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Commentary: Wu is wrong about so-called 'men of action'

October 23, 2012|By Charles Mooney

Re. Wu: Charter gives 'men of action' right tools," (Oct. 6):

Columnist Jack Wu referred to a business mentor's advice, not a political mentor. Political decisions can have many unintended, negative consequences beyond those usually considered in business. As a result, rather than out-of-towner Mr. Wu's favored approach of taking hasty and reckless action, city governance action needs to be taken thoughtfully and cautiously to avoid difficult-to-reverse and costly situations.

The "men of reckless action" on the Costa Mesa City Council have already experienced this. Remember the hasty decision to issue layoff notices and the consequences of that action? It has wasted more than 1 million taxpayer dollars, and the fees keep piling up, due to an avoidable lawsuit. Hasty decisions have cost Costa Mesa taxpayers big money, but Mr. Wu doesn't care because he lives in Newport Beach.

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Next Mr. Wu implies that Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer knew of the underfunded liability when he ran for election. Mr. Wu then jumps to the conclusion that the first obvious thing to do is to become a charter city.

If this were true, why didn't Righeimer run his campaign on this issue? Mr. Wu's comment ignores the fact that even Righeimer's first justification for the charter was not to deal with the underfunded pension liability, but was to dissolve the lawsuit with the city employees and to avoid paying prevailing wage. Keep in mind that the current proposed charter still does not address the current underfunded liability.

Mr. Wu then claims that the opponents of the charter, whom he calls "watchers," want to do nothing and let the problem resolve itself. This is an exaggeration and shows that, as a Newport Beach resident, he has little interest in examining the issues raised by Costa Mesans opposing the proposed charter.

But let's see now how the "watchers" are watching. The "watchers" have attended numerous City Council meetings and suggested and volunteered to be part of a citizen's commission to draft a quality charter. When that wasn't accepted they offered numerous suggestions to improve the charter, but almost all of these were rejected by "the men of reckless action."

In addition, among many other things, the "watchers" have assessed numerous candidates and endorsed three highly qualified, experienced and thoughtful candidates, attorney John Stephens, businessman Harold Weitzberg and former Mayor Sandra Genis, to replace the reckless incumbents and one wannabe "reckless man of action."

This is quite active watching, if you ask me.

Mr. Wu then asks if we expected Righeimer to do nothing. No, but we did expect him to do things correctly and with citizen collaboration. Also, we definitely did not expect him to hastily draft a flawed charter that allows for unlimited no-bid contracts, which is contrary to saving the city money.

Mr. Wu offers his support for the "men of reckless action" that support the flawed proposed charter, including Councilman Gary Monahan who helped create the underfunded pension issue.

No thank you, Mr. Wu.

CHARLES MOONEY, a member of Costa Mesans for Responsible Government, lives in Costa Mesa.

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