When I heard two city of Costa Mesa workers from the department that puts on special events had been placed on paid administrative leave, I wondered if it had anything to do with the city's 60th anniversary celebration at the end of June. I missed that two-day deal, despite being a Costa Mesa resident who received a ton of prerecorded calls from the city's CEO inviting me out. But I heard a bunch of complaints from neighbors who did go and–sure enough–the 60th anniversary party is now said to be tied to the paid leaves given to Public Affairs Manager Dan Joyce and Special Events Coordinator Christine Cordon.
“Said to be” are the operative words here. The city officially has said not much about the disciplinary actions, according to local reporters on the Costa Mesa beat. First it was no comment, then it was confirmation that Joyce and Cordon were placed on leave and finally it was revealed the forced vacations were tied to the 60th.
The complaints I had heard were about a disorganized clusterfuck that divided crowds based on those who paid nothing and a (very few) others who ponied up some cash so they could see and hear bands like the Chevy Metal side project of some Foo Fighters with their special guest frontman Dave Grohl.
Held in front of City Hall, surrounding Fair Drive and a portion of the nearby Orange County Fairgrounds, the celebration apparently had the musical acts performing behind the fair fence. Some neighbors told me they would have loved to join the 150 or so milling in front of the stage, but they refused to pay for the honor out of principle. A taxpayer-funded celebration of the taxpayer's city should be free to taxpayers went their reasoning. Costa Mesans are funny that way.
By the way, that's not why I blew it off; I hadn't really paid much attention until I was partying with friends in my backyard one of the nights when we heard some celebrating, at which point we all looked at one another dumbfounded and went, “Oh yeah … that was tonight.”
Anyway, the city is now apparently investigating allegations of “fiscal policies and procedures that may not have been followed” for the 60th celebration.
Well, when I want to know what's really going on in my town, I dial up Geoff West's A Bubbling Cauldron, where he writes:
I suspect we won't hear much more from the City on this issue. History shows us that they will keep everything very close to the vest as what is essentially a personnel matter gets sorted out.
Oh, well, maybe we'll find out by the 75th …