Monday, February 20, 2017

Some Special Issues On Council Agenda Tuesday

The Costa Mesa City Council meets again on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall, with a Closed Session meeting planned prior to that meeting 4:00 p.m.  There's plenty to pique your interest in both meetings and you can read the agenda HERE.
The Closed Session has four items on it - one item involves litigation between the City of Costa Mesa and Yellowstone Women's First Step House, Inc., and Sober Living Network, Inc.  The remaining three deal with labor negotiations with the Costa Mesa Firefighters Association, the Costa Mesa Division Managers Association and Unrepresented Executive Employees.  If you wish to comment on any of those items before they begin their discussions present yourself before the council at 4:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers.  The meeting will shift to Conference Room 5A following Public Comments on those items.

After the Open  Session begins and following Public Comments and Council Members Comments (4 minutes each), the Consent Calendar will be discussed.  These items, unless pulled for separate discussion by a member of the public, staff or council, will be voted upon in one vote.  At the last council meeting we had that rare occurrence happen.
Early in the Consent Calendar - Item #2, HERE, is Warrant #2571, which tells us how the City spent more than $8.6 million of your tax dollars.  Here's a sample of what you will find if you scroll down through that long, long list.
For example, there are two segments with more than 45 pages listing quarterly Retiree Medical Insurance Payments totaling more than $350,000 to retired employees.  Other entries of interest include:
  • Clean Street - $60,590.98 - Street Sweeping 12/16 plus more
  • G4S Secure Solutions, Inc. - $51,322.68 - Jail Facilities Svcs - Deec. 16
  • Jones & Mayer - $152,831.73 - Legal Svcs (various)
  • Motorola - $2,259,666.62 - 800 MHz Upgrade Project
  • STV Construction, Inc. - $71,355.00 - Prof. Svcs. Lions Park Project Nov. 16
  • Management Partners, Inc. - $6,302.00 - Consulting Svcs DS 12/16-12/30
  • MPS Consultant Services - $9,880.00 - Planning Consultant Services
  • City of Huntington Beach - $21,980.00 - Helicopter Svcs - Dec. 2016
  • ECS Imaging, Inc - $63,738.00 - Software Upgrade, Laserfiche
  • Kimley Horn & Associate, Inc - $30,735.53 - Community Imprv Thru 12/31/16
  • Keyser Marston Associates Inc. - $4,405.10 - Neighborhood Improv/Homeless 12/16
  • Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $9,050.10 - Personnel Legal (various)
  • Costa Mesa United - $55,210.95 - Athletic Facility Imp-Estancia
  • Johnson Favaro LLP - $85,135.77 - NCC/Libray Poject 11/16-12/15/16
  • SVT Construction Inc - $16,850.00 - Prof. Svcs Lions Park Proj. Dec 16
Item #5, HERE, is the resolution authorizing street closures for the 2017 Orange County Marathon in May.  There are eight (8) attachments to that staff report, including routes for all the events and affected streets.
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is the first public hearing regarding labor negotiations between the City and the Costa Mesa City Employees Association (CMCEA) as required by the COIN ordinance.  The staff report lists the elements of this Memorandum of Understanding, including Wage Increases, Retirement Contributions and Health Insureance Flexible Benefits Contributions.  Read the staff report and the attachment which lists the fiscal impact of this agreement.
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is the appeal of the Planning Commission's denial of a Minor Conditional Use Permit for two reserved parking spaces at 3033 Bristol Street, Suite A, (The Watch Connection).  This is a de novo hearing, so everything involving this project may be presented for the City Council's consideration.
Old Business #1, HERE, is the so-called Safe Route To Schools project involving East 19th Street from Church Street to the city limits at Irvine Avenue.  It involves traffic calming measures at all intersections along that route plus a couple of monuments identifying the area as "Eastside Costa Mesa".  The calming measures are similar, but not exactly the same, as have been installed along Broadway - which parallels East 19th Street a few blocks away.  This project was heard by the Bikeways and Walkability Committee recently.  Many Eastside neighbors spoke in favor of the project - except me.  My personal view is that this will force traffic to seek less restrictive routes to and from the 55 Freeway, particularly Costa Mesa Street and, probably, 20th Street.  I guess we'll find out.
New Business #1, HERE, is a $3 million project, of which the City is required to provide $310,071, to expand on the existing shuttle program between South Coast Plaza and area hotels to Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center and Disneyland, by adding midday shuttle service between the South Coast Metro area and CAMP/LAB.  Attachments are provided which enhance the staff report.
The final item on the agenda, HERE, is New Business #2, the designation of which seems somehow appropriate.  This is Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Genis' request to remove Planning Commission Chairman Stephan Andranian from the commission because she made a mistake when preparing her nomination forms - she marked them backwards, contrary to the instructions provided by the City Clerk -  at the previous council meeting when all three commissions were staffed and certified.  As I have said many times, this is a BAD IDEA and I hope Genis has used the long holiday weekend to reconsider her request.  There is no clean way to remedy her mistake - any solution will only perpetuate the chaos that has ensued since she announced it the day following the last council meeting two weeks ago.  I doubt if the current Planning Commission is anybody's perfect group, but it's a skilled quintet of volunteers with complimentary skills and backgrounds that could, and should, make for some balanced discussions of the sticky issues that face the commission downstream.  In my view, if Genis does pursue this on Tuesday the City Council should reject her idea and let this new commission - chaired by Andranian - get on with the business ahead of it.

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Blogger Joe said...

I was just in Target a couple of hours ago, and when I got my change from the nice cashier, I realized she had given me one twenty dollar bill too many. I immediately called her attention to this mistake and gave it back.

Andranian was given something by mistake also. He should do the honorable thing and give it back.

2/20/2017 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

If only it was that simple, Joe. It's not. If Sandy had immediately realized she had marked her form incorrectly and said something perhaps the council would have agreed on a do over. But, she made the same mistake THREE times and didn't say anything until the next day - after the council had certified the vote 5-0.

2/20/2017 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

Pot Stirrer: There are some complicated aspects to this issue and there is one very simple one. Some technical issues that Eleanor and I wrote about in the Saturday Daily Pilot are so important that they, in themselves, require a do-over even though they complicate matters.

On the other hand, the very simple consideration is not technical. It is political, but is an even more important justification for a do-over. It might be characterized as, “Dance with the one that brung ya.”

Over the last six years, several hundreds of volunteers have walked this city, knocking on doors and dropping flyers. They’ve spent much time and effort to resist Righeimer and to elect ABR (Anybody But Righeimer).

Rain or shine, volunteers have shed blood (think broken blisters from too much walking), sweat (walking on those super hot days last summer), and tears (tears of frustration over how easy it was for Righeimer’s team to collect the hundreds of thousands of dollars from out-of-town developers and contractors for spending on paid walkers, door hangers, signs, and ads).

The people have been at this since March of the year, 2011, that Righeimer took control of the city. The year that young Huy Pham was driven to commit suicide on the day he was to be terminated in Righeimer’s outrageous and illegal attempt to lay off half of the city workforce. The St. Patrick’s Day massacre, some call it.

These people also spent much time and effort to produce Town Halls that educated the people of Costa Mesa about city planning and other governmental issues. This gave them information they hadn’t gotten from the usual establishment-blessed sources. They helped voters realize and understand the various insults Righeimer’s out of touch bunch have made to the city.

In 2014, these hundreds of volunteers walked and dropped to help elect now-mayor Katrina Foley. But that wasn’t enough to tip control of the city away from the Righeimer-Mensinger-Monahan bloc.

So last year, like in 2014 and 2012, hundreds of people turned out for the election and walked and dropped for John Stephens, Jay Humphrey, and Sandy Genis. John and Sandy won and, with Katrina still on board, relegated Righeimer to minority status.

Happily, Righeimer’s dictatorial grip on Costa Mesa was broken.

So why not just let this unfortunate error-filled commission selection go and move on?

The politics of this say that the many voters who put “Anybody But Righeimer” in power expect to see a clean sweep of his malignant influences from political power. They want so much to get the city back on a good footing now and in the future. This means being, if necessary, just as ruthless to anybody associated with him as his team has been to anyone who disagreed with him in the past six years.

Granted, Election 2016 was a magnificent win for the people. But it’s not enough: Elections 2018, 2020, and on into the future need to be the same. The people must rule, not a developer agenda.

These hundreds of activist voters don’t want any part of their monumental winning effort to be watered down; they’ve invested too much to see any of it wasted on a less than best city hall.

For all these reasons, the Planning Commission selection must be done over, and done correctly.

2/20/2017 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

Tom, I dont think anybody with any knowledge of the past decade of Costa Mesa politics would disagree with the jist of your comments, or have nothing but plaudits for the dedication and resolve you and Eleanor have given this city. But this is an error that Sandy made, and she and the city will have to live with it. However, I am more optimistic than you and refuse to believe it will damage the city like the 47 votes in 2014. Steve Andranian is not Colin McCarthy.

2/20/2017 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous zennymoon said...

If this was JUST an error by Councilwoman Genis, and JUST the wrong person benefitted from it then JUST the person who should have been appointed should JUST be shit howdy out of luck.? That is JUST cra cra. Wrong today is wrong tomorrow. What about the fact that two different versions of the ballot were given out, 3 councilmembers received a ballot with 16 names and two with JUST 15 candidates.
This is a simple game of equity, How much do you trust a person who knows he was voted in by error and continues to hang on, knowing he is JUST is a product of a mistake? This is JUST a mess, so JUST UNmess it by using some integrity.

2/20/2017 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Thanks, Honeyman (I still get a kinda weird feeling when I type that!), for your response to Tom.

Tom, your summary is spot-on and I agree with you right up to the end. You and Eleanor produced a very thought-provoking essay in The Daily Pilot - and the unedited version you floated around Facebook is even more impressive. I think the residents will not be well-served by forcing yet another re-populating of the commissions - if you do one, you have to do three, since she made the same mistake on the other two, too. Am I happy that this commission has a slight tilt toward development? No, but my impression of the folks involved leads me to believe that they will assess issues fairly, produce some healthy debate and arrive at good conclusions. And, remember - in almost every case they hear the council has the final word if an issue is appealed. It is my fervent hope that Mayor Pro Tem Genis will withdraw her request. As always, I'm very grateful for your participation here, and for your ongoing concern for the well-being of our city.

2/20/2017 10:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Tamar said...

There was another error made in the selection of Planning Commissioners, one far more serious than Genis’s because it was a deliberate error of judgment, ignoring established procedure, as opposed to Genis’s inattention.

The compound error was the addition past the last minute of someone who only applied for a position on Planning Commission not just after the deadline for application, but also after the interviews for Planning Commission had taken place. Second, it had been agreed that each member of City Council was to choose three candidates to put forward for the vote; suddenly a 16th name showed up. The candidate herself had sent in a sterling application—for Parks and Recreation, yet her consideration for Planning Commission, without even a formal interview or application for this important position of Planning Commissioner, was way out of line, flouting both the deadline for application and the number of applicants to be put forward by each Council member.

While the current request on the agenda is to remove Andranian in order to correct Genis’ mistake, it is more important to correct the notion that individual council members can take policy decisions into their own hands. The volunteers that Tom Egan mentioned in his post celebrated the return of fair and reasoned decision-making. Let not this temporary lapse in judgment go uncorrected. Otherwise, it will cast a pall over city decisions for the next two years.

2/20/2017 10:26:00 PM  
Anonymous big boy pants said...

I agree with Joe. Andranian should do the right thing and resign knowing his being seated is cheating out another for her rightful position. Below is a commentary from Chuck Cassity regarding a situation that arose back in 2003. I believe Andranian could and should be substituted for Bever. Here is what Chuck wrote -

"Rarely has so much been done by so small an action

Kudos to Eric Bever. His decision to withdraw from consideration

as a prospective council member graphically established for all to

see his "improver" credentials. His withdrawal improved the council,

improved the city's bank account and improved my mood. Seldom in my

memory has anyone had such a positive effect on the city by not



2/20/2017 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin Leffler said...

Tom Egan hit the nail on the head. It's about representation. Although Sandy did make a dumb mistake, and perhaps agonized overlong about what to do about it, at this point one of the highest vote getters ( maybe the highest ever, the ROV site wouldn't take me past 2000) in Costa Mesa History does not have the representation she wanted on the Planning Commission, and unless things change on Tuesday night, the thousands who voted for her are deprived of that representation too. There needs to be a do-over. As we know now, hers wasn't the only mistake in this process. But that's a whole 'nother can of worms.

2/20/2017 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Robin, I don't disagree with you. It would have been very simple for each council member to appoint one commissioner - we don't need 7 on the Senior Commission. But, they chose to use this new system and it's nobody's fault except Sandy's that she screwed up her form. She could have gotten a Planning Commission she preferred if she had completed the form properly. I understand all the angst, as expressed so accurately by Tom Egan above - I really do. I've written tens of thousands of words about it over the past 6 years, for goodness sake. However, there is know no clean way out of this because it has dragged on for a couple weeks, with Facebook afire with observations and opinions. She can't just fire Andranian - the entire process must be re-done. Throw Woods into the mix and it just further complicates things. People keep talking about two versions of the forms, but I've seen no evidence of that. Perhaps Brenda Green can help us out with that information in the morning. We'll see...

2/20/2017 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Byron de Arakal said...

That Tom in his comment seems to equate Stephan to a "malignant influence" and then suggests even ruthlessness is a proper course for excising him from the Planning Commission is beyond the pale. Stephan's record as a planning commissioner doesn't come close to the former and certainly doesn't justify the latter. In any case, it's fascinating how quickly ruthlessness moves from a method worthy of indignation to one that is expedient and even acceptable in achieving a political end. Tom apparently is trying out the other side of the fence; the side he vilified for six years.

2/21/2017 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous zennymoon said...

Dear Potstirrer....I sent you via email the copt of my public information request. Contained within that packet were the ballots from each council person....look again, TWO of the ballots contain 15 candidates names.....three of the ballots contain SIXTEEN candidates, similar but DIFFERENT

2/21/2017 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

Byron: I know you are savvy and know how to wordsmith. So you must know that I am saying this city has had enough of the Righeimer/Mensinger/Monahan/Bever authoritarianism and, while we repair the damage to the china shop, we don’t want even a whiff of their politics for a long time.

This naturally requires that we can’t risk giving any aid and comfort to anyone who has been associated with the malign Righeimer regime – no matter how technically qualified he might be – lest it rear its [fill in the blank] head and slow the recovery.

While I don’t know Mr. Andranian, I know I have NEVER seen him in the past six years among the hundreds of people walking precincts, dropping flyers, and helping to produce Town Halls.

In contrast, I have seen Teresa Drain laboring in the trenches for years, faithfully working for a better Costa Mesa. Given the intensity of her commitment to right the ship, Teresa is a million times better for the PC than Mr. Andranian.

As for the fairness of playing hardball, being savvy and astute, you must know that the Righeimer regime, with the help of the OCGOP Central Committee, has turned CM politics into a small-town version of the vicious, unprincipled, ruthless, take-no-prisoners national politics begun by bomb-thrower Newt Gingrich back in 1994. It metastasized to the states and cities because it was intellectually led by Karl Rove (a super bright guy and utterly ruthless), policed by Grover Norquist (similarly bright and similarly ruthless), financed by elites like the Koch brothers (rich, bright, and ruthless), and evidenced so recently by Senator Mitch McConnell (smart and politically immoral) when he singlehandedly blocked the President’s choice for Supreme Court justice from receiving the constitutionally required “advice and consent” from the Senate.

Btw, you can spare me any guilt trips about hypocrisy; you’ve bounced around the corridors of power long enough to know that one cannot afford to “play nice” when facing ruthless antagonists. They will have you for lunch!

I think the public has clearly spoken in the recent election: “Take the town back, and make it snappy!”

2/21/2017 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Instead of violating the Brown act and getting together with Katrina and John (one of whom probably came up with this selection process), Sandy is bringing up the only solution to the council. They will either approve it, or not approve it and she will abide with their decision. The Parks commission was unaffected, and one person who got on the senior commission who would not have if Sandy had marked her votes correctly has resigned on her own with no prompting.

BTW, why no outcry about adding a name to the ballot at the last minute, and then electing a person to the planning commission who applied for and was interviewed for the Parks commission? That's how Jim got his start.

2/21/2017 01:56:00 PM  

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