It’s been awhile…

It’s been awhile…

I was doing some “housekeeping” and in looking over the MVCI website, I realized that it has been almost THREE MONTHS since my last post! I promised to keep our community up to date on issues impacting the neighborhood and I regret that I dropped the ball. I have been contributing to my monthly “President’s Corner” in the local interest magazine, “Mesa Verde Living” which has distribution to 3,000 homes in the community, so you’ve probably seen my commentary there.

That being said, I thought it would be timely to bring you up to speed on specific MVCI issues. Let’s start with the organization’s finances. We have money! I have posted the Treasurer’s monthly reconciliation and summary reports and you can click the links at the end of this article. This does bring me to one very important issue, and that is the association’s membership.

WE NEED YOU!!

Our membership has fallen off a cliff of late, and it’s a bit of a “head scratcher” as to why. I readily acknowledge the obvious – the Coronavirus pandemic has thrown all of us sideways, physically, emotionally and, of course, financially, for many of us. We are all likely paying close attention to how our dollars are being spent – I know we are, in my household! But we have been deliberate in keeping our annual dues low and manageable, and I would simply ask you to consider renewing your support. Many of our neighbors are accustomed to renewing during our Annual Meeting, and since it wasn’t held this year, just forgot. Again, we need you! Our financial standing – which you can see in the reports – is good, but it won’t stay that way without your help. Twenty bucks is four trips to Starbucks, and that gets you a lot of effort for a very low investment. There are two ways to signup or renew your membership. First, there is a “fillable” form which you can complete and return by mail. The second is via PayPal and there is a link on the Membership Application page on the website. We are continuing to seek a solution that will allow for recurring annual billing, which we know can be of benefit to us forgetful folks – and that includes me! It’s a safe bet that since our current membership has fallen below 50 that there are a lot of you that will want to renew, so remember, we need you!

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MVCI’s immediate past president, Bob Juneman, sits on the city’s finance committee, and files this report:

Costa Mesa’s fiscal year runs from July 1-June 30. Our budgeting process begins in December and is completed prior to the following year beginning in July. This process begins with the department heads submitting requests to the finance department and city manager, and is finalized with a review and approval by the Finance and Pension Advisory Committee (FiPAC) and the City Council.

City policy requires a balanced budget, and normally this is accomplished. However, with the virus hitting hard in March, the year just ended will probably show a deficit. Fortunately we have ample reserves to cover. We won’t know the final numbers for a while.

So, what about the year we just began? Lot’s of belt tightening. Some layoffs of part time and temporary employees. Maybe some early retirements. Postponements of Capital Improvement Projects. Budget priorities will be police and fire protection, maintaining key staff positions, and the mandatory payment of employee pension obligations. Personnel related expenditures comprise 70% of our general fund budget.

And yes, we will fill the potholes!

Why is this important? Like a business, or a family, a city must have enough income to pay the expenses or it will face insolvency. Most or our revenue comes from taxes; sales tax being the largest source, followed by property tax, hotel taxes, and other taxes and fees, as well as grants, from various sources, but for specific purposes. While property taxes remain stable, sales and hotel taxes have seen a huge hit. Our Golden Goose, South Coast Plaza, is essentially shut down. Normally, up to 40% of our sales tax revenue derives from just that one source.

Our city staff, though shorthanded, is doing a wonderful job under very trying conditions. So, let’s all have patience if things get a bit rough for a while. We will persevere, and eventually prosper.

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2020 is the year for elections for city council and Mayor. This year, the district that encompasses Mesa Verde, District 1, is up for election. As of this writing, there are 3 candidates for the next two-year term: Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens, business owner Don Harper and “Organizational Change Consultant” Jason Komala.

There are also 5 candidates vying for the Mayor’s seat, including incumbent Katrina Foley, Wendy Leece, Sandy Genis, Quentin Pullen, and Al Melone. In addition, there are 3 candidates for District 2 and 4 running for the District 6 seat. If you want to learn more on any of the candidates, you can go here: https://www.costamesaca.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=42838

Newport Mesa Unified School District is also holding elections this year for Trustee Areas 1, 3 and 6. For Trustee Area 1, candidates are Vicki Snell and Leah Ersoylu. For Trustee Area 3, we have Charles Booker and Carol Crane. Trustee Area 6 candidates are Amy Peters, Alexis Zavouris, Xeno Muller and Krista Weigand. Note that “at large” voting has been changed to “in Area” voting. Mesa Verde falls within Trustee Area 1. Here is a map of the whole district: https://bit.ly/2EMTg6S

That’s it for now…until next time, stay well and stay safe! And while you’re at it, please “subscribe” to the website to get updates sent directly to your email address!

~Terry

07 2020 Treasurer’s Monthly Reconciliation

Treasures Monthly Summary 07 2020

Thoughts From The Neighborhood

As many people know, for the last few months, the “President’s Corner” has been published in the neighborhood magazine, “Mesa Verde Living.” Because I felt it redundant to post the same article on the website, I have refrained, having not done so since the January/February edition.

That being said, there is still a lot going on that’s worthy of commentary, so for those who look forward to these posts, here we go…….

The COVID-19 debacle has left us reeling and wondering just what “normal” is going to look like. As a business owner myself, my heart goes out to all those entrepreneurs scrambling to resurrect their businesses, and their livelihoods. Some actually did fine during these last 2+ months and they are to be applauded. Some were able to “pivot” their businesses to be of support to others, and businesses designated “essential” were supremely helpful to everyone and all of our first responders deserve our most sincere gratitude.

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As I’m sure everyone knows by now, MVCI’s Annual Meeting was postponed. The board ultimately reached a decision to cancel the meeting until its regularly scheduled time in 2021. All incumbent board members who were scheduled for re-election will hold their seats until next year. Officers will remain in place, as well. One bit of sad news is that board member John Leffler resigned for personal reasons. We will miss John and his many contributions, and wish him well, going forward. The MVCI City Council Candidate Forum will likely not take place this year, either, but be aware that Districts 1, 2 and 6 have candidates up for election (four-year term), along with a two-year term for Mayor. Elections are scheduled for November 3.

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One Metro West is still out there under consideration. The City Council would prefer to enact an amendment to Measure Y that would effectively exempt developments north of the 405 Freeway, and in the process, grant Rose Equities a “green light” to proceed without going before the voters. As it stands now, the project and any amendments to “Y” have been tabled, in favor of a broader review of development in the city. There are several parcels that should be considered in earnest, including those on Harbor Boulevard, so stay engaged! All development isn’t bad, and we all have a stake in how Costa Mesa moves forward. Remember: Good development has a positive effect on the city’s income and a robust growth strategy can help minimize the need for new or increased taxes for residents.

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Restaurants are opening again, as are many other retailers, barbers, hair and nail salons! Be sure to go and patronize them and thank the ones that stayed open during the pandemic!

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Sadly, racial disharmony has crept back into our lives. We have GOT to find a way to get through this barrier…once and for all. I watched an interview with former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson and he really captured the essence of what we need to be doing: In order to make any meaningful change, “…we have to be willing to be uncomfortable, willing to be honest, a willingness to not be offended and not to offer ‘what-about-isms’ when people talk about the way they feel.” If we’re not willing to move into this kind of dialogue – family, friends, neighbors and loved ones, nothing will change. If that happens, we all lose. If you’d like to see the full Ben Watson interview, click here.

That’s it for now. Let’s all take the high road and make our community and the broader world around us a better place.

Until next time, stay well, and stay safe!

~Terry

One Metro West **IMPORTANT**

Hi Mesa Verde Neighbors! If you are concerned about the changing character of the city and have a moment, please write a comment to the city planning department — and the Mayor and City Council members — about the One Metro West project that is planned for the area adjacent to SoCo. The deadline for public comments on the One Metro West project was extended to Monday, March 30, 2020. Mesa Verde Community, Inc. recently presented a letter to the city in which we expressed our opposition to this project. A copy of the letter appears at the bottom of this post.

Development in our city is inevitable, but anything we can do to mitigate the impact will be a worthwhile endeavor.

Thanks!

~Terry Wall
President

OneMetroWest DEIR – Signed 032020

Mesa Verde Community, Inc. Annual Meeting — 2020

Greetings everyone! The MVCI Annual meeting is coming soon. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. Our featured speakers will be distinguished executives from Mesa Water District, including Director Jim Fisler, General Manager of MWD, Paul Shoenberger, and Water Use Efficiency Analyst, Justin Finch.

Come join us!

President’s Corner – September/October, 2019

Please forgive me! It’s been a blur since my appointment and September had me very busy with work related projects. But we finalized our arrangement with Mesa Verde Living and you can expect to see your august board on the cover of the November issue! In the meantime, this will serve as my commentary for September and October!

For this post, I want to answer a few questions that often come up related to the organization and the board. The goal is to have an informed constituency and in so doing, validate that joining MVCI is desirable and relevant.

What does the board of directors do? The board runs the organization and ensures that it is financially stable and able to operate within MVCI’s three established pillars, “Inform, Protect, Beautify.”

What does a board director do? MVCI has a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and immediate past-president. There are also “at large” members and the board currently has a total of 11. We work together to set policies, develop budgets and execute plans consistent with our mission.

What makes a good board? A willingness to work together for the good of the community, using Roberts Rules of Order, which provides a guideline for a professional forum, policy making and forward thinking to ensure ALL of the current residents of Mesa Verde are served.

What makes a good board director? First and foremost, common sense. Directors come from varied backgrounds, educationally, culturally and professionally. All have something to contribute to the board and our community. All are volunteers. Only by being engaged can we, collectively, achieve success. Professionalism and common courtesy are vital for a board to work together for the good of the community.

Is being on the board worth it? I think so! There is great satisfaction in serving our fellow residents while helping to preserve the character of the community we all love. It is not just a once-a-month get together! There are lots of activities going on in any given month and the monthly meeting is where we get to see how we’re doing against plan, and deciding “what’s next?”

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If you have any thoughts or questions that you’d like addressed, feel to send an email to admin@mesaverdecommunity.org. I promise we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

Until next month…

~Terry

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t make the monthly pitch to join MVCI. The application can be found here:

President’s Corner — August, 2019

Greetings Mesa Verde! As a result of the board’s unanimous vote, I have been appointed to be MVCI’s president for the next two-year term. The last two years have seen significant progress in the endeavors of the organization and can be seen in Bob Juneman’s final message to the community, the July “PC.” While I’m at it, I want to sincerely thank Bob for his marvelous stewardship, and only hope that I can be as successful in the upcoming term.

Going forward, there will be several things I’d like to see us accomplish as your board. But for the purposes of this first message to the community, I want to focus on one issue: Membership! As has been shared several times by Bob and all the members of the board, membership is our lifeblood. We are not a homeowner association in the sense most people understand. There are no mandatory CC&R-based (covenants, conditions and restrictions) HOA fees for common areas, external building surfaces, roofs, pools, etc.

Think of MVCI instead as more of a civic association. All board members are volunteers and all dues collected are also voluntary. The funds the organization takes in allow us to advocate on behalf of the residents with the City Council and the various city commissions, Police and Fire Departments, School Board, Water and Sanitation Districts, to ensure our collective voices are heard. These dollars also help to defray the costs of our Annual Meeting, the MVCI City Council Candidate Forum, newsletters, surveys, the MVCI website and projects associated with beautification, like the entry signs to the community.

I want to appeal to every homeowner in Mesa Verde to join MVCI! With roughly 3000 homes in our community, there is no reason that we can’t get twenty percent membership. If you’re a member, ask your neighbors. I have seen dozens of new homeowners move into the “Upper Bird” streets just in the last few years…ask them! Membership is only twenty bucks a year…4 or 5 visits to Starbucks!

What’s it gonna take to get you to participate?

As part of this task, I will be producing a video, with the working title, “This is Mesa Verde” to help tell the story. We will create a YouTube channel to help communicate with internet-savvy folks. We just formed a partnership with the new magazine, Mesa Verde Living, which is mailed monthly to the aforementioned 3000 homes. To simplify signing up and renewing memberships, we are looking at online methods and will have a robust solution chosen in the next 60 days.

Are you with me? According to a few of our veteran board members, our membership roster has been as high as 500, so the 20% ask (which would be around 600 members) should be “do-able.”

Let’s do this! To get to the membership application, click here.

See you again next month!

~Terry

Special “Small Cell Technology” Study Session

Small Cell Facilities Study Session/Open House with the City Council

On Tuesday, August 13, 2019 from 5-7:30 p.m.

To everyone interested in how the City of Costa Mesa is going to manage the small cell technology, both in the present and in the future, this meeting is for You!

Due to the high public interest on this topic, on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 from 5-7:30 p.m. at City Hall, the City Council has scheduled a study session dedicated to discussing small cell facilities and Costa Mesa’s Municipal Code.  Residents are hoping the Council will adopt municipal code changes in the form of a wireless ordinance which will allow the City, and hence the residents, to have some control over how the federally mandated telecommunication system(s) are employed.  This means not just how they are approved and where, but the long range management of this technology and the new technologies yet to come, including 5G and beyond.  

Don’t you want to know what technology is coming into your neighborhood and around your local schools? Will there be dozens or hundreds of these Small Cell Facilities? How will they look?  Will it be an improvement to the look of our city or not? Who is paying for all of this and the maintenance of it? What is the maintenance? Who is responsible? How often is the equipment checked for staying within Federal requirements? And how is it checked, in person or remotely by computer? These are just some of the questions we hope the City’s Municipal Code will clearly state.  We strongly encourage interested residents to come and participate in this Study Session/Open House.

President’s Corner — July, 2019

 

Hello Mesa Verde, welcome to the dog days of summer. Every year about this time I wonder why we haven’t installed air conditioning in our home. Then, about the time I get ready to make the call, the beautiful Fall weather arrives, and another year goes by.

On occasion I am asked, “what exactly is Mesa  Verde?”  Our Board of Directors defines Mesa Verde as bounded by the River on the west, the 405 Freeway to the north, Harbor Blvd on the east, and the north edge of Fairview Park and the public golf course on the south, including Mesa Verde Collection, 27 Seventy Five, Longwood Greens, and Azulon. More importantly, it is our home, a wonderful community in which to enjoy our lives in comfort and harmony. A treasure to be protected and cherished. We hope you agree.

As I mentioned last month, Karla Stagman, has joined us as our Beautification Chair. Karla and her husband bought their home on Alabama Circle in 2000, and love life in our beautiful community. “I believe that with neighbors working together, Mesa Verde will continue to be one of the top neighborhoods in our area.”  Karla sees her role as an opportunity to collaborate with all of our members to bring a voice to all of Mesa Verde. As a local realtor, Karla sees the “power of true community to enhance the beauty and value of our properties.“ If we raise consciousness about community appearance, it will keep Mesa Verde economically viable and “Beautification will become a fun project.”

There is a new order of things in Costa Mesa. Last November brought a “sea change” to   how our city is governed. Our City Council increased from five to seven members. We changed from an “at large” to a six-district voting system, with an “at large” Mayor. We are finding that the costs of running a growing city are increasing faster that the revenue to pay for it, exacerbated  by the exploding unfunded pension liability, now close to $300,000,000. To quote from the 2019-2020 budget message, “The past six years have marked unparalleled prosperity for Costa Mesa and the recovery from the Great Recession has continued, becoming the longest period of economic growth in history. During that time, the City has also been faced with challenges such as addressing homeless issues and defending itself in lawsuits filed by sober living facilities.”  What this all means is that we need to be prepared for tougher times ahead and be patient.

5G technology is coming, and with it some new concerns. Our Board member and Treasurer, Carri Lang, has been “Bird dogging” this issue for us…click here to see her update and to see the actual letter sent to the City Council under my signature, click here.

Finally, as my term as President expires soon, this is my final President’s Corner. At our August Board meeting we will elect a new leader. Looking back over the past several years, the first thing that comes to mind is how fast time flies! What has our Board of Directors accomplished and how has our association grown? Let’s take a look:

~ We increased our Board from 9 to 11 members.
~ Established the position of Data Manager
~ Initiated videotaping of our annual meetings, viewable on our website HERE
~ Sponsored our traditional Candidate Forum in 2018
~ Initiated our Annual Neighborhood Picnic in 2018, continued in 2019
~ Held first public information meeting jointly with the Newport Mesa School Board and local school principals.
~ Replaced or reconditioned our Mesa Verde gateway signs
~ Advocated in support of the Tanager Drive neighbors to help arrive at an equitable solution to the proposed bike trail
~ Established a Mesa Verde Bulletin Board on our website for the use of our residents
~ Established a close working relationship with our police department to reduce speeding and traffic violations in Mesa Verde.
~ Completed several neighborhood surveys and reported results
~ Enhanced our website and broadened our social media coverage to include Facebook (check here) and Nextdoor (go here).
~ Published four newsletters, mailed to over 3000 Mesa Verde residents
~ Established our “Lifetime Membership.”
~ Initiated our Mesa Verde Volunteer Group (If you have a little extra time to devote, please consider volunteering)
~ Created our first self-guided “Water Wise Garden Tour”

Alas, my biggest disappointment is that we have not significantly increased our membership. We’ve added several new members, including seven lifetimes, but quite a few old members have not renewed. Why not? That’s a question we need to address. And, we will!

As I trust you can know, most of this costs money, and your membership dues and donations are our only source of revenue. Can you guess what I’m asking you to do? Click here and go directly to the membership app.

My thanks to our Board of Directors for  granting me the honor and privilege of serving as your President these two years, and to all of you for your support and encouraging words. A special “well done” to the tremendous help from our volunteer group.

I know that you will accord our new President your continued support.

Respectfully,
Bob

President’s Corner — June, 2019

Hello Mesa Verde, welcome to the “long hot summer!” Hope you all have great plans for family fun and recreation.

We’re continuing to grow; three new members in the past month, and the addition of a new Beautification Chair. Karla Stagman, a resident of North Mesa Verde, has graciously volunteered to head up our beautification efforts. We’ll be hearing more from Karla a bit later.

Traffic Update. Our vice-president, Terry Wall, visited with Lt. Victor Bakkila to get an update on the traffic issues in and around Mesa Verde. “Lt. B” was gracious and generous with his time and very enthusiastic about what they’re able to do regarding the traffic throughout the city. He shared with Terry an incredible analytical computer program that can help pinpoint areas warranting increased law enforcement attention and encouraged us to give him input on specific areas that members of the community might spot. The department also has acquired two additional mobile traffic monitoring trailers and again, if we see an area needing a closer look, all we have to do is ask.

The “30,000-foot view” report lists the top 10 intersections with traffic incidents (collisions); note that a number of them involve locations that are either in or touch Mesa Verde. In order, they are:

  1. Newport Boulevard at 19th Street – 13
  2. Wilson Street at Harbor Boulevard – 13
  3. Victoria Street at Placentia Avenue – 11
  4. Harbor Boulevard at Gisler Avenue – 10
  5. South Coast Drive at Harbor Boulevard – 10
  6. Bristol Street at Baker Street – 9
  7. Fairview Road at Adams Avenue – 9
  8. Harbor Boulevard at Adams Avenue – 9
  9. Newport Boulevard at Harbor Boulevard – 9
  10. 17th Street at Superior Avenue – 7

Date range of this report: 4/1/18 – 4/20/19

Lt. B pointed out that the enhanced police presence contributed to the reduction in violations in the Mesa Verde community, but that it’s an ongoing activity. We are the eyes into the community and if we see something, we should say something, so let us know and we’ll pass your feedback along to CMPD.

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We recently conducted a survey of Mesa Verde, asking what you would like to see in our newsletter. So far we’ve heard from 52 residents; 50 actually responded. Click here to see the results so far. The survey is now closed, but if you intended to reply, please be on the lookout for our next one.

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Carmen Twork of C.J. Segerstrom and Sons, reports that several new restaurants will be coming to “The Shops at Mesa Verde” in the near future. SHABU SHABU, featuring a hot pot style of cooking at your table, is scheduled to open this fall. Slated for early 2020 is “KENWOOD KITCHEN AND TAP”, a full-service restaurant and bar, offering high quality salads, burgers, sandwiches, steaks, chicken, and sea food. Both will occupy spaces adjacent to DESCANSO. “MEDITERRANEAN”, a family owned, fast, casual cafe, famous for kebabs, falafels, and Mediterranean plates, is in the final stages of negotiation, and will round out the restaurant mix at “The Shops”.

Please forgive my “stuck needle”, but we need your membership. Please join, or renew, while you’re thinking of it. Click here to get to our membership application.

Finally, as we look forward to the Fourth of July and our BBQ ‘s and fireworks, let’s remember what we’re celebrating: Our independence from a tyrannical monarch and government.
Let us fly our flag proudly, and be ever thankful for our many freedoms.

Warmly,
Bob

President’s Corner — May, 2019

We are pleased to welcome Charles “Rus” Purcell to our Board of Directors. Rus is a retired Geologist and has lived in Mesa Verde since 1975. Over the years he has been involved with City activities, including revamping the Mesa Verde Homeowners Association in the 1980’s. He was a participant in the TRIP Committee for Costa Mesa dealing with the Harbor Boulevard of Cars, and served on the Parks and Recreation Commission in the 90’s. Rus has been an active member of our MVCI Volunteer Group, and we look forward to putting his many talents to work for our Association.

As we approach Memorial Day, it is appropriate to remember how it all began. On May 30, 1868, General John Logan gave a Special Order to decorate the graves of their fallen comrades. Thus, Decoration Day was established, later re-named Memorial Day and declared a Federal holiday in 1971. I’m told that Harbor Lawn-Mt.Olive Memorial Park in conjunction with the Freedom Committee of Orange County always puts on a good show. This year it will be on May 27th, from 11:00-1:00. As we celebrate the day, let us thank the many service men and women who have given their lives to preserve our freedom.

Our MVCI second annual picnic is in the rearview mirror. Those who attended were treated to master BBQer Terry Wall’s burgers and dogs, the best in town. The kids were delighted when Captain Darren De Fruiter, CMFD, and his crew with their “Big Red” Fire Truck came by for a visit. With eyes big as saucers they listened to the fire fighters explain the equipment and will probably have some good stories to tell their friends who missed it. A huge thank you to Captain De Fruiter and his crew, to Brenda Emrick who arranged the visit, and to Chief Dan Stefano and the CMFD for their graciousness.

 

Those who define the seasons tell us that Summer begins on June 21st, astronomically, and June 1st, meteorologically. To me, Summer begins when the sun comes out in the morning and the days and evenings are warm. So, take your pick. Whatever, I’m ready. Ready for the beach, boating on Big Bear Lake, and maybe a little travel. How ‘bout you?

Bits and pieces from City Hall: Our newly hired City Manager, Lori Ann Farrell Harrison,
will report for duty o/a July 1st. Ms. Harrison is currently the Assistant City Manager of Huntington Beach. Also, the proposed budget for Costa Mesa for FY 2019-2020, can be viewed on the City’s website. Total budget is $173+ million, with the General fund budget at $149 million. We will be dipping into reserves for several mil next year, as unusually high costs for litigation and the new homeless shelter have strained our financial resources. Let’s hope we can get back to balancing revenues with expenses before the next downturn arrives!

I’ll wind it up here. Thank you to all our members who have paid your dues this year. We appreciate your support; it is our sole source of revenue. If you have not yet joined for this MVCI year, April 2019 – March 2020, please consider doing so now. (https://wp.me/P6Zz7F-1o)

Thanks for spending this time with us.

‘til June,
Bob.