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Mailbag: Cassity got his charter facts wrong

August 31, 2012

Re. "Cassity: Charter would give us more control Aug 31: Chuck Cassity's column includes a false statement regarding the proposed Costa Mesa charter.

Section 401(c) of the proposed charter directs that the City Council set a limit for no-bid contracts on an annual basis. The limit could be set at $5,000, as Cassity mistakenly claims is mandated by the proposed charter, or it could be set at $5 million — or more.

The Costa Mesa City Council chose not to include a specific dollar limit on no-bid contracts in their proposed charter. By contrast, the Irvine and Newport Beach city charters provide limits on no-bid contracts of $4,000 and no more than $120,000, respectively.

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Section 401 (b) exempts the City of Costa Mesa from all provisions of the California Public Contracts Code, including limits on no-bid contracts and other provisions designed to prevent shoddy workmanship and to prevent favoritism and fraud.

I'm glad Mr. Cassity encourages people to read the charter themselves. I encourage him to do the same.

Sandra Genis

Costa Mesa

The writer is a former Costa Mesa mayor and is a current council candidate.

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Don't outsource jail

The Newport Beach City Council's consideration of outsourcing the jail staff is an action I strongly oppose. To use taxpayer funds to enrich a private company to profit from other people's misery is, in my mind, immoral. Newport Beach should have no part of this.

I question the wisdom of outsourcing many of the city's functions. The private companies that receive public funds to make a profit become a political force that can influence and direct public policy. For example, one company which runs prisons in Louisiana (financed with taxpayer money) demanded that the government keep the prison population up to 90% full so as to guarantee its profits.

Newport Beach should not enter this murky field. Just imagine having a scandal at the jail over which the city has little control.

Shirley A. Conger

Corona del Mar

No-bid contracts

Re: "Measure V only 'scary' to labor officials," Forum, Aug. 26:

Because Costa Mesa City Councilman Steve Mensinger is so defensive about no-bid contracts and purchases and denies that they are allowed by the charter, it sounds like he would be against the charter if, indeed, he discovered that it does allow for these things. Is this true, Councilman Mensinger?

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