| As documented at Pacific Progressive and in local Costa Mesa blog, A Bubbling Cauldron, Costa Mesa is at the bloody tip of the spear in California Republicans' war against public employees.
Newly-elected Council Member Jim Righeimer and recently-appointed Council Member Steve Mensinger are leading the ideologically-driven jihad, with an agenda item to give notice to 250 Costa Mesa employees that their jobs will be outsourced. This represents a third of the city's public employees in a wide range of departments. Without any study of the problem, Righeimer has also used local columnist Frank Mickadeit, to float an ill-conceived idea to privatize paramedic service in this column.
Their notice fails to take into account the opinion of Costa Mesa's City Attorney, which required that notice be given after a decision has been made to outsource, not based on a vague idea to study outsourcing. But, in a move that some see as directly related to the direction of the new City Council, the City Attorney has resigned and the City Manager abruptly retired.
As in Wisconsin, Republicans are battling a phantom "budget crisis" which is disappearing after Costa Mesa residents approved an increase in the hotel tax in November to protect public services and as revenues from sales taxes return.
A massive phantom gap in future pension costs for public employees is forecast, although the cost to the city has been flat for years as public employee unions have picked up part of the cost.
You may not recognize Jim Righeimer's name, but he has been one of the movers of Republican politics in Orange County for decades, managing Dana Rohrabacher's Congressional campaign in 2008, as a founding member of the Education Alliance, and as a co-author of prop 226. Righeimer and his brother-in-law Mark Bucher have led movement conservatives through groups like the Family Action PAC. Support by Riggy and his regressive allies helped elect wacky movement conservative Don Wagner (R-Irvine), Assembly leader of the Taxpayer Caucus.
State news sources don't reach behind the Orange Curtain, and the local newspaper, the Orange County Register, uses their near-monopoly for almost daily attacks on public employee pensions, not just with commentary but with daily slanted headlines and news coverage.
Costa Mesa is the beachhead, but other Orange County elected Republicans attended OC Republican chair Scott Baugh's Pension Boot Camp, and are ready to go on the attack against public employees.
Update As expected, the Costa Mesa City Council voted Tuesday night to issue lay-off notices to over 150 workers and study privatizing paramedic service despite overwhelmingly negative testimony from city residents. Basically saying, "You're Fired, but come back to work tomorrow", the six-month notices will only go into effect if the Council approves outsourcing in 18 separate city departments, based on approval of $200,000 to study reorganization of all city services.