I just can't believe it. After two years of traveling around Orange County talking about the economy, jobs, and the business environment . . . after two years of existence of Partnership 2010 and the Orange County Economic Development Consortium . . . after two years of listening to people bemoan the exodus of jobs from the county . . . after all that, I'm still amazed at the shortsightedness of some civic leaders who still "just don't get it."
Recently I attended the Costa Mesa City Council meeting to watch deliberations regarding an expansion project for the Automobile Club of Southern California. What I watched is an abomination of the political process, a total disregard for the citizens who came to express their views, and a perfect example of why business would choose to locate elsewhere rather than stay where they are.
What should have been a fairly normal meeting of the council to take public testimony before voting to accept the finding of the city's own Planning Commission and approve the project, became a grandstanding performance by the mayor who thought it more important to second-guess the city's Planning Commission and stage a staff meeting rather than carry on the work of the council and the public interest.
For the two hours I stayed, and for the three hours following, the rest of the council allowed the mayor to bully her personal agenda at the expense of the city staff, the residents and businesses in attendance, and the company that wants to be home for over 2,400 jobs in the city. If I were the president of the Automobile Club I would have stood up, told the council to quit wasting the staff and audience's time, begin shutting down operations in the city immediately, and start looking for a new location.
This is not what is meant by being business-friendly by any stretch of the imagination. Come on mayor, start to at least try to "get it." I'd be more than happy to come over and explain it all to you.
TIMOTHY J. COOLEY
President, Partnership 2010