Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mayor's Arrogance Knows No Bounds

Tonight in the Daily Pilot, HERE, Bradley Zint presents us with the story that Rookie Mayor Steve Mensinger wants to conduct a "community consensus survey" regarding the future of Fairview Park.

The Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee has met for the best part of two years on this issue.  That committee was stacked with enough cronies to sway the agenda toward increased playing fields if push came to shove.  The ratio was further tilted when Frank Davern replaced the deceased David Stiller.

Mensinger is quoted by Zint as saying, "Some people want nothing.  Some want trails.  Some want sports fields.  This is an opportunity for the community to come up with a consensus solution, as opposed to what's happening now: rhetoric and misinformation."  What a crock!  Mensinger mentions "condos and casinos", but I've heard nobody utter those words at the meetings.  That's just a red herring to open up this issue.

Until he was elected mayor Mensinger was the council liaison to the committee.  He sat through most of the meetings.  He saw the turnout of residents and others interested in the welfare of Fairview Park.  I sat through most of those meetings, too.  I heard those voices.  I heard the experts talk about the protected species and the sacred Native American grounds within the boundaries of the park.  I also heard representatives of youth sports groups who wanted to carve out a few more playing fields in the park.
I watched the process by which the committee set about fulfilling what they thought was their charter.  I watched as they submitted thirty-five (35) separate issues to be discussed as possible additions/refinements for the park.  I watched as they took each quadrant at a time and made careful, reasoned decisions on each of those issues for each quadrant.  I watched as the staff prepared lengthy reports for their consideration.  I've written about each of those meetings.
Having addressed the other three quadrants and having made few changes, the committee is now down to the home stretch - consideration of the future of the Southeast Quadrant - the one most likely to have the playing fields advocates salivating because it represents the biggest chunk of relatively level ground left.  It does include the Orange County Model Engineers (OCME) train infrastructure - which has been an institution in the park for decades and for whom the agreement was just extended for another five (5) years.

Addressing that last issue, the trains, Mensinger is quoted by Zint as saying that if sports fields are added, "the trains aren't going anywhere" and could be incorporated alongside the fields.  Well, that issue has already been flogged at length and none of the pro-train guys think that's possible without extensive and very costly reconfiguration of the tracks and other infrastructure.

Zint properly points out the fragile, protected vernal pools and the Native American sites within the park.  Mensinger has demonstrated by his direction to the city staff to carve out a path cutting directly through protected vernal pools - home to the San Diego Fairy Shrimp -  in the Southwest Quadrant, that he really has no concern for the natural elements of the park.  That decision/direction has cost the city nearly $20,000 in mitigation efforts and has U.S. Fish and Wildlife carefully assessing our ability to be responsible stewards for the entire park.  It is possible that they could impose sanctions on the City and individuals for that act of vandalism and severely restrict our ability to do ANYTHING in the park.  That shoe is waiting to drop.

This move by Mensinger is nothing more than that of  a spoiled little kid seeing that he is not getting his way, so he's going to chuck the entire process the committee has undergone for nearly two years and try to cobble together a "consensus" to finally get playing fields at the park.  He clearly has not listened to the speakers at the many, many committee meetings - he seems to do that a lot.  He tunes folks out when they are saying something he doesn't like or bores him.  It's as though if it doesn't involve youth sports, then it's not worth his time.

The Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee is in disarray right now.  Chairman Dr. Richard Mehren - a man who has chaired not only this committee, but the previous iteration of it for fifteen years and was largely responsible for The City of Costa Mesa acquiring the park originally - resigned in a huff at the end of the January 7th meeting.  Member Brett Eckles was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission and must give up his voting position on the committee.  That leaves Vice Chair Steve Smith, quoted extensively in Zint's article; Anna Vrska; Terry Cummings; Ron Amburgey; Frank Davern; Dennis Popp and Lee Ramos on the committee.  I think it's safe to say that the last four on that list could be considered "pro-fields", although Ramos professed to want to keep the park "natural" on the campaign stump, yet voted to have staff move ahead with plans for fields on the Southeast Quadrant at the January meeting.  Actions speak louder than words.

The meeting scheduled for this month was cancelled because of  botched noticing.  It's just as well, because the staff was having a hard time putting together proper reports requested for the committee to consider.  They were field use options, which presented special challenges for the staff.

The next meeting would be on Wednesday, March 4th, the day following the council meeting at which, Zint tells us, Mensinger will pitch his idea for a "survey" to the City Council.  I'm thinking both meetings will be filled with interested parties on both sides of the issue.

In my view, this is very much like Mayor Pro Tem (pronounced eMPTy) Jim Righeimer's tenacious disregard for the voice of the people on his twice-defeated Charter scheme.  These guys seem to get their minds made up BEFORE public input and just keep charging ahead, even though the will of the people is clear.

That old saw, sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein, about the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result - might seem to be a clever jab right about now.  Unfortunately, it's unclear that Einstein ever said that and Psychology Today refutes it.  What is probably more accurate is that this is a sign of Perserveration, which they define as the pathological, persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act.  This is not to be confused with Perserverance - the steady persistence in a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

They go on to say, "Some forms of dementia, traumatic brain injury, anxiety and OCD can cause people to perseverate.  They repeat words and tasks or try repeatedly to solve problems, but are left frustrated and unsatisfied.  They're not necessarily insane, but stuck in a non-productive pattern due to a glitch in brain function."  Uh, huh...  And, near the end of the article I read, HERE, they say, "So how do you tell the difference?  Perseveration feels compulsive, hopeless, helpless, automatic and unsatisfying.  There is a desire to stop, but stopping doesn't feel like an option.  Perserverance feels like striving toward a nobel goal, and whether or not it's reached it there is virtue in the effort.  Perserverance is a strong, valuable quality.  Perseveration is a troubling issue needing clinical attention."

So, this move on the part of our Rookie Mayor is basically a little tantrum, demanding to get his way and changing the "playing field", so to speak, to do so.  The discussion of this issue will be illuminating next month.  We plan to be at both meetings to report the results.

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Anonymous eileentruxton said...

Damn, you're good. Absolutely nailed it. Thanks!

2/11/2015 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

You're too kind... :-) Give my regards to Tea Party Tom at his meeting tomorrow. In light of this article, it may be even more interesting. I will not be attending.

2/11/2015 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Sounds he wants to replace his dg path with cement. Aren't there agreements with the County about how the land can be used?

2/12/2015 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Stevie will do what the Newport Bosses tell him.

2/12/2015 09:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Idiots! All of them! And Ramos is a hypocrit.

They need to light every stinking sports field in the city. If the NMUSD doesn't like it then the residents need to change them out. Those are OUR fields, not the districts. Light the SOBs and be done with it. Geeesus, what does it take?

As for Mensinger's mental issues, he can barely find his way home 2 out of 3 times, and that is without any "diet coke". He can barely follow what is going on at cc meetings. I can't wait to see what kind of a hole he digs for himself this time. Keep screwing with the park, Steve. It will only get better for you.

2/12/2015 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Sports fields that are on NMUSD property belong to the school district and are under the control of their board. Putting lights in at night where there were no lights previously is rude to homeowners who may have lived there many years.

The question is how real is the shortage? I have heard of fields sitting idle in the middle of the day because some organizations sign up for more slots than they actually use - just in case.

2/12/2015 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

Oh, I can just imagine the survey question: Would you like to have a wonderful Fairview Park or a terrible one?

Interpretation: "Wonderful" means sports fields, "terrible" means natural.

2/12/2015 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

The charter experience didn't teach the boys anything. I guess they need a Fairview lesson, too. Geoff we are all going to Fairview Fiasco at Halecrest, we will keep you posted. It should be good for a few giggles...I repeat, the revenues are down at the golf course, so we should be good with one and on the other, fields, acres and acres of fields, just ripe for athletic fields. Fairview Forever unadultered pure open space for generations to come.

2/12/2015 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

Calling Ramos a "hypocrite" is being very gentle, Coff. I would use the term "lying sack o'shit"...but that's just me.

And if they had a survey question, you would know they'd screw up the wording, per usual. "Would you not want Fairview Park to not remain without changes or not?" A no vote means yes.

2/12/2015 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve Smith said...

Casual viewer: The notion that "Sports fields that are on NMUSD property belong to the school district..." is what has prevented more people from telling the school board to be a better partner in field allocation. The district owns NOTHING. WE (Taxpayers) own it and the sooner we start letting them know, the better. Board meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month. There is a public comments section at the beginning. Please say hello to me when you go.

2/12/2015 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve Smith said...

The Fairview Park CAC is NOT in disarray. We are leaner and faster and I plan to move as quickly as possible to get a final fields vote and end the nearly two years of cumbersome processes established by the ex-chair.

2/12/2015 09:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Yes, Steve, all government land belongs to the taxpayers, but different governmental agencies are entrusted with administering the land. The school board must put the needs of their students first. I've been at some schools where the fields were so worn out from weekend sports that they needed to be refurbished during the school year and were not accessible to the students during recess and PE.

2/13/2015 07:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Casual, I know its not an ideal situation to have lights on fields next to homes, but we need to get real. No one cared when the council approved high density next to one story homes. No one cared if it was rude or not. People next to schools cannot expect to live like its a rural location. Its not. There are new lightening scenarios that aren't bad at all. Also, large trees can go a long way to calm the noise and lighting. As said, I know its not perfect, but its no longer feasible to try to pacify a few over the wishes of thousands.

2/13/2015 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

We attended the Tea Party Fairview discussion session last night. I was really surprised, sit down, wait for it, they agreed with the majority to preserve Fairview. They as a group, attending which included members, support SAVE Fairview. I was gratified and hopeful that this is a unifying topic that has total support of the majority....March 4th another Fairview there, make noise, don't let them attempt this travesty. Always remember Lee Ramos. stated at Feet to the Fire, he embraced Fairview and wanted it to remain in a natural state. THEN he voted and it was the deciding swing vote to do a study to develop. Remember his treachery and lies. if he runs again...

2/13/2015 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

He comes from the thick headed crowd that had to have "No means NO" clarified by "yes means yes".

2/13/2015 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Mensy is obsessed with Fairview Park. He is bound and determined to build and pave everything there that he can.

Professionals should study HIM and the reasons behind his behavior before more taxpayer money is wasted.

Aren't there more expenses related to the illegal DG road that the city remains liable for?

2/13/2015 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve Smith said...

Where's My Coffee has the right school board perspective. If you want more fields for our kids and you don't want them at Fairview Park, you need to urge the school board to become a better partner with the city, which has only 5 fields under its complete control. The next school board meeting is 2/24.

2/13/2015 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve Smith said...

My blog post on the subject:

2/13/2015 09:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

The city and the school district should work as partners, not adversaries to make sure the fields are maintained for the students and available for leagues. There are limits as to how much use turf can withstand, but there should be some room for compromise.

2/14/2015 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

Steve Smith and Casual Viewer,

When the school district encompasses more than one city, how are the funds allocated? No money for permanent lights and sports field renovation needed in Costa Mesa, but lots of money for a stadium and lights in CDM where the residents don't want them?

2/14/2015 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Steve Smith,

It's obvious that you harbor no love for Dr. Mehren.
However, it is childish of you and tedious to listen to your consistent bad mouthing of him.
Enough already!!

2/14/2015 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Mensinger and his pals will skew the results of his push poll in their favor.
I don't trust anything he says, as he has a long history of lying.

2/14/2015 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Maybe they can find the guy who wrote Measure P (he's still in City Hall)and have him write the survey. "Given that there is an acute shortage of sports fields in Costa Mesa, should empty dirt be paved over to create more? Should the city ignore the plight of worthy children who clamor to play in organized sports leagues and leave useless Fairview Park alone?"
Please give one answer

2/17/2015 09:48:00 AM  

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