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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Council installs new members, updated 

The Council meeting Tuesday evening was an interesting study in timing. As expected, the Council majority elected two of their members as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem

And, as expected, the anti-everything group, fielded a slate of speakers, mostly members of CM4RG (see Blog 10 Oct); fortunately their resident singer only brought a CD of a song instead of singing it to the Council. He offered the Council the opportunity to make their own copies, but no one took him up on his offer.


The Council members lauded retiring City Deputy CEO Peter Naghavi and  outgoing Mayor Eric Bever. Many of the speakers praised Bever and Naghavi as well, whether they favored Righeimer or Leece for Mayor. 

Bever's Legacy is large, but his most-mentioned accomplishment was thwarting the I405 changes that would have hurt Costa Mesa. He faced a "done deal" and rallied the support and testimony needed to get the Orange County Transit Authority's (OCTA's) plan reversed.  His persistence in building infrastructure for  the Westside also came up repeatedly. A good job recognized belatedly by his opponents.

Unexpected bile from the new Council Member

What surprised us was the acrimony and divisiveness from Genis when she was supposed to be praising her nominee for Mayor, Wendy Leece. This is usually the time that nominees get slathered with accolades for their virtues, since the vote is a formality; the majority members will fill the honorary positions of Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem pretty much as they please. However, she chose to insert acrimony and start dividing the Council into “the guys” and “us.” This was not only futile, but in poor taste.

Perhaps her testifying against Costa Mesa when she was miffed (see blog 20 Oct) was an omen. And, as Councilman Mensinger noted in gently chastising her for her comments, it might be an omen for the next four years.

At least four of the next six speakers chimed in to criticize her antagonizing and dividing the Council; to her credit, she reversed course during her comments about her Mayor Pro Tem nominee (Leece again) and sounded (very) slightly contrite.

She should be more savvy than that

She did not sound like an experienced and savvy politician, she sounded like a brat who was being thwarted. Surprising, for she should know better. And, her animosity and divisive comments probably were embarrassing to her supporters who spoke about “bringing peace and healing that is sorely needed to this council.” 

She campaigned in part by promising healing. Yet the rift-tearing and animosity tonight came from Genis, herself, the newest Council member. 

Politicians sworn in

Mensinger promised to uphold his “Promises to Costa Mesa” and Monahan, a very able politician, spoke of his commitment to the work that needs to be done to help Costa Mesa.

Problem clear to most

Many of the speakers  mentioned the need for financial security for the city, citing the unfunded liabilities posed by the retirements of city employees. Righeimer reiterated his desire to solve the unfunded liabilities issue and to prevent any employee from losing a job or their retirement.


It’s disquieting to note that the Daily Pilot article filed after the meeting comments about Righeimer’s desire to "enact a city charter and lay off employees," which, as far as we know is a gross misstatement of his position. Perhaps the reporter got his information from the CM4RG group that attributes some pretty far-fetched ideas to folks (and charter provisions) that they find disagreeable.

The reporter also stated that the majority of the speakers favored Leece for Mayor but the Council installed Righeimer anyway. First of all, the speakers are spectators, not participants. The Council elects their leaders, the spectators don't, so the majority opinion of the spectators is irrelevant. Second, our count was about 18 to 16 – a majority to be sure, but a small one. (Another blogger listed the count as 20 to18.) 

The article was slanted to suggest that the Council ran roughshod over the people, the proposed charter was beaten by (local) money raised to defeat it, and the "pink slips" (required notifications that job was being studied for outsourcing) were rescinded when the number of jobs under study fell from 200 to 70.

Perhaps the Pilot should conduct some Civics 101 and Descriptive Statistics classes for reporters needing help. Or, the authors should call their work “opinion columns” rather than news. Maybe that quality of reporting is what’s driving the Pilot out of print.


After a reception for the new Council, further business continued, per report, including setting a seating arrangement. The two female members, Genis and Leece, will now sit adjacent to each other. Blogger Geoff is appropriately and predictably irate that the majority of the Council voted for majority candidates and that the candidates' seating wasn't to his liking. 

Big, well-behaved crowd 

The crowd was large, and mostly well-behaved. Toward the back a constant murmur of conversations among the CM4RG group distracted and annoyed those of us trying to hear what the speakers and Council Members were saying. Courtesy apparently isn't their forte.

Some young people gave their comments at the meeting, too, an example of courage and involvement. They may have all been Council Members’ kids; however, they were brave and forthright.


As a matter of record, both female Council Members were decked out in “power red,” but weren't seated closely enough initially to have their outfits clash. After further business they were seated together and will have to coordinate their outfits in the future.

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