Costa Mesa Fumbles

To say that Tuesday was a bad day for the Costa Mesa City Council’s “Gang of Four” is probably an understatement. In terms that Pop Warner booster and Councilman Stephen Mensinger might better understand, they fumbled on fourth down at the five-yard line.

Early in the day we had to chuckle here at LiberalOC when we received the dueling press releases regarding the ruling Superior Court Judge Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann delivered rejecting the city’s request to dismiss the employee lawsuit blocking their attempt to illegally outsource city worker jobs. Flanked by five high-priced attorneys City Attorney Tom Duarte listened as Judge Nomoto Schumann issued her meticulous ruling rejecting the city’s request for summary judgment.

Helen Nenadal, President, Costa Mesa Municipal Employee's Association

Based on all the arguments, Judge Schumann agreed that the Costa Mesa City Employees Association put forward evidence that justifies a trial on the merits of the case. A trial is scheduled for April 9.

“We are grateful for the court’s ruling and look forward to trial so we can continue to fight for the economic security of our members and their families in the face of this politically-motivated outsourcing scheme,” said Helen Nenadal, president of the Costa Mesa City Employees Association.

More than 200 Costa Mesa employees received six-month layoff notices in March 2011 after the City Council voted to outsource their jobs. In May, the Costa Mesa City Employees Association filed a lawsuit to block the layoffs and outsourcing. A preliminary injunction halting the layoffs and prohibiting the City from outsourcing to private contractors remains in place.

City attorney Tom Duarte humbly responded to the decision in this short statement:

“This is consistent with the judge’s previous rulings on the case,” Duarte said. “The City looks forward to its day in court.”

Costa Mesa City Attorney Tom Duarte takes oath of office. Photo: Chris Prevatt

Then at around 4:00 pm, City Attorney Tom Duarte announced the biggest political fumble since Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach’s failed lawsuit to overturn OC Sheriffs Deputy pensions. The City failed to meet the filing deadline for Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer’s proposed Charter Initiative.

The City of Costa Mesa will ask the Orange County Superior Court Wednesday to allow a proposed charter measure to be placed on the June 5, 2012 ballot after a clerical error caused the City to miss a filing deadline.

Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said he couldn’t place the proposed Costa Mesa charter on the ballot because the resolutions—passed by the City Council on Tuesday, March 6 after a three-month public process—arrived after Friday’s deadline, and he didn’t have the discretion to extend the deadline.

The City’s position is that the decision on whether to put the charter measure on the ballot should not be determined by a clerical error.

This is going to be a tough pig for Duarte to sell, no matter how much lipstick he uses. The laws governing the placement of measures on the ballot are the same for both government and non-government entities. If an initiative proponent makes a clerical error and fails to meet a deadline, there is no provision under the law for  do-overs.

Besides the embarrassment of missing the deadline, the fact that the city intends to spend even more money on legal fees trying to get the courts to let them break the rules everyone else has to follow has us howling with laughter. The fact that Supervisor Moorlach is one of the signers of the ballot argument in favor of the initiative, putting his fingers in the middle of another failed attempt to change the rules of the game and the second biggest political fumble in Orange County history, has us rolling on the floor in laughter.

We’ll let you know when we hear what happens in court today.

While you wait, here is some light and appropriate entertainment.

  1 comment for “Costa Mesa Fumbles

  1. March 14, 2012 at 8:53 am

    So much for the extremists’ claim that they want to “run the city like a business.” WHAT business- The Crystal Cathedral?

    Napoleon Righeimer and his OC GOP enablers want Costa Mesa to be the springboard and farm team for every whacky, F the Middle Class scheme these people can dream up. Despite large Republican voter registration, it is not working.

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