Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hatch - Oops, My Bad On Measure P

You will recall that I recently wrote about the confusing language on the ballot for Measure P, the advisory measure regarding the scheme to make some lanes on the I-405 Freeway from Costa Mesa to the Los Angeles County line into High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, HERE.

At the time I emphasized that the language on the ballot asked two (2) questions that were exact opposites, but you're given only one choice of an answer - YES or NO.  Here's how it looks on the ballot.

Since my earlier blog entry I have communicated several times with city officials - specifically, CEO Tom Hatch, City Attorney Tom Duarte and Communication Director Bill Lobdell.  To date I have received NO direct reply to my requests.

Today, however, Lobdell distributed the following information via email to an undisclosed number of recipients in which Hatch apparently falls on his sword on this issue:

From City CEO Tom Hatch:

In an attempt to summarize the I-405 toll lane advisory measure in a short ballot title, City of Costa Mesa staff used wording and punctuation that could cause confusion among voters. For that, we apologize.  We are reviewing the matter.  Ultimately, as the City CEO, I take responsibility for the title’s lack of clarity and hope that it does not detract from the purpose of this advisory measure.   

The I-405 advisory ballot question for voters to consider is: “Do you agree with the Costa Mesa City Council, which unanimously opposes the establishment of toll lanes on the I-405 Freeway in Orange County?”

We are taking several steps to reduce any potential confusion.  First, the city is sending three informational mailers about the ballot measure to each resident. The first mailer—which emphasizes the ballot question—has already been mailed.  For the remaining two mailers, the city will also emphasize the ballot question—and point out the difference between the ballot title and ballot question—to reduce any potential confusion.  The same material will also be featured on the city’s website and other media platforms.  

Of course, many of you will have already mailed in your absentee ballots and a goodly number of you may have marked it incorrectly as regards Measure P.  Keep in mind that I don't care how you marked it as long as you understood what your answer meant.  

If you have not already marked your ballot, let me help you.  I, personally, don't want to see CalTrans hijack our Measure M-funded expansion lanes on the I-405 and turn them into HOT lanes.  So - follow me now - I'm voting YES on Measure P.  That means I agree with the City Council in their opposition to the toll lanes.

Perhaps the most unfortunate part of this debacle - aside from it being a major screw-up - is that the whole thing was unnecessary in the first place.  Putting Measure P on the ballot - it cost at least $12,000 to do so and who knows how much more to distribute those "fix it" communications Hatch mentions above - is unnecessary because it's only an advisory item and has no strength of law, but it made a certain mayor who's running for re-election look firm and decisive.  If it was designed to tell Governor Jerry Brown that we don't want the HOT lanes - that's the alleged purpose - and if it was really THAT important, somebody should have paid more attention to it.  It wasn't really important, so they didn't.  Too bad, because it makes the city look like a bunch of rubes who can't get their act together.

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Blogger Gericault said...

City staff is blamed but our high priced out sourced cadre of legal firms get a mulligan. Typical. Blame it on Julie Folsick.

10/16/2014 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Skeptical in Costa Mesa said...

Too little, too late and another expensive mistake that the citizens of Costa Mesa will have to pay for by the 3 stooges.

10/16/2014 06:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

We have already sent in our ballots, and had to leave that blank. I feel mislead and have no recourse. Who should I go to with this? I'm outraged.

10/16/2014 07:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

We are a friggin' punchline.

10/16/2014 07:28:00 PM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

Hatch, Duarte and Lobdell are a bunch of rubes ruining the city...

10/16/2014 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger El Jefe' said...

Had to leave that one blank. Thanks to inconstancies a total waste of taxpayers money!

10/17/2014 09:09:00 AM  

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