Friday, July 17, 2015

Sober Living, Development Appeals And Matt Leinart Money

The Costa Mesa City Council meets again on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 in City Council Chambers at City Hall beginning at 5:45 p.m., with a closed session preceding that meeting at 5:30.  There's a lot on the agenda, HERE, so we'll just take it from the top.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance and a Moment of Solemn Expression Mayor Steve Mensinger will present his Mayor's Award to Frank Gavel, followed by a presentation by the Orange County Transportation Authority on the disastrous I-405 project.  That will be followed by the always-exciting Public Comments segment and the Council Members Comments and, if Mensinger doesn't forget, the CEO's Comments.

Next up is the Consent Calendar - items of such a routine nature that they are anticipated to be voted upon in one vote, with no discussion.  This time there are seventeen (17) items listed and I expect at least a couple of them to be pulled for comment and separate vote by members of the public.  If so, they will be trailed to the very end of the meeting, to force interested residents to endure the rest of the meeting first.  We'll see.  I'll comment here on a few that piqued my personal interest.

First is Item #3, Warrant 2539, HERE - items paid for services rendered.  Here are a few of them that caught my eye:

Apple One Employment Services - $5,777.91 - Temp Svcs, June, various
City of Huntington Beach - $23,660.00 - Helicopter Svcs, May, 2015
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $17,828.63 - Legal Svc, Negotiations and others
Heroes Hall Veteran's Foundation - $25,000.00 - Grant for Museum
Siemens Industry, Inc - $24,934.00 - Card Reader Installation
Accountemps - $4,578.40 - Temp svcs, various
Government Staffing Services, Inc - $9,581.25 - Temp svcs, various
HdL Software, Inc. - $8,323.20 - Business License Use Fee
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $3,014.00 - Legal svcs, various

More legal fees and temporary services this time around.

Item #7, Professional Engineering Services for the Design of Fire Station #1, HERE, is interesting.  The staff is requesting the award of a contract for $499,000.00 against the $1,676,201.00 budgeted for this year for this project.  An alternative would be for the staff to do the in-house engineering planning, which would apparently delay this project 12-15 months.

Item #8, HERE, is the request for the acceptance of $150,000 in grand funds for "Selective Traffic Enforcement Programs" to include:
  • To conduct five (5) DUI/DL checkpoints.  
  • To conduct forty-four (44) DUI saturation patrols.  
  • To conduct five (5) special traffic enforcement operations targeting red light, excessive speed and other violations at or near intersections with a disproportionate number of traffic collisions. 
  • To conduct three (3) special enforcement operations targeting distracted driving violations.  
  • To conduct two (2) bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operations.  
  • Provide advanced officer training in DUI enforcement to ten (10) officers.
Especially considering the depleted staffing levels of the CMPD at this time, this grant funding should be welcomed with open arms.

Item #9, HERE, is for improvements at Fire Station #4, including expansion of the apparatus room and building a rescue vehicle storage building, to the tune of $690,000.

Items #10, HERE, and #11, HERE deal with the vacation of easements and right-of-way for a project at 970 West 16th Street.

Item #12, HERE, is for the design of the West 19th Street Bicycle Trail in the amount of $180,000.

Item #13, HERE, is the creation of a brand new job in the Development Services Department.  This job, Assistant Director - Community Improvement Division - seems to be earmarked for Jerry Guarrancino, who has been a consultant in Development Services for more than a year and is presently heading up the Community Improvement Division as a part-time employee.  He's the only consultant I've seen receive a proclamation by the Planning Commission - and he didn't even leave!  It's my understanding that this group - 4 code enforcement officers - have responsibilities that will include the implementation and monitoring of the Group Home Enforcement, Hotel/Motel Enforcement, Neighborhood Stabilization Programs and other related community improvement activities as required.  They were moved to Development Services from the Executive Suite and, it's my understanding, that this entire organization will be domiciled at the soon-to-be-renovated Police Substation building across the street from Lions Park.  Hmmm, they must be making room for more staff on the 5th floor again.

Item #16, HERE, is another extension of the term of the agreement with CARE Ambulance Services.  This one has me puzzled.  We recently purchased six (6) quarter million dollar rescue ambulance units which, under the deployment model crafted by former Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold and - we were told - adopted by the City Council, would shift the transportation of injured folks from CARE Ambulance Service to the Fire Department and result in a significant chunk of change for The City.  Presently we are only deploying half of those units and now we're extending CARE's contract for another year.  I guess I'm concerned that something is seriously amiss here, and wonder if it could possibly have anything at all to do with the fact that CARE Ambulance Service has been a big campaign contributor to certain local politicians?  What do you think?

Item #17, HERE, is the appointment of Sandra Genis to the Vector Control District - the item that got botched up the last time it appeared.

Public Hearing #1, HERE, is the recommendation by the Parks and Recreation Commission on the Mesa Verde Drive and California Street Medians.  The staff did their usual good job on this and the commission moved it on up the pipeline.  This one shouldn't take long.

Public Hearing #2, HERE, is the biggie for the evening.  This is the appeal of the Planning Commission's recent denial of a Zoning Application for deviation from parking requirements for a group counseling use at 657 W. 19th Street.  One of the interesting aspects of this is the fact that the group counseling organization, Solid Landings, is the subject of one of the items on the Closed Session earlier in the evening - a lawsuit.

This item was appealed to the Planning Commission by resident Ann Parker and she and her compatriots did an outstanding job of presenting their case and persuaded the commission to overturn the Zoning Administrators approval.  I noted with great interest that neither she, nor any of her associates, were included in the distribution of the staff report on this item. 

Since this is a so-called "de novo" hearing, everything is brand new.  Any issues relevant to this subject can be introduced, so this should be a VERY interesting item - and one that may take a couple hours to plow through.  For example, there are thirteen (13) attachments to the staff report, and several of those have attachments, too.  It's very likely that this staff report, when printed, will have killed a small forest.

Public Hearing #3, HERE is the appeal of the Planning Commission approval of a controversial development at 2366 Orange Avenue by an organization that includes former major league baseball legend, Doug DeCinces.  He spoke during the Planning Commission hearing on this one.  This one could stretch an already long evening even further.

Public Hearing #4, HERE, is the rezone of a site on Mesa Verde Drive East, replacing the Church of Christ Scientist with a 10-unit residential development.  This one shouldn't take long once the council members stop praising the developer for his fine project - which just happens to be on the way to a couple of their homes.

There is no Old Business scheduled, but New Business #1, HERE, is going to be VERY interesting.  This is the item requested by councilwoman Katrina Foley to be brought before the council to determine how the monies being paid by Matt Leinart Flag Football as a result of their misrepresentation over a year ago that resulted in under-billing them for field use should be used.  Foley wants the roughly $25,000 to be split between the Estancia and Costa Mesa high schools athletic programs.  Under normal circumstances this money would go to the General Fund and could be applied to other items within the budget.  This discussion should be fun.

So, that's it for the agenda items.  Unless there are carry-over public comments or Consent Calendar items, we will be finished after this one.  I'm thinking 10:45 might be an optimistic departure time... we'll see.

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Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

I'm pretty sure that Mayor Riggy, error, I mean Mensy, has a zero plan for the Fire Department to transport the people of Costa Mesa. They want some piss- poor private company to be the paramedics and emt's in the City.

7/17/2015 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Legend might be pushing it just a tad on mention of a certain ball player. He's not even a Hall of Famer...

7/18/2015 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

who is Frank Gavel?

7/18/2015 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

At the next meeting the Mayor's award will go to Roland Barrera, per Gary's request. (Just kidding.)

7/18/2015 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Frank Gavel is the parent of a young woman who is an Estancia High alum and a participant in the Special Olympics. Some Estancia High football players helped her move under the direction of Mayor Steve. (No good deed goes unpublicized.) Perhaps Mr. Gavel helps with the Special Olympics, in which case, kudos to him.

7/19/2015 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Look for Trump to tap Barrera as his running mate...

7/19/2015 06:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Let me get this straight. Rig and Messy are giving away city property, to a developer? This ties in with the nearly 90 units they want to build on Whittier. Why should the city give away city property to anyone? If they want it, they should buy it. No?

7/20/2015 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Will be interesting to see what happens with the Leinert money. Love how Katrina threw the "staff" under the bus as blaming them for a "mistake". Wasn't Katrina instrumental in bringing Leinert to the city in the first place? I believe I remember her touting them back then, as such a wonderful thing for the city.

7/20/2015 02:18:00 PM  

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