The League of Women Voters Orange Coast opposes the proposed Costa Mesa charter, known as Measure V on the Nov. 6 ballot.
First, the process that created the proposed charter was deeply flawed. A broad, diverse spectrum of individuals and community stakeholders were not involved or consulted. Requests that the city form a citizens' commission to craft a charter were rejected. Public hearings were not conducted with fairness, with equal opportunity for all speakers.
Second, we cannot support some key proposed charter provisions. We are opposed to setting term limits for council members, as citizens already have that power through the ballot box. No-bid contracting and privatization of city jobs is deeply problematic and needs much broader public discussion. Possible privatization of parkland for 99 years also needs further public consideration. Should we really hand over our precious open space to private interests for the next century?
A charter form of government can be good. But if we are going to make that choice, all the citizens of Costa Mesa need to be included in the discussion and decision. We urge a no vote on Measure V this November.
Armida Brashears, Judith M. Gielow, Barbara Wood and Joan Stewart
League of Women Voters, Orange Coast
Pass the charter
Re. "Candidates hold informal meet and greet," (Sept. 21):
I read the front page, anti-charter article in last Friday's Pilot with some surprise at the admissions of the three anti-charter candidates at their rally. Up front we are told that, if passed, they would "work to rewrite or replace" the charter.
So a majority approval isn't OK with them. They know better. Ms. Sandy Genis states her displeasure with the authors of the proposed charter: "The first thing I would do would be to get a citizens charter commission."
The three anti-charter candidates, with their Orange County Employees Assn. (OCEA) backers, will immediately throw out the simple, legally tested wording to be sure there is wording to support their benefactors. Ms. Genis then tells us, if elected, she will "get rid of" the city communications position and hire "a grant writer who could get state and federal funds."
Those funds, I assume, have the strings attached requiring prevailing wage (union) contracts (actually provided for in the charter). Don't cut spending; just find another source and keep on spending. The anti-charter candidates said they would incorporate "the state public contracting code to prevent no-bid contracts."
The anti-three want to keep the yoke of state control on the taxpayers of Costa Mesa. They and the Costa Mesans for Responsible Government have a great fear that the private sector members of the City Council will gift their buddies with fat, no-bid contracts.
The reality is that the council will set the dollar limits of contracts subject to bidding, publicly, every year, under the new charter. There was not one commitment in the article from the anti-charter candidates to cut the spending that is running this city into a deep hole.
The charter takes solid steps toward restricting the open-ended spending of the OCEA and their supporters. Mr. Harold Weitzberg wrapped up the article with his statement: "Let's go get them, we have six weeks."
I'm not sure who "them" is, but it kind of sounds like a threat. Is "them" the residents of Costa Mesa and our tax dollars?