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Orange County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Steve Mensinger

Candidate for
Council Member; City of Costa Mesa

This information is provided by the candidate

Councilman Steve Mensinger's Contract with Costa Mesa

As a seated councilman, I've focused on several key areas to make Costa Mesa the best and most livable city in California. If given the honor of being elected in November, here is my Contract with Costa Mesa that I will carry out.

1. Reform the unsustainable local public pension system. As a councilman, I've already successfully worked to get a sustainable second pension tier in place for our city employees and firefighters. I'll continue to work hard to get a second tier in place for police officers and have city employees pay more toward their own pensions.

2. Bring transparency to labor negotiations. I authored the groundbreaking Civic Openness In Negotiations (COIN) ordinance that will take negotiations with public employee labor unions out of the back room and into the public light. As councilman, I'll make sure my ordinance is followed to the spirit and letter of the law, allowing taxpayers into the process for the first time.

3. Invest more in city infrastructure. With so much taxpayer money going in recent years to fund employee compensation and pensions, Costa Mesa's infrastructure had been neglected. I envision a Costa Mesa with pristine sports fields, first-class libraries, and freshly paved roads. This kind of investment will retain and attract families that will make our city thrive. As a councilman, I've already helped steer more than $20 million this year alone into infrastructure, more than double the amount when I first got on the council.

4. Bring a holistic approach to public safety. To make Costa Mesa even safer, we need a holistic approach that includes our top-quality police force, second-to-none infrastructure, and a willingness to tackle long-standing problems such as problem motels, rehab homes, and homelessness. We've started the Neighborhood Improvement Task Force to deal aggressively with these vary issues, and the initial results have been extraordinary. We are as safe as the people we attract to Costa Mesa. We need to attract the best.

5. Restructure the fire department to mirror Costa Mesa's needs today. We have a great fire department, but it's operating on a decades-old model built around fire suppression. Less than 3% of the firefighters' emergency calls these days are for actual fires. The vast majority of 911 calls are for emergency medical services. With the help of Fire Chief Tom Arnold, the City is working to restructure the fire department to deliver medical services more quickly while still being ready for any fire call. When elected, I'll make sure this cutting-edge model--which undoubtedly will save many lives--will be enacted as quickly as possible.

6. Bring transparency to city government. As a councilman I requested that our City check register be made public, I've been a champion of government transparency. Our city has launched a new website that features maximum transparency to let the public know how its business is being conducted. The results have been transparency awards from the Orange County Grand Jury and the national Sunshine Review. I will continue to push to make every public document as easily accessible as possible.

7. Outsourcing city services when appropriate. In the past 18 months, the City has explored the viability to outsourcing 19 city services. To date, the City has found more than $3 million in annual savings from either outsourcing or having more efficient ways to deliver those services in-house. When elected, I will continue to aggressively look at ways to deliver better services to the public for a lesser cost.

8. Partner with the school district to provide better educations for our children. Traditionally, cooperation between the city and Newport-Mesa Unified School District has been minimal. We have two great organizations, and I believe we should be working more closely together to create better schools and more conducive educational environments. When elected, I work hard to create a more formal partnership that would, for instance, devise a campaign to keep Mesa Verde children in local schools instead of exporting those students elsewhere.

9. Practice fiscal conservative. I was part of the City Council that passed the first balanced budget (without using reserves) in memory. And we did it again this year. I practice fiscal conservative: balance the money, pay down unfunded liabilities, investment in infrastructure. For too long, budget surpluses went directly into the pockets of our city employees that the expense of infrastructure. (Did you know, for example, that city employees work on decade-old computers with decade-old software? That's no way to run a city.)

10. Listen to you. As a councilman, I'm known for having coffee with any constituent who asks. Even if we ended up disagreeing on an issue, usually we will end up as friends. But I will listen, hear your points and talk about the issue with you.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: November 2, 2012 20:49
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