Thursday, August 28, 2014

Final (?) General Plan Workshop In The Can

Last night city staff and consultants responsible for creating the updated General Plan held what is likely the final public workshop before they begin working on the draft document that will be presented to the Planning Commission and, subsequently, to the City Council.

There was a very small turnout last night.  Only fourteen people were in the seats when the meeting began a few minutes after 6:00.  The "crowd" grew to around 30 as other meetings in the building wrapped up.  However, what it lacked in size it made up for with enthusiasm and tenacity - and frustration.
Many of the attendees have made it to most, if not all, the other such meetings over the past year or so that this process has taken so far.  Some were clearly frustrated by the format and the fact that the overwhelming views of participants in some of the prior meetings seem to have been ignored - specifically concerns about high-density housing and traffic.

Last night was billed as follows:
You'll notice that "Safety and Noise" got top billing, but the little sub-heading that mentions "community design, growth management and historical resources" was virtually ignored.  Well, the bulk of the meeting was dedicated to those elements and I expect many more residents would have shown up if those items had been more prominently displayed.

Fire Chief Dan Stefano and Police Lieutenant Keith Davis provided an overview of the current status of their departments and also answered specific questions.
Stefano spoke of the new organizational structure, the deployment of the new paramedic ambulances and the possible closure of Fire Station #6.  He told us that the new organization configuration is not quite complete, and that they are actively recruiting 5 new firefighter/paramedics.

Davis spoke of the current staffing levels - around 100 versus the current authorized strength of 136 - and mentioned the recent graduation of five (5) new police officers who have just begun their field training.
As has been the case in some previous meetings, charts were on display around the room and participants were asked to indicate priorities/concerns using colored stickers and/or post-it notes.  Before that exercise, though, the audience asked many questions on specific issues of concern to them.  Some of those were:
  • Concerns about the format and the lack of inclusion of questions/concerns from previous meetings.
  • No real analysis of density issues and the current patterns of redevelopment.
  • Apparent lack of concern for quality of life issues.
  • No indication that water is being considered at all in this process.
  • Concern about lack of "lateral" officers being recruited.
  • Concern about "police blotter" and "activity log" no longer available.
  • Questions about the approval/evaluation process of new building projects by the Fire Department.
  • Questions about the closure of Fire Station #6.
  • Questions about why we still use a commercial ambulance to transport victims.
  • Concern about wider use of traffic signal preemption to facilitate emergency vehicles moving across town.
  • Limited publicity of this meeting - hence, the poor turnout.  And, difficulty finding info on the City Web site.  After much searching you can find the page HERE.
Here are some images of some of the charts used last night and some of the post-it notes with questions/concerns.

According to the consultant, Laura Stetson, the Draft General Plan will take about 6 months, and the final approval by the council another half a year or so.  This is going to end up being a two-year project.
On the brighter side, Director of Development Services, Gary Armstrong, told us that the Housing Element was completed promptly and has been submitted, meaning that the City will only have to update that segment every eight (8) years instead of four (4).

So, now we wait for the draft document to be prepared and the public hearings before the Planning Commission..... humming the Jeopardy! theme...

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

The notice for this meeting was very poor. So poor, in fact, that when one called city hall to find out about it, they didn't know, and could not find the notification on the website. This was completely intentional.

I am sick and tired of this mayor and his regime trying to ram things down our throats in such a manner. I'm sick of everything he has done to this once wonderful city. Sure, its had its problems, just like other cities, but those problems pale in comparison to the problems that czar mayor has brought to us. We seriously need to get rid of this guy or we will be living in a Santa Monica type situation.

8/28/2014 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

Right now my General Plan is to help the dictator leave office.

8/28/2014 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

Last night was a pitiful showing coupled the lack of getting the word out about the meeting. The consultant/facilitator seems to have the effect of antagonizing or polarizing the residents, as exhibited in this and other meetings. Gary Armstrong has better community communication skills. Apathy appears to be the bi-product of our council, personally it just makes me more determined to foster change...and raise my voice in dissent!

8/28/2014 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

As Cato the elder said -- "Delenda est Karthago!" He ended every speech with this exhortation, which means "Carthage must be destroyed!"

St. Augustine said, "To Carthage then I came, where a chorus of unholy loves sang all about mine ears."

We are coming to the most important election Costa Mesa has EVER held. It will either terminate, or propagate, the worst dictatorial regime the city has endured in its history. If we do not vote, the charter's proponents will screw us, and we won't even get kissed. FOR THE LOVE OF WHATEVER GOD YOU WORSHIP, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!

Delenda est Karthago!

8/28/2014 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

CM4RG's General Plan Town Hall pulled in over eight times as many. I wonder why...

8/28/2014 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...

Also among the missing: most of the current council, and most of the candidates running for election, anyone from our CEO's office...

I was not surprised that Jay Humphrey was there, he is at nearly every event which concerns our quality of life. And for a moment, Chris Bunyan attended. Wendy Leece, our termed out councilwoman, was also there.

I guess citizen input to the General Plan doesn't matter to them if they are going to just keep approving variances.

8/28/2014 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Non semper erit aestas.

8/28/2014 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve Smith said...

I believe that part of the reason for the low turnout was the time of year. This month is high season for vacations and I have noticed light attendance elsewhere, for example, last Tuesday night's school board meeting, which should have been packed due to the anticipated presentation of the first draft of charter school proposal for the Westside of Costa Mesa and due to the presentation of the 2014-15 budget.

8/28/2014 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Um, I would have gone HAD I KNOWN ABOUT IT.

8/28/2014 07:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Heart for Costa Mesa said...

There's no like button on these blog comments. If there was I would like "Where's My Coffee"'s comment a whole bunch!

And to answer Mike H- maybe because people thought they'd get real info and their questions/comments would be listened to.

BTW I went to a CM4RG members meeting tonight and the house was packed. Vacation time is a lame excuse, Steve Smith.

The GP "Great Outreach" is a great sham. The facilitators have a job to do, but who cuts the paycheck? Give the bosses what they want or kiss the cash goodbye. A few hardy souls still speak up, knowing full well they will not be "heard".

8/29/2014 12:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...

Arthur Nern:

Semper Saturnalia agunt... Then Rome fell...

8/29/2014 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Arthur and Teresa: And all while Nero fiddles.

8/31/2014 08:56:00 PM  

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