Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Righeimer's Fuzzy Math

Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer - apparently enjoying his victory lap following what appears to be a very slim 47 vote victory to retain a seat on the city council over his closest challenger, former councilman Jay Humphrey - paused long enough to be quoted in a Daily Pilot article by Bradley Zint, HERE.

Righeimer finished a distant second to former councilwoman and current Newport Mesa Unified School District trustee Katrina Foley.  His pronouncements don't mention that fact, although he does mention that he'll meet with Foley, quoting the Zint article, "to see what's important to her.  I think there are things we all agree on that we can get done right away.  And the things we don't agree on, we'll work on those issues and close those gaps... our job is to represent the whole city, not half."   One might infer that he thinks half the people in this election supported his candidacy, when only 21.3% of the votes cast went to him.  The other 79% went to other candidates.  Foley got more than 26.5% alone.  And, you know, there's something slightly right about the image of Righeimer shouting "I'm Number Two!"  Some of us have thought that for a long, long time.

Zint's article includes this observation, "Righeimer said his win is not necessarily 'a runaway,' but one that sends a message."  I agree - the result of this election DOES send a message - to him.  That message is that he DOES NOT have a mandate to continue to run roughshod over the residents of this city.  That message is that he must consider the views of others instead of his own, narrow political dogma.

Righeimer is further quoted as saying, "The message is that the community is 50-50 on the important issues.  As an elected official, you have to look at that.  They didn't go out there and give you a mandate to do whatever you're doing and continue to do."  I'm not sure where he gets that "50-50" ratio, because the results of the election certainly do not support that view.  If you measure community sentiment by observing the results of the election, fewer than a quarter of the voters think he's the right guy to be sitting up on that dais.

And, if you factor in the overwhelming defeat of his pet project, a municipal Charter, it's very clear that his views are not shared by the electorate.  Two years ago, the first time he tried to quick pitch his Charter scheme - Measure V - 60% of the voters rejected it.  This time around the voters looked at his second attempt to change the form of municipal governance to give himself even more unfettered power - Measure O - and rejected it by an even larger margin.  More than 63% of the votes cast on that issue rejected it.  Clearly, he doesn't listen to the voters of this city because one of his point persons on Measure O has been heard to state that if Measure O fails they will just gear-up for 2016.  Talk about arrogant disregard for the will of the people!

I suggest that Righeimer expunge the word "mandate" from his lexicon because he certainly DOES NOT have one.  He's codified ignoring members of the public by bifurcating public comments at council meetings to discourage dissenting views.  He has shown us that he listens only to a small knot of his hangers-on - many of whom have been rewarded for their loyalty with plum commission and committee assignments - and to his developer buddies who stand at the city border salivating all over themselves trying to build over-dense, under-parked projects.  So enamored is Righeimer with the thought of developing every single square inch of open space in this city that he and his cronies have codified away protections for the rest of us in the form of a Small Lot Ordinance - which did away with all those nasty variances, deviations and other changes his developer buddies had to deal with.  Now we see dense developments sprouting up all over town like mushrooms.

They've been using the decade-old Westside Overlay plans to facilitate many of those developments, which has resulted in long-established commercial and industrial business operators choosing to leave town - taking with them prestigious businesses and high-paying jobs - rather than deal with the specter of residential neighbors adjacent to their noisy, aromatic industrial operations.

We've seen him and his pals brazenly state that they plan to force established businesses - so-called "problem motels" - out of business by slamming them with police, fire and code enforcement attention and the fines that would go along with it.  They established an "Excessive Use Of Resources" ordinance to discourage those business owners from calling for help when they have an emergency situation.  Then, they crow when those calls diminish, but the owners are still saddled with the crime and public safety problems - they just don't call for fear of exceeding their threshold of calls and thus incurring fines.  The apparent goal - stated from the dais - is to cause those business owners to "re-value" their properties so they could be sold to developers at a more reasonable price, who would then build equally dense, very profitable, developments.  Profit seems to be the only thing Righeimer understands - a very bad characteristic for someone heading up an organization the sole purpose of which is to provide SERVICE.

Righeimer and his pals have decimated the Costa Mesa Police Department, as indicated in a very recent article in the Daily Pilot by Jeremiah Dobruck, HERE.  Dobruck outlines the reduction in DUI enforcement in our city - once the high-water mark for such enforcement in the county.  Similar reductions in the Narcotics and Gang units have made our city much less safe.  Right now Chief Tom Gazsi and his command staff are holding things together, barely, through horrendous overtime hours being worked by the staff that remains.  In recent months we've seen early retirements and lateral moves to other jurisdictions by four dozen members of the CMPD.  Today, nearly 20% of the diminished authorized staff is unable to work because of illness or injury - some of that certainly due to the long, tough hours being required.

This occurs at the worst possible time.  The early prison releases as a result of AB109, the passage of Prop. 47 that changes the penalties for certain crimes and keeps criminals on the streets, the growing proliferation of drug and alcohol rehabilitation (group) homes in our neighborhoods and the pending probability of the re-introduction of medical marijuana sales in our city will further tax our beleaguered police department.  And more officers will leave.  And Costa Mesa will be a less-safe city.

To those 7,524 voters who marked their ballots for Jim Righeimer I say, Shame On You!  You're willing to let this man and his cronies destroy this city - to put potholes before public safety and to let outside interests, developers and out-of-town politicians, control the municipal agenda instead of doing what is right for the residents.  The mayor has said over and over that he wants to attract more young families to our city, yet perpetuates housing development that will not serve that demographic and creates situations where crime will increase.

And, he has demonstrated that he thinks rules are for somebody else, beginning with his bogus scheme to layoff more than half the so-called "miscellaneous employees" that fateful St. Patrick's Day of 2011... the day young maintenance worker Huy Pham jumped to his death from the roof of City Hall as he was about to be given his layoff notice - and then-mayor Gary Monahan chose to stay garbed in his kilt and pull beer taps at his bar instead of attending to distraught and grieving employees and residents.  That tragic event was a direct result of Righeimer's violation of municipal policy and generated a lawsuit that still ferments.
So, dear voters, you're saddled with a Righeimer-dominated regime for the next two years.  Monahan will be termed-out (again) and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger will be up for re-election.  Some are postulating that Mensinger may be the next mayor.  That's problematic - for him.  That means he'll be required to focus his teeny attention span on city business and set his cell phone aside.  No more texting from the dais and ignoring the agenda.  If there's a positive side to that possibility, it's going to be VERY interesting for those of us who actually take the time to pay attention to municipal affairs.  He'll quickly demonstrate his ineptitude and it should make for some entertaining meetings.

Time for us to tighten our seat belts and get ready for more bumpy roads ahead - probably beginning with the meeting tonight where good old Mary Jane will come a'visitin' again.  See you there.

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Anonymous CM Resident said...

I guess you either didn't get Katrina's message about rancor or you just can't help yourself.

11/18/2014 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Where can I get my prescription filled for my bong?

11/18/2014 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

It is a very sad day for our city.
A man who clearly does not care about the concerns of his constituents and the city he serves squeaked out a razor thin margin of victory.
I feel both angry and sorry for those who supported Chris Bunyan. He drained votes away from a good, honest candidate who would serve our city well.
Chris duped his supporters into believing he stood for change in our city government.
By jumping in bed with Righeimer in the 11th hour, a man he had attacked his entire campaign, Chris Bunyan showed us all who and what he is.

11/18/2014 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

Buckle up your seat belt, it is going to be a bumpy (2 year) ride...but then wait a moment and something really stupid will emerge from their antics..they never disappoint. We have the US Wild Life decision coming soon, probably not criminal, but does a recall have to be based only on criminal? Peace out1

11/18/2014 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

CM Resident,
Guess you didn't get the message that I don't take directions from anyone. I wish Katrina well in her attempt at conciliation. I give it until February, by which time she will find herself frustrated by the tactics of the majority. Might not even take that long, but I know she will try.

11/18/2014 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous seedling said...

honestly, is there a way of tossing zint?

Im tired of reading articles with slanted lines/biased recounting of facts from a "reporter" who beileived the line of "silent majority" regarding the controversial city issues (reminiscent of nixon and the vietnam war, eh?) and has liked Righeimer on Facebook... no thanks.

I bet we are all kicking ourselves wishing we had done SOMETHING MORE. If it werent for the pot stirrer i dont think this election would have been as close as it was, so i say thank you! I smile at the idea of the mayor nervously twitching away the last week :)

11/18/2014 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Right you are, Geoff, Rig is a NUMBER TWO!

We don't have to wait for the new legislation. We have more drug problems now than we can ever handle. All night long, and I do mean all night long, we have skateboarders and cyclists up and down the street delivering drugs. All going and coming form the same house. Nothing anyone can do about it.

Costa Mesa used to be a proud city and a great place to live. Not so much now. But I am willing to fight for it and I will not quit until we have a reasonable council that is more interested in the residents than lining their own pockets and financing their personal sports interests.

Geoff, you are being generous giving the czar until February to start throwing his weight around. I give him only a couple of weeks before its business as usual.

11/18/2014 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

I'm still feeling the rancor from the death of Huy Pham. Did any of the three stooges ask for forgiveness from his family?

11/18/2014 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

“Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” -Sir Winston Churchill

11/18/2014 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

Riggy's fuzzy math can't hide the fact that he won by only 0.1%.

11/18/2014 07:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Susie F said...

In no way defending Riggy, but your math is fuzzy also. He received 21.3% of the vote, not voters. If everyone voted for two, then 42.6% of the voters voted for him. Katrina received over 26% of the vote, so over 52% of voters voted for her. In other words, Katrina won 10% more than Righeimer. She's the only one with a mandate, as she was elected by more than 50% of the voters.

11/19/2014 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Atlas Shrunk said...

According the OCRV, the turnout was 640,358 or 45% of the county-wide registration. I sure wish that the turnout was greater.

One can figure the rough number of CM voters by the vote totals for the charter and the totals for measure P. The measure O total was 19,078 and the Measure P total was 19,364. I figure that the number of people voting in the council race was closest to the Measure P total.

That would mean between 38,156 to 38,728 potential total votes cast for the council race, if everyone voted for two and the same number voted as for Measure O or P.

The total vote count for the council race was 35,286 votes.
This means, to me, an apparent "bullet vote" (vote for one only instead of two) of 2870 to 3442 people.

This tactic was used, successfully, to put a one-term councilman on the dais some years ago. It is possible that is was used, again, this time.

In any case, the current difference between Righeimer and Humphrey is 47 out of 38,728 or 0.12% of votes cast. That is within the error rate of counting and should, from my perspective, trigger an automatic recount at the Registrar's expense. This is the law in Oregon. Elections there are recounted automatically, at taxpayer expense, if the differential is 0.2% or less. I think this should be the law in California. That small a difference is too small to leave to the chance of error.

11/20/2014 10:56:00 PM  

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