Letters From OC Weekly Readers
OKAY, FOUR REMAINING FANS
A lot of nothing to get anyone excited about here [R. Scott Moxley's Moxley Confidential, "Unleashed," Sept. 2]. Why all the hot air? In a country in which any such public project is rare, indeed, your tightie-whities are in a twist over what, exactly? The slow progress is obviously a product of the Bush recession, more than anything else. . . . This "$5,750 in taxpayer funds" (though this is likely an exaggeration) undoubtedly afforded numerous parties involved in this development the kind of reception that many corporate players enjoy regularly to scheme up their next major rip-offs—for far more money, I'm sure. Glad these people had the opportunity. Beth Krom's "three remaining fans" are actually more like 20 thousand times that, based on the polls. Why so cruel an assessment of a committed public servant like Ms. Krom? Black is white, up is down, and good is just bad in your demented version of reality. Sad.
Bill Bartell, via ocweekly.com
MAKING A MESA THINGS
I guess the city can't use the reason that Costa Mesa is broke anymore [Chasen Marshall's "Costa Messy," Sept. 2]. I am kind of glad Jim Righeimer admitted what it was all about. It shows what a lying son of a bitch he is. I hope the union keeps this tied up in the courts for as long as possible, at least until the next election. Please, fellow Costa Mesans, don't let this man and his followers continue on this path of chaos and destruction.
Bitterenemies, via ocweekly.com
The $1.4 million budget shortfall was for the fiscal year that ended June 30. It could not be affected by the proposed outsourcing plan. The 2011-2012 budget passed in June and started July 1 was balanced (without reserves, for the first time in recent memory), with nearly $1 million earmarked for contingencies. There is no $5 million shortfall for "next year." Costa Mesa faced a $5 million deficit when the first draft of the 2011-2012 came to the city CEO in the spring.
CalPERS gives the city its rates for the next two years, so some of the rising rates weren't projections, but the actual rates. In years behind that (years three to five), it's CalPERS' projections (not the city's) that estimate the cost will increase to $25 million annually. The city did make projections in February, before CalPERS could supply its own figures; you were working from outdated information.
As for the "confrontation," there was an allegation of chest-bumping by Costa Mesa councilman Steve Mensinger made by an Estancia High School teacher. Mensinger and two witnesses said it didn't happen. The DA declined to file charges.
The repairs to City Hall were not postponed; they were never in the budget. They are on a wish list of capital improvements that won't be put into the budget until the city has the funds.
Bill Lobdell, Interim Director of Communications, Costa Mesa
Chasen Marshall responds: Lobdell's letter does clarify several points, all of which the online version of the story now reflects. Lobdell is correct that the potential for a $5 million shortfall came from a preliminary draft of the 2011-2012 budget. As for the CalPERS numbers, the state agency's projection, which came out after the city's projection, also estimated an increase to $25 million annually. On the alleged chest-bump incident, as the bump itself is in dispute, we have removed the words "chest bump" from the online version of the story. We included the City Hall improvements in a list of budgeted items in the story; the online version of the story has been changed to reflect that the items are on a "wish list," not in the budget.
In addition to the adjustments listed above, Chasen Marshall's "Costa Messy" [Sept. 2] contained several errors. The service time and department of former Costa Mesa employee Perry Valantine were given incorrectly, as was the spelling of his name. Valantine retired more than six years ago and worked in the Development Services Department. Also, blogger/former city worker Geoff West's age was misreported; he is 70 years old. The name of the Orange County Employees Association union was given incorrectly in one reference. The assertion that the city's layoff notices were "set to expire" is misleading; once six months had passed, the layoffs could have taken effect. More than 40 percent of the city's work force faces layoffs, not nearly 40 percent, as stated. Also, though the California Court of Appeal has dismissed the city's petition for a writ of mandate that would have lifted the temporary injunction, it hasn't ruled on Costa Mesa's formal appeal of that injunction, as our story states. The Weekly regrets the errors.
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