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Cassity: Charter needed to forge change in Costa Mesa

September 27, 2012|By Chuck Cassity

As far as Costa Mesa's proposed charter is concerned, anything it does not specifically change remains exactly the same as before.

Let me repeat that. If the charter offered to our city via Measure V on Nov. 6 doesn't change something, then that something continues on as it did under the auspices of the current general-law format.

Here are the primary changes Measure V offers.

1.) A "yes" vote on Measure V frees Costa Mesa from the general-law limitations imposed by Sacramento. Those paying attention to what's happening in Sacramento want very much to be freed to the maximum extent possible from that never-ending train wreck. I believe you will as well.

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Let's get their hands out of our pockets. Now.

2.) It specifies that voter approval would be required for any proposed increase in public employee pension benefits. Finally.

No more back-room deals. No more "pay to play." It puts the power back with the people, where it belongs, where it has always belonged.

3.) Measure V would save the city millions of dollars through a combination of competitive bidding for services and an exemption from state-mandated prevailing (much higher union) wages on locally funded projects, such as libraries, parks, roads and sidewalks.

As an example, the city has before it an opportunity to save $3 million over the next five years by outsourcing its jail services, with no negative impact to the employees. None.

I think that's a good idea. For some unexplained reason, the employees' union management doesn't. They obviously don't care whether or not the city saves money. Do you?

4.) It ends the practice of using the city's payroll system to collect money for political contributions by public-employee associations or unions. I say if those contributions are such a really good idea, and the employees want to pay them, then let the unions collect them on their own. Why should they need — or require — our help?

Again, regardless of what others may tell you — and God knows they're ranting and raving at flank speed — everything else remains as before. Measure V contains safeguards for the tax-paying public, including how to handle tied elections, council member compensation, new ordinances, how to prevent possible abuse by a single city council.

It also prohibits the raising of taxes without a majority vote of Costa Mesa's residents. What's not to like?

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