Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Short Meeting Abruptly Ends With A Bang!

Just when you thought Costa Mesa City Council meetings couldn't get more strange, the Special Meeting - called because the Mayor wanted to go to a party Tuesday night - is right up there with the most weird meetings on record.  As it turned out, there was barely a quorum.  Katrina Foley and Gary Monahan were absent, leaving only three council members on the dais to perform their duties.  That becomes very important at the end.
Oh, it all began nicely enough, with Mayor Steve Mensinger bestowing his Mayor's Award on Westside businessman, John Hawley.  Hawley has operated Railmakers since 1969, when he began it to provide all manner of stainless steel rails for the burgeoning boat business.  Although much of that business has diminished, Railmakers remains the source for not only rails, but specialty items and art work.  And, Hawley is a good guy who cares about the community.  He speaks out on issues important to him on occasion.
Fourteen people spoke during Public Comments.

Beth Refakes reminded us of the Trunk or Treat candy drive for the children of the 1/5 Marines - our adopted unit from Camp Pendleton.  Individually wrapped candies may be dropped off at City Hall.
Alex Reich read segments of Costa Mesa Sanitary District Director Bob Ooten's recent essay describing the proposed merger between CMSD and Mesa Water, specifically quoting Mesa Director Jim Fisler.  Reich is running against Fisler.

Flo Martin thanked the city staff for being responsive to her complaints about the Tanager Bike Trail, and showed images of the damaged pavement.  The City will repair it soon.

Barrie Fisher spoke to compliment the City on the new housing near her home on Victoria Street.

Steve Chan criticized the council for allowing the new night club, Holiday, for operating in violation of state law, observing that it was because of campaign contributions.
Denise Davis spoke about the proposed development at 440 Fair drive.

Greg Thunell spoke critically on the ethics of the council majority.

Chris McEvoy spoke about a Facebook exchange he'd had with Mensinger, observing in included lies and misleading information.

Ralph Taboada criticized Mensinger's campaign flyer, citing many lies and misrepresentations.

Terry Koken limbered up his vocal chords and crooned to the council a little ditty about council candidate - and former Mayor - Allan Mansoor.  He posted the text of his song as a comment on my previous post.
Kim Hendricks spoke in favor of Measure AA, criticizing opposition mailers.

Cindy Brenneman told us she'd already voted, but posted her ballot choices on Facebook for all to see.  She is in favor of Genis, Humphrey and Stephens for city council.

Robin Leffler opined that she missed collaborative government, where the city council would actually listen to the public.

An unidentified woman criticized the upcoming development at 440 Fair Drive and observed that Mensinger was somehow involved with it.
During Council Member Comments Sandra Genis praised Hawley and commented on Fire Department Pay - it had been brought up in a public comment, then compared to pay scales for some private sector manufacturing jobs.
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer who said he didn't have anything to say, used ten minutes to pillory the Fire Department for hiring Mike McGill of the disbanded law firm that had represented the Costa Mesa Police Association.  He brought up his family, specifically mentioning his three daughters and wife.  He said the Costa Mesa Firefighters Association has $400,000 to spend on this election and have allocated $160,000 of that for help for candidates opposing Mensinger, Mansoor and Ramos.  He said he wasn't going to campaign from the dais, then did exactly that.  Again, remember that he's been codified by the court as a liar.  He demonstrated that again Monday night.
Mensinger was next and he took over where Righeimer left off.  He criticized his critics.  He read from what he said was the Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir playbook.  He described it as "stuff of Orwell" - we presume he's actually read Orwell.  He brought his family into the discussion, describing two sons, wife and mother-in-law and complained about the comments from Terry Koken that implied maybe the Fire Department might take a half-hour to respond to an emergency at his home.
CEO Tom Hatch had nothing to say.

Public Hearing #1, the development proposal at 2850 Mesa Verde Drive East which will replace office buildings with 11 high end single family homes was next.  Several speakers spoke against the project, including some folks who would lose their businesses/jobs.  Finally, Righeimer made a motion to approve the project with some tinkering of the length of time the tenants would have to relocate - from 9 months to a year, apparently busting at least one lease that was to stretch to three years.  Interesting.  Apparently the developer, Peter Zehnder, didn't have enough answers to satisfy the council because he was advised to bring the property owner and more answers the next time.  The council approved the issue on three separate 3-0 votes.
Finally came the discussion of Public Hearing #2, the proposed amendment to the SoBECA Urban Plan that will permit 450 dwelling units.

Jay Humphrey observed that this urban plan didn't have to comply with the other urban plans and complained about the density of the proposal.

Robin Leffler also was concerned about the density and traffic.

Mensinger immediately jumped on Leffler's comments.  Glaring down at her from the dais as she sat in the front row he pilloried her for complaining about everything, citing past projects - IKEA, Auto Club.

As the discussion continued with Righeimer carrying the ball he reached a point where he was ready to make a motion, and did.  Mensinger asked Genis if she wanted to second it.  She said NO.  She then asked Deputy City Attorney Tarquin Preziosi if this vote required a 3-0 vote or a 2-1 to move it forward.  He replied, citing reasons why a 2-1 vote was sufficient.  With that Genis said, "OK, I'm leaving.", and she grabbed her paperwork and left the dais.
Righeimer and Mensinger were stunned, and tried to call her back so the vote could be taken.  Genis kept on walking, now off the dais and leaving the auditorium.  Righeimer quickly urged Mensinger to call the question, which he did.  He and Righeimer voted YES.  City Clerk Brenda Green called the result as, "The item passed on a 2-0 vote."  Of course, it CAN'T pass on a 2-0 vote - there was no quorum!  Methinks this will have to be sorted out Tuesday by the lawyers...
Mensinger tried to continue on with the meeting, but was reminded that they had no quorum, so he bumbled the closing by asking folks to keep kind thoughts for Ken Shelton, husband of Hatch's Executive Assistant, Kelly Shelton.  Ken is in the hospital in critical condition.  Mensinger, for some reason, found it necessary to say, "It looks like he's not going to make it."  Geez!  Is there a more awkward, terrible public speaker?  I don't think so.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

You're right, Geoff. That last comment was absolutely unbelievable. Of course everyone wishes and hopes for the best for this man and our thoughts are with the family. But to make a comment like that form the dais is beyond stupid.

Good for Sandy for not participating in their underhanded and most likely illegal shenanigans. She can hold her head up for not participating in that kind of crap. We knew last week that Gary wouldn't come back. Good for Sandy for giving them a dose of their own medicine.

What a ridiculous bunch Mensinger, Righeimer and Monahan have become. If we vote Mensinger out in November, we won't have to put up with this crap anymore. Keep Mansoor out of ther also. He's just as bad, if not worse.

Kudos to Sandy!!

10/18/2016 07:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Xyn Bohemia said...


10/18/2016 07:59:00 AM  
Anonymous zennymoon said...

When you think they can't get any dumber or any more hateful, they find the path to spit in the face of the city and it's residents. They ar amazing for their capacity to lie, I'm speechless. SANDY GENIS my hero, stood up for the residents and walked off dais. She has trye hutzpah. This sham majority are vindictive and self-absorbed, NOVEMBER 8...show Mensinger and Monsoor and Ramos how the city really rolls by voting for GENIS HUMPHREY STEPHENS

10/18/2016 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

SoBECA is dirty and reminds me of TJ. For those of us that have been around awhile, I miss White Front.

10/18/2016 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Ocpublicsquare said...

Speechless. I left when he started to rail on Robin. I couldn't take it. Bullies go after those who can't defend themselves. He knew Robin wS fair game and he had the floor. What an ass!(can I say that?)

10/18/2016 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Flo Martin said...

Sitting in my usual place, the second row on the left side, I felt the same way I always feel when attending the council meetings: SMFH! (For those of you not "into" social media, the translation is Shaking My Effin' Head! Whatever happened to civility? Whatever happened to kindness? Whatever happened to understanding? Whatever happened to putting oneself in another's shoes? I left the council chambers disgusted and cursing profanities! (Just ask Cynthia...)

10/18/2016 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

That's just Steve being Steve. You know- rude, uneducated, incompetent and disrespectful.

10/18/2016 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

I find it appalling that the Mayor, once again, used his position on the dais to attack a resident. This resident and others worked to get a better project than originally proposed for the IKEA property. Because they pushed to shrink the project and for the Susan Street off-ramp, the traffic was reduced. Thank goodness! I do appreciate the tax money that IKEA brings, but finding a parking spot is challenging when it has a sale, or weekends before the holidays, or when the Fall quarter starts at UCI and new students start moving into apartments.
The claims that there are no traffic impacts are completely false and so easily disproved. Many of us have been at Harbor and Gisler when traffic was so snarled we didn’t make it through the intersection for several signals, and it isn’t a rare occurrence. I have been at South Coast Drive and Fairview when there has been gridlock.
There is a plan to widen Baker Street and Bear Streets to six lanes to accommodate the traffic that will be generated from the housing in the SoBECA area. Will this mean eminent domain for some of the houses that are adjacent to Baker? As we know, the bike plan was neutered by the City Council majority, so we can't get grants to fund bikeways or make developers provide bicycle infrastructure. All this points to another intersection with gridlock, but Jim and Steve don’t care because there is no gridlock when it comes to the flow of campaign contributions from developers and builders.
The disrespect this council shows anyone who slightly opposes them, no matter how polite that speaker may be, is disgusting. Mensinger is a childish bully and cannot engage in any form of discourse without trying to impose his "superiority". I feel embarrassed each time I explain to residents who are uninitiated to City Council meetings how low those who allegedly represent us can go to achieve their political ambitions. November 8 cannot come quick enough.

10/18/2016 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Terry Koken said...

Here's almost three minutes of what Steve said, transcribed off the Granicus[times are in brackets like this]:

Thank you. Uh and I’ll keep it short. I’m gonna tag on just a couple of things because I got I got several uh phone calls from people this weekend during my precinct walks uh who said ahem I had people come up to my house, I had a mensinger sign in front of my house, and they were firefighters, and I don’t think they were from our department, they were from I believe Huntington beach, um, but they uh they made snide comments um when the person said I don’t really have anything to talk to you about, I unders, I’ve already got my decision made in the election [1:10:13] and that person emailed me and several people said the same thing, they said am I, am I gonna get serviced, if I, if I do this, put your sign in front of I mean are they gonna come to my house and put out a fire and this is the problem, this is the issue, and Terry Koken brings it up, he, he, I mean he said it flat out, I hope your house burns down, that’s what Terry wants, and, and Terry said maybe they’re gonna show up a half-hour late, maybe they’re gonna show up a half-hour late, and the reality is that shouldn’t happen [1:10:40] Unions are great to bargain for benefits, and I’ve said this to the union representatives, bargain for benefits but don’t get involved in picking who you is gonna vote on your contracts. It’s as simple as that. It’s as simple as that, because once you do that, I’ve said this to the chief, once you do that fifty percent of the people are gonna be upset with the people that are there to serve ’em, cause you’re picking sides. The reality is you can bargain for your benefits without usin’ the playbook. So what is a playbook. Lemme read you right from the playbook. Campaigning. This is this is put out by LDME, Mcgill is working for the fire department. If any member of the governing body are up for elections the association should begin to actively campaign against them. Again, for their lack of concern over public safety. If you are in a nonelection year, make political flyers which you can explain will be mailed out the following year should the election season come your way. Focus on the individual. Avoid spreading your energy. Focus on the city manager. Councilperson. Mayor, or police chief. If they’re not on your side. And keep the pressure up until that person assures you his loyalty and then move on to the next vict-um. This was in the affidavit from the district attorney and the FBI investigation. That should give you chills. Folks. That should give you chills. [1:12:40 or close]

I haven't made any attempt to pretty it up or clear out the stutters. I'm speaker number 10, and my speech is given verbatim (close, anyway; may be a word or two different) on yesterday's post. Does anyone NOT think I've got grounds for a slander lawsuit against this lying fool?

10/18/2016 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

Did the mayor really pillory a voter at length? Did he mention her by name without giving her any opportunity to defend herself? Was his voice dripping with scorn while he did this?

You might want to see for yourself what the Pot Stirrer saw that moved him to write the following:
Mensinger immediately jumped on Leffler's comments. Glaring down at her from the dais as she sat in the front row he pilloried her for complaining about everything, citing past projects - IKEA, Auto Club.”

These remarks (about 3 minutes worth) begin at the 2:40:49 mark on the video from City Hall at http://costamesa.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=10&clip_id=2914

As I watched this, I wondered how people would score Mensinger on a continuum that has Donald Trump on one end and Peter Buffa or Joe Erickson on the other end. An instructive thought experiment!

10/18/2016 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Uncommon Duty said...

I moved to Costa Mesa 8years ago and am not able to comprehend the level of bad politics here. I've never seen such disrespect come from a city council member (namely Mensinger and Riggheimer)to a member of the city.

Kudos to Sandy Genis for walking out and not participating in their illegal shenanigans. Thank God we have Genis and Foley on the board to keep the other 3 in line.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE vote Genis Humphrey Stephens if you want your city run the way it should be run...for the people of the city.

10/18/2016 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous big boy pants said...

lovemygarden you touched on the real issue and fear in the city. October 2014 the Cadillac Dealer agreed to some mitigations that would make the project a little better for the local residents. However the mayor and mayor pro tem are not into reasonable compromises and making better projects. For them the residents don't count. Only the developer and his maximizing his profits at the expense of the residents matter to them. They removed the changes agreed to, passed the original proposal and then accused the residents of holding the developer hostage. This is a perfect example of how they agree to disagree. Certainly they cry often about can't we can agree to disagree without being nasty. But they always show and do the opposite. The whole family card they keep bringing up. Well ask yourself when have they shown any respect to the families of those they oppose. They demean, disparage and belittle most they disagree with. Sure they say they don't but watch what they really do. They are the biggest fakes ever seated on the dias.

10/18/2016 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger mesa verde madman said...

I think it's happening...the tide is turning.

10/18/2016 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin Leffler said...

I think so too. I hear encouraging things every day. Voters are more aware of what's going on.
I was upset when Steve started fabricating things about me from the dais, then I thought: Wow, this is about as good as it gets. People can see for themselves what he's like. they won't know how much of it was total baloney because as much as Steve and Jim love claiming a "point of personal privilege" when something irritates their thin skins, they won't allow a person in the audience to claim the point to correct outright lies about herself. But the inappropriateness, condescension, and mean spiritedness will be loud and clear. By the time he was done, I was so pleased with what he did that I wanted to thank him!

10/19/2016 01:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Little Stevie proved his character by intimidating that woman at the airport, "chest-bumping" a school teacher, being weird with female employees, and viciously attacking citizens from the dais. He is not fit to be mayor or hold any public office. He needs counseling.

Every former mayor deserves a legacy. When we re-do sewer infrastructure, the biggest outflow pipe should be named "The Mensinger."

10/19/2016 07:53:00 AM  
Anonymous big boy pants said...

Tim Sesler should be ashamed of himself. But I think this guy has no morals at all. Tim Sesler is or was on the Pension Committee. He makes a claim through a question about lack of police staffing. Over and over he regurgitates the false narrative he knows is false. Here is just one of his ways of presenting this - Tim Sesler "How many officers can we afford to hire at the cost of $5 million a pension? We're already nearly $300 million in debt due to retirement benefits"

As part of the Pension Committee Tim knows very well any new hire after 1/1/13 comes in at more reasonable pension formula. 2.7% @ 57. He also knows that New hires will be paying their full share. Yet this Sesler (as part of the Pension Committee) keeps spewing his BS. Here's a link to a Daily Pilot article clearly showing this Sesler fully knows his information and his comments are bogus.


What else make me sad is they scream we are hiring and yet say out of the other end of their bodies is the number of police don't matter. Then Tim Selser why are we claiming and defending this council by saying we are hiring so vigorously if it doesn't matter to crime and the cost of their pensions are $5 million?

Lastly we have this, Jim Fisler "I know our PD was! We finally have a great Chief in Mr. Sharpnack." Hear that former Chief Gazsi. Apparently according to Jim Fisler you weren't very good. I think the Port thinks otherwise.

10/19/2016 09:07:00 PM  

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