Thursday, December 08, 2016

Here's My Wish List...

Well, the counting is over, the Registrar of Voters has certified the election and we know who our new municipal leadership will be.  Newcomer John Stephens and returning member Allan Mansoor will join Jim Righeimer, Katrina Foley and re-elected Sandy Genis to form what will certainly be a better-balanced City Council.  No longer will major decisions be made by two men - Righeimer and ousted Steve Mensinger, who assumed - correctly - that Gary Monahan would just go along.  Now decisions will be made based on what is best for the community, not best for a bunch of special interests.  I look forward to those discussions.

We don't yet know who will be running the show - nobody has yet been sworn-in and no Mayor nor Mayor Pro Tem elected - but that's going to happen next Tuesday.  I'm suspecting neither Righeimer nor Mansoor will be in those roles.  So, here are some of my random thoughts about what I would like to see happen downstream, beginning in January.


  • Abandon this CEO nonsense!  Tom Hatch is our City Manager, period!  This bogus experiment of trying to run the city like a business has failed - miserably!  This is a CITY, and the only business it's in is to provide safety and services to the community.
  • Begin City Council meetings at 6:00 p.m., not 5:45.  This is another hair-brained Steve Mensinger idea that needs to go - NOW!
  • Resume Study Sessions.  We need to return to the Study Session format at least once a month, maybe more, so ideas from staff and ALL members of the City Council can be fleshed out in an informal, free-flowing setting.
  • Abandon the requirement that Public Hearings begin immediately at 7:00 p.m.!  It makes no sense to be forced to stop other city business just to begin those hearings.
  • Stop trailing Public Comments to the end of the meetings.  Begin them early in the meeting and let the speakers address the council until everyone who wishes to has been heard.
  • Stop trailing items pulled from the Consent Calendar to the very end of the meeting.  This was a bogus scheme implemented so developers wouldn't have to sit around in council chambers.  Let them sit.
  • Re-assess what appears on the Consent Calendar.  In recent months there have been too many items that should have been part of the agenda.
  • Expect Hatch to have something to say more than, "Nothing tonight, Mr. Mayor." during his time in the agenda.
  • On that note, give Hatch a chance to do his job.  Stop micromanaging his office.  He's an experienced professional who has not been given the chance to perform.  Give him direction and turn him loose.  If he gets the job done, fine.  If he doesn't....
  • Also, on that note, council members should quit prowling the halls of City Hall, giving direction to staffers.  If you have an idea or a problem, tell Hatch unless he otherwise delegates it to someone else.
  • Ease off on the heavy-handed prohibition of expressions of appreciation and/or approval (clapping) by the audience.  Stop treating members of the audience like criminals on a perp walk.  It smacks of dictatorship.  You can't demand respect, but you can command it by your actions.
  • Discuss abandoning the COIN program.  It's proven to be non-productive, costly and impractical.
  • Meet in good faith with representatives of the Firefighters Association and resolve contract differences.
  • Discuss the implementation of Chief Stefano's deployment model, utilizing the Rescue Ambulances for most patient transport.  Utilize an independent company for overflow/Basic Life Support cases.  If the current provider, CARE Ambulance, continues to balk at that change, put it out to bid.  There will be someone out there willing to do the work.
  • Re-assess the staffing model for the Police Department.  Crime is up and recent laws and the proliferation of Sober Living Homes and Homeless folks in our community leads us to believe it will continue to rise.  Ramp-up police hiring to bring the staff to appropriate levels - probably no fewer than 150 sworn officers.
  • Re-install a K-9 unit.
  • Discuss the abandonment of the Small Lot Ordinance which was designed only to make life easier for developers and has placed extraordinary stresses on our single-family neighborhoods.
  • Roll back the Harbor and Newport Boulevard Overlay schemes in the new General Plan.
  • Evaluate the impact of Measure Y - the Smart Growth Initiative - on current and probable projects around the city.
  • Evaluate the impact of Measure AA on the previously approved projects that are currently part of the Fairview Park Master Plan.  At a recent Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Commissioner Byron de Arakal suggested the City Attorney perform that analysis.
  • de Arakal also suggested re-constituting the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee, which had been placed in suspended animation pending the completion of the General Plan, to have that body do an analysis of Measure AA impacts on Fairview Park projects.  That idea should be abandoned and that dormant committee should be thanked for their efforts and disbanded.  Measure AA has resolved those issues.
  • Disband the Senior Commission with our heartfelt thanks for their efforts.  That group has proven to be unnecessary.  We have an excellent City Staff running the Senior Center now.
  • Create an Airport Advisory Committee to stay abreast of John Wayne Airport issues and report back to the City Council.  We have ignored that very important issue and all signs lately are that the Eastside will soon feel an even greater impact.  We, the City, needs a seat at that table.
  • Consider disbanding the Pension Oversight Committee.  This committee has accomplished very little.  Either give them direction or thank them for their service.  Without state intervention, the only solution to our pension issue is municipal bankruptcy.  Whatever assignments they might have had in the future can be handled by the Finance Advisory Committee, if necessary.
  • Discuss the performance of our contract legal department.  When that contract was bid it was presumed that the winning bidder would be able to provide the full range of legal needs, including litigation.  This has proven not to be the case.  Establish a council sub-committee of Katrina Foley and John Stephens to lead an analysis of Jones & Mayer's performance and advise the full council.
  • Discuss exactly how Measure EE will be implemented now that we have a new council seated. How will district conflicts be resolved?  What is the process to fully implement this new law?
  • Ramp-up recruitment efforts for Public Services.  Our city is NOT well served in the long run by hiring contractors to fill the holes in that organization.  We have a dozen openings now that need to be filled.
  • Revisit the CMCEA contract.  It is non-competitive and is a disincentive for employees, creating a revolving door.
OK, that's about it for now.  There will be much more to be addressed as we move forward.  I'm sure most of you will have other items to add to the list, but that's my first pass.  I'm looking forward to watching all five of our council members working collaboratively together.  My fingers will be tightly-crossed in anticipation of real progress being made.



Blogger Marquis said...

I strongly disagree with "give Hatch a chance to do his job".

Hatch has had a chance and hasn't done it. He could have shown some semblance of a spine as the 3 council morons perpetrated their malfeasance on the city, but he just sheepishly went along with every idiotic thing they did. He cares about keeping his job, not the city. He should be fired and replaced.

12/08/2016 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Great list!
Its a new day in the CMC.

12/09/2016 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

Impressive list! I’ll add a few items:

Review the existing ethics policy to determine if it needs to be amended. Each and every council member must receive ethics training and take an oath to abide by the ethics policy. If a council member will not take the oath, they cannot take their seat on the dais.

Disclosure of ex parte communications needs to be complete and detailed. Open and equitable dissemination of information is imperative, particularly when it comes to planning issues. Adoption of the American Planning Association's Ethical Principles in Planning should be considered.

Get rid of the existing speaker card policy and procedure. It is a waste of time and paper.

Bring back public disclosure of fire and police incident reports with as much detail as legally allowed.

12/09/2016 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Change fireworks back to only the 4th of July evening...or get rid of them all together 😱... Is there a way to change the districts to what the residents (not the RIGmeister) wanted in the first place?

12/09/2016 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger always amazed said...

I will have to check out the senior center offerings now that I'm a senior. I was at a luncheon in San Clemente honoring my friend Christine Lambert Lang who designed their new center. It is AWESOME! Then I met the woman who runs a company that manages senior centers. I spoke to her about Costa Mesa, she said they offered to compete in creating this type of atmosphere here in our town, but were told no, the city is doing it. If you want a comparison go walk through the senior center in San Clemente in old town one st. over from Del Mar adjacent to the new fire dept. which was created at the same time. Two very modern facilities serving the community built at once to save costs. Opening onto different streets, so there is no confusing traffic but back to back. This company also serves the senior center Oasis in Corona Del Mar, which is really beautiful. Are we even running on the same race track here in Costa Mesa? Would like to see this become a priority to serve the oldsters well, there will be more and more community for it as years pass along.

12/09/2016 11:31:00 AM  

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