Parks commissioner recommended to fill Planning Commission seat

The Costa Mesa Planning Commission voted this week to appoint a Parks and Recreation commissioner to its vacant seat.

Jeff Mathews was recommended with a 3-1 vote Monday, with Commissioner Edward Salcedo dissenting on grounds that he wanted the commission to provide a list of three top candidates. Mathews would replace Jim Fitzpatrick, who resigned in the spring.

The City Council will decide whether to approve the Planning Commission's recommendation Aug. 7, City Clerk Brenda Green said.

"Jeff Mathews has been in this community a very long time," Planning Commissioner Sam Clark said. "He's very heavily involved in a lot of things. He sat on this dais, and, frankly, working with him on several things and you guys on the dais, he's a great fit for this group as well."

Mathews has been on the Parks and Recreation Commission since 2009, and was chairman of the city's Homeless Task Force. He has also served as a member of committees for the city's historical preservation, redevelopment and residential rehabilitation.

His page on the Newport-Mesa Tea Party website shows he is friends with Costa Mesa's conservative leaders; there are pictures of him with Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, Councilman Gary Monahan and Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa).

Fitzpatrick resigned in May in an attempt to keep his fellow Costa Mesa Sanitary District board members from trying to remove him for serving on both boards, which they argued were incompatible.

The Sanitary District is still pursuing legal action against Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick has said he feels he is being targeted because he won Sanitary District seat over an incumbent, that he questions long-standing contracts and also expresses unpopular opinions.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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