As Mayor Monahan enjoys big profits from the crowds packing into his bar, 213 Costa Mesa employees will be wondering where their next job will be coming from. On St. Patrick's Day, Costa Mesa will decimate the City's workforce by laying off about 213 employees. This action is a result of claims that the City's pension obligations will skyrocket, according to projections done by city staff, who are not actuaries or pension fund managers.
This represents a pinnacle of achievement for Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Righeimer, who has waged war on public employees since 1998 when he had Prop 226 put on the ballot. Righeimer wants private companies to pick up the City contracts instead of having public employees. If wholesale outsourcing comes to pass, taxes are not going to go down (Costa Mesa has limited taxing authority), but the money will go to a few well connected individuals (moguls) who will have incentives to maximize profits while lowering services and wages.
The whole "hurry up, the house is burning down" process pushed by Righeimer has been questioned by many. Councilmember Wendy Leece has repeatedly questioned the wisdom of these sonic boom processes and asked for a rehearing, which was shot down by the other members of the council.
The fiction of a budget crisis is working and people are seeing thru it. The Voice of OC has an excellent article that points out the contractors who would be picking up the City contracts were ready to testify at the public hearing but Council had not asked for reports from the departments being outsourced or asked them to testify. Care Ambulance was ready to go but city's paramedic coordinator reported that the fire department had not been asked to weigh in on the issue.
A request has been made for the "records, data, source documents, worksheets, computer files, emails and related documents pertaining to preparation and calculations of PERS Rates and Unfunded Pension Liability Review presented at City Council Study Session on February 8." You would think that given how important those numbers are to the 213 people being given the bums rush out the door that the City would have a binder of documents and CD's of backup that could easily be offered up to support their numbers. The request was made on March 3, 2011 and documents aren't ready yet. Councilmember Leece has also asked for and not received the same data.
If you want to make a public records request (and you should) try this website. Follow the instructions and drag the letter into your wordprocessor to clean up. Ask for the PERS projection backup. Ask for who on Council is getting lifetime medical benefits for them and their family. Ask which Council members opted-in CalPERS (didn't know Council can get CalPERS - they can!). Ask about expense reports, outsourcing reports, campaign finance records, anything you have a question on about how Costa Mesa has made a decision as ugly as the one they have made now.