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Daily Pilot

City Council approves two code-enforcement officers

Political discontent bubbled at Tuesday's meeting where a resident announced his intention to recall Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer.

By Bradley Zint

10:47 PM PDT, October 16, 2012

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In an evening that was more laced with political discontent than action taken, the Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday unanimously authorized two new code-enforcement officers.

For the fiscal year 2012-13, eight months of funding for the positions would require $106,623 to tackle citywide issues from peeling paint to noise complaints. For a full fiscal year, nearly $160,000 would be needed.

City officials contend that the officers help improve the quality of life for residents.

The additional hirings supplement two other officers approved earlier this year who specifically tackle problems related to motels and drug and rehabilitation homes, said city CEO Tom Hatch.

Among the speakers in the public comments section — where residents talked of torn campaign signs, spending for the Costa Mesa Senior Center and dissatisfaction with the measure to institute a city charter — was Chris McEvoy, who declared his intention to circulate a petition to recall Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer.

The high school math teacher — who unsuccessfully ran for City Council in 2008 and 2010 — said Righeimer's grounds for recall stem from his vote on a Banning Ranch development traffic mitigation agreement approved by the council in July.

Mayor Eric Bever responded that the agreement wasn't finally adopted and never went into effect.

He said ideas to the opposite are a "big piece of misinformation" that's circulating.

"It was pulled off the table," he said. "It was not signed by me."

McEvoy's statement said the agreement "specifically takes away the rights of the city to make future objections with regard to traffic impacts" from the proposed development in West Newport that abuts Costa Mesa's Westside.

He said Righeimer's vote for the project, regardless of implementation, was enough to motivate the recall.

McEvoy contends the negative impacts to residents include cut-through traffic, decreased quality of life, loss of quiet streets and use of public funds to maintain roads impacted by the development.

Righeimer said in response that McEvoy and others have the right to attempt a recall and collect signatures, but that "it's amazing what politics has gotten to now. If you don't like the vote, you go for a recall."

"Small minds and small people do things like this," he added.

The City Council next meets Nov. 20, with a study session scheduled for Nov. 13.

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @bradleyzint