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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

City Council meeting 21 August

Crime around Lions' Park

Speakers addressed the council regarding increasing crime in the Lions’ Park area, citing residents and guests of two motels, and other transients, as being ongoing crime and safety concerns. “Shooting up” in the dumpster and in a grocery’s restroom was frequently mentioned. The residents and property owners were concerned the area was becoming a nidus for crime and drugs.

Council expressed sympathy, directed public works to develop a plan on lighting, the city executive to set up meetings with police, residents and a council member, and directed the police chief to get some officers off of motorcycles and out into the area. I thought the council worked through the executive – maybe mayoral hubris?

Naysayers are opposed -- of course

And, not surprisingly, a couple of members of CM4RG spoke, attributing the crime to decreased numbers of police officers due to the council’s refusal to deal honestly with the unions. One such attack, along with the presence of reps from the PD (and, I think FD) unions scowling in the back of the room provoked one of Bever’s tirades and probably Righeimer’s outburst that he would not be intimidated by union demands.

Spelled correctly and without all-capital-letters

I see that blogs, such as the Bubbling Cauldron, mention the dissents but ignore the many more expressions of approval of the council and of the COIN proposition. The bloggers and followers ascribe motives and apply insulting adjectives to the council members – except Leece. Though childish, their outbursts and their assumption of their omniscience are at least spelled right today, and they didn’t resort to screaming in ALL CAPS.


The COIN measure was supported by four CC members and a most of the public who spoke. Leece and members of the CM4RG group seemed reluctant to actually publicly oppose the transparency the measure promotes. Instead, they diverted attention to a past motion by Leece which would have required similar reporting but about most contacts and most subjects, regardless of cost or impact; this had been rejected by the Council as excessive when it was proposed.

End-run with rules

A CM4RG member said COIN must have taken more than the four hours allowed by city policy and Leece pounded on the issue. (This was a policy adopted to avoid over-committing the city staff for issues of one council member – Mensinger used more than four hours over the past year and a half without the authorization.) The interruption temporarily diverted attention from the support being offered for COIN. The rule will be reviewed at a future meeting.


I learned from this meeting: The majority of the council can and will act rapidly in response to legitimate complaints from citizens. Leece petulantly votes against everything if she’s miffed (and she takes many remarks personally even if she isn’t specifically mentioned) and against anything the other four support, and she is closely allied with CM4RG and the employee unions even meeting with them before the council sits. The PD union follows their lawyers’ playbook (see OC Register article 19 Aug). Most of the speakers expressed approval of the council and the COIN measure, but the blogs emphasized the opponents’ comments.

Bever and Righeimer seem to be losing control in the face of union and CM4-group pettiness and arrogance. A CM4RG member didn’t have any songs to offer at this meeting but tried to gift the council members with beer as a solution to their perceived “beer deprivation.”

NO to problem, NO to solution, just NO

As I understand the position of those opposing COIN it provides transparency in contract negotiations but not enough transparency in unrelated areas. Their position on the increasing crime is that its source is reduced PD manpower due to the council not negotiating with the union in good faith, and hiding their bad faith negotiations behind the closed negotiations. Thus the problem and the solution are both unacceptable and strictly a result of personality defects in four council members. I'm sure they will do better than this -- sooner or later.

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