Keep the following in mind as you read on. Cities are incorporated entities, like many businesses, except they are formed to provide for the general benefit of the people who live in that city. They do things like pass rules, gather taxes, repair public facilities, enforce laws, put out fires and similar things that seem to be better done by a City than by individuals.
2-Taking the residents out of the general benefits picture.
Remember, in Costa Mesa, staff recently requested that Council approve a policy that the budget had to be approved by Council by a certain date, but no such restriction was placed on the time to deliver that budget to Council for approval and proper oversight (there's that word again.)
You might also want to go to the budget meetings and ask to see the very line and the very page where your specific benefits--the things that affect you and your family--are being nurtured.