Mailbag: Council should give 'state of city' address

January 12, 2011

Our City Council, with newly elected and appointed members, is faced with the task of balancing our city's budget while improving the integrity of our infrastructure. During the past few years we have seen unprecedented changes in our economy. Some have weathered the storm better than others. We all know the impact Lehman Bros. has had, which included Costa Mesa. Union contracts continue to strangle local and state governments.

It is hard to simplify the reasons why some cities have done better than others but it really boils down to its structure, having a business plan that incorporates maintaining its customer base, constantly planting seeds for growth for incremental income, learning from the competition, having the flexibility to adapt as needed while maintaining the proper overhead that meets the profit goals.

If you look at a city like a company, Costa Mesa is the brand. Our brand image overall is excellent. As consumers we know what brands mean quality and integrity. Everyone has some level of brand loyalty. As residents that love our city we are all brand loyal and we want our city to be the best. Our city staff is one we can all be proud of. Police and fire departments are excellent.


Even in the good times, we should always be looking for new income streams and planting more and more seeds for the future growth of our city. Look how long the transit occupancy tax finally took to pass. City staff suggested that increase years ago but it never made it passed council. We are now benefiting from that decision. What about business fees? Should Nordstrom be paying the same $100 fee as the smallest family business in Costa Mesa? Can we compromise and be competitive with other cities while generating incremental income?

I think one idea recently brought up by council to make a diligent effort to bring new businesses to Costa Mesa is excellent. Let's do it!

I am not sure how many other residents would agree but given the makeup of the current council and their serious concerns about many issues we are faced with in our city I would like to see our mayor with the support of council give us a "state of the city" address with a prioritized list of objectives for the year (as part of a five-year plan) with a projected timeline to achieve the goals.

Bill Sneen

Costa Mesa

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