Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bikes, Speed Bumps, Freeway Aesthetics And More...

Well, there was a lot more happening at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting besides Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer demonstrating that he's a liar.  We covered that part in my earlier post, so let's address the rest of the meeting - the parts that occurred while it was still Tuesday.

The meeting began on a pleasant note, with three presentations, although I was a little concerned when Mayor Steve Mensinger - not the sharpest knife in the drawer - prepared to call everyone to order, but observed that they didn't have to hurry because they still had a few minutes.  This was at 5:52 p.m. - past the new starting time of 5:45 he imposed.  He must have had a brain burp - which was kind of an omen of things to come.

Anyhow, back to the presentations.  First the City recognized a handful of Orange Coast College soccer players for their outstanding play this year.  Then a herd of young Aussies from our sister city of Wyndham were welcomed and presented with goodies.  Their local hosts, the principals from Newport Harbor High School and Estancia High School spoke.  And then a nice woman from Cal Trans told us about the upcoming renovation of the I-405/Red Hill overpass.  That project will begin "soon" - a date uncertain, but probably this month.
During Public Comments nine individuals rose to address the council on a variety of issues.
  • Tamar Goldmann stepped up to criticize the council for their recent decision to not permit Costa Mesa Television to record candidate forums for replay.  She spoke of the Smart Growth Initiative and even gave a promo for this site - thanks to Tamar for that.
  • Robin Leffler spoke on a recent survey, which she described as a "push poll" that posed very specific questions about Fairview Park.  
  • Al Melone, former (and maybe future) city council candidate stepped up to speak on his only issue - the Dog Park.
  • Tea Party Tom Pollitt apparently slipped his leash and spoke on the World Economy, a comment that managed to morph into a criticism of the pension issue.
  • Mary Spadoni told the council about the practice by the Coastal Commission of permitting folks in the audience to show support or lack thereof by quietly using hand signals.  She also rebutted some of Pollitt's comments.
  • Kim Hendricks spoke about the new initiative for which petitions are being circulated for placement on the November ballot to protect Fairview Park from development.
  • Ann Parker, referring to the passing of the Eagles Glenn Fry, told the council about the sober living outfit, Hotel California, on the Eastside.  She also tried to segue into another entertainment reference when she complained about the lack of Code Enforcement by saying "May the Code Enforcement be with you."  Mensinger suggested she share her information with the staff, to which she replied that she'd already done that - many times.
  • Former Councilwoman Wendy Leece bemoaned the failure of this council to hold study sessions, meetings during which a few items would be vetted in a casual atmosphere. 
    She also criticized the council for beginning the "silly season" - the campaign season - by using new Public Information Officer Tony Dodero to write a recent commentary for Mensinger and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer.
  • Businessman Tim Lewis told the council about property ownership issues with a piece of property that's in development near his business on Harbor Blvd. 
During Council Member Comments Righeimer, indicating he wasn't going to speak, then launched off on a mini-rant about some of the public comments.  Addressing concerns about possible development at Fairview Park, he said, "Nothing's happening - nobody wants to develop it."  On Sober Living homes, he referred to a "stay" placed on enforcement by legal action.  He spoke about Fire Station #6 - the one he and Mensinger co-authored a commentary about recently - indicating that it didn't "have the calls", which is why it was considered for closure.  He then complained about some of the comments, stating, "We don't want to have more divisive issues in the city."  Curious, since he's usually the source of those issues.  He spoke about the Costa Mesa United Golf Tournament and just casually mentioned that his sidekick, Mensinger, received the Costa Mesa United Leadership Award (my eyes rolled back in my head!).

Mensinger spoke about the golf tournament, indicating it was a nice event with "no politics".  I nearly choked when he said that.

Katrina Foley, addressing the recent survey that was conducted as part of the update of the Master Plan of Parks and Open Space, asked for a copy of the questions that had been asked because of complaints made about it being a "push poll".  She also asked City Attorney Thomas Duarte for a clarification of an issue about the Sober Living R-2 zone ordinance dealing with the density of such facilities because there is apparently confusion among staff members.  She also cited recent turmoil at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and encouraged us all to pay attention to what's going on over there because, as she said, "Something's not right."

Sandy Genis mentioned a recent Economic Summit she and Dan Baker attended.  She said it was a good news/bad news situation.  She said jobs are coming back, but they are lower-paying jobs.  She spoke of recent information from the California League of Cities on group homes, indicating that Orange County has the highest number, and within Orange County, Costa Mesa has the highest concentration.  She also said Fairview Park should be "kept off the table" for development.

In a rare instance, Gary Monahan actually had something to say.
He expressed concern about lack of handicapped access to areas of Fairview Park... muffled murmurs were heard in the crowd.  He also acknowledged Wendy Leece's concerns for free speech - but I'm not sure if he said that tongue-in-cheek or not.


During his time CEO Tom Hatch spoke of recent hires in the Costa Mesa Police Department - three from the recent Academy class and one lateral from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.  He told us that "our" Academy graduates are excellent - at or near the top of the class.  He also told us that all Code Enforcement slots are now filled, giving us nine (9) Code Enforcement officers.  He also spoke briefly about the recent survey of parks.

Only one item was pulled from the Consent Calendar - #2, the Warrant.  This should have been heard at that time instead of making Tamar Goldmann sit through the entire meeting until 1:10 a.m. to present her concerns about the $3,000 rocker/recliner we apparently purchased.  Bad judgment on Mensinger's part on that one.  Add it to the list.

Old Business #1, the second reading of the marijuana cultivation ordinance, took less than one minute to pass on a 5-0 vote.

Old Business #2, the new Residents-Only parking ordinance, took a little longer.  Following a very brief discussion and comments by a couple residents, it passed, 5-0.

New Business #1, the I-405 Improvement Project Aesthetics discussion took longer.  Jeff Mills from the OCTA provided a history of the project, which will add lanes to the I-405 from the 73 Toll Road to the I-605 at the Los Angeles County Line and was not viewed favorably by residents and elected officials in Costa Mesa.  It will require the demolition of our new Fairview Road Bridge to accommodate the greater width of the new freeway lanes.  This discussion involved the "look" of the roadway as it passes through our city and focused on decorative walls.  Four people stepped up to express opinions on issues like the proximity to Moon Park, the intrusive Fountain Valley Freeway sign, the fact that we were ignored in the planning process and that the decorative walls would be a distraction to drivers.

Concerns were expressed by council members about the potential for graffiti damage to the walls and as to which graphics to be used.  In the end they agreed to reject the opinion of the Cultural Arts Committee to use the "Least Terns" graphic because it represented Newport Beach and voted to recommend the White-tailed Kite because those birds are often seen in Costa Mesa.

Next up was New Business #2, the revisions to the Community Development Block Grant Public Service Grants rating criteria and related policies and procedures.  One of the big changes is the number of agencies to be considered.  It was reduced from a maximum of 20 to 10, and the minimum amount was increased from $5,000 to $15,000.  Several changes were made to the grading criteria, too.  During the public comments Wendy Leece expressed concern that this committee had changed from a standing committee to an ad hoc committee and was curious about how one might apply to be part of it.

New Business #3 was the request for Speed Humps on Saint Clair Street.  The staff recommendation was to deny the request.  However, after Jay Litvak and several other members of the neighborhood involved spoke describing the situation the council voted, 4-1, with Righeimer voting NO, to direct the staff to install the speed humps bring back an evaluation of the process by which speed humps may be requested.

New Business #4 was the report by the Bikeways and Walkability Committee on their Goals, Objectives and Policies, which were prepared to be included in the General Plan update.  Chairman Ralph Taboada and Vice Chair Cynthia McDonald made the presentation to the council, describing the process they followed since the committee was created in April.  They had their first meeting in June and, in September, decided to double-up the number of meetings to meet the deadline.  I attended most of those meetings and have frequently written about how effectively they worked together.  I saw the sometimes tedious process work as they carefully crafted the document they presented to the council last night.  I observed the give-and-take and the collaborative process in action.

So, when Righeimer reacted negatively about the work product - he basically thought there were too many words - I was surprised and disappointed.  That feeling was shared by the many members of the committee in attendance last night.  Righeimer was concerned about the "policies", even though he was told several times that the format used followed the General Plan format intentionally.  Despite the explanations by staff and liaison Katrina Foley - this committee was her idea - Righeimer had it stuck in his craw.  Four people spoke to this issue, including members of the committee and regular attendees to the meetings.  At the end, after a significant discussion about "policies" and the General Plan, the council voted to approve the document with the proviso Righeimer demanded that the "policies" be re-titled as "recommendations".  They took a break, then returned at 9:37 to commence New Business #5, the subject of my angry earlier post.

Let me close this by stating, once again, that the meeting Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was one of the most disappointing I can recall.  I don't know what the future holds for the Costa Mesa Fire Department, but I suspect there were few happy firefighters in our city today.  That's a shame.  We'll talk more about that as time goes on.

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Anonymous zennymoon said...

Costa Mesa majority sells out residents to crawl in bed with their campaign contributors....shocking? sadly. $$$$$ over residents and what's best for the city. November 2016..... Victory

1/20/2016 08:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Why does Righeimer love Falck and hate Costa Mesa so much?

1/21/2016 06:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

It's going to take hard work to make a change on the council. Jim squeaked in last time, and Gary in the election before. Besides complaining to each other, supporters of change need to get the word out to the larger community - more letters in the Register and Times, and more events that will draw the general public, and maybe more publicity. How about a guided walk through Fairview Park to demonstrate handicapped access? How about photos of gridlock on the Westside where new big boxe condos are being built? How about getting budget information, which is in the public records, out to the public?

1/21/2016 07:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

One more thing - when one of the 3 you-know-whats go on KFI, the other side needs to demand equal time.

Steve has the Scott Baugh machine behind him and they're very clever at keeping his name in the limelight with a positive image. - "I want to keep the fire station open - aren't I wonderful." Nothing about "I had an illegal dg path put in Fairview Park so we could give rides from the parking area to the football stadium with our Cushman carts. It cost the city thousands to remove it - aren't I an egotistical #&%."

1/21/2016 07:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

The vote on the CMFD was the last straw...
Medvedev just likes power and cash, both of which are available in vast amounts when dealing with the power elite in Orange County, spitting on the simple people of Costa Mesa, who appear powerless to actually prove anything that would constitute criminal conduct, relying solely on the Fish and Game folks to find an issue of illegality. Since the demise of the Daily Pilot, the only place left to spill the beans is right here. Now if I wanted to put pressure on a journalist or blogger protected by the 1st, I would just buy the property across the street, dump 4 million on it, and have cameras and directional microphones pointed at that guy who is becoming a problem and getting closer to the truth by the week.
Of course if you pull back the jackets of Medvedev and Putin in public,you will probably find holstered handguns, fully loaded and ready to use.
I prefer to carry one on my ankle and another under my left armpit, along with a microphone and camera turned on. Telephoto lenses and drones are not your friend, slimbags.
I read comments here from people who love to bitch, but do not have the conviction to actually make a realistic move to counter the obvious. Anyone here know how to play Three Card Monte? How about the shell game? The only person in Costa Mesa who may actually know how to crack the plot, is XXX XXXXX, a man who has more to lose than the average bear. It cost me around $25,000 to get out of Costa Mesa Code Enforcement's gestapo tactics. I found it immature and amateurish for the crooks to try and steal Orange Coast Trailer Supply from XXXX XXXXXX...It will be hard to get rid of RED-E-RENTALS, no matter how hard you try.
If I was a crook, controlling a PD through lawsuits and the dais, bear hugs with the DA, and backroom deals in soundproof rooms designed to shield one from the law, I would build a home with an underground vault to hold my meetings in, where cash is king, and quid pro quo is the name of the game.
It is unfortunate that I am unable to cut and paste texts, email in their original format here, or attach PDF's etc....Well there is a time and place for everything. There is such a thing as subpoena power, and a judge who can bypass the DA's office..Let Navarro's situation be a lesson to the crooks...Don't count your chickens until they Hatch.
Consider this my opening salvo.. when you get the report of what I wrote here a few hours from now, don't send me a text, or an email, or a goon to break my legs or burn down my house, or....
If you have been interviewed by the FBI, please raise your hand...
Just out of curiosity, where is that Melodyland High School alum, one Kent Mora these days?

1/21/2016 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

I am curious why Tony Dodero was hired as a "spin doctor" for our council, yet he only works for Righeimer and Menninger. He ignores Genis and Foley. So, the taxpayers are paying for a campaign manager, of sorts, from city hall for their personal campaigns. I HAVE A BETTER IDEA OF WHERE I WANT MY TAX DOLLARS SPENT.

I'm still waiting to hear where the 6 new iPads we purchased went last Christmas. I didn't get one. How does that work? Now I see that I've purchased a grey leather reclining rocker? Where is it? Who is using my chair? I'm really serious when I say this. WHO HAS THAT CHAIR? I HAVE A BETTER IDEA OF WHERE I WANT MY TAX DOLLARS SPENT.

Pollitt, who is right up there in the IQ department with Menninger complains about why the CMFD and CMPD aren't paying 50% into their retirements? Let me see if we can explain this in a way he will understand: you cannot make them do any such thing unless you negotiate a contract. Get it?

I'm quite certain there is a reason we now have 9 code enforcement officers, but can anyone tell me why? The city hall is going to fall over sideways with all weight on the top floor. Especially if there really is a "stay" on enforcement of sober living homes (which I sincerely doubt). Why do we need to hire them now if there is a stay in place? I HAVE A BETTER IDEA OF WHERE I WANT MY TAX DOLLARS SPENT.

Katrina Foley is correct. There is something horrible going on over at NMUSD. We seriously need a new board. I am horrified at what I am hearing.

Rig again proved what an ass he is by minimizing what the Bikeability Committee has done. Pretty much indicated that over a year worth of work and time spent, is for nothing, as to him its just a "recommendation". He just blew it all off.

And of course, the final blow, which may be their final undoing - the way they handled the debacle with the fire department. It was obvious that they had pre-planned their decision, as it wasn't even discussed, yet all voted in lock step within 2 seconds for an option that hadn't even had any discussion. Completely disregarded the experts, the Chief, and ex Chief, and several others, in view of their own "knowledge" which is well...none. What a huge waste of time and taxpayer money over the last several years. I HAVE A BETTER IDEA OF WHERE I WANT MY TAX DOLLARS SPENT.

I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing Righeimer say, "Trust me". Can the people on Colleen trust him? No! Can the people in the mobile home parks trust him? No! (Just to name a few) I have no reason to believe him when he says there is not going to be development in Fairview Park. WRONG! There would be no survey if that were the case. He is a proven liar.

I still want to know why all our tax money is going to Denmark. We should be able to keep it here in the US. He was voted in as a fiscal conservative. He has proven to be anything but, and a liar to boot.

1/21/2016 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

How incompetent and lazy is the MPT if reading a five & one-half page document (which, by the way, is shorter than most bicycle plans) is just too taxing for his brain? By changing the “policies” to “suggestions,” it effectively neuters the document & will prevent the City from getting grant money needed to complete projects. Righeimer & Monahan don’t feel anyone should ride a bike & anyone who supports bicycling is prejudiced against motorists. What a crock of excrement!

Making the bike plan useless & sticking with an inefficient & costly model for ambulance transport are one of the many reasons why I feel Righeimer & Co. don’t really care about the safety of residents or the economic health of the City. I hope every citizen who reads this blog tells their friends, neighbors, etc. about the efforts of the local groups working in the best interests of the City, such as CM4RG, Costa Mesa First, and the Fairview Park Preservation Alliance. Those organizations need your support (money) to promote their initiatives & to help defeat Mensinger & elect a responsible person to Gary’s seat. November 2016 needs to bring about a big change in Costa Mesa or we are lost.

1/21/2016 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Regarding Falck (CARE Ambulance) and the council majority:

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."
-Hamlet (1.4), Marcellus to Horatio

1/21/2016 05:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

We've been Falcked!

1/22/2016 07:52:00 AM  

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