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Appeal filed in council suit

The man who unsuccessfully sued the City Council two weeks ago has

filed an appeal in a continued effort to force the council to put

before voters this November the initiative that would split

Huntington Beach into five council districts.

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Superior Court Judge Dennis Sheldon Choate, last week, ruled that

the City Council did not overstep its bounds when it decided to put

off a vote that could eliminate two council positions until March

2004.

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Joseph Jeffrey, a Huntington Beach resident, filed an appeal on

Aug. 22, the day after a judge sided with the council. Jeffrey said

he is encouraged by the fact that his appeal was accepted.

“Our request has not been denied, the city has been instructed to

respond to our complaint,” he said.

Jeffrey contends that by delaying the vote, the council is going

against the wishes of the 22,000 registered voters who signed the

petition to put it on the ballot.

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“The judge in my estimation should have seen what the city was

doing. Even if their action was legal, it was morally wrong,” he

said.

An appellate court judge will now either deny the appeal or decide

if oral arguments will be heard, said Richard Barnard, deputy city

administrator.

While it is not exactly known when the appeals court will issue a

ruling, it is believed that it will be done soon so that the issue

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can be resolved prior to the November election.

“They are not going to drag it out,” Barnard said.

Councilwoman Shirley Dettloff is optimistic that the appeals court

will side with the council, she said.

“I think we got a very fair ruling,” she said. “I think that the

reason it was fair was that having a later date allows citizens to

get all the facts.”

-- Jose Paul Corona

Strand project to go before city board

The Huntington Beach Environmental Board will

hold a special meeting

tonight to discuss the draft of the environmental report for the

proposed Strand project, which is slated to replace the first couple

of blocks of Downtown.

The Strand would take nearly three acres of land Downtown bounded

by Main Street, Pacific Coast Highway, Walnut and 5th avenues and

convert the area into a retail venue with big-name stores, offices,

restaurants and a 152-room hotel.

A 397-space underground parking lot would also be built beneath

project if it’s built.

The report was issued in July, and the 45-day public comment

period will expire next week, said Ricky Ramos, an associate city

planner .

When the public comment period ends and if the environmental board

has no questions or comments regarding the report, the plan will go

before the Planning Commission.

Last year, the group Citizens Against Redevelopment challenged the

deal between the city and developer CIM on three legal points. In

November, a court ruled in favor of the city on two disclosure issues

and in favor of the citizens group on the issue that a state

debt-limitation law was violated. The ruling forced the city to scale

back the project.

The project is not required to be forwarded to the City Council

for final approval.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in Room B-8 in the lower level

of City Hall.

Information: Associate City Planner Ricky Ramos, (714) 536-5271.

-- Jose Paul Corona

Conflict-of-interest bill passes into law

A bill introduced by Surf City Assemblyman Tom Harman that

strengthens conflict-of-interest laws for public officials was

approved by Gov. Gray Davis on Monday.

Harman, a former Huntington Beach councilman, proposed Assembly

Bill 1797 after former Mayor Dave Garofalo’s conviction in January of

one felony and 15 misdemeanors stemming from conflict-of-interest

charges.

The bill specifies that any public official who has a financial

stake in a decision that goes before him or her for a vote must

completely disclose the exact nature of the conflict. After the

conflict is disclosed, that official must recuse himself or herself

from either discussing or voting on the matter. Public officials

would also be required to leave the room when the matter is being

discussed or voted on.

Possible conflicts of interest include stock holdings, real estate

ownership or personal income generated from a business operated by a

public official.

-- Jose Paul Corona

Mobile home dispute program created

Huntington Beach residents who live in mobile home parks and have

problems with their neighbors now have somewhere to turn.

The Huntington Beach Mobile Home Advisory Board has created the

Dispute Resolution Program, which provides residents with help in

solving park-related problems.

With 18 mobile home parks in the city, there is a high turnover

rate of park residents, and many of those residents don’t know that

there is a Mobile Home Advisory Board, said Steve Holtz, city staff

liaison to the board.

Whether it’s a problem with park management or neighbors, park

residents are often confused about whom to contact regarding

disputes, Holtz said.

“Residents don’t know how to go about getting issues resolved,” he

said.

The board can help them resolve those issues, Holtz said. Mobile

home park residents are encouraged to attend the monthly Mobile Home

Advisory Board meetings. The board was created by the Huntington

Beach City Council to ensure a high quality of life for park

residents.

The Mobile Home Advisory Board is made up of mobile home park

residents, other types of residents and mobile home park owners.

Meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of every

month at the Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach.

Information: Huntington Beach Economic Development, (714)

536-5542.

--Jose Paul Corona

Youth shelter gets $190,000 for children

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher presented the Huntington Youth Shelter with

a $190,000 award that will help disadvantaged children pursue higher

education.

The shelter was given the award by the California Department of

Education’s Talent Search Program, which is designed to identify and

help youth with troubled backgrounds who have the potential to

succeed in higher education.

The goal of the program is to increase the number of students who

graduate from high school and enroll in college.

The Huntington Youth Shelter will prove academic, career and

financial counseling to students who plan to attend college. The

shelter will also help high school dropouts return to the school so

they can complete their education.

-- Jose Paul Corona

Civil War Days at Central Park

More than 300 soldiers are expected to go into battle this Labor

Day weekend when the Civil War Days come to Huntington Beach Central

Park.

The two-day event, a

living history and reenactment of the life and events that took

place during one of our nation’s most defining time periods, will be

celebrated Saturday and Sunday behind the library.

Civil War Days volunteers will be dressed in period costume, give

demonstrations, set up camp and will do battle throughout park

grounds.

On Saturday, camp opens up to the public beginning at 10 a.m. The

day’s first battle will take place at 1:30 p.m. A living history

weapons demonstrations will be held at 2:30 p.m. with a second battle

to follow at 4 p.m.

A special twilight concert will follow Saturday’s final battle.

Sunday’s morning schedule will include church services at 8 a.m.,

camps will open at 9 a.m. and the first battle is set for 11 a.m.

A living history weapons demonstration will be given starting at

noon, and a second battle is set for 2 p.m.

All times are approximate.

A hot dog stand will be set up on both days, and donations from

sales will benefit the event.

Civil War Days is presented by the Huntington Beach Historical

Society and the city of Huntington Beach. The event has been staged

in Surf City since 1993 when it began on the grounds of the Newland

House.

“It’s a great day and our goal has been to bring a little bit of

history to Huntington Beach,” said Huntington Beach Historical

Society President Kelly Rivers.

For more information call the Huntington Beach Historical Society

at (714) 962-5777.

-- Mike Sciacca

Housing groups receive federal funds

A total of $1.6 million in Community Development Block Grant

funds, provided by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban

Development, was doled out to 11 Huntington Beach groups who serve

low-income families.

Programs funded were Project Self Sufficiency, the Oak View

Community Center, the Huntington Beach Community Clinic and Adult Day

Services of Orange County.

But there was not enough to go around this year. Some of the

programs that will do without this funding source are the Orange

County Council on Aging, the Boys and Girls Club and local parks.

--Jose Paul Corona


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