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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rigorous Leadership, the "Riggy" way  

The Council Meeting last night was another example of effective political leadership. It ran (for a Council meeting) smoothly, items were discussed thoroughly, and the Mayor’s power was wielded judiciously. The approach Righeimer seems to be following emphasizes the positive.

For example, his “Mayor’s Awards” were given sufficient time and praised folks in Costa Mesa who truly deserve the accolades. One of his (outspoken) minority members, Ms. Genis, demonstrated a spirit of cooperation. His majority members played well together. And he got the business done in a reasonable time frame.

Lonely is a part of leaders' jobs

Leadership is lonely, and leadership of a multi-million dollar corporation or city is probably very lonely. Since he has enemies and opponents who are not only outspoken, but have news and social media venues, he gets a chance to read and hear criticism of every one of his decisions, thoughts and words.

For example, he gently admonished a speaker for dividing the Council into “the boys” and “the girls” during her remarks. Bloggers ignored his meaning and jumped onto his remark that “decisions …have nothing to do with genitalia.” Wow, he said a controversial word! His emphasis on getting away from viewing the Council as “the girls against the boys” was ignored.

That reminded us of being in seventh grade when a teacher mentioned “breasts.” The context is long forgotten.  Perhaps a few of the Costa Mesa commenters are really disguised seventh graders.

Accolades to Costa Mesans

In any case, the presentations to Costa Mesa’s Cheer Coach of the Year for 2012, and to the Estancia High School drama class and coach for their “Midsummer Night’s Dream” illustrated Righeimer’s cohesive and positive approach to City affairs. He also invited a speaker to promote the “Mayor’s Dinner” which is a fund raiser for art education.

But some were so anxious to complain they didn't listen

Speakers then complained about awards to athletes that ignore other subjects that are just as important!

It must be lonely being the Mayor of Costa Mesa; some of the “anti-mayor” folks don’t even notice all of the positive changes to the Council while they rush to find something to criticize. Righeimer is probably developing a real appreciation for the constant outrage Generals Powell, and previously, Patton and Eisenhower faced. Leadership can be lonely if you’re trying to win a war. Or if you want to make a good City better.

Helping the abused

Residents who are being displaced from a Trailer Park were back with more appeals for help (See blog 1/9/13). They insisted that the company buying the park is being, and has a history of being, duplicitous. The Mayor told the CEO to follow up and insure that the company involved is meeting the letter and the spirit of their commitments, including their verbal commitments. He’s probably going farther out on a limb and facing a lot of flak, but he’s trying to help constituents and willing to accept the consequences. This hasn't been noted by his verbal and blogging critics, either.

A citizen and blogger complained of funds spent to improve an alley in an area he described as a slum. The Mayor brought the City staff into the discussion to explain that funds were allocated to upgrade a lot of infrastructure, including that alley, but that the grant probably wouldn't cover slum rehabilitation.

Staff told the Council that letters were drafted to property owners in the area inviting their participation. Councilman Monahan pointed out that the property owners had ignored letters repeatedly over the past twenty years. That prompted Mayor Righeimer to direct the CEO to have the enforcement group, including two new enforcement officers, go into the area and start forcing compliance and improvement. Again, a “pushy” Mayor prodding improvements in Costa Mesa.

Another blogger summarized the citizen’s comments as “draining the swamp to get rid of the alligators” which seems an apt summary. It also seems like a good idea. However, the Cauldron again played “the racist card” by noting that the slum in question is populated by Hispanics. Like the “boys and girls” references, the ethnicity of a slum should be irrelevant to the City Council’s efforts. It apparently was to the Mayor who's trying to improve that area, too.

And some appointments

The City Council also made appointments to committees and commissions; see the previous blog today for a discussion of political naiveté centered on the appointments.

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