The Board of MVCI wishes the best of the holidays to the wonderful community of Mesa Verde!
The Board of MVCI wishes the best of the holidays to the wonderful community of Mesa Verde!
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!
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!
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.
IT’S TWENTY-TWENTY!! Not only are we in a new year, we’re going into another decade here. In addition to that, it’s also a leap year! So, in February, we get an extra day for work, play, contemplation, or any other thing you want to do to take advantage of this quadrennial event.
With so much going on these days, it can be easy to fall into traps of defeat. We know people who seem to have everything going for them but somehow never manage to leverage all these advantages for good. Often, we find that one’s attitude is the culprit. Attitude has been referred to as “the lens we use to view our world,” and if our attitude falters, it can wreak havoc on our endeavors.
In order to move past these various “spins” in our behavior, it is good to think about alternative ways to improve our attitude(s). Here are three suggested attitudes, along with actions you can apply today to develop them.
This is the attitude that “I am not alone.” The attitude of belonging means that you always feel there are a few people in your life who you can turn to when you are overwhelmed, buried and stressed out, who will always have your back. People who have an attitude of belonging always know that no matter what goes down, they are not isolated, and someone has their back.
Action | Find 3-4 people of character, whom you trust and become vulnerable with them. Bring them into how overwhelmed and stressed out you have been. You will be amazed at the focus and positivity that emerges from this.
“I have power”
The attitude that “I am not helpless, and I can do something about my situation.” Successful people always look for a choice and they don’t give in to what the research calls learned helplessness, which is a feeling that no matter what you do, you will lose, so why not give up? Instead, they think, “I may have financial, strategic or cultural problems, but I also have enough power to make one great choice to change things here.”
Action | Brainstorm with a trusted friend the toughest situation you are currently facing. Literally get in front of a whiteboard and write down 10 choices you can make (they may be difficult, but it’s movement). Then pick the one that will get you the most traction on the problem and execute it. That is acting on power. Note, this is not power over another. It is power over your life.
“I’m OK even when I’m not OK”
A little bit of a word play, but this is the attitude that failure, even repeated failure, won’t get you down. You will resist the judge in your head who calls you a loser and disappointment and instead remember that every time you fail, you commit to learning something valuable. So, failure (doing something not OK) doesn’t mean you’re not OK.
Action | Tell someone you trust the 3 toughest bad choices you’ve ever made (I’m serious about the “someone you trust”, there are lots of people who can’t handle who you really are, or would judge you, so pick carefully). Don’t minimize it or blame others, just say the raw reality. Then ask them what they think of you. Success comes from knowing that we don’t have to pretend that we are someone we are not. And it comes from hearing that we are acceptable and connected even when we don’t feel so acceptable.
Attitudes matter so Just work on one of these this week. You’ve noticed that each skill involves another person to support you. Regardless of who this is, doing the work is the most important part of the exercise!
See you next month!
P.S. A new year brings a new Annual Meeting, so please save the date. We look forward to seeing you there!
This Holiday Season, on behalf of the entire board, I would like to share our genuine appreciation with the residents of Mesa Verde. As I have noted in the past, we are a volunteer organization, which includes our membership dues. Without you, we would not be where we are today, and we are sincerely grateful. We hope you have a joyous holiday and we look forward to our ongoing partnership.
The new year will bring some interesting, and challenging opportunities! 2020 will be the first time the Mesa Verde community will elect its own district-specific member to the Costa Mesa City Council. City wide, we continue to deal with a burgeoning homeless situation. Across the 405 from Mesa Verde, developers are planning a HUGE multi-use project: One Metro West, and we can expect some sort of progress to be made in the plans to implement 5G technology throughout our area. It will be important to educate ourselves about these initiatives, along with others that will come, so we can all make informed decisions.
To our board: A sincere thanks to you for all of your contributions! You give of your time and talents and our community benefits from these efforts tremendously! To our membership: Respectfully consider some form of involvement in MVCI. We can always use volunteers and from time to time, we have openings on the board, for which it is always helpful to have a list of those who may be interested in serving.
MVCI’s board does not meet in December, so please permit me to wish you and your family the happiest of Holidays! Stay healthy and safe and we’ll see you again in January! Finally, don’t forget your MVCI membership! You can join or renew by using the application right here on the website.
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.
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.
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.
I hope you all had a Happy Easter and that the Bunny was good to you. Now, as we move on into Spring, let’s talk a bit about what’s going on in Mesa Verde.
First, at our Annual Meeting in March, we elected and welcomed our newest Board member, Geri Hidalgo, as our Data Manager. And, thanks again to Bill Burke for his exciting narrative and video of his mountain climbing exploits. We gained 31 new MVCI members last fiscal year ending March 31st; 15 regular, 12 platinum, and 4 lifetime.
Our membership dues are our lifeblood, our only source of revenue, so we again solicit your support in your own membership and recruiting your friends and neighbors.
Things are moving along at “The Shops at Mesa Verde”. Carmen Twork at C. J. Segerstrom and Sons reports that Dylan Blue Nail Spa has officially opened next to the Broken Yolk Cafe. Dylan Blue is offering 30% off all their services for a limited time according to Carmen, so check,’em out.
Descanso Mexican Restaurant was just named one of Orange Coast Magazine’s Best New Restaurants. I’ve been there- it’s nice.
Negotiations are underway for the space next to Descanso’s for a new restaurant, to be announced in the coming months. Stay tuned.
Donna Stapleton presented to the MVCI board an overview of a unique musical instrument project being installed at the Mesa Verde branch of the Public Library, under the auspices of the “Friends of the Costa Mesa Library.” “Freenotes” instruments were developed by Grammy winner musician Richard Cooke in 1995 to help people of all ages experience the freedom of playing music instinctively without worrying about wrong notes. Besides being aurally pleasing, the four instruments are visually pleasing. They will be available daily and year-round. Playing music in the library/park setting will be a community-building opportunity that encourages creativity, self-confidence, stress release, curiosity, and joy. The instruments are finely tuned with carefully chosen notes that invite easy improvisation with little musical skill. To get a short sample of what this will sound like, you can watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coukN9bWh2o
“Freenotes” are being subsidized by local public and private funding and anyone interested in supporting this endeavor should contact Donna at email@example.com.
Our Costa Mesa Fire Department sponsors the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.), designed to aid our first responders in emergencies, and also to serve our community in a variety of other ways. This team consists of citizen volunteers, and led by the exceptionally capable and effervescent Brenda Emrick, CMFD’s Fire Protection Specialist and Community Education expert. I had the distinct honor of serving on this team for six years, under Brenda’s leadership, and it was an exceptional and educational experience. I encourage you to check out their website www.costamesacert.org. The next class is scheduled for May 17-19. C.E.R.T. will be a hosting “Preparedness in the Park” series in the Fall and are looking for neighbors to share preparedness skills and activities. Brenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One Metro West is a proposed mixed commercial/residential project destined for the NW section of Costa Mesa, north of the 405 freeway and east of Harbor Blvd. The City Council has approved going forward with further study and review, and because of the size of this project, would require approval of voters at an upcoming election. At this juncture, MVCI has taken no position, pro or con, but we urge you to become familiar with this proposed project, and the effects it could have on Mesa Verde, both positive and negative. You can see a digital brochure for the development here: http://onemetrowestcm.com/ and the synopsis presented to City Council here: http://ftp.costamesaca.gov/costamesaca/council/agenda/2019/2019-03-05/NB-1-Attach-1.pdf
**SAVE THE DATE** MVCI’s second annual neighborhood picnic has now been set! The date is Saturday, May 18th and will again be on the lawn in front of the Mesa Verde United Methodist Church, from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Details will follow, so keep an eye on this website for more information.
You are always encouraged to communicate with us via our website
Let us hear from you!