Sunday, February 07, 2016

City Seeks Committee Volunteers

VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT
The City of Costa Mesa is currently seeking several residents to serve on the following committees:

Bikeways and Walkability Committee
Cultural Arts Committee
Historical Preservation Committee
Finance Advisory Committee
Housing and Public Service Grant Committee
Pension Oversight Committee

FOR MORE INFO...
For more information visit the city website HERE, for complete details on the duties for each committee and the number of vacancies on each.  The deadline for applying is 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 19, 2016.

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Bike Committee Had A Full Meeting



NOT A FULL TEAM AGAIN
The Costa Mesa Bikeways and Walkability Committee met again Wednesday evening at City Hall and managed to fill the time provided with productive discussions.  The committee membership is down to twelve (12), plus Brent Stoll and Dr. Kirk Bauermeister.  Two members and Stoll were absent last night.  Three positions will be filled with the current recruitment effort for this and several other city committees.  Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 19th.

TAXING CARS FOR BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE
Member James Kane did more work on an analysis of Senate Bill 1183, HERE, which theoretically provides for up to $5.00 per vehicle annually to be assessed by cities, counties or other park districts to fund bicycle enhancements within their boundaries.  The following slides outline what he found out.
Apparently, there are NO jurisdictions who have taken advantage of this bill.  It would apparently take a local vote to enact the process and there are few politicians willing to impose a new tax.  It's an interesting concept, though.  According to the data Kane provided, it could provide net revenue of more than $400,000 annually for such efforts.

WEST 19TH STREET BIKE TRAIL PROJECT
There was a presentation by Min Zhou, Project Manager for KOA Corporation, the consultants working on the 19th Street Bike Path project.  They gave an overview of the project to the committee and answered several questions.  This plan will be presented as a community outreach effort in the near future, so members of the community nearby or with special interest can attend in a larger venue to hear the plans and offer comments.
 PRESENTATION OF GOALS, OBJECTIVES AND.... "RECOMMENDATIONS"
Chairman Ralph Taboada and Vice Chair Cynthia McDonald briefed the committee members on their presentation of the Goals, Objectives and Policies presented to the City Council at a recent meeting.  Much discussion revolved around the negative reception their work product received, and the demand by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer that the "policies" be modified to be called "recommendations", even though the format is the preferred style for the General Plan update.
I sat through most of the meetings where this committee met and hammered out this excellent piece of work on a rushed timetable.  I, too, was surprised and disappointed with Righeimer's reaction to it.  Yes, there were a lot of words, and, yes, it took some time to carefully craft the document - but that was their charter.

RIGHEIMER'S MOTIVATION
Personally, I think there's more at play here.  I think that Righeimer realizes - although he didn't say it - that the "rules" provided by the "policies" might negatively impact some future developments by his pals.  By calling them "recommendations" the staff can be instructed to simply not enforce those Righeimer finds objectionable.
THE REVISED MAP
There was also a lengthy discussion of the completion of the Bicycle Map for the Master Plan.  An example of a conceptual map was reviewed and, after discussion, it was agreed unanimously to put that map forward.  There was significant discussion about the method of presenting this map, with some members favoring approaching individual members of the council, while others strongly suggested to not use that tactic.  The committee will present the map to the council as a whole.

 NO TAKERS FOR CICLOVIA SUBCOMMITTEE, BUT...
Also on the agenda was a opportunity for the creation of a ciclovia subcommittee.  I wasn't at the meeting where this was proposed as an agenda item, but it seems like the plan was to form a smaller group to move forward with all elements of a possible ciclovia event similar to others held elsewhere.  When it came time for volunteers for this committee nobody stepped up.  The subsequent discussion resolved that it may be too soon for such an effort for this fledgling committee.
...AN OUTREACH SUBCOMMITTEE WILL BE FORMED
So, the conversation then turned to the creation of a broader Outreach Subcommittee, to begin with smaller steps.  Four members stepped up for this group - Chairman Taboada, Vice Chair McDonald, Rick Huffman and Jim Erickson.  The committee will wait until the next meeting, when a couple more members may be present, to fill out the five-person subcommittee and tighten the focus of its activities.  Discussions revolved around creating a presence at currently-existing programs in the city - like the Fish Fry and the Community Run - to launch greater awareness of this group and their efforts to improve bikeability and walkability in the city.
LOCKED GATES ON GREENVILLE-BANNING CHANNEL TRAIL
There was a brief slide presentation requested by Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob Graham, who was in the audience last night, regarding the possibility of finding a way to open two locked gates on the trail that parallels the Greenville-Banning Channel on the Westside of town to provide access to walkers.
NEXT MEETING IN A MONTH
The next meeting will be held on March 2, 2016 at the Costa Mesa Senior Center, which is undergoing termite treatment.  The meeting adjourned at 9:07 p.m. and the 9 members of the public in attendance departed.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Riverside Freeway (SR 91) Closure

 UH, OH!
Our old pals at the OCTA have sent out the following message.  Click on the image if you need to enlarge it.  Seems like a weekend NOT to head to Vegas or the mountains via the SR 91..

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Kudos To Neth, Boos To Righeimer And More


STARTED UPBEAT
The Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday night started out on a very happy note with the presentation of the Mayor's Award to former Costa Mesa Police Chief Roger Neth - a man who served this city proudly - as one of the first three officers hired and the second Police Chief- for more than three decades.
NICE NETH PRESENTATION
Costa Mesa Television prepared a very nice tribute video about Neth's career.   Mayor Steve Mensinger gave a preamble and a key to the city.  Current Chief Rob Sharpnack also paid tribute to Neth as he spoke about the core values he instilled in the department and the Chief also spoke about a few of the things of which he was most proud.  He mentioned that the Costa Mesa Police Department was on the cutting edge in using technology, such as the CAD/RMS system, videoing DUI suspects.  He didn't mention the helicopter program which he began, nor did he mention that Costa Mesa provided contract policing for the brand new city of Irvine, instilling those same values in that department.  Many of the contract employees became Irvine police officers when that department was formed.  That City is acknowledged to be one of the safest in the country.
WHERE WERE THE COPS?
It was a very nice ceremony, with some of Neth's family present.  However, I, personally, was disappointed that there were no other police officers except Sharpnack in the auditorium.  That surprised me...
POINTING OUT FALSEHOODS
The meeting fell straight off the cliff following the Neth presentation.  During Public Comments Mary Spadoni criticized the decision made at the last meeting regarding keeping the medical transport situation as-is, and cited chapter and verse from previous meetings where council members agreed to move forward with medical transport - and pointed out the falsehood made previously.
FIREFIGHTER'S PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT
Costa Mesa Firefighters Association President Rob Gagne then stepped up and also expressed his disappointment.  He gave a history of the steps the CMFA took to help the city with their contract and their support of  Interim Chief Tom Arnold's 17-point plan.  He then directly criticized Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer for statements attributed to him from an Orange County Register article, HERE, in which he made false statements .  In that article Righeimer accused the CMFA of blocking more efficient options, which Gagne vehemently denied last night.
RIGHEIMER RANT
At that point Righeimer flew off the handle and demanded a "point of personal privilege" to respond to Gagne, even though he would have time during his Council member comments segment.  As it turned out, he used BOTH opportunities.  He ranted and raved, saying he found it "shocking" that the Union President would make those statements.  He went on and on.  Not only was it embarrassing, but he lied during his rant again.
TAMAR RIPS THEM
Tamar Goldmann began her three minutes by hoping out loud that there were still firefighters in the house because Righeimer's rant caused her blood pressure to rise.  She then cited Chief Neth for his service and the standards he established.  She mentioned a conversation she had with former Chief Tom Gazsi - now the Chief of the Los Angeles Port Police - in which the performance of the members of the department was discussed.  She observed that, despite the unpleasant atmosphere created by the council majority, those men and women who had not departed continue to perform at a high level.  She said Gazsi attributed that to the culture created by Neth and other chiefs who preceded him.
EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA
Beth Refakes reminded us of the current candy/easter egg collection for the children of the 1/5 Marines at Camp Pendleton.

COMPARING CARE
An unidentified person provided a personal anecdote about the difference between Costa Mesa Paramedics and CARE Ambulance drivers, citing the inexperience of the CARE staff.
JAY TURNS HIS BACK
Former councilman Jay Humphrey, who lost a seat on the council to Righeimer by 47 votes in the last election, and a regular speaker before the council was apparently so upset with how the meeting was going to this point that he abandoned the several things he had planned to address and told the council that it was clear that they don't listen.  So, he decided to use his three minutes to communicate with them the only way he could - and he promptly turned his back to the council and just stood there.  He made his point.
WENDY JOINS THE CHORUS
Former councilwoman Wendy Leece, who has stayed involved in city issues since being termed out, also expressed disappointment in the Medical Transport vote.
CINDY'S SIGN
Cindy Brenneman also stepped up to express her disappointment in the council's unwillingness to listen to its staff and the consultants on the Medical Transport issue.  She spiced up her commentary, then simply used the remaining half of her time holding this sign.
HOPING FOR ACCORD
Robin Leffler joined in on the Medical Ambulance issue.  She indicated that friends called her a "Pollyanna" because she continued to hope for a good solution.
INITIATIVES AND MORE
Cindy Black told us "I'm no Pollyanna", then blasted Righeimer, saying, "That is not a pulpit and you're no preacher."  She then spoke of the citizen unrest and cited the Smart Growth Initiative that is in the works and the new Fairview Park Protection Initiative for which signatures are currently being gathered.  She also talked about the meeting Saturday at Fairview Developmental Center where input is being solicited from the public.  And, she encouraged folks to attend the meeting on February 10 in Morro Bay to reject the plan to oust the current Director of the Coastal Commission by developer groups.
CHAD (?) CONFERENCE
During Council Member Comments Katrina Foley mentioned the "CHAD" (?) conference in November.
GENIS ON CMPD PERFORMANCE AND FAIRVIEW PARK PLANS
Sandra Genis thanked the Costa Mesa Police Department for the professional way it handled the recent incident in her neighborhood where a man ran from an accident, fired a shot at police, but was later captured.  Among other things, she mentioned the recent agenda for the Parks and Recreation Commission that included items dealing with Fairview Park, citing the road that's planned, plus the parking lot lights, neither of which are part of the Master Plan for the park.  She also commented on CARE Ambulance response times, then mentioned that no council member may unilaterally decide on a relationship with another agency - that requires a discussion by the council and a vote.
GARY SEES DRUGGIES ALL THE TIME
Gary Monahan addressed CARE Ambulance and his vote.  He said he didn't like the numbers provided by the consultant.  He talked about Sober Living, citing the fact that Costa Mesa has two laws on the books but the courts have put a stay on their enforcement.  He spoke to the drug deals going on throughout the city- a speaker brought it up.  He said, "I see them all the time."  Interesting, no?  He also told us he profiles customers in his gin mill....
ANOTHER RIGHEIMER RANT
Then it was Righeimer's turn.  After mentioning the police action near his home, he went off on another anti-union screed about paramedics.  He reiterated the lie again that he didn't vote to buy the medical vans to transport patients, despite the fact that speakers had refuted his comments earlier.  He told us he was "Tired of this charade."  He said it twice.  He said he's only got 3 years left, then mumbled something.  Can he be that stupid?  Gee, I guess so.  By the way, while we're back on this subject, some of you may not have seem my commentary in the Daily Pilot Sunday on this issue.  You can read it HERE.
CLOSING REDHILL
Then came time for the CEO's report.  Tom Hatch had three issues.  The first was the closure of Redhill from Main Street to Pullman starting soon.  Here's a chart that shows it.
FAIRVIEW DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER
Then he addressed the Fairview Developmental Center issue, speaking that the General Plan would address that site for zoning for re-use should the State actually close it and sell the land.

FRANCIS' HOMELESSNESS REPORT
He then turned the segment over to Assistant CEO Rick Francis for an update on the Homelessness issue in the City.  The following series of slides explains what he told us.  Click on them if you need to enlarge them.
 BROWN ACT VIOLATION?
As the council members began to discuss this issue Genis interrupted and asked City Attorney Tom Duarte about the propriety of this practice - having an item presented without being agendized and having a discussion ensure.  She was concerned about Brown Act violations - this is not the first time this has happened.  There was NO mention of this presentation on the agenda.  Duarte told the council to keep any comments general in nature.  Mensinger blew it off, stating to Genis, "We have our City Attorney's opinion."  The arrogance of these guys is just unbelievable!
CONSENT CALENDAR
Finally, at 7:35, they got to the Consent Calendar and one item was pulled - the Warrant.  It would be discussed later.
FIFTEEN GRAND TO THINK ABOUT A FEASIBILITY STUDY
At 7:38 we got down to business on the only item on the agenda, New Business #1 - Katrina Foley's request for $15,000 for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District to BEGIN a feasibility study to provide more bleachers and other enhancements at the new Costa Mesa High School athletic complex.  This should have been a quick issue - it wasn't complicated until the council got their hooks into it.  This request is simply the starting point - and $15,000 likely wouldn't be the only funds necessary.  Earlier they had approved $50,000 for a feasibility study.  Round and round they went, trying to resolve issues that were not before them.

SCHOOL OFFICIALS AND MORE
Costa Mesa High School Principal Jacob Haley spoke briefly.  Costa Mesa High School Football Coach Glen Fisher addressed the need and thanked the council for moving this forward.  Two "football parents" spoke, also in support of the plan, as did Gay Royer.
KIRK'S INSIGHT
Foley asked Dr. Kirk Bauermeister to come up from the audience to speak to the issue, providing some insight to the school district's process.  He affirmed that they needed the $15,000 and a letter from the City outlining what they were looking for in order to proceed.  He also said there was no guarantee that they would proceed.
FINALLY, A VOTE
And round and round the conversation went before Monahan moved to follow the staff recommendation, but increase the amount to $25,000.  It passed, 5-0 at 8:30.

PEA GRAVEL AND SHODDY CONSTRUCTION
The Consent Calendar items were heard.  Al Melone complained about a couple bucks paid for pea gravel at the bark park.  An unidentified person wondered why we were doing business with Blackrock Construction, since we fired them for shoddy construction on streets projects in the city and resident, and former council candidate Lee Ramos was injured and sued the company.
COULD HAVE BEEN EARLIER
We were out of there at 8:40 - an hour later than we would have been except for Righeimer's rants.  I think I have a solution... the way he waves his arms around when he gets wound up, perhaps we should just have the Sergeant-at-arms handcuff him to his chair - or just slap some duct tape on his mouth.


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