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Community Commentary: City Council should not 'jump the gun'

March 04, 2011|By Wendy Leece

Editor's note: This article appeared first on Councilwoman Wendy Leece's blog, OC Public Square, and is being reprinted with permission.

Why are we such a great city? Because for more than 25 years outgoing City Manager Allan Roeder has been the leader, through many, many council members, who came and went, he was there for continuity.

His integrity. His humility. His love for our city. His love for our residents.

The way he listens to you and helps you understand everything, even pensions and pension reform. All of that stuff matters. It really does.

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His legacy? Our employees who serve our residents with respect, regardless.

I am not opposed to analyzing how we deliver services, which may lead to outsourcing. I just don't think we need to jump the gun and send pink slips to our employees before we do our homework. I agree with the principles, just not the tactics.

Out of respect for our residents and employees, we always have, under Roeder's direction, asked staff to gather all of the facts, present the options, listened to the public, then vote. We were prepared before we made our decisions.

In the last four years that I have served on the council, it has not been "us" versus "them." All residents were equal, in my opinion, and I have tried to go out of my way to listen to other viewpoints.

Everyone knows I am a conservative Republican, but I understand we have residents who have other ideologies, and as an elected official who wants the best for Costa Mesa, I feel it is my duty to listen to their viewpoints and try to understand and take that information into account when I vote on issues impacting residents.

We are all taxpayers and want the best for our city.

In the past, although I may have disagreed with residents and public input, I was respectful and honored those who had different ideas. Sometimes, after public input, I have changed my mind on a matter. (I voted for the city manager-CEO name change, for example.)

That's what the "public hearing" is for. As a public official, I have been reminded many times that I should not make up my mind on any matter before I come to the meeting.

However, now a new process has begun whereby one or two council members present some item to the mayor to be put on the agenda, and voilà! It happens and takes on a life of its own.

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