Commentary: Mayor's concept of 'normal' is not

Union president says city workers would welcome a return to Costa Mesa's historical 'usual and ordinary' vision.

August 23, 2013|By Helen Nenadal

Re. "Commentary: Costa Mesa needs 'a return to normal'" (Aug. 18): I read with concern Mayor Jim Righeimer's recent commentary in the Daily Pilot.

As a longtime Costa Mesa city employee I share the mayor's sentiment — every City Council member, every employee and every resident would benefit from a return to normal. The problem, of course, is that the mayor's concept of "normal" is completely distorted.

The vision of "normal" the mayor describes has at its foundation an extreme agenda based far more on political ideology than on a return to the way Costa Mesa has operated at any time in its past.


Aside from advancing a fringe political agenda, the mayor's version of "normal" involves discrediting anyone who disagrees with him, from the residents who line up to speak at City Council meetings to the staff who are the true experts in delivering quality services to residents.

That's not leadership, it's not reflective of the Costa Mesa I have known and served for more than 30 years, and I don't think most Costa Mesa residents share his view.

So here's what a "return to normal" might look like to me, and to the other rank-and-file Costa Mesa employees who every day devote themselves to serving our community.

Normal would be a Costa Mesa where employees are viewed by elected representatives and management as regular people with families and responsibilities, rather than as disposable parts.

Normal would be a Costa Mesa where the City Council majority doesn't issue mass layoff notices to employees before doing even a cursory evaluation as to whether their jobs could or should be outsourced.

Normal would be a Costa Mesa where employees don't have to fear being tracked down by a city councilman telling them (usually incorrectly) how to do their jobs.

Normal would be a Costa Mesa where members of the City Council don't coerce employees and their supervisors into ignoring long-established priorities and giving pet projects preferential treatment.

Normal would be a Costa Mesa where the workplace culture promoted openness, mutual support and teamwork, not secrecy, scapegoating and favoritism.

Normal would be a Costa Mesa where employees and management work together in good faith to confront and fairly address economic and service-related challenges faced by the city.

Normal would be a Costa Mesa where the City Council majority leads by positive example rather than autocratic directive.

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