Tag Archives: Angela Rainsberger

Response to Mayor Carchio: Good first step, but more needs to be done about downtown

By Angela Rainsberger

Editor: Rainsberger is the director of Huntington Beach Neighbors.

Dear Mayor Carchio:

Thank you for the letter regarding your proposed solutions to reduce the DUI fatalities coming from the downtown establishments. I believe this is a step in the right direction to reduce the DUIs and I hope that we will see some meaningful reduction over time. I believe the key is to make certain that these voluntary suggestions become requirements of entertainment permits as they come up for renewal or as new EP are issued.

In addition for new restaurants it is important to find a way to add restrictions to the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to prevent restaurants from morphing into bars. I expect you will see far less protests and activism from citizen groups in the downtown if we can insure that a restaurant stays a restaurant.

There are other cities in Orange County that have areas of heavy concentration of establishments serving alcohol who have found ways to manage the consumption to reduce the risks to life and quality of life. I would encourage you to meet with the city staff of Fullerton who crafted their successful ordinances and policies to understand what has worked for them.

In addition to your bulleted suggestions, I would add the following requirements:

  • No drink specials should be sold after midnight. This would include redemption of coupons such as the ones being sold on Groupon for two times the value of anything purchased. A managed decrease in the volume of alcohol consumed after midnight will decrease the level of intoxication at 2 am.
  • Maintain a full listing of establishments with the details of their entertainment permit restrictions, allowances, occupancies, and closing times to be used as a planning tool and reviewed in total, before any new establishment or any entertainment permit renewals are approved. Adjust closing times to stagger them as entertainment permits come up for renewal. This will reduce the 2 am flood of intoxicated drivers into the streets, by batching them in smaller more manageable groups, that the police will better be able to control.
  • Work with BID to increase the number of cabs available at night; as a cab shortage is a current problem. Taxi vouchers add no value if one must wait for an hour in a taxi queue.
  • Drinks need to be served to the person who will be consuming the drink. Currently there are establishments where drinks for large groups can be ordered by a single person at the bar and then carried back to a group. This prevents the servers from being able to apply the RBS/TIPS training and ABC max drink limitation or to monitor the ratio of drink per person. Require that the serve can verify that drinks are being sold are at the 1:1 ratio per order.
  • Require restaurants to clearly post occupancy permits for each area of their establishments (sidewalk patios, back patios, inside dining room and balconies) so that the police can clearly see when the occupancy of a given area has been exceeded. Currently, many establishments are not posting their patio max occupancy signs and in the evening hours are clearing tables and chairs off the patios and converting the patios to standing room areas with significantly more people than allowed. By posting these signs clearly the police will be able to quickly identify when occupancies have been exceeded.
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City Advisor: No longer passionate about Carchio after being ignored 3 years

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

When Joe Carchio ran for city council in 2006 Angela Rainsberger aggressively campaigned for him because he told her that he would listen to the residents of Huntington Beach.

At councilmember Don Hansen’s suggestion, she signed her name to a flyer that went to every home in the city and endorsed Carchio along with incumbents Cathy Green and Gil Coerper. All three candidates won in the election.

Carchio is the lone incumbent city council candidate seeking reelection in 2010, but he won’t be sending out any flyers with Rainsberger’s name on them this time because, she says, he didn’t listen after all. In fact, she claims, Carchio ignored her phone calls for three years after he was elected.

The problem started shortly after the election. Carchio came to Rainsberger’s home to talk about her request to be appointed to the Planning Commission. Instead, Carchio put crony Fred Speaker on the Planning Commission and appointed her to the Investment Advisory Board which would give her the important task of analyzing and advising the City Council on the City’s investment policies in a yearly report:

In preparing this report, the Board shall review the Investment Policy, Annual Financial Audits, and any other investment information determined by the Board to be applicable to the Annual Report. The Board will review and make recommendations in its Annual Report, on the following items: Investment Policies, Annual Investment Audit, Cash Management, Proposed State and Federal Legislation, Compliance with Investment Policies, Anticipate Exposure to Loss, and other areas as outlined in Municipal Code 2.110.030, including performing other duties or studies as directed by the City Council.

Considering that Rainsberger had over 15 years of experience in corporate finance, with an emphasis on “systems efficiencies, controls and financial reporting,” according to a 2005 Orange Coast magazine article, appointing Rainsberger to the IAB during an economic recession that was about to devastate the City’s budget finances may have been—no, was—the smartest thing that Carchio ever did as a member of the Huntington Beach City Council.

The problem was that Rainsberger took her job to help protect the City’s investments seriously, but Carchio apparently did not, as she indicated in a recent e-mail sent to the Voice.

“Never once while I sat on the board did he return my numerous calls. He voted on financial issues without receiving my advice. It was a complete waste of my time to attend IAB meetings, review investments and formulate advice that Carchio would never receive. City Council members vote on important fiscal matters that impact the safety and return of the taxpayers’ assets. It was a great disappointment that during economically turbulent times that Carchio failed to follow up to gain a better understanding of these important issues.”

In November 2009 Rainsberger fired off an angry e-mail to Carchio that finally got his attention. “I was wondering why you would appoint me as your advisor to a city board, have me volunteer my very precious time, and then fail to return my 10+ voice mail messages I have left for you over the last three years,” she wrote.

In response, Carchio claimed that the number she had called was “an old city number that has not been used for several years.” But the prefix to that number is not used by City Hall and a year later it is still in service with Carchio’s easily recognized voice along with a computer generated voice telling callers that Carchio’s mailbox is full and cannot take new messages at this time.

Generous readers of the Voice might give Carchio the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps there was some legitimate reason, such as technophobia or a forgotten voice message retrieval password, for not responding to his appointee to the IAB for three years. But wouldn’t a concerned councilmember have taken the initiative to find other normal means for maintaining contact if he really was “passionate about Huntington Beach,” as Carchio’s campaign signs promise?

Speaking of reining in the city’s financial problems, Rainsberger also told the Voice of a meeting she had with Carchio at City Hall about the Downtown Specific Plan after she finally managed to contact him in November 2009. She was concerned about the problem of drunk driving, related to the many bars that already exist downtown, but Carchio told her that the City’s police helicopter program helped contain the DUI problem.

To prove it—or perhaps to offer a nice perk to an angry former supporter before the next election—he offered to arrange for the two of them to go up for a ride in a police helicopter. “You’ll get a kick out of it,” she recalls him promising.

Rainsberger, still obviously more concerned about the City’s financial future than Carchio, turned down the offer due to her concern that Surf City taxpayers would have paid for an unnecessary and expensive use of police time and resources.

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