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Commentary: Council rushes through projects, then fails

July 02, 2013|By Terri Fuqua

Apparently, as things are heating up again in Costa Mesa, I feel I must ask some hard questions.

I've noticed that everything that the council feels needs to be done has to be done immediately, and ultimately done over again. There is never appropriate study, documentation or thought put into the processes that come from City Hall.

The nuisance ordinance is a perfect example. In the rush to get a problem solved, council members declare there will be an ordinance, and off they go with their feet on fire. The staff works like crazy to get something written up, only to find out it was premature and they have to go back to the drawing board.

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It is the same story on the proposed city charter. What exactly is the rush to turn Costa Mesa into a charter city?

Again, no time was spent to determine what was really needed. It's more a matter of let's just get it on the ballot and sort it out later. The rush to get that done caused it to fail one time at the ballot box, costing valuable staff time and money.

Now, the council is at it again, pursuing the charter issue. Knock it out, shove it down residents' throats and move on. We've never been told why we need a charter, but council member's feet and maybe even their pants are on fire to get it passed.

Why? What's the rush? Why can't we take time to research this and see if we even need a new form of governance? What's the difference if it took a year? Two years?

It is an important decision and it should be done right because it could have potentially disastrous consequences.

Over the past nearly three years, I can't point to one thing, not one, that has been made better by this council. Yes, it did balance budgets, but only by selling the police helicopter program, ABLE, and cutting the work force to nearly nonfunctional levels.

Is this really a balanced budget? No significant infrastructure has been repaired, crime is up horribly, homeless are everywhere, but the council can budget nearly $700,000 for lighting in a "dawn to dusk" park.

Is this really responsible government? I think not.

I strongly feel that the rush to accomplish everything like bats out of Hades can be attributed to the fact that two out of three majority councilmen are inexperienced and really don't know what they are doing, the third isn't engaged enough in the council's work, and they don't listen to the two experienced councilwomen.

They have no plan or vision for our city, and committees of their friends have to be set up to accomplish any of tasks because our councilmen don't know how. Then, ultimately, their attempts fail.

Wouldn't it be easier to slow down, grasp a concept once in awhile, think it through, plan it out first and then approach a solution?

TERRI FUQUA lives in Costa Mesa.

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