There were no major power outages last week, especially in the water.

Surfers were riding high as a southwest swell brought in large waves,

some six to seven feet high, on south-facing beaches.

One Costa Mesa man hurt his back Thursday while surfing at 36th

Street. Lifeguards received the call around 11 a.m. about a man yelling

for help in the surf line.

Officials said he was treated for cervical spine injuries as a

precaution because he was complaining of lower back pain.

It was also a week that called for number-crunching crime figures.

Costa Mesa Police Department reported to the City Council that

February's crime rate increase, about 16.8%, was probably the biggest in

several years. However, officials said there is no need to panic because

one month's statistics do not reflect or forebode a negative trend for

the city.

Officials also warned citizens about the increasing number of auto

thefts in Costa Mesa. They said, although the number of auto thefts for

the year is still low, February saw a citywide surge. That could have

also bumped up the overall crime figures, police said.

-- Deepa Bharath covers cops and courts. She may be reached at

(949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at deepa.bharath@latimes.com.

Finally getting the Greenlight

Mayor Gary Adams, who's a professional transportation engineer and

planner, might be a little disappointed that he no longer gets to talk

about "peak-hour car trips" and "floor area ratios."

But his council colleagues seemed relieved last week after they

finally approved guidelines for Greenlight, the city's slow-growth law.

Newport Beach's voters had approved the initiative in last November's

election. As a result, all general plan amendments that add 100 peak-hour

car trips, 100 dwelling units or 40,000 square feet to the general plan's

allowance will have to go before a citywide vote.

Council members spent five meetings to fine-tune the law, adding

definitions and settling on a 2000 starting date for Greenlight's

look-back provision, which considers prior amendments to decide whether a

project triggers an election.

While Greenlight supporters disagreed with city officials on certain

guidelines, they said they liked the overall result.

And luckily the six council members present at the meeting all

supported the guidelines -- that's the minimum number of votes Greenlight

requires to put definitions in place.

Westside center coming soon

UC Irvine announced Thursday that it plans to open a community

outreach center on Costa Mesa's Westside this summer.

Officials said the center will wed the community and the university,

which already have a committed relationship that includes educational

outreach and research projects.

The Costa Mesa Senior Center also announced the beginning of a

movement to attract more Latino seniors. It translated parts of its

newsletter, The Chronicle, into Spanish for the first time this month and

has applied for grants to hire a Latino nurse and a bilingual


The news isn't looking too good for business and nonprofits that do a

ton of bulk mailing.

The bulk mail department at the Adams Avenue post office is closing

this month, and some customers have sent in complaints about the

inconvenience of having to drive to the Sunflower Avenue post office in

Santa Ana, less than two miles away.

Saturation bulk mailers, such as Real Estaters, will have to pay more

to send the mail from Santa Ana or take the mail first to Sunflower

Avenue and then to Adams Avenue, but most customers will not suffer

higher rates, U.S. Postal Service representatives said.

More money for teaching

It was a week to remember for thousands of people in the Newport-Mesa

Unified School District.

More than 1,100 school employees found out that they will be receiving

a check for $591.32 from the state. It was the latest round of funding

doled out as part of Gov. Gray Davis' 1999 School Accountability Act.

This one-time windfall went to all full-time employees at schools where

the target Academic Performance Index score was met.

Many teachers said that while they won't hesitate to cash the check,

they don't like the reason they got it. They felt that tying the reward

to those scores was not right.

Although the staff at what was, until Tuesday, Kaiser Primary Center

did not get a check, they got a treat of their own. The school board gave

its permission for the school to change its name back to its' original

name -- Woodland Elementary School. There was much rejoicing.

A bit of a wait at Crystal Cove

It's looking more and more likely that the California Department of

Transportation will have to make sure Coast Highway by Crystal Cove is

clean -- but maybe not as soon as Caltrans originally feared.

A preliminary report from the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control

Board recommends denying a Caltrans appeal of a cease-and-desist order

that set a two-year timetable for cleaning up runoff into the protected


But the report also suggests pushing back the deadline for three years

until 2005.

The Irvine Co. and the California State Parks, which were also named

in the order, both have begun work to clean up the cove.

It's unclear if they, too, will have more time to tidy up.

-- Paul Clinton covers the environment and John Wayne Airport. He

may be reached at (949) 764-4330 or by e-mail at


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