Sounding Off: City Council could become an embarrassment

In regards to some of the recent Costa Mesa City Council meetings, I fear the current City Council is headed down the path toward becoming an embarrassment to the community it serves. When I was in high school some 40 years ago, my civics teacher gave our class an assignment that required us to attend 10 City Council meetings. The purpose of our assignment was to learn and observe how the business of local government was conducted. At the time, the council meetings were held on a Monday evening, which happened to be the same time the then very popular program "Laugh In" was on.

For the younger readers, "Laugh In" program was a sort of early "Saturday Night Live" program that was funny. As you might guess, the assignment conflicted with what the students really wanted to watch. but nonetheless, we went to the council meetings. Our instructor did promise us that the council meetings would be funny at times as one council member back in the day did provide quality entertainment.

Bill St. Clair was a council member who had his heart in the right place to serve the Costa Mesa community but his methods to get his point of view across left a certain polish and finesse to be desired. Rest his soul, though, St. Clair did provide entertainment value and did make the other four council members think that about another point of view. While St. Clair's message was sometimes painful to listen to, his words deserved attention.

If we fast forward to the present City Council makeup, I see a similar entertainment value blooming. The present council, save for one or perhaps two members, are rapidly heading down the path of being downright embarrassing. The council appears to be headed toward a dismantling of Costa Mesa city government. While the revenue streams that once flowed freely to the city have diminished, and the need to conserve is keen, how one manages this situation is crucial.

The council has hired a consultant to determine a better way to manage the police and fire departments.

How you find a consultant that will accomplish what the hired assignment is for $200,000 is a mystery to me. I hope we get more than we are paying for here, but why not utilize the present city staff to accomplish this mission? We have a great deal of in house talent in the city, so use it!

In conclusion, the city did not get into its present situation overnight, and with the projected revenues showing signals of an upturn, we don't need to make knee-jerk reactions to fix the city woes overnight either. I implore the City Council to take a balanced look at all that is on its plate and make changes as need be. And more importantly, do not become an embarrassment to this city and gut it like a fish! The citizens of this community deserve better.

TOM NETH is a Costa Mesa resident.

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