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Commentary: My 'Contract with Costa Mesa'

September 13, 2012|By Steve Mensinger

After a recent Costa Mesa candidates' forum, I received many calls from residents who indicated they did not learn enough from the candidates and what they stand for.

I would like to be the first to publicly state my views and opinions. I refer to this as my "Contract with Costa Mesa."

1.) Reform the unsustainable local public-employee pension system. As a councilman, I helped successfully implement a sustainable second tier of employee pensions for our city employees and firefighters. I'll continue to work hard to implement a second tier for police officers and have city employees pay more toward their own pensions.

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2.) Bring transparency to labor negotiations. I authored the groundbreaking Civic Openness in Negotiations (COIN) ordinance that will take negotiations with public employee labor unions out of the back room and into the public light. As a councilman, I'll make sure my ordinance is followed to the spirit and letter of the law, giving taxpayers access to the process for the first time.

3.) Invest more in city infrastructure. In recent years, so much taxpayer money has been used to fund employee compensation and pensions that Costa Mesa's infrastructure had been neglected. I envision a Costa Mesa with pristine sports fields, first-class libraries and freshly paved roads. This kind of investment will retain and attract families that will make our city thrive. As a councilman, I've already helped steer more than $20 million into infrastructure. This is more than double the funding in place when I was appointed to the council.

4.) Bring a holistic approach to public safety. To make Costa Mesa even safer, we need a holistic approach that includes our top-quality police force, second-to-none infrastructure and a willingness to tackle long-standing problems, such as problem motels, rehab homes and homelessness. We've started the Neighborhood Improvement Task Force to deal aggressively with these very issues, and the initial results have been extraordinary. We are as safe as the people we attract to Costa Mesa. We need to attract the best.

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