Friday, July 29, 2016

Parks & Rec. Commission Tweaks The FUAP, And More

The Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission met again last night and dealt with a couple important issues.  You can read the agenda HERE.

Before we get to the important parts of the meeting, let me report to you that rookie commissioner Julie Mercurio - she who recently withdrew from the City Council race - attended this meeting, although you wouldn't know it if you depended solely on audio for your information.  During the entire 2 plus hours of the meeting, with the exception of when she started the meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance, she was not heard to utter a single word.  Even then, we couldn't tell if she spoke or lip synched it.  In fact, it looked like she didn't even turn on her microphone the entire evening.  We presume she can actually speak, since she looks like she's whispering in Commissioner Kim Pederson's ear in this image.
During Public Comments two speakers criticized Mercurio's selection.  In fact, Cindy Black presented a slide show of all the applications for that appointive position to demonstrate how unqualified she was for the position.  A couple of the commissioners, including my friend, Byron de Arakal, angrily defended her selection, citing the fact that she was a mother as reason enough for her appointment.  I almost choked when he said that!  Since this was early in the meeting he probably had no idea that she would become the invisible woman, offering not a single thing to the proceedings.  It was clear at the time that her appointment was solely to give her some visibility during her council campaign.  Last night she demonstrated just how unprepared she is for this assignment.  The two items on the agenda were pithy enough that every commissioner should have had something to contribute to the discussion.  All the others did.
So, enough with this charade... I'm asking Ms. Mercurio to simply step down - resign from the commission and let one of the other applicants be appointed to fill out Don Harper's term which expires in February.  If we're going to pay her $100 a month for her service, she should at least try to provide some.  Her continued presence on the dais is a constant reminder of the partisanship that rules our city.
During Public Comments Beth Refakes reminded us that the Military Affairs Team is, once again, collecting lightly-used cocktail dresses, ball gowns and accessories for the wives of the men of the 1/5 Marines at Camp Pendleton for the Marine Ball.  Donations may be left in the lobby at City Hall.

Rocky Evans again asked the commission to consider extending the operating hours of the Skate Park.
Mark Arblaster, who runs a club soccer organization, announced that his group is helping a struggling  recreational soccer group with their expertise and financial aid.
Kim Hendricks asked that the rope barriers for some of the vernal pools in Fairview Park be re-installed.  She also offered criticism of Mercurio's appointment
Cindy Black reminded the commission of the proximity of Banning Ranch to Talbert Park and then offered criticism of Mercurio's appointment.

Back to the meeting.  The commission passed the Instructional Class Proposals on the Consent Calendar - they were all Ice Skating-related - without discussion.
The first item on the agenda was the spring Field Use Allocation Report (FUAP) and amendments to the existing policy.  Recreation Manager Justin Martin led the discussion.  You can read the staff report HERE.  This is the completion of the first year this new FUAP has been in existence and, based on the report, the results are quite positive.  The staff and the users had some tough going sorting out the residency requirements.  Only one user - Newport Mesa Friday Night Lights - failed to produce sufficient numbers of verifiable residents to retain Group 3 status, and will have limited use of fields.
After lengthy discussions the commission, led by Chairman Brett Eckles, approved the Field Use Report and recommended modifications to the changes to the FUAP, including tightening up the definitions of what constitutes a "strike" against a group under the new Code of Conduct section.  The staff will tinker with it following the direction provided by the commission before this issue is presented to the City Council for approval.
The other item on the agenda was the Review of Talbert Regional Park Final Habitat Restoration Plan, HERE.  You can plow through the 168 pages if you wish.  City Engineer Bart Mejia led this discussion and had assistance from Susan Brodeur from Orange County Parks.  The commissioners heard the report and heard from members of the public, each of whom expressed a desire to keep Talbert Park as natural as possible.
Vice Chair Robert Graham provided some photographic information to demonstrate some things that could be done to make that area more accessible.
Eventually the commission moved to partner with OC Parks to search for and apply for grants and other funding opportunities to fulfill the estimated $22 million necessary to complete the plan as presented.  They also recommended Alternate 1 and segments of Alternates 2 and 3 for future consideration.  Both de Arakal and Graham suggested that we should think big in this process - it's going to take quite awhile because of the many governmental entities that will have their oars in this water.
The evening finished with Martin providing his report on recent activities - none of which was included in the online staff report.  Suffice it to say that things in the Recreation Division are looking up, with enhanced activities at the Senior Center and throughout the city.  Several commissioners, including Kim Pederson,  praised Martin and his staff for their outstanding work.  The next meeting is August 25th.
One last thing... at the very end of the meeting de Arakal said he was going to ask CEO Tom Hatch and Police Chief Rob Sharpnack to assign a Sergeant-at-arms to all future Parks and Recreation meetings!  This is very strange!  I've attended most of these meetings and the crowd (a generous term for the few people normally attending) have NEVER been rowdy - EVER!  I don't know what was going on at that meeting last night, or why he felt it necessary to take that step, but he mentioned safety.  Maybe with Ms. Mercurio comes a more rowdy crowd... who knows?

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Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

My guess would be Mercurio has been issued a concealed weapons permit to go along with a police presence at the meetings. Public figure now and all that cozy stuff. The meek one will emerge from the abyss with motions that become future agenda items and the dragon lady will appear...

7/29/2016 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

She tries to come across so sweet and community oriented, but she really a deplorable individual. She has now begun to blame Sandy for mosquitos on Nextdoor, and I am sure on Private Square as well. I have to tent my house soon. I think I will submit a letter to the Pilot blaming Mensinger for termites.

7/29/2016 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

de Arakal sold out long ago. Maybe he's still your friend Mr. West, but he's certainly no friend of Costa Mesa.

The $100/month for sitting on the dais looking cute is Mercurio's compensation for running the extremist counter to Bubbling Cauldron. Bootlicking has its rewards.

7/29/2016 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

You can tell by Steve's comment in the DP that he has no idea what's going on with mosquitos. Sandy has been working with Vector Control to resolve the problem, as is also documented on Nextdoor.

7/29/2016 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

She should be judged by her votes not her comments or lack thereof. Personally there are a lot of elected officials that would serve the public better by listening rather than talking.

7/29/2016 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Hey, if the Parks & Rec guys want to have to double down on their work because of the lack of substance on her part, so be it. Julie is too busy on Facebook with fake profiles making political attacks to have to worry about such things such as appointed committees.

No honesty required, no knowledge required, no background or education required. Just kiss the "boots" of the councilmen and you're appointed. Pretty sad for this city. But then again, look at the mess this city has become from every angle. This city has gone so far downhill in 6 years its breaking my heart.

Fire station 1 is literally falling apart. No air conditioning either. Our CMFD and CMPD are cut so badly it can barely function, which puts residents at risk.

Traffic has gotten so bad there are several intersections now that are rated as "fail". But more high density planned for all up and down Harbor and on the east side of Newport Blvd, up to 50 units per acre. Gridlock anyone?

Our budget is a mess. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, and telling us its balanced. Not even close.

We have councilmen that have no experience in running a city or even decently running a business. Now they're appointing people to commissions because they are "mothers".

Remember in November, or this city is doomed.

7/29/2016 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

David, while I don't disagree what many politicians might do better if they listened more, but in this case her only role last night was to suck up valuable oxygen. We pay those commissioners $100 per meeting. She's attended 2 and contributed ZERO. I want my money back!

7/29/2016 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

Mercurio is just another one of Riggys lap-dogs and when he told her to heel, she heeled (drop out of the election).

7/29/2016 03:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Heart for Costa Mesa said...

There were other mothers on that list, some of them had impressive credentials other than biological status. However she got appointed, I'm all for giving her a chance. She has said some nasty things about people, she may seem vacuous. Time will tell. I'm not in a hurry to judge her since I'm not perfect myself. Maybe she will do well in this office.

7/29/2016 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

You're too kind to her. Two meetings, no contribution at all. It's not unrealistic to expect a commissioner would be prepared to offer some kind of comment during those meetings. It's obvious why she was appointed, so I cut her no slack at all.

7/29/2016 11:16:00 PM  
Anonymous breaking bad said...

This entire defense mode of Mercurio's application is a farce. Her application alone, to be on an important city commission, was a slap in the face to the entire city. But it also shows you the deceit of the people defending it. All of them knowing full well why she was appointed. But looking at her application they only have one real defense. The mother card! De Arakal and the rest disgust me for their deceit. This isn't about disrespecting being a mother. Nobody has done that inspite of how they try to twist it. It always makes me reconsider someone's character when they pull that crud to deceive the public. The issue is there were other wonderful moms and dads that applied who's qualifications had so much more above just the support qualification of being a parent. Some of them had phenomenal qualifications above and beyond their being a parent. I think being a mom or a dad is a nice addition to your application to support all your other talents and qualifications. But most everyone is a mom or dad, or brother or sister, or son or daughter. Those alone don't make you qualified for a commission seat where important city business is done. And certainly raising questions or believing just being a mom or dad doesn't qualify you for an important city position is not disrespecting motherhood as the defenders falsely try to imply. Now if everyone else only listed being a mom or dad, then OK I could see how you might have chosen Mercurio. But when you look at the other moms and dads qualifications that did apply. Seriously? And now you defend that by deflecting, denying and misrepresenting the real reason that everyone knows why she was appointed. Well on a support note, this whole charade and dishonesty about this just might make her extremely qualified because as we can we see there's a lot of deceit and dishonesty these days sitting on the various commissions and committees.

7/30/2016 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous breaking bad said...

Aurthur Nern, I have to agree. De Arakal was once a Return to Reason guy. Supporter of Bruce Garlich and Mike Scheafer. Then as far as I can see he became a consultant or promoter for developers and bam, his lively hood now depends on development. Chris Bunyan is even worse. The head of save Banning Ranch and the guy who personally attacked Jim Righemer for all the development just a few years ago has now become one of their lapdogs. Everyone should really do a search on Bunyan Righemier and watch some of the videos or read some of the articles. They will blow you away when you compare to what he is doing now. He co-signed the argument against what he would totally have supported just 3 years ago. Heck supported, he probably would have coauthored the initiative 3 years ago. Bunyan is bucking for something now and has sold his soul to the devil too. My guess is De Arakal gets paid back for his writings and comments with a Planning Commission seat and Bunyan gets a vacant Parks and Recreation Commission seat.

7/30/2016 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous breaking bad said...

Like I said a quick search reveals so much. This is from a Daily Pilot article by Bradley Zint dated April 1, 2014.

Christopher Bunyan's candidacy for Costa Mesa City Council is, in his words, about "climate change."
He's not referring to greenhouse gases, but rather to the political climate in which the City of the Arts finds itself in 2014. He cites the two council members suing the police union over alleged extortion, the municipal employees union suing the city over a failed pink slip attempt, the staffing problems at the Police Department and the threats of development at Fairview Park and Banning Ranch.
"I really don't think that [Mayor Jim Righeimer] and the council majority has engendered a culture that's friendly to anything in this city," said Bunyan, 40.

7/30/2016 01:14:00 PM  

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