Commentary: Get involved before city changes for the worse

What matters to you most? Is it the ability to pay your mortgage or rent? Perhaps job security?

Is it having open-space parklands to unwind and relax in after the drudgery of the workweek?

Is it a sense of safety? Or ease in commuting across town without getting stuck in traffic?

They are all at risk in Costa Mesa.

I have found that people are generally not interested in civic matters until something threatens to encroach on their lifestyles or what matters most to them. There's even a name for this sudden interest. It's called NIMBY, short for "not in my backyard."

Most active citizens begin their participation this way. I was a NIMBY myself. What began my "Nimbyism" was the proposed development of the Banning Ranch in Newport Beach.

I became aware of the project in 2009 and have read the idealized pros of the project and the factual cons. Through this process I've learned quite a bit, one being that mass marketing can manipulate the public's viewpoint.

Many people don't have the time to study the issues in all their complexities. Yet an uninformed public is subject to the influence of propaganda. This happened during election season.

I'm calling on all NIMBYs to participate in protecting our city.

I believe the traffic in the city will continue to increase as a result of the high-density projects approved by the council majority. Businesses have been pushed out of town to make room for live/work units. Where's the job security there? And where will those not earning an annual income over $100,000 live? They certainly won't be able to afford a $800,000 unit.

What about the value of passive, recreational open space? Sports enthusiasts would like sports fields to replace the natural setting in sections of Fairview Park. Some in the county want to groom Talbert Regional Park to resemble most other manicured parks.

The city had 70 more police officers about four years ago. Residents can show their support for Costa Mesa officers by burning a blue bulb in their porch lights.

And Banning Ranch developers want to bulldoze parts of the mesa.

So what's your NIMBY issue?

CINDY BLACK lives in Costa Mesa.

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