Commentary: 'Revolutionary' Costa Mesa is councilman's spin

Re: "Costa Mesa is undergoing revolutionary changes," July 3: Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger's commentary, as usual, is more spin with only part of the story being told.

He talks about the city working closely with the American Civil Liberties Union on an ordinance that would, among other things, find repetitive comments from the public to be potentially disruptive. Our city attorney ran it by an ACLU attorney, and the council asked what the ACLU thought about it. I guess that is working closely with the "attorneys of the ACLU."

By the way, repetitive comments are an oral petition, which the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution demands that the government allow so that citizens have a way to redress grievances. (The repetive comments aspect of the proposal was later removed by the council.)

The 2014-15 budget passed by this council includes various median improvements and other Mesa Verde parkways that will cost $613,000. The Mesa Verde medians are the same medians that are so new that their trees still require staking. These medians were not in the initial submitted budget but got added at the request of Mensinger. If you are going to ask for extra expenses to be included in the budget, why not pick the $600,000 in fire station repairs instead? Beauty over safety?

Mensinger talks about the revitalization to the Westside with multiple high-density housing projects as meeting the intent of residents and businesses in the area. The projects were to include certain standards to meet the visions of those residents and businesses. Through variances and adjustments, this council majority has allowed the work area size standard to be reduced by 50%.

What kind of functional business can really work in a room the size of a small bedroom and sitting within 10 feet of a noisy and smelly fabrication business?

And finally, the council did vote to place a second charter on the ballot (the first one went down to defeat in 2012 by a 60% to 40% split). What is not said is the council had the opportunity to add one simple section that would have given the residents of Costa Mesa some protections from a future council's actions, and the council majority chose not to include that simple protection.

I am not sure that Sacramento is tyrannical, since we elected our senators and assemblymen. And the council majority has yet to show one documented thing the city needs a charter to do that cannot be done as a general law city, except maybe pull the wool over the public's eyes.

I do agree, most heartily, with Mensinger when he praised Dane Bora and Brad Long of CMTV for their award-winning work and the honor that has brought to Costa Mesa. What he fails to note is that Bora and Long were given layoff notices three years ago since their jobs apparently could be done cheaper or better by some outside company.

Those outsource-preparing layoff notices were aggressively supported by Mensinger, then-Councilman Jim Righeimer and Councilman Gary Monahan, and the move led to a costly lawsuit filed by the employee association against the city. That too was revolutionary.

Former Costa Mesa Councilman JAY HUMPHREY is running for council in the November election.

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