Responsible government experienced a victory last night when more than 59% of Costa Mesa voters resoundingly rejected the city charter initiative cobbled together by Councilman Jim Righeimer and his council majority. The failed proposal would have converted Costa Mesa to a Charter City form of government. Had it passed the council majority would have had the ability to impose their whims on the city without any controls. The voters clearly wanted nothing to do with the hastily assembled initiative. The failure of Measure V doesn’t however mean that the charter city concept is dead. Many in the coalition that defeated Measure V are not opposed to the charter idea, just the way Righeimer and his colleagues went about their mission of trying to ram it down the voters throats.
Righeimer pledged last night to return the issue to the ballot at a later date, possibly using a citizen’s commission to draft the charter in a more deliberative process. It appears that Righeimer will have an effective three person majority to move his agenda forward. While former Councilwoman Sandy Genis won the vacant seat of Eric Bever, it looks like Stephen Mensinger and Gary Monahan will continue on the council for another four years.