Tuesday, December 01, 2015

An Interesting Council Meeting Tonight

Tonight the Costa Mesa City Council will meet for their first meeting of the month and their LAST meeting of the year.  The next full City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, January 5, 2016!  The meeting tonight begins at 5:45 in City Council Chambers at City Hall.  You can read the agenda HERE.

This one just might be a short one, but we never know.  There are only two Public Hearings and one item of New Business, but let's start at the beginning with the good old Consent Calendar - items considered routine so they CAN be considered in one vote unless someone - a council member, staff member or member of the public - pulls an item for separate discussion and vote.  I won't address all of them, but will comment on a couple that are fascinating.

Item #3, HERE, is Warrant 2547 - the items recently paid by the city.  Scrolling down through this list is always interesting and informative.  Here are a few items that caught my eye:
  • Costa Mesa Conference & Visitor Bureau - $182,811.54 - BIA Receipts for Sept 2015
  • Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $31,900.16 - Legal Services
  • Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth - $27,183.00 - Legal Services
  • CSG Consultants, Inc. - $11,520.00 - Bldg Inspector Svs, 8/29-9/25/15
  • Civil Source - $8,787.50 - Resident Engineer Svs -Sept 15
  • FTOG Inc - $3,587.50 - Procurement Consulting
  • Apple One Employment Services - $4,478.59 - Temp Svcs, Various
  • G4S Secure Solutions Inc. - $65,069.63 - Jail Services
  • Accountemps - $2,179.20 - Temp Svs, Treasury
  • Civil Source - $12,600.00 - Construction Mgr, Sept. 15
  • Kabbara Engineering - $5,457.00 - On-Call Traffic Engr, Oct 15
  • Scientia Consulting Group, Inc. - $13,760.00 - Prof Svc Agreement, Oct 2015
As has been the case for a few years, we continue to rack up legal service AND, of even greater concern, we continue to pay expensive consulting/temporary services to fill holes in the organization because we simply cannot keep up with the hemorrhaging of experienced staffers throughout City Hall.  There are a couple items further down the Consent Calendar that provide exclamation points to that problem.  We had more than 50 open positions in the city at the start of this week.

Item #4, HERE, is a professional services agreement with Lilley Planning Group for $93,000 (plus extensions) to backfill vacancies in the Planning Division.

Item #9, HERE, is a professional services agreement for $906,218.00 for construction management services for various projects - Fire Station #1, City Council Chambers and related projects.

Public Hearing #1, HERE, is a no-brainer.  It's the annual review of the citywide traffic impact fee program and the staff recommendation - again - is to leave it alone and continue the same charge of $181 per Average Daily Trip.

Public Hearing #2, HERE, is VERY interesting.  This is a new ordinance to require Mandatory Commercial Waste Recycling and new requirements of Mandatory Organics Recycling required by the State of California.  You may recall that the Costa Mesa Sanitary District has imposed an Organics Recycling program on those of us who are in its service area.  This is a BIG deal for commercial trash haulers serving businesses in Costa Mesa.  Perhaps the most telling sentence in the staff report appears under the Fiscal Review section:

"The City’s authorized waste haulers set their charges based upon the competitive market (a benefit to clients of the non-exclusive franchise system), and therefore their costs of compliance with the program will likely be passed on to their clients."

New Business #1, HERE, is the screening request for a 10-unit detached residential development at 522 and 526 Bernard Street.  This was approved by the Planning Commission in October with a load of deviations:
1) Lot size (one acre required, 0.53-acre proposed); 
2) Garage size standard (20’ x 20’ required; 19’- 4” x 19’ proposed); 
3) Open space requirement (40 percent required, 22.4 percent proposed); 
4) Front setback requirement (20 feet required, 10’- 5” proposed); 
5) Side yard setback for corner lots (10 feet required, 8’ - 3” proposed); 
6) Interior side setback (10 feet required abutting residential, 6 feet proposed); 
7) Minimum distance between buildings (10 feet required, 7 feet proposed); 
8) Privacy wall setback on Charle Street (5 feet required, 3 feet proposed)

 This is the City Council's first cut at this project.  The discussion should be VERY interesting.

Fingers tightly crossed for a short, collegial council meeting.  Let's hope there are no more public displays of arrogant, vindictive stupidity as was displayed by the Mayor Pro Tem last time.  What are the odds?  70/30 against... I actually expect the mayor to break the gavel presented to him by the mayor pro tem as he demands order and calls for a break.  Of course, he's yelling at the wrong person most of the time.

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Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

What is the point of having ordinances if a variance will always be granted. Oh, I know. Whatever it is that is being built is better than having a toxic waste dump or a pig farm on the property.

12/01/2015 01:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

@Pot Stirrer: You note that the councilmen are racking up costs for legal service. You also note “we continue to pay expensive consulting/temporary services to fill holes in the organization because we simply cannot keep up with the hemorrhaging of experienced staffers throughout City Hall.” and, “We had more than 50 open positions in the city at the start of this week.”

This reminds me of the marching order from Washington, D.C. right-wing leader Grover Norquist. He states, "I'm not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

While Norquist doesn’t offer any details on how real-life things like streets, traffic lights, water, sewer, trash pickup, police, and fire protection would get done, local leaders appear to have a plan.

Putting two and two together, it looks like Mensinger, Righeimer, and Monahan are on a path to outsource everything to private businesses. And judging by the results of the last three city elections, a majority of voters must be happy with this direction.

12/01/2015 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous beaking bad said...

Here is what you never hear Mr. Arthur, City Council or any City Official state. Sorry all you are going to hear from them are how the costs for the city are going up, employees are bankrupting cities and employees don't care about potholes, streets, infrastructure or the residents and care only about themselves. The very people that fill the potholes and take care of the infrastructure. They are not going to tell you the General City Employees not only care about the residents but that city employees also agreed to pay 100 percent of their costs(once again) but also pickup 60% of the employer increases. Did you get that. 60% of the future Employer CalPers increases. Those EVIL general city employees agreed to help out again, as they have over and over, by being of the first to once again step up above and beyond. But instead of acknowledging the efforts of the General City Employees they are going to continue to try and create armies of pitch fork and torch carrying residents angry at these evil city employees.

B. In addition to the 2.469% the employee funding of the employer contribution, each unit
member (all “classic” and “new members”) shall also fund 60% of any and all CalPERS mandated increases in the employer’s contribution as that amount shall from time to time exist. Except as otherwise stated herein, said 60% funding shall commence the first payroll period commencing on and after adoption by the City Council of the 2013-2016 MOU.
C. The 2013-14 PERS mandated increase in the
employer retirement contribution rate was 3.11%. Effective the first payroll period commencing on and after adoption by the City Council of the 2013-16 MOU, each unit member shall commence paying 60% of said 3.11% employer rate increase, in addition to funding 60% of any employer rate increases
mandated thereafter.

12/02/2015 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

Not only does it appear that the Righeimer-Mensinger-Monahan triumvirate want to outsource everything possible to private businesses, Righeimer said as much in a videotaped speech to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce about 2 years ago. A city without employees is his ideal, and he's getting closer every day.

12/02/2015 09:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Eleanor, I think a city without a corrupt and greedy Czar at the helm is ideal. We need to get rid of him. And we are getting closer and closer every day.

12/03/2015 06:55:00 PM  

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