It has only been six months since the first proposed Costa Mesa city charter was defeated by 60% of the voters, but on Tuesday the Costa Mesa City Council held a study session with the first question being, "Should Costa Mesa pursue becoming a charter city?"
The city provided a written report and an oral summary of it at the meeting, and I have some comments about that report.
I was under the impression, based on his last campaign, that with Mayor Jim Righeimer on the council the city would be run in a more businesslike manner. However, I did not see this in the study session report or its presentation.
When businesses are about to make an important decision, they usually do a thorough analysis of the pros, cons and financial risks. However, the City Council study session agenda report did not do this. It did not provide any of the many cons, risks or long-term concerns, such as future lawsuits over the charter or the costs of elections to amend a charter.
It did not identify the specific reasons why Costa Mesa needs to be a charter city. It did not mention the charter cities that have failed and why, nor did it mention all the issues that were raised in the Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury report on charter cities that was done in response to the problems in Bell and Vernon. It also did not mention the recent Orange County Grand Jury report on ethics and corruption.
It may be an old theme, but an involved and well-informed electorate is the secret to maintaining a properly functioning city council. However, this report failed to adequately inform the electorate and, remarkably, it did not present the specific and compelling reasons why Costa Mesa needs to be a charter city.
I already think that the council should start over and get a comprehensive, unbiased analysis to answer the very first question on the study session agenda: Should Costa Mesa pursue becoming a charter city?
I will not consider supporting a city charter until this is done.
CHARLES MOONEY lives in Costa Mesa.