I am tempted to call the Costa City Council meeting this evening an on going soap opera, but that would be minimizing the horror of the destruction of our city by council members Jim Righeimer, Steve Mensinger and Gary Monahan. The gall of these men knows no bounds. This evening, as usual, speaker after speaker requested that they rescind the layoffs as well as questioned their obvious waste of the city monies on multiple law firms to fight the layoffs of the city workers and outsource city services.
As usual, nays to yays on this issue were massively outnumbered. In fact, there was only one speaker who presented in favor of outsourcing, the publisher of the blog, The Costa Mesa Press, Martin Millard. The rest made pleas to the Councilmen to rescind the layoffs and to go the the table with the city employees to negotiate a reasonable solution with our current workers.
Jim Righeimer, who doesn’t even try and remember what he says from one minute to the next, stated that there will be no going to the table or reconsideration of outsourcing. He again, blamed the former city council for negotiating the contract with the union before they left office, there by giving the current city council no choice but to issue layoffs notices because they had lost the option for negotiations. He must have forgotten that during the Feet to the Fire forum, Nick Berardino informed him that the union and the city can renegotiate the contract at any time as long as both parties agree to do so, and the union would be happy to go the table with the council. Jim also forgot that at the last city council meeting before their summer hiatus, he said he “would sit down with the union any time.” At that meeting, when pressed for a commitment by Wendy Leece, her asking him directly, “So, are you saying you are willing to go back to the table with the city employees?” He replied, “Yes.”
The council members have made no such move to negotiate with the union. Jim Righeimer then went on to blame the Union for forcing the city to hire 3 law firms to defend themselves in court in order to move forward with the outsourcing. One of the laws firms, Jones Day based in San Francisco, was frequently referred to during the meeting as “one of the most expensive law firms in the world,” Lois McCluen (forgive any misspelled names!) who spoke against outsourcing, said her son works for Jones Day and questioned why the Costa Mesa City Council needed such an expensive law firm in addition to 2 others. Jones Day will be paid $495 an hour. This figure and the claim that Jones Day is one of the most expensive law firms in the world was not disputed by any council member. Riggy stated with great confidence that they will not stop their plan to outsource and said, “It is going to happen.” He then painted this as their noble mission to save the city.
Speaker Tom Egan put it best when he said, “It just hit me while I was sitting here. You guys just don ‘t care.” He chastised the male council members for the callous disregard for the desires of the citizens and how clear it has become that REAL people in charge are Jim Righeimer and Steven Mensinger. Mayor Monahan just sat there like a monkey. Mr. Egan actually called Righeimer a “carpet bagger.” He was my hero for the night!
My favorite moment for the night was when my #2 hero Wendy Leece said she wanted to “register a complaint” against Riggy and Mensy for texting on the dias while people were talking. She said she could look to her left and to her right and see them texting through out the meeting. This was met with a pathetic excuse by Mensinger that he wasn’t texting, it was his notebook and he was “checking his notes.” Why he would do that during public comments is quite a mystery, when that is the time during the meeting when he is supposed to LISTEN. Riggy said he was texting Monahan, who was late for the meeting due to a family emergency as to when he was going to be there.
I have seen Mensinger texting during the meetings with my own baby greens and it is always during public comments. I have also heard several speakers call him out on it. His only response is to roll his eyes. Come on now Mensinger, I know what you are doing up there. Shutting the “voices” out with a rousing game of “Angry Birds.” I get it. It’s addictive. But now put your phone away, and listen to the people who didn’t vote you in but are stuck with you none the less.