Commentary: Mensinger is wrong on several counts

I have read "Costa Mesa is undergoing revolutionary change," by Mayor Pro Tem Mensinger (July 4).

Mensinger implies, via a quote from a French politician, that the mayor has been repairing a faulty Costa Mesa. It is very concerning that Mensinger thinks the mayor is doing this, when so many residents think it is the mayor's actions, including the proposal for another unwanted and flawed charter, that have created a faulty Costa Mesa.

For several reasons I found Mensinger's commentary misleading and disingenuous.

First, he omits any reference to the mayor's poor record on public safety and staffing of the police and fire departments.

Second, Mensinger boasts about the new ordinance for conduct while addressing the City Council during public comments. However, he fails to mention that the mayor's council majority has constrained those who would wish to speak by restricting early non-agenda public comments to 10 people; all others have to wait several hours until the end of the meeting.

Third, Mensinger claims a development revolution on the Westside when in fact numerous residents and business owners have complained about the developments because of their cramped size and questionable locations.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, Mensinger brags that the council majority has decided to put another proposed city charter on the November ballot. Like the previously defeated charter, this new one goes against the expressed desire of many residents, and this time it was opposed by more council members (two opposed, three in favor). The charter does not have anything close to a consensus of the council or the residents.

In addition to lacking consensus, the proposed charter is again seriously flawed and does not address key Costa Mesa issues. As a few examples:

• The charter does not address any aspect of the existing $228 million unfunded pension liability. This is one of the city's most serious issues.

• The charter risks state funding for public works projects. Section 702 prohibits the payment of prevailing wages under certain conditions. Compelling cost savings have not been demonstrated, and this provision is in conflict with Senate Bill 7. As a result, state funding could be denied for public works projects starting Jan. 1, 2015.

• The charter grants much more power to the City Council. The ballot summary says, "Section 104 gives the city full authority over municipal affairs regardless of whether the charter addresses that particular issue." This means that even if it is not mentioned in the charter, council members have the authority to do it. In addition, Section 806 states, "The language contained in this charter is intended to be permissive rather than limiting and shall be liberally and broadly construed in favor of the exercise of power to govern."

Would you agree to a charter that is not limited to what is written in it, and what is written in the charter is not meant to be limiting? The proposed charter could mean anything, and I wouldn't agree to it.

I think Mayor Pro Tem Mensinger is right about revolutionary change. However, I think it is going to happen as a result of this November's election, and it will involve a council majority change and another defeat of a flawed charter proposal.

CHARLES MOONEY lives in Costa Mesa.

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