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Political Landscape: Costa Mesa receives $1-million check for Lions Park playground renovation

Lions Park donation.jpg
State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, third from left, presented Costa Mesa officials with a $1-million check Tuesday that will help pay for renovation work at the Lions Park playground. The money was allocated as part of the state budget in June.
(Courtesy of city of Costa Mesa)

Costa Mesa City Council members checked out a $1-million state grant this week that will help cover the costs of planned renovations at the Lions Park playground.

State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) officially presented the funds — in the form of a traditional oversize check — during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Petrie-Norris secured the money as part of the state budget that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in June. Costa Mesa also has applied for additional state grant funding for the project through the Proposition 68 parks and community revitalization program.

In August, city officials pegged the playground project’s price tag at $2.357 million and said it would include installation of new play equipment, lighting, landscaping, signs, restroom, picnic area and benches.


However, the city has emphasized that the playground’s most notable feature — a Korean War-era Grumman F9F Panther jet — will remain.

New member for Costa Mesa Planning Commission

The Costa Mesa City Council on Tuesday appointed Marc Perkins to serve on the Planning Commission.

Perkins is a professor of biological sciences at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa and co-founder of the residents group Costa Mesa Alliance for Better Streets, according to his application.

The seven-member Planning Commission reviews and acts on certain permit applications and proposed projects and advises the council on issues related to development and long-term growth. Members receive a $400 monthly stipend.

Given state homebuilding mandates — and a recent vote by the Southern California Assn. of Governments to shift more of that responsibility to areas closer to the coast, including Costa Mesa — Perkins acknowledged that the city is going to have to grow.


But, he told the council, he’d like to see Costa Mesa do so “sustainably and equitably, building for a variety of life stages and life situations.” Active transportation and transit, as well as mixed-use development, “have the potential to mitigate the effects of additional housing on traffic and parking,” he said.

“I think Costa Mesa has the potential to lead the way in urban planning — to be the city that people want to move to because we figured out how to mix affordable housing with commercial and industrial development in a manner that provides jobs, homes and quality of life,” he said.

The vote to appoint Perkins was 5-0, with council members Sandy Genis and Allan Mansoor absent.

Costa Mesa approves locations for ballot drop boxes and vote centers

Costa Mesa council members unanimously signed off Tuesday on a handful of agreements with the Orange County registrar of voters office to place ballot drop boxes and vote centers on city properties for upcoming elections.

Ballot drop boxes will be placed at the Mesa Verde Library, 2969 Mesa Verde Drive, and TeWinkle Park, 970 Arlington Drive.

Each box will be “a secure and locked receptacle where a voter can drop off their vote-by-mail ballot in the same manner they would at a mailbox,” according to a Costa Mesa city staff report. “Ballots will only be picked up by election officials from the registrar of voters.”

The in-person vote centers will be at the Balearic Community Center, 1975 Balearic Drive; Costa Mesa Senior Center, 695 W. 19th St.; Donald Dungan Library, 1855 Park Ave.; and City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

For more information on vote centers, visit

Costa Mesa prevails in sober-living lawsuit

Costa Mesa recently won a legal victory after a federal judge denied a motion filed by California Women’s Recovery Inc. and Sober Living Network Inc. to set aside a jury’s ruling that rejected a challenge to the city’s sober-living ordinances, according to a news release.

“It’s time for these sober-living home operators to stop fighting our local laws and realize that we are on the right side of history when it comes to protecting both neighborhoods and patients from the industry’s bad actors,” Mayor Katrina Foley said in a statement. “We will continue to enforce our laws. I am positive they will withstand these challenges as reasonable and a model for other communities.”


Times Community News contributor Bradley Zint contributed to this report.

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