of health and safety ordinances,
motel maintenance practices, obligations relating to the CUP etc etc.) and imposed the sanction of revocation of their CUP. Ok.

The city Council held a 'de novo' hearing. 'Starting from scratch' as they said, in order to resolve the appeal of the revocation (the sanction).

As I read it,


From Latin, meaning “from the new.” When a court hears a case de novo,
it is deciding the issues without reference to the legal conclusions
or assumptions made by the previous court to hear the case. An appeals court hearing a case de novo may refer to the trial court’s record to determine the facts, but will but rule on the evidence and matters of law without giving deference to that court’s findings."

Another definition,

"De Novo --

[Latin, Anew.] A second time; afresh. A trial or a hearing that is ordered by an appellate court that has reviewed the record of a hearing in a lower court and sent the matter back to the original court for a new trial, as if it had not been previously heard nor decided."

Doesn't this throw the previous decision out ?

They spent four hours going over the whole case again and in the end voted twice.

Vote 1: There was insufficient evidence to conclude that the Motel was in violation. The vote 2:2 was declared a failed vote by the clerk.

Vote 2: There was sufficient evidence to conclude that the Motel was in violation. The vote 2:2 was declared a failed vote by the clerk. !?

They said the vote means no action is taken. huh ? They spent the four hours (spending city money all the wile) and made no decision ? They're not obligated to make a decision by hearing the case ?

If the vote failed then wouldn't that mean that, based on review of the evidence and facts of the case, the Motel isn't in violation?

Or was it all simply the theater of the absurd ??

5/21/2014 02:28:00 PM  

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