Here are the words I used to describe us the other night. If you have any you would like to contribute, please do.
Safe--we are a safe city and I want to keep us that way.
Free to be
Law abiding-self governing
Family as a Priority
Also, I'm adding:
There are more of course, but in light of the heaviness of our challenges and the divisiveness and contention right now, I thought it would be helpful to start to define who we are as a community.
But where do we go from here? Residents, employees who serve our residents, business owners, visitors, customers, other elected officials--everyone has an interest in what is happening here in Costa Mesa.
First, my hope would be that we begin anew to work hard to build good relationships with each other and be good listeners.
We need to rebuild trust with our employees, the ones who will still be here in six months. We have worked with them for many hours and they have contributed to millions of dollars in savings in the last few years to help us balance our budget.
I am disappointed that some have taken a mean-spirited approach and feel the need to rush to change our city.
We cannot eradicate the unions in Costa Mesa and still have the same city. We need a plan with principles. Stockton has one on pension reform we could follow and adapt--for starters. The Association of California Cities-Orange County just sent me a draft for pension reform "Items Cities Can Begin Implementing Today". I serve on the pension reform task force which came up with basic principles. This is the right way to do pension reform so that OC cities make changes at roughly the same time because all cities need to be competitive in the market to attract the best employees. I am concerned that we will not attract the best of the best who want to work for Costa Mesa.
Our City of Costa Mesa "Fund Balance" for February is $66,300,082.07. (Treasurer's Report for month of February 2011). We are not running out of money. We have time, even a month, to slow down and get our arms around the numbers, talk about making more cuts, look at possible increases in revenue (SCP) and have a balanced budget by June 30.
We have consultants and staff working together to send out the RFPs. It's a monumental task. I just hope we don't make mistakes we regret down the road because we hurried this process and bit off more than we can chew.
We have to count the cost of these changes in our service delivery and inform and involve our residents as we go along. I'm concerned of course about the level of our police protection and fire/paramedic services too. We certainly don't want to lower our standards one bit.
I will continue to seek the best for Costa Mesa and value your input along the way.