Mailbag: Bunnies, other art are what make us human

I love the concrete bunnies.

It's about time we who live in Newport Beach learn to laugh at ourselves. Too much noise about dock taxes, developers and fire rings. Not enough noise about the foibles that make us human. Let's leave the bunnies for the kids and move on.

Incidentally, the other art installations at the Civic Center aren't so bad either. I like trying to figure out how to appreciate forms of art that are another expression of the human spirit.

Bette Ross

Newport Beach

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Bunnies add cultural value

I note that Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter represents the petty, penurious mind-set of our current right wing.

Peotter may wish to consider that we think of civilizations in terms of their public works. Egypt, Greece, and Italy come to mind. I am not equating the bunny statues with the Parthenon, but at least they represent something of value for the public at large and add depth, thought and whimsy to the public landscape.

Peotter's main concern appears to be that a contributor or two may be able to buy another yacht. What a vision.

Jan Rainbird

Irvine

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We stay in town for the fireworks

I respect Frank Peters' valid concerns about health and safety regarding fireworks and our city's boat parade ("Parade fireworks bad for air quality," Forum, Dec. 28).

Luckily, our city advertises special events, including those of the Fourth of July, well in advance of the dates, allowing concerned people to visit another city or state to avoid any effects on their health.

This allows the rest of us who are not so concerned to enjoy the spectacular display of entertainment as well as the boat lights that many spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on for our enjoyment.

Newport Beach and the Chamber of Commerce, along with all the unseen supporters, should be commended for their efforts and know how much they are appreciated by residents.

My family was not going to leave so as not to miss the holiday event we have enjoyed for 45 years.

Tom Iovenitti

Newport Beach

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Say no to Banning Ranch project

Dorothy Kraus' commentary ("Get the facts on the Banning Ranch project," Forum, Dec. 28) is a must-read if you value the privacy, peace, quiet and livability of our neighborhoods in the Newport-Mesa area.

Her points about the severe effects of the Newport Banning Ranch project on our communities, including the increased traffic, resulting rise in pollutants and the massive excavation of toxic dirt during the 10-plus-year construction period, are all supported by Newport Beach's environmental impact report on the project.

Compared with other large developments on the Orange County coast, this project will be huge. Based on the number of units per acre, the density will be 3.38%, larger than the last five large coastal developments since 1990 combined.

Another grave concern is the strain such a large project will put on already scarce resources, such as water and open space. California is enduring an unprecedented drought. We should be looking for ways to conserve water and protect what remains of our open space.

That can't be achieved by adding thousands more homes, cars and residents to an already saturated beach area. Imagine Coast Highway in West Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and everything in between clogged by a minimum of 15,000 more average daily car trips. Imagine Costa Mesa paralyzed by all the cut-through traffic headed for the beach, especially in the peak summer months.

Newport Beach voters recently said no to big development and traffic in Newport Beach by defeating Measure Y by a resounding majority. Now, if we want to preserve our quality of life along with our health and well-being, we should say no to the Newport Banning Ranch project.

Consider attending the California Coastal Commission meeting March 11-13 in San Diego. A large turnout will tell the coastal commissioners that the public does not want massive development on Banning Ranch.

You can find out the exact enforcement hearing date as soon as it's confirmed by visiting www.banningranchconservancy.org.

Suzanne Forster

Banning Ranch Conservancy vice president

For the Record: The Coastal Commission hasn't yet confirmed the date of its hearing on the Banning Ranch project, but it is expected to be during its meeting March 11-13. The previous version of this letter incorrectly listed the date as March 8.

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Trash collection isn't what it used to be

About a year ago, our city leaders decided to outsource trash collection and contract with CR&R.

When the city operated the service, we had a friendly employee who was always willing to dispose of awkward items. We knew him by name and could count on him to do a good job, on time all the time.

When the city made this change, a good and loyal employee was replaced by, in my opinion, a company that performs to a lesser standard.

Also before CR&R, trash containers could be left on the sidewalk for pickup, pickup was clean and neat with nothing left behind, recycling was done at the disposal site, and Christmas trees didn't have to be cut in half.

I'm all for outsourcing when it makes sense, but clearly this change, from a service and environmental point of view, was a mistake.

Dave Geoffroy

Corona del Mar

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Obama's economic policies are working

How many times do economists have to say something before people believe it's true? Despite the GOP's relentless attacks, President Obama's economic policies are working.

How else can you explain the pre-Christmas announcements that third-quarter growth was 5%, the strongest in 11 years; the rise in consumer confidence peaked just at the right time of the year; and the Dow finally topped 18,000?

If that wasn't enough, the Congressional Budget Office recently reported the deficit is projected to be only 2% of GDP by 2015. That's down from over 10% at the end of George W. Bush's presidency. America's "debt problem" seems largely solved, and almost all because of growth rather than austerity.

And Obamacare? Wasn't it supposed to bring the U.S. economy to its knees? Here's what business writer Michael Hiltzik wrote two months ago in the Los Angeles Times:

"Another stake in the heart of a popular anti-Obamacare claim has arrived from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which compiled the projected premium changes for 2015 in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

"Its finding is that premiums for the lowest-cost, most popular individual health plans will be dropping for next year, by a nationwide average of .08%. Now that insurers have been able to see what their competitors are charging ... they are making strategic adjustments in how they price.

"That's just one of several indicators recently released that demonstrate that the Affordable Care Act is working as planned and that the parade of horribles so deeply relished by its opponents hasn't materialized."

When Obama took office, hundreds of thousands of people per month were losing their jobs. Contrary to what free-market economists were saying at the time, the new president understood that adding millions of auto workers to the unemployment lines simply was not an option.

Since taking office, the administration has racked up nearly 60 straight months of job creation. According to Vice President Joe Biden, quoted in The Hill newspaper, "That's the longest streak of uninterrupted job growth in U.S. history." Granted Biden may be prejudiced, but the numbers don't lie.

Considering how fragile the economy was when the president assumed office, compared to its health and vitality today, I think it's time Republicans admit the obvious: The Obama economy is working.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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