COSTA MESA -- In creating a committee to shape the future of the
Westside, city officials hoped to funnel energy from all sides of a long,
heated debate to fuel some real change. But with a Wednesday deadline for
applicants, the city is still lacking the current to ignite such a group.
The Westside Redevelopment Action Committee was designed to
accommodate about 46 people, but just 11 applications had been received
by Monday, said Mike Robinson, Costa Mesa's planning and development
Two seats on the committee were designated for each of the various
groups defined as having a "stake in the future of the Westside" but so
far the bulk of applicants have been residents, Robinson said.
Two letters of interest were received from members of the Costa Mesa
Chamber of Commerce, one from a church representative and two from
industrial property owners, he said.
"I've received more calls than actual applications. There is obvious
interest, but only 11 official applicants so far," Robinson said.
Councilwoman Libby Cowan, who had the idea for the committee, said she
hopes the interest will develop into participation.
"I really want people to take ownership in the process. Whatever they
come up with as a community, I am willing to support," Cowan said.
Council members, acting as the city's Redevelopment Agency, created
the committee in an effort to allow the community to forge a working plan
for the area.
Regular City Council meeting attendees Tom Egan and Allan Mansoor are
among the six resident applicants. Both men live on the Westside and say
they want to develop the area to its fullest potential.
"There is going to be a lot of cussin' and discussin' going on, but
that's the only way to resolve these issues," Egan said. "It is mandatory
that a bunch of grown-ups get together in a room and communicate."
Bill Turpit, a resident and a member of both the LatinoBusiness
Council and Latino Community Network, said he will apply and is
encouraging others to do so.
Turpit, who was vocally opposed to previous redevelopment on the
Westside, said he is encouraged by this process because it includes all
parts of the community.
"It must involve the people who live and work in the area -- those
whose lives will be affected by changes to the Westside," Turpit said.
Turpit said he is still not sure redevelopment is the best solution
for the Westside but wants to participate in defining neighborhood goals.
Although Egan has no problem with the inclusive nature of the
committee, he thinks the sheer numbers may pose a problem."It's going to
be hard. It is very likely there will be 50 different people with 50
rock-hard positions. But I'm looking forward to learning about all the
different sides and angles," Egan said.
Mansoor also has mixed feelings about the group.
"Whether it works or not has yet to be seen, but I wouldn't give up an
opportunity to at least participate," Mansoor said.
Except for the five at-large members, all applicants must be legal
residents, and must live or own property or a business within the
Westside boundaries. The Westside is generally defined as the southwest
portion of the city, west of Harbor and Newport boulevards and south of
the Costa Mesa Golf and Country Club, Estancia High School and Fairview
Those interested in participating in the Westside Redevelopment Action
Committee may pick up an application at Costa Mesa City Hall, 77 Fair
Drive, or download a form from the Web site, www.ci.costa-mesa.ca.us.
Information: (714) 754-5610.