Saturday, August 25, 2012
I am “All In” for reform in Costa Mesa
UPDATE: Geoff West over at the Bubbling Cauldron (link to the right) corrected my assertion that the candidates are running as a slate. None of the candidates has announced any form of coalition with any other candidate. He also pointed out that Sandy Genis is a registered Republican. A fact I did know, but had forgotten about. Sorry about that Sandy! I still see the groupings as I refer to them as ideologically simpatico. I may adjust that as the campaign matures. We shall see.
If you have followed any of my posts on the subject of politics here in Costa Mesa, you should have come away with two general themes. First, I have a reasonably conservative view of how public funds should be raised and spent. Second, I am really not in favor of ideological dogma driving decisions in local government.
What I have come to accept over the years is that the major political parties are using local office as a farm team for their nominees for partisan office. Now, I don’t know if this is a result of term limits or not. Term limits reduce the political “shelf life” of a politician. That means the parties have to have new talent on the bench ready to go. Regardless of the driving factors, it is a reality. Because of this, voters, like me are presented with ever more stark choices for local candidates. Even though the local offices are “non-partisan” we frequently see a battle between Republicans and Democrats. Sure the occasional altruistic candidate comes along, but they are rarely prepared for political battle and are generally underfunded to the point of being almost irrelevant.
In this environment, I really feel as if I have little choice but to start aligning with candidates from the party that most closely reflects my views of government. In local offices, that alignment is clearly with Republican candidates. Now, I may not agree completely with their national platform or even their state and local initiatives. Non-the-less, if I am to see the types of decision made that I can endorse, I find no other alternative.
This brings me to the current Costa Mesa city council race. The lines of division in this race are clearly Democrats vs. Republicans. On the one hand we have the public employee association backed slate, the Democrats, running against the slate not endorsed by the public employee associations, the Republicans. Sure, there are other money players in this fight, but from my position as a taxpayer, this is the bottom line. Do I want a council majority that will continue with the status quo when it comes to how services are delivered and paid for or do I want change? I want change. It is past time to make service delivery paramount and employment driven by that priority. If we need employees to provide services as efficiently as possible, great, hire them. If we can do a job more efficiently contracting it out, then contract away.
On top of that, I believe our community needs to change the long term cost of employment. When we pay an employee for their labors, they should be paid. Final. Period. The system we have now pays an employee for their labor and then the taxpayer is on the hook for the rest of that employee’s life if their retirement plan investments don’t pan out. That is a great perk if you can get it, but one I am no longer willing to fund.
So there are my high level priorities for my community. These sit on top of safety and infrastructure. Within the above priorities, I want reasonable services provided for my tax dollars.
This leads me to my choices for this election. As the title of this post states, I am “All In” for reform. I have been pretty vocal that some of the decisions made by the current council majority could have been handled with more tact and finesse. Still, I am not willing to see a council majority that is inclined to roll back their reform plans, including outsourcing and pension reform.
To that end, I am endorsing Gary Monahan, Steve Mensinger and Colin McCarthy for city council. I am also supporting Measure “V”, the city charter and Allan Mansoor for Assembly.
I plan to post more about these candidates and Measure V in the future.