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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

You never know what might happen 

The City Council meeting last night was a good example of “you never know.”

The “Bully” and “Angry guy” Righeimer  and the “Bully” Mensinger acted beyond their authority, pressuring a developer for concessions. And, as we've seen throughout recent history, they acted on behalf of constituents. The usual Nay-Sayers said much less than usual. And all of the Council votes passed five-to-zero.

In this meeting the City Council only had authority to rule that the developer’s application met the legal minimum, which legal counsel assured them it did. Members faced possible legal action if they tried to modify any of the developer’s plans.

However, they used their implied powers aggressively to support their constituents. They pressured the developer's representative to offer more accommodations to the residents being displaced, irritating the rep and forcing him to backpedal and offer more. (He also reiterated the substantial help he had already offered.)

Citizens are their responsibility

Support of citizens requesting help has been a hallmark of this regime in the past, and is apparently continuing. It’s refreshing to see government supporting constituents, which we learned was the way it’s supposed to be when we took Civics classes. Kudos to the Council.

(Note that the Nay-Sayers didn't get time to complain about the Mayor and ProTem bullying people from the dais. They may get around to it in newspaper comments later on.)

Lookin' sharp and praise to start the meeting

Police officers in full dress uniform (and looking sharp) presented the colors, and the Council presented awards to a police officer returning from military duty. The council recognized Estancia’s football team and coaches for their victory in the “Battle of the Bell,” a traditional High School football rivalry in Costa Mesa. And the Council commended two maintenance workers who spontaneously rescued fire victims when they noticed smoke pouring from an apartment building.

The leader of the small, local group of “Anti’s” spoke several times, about several things – and even spoke positively once or twice. Even the protest singer – didn't  He just objected to something and moved on.

Minimal but annoying disruptions  

A (what’s a polite term for Nut Case?) demonstrated uncouth behavior by using the venue to try to recruit assistance for his effort to recall Mayor Righeimer. The mayor asked him several times to direct his comments to the Council, reiterating his right to say whatever he wants. He finished his appeal yelling to  the audience, ignoring the Mayor.  

A few folks in the audience deliberately ignored the rules about disruptive behavior which are posted on the wall and at the front of the agendas. They started to applaud or hoot after some Council comments, but shut up to the glares of the rest of the audience. Attention from the CMPD officers assigned to the meeting helped minimize rudeness.

Info to and from the dais

Ms. Genis made pertinent and at least once, perspicacious comments. Ms. Leece entered several discussions; out of respect for her office we’ll limit discussion of her remarks to noting that she suggested that Estancia HS had suffered from a rough, perhaps “ganglike” atmosphere when her children attended but that the atmosphere improved greatly when a school resource officer was assigned.

The coaches, teachers and athletic boosters we know were flabbergasted to learn that the school had been so rough – they hadn't seen anything like what she described. Of course, it’s all in the eye of the beholder – and in the agenda she wants to promote.

Another gem of (mis) information last night was the comment that the kids don’t know when the SRO is on campus anyway. We are certain that everyone interested knows, via word of mouth and text message, when the SRO sits in the car to write reports and when he enters the building. 

In a way it’s sad to think that such misinformed dreamers legislate for Costa Mesa. It’s  a lot like watching Senator Feinstein pointing a rifle at the audience, with her finger on the trigger, while pontificating as an expert about guns.(Even a fourth grader who had finished a basic safety course would handle a firearm more carefully.)

One citizen spoke in favor of changes to Fairview Park, and set a different tone for citizen input. He complimented the City departments for their responses and their efforts to make improvements.


So, we had positive citizen input (with fewer naysayers complaining), citizens asking for help when they felt helpless (losing their trailer park homes to development) and reaping the benefits of having “pushy, intimidating” Councilmen working for them. And, we had other folks with concerns scheduled for conferences with City staff to get their problems resolved.

The Council went out of its way to resolve problems brought to it by Costa Mesa citizens. We saw awards and presentations to Costa Mesa hero’s and champions. We saw Fairview Park improvements approved. All in all a long but peaceful meeting.

We don’t think that the improved atmosphere was greatly affected by the change in members (Genis added to replace Bever) or to the Mayor becoming “kinder and gentler.” It’s more likely that the relatively peaceful, if overly long, meeting happened largely because of two factors.

First, the Mayor deliberately lead an organized and efficient meeting. 

Second, the usual complainers largely just shut up. Their silence was appreciated, as was their leader’s effort to provide positive input.

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