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Wu: Endorsements have started to roll in

September 29, 2012|By Jack Wu

So we are more than a month from E-Day, one of the more pivotal dates in recent Costa Mesa history.

Will status quo rule the day?

Or will a new group take over the City Council and make Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer's life miserable until E-Day 2014, when he's up for re-election?

As we get closer to November, the endorsements are starting to roll in.

The Republican Party of Orange County and the editorial board at the Orange County Register have endorsed Councilmen Gary Monahan and Steve Mensinger and Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy.

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Costa Mesans for Responsible Government, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the Orange County Labor Federation endorsed former Mayor Sandy Genis, attorney John Stephens and businessman Harold Weitzberg.

At first I didn't see anything too surprising as I scanned through each candidate's website looking for endorsements. (Genis does not include any.)

But something of interest popped up when I saw Costa Mesa Sanitary District directors Jim Ferryman and Art Perry on the lists of those endorsing Stephens and Weitzberg.

Now it's not uncommon to endorse a candidate because you are friends, or because you support their positions, or just because you truly dislike their opponents.

But the reason this piqued my interest was because of the anti-charter group's contention that one of the reasons the charter is bad is due to its alleged no-bid procedures. The Sanitary District has not gone out to bid for their trash services since 1944 (more on that later).

On Stephens' website, his disdain for no-bid contracts in the charter is spotlighted in this section:

"The truth is the proposed charter would allow for no-bid contracts and eliminate protections against favoritism, fraud and corruption. "

However, he is endorsing Perry and would not confirm or deny his support for Ferryman, another incumbent running for re-election to the Sanitary Board. Both men are instrumental in keeping their board in a no-bid situation with their trash hauler contractor.

A few months ago, I wrote about the brouhaha in the Sanitary District. According to General Manager Scott Carroll, it has been since 1944 since they have gone out to bid their trash collection services, repeatedly re-signing contracts with the same company (with different names due to ownership changes). The district's current 10-year contract was signed in 2006, but it has a six-year Evergreen clause, which is essentially a six-year notice, if they ever want to go out to bid.

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