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By Britney Barnes | March 30, 2012
Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer wants to reallocate $5 million to $6 million in the city budget for improvements in the city's infrastructure, such as roads, sidewalks, sports fields and flood-prone areas. But that could mean cuts to public safety, personnel and other crucial services, warned Councilwoman Wendy Leece. During the March 20 council meeting, Righeimer asked city CEO Tom Hatch to suggest about $5 million in reductions that could then be reallocated toward the $12.2 million in unfunded projects planned for 2012-13.
By Joseph Serna | March 13, 2012
City Councilman Eric Bever was unanimously selected as Costa Mesa's newest mayor Tuesday afternoon during a special council meeting. Bever has been on the council since 2004 and is termed out after November. He replaces Gary Monahan, who announced last week that he intended to step down from his mayoral duties. "It's some big shoes to fill. I'll do my best to do just that," Bever said. In his eight years on the council, Bever has been a reliably fiscal conservative. He voted against employee contract amendments in 2010, which the current council majority blames for the city's mounting employee costs.
By Mary Ellen Goddard | January 26, 2012
"Got Books?" will be the title of a speech by Costa Mesa City Councilwoman Wendy Leece, when she appears as the featured speaker at the Friends of the Costa Mesa Libraries annual meeting. The event will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Mesa Verde United Methodist Church (across the street from the Mesa Verde Library at 1701 Baker Street). The public is invited, but call ahead to ensure that enough chairs are available. Please leave a message at (714) 438-0517. Leece, a long-time supporter of our city's libraries, will speak about Costa Mesa's library space needs and why we all need to make this a priority in our list of goals, both long- and short-term.
By Joseph Serna | November 2, 2011
COSTA MESA — The City Council gave preliminary approval this week to an ordinance that would ban smoking at all city parks. Going along with a Parks and Recreation Commission recommendation, the council in a 4-1 vote Tuesday night approved the first reading of an ordinance that prohibits smoking within 50 feet of Costa Mesa's parks, the city's three athletic fields, two community gardens and Balearic Community Center's children's area....
By Joseph Serna, | August 19, 2011
COSTA MESA — Earlier this month Councilman Eric Bever suggested the city stop lone council members from putting items on the agenda. Doing so, however, would have further isolated Councilwoman Wendy Leece, the only person on the council opposed to proposals to lay off city workers and replace them with contractors. In a thinly veiled criticism of one of Leece's proposals at the Aug. 2 meeting, Bever said then that too often "junk" ends up on the agenda that is purely symbolic and is certain to die without support.
By Joseph Serna, | August 16, 2011
COSTA MESA — With a reduced police force, residents will have to be vigilant, Councilwoman Wendy Leece said during her town hall meeting Monday. "The burden is really on us right now to keep our city safe," Leece, the Costa Mesa City Council's lone opponent of the proposed city layoffs, said. Over about two hours Monday night at the Neighborhood Community Center, Leece outlined how the city is constrained by legal loopholes and conflicting laws on dealing with some 100 rehabilitation homes and 50 marijuana dispensaries, which she suggested can attract crime, and why residents need to become their own watchdogs.
By Joseph Serna, | August 3, 2011
COSTA MESA - It was an agenda ripe for debate. Among the items were immigration checks and cutting council members' benefits. But it was Pop Warner football, and the organization's request that Costa Mesa cover its field-use fees for up to $10,000, that brought early fireworks. It was an appeal that Councilwoman Wendy Leece called "a little disingenuous," especially when asking "for a gift of public funds in light of the situation we're in. " She argued that the issue wasn't really the money Pop Warner was requesting - which would help the youth organization pay the Newport-Mesa school district for using Jim Scott Stadium at Estancia High School - but the principle.
By Joseph Serna, | July 30, 2011
COSTA MESA — Councilwoman Wendy Leece wants her peers to join her in reducing the City Council's salaries and benefits. The largely symbolic gesture proposed for Tuesday's council meeting would net little in savings, but Leece hopes it will show the city's workforce that the council is willing to do its part to cut costs. "I think it's time in the spirit of asking our employees to take reductions and layoffs that we have this discussion," Leece said. The savings are minimal in a $114 million budget: even a 25% cut to council members' salaries and health benefits would save about $37,500 a year.
By Joseph Serna, | March 26, 2011
COSTA MESA — In an emergency meeting Friday, the Costa Mesa Redevelopment Agency passed on a chance to inject $1.3 million into the city's general fund after the board failed to second board member Wendy Leece's motion to repay a loan to the city. City staff told the board that lawmakers in Sacramento are working on a bill that could dissolve all of California's 425 redevelopment agencies and take the money that belongs to them with it. Costa Mesa's agency has more than $10 million, but most of that is already designated to city projects.
By Mona Shadia, | December 9, 2010
COSTA MESA — Councilwoman Wendy Leece said that she believes that the selection of Costa Mesa's mayor and mayor pro tem was made during private conversations in advance of Tuesday's council meeting. The former mayor pro tem, who wanted to become mayor, on Thursday asked City Atty. Kimberly Hall Barlow to provide her with the information she needs to file a complaint under the Brown Act, a California law that requires most government policymaking decisions to be conducted in public.
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