Costa Mesa Becomes Wisconsin Tonight

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Costa Mesa becomes Wisconsin this evening.

No, Goat Hill is not getting a giant brewery, a Super Bowl-caliber football team or mountains of free Oshkosh jumpers in the Bloomies parking lot at South Coast Plaza.

What the near-coastal town is getting is the same type of spat that pits Wisconsin state employees against Cheesehead Governor Scott Walker.

And it all plays out at Costa Mesa City Hall tonight.

The Costa Mesa City Council is considering outsourcing about a third of the work done at City Hall to balance the budget. That could cause 250 city workers to get pink slips.

"Residents, workers and supporters are coming to pack the hearing room to tell the City Council they don't want their services outsourced," reads an e-mail from Reggie Mundekis, a local activist and Pacific Progressive publisher. "Activists are getting ready to work with residents about bringing change to Costa Mesa.

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Jim Righeimer, bogeyman
The city has rejected offers from workers for concessions on pensions and benefits, claims Mundekis, who notes the budget deficit was created during the reign of then-conservative mayor, now state Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa).

The outsourcing idea has a like-minded bogeyman of its own: newish Councilman Jim Righeimer. To make this case, activists point to Riggy's résumé: co-author of Proposition 226, the defeated June 1998 ballot initiative that would have limited the ability of unions to use member money for political purposes; co-founder of the Education Alliance, the conservative group that declared war on public education and especially teacher unions; and campaign manager for Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), who, if you shaved off some years, added a dash of dashing and cranked down the crazy would be just like Scott Walker.

The move to outsource in Costa Mesa comes the night after a New York Times/CBS News poll was published showing a majority of Americans oppose efforts to weaken the collective-bargaining rights of public employee unions and cuts to the pay or benefits of public workers to reduce state budget deficits.

The council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at 77 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa. Ironically, the council will gather an hour earlier to honor retiring City Manager Allan Roeder and City Attorney Kimberly Hall-Barlow, whom, the activists note, had informed the council she could not immediately lay off city employees.

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