Measure V: Costa Mesa Rejects Charter Measure but Majority Voting Bloc Retains Power

The attention and funds of powerful statewide unions likely contributed to the defeat of Costa Mesa’s Measure V, a charter proposal advanced by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer in a city that has seen contentious relations between labor and government. For months Righeimer’s charter proposal was met with harsh criticism from union representatives who argued the charter proposal was first and foremost a legal strategy that would merely allow the city to skirt around litigation over the outsourcing of city positions.

While Righeimer’s Measure V was defeated, relations between labor and the city are likely to remain contentious because a three-member voting bloc majority was maintained by voters. Righeimer ally Gary Monahan was able to defeat a challenge from John Stephens and incumbent Councilman Steve Mensinger was able to hold onto his seat. Righeimer has noted that he will continue to pursue a charter but the second time around will include a citizen's committee. With this three-member voting bloc, the majority will likely continue to pursue policies that seek to downsize the city’s government and reduce the compensation of workers, despite litigation from labor groups that halted controversial privatization efforts.

That being said, the third open seat went to former Costa Mesa Mayor Sandra Genis, who was a vocal opponent of the charter proposal. Consequently, labor groups have put their own spin on Tuesday’s results, with Nick Berardino, general manager of the Orange County Employees Association, commenting the following: “This is a rejection of Jim Righeimer. The people of Costa Mesa took their community back. Voters saw through the council majority’s plans on Measure V. … They saw it as a power grab by a few individuals, and they rejected it.” See more here and here.

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