Costa Mesa’s Wendy Leece Proposes Real Transparency

I received the following release directly from Costa Mesa Councilwoman Wendy Leece yesterday. I’m guessing that if it had been an item from any of the four boys on the Council the release would have come from the City’s $3,000 a week PR guy Bill Lobdell.

COSTA MESA — As part of Costa Mesa’s quest to become the most transparent city in California, Costa Mesa Councilwoman Wendy Leece has proposed a new ordinance designed to eliminate secrecy in city business and increase the public’s confidence in decisions made by city officials.

Councilwoman Wendy Leece – Costa Mesa, Photo: Chris Prevatt

The Ex Parte Communication Disclosure and Transparency ordinance would require City Council and appointed City Commission members to tell the public when people attempt to influence the decisions they make.

Before casting a vote regarding any City business, City Council and Commission members would be required to publicly disclose any ex-parte communications with parties attempting to influence their decisions.  The City does not currently regulate lobbying or require officials to publicly disclose their interactions with those seeking to do business with the city.

“This is something every elected official should be eager to embrace,” Councilwoman Wendy Leece said. “Our residents should know who is seeking to influence us and which outside powers are attempting to gain access to our city.”

The item is listed as New Business # 4 on the Agenda for Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011.

Also we have an item on the agenda from Councilman Eric Bever who want’s to prevent people like Councilwoman Leece from being able to put items on the council agenda that he and the other boys on the Council would rather not talk about.

Geoff West over at A Bubbling Cauldron points out several interesting items on the Council meeting agenda that could make your head explode. Things like:

  • Expenditures racked up by the City’soutsourced legal firm Jones & Mayer who continue billing the City well above their budgeted costs was paid in August $115,901.11 for services rendered. Then there is the payment to Talon Executive Services for almost $14,000 for “legal” services. That’s more than likely the charge for re-investigating the Huy Pham death. The “draft” report from Talon was leaked to the Orange County Register by either Talon, City Attorney Tom Duarte, or a staff member at Jones & Mayer (at least according to Duarte, who claims no one at the city had the report).
  • Way down at the end of the Consent Calendar – items 12 and 13 – we find requests for the council to approve retaining TWO additional law firms to help with our growing legal entanglements. The first, #12, is with the firm of Jones Day to provide legal services in the lawsuit between the city and the “Costa Mesa Employees Association”. The second is with the San Francisco law firm of Hanson Bridgett for “legal services in connection with the outsourcing of certain municipal services”.
  • Then, finally, the Big Elephant on the agenda – the major reorganization of several city departments. Certainly, we don’t disagree with re-organizing to make operations more efficient and productive. However, it looks to me like there are going to be some permanent positions created for consultants – the two Public Affairs Managers slots, for example, for Bill Lobdell and Dan Joyce. Lobdell tells me that these positions will be actively recruited… OK, if you say so, Bill.

Tonight should be an interesting, and late, night over at Costa Mesa City Hall.

  2 comments for “Costa Mesa’s Wendy Leece Proposes Real Transparency

  1. September 6, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Wow, a hot time in the old town tonight. I wish I could be there to see the dance. Guess we’ll have to rely on your keen reporting and commentary. That’s always more interesting than sitting through the meeting, anyway.

  2. Joe
    September 6, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Riggmarshal Righeimer, Smirkmarshal Mensinger, and their pony boys Bever and Monahan will not rest until Costa Mesa resembles North Korea.

    One dead, many wounded so Righeimer can get a seat in Congress in the next couple years.

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