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📢📢Costa Mesa City Council SPECIAL Meeting, Tuesday, June 11, at 5:00 P.M.📢📢

The Costa Mesa City Council meets TOMORROW, Tuesday at a special time (5:00 p.m.). This is a Special Meeting with a singular topic: 2024 Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives/Tactics. While this is not a Study Session, public comments are limited to three minutes at the beginning of the meeting. This always seems strange to me, as why would we comment on something when our questions might be answered by the Staff presentation? Or when we may have more questions/comments after the Staff presentation?


The Agenda can be found here:

Agenda CC 061123
Download PDF • 180KB

The Agenda Report can be found here:

Agenda Report Strategic Plan Goals 061124
Download PDF • 196KB

The draft Strategic Plan can be found here:

Draft Strategic Plan
Download PDF • 192KB

And Key Performance Metrics here:

Performance Metrics
Download PDF • 187KB

GOALS. For many years, the City Council did not have any adopted Goals, but in 2019, when Katrina Foley was Mayor, the City Council adopted the following Goals:


  1. Keep our Community Safe

  2. Improve our Neighborhoods and Quality of Life.

  3. Keep the City Fiscally Sustainable.

  4. Housing.

  5. Improve Active Transportation and Parking.

  6. Good Government and Community Engagement.


In 2021, the City Council adopted these three-year Goals:


  1. Strengthen the Public's Safety and Improve the Quality of Life.

  2. Achieve Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability.

  3. Recruit And Retain High Quality Staff.

  4. Diversify, Stabilize And Increase Housing To Reflect Community Needs.

  5. Advance Environmental Sustainability And Climate Resiliency.

The Mission Statement has remained the same since its adoption in 2021: The City of Costa Mesa serves our residents, businesses, and visitors while promoting a safe, inclusive, and vibrant community.


Now in 2024, the City Council has adopted Core Values, which are: Integrity, Compassion, Sustainability, Inclusion, Innovation, and Collaboration.


It also amended the Goals to include new language and reorder them as follows:


  1. Recruit and Retain High-Quality Staff.

  2. Strengthen the Public’s Safety and Improve the Quality of Life.

  3. Maintain and Enhance the City’s Infrastructure, Facilities, Equipment and Technology.

  4. Diversify, Stabilize and Increase Housing to Reflect Community Needs.

  5. Achieve Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability.

  6. Advance Environmental Sustainability and Climate Resiliency.

  7. Provide Outstanding Customer Service, both Internally and Externally.


The Agenda Report lists the top three priorities as affordable housing, enhancing customer service, improving City facilities and infrastructure, increasing access to open space, long-term fiscal sustainability, and economic development opportunities. That is more than three, but who is counting?


Noticeably missing from the Goals are:


•  Better Transparency

•  Better Engagement of and Participation by the Public

•  Accountability

•  Effectiveness and Efficiency


While inclusion is mentioned as a Core Value, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are missing as goals. DEI programs are now standard policy and procedure in private industry, and I do not understand why the City is so far behind in this area.

Other cities survey the residents/businesses about how the City is performing its duties. It helps the City be accountable. Laguna Beach does an excellent survey each year, and it would help Costa Mesa in strategizing effectiveness and efficiency if it did the same. After all, how does a city improve if it does not know the areas in which it needs to improve?


What happened to Active Transportation improvements? Is the City just lumping that in with infrastructure now? Or are they thinking that there has been enough focus on cycling and pedestrian issues and complete streets and zero deaths/injuries should no longer be a goal? While there are three or four AT projects listed in the Strategic Plan, there are 150 or so in the Active Transportation Plan, and only a few of those have been completed.


Finally, one of the most important principles of good governance is following the law. This requires ethics. Other cities have Ethics Policies and require annual training on ethics, along with DEI classes. The Costa Mesa City Council has long resisted adopting an Ethics Policy, but the time has certainly come. There have been numerous Brown Act violations and skirting of the Brown Act by the City Council during the past few years, which has led to concerns about transparency and corruption.


STRATEGIC PLAN. The Strategic Plan gives more specifics and target dates for the goals in the form of Tactics/Objectives. One of those T/Os is “Initiate the move of the Property and Evidence Warehouse to Airway Ave. for the Police Department.” Will this be in the building that houses the homeless shelter? It will be interesting to learn the details of this and how it will impact the budget and police procedures for checking evidence in and out.


Also in the Strategic Plan is the proposed traffic signal at Belfast and Fairview Road. This traffic signal is NOT needed because there are two signals on either side of Belfast that act as a traffic break. However, this area of Fairview Road is continually neglected by City maintenance crews. The street is pitted with potholes and cracks from water line breaks. Garbage lines the sidewalks, along with gooey creosote dripping from the power poles. The medians have buckling concrete and dirt patches because there are no plants or ground cover, except for mangled trees that look like they came out of a Dr. Seuss book. I am less worried about a traffic signal than how this busy thoroughfare looks to the visitors to our city. The signal is one Councilmember’s folly that has nothing to do with environmental sustainability and climate resiliency, as it is purely car-oriented.


Another item in the Strategic Plan is “Enhance customer service through ongoing development of TESSA capabilities with staff training and online tutorials for users to create a simple, transparent and expedited customer permitting experience.” Oh TESSA! That program gets a less than good grade from me. It has been more than a month since I filed a complaint, and my issue has not been resolved. Or even recognized. But I did get a few emails about a business license that had nothing to do with me. So if the City can enhance it to actually perform its job, please do so!


KEY PERFORMANCE METRICS. These statistics are interesting, but are mostly meaningless unless we have something to which to compare them, such as the employee turnover rate. If I could compare that to Irvine, then the 6% anticipated rate might tell us something.


WHAT’S COMING UP? Just a heads up that the land use options for Fairview Developmental Center are supposed to be presented to the City Council and Planning Commission in July, and the in-lieu fees for the Affordable Housing Ordinance is scheduled to be heard by the Council on Tuesday, June 18. And the First-Time Homebuyer’s Program we have heard about for years is due to show up in Late 2024. I will have more on that once the Agenda Reports show up.

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