Costa Mesa council members voted unanimously Tuesday to support 1st Battalion 5th Marine Regiment, but the city will not directly provide the battalion any money.
The battalion’s 1,000 Marines live throughout Southern California and are stationed at Camp Pendleton. They have no particular connection to Costa Mesa, any more than they have to other local cities, but neither do other military units supported by surrounding cities such as Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Irvine.
In essence, what the three Vietnam War veterans from the battalion who advocated for the city’s support want is the city’s blessing and possibly a connection with the nonprofit Costa Mesa Community Foundation, so that they could get tax-exempt status for their fundraising effort.
“It’s more like an endorsement,” said the battalion’s top commander, Lt. Col. Bill McCollough, who spoke to the council. “It’s really just words. It’s a community saying we’re interested in all Marines, but in particular we’re interested in this battalion.”
Marines and Costa Mesa residents Pat Wallace, Fred Arnold and Jim Kailor said they would use the partnership to host fundraisers like dinners, dances and car washes.
“A lot of these young Marines live around here and come up here on liberty, and I think this will be an excellent time for the community to meet those that fight for them,” Kailor, a lifelong Costa Mesan, said.
Although all council members supported the initiative, Councilwomen Katrina Foley and Linda Dixon voiced concern with how the fund would be set up. Foley was afraid that added bureaucracy would saddle down both organizations.
“We don’t want to create more burdens on the group because when there are volunteers involved you have to make it easy,” Foley said.
City staff will examine the legal and financial regulations that would be involved with the switch and decide on the specifics of the financial relationship between the battalion and the community foundation before final arrangements are made.
In other news, Mayor Eric Bever appointed Foley and Councilwoman Wendy Leece to a task force that will decide on future improvements to the sports fields at TeWinkle Middle School, California Elementary School, Davis Elementary School and Costa Mesa High School.
The council picked members from five local homeowners associations, the Costa Mesa Youth Sports Council and the Costa Mesa High School athletic boosters for the task force. Representatives from the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission and the Newport-Mesa School District will also meet with the task force.
For a list of all the homeowners associations that will be represented go to www.ci.costa-mesa.ca.us. Any group not represented that wants to be must contact the City Council before its next meeting.
ALAN BLANK may be reached at (714) 966-4623 or at email@example.com.