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Community Commentary: City Council should listen to constituents

January 17, 2012|By Al Morelli

The Costa Mesa city charter, if adopted by the voters, needs to adequately protect the right of the citizens for sound government. Yet, every so often some folks want to play with different rules and not to listen to the voices of the people. We need to be faithful to the ideals of good government and true to founding principles of democracy. We do not need to change the rules of good moral and ethics to solve problems.

So it is noted, if the charter is to be approved by the voters in June, it will become the way we govern ourselves for now and also later for the future generations of Costa Mesa.

I'm disturbed to see the city of Costa Mesa under the current financial constraints and to hear about all the declared crises. Time and again, we all sacrificed for a better Costa Mesa. This is the journey we need to continue today.

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But the time of not getting involved has surely passed. Starting today with your voices, the city must rebuild and give democracy back to the people. The time has come to reaffirm that the people who live in Costa Mesa should be the voice of Costa Mesa. In reaffirming the greatness of our city, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. We do not need to take shortcuts or settle for less.

Over the last five years, the folks at City Hall provided different information regarding the health of the city. The citizens should stand strong and not reward the folks who got us into this mess in the first place.

Some folks have short memories. For they have forgotten that all of the city's problems did not happen overnight, as it has been going on for some time under the leadership of the former city manager and the former City Council. The record is well-documented and is clear; the city of $100,000 club salaries along with salaries representing 70% of the budget needed to be addressed.

Nor is the question before us whether city charter is the answer to all the city problems, while pretending that changes will generate wealth is unmatched. We always need to have a watchful eye as time passes by; then again, the city expenses can spin out of control.

As for the city staff, it needs to rethink how to improve the city, how to make the operations more efficient, to work smarter and to find ways to generate cost reductions. To the management folks at City Hall, they need to seek a new way to manage going forward and to find ways to provide more services with fewer resources. The city can no longer afford giving away luxury benefits along with high salaries.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, the City Council needs to provide results-based leadership. For the Costa Mesa City Council, in the face of moral, ethical and legal issues, do the right thing — listen to the voices of the people.

To the citizens of Costa Mesa: Get involved; let's rebuild our city. God bless the city of Costa Mesa.

AL MORELLI lives in Costa Mesa.

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