Friday, August 07, 2015

The Winds Of Change...


Have you noticed it?  Recently there seems to be a gentle breeze of change in the air in Costa Mesa.  It began ever so slightly as folks seemed to have growing concerns about things like rehab homes and public safety.  Lately, though, that breeze seems to be strengthening.

It may have begun earlier this year when Westside resident Steven Chan had finally had enough of what appeared to be illegal activities at a nightclub under renovation on West 19th Street, near his home.  I wrote about it  HERE.  He reported it and the result was a full-blown investigation by the city which resulted in the establishment - what would soon be called Maison and operated by Roland Barrera of 60th Anniversary celebration notoriety - to be red-tagged for a list of violations of codes much too long to list here.  A win for residents.

Then there was the Solid Landings issue.  I wrote about it HERE.  That Westside site is just down the street from Maison and very close to the Costa Mesa Senior Center.  It seems this facility was also operating beyond the scope of what is permitted and without building permits for improvements.  The Zoning Administrator approved their operations, but a resident - Ann Parker - put up the money and appealed that issue to the Planning Commission, which reversed the Zoning Administrator's decision.  That decision was later upheld by the City Council.  Another win for residents.

Then, most recently, there was the proposed Farmer's Market at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church at the corner of Bay Street and Orange Avenue.  I wrote about it HERE. This issue was approved by the Planning Commission, but was appealed by resident Carrie Renfro, who paid more than $1200 in fees and spent hours and hours preparing her case.  It actually took her an hour to deliver it last Tuesday night.  After 30 people spoke on the issue and the council discussed it, the Planning Commission decision was reversed.  Yet another win for the residents.

And, now percolating in the background, is the move by a new citizen's organization, Costa Mesa First, to gather signatures to place an initiative on the November 2016 ballot that would rein in the nearly out-of-control development that has been happening in our city for the past few years.  You can read about it at their web site, HERE.  You can see a graphic summary of the initiative's goals  HERE.  You can read the summary description of the initiative provided by The City and titled, An Initiative To Require Voter Approval On Certain Development Projects, HERE.  And, if you wish to read the entire initiative, you can do so HERE.

The reaction to this effort has been swift.  Within hours of the announcement Mayor Pro Tem Jim
Righeimer - a developer-friendly politician - pronounced that if approved by the voters it would mean the end of Costa Mesa.  He subsequently remarked that one of the sponsors of this initiative, former councilman Jay Humphrey, whom Righeimer beat by a mere 47 votes last November, that he should, "just win an election and do what you want to do."  That is apparently how he feels about elective office - get elected and you can do anything you want.  His actions since being elected certainly demonstrate that view.  If this is placed on the ballot and passes it could be a HUGE win for residents.

The common thread through all of this is major discontent by residents of this city.  They are tired of the heavy-handed mismanagement of our municipal government.  They are tired of no longer feeling safe in our city because the police department has been gutted.  They are just plain tired of being ignored by those elected to serve them.  Many of them have had enough and have taken it upon themselves - sometimes at great personal expense and expenditure of valuable time - to investigate issues and present their views to the folks in charge.  In the case of the initiative, they're taking it to their friends and neighbors - the voters and taxpayers of this city - to get sufficient signatures to place the issue before all the voters.  Indeed, the winds of change seem to be freshening in Costa Mesa and those elected and appointed officials who have been ignoring the views of the residents of the city need to take note of it.  This little breeze may just turn into a hurricane by this time next year - when we will have launched ourselves into the election season.

The next few months are going to be very interesting in our fair city.  Residents have demonstrated that they can be a force to be reckoned with if they do their homework and present a good case.  This is how the system is supposed to work.  Our form of government is not supposed to be a dictatorship, which is what the current power elite in this town has been emulating.  If they don't wise-up, the next election could be VERY interesting.

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Anonymous Westside4ever said...

Speaking of a lively next election, I hope everyone is paying attention to changes in our city since the last election. Please use those thoughts when you vote in 2016, not last minute negative campaign materials flooding your mailbox. I personally started my campaign watch the day after the last election, who kept or is keeping their word, who followed through in helping the city or in some cases who hid behind misinformation. I really don't give a fig about what a candidate wants to tell me about what others did wrong or lied about. I want to hear what they personally did as follow through to their own campaign promises. Costa Mesa is a smart city, let's use our votes to have the city we want.

8/07/2015 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Thank you Geoff.
Aided by Newport right-wing money, a small band of extremists decided to make Costa Mesa their personal watering hole. Long-time residents like Mansoor and Monahan sold out and helped bring them in. The "less-gifted" like Mensinger and Bever gave them more power. Now: Housing density is up. Traffic is up, serious crime is way up.

This will change. "Benito" Righeimer will finish his term in disgrace. He's being politically neutered, unable to deliver on promises. Look and see for yourself how angry and unhappy he has become.

8/07/2015 07:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said! I think what Riggy really meant was this initiative will be the end of "His Brand" of Costa Mesa. It will bring a renewed sense of what Costa Mesa used to be before that Brand invaded our beloved city. What I love about us old time Costa Mesans is we might be a little quirky, but we are pure and people are attracted to CM because of what the "old brand" stood for.

8/07/2015 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

I don't feel the breeze of change I feel the winds of a hurricane approaching, a small swirl, building and gaining force, enveloping more and more issues, waking people up. Residents standing up and expressing their views and opinions. I hear the winds. picking up and all the while the Lincoln Club, the Tea Party money cha-chinging...this storm cannot be put out with money, because it a government for the people by the person, one vote...We the people of Costa Mesa deserve better and WE (the collective) are stepping up.

8/07/2015 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

I feel the winds.....I also feel all the hot air and the stink coming from the middle of the dias.

8/07/2015 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Will the blowhards stand up to the winds of change? I hope not. It was a squeaker last time. Imagine how different things might be if Jay were on the council.

8/07/2015 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

There was a time when then-Mayor Righeimer made an effort to treat the residents —his constituents—with ordinary courtesy. That was when Chris McEvoy started a recall petition. As soon that that threat passed, Righeimer reverted to his usual hostile temperament and arrogance.

Now Righeimer is having to deal with a ballot initiative that could empower the residents he has treated with such contempt over the years. And next year’s election could change the balance of power on the Council. He’s smart enough to know he needs to seem more like an elected official and less like the dictator he has been and still is.

Change is in the air, and Righeimer is sniffing the breeze.

8/07/2015 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

The C-men were very congenial before the last election also. Then, when they managed to win the election, they gave everyone the finger. Don't think that won't happen again. We need to make sure they are voted out and relegated to the backseat in silence. The residents of Costa Mesa deserve better and they will get it.

8/07/2015 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

And Geoff you left out one set of residents, who filed an appeal and put up their money because a development project was encroaching on the neighbors quality of life. The development at Norse/Orange neighbors, did an incredible presentation and although they didn't win, they extracted some major concessions from the developers via the council. So they stood up and were victorious and they should get their appeal money returned because it did cause an obvious change in the developers plans....again the winds are picking up speed!

8/08/2015 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

You're right. Yes, the wind is freshening

8/08/2015 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

they are getting strung up with their lies. Let them twist in the wind.

8/08/2015 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

The only actual change that matters will occur when the wind blows these guys right off the dais.

8/08/2015 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

The councildudes and their supporters will blast us
with OC GOP funded lies and propaganda come
election time next year.
Be ready and look for it, my fellow Costa Mesans.
They will plaster their personal and business FB
pages with it, Photos of torn campaign signs will
rain down on us. Mensinger may claim to be endorsed
by the Democrats, just like Riggy did last year.
Question EVERYTHING. Ask for sources, links, etc.
They will berate you for requesting it, but please persist.
The truth will come forth if we demand it!

The truth hurts them everytime.

8/08/2015 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Heart for Costa Mesa said...

Yes, people are waking up. This column summed up pretty neatly. it's not just one group, it's several groups, and many individuals and they are smart people who really care about Costa Mesa. Police Chief Steve Stavely was like a prophet - he told the truth about these councilmen and their agenda, their lack of true governing skills.

Jim is bitter about almost losing the last election. He did not "feel the love" from the voters and he is taking it out on people who dare to comment. He's losing it. Steve feels smug and confident. He too thinks he can do anything he wants to, has been advised to just make a few well placed votes on local issues to gain favor with the voters, as long as they don't conflict with his main agenda. He got his orders from the same shot callers that called for a moratorium on comments to this blog (Bubbling Cauldron) . Steve was told "Keep your mouth shut. Go to church. Be sure word leaks out to the right people about your good works. Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." They will start writing stuff for him and he'll learn his lines, sound pretty good. Watch him carefully - he is not a smart man in the thinking, reasoning way, but he is smart like a street fighter. That is pretty much his mentality.

What scares me as a Christian and a Republican, is how many people in the same category let someone else to tell them how to vote. How I wish they would use their own eyes and own ears, not just vote what someone else says is the "Christian" or the "Right" way. It's easy to learn a few buzzwords, to fill out a questionnaire the right way, and fool the sheep. I happened last election, and every attempt will be made to do it again in the next.

8/08/2015 10:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

The general populace needs to be informed about the budget shenanigans - taking money out of the insurance fund, juggling accounts to make it look balanced when in truth, the city has been spending more than it's taking in for several years.

The ex-head of the GOP in OC who calls the shots will once again try to blame the unions for monetary problems. No problem with Gary stalling talks for a year. No problem giving contract to campaign contributors.

They will try to blame the crime uptick on motel dwellers. Funny how the only motels that are a problems are the ones that Jim's developer friends want to buy and "develop." What about police calls from apartments, like the former Vista Del Lago? It's kind of ironic that code violations can be used to drive away certain businesses and then overlooked for other businesses.

Gather facts, skip the name calling (leave that to the other guys) and get the word out, the sooner the better.

BTW, ever tried to drive down Superior from about 3pm - 6pm?

8/09/2015 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Agreed 100% about the only motels that are a real problem are ones the Riggy and friends want to develop. Surprised? Next we'll hear about all those business between Hamilton and 19th St., that are such a problem and need to be torn down. Just wait. I hear Rig has already been out to talk to some of the owners. *tsk tsk*

Riggy paid for his Christian support. That's no secret. Huey will endorse anyone with enough cash. Sadly, Christians don't want to do their homework, they'd rather be spoon fed by someone they think they can trust. Shame.

Yeah, the winds of change are coming. The signatures are pouring in. Residents will have their city back.

8/09/2015 05:56:00 PM  

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