Last month, the Costa Mesa City Council sent pink slips to almost half its 450 municipal employees, prompting a four-year maintenance worker to jump to his death from the roof of City Hall. The entire fire department might be outsourced. Responding to outrage, even from some self-identified conservative Republicans, city officials promised "the nation's most transparent government" — and then refused to answer reporters' questions. They wanted to ask how a city with a big hole in its budget could hire a new spokesman for $3000 a week. He is William Lobdell, veteran editor of the Daily Pilot.