Commentary: I challenge Katrina Foley to a charter debate

At last week’s Costa Mesa City Council meeting, former Councilwoman Katrina Foley blatantly ignored a variety of well-established and usually respected rules that ensure orderly public meetings and debate, stormed to the chamber’s microphone and demanded that her latest arguments against the proposed city charter be heard even though the public comments section of the meeting had long since closed.

The rules apparently didn’t apply to her, and she tried to bully the council into letting her speak out of turn.

School board trustee Foley, who as a union-backed council member eagerly voted for the unsustainable public employee compensation and pension plans that have crippled Costa Mesa’s finances, is passionately against the proposed charter.

If approved by voters in November, the charter would shift power over local issues from union-controlled Sacramento politicians to Costa Mesa residents. She and fellow attorney, John Stephens, even went to court on their own dime to keep the measure off the June ballot. (Stephens is running for council in November.)

I have a more constructive way for Ms. Foley to speak out against the charter that doesn’t involve interrupting council proceedings or going to court. I challenge her to a series of debates on the charter.

Just Ms. Foley and me, moderated by an independent third party. The debates will give residents an opportunity to hear the pros and cons of a city charter (something that works quite nicely for our neighbors in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Irvine) and provide Ms. Foley with a healthy outlet for her need to speak out.

I’m confident that the more Costa Mesa residents know about the charter, the more likely they will be to vote for it in November. If Ms. Foley feels the same way from an anti-charter side, then let the debates begin.

JIM RIGHEIMER is Costa Mesa’s mayor pro tem. He helped draft Measure V, which would turn Costa Mesa into a charter city.