Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Well-rested Council Makes Quick Work Of Agenda

The Costa Mesa City Council, which has been on walkabout for nearly a month, dispatched the agenda at its meeting Tuesday night in near-record time.  Even though they had special presentations and a gaggle of public commentors, the council finished its work at precisely 8:00 p.m., barely two hours of work.
When they emerged from their Closed Session City Attorney Tom Duarte announced that Item #3 had been settled.  That was a lawsuit between Police Officer Jeffrey Horn and The City.  Duarte said that, on a 5-0 vote, the council agreed to pay Horn $200,000.  Well, on the Warrant on the agenda this evening there is the following entry: (click the image to enlarge it)
My question is, since the Warrant is supposed to represent checks already cut over the past several weeks, and when you add the legal fees and the amount paid to Horn on this entry it totals exactly $200,000, is THIS the entry of the settlement?  If so, how did checks get cut before the council voted on the settlement?  If not, is this an additional amount?  This is very strange.
Mayor Steve Mensinger was in his element when he presented awards to both Costa Mesa Little League Teams.  He's right - he should have been a coach, not a politician.

During Public Comments Several people stepped up to address issues important to them.
Beth Refakes reminded us for the final time of the Gown collection drive for the women of the 1/5 Marines.  She praised  Jim Righeimer and Katrina Foley for their community meetings last week.  She was also concerned about the delay in the renovation of Council Chambers and the status of the rebuilding of Fire Station #1.
Greg Thunell raked the council over the coals for making bad decisions - I'm giving you the abbreviated version of his comments.
Linda Dean pleaded for relief for parking issues on Coolidge.
Alex Reich, a candidate for a seat on the Mesa Water District Board, briefly addressed the problems with Desal.
Tamar Goldmann expressed concern for the loss of meeting space for many users when the Neighborhood Community Center is demolished and hoped it could be delayed.  She cited specifically the Freedom Committee as one user that might have trouble finding space.  She referred to a problem with the funding of the new NCC/Library complex.
Kim Hendricks, peeved that she arrived one minute too late for her PowerPoint presentation to be used, suggested we all vote YES on Measure AA.

Mary Spadoni praised resident and attorney Eleanor Egan for her victory over some very high-priced attorneys in her successful quest to get bogus rebuttal language removed from the ballot last week.
Cynthia McDonald also mentioned Egan's accomplishment and suggested we visit for more information.

An unidentified woman compared Mensinger to a Reverse Robin Hood - taking from the residents and giving to the developers.  She referred to his slate as being referred to as "Team Costa Mesa", but suggested they should be referred to as the Developer's Dream Team (DDT), and made the comparison of the developer's activities in the city to that toxic substance.

During Council Member Comments, Gary Monahan - as usual - had nothing to say.
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, fresh off his misinformation-spreading gambit in Newport Beach last Thursday morning, had remarkably little to say.  Addressing the Coolidge parking issues, he suggested Permit Parking.  He asked for clarification on the NCC/Library issue.  Assistant CEO Tammy Letourneau said there is plenty of available space for the users of the NCC and that her staff is working with them to locate the right space for them.  She also said there is NO PROBLEM with the funding - that everything is on schedule.
Mensinger said he could help the Freedom Committee - I don't know if he meant he would house the meetings in his new palatial golf course estate, or what.  He was unclear.

Katrina Foley spoke about her meeting last week in which she and Sandy Genis spoke to members of the public in a range of issues, including Permit Parking.  She said her next meeting will include discussions of the Skate Park, Sober Living Homes and the NCC/Library issue.  She also told us about an apparent sober living resident who has been wandering in her Mesa Del Mar neighborhood and actually knocked on her door at midnight last week.  She was arrested for break ins in the neighborhood.  She also expressed concern for the misinformation that is being spread from the dais.
Genis also spoke of the Coolidge Street parking issue. She also mentioned a group that has been formed, apparently by a Wilshire Blvd. law firm in Los Angeles called Costa Mesans Against The Power Grab, and thought it was curious that a remote law firm was involved.  She expressed the opinion that if this group is concerned about residents actually wanting to take back control of their government, "maybe it's about time".  To me, this smells like the stench of developer dollars trying to influence our election.
During his segment CEO Tom Hatch said progress is being made on the mosquito issue in Fairview Park.  He said Fire Station #1 rebuild is on schedule.  An architect has been hired and a consultant is being selected to help with the planning of continuing service while the building is re-built.  He said construction would begin in February or March.  He didn't have an answer on the long-stalled Chambers renovation.  He also expressed concern for the condition of our urban forest, indicating that we're losing many trees due to the drought and our conservation efforts.
Two items were pulled from the Consent Calendar, #5 and #7, for later discussion.

Because it was still well before the witching hour of 7:00 p.m. when Public Hearings are to begin the council jumped forward on the agenda to New Business #1 - the last item on the agenda.  This is the selection of voting delegates at a convention in Long Beach in October.  Mensinger will remain the primary voting delegate, with Righeimer and Genis as voting alternates, decided on a 5-0 vote.
With time still to spare they tackled the Consent Calendar items.  Foley stepped out of the room for #5, the artificial turf for the Jack Hammett Sports Complex because she lives within 500 feet of it.  The remaining four made quick work of it because the person who pulled if for discussion had left.  It passed on a 4-0 vote.

Item #7, amendments to the Field Use and Allocation Policy (FUAP), got much more attention.  Genis pulled this item for clarification about certain users and their status.  Recreation Manager Justin Martin - who Mensinger referred to as "Travis" during the discussion, confusing him with his predecessor, Travis Karlen, who has moved on to Irvine.  The discussion revolved around giving "our" kids - Costa Mesa kids - priority on field use, and included some comments about enlisting Newport Beach to share some of their fields and to get clarification from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District on a recent change in THEIR field use policy that seemed to conflict with our Joint Use Agreement with them.  Martin will handle that.  Eventually they passed the issue, 5-0.
Public Hearing #1, the amendments to the North Costa Mesa Specific Plan, was presented by Minoo Ashabi.  This issue just brings those areas into conformity with the recently-approved new 2015-2035 General Plan.
Public Hearing #2 was the 4th amendment of the Segerstrom Home Ranch Development Agreement.  Justin McCusker, representing the Segerstroms, helped with some history on this issue.  There were a couple timeline-related questions that he and staff will research, but the issue was passed on a 5-0 vote at precisely 8:00, after which Mensinger adjourned the meeting.
If you refer to my previous entry - the preamble to this meeting, HERE - you will realize that the council just blitzed through the Consent Calendar and all those interesting, expensive issues.  And, I'm told, that entry on the Warrant in which we theoretically cut a check for more than $26,000 to the City of Newport Beach was a typo - it should have actually been Huntington Beach.  It's not clear to me whether the typo was on the report or the check.  If it was on the check, our neighbors in Newport Beach will be having one big party!

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