Many apply for city job

Planning Commission sees largest number of applicants, assistant city manager says. Only two spots are open.

January 19, 2009|By Alan Blank

FOR THE RECORD: In Sunday’s article “Many apply for city job,” David Stiller was listed as one of the members of the Eastside Neighbors Group. He is actually a resident of Mesa Del Mar. Also, the sub headline stated that Assistant City Manager Tom Hatch said the number of applicants was the largest ever, but he actually said it was a “larger number of candidates than usual.”************

The Costa Mesa Planning Commission is widely considered the second most influential body in the city and a training ground for future City Council members. The five-member panel decides what housing and business development projects are approved, analyzes and recommends changes to city laws governing land use, and resolves land-use disputes.

Twenty-two candidates have applied for the two spots that are up for grabs Tuesday as the terms of Commission Chairman Donn Hall and fellow Commissioner Eleanor Egan expire. Another 15 candidates (although some of them are duplicates from the Planning Commission roster) applied for the Parks and Recreation Commission, which has two vacancies left by Mark Harris and Bob Graham.


“The number of applicants has fluctuated over the years, but that’s definitely a larger number of candidates than normal. I’m not sure what to attribute that to other than a lot of interest in helping out the local government,” said Assistant City Manager Tom Hatch.

One of the front runners is Costa Mesa Pop Warner Football President Stephen Mensinger. As the head of youth football in the area, Mensinger has expanded Pop Warner enrollment recently. He also helped current Commissioner Jim Righeimer campaign for City Council last year. Among the other candidates for the position are the two incumbents, Egan and Hall, council hopeful Chris McEvoy, who had an impressive showing in last year’s election receiving almost 7,000 votes despite raising no money, and Dan Worthington, who narrowly lost in last year’s Sanitary District race.

Mesa North Homeowners’ Assn. President Colin McCarthy, who was a strong proponent of banning competitive sports in Paularino Park, and AYSO official Jonathan Zich are also on the list.

“A good planning commissioner is well-rounded and has a good understanding of the various factors that go into new construction, but they also have a vision for where the community is and where it wants to be in five, 10, 15 years,” said Assistant Development Services Director Kimberly Brandt.

Among those vying for the seats on the Parks and Recreation Commission are Eastside Neighbors Group leaders Marnie Primmer and David Stiller, Costa Mesa Community Foundation board member Jeffrey Harlan and incumbent Bob Graham, who has lost favor with some on the commission.

Other applicants for either or both of the commissions are Bob Banka, Ted Butch, Scott Clements, Gary Craig, Leah Ersoylu, Matthew Hoyt, Brittany Koper, Maryann Marks, Steven Martinez, Jeff Mathews, Diane McCardle, Joaquin Sahagun, Burt Sirota, Dan Skahill, Gabriel Teran, Dennis Crane, Robert Dickson Jr., Jim Fitzpatrick, Kim Pederson, Cliff Raitz and Barbara Steck. A majority vote of the City Council installs a commission member, and some of the council members say they will try to interview as many of the applicants as possible over the weekend before Tuesday night’s vote.

ALAN BLANK may be reached at (714) 966-4623 or at

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