It's not the signs so much as the free parking and redirected traffic

that's helping some Balboa Peninsula businesses weather construction

work. Merchants have given mixed reviews to the city's efforts to ease

the burden of an $8-million renovation project.

And the new Rose Bowl rules are anything but rosy for Newport Beach.

The city, once able to draw Rose Bowl teams and tourists, is finding that

the prolonged event and the change from a Big Ten and Pac 10 match are

making it hard to draw people here.

Following a nationwide trend, Revenues from the city's sales tax have

taken another dip, now down 9.71% below last year's figures. Some worry

that, if the trend continues, it could mean serious cutbacks on the


Two eucalyptus trees were cut down illegally and the city is demanding

compensation. The 60-foot trees, though in a resident's front yard, were

on city property and designated as protected trees. City officials want

$8,000 compensation for the two lost trees.

* June Casagrande covers Newport Beach. She may be reached at (949)

574-4232 or by e-mail at o7 june.casagrande@latimes.comf7 .

Crossed cable lines

Sore necks abound in Costa Mesa, as cable users who have had problems

with AT&T; Broadband have attempted to cook dinner, bathe their children

and balance the phone between their shoulder and ear while on hold for a

customer service representative.

Last week, the Pilot ran a brief synopsis of the more than 50

responses we have received about people's cable woes. Some people even

continue to follow up, calling to report more waiting time for a switch

to digital cable.

Telecommunication managers at the city said they have been frustrated

with the level of customer service at AT&T; Broadband and have given the

company a Jan. 15 deadline to address the problem.

Officials at AT&T; Broadband said most problems with customer wait

times stem from the fact that everyone is trying to call at once --

either right before work, on their lunch hour or right after work. Cable

officials said they will work with city officials to resolve the problem.

* Lolita Harper covers Costa Mesa. She may be reached at (949)

574-4275 or by e-mail at o7 lolita.harper@latimes.comf7 .

Crimes break out in new year

Costa Mesa Police arrested a 46-year-old man Tuesday on suspicion of

impersonating a police officer.

Officials said Jesus Delcarmen Delgardo Sanchez was seen trying to

stop a woman under the guise of a police officer. But officers did not

have any further evidence because the woman in question left the scene

before police could contact her.

Sanchez pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession of false

identification. A judge sentenced him to two days of time already served,

eight days of voluntary community service, a year of probation and a $100


But Immigration and Naturalization officials, who are have Sanchez on

no-bail hold, say he is not a resident and had either overstayed his visa

or did not have his papers. Officials said he will eventually be deported

because he was previously convicted for possession of a controlled


A 32-year-old Costa Mesa man led police on a 10-minute chase through

residential neighborhoods Thursday morning before turning himself in.

Jesse De Quinteros Goens raced through several residential neighborhoods

adjacent to 19th Street before he gave himself up, police said. Nobody

was hurt in the chase.

In the courts this week, UC Irvine student Brian Dance pleaded not

guilty to sexually assaulting and torturing a 15-year-old girl last


Dance, 20, is accused of luring the girl over an Internet chat room,

inviting her to The Block at Orange and then taking her to a secluded

parking lot on campus and assaulting her. A pretrial hearing is set for

Feb. 15 and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 1.

* Deepa Bharath covers public safety and courts. She may be reached at

(949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at o7 deepa.bharath@latimes.comf7 .

Steady for the landing

Holiday travel at John Wayne Airport held up fairly solidly, according

to some preliminary data released by the airport this week.

In the period from Dec. 20 to 24, the airport saw three days that were

up from 2000 and two days that registered only slight dips.

In that respect, the airport bucked a broader downtrend in the

nation's air travel industry. The rest of the nation saw a 12% drop in

air travel from Dec. 20 to 26, a spokesman for a airline trade group


John Wayne's relatively cheery holiday was attributed to its

concentration of business and more affluent travelers.

Based on anecdotal evidence, an airport spokeswoman said she thought

the final seven days of the year were fairly steady, even though the data

was not yet available.

* Paul Clinton covers the environment and John Wayne Airport. He may

be reached at (949) 764-4330 or by e-mail ato7

paul.clinton@latimes.comf7 .

Suit seeks a strike

The father of a Corona del Mar High pitcher has filed suit against the

school's baseball coach, alleging he made derogatory comments that hurt

his son's chances for a college scholarship.

The complaint, filed in Orange County Superior Court, seeks $250,000

in damages for comments made against J.D. Martinez and his father, Marc

Martinez, by Coach John Emme.

Emme has a different version of the events, pointing out that J.D.

Martinez did not throw fast enough to catch scout's eyes and gave up more

than a hit per inning.

Otherwise, it was quiet on the campuses as students of all ages

enjoyed their holiday time off last week. But that ends Monday.

* Daily Pilot staff. To contact the newsroom, call (949) 642-5680 or

by e-mail at o7 dailypilot@latimes.comf7 .

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