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Opinion

Mailbag: Huntington Beach needs affordable housing for public safety workers and millennials

Ellis Avenue condo rendering
Applicant Tahir Salim would like to build a four-story building with 48 residential units and a coffee shop on Beach Boulevard and Ellis Avenue.
(Courtesy of Tahir Salim )

Although I appreciate the coverage of the recent Huntington Beach City Council meeting (“HB Council delays official decision on Ellis Avenue condo development as residents push to nix project,” Aug. 20), I felt a supplemental letter was needed.

My primary concern was related to the lack of affordable housing in Huntington Beach for those already working in and providing necessary services to our community. Police officers, firefighters, home health workers, teachers and daycare workers, as well as many others, are examples of people who are essential to our community. These people should have an opportunity to live in the community they serve rather than being treated like day labor and sent on their way once the workday has ended. Regrettably, H.B.'s lack of affordable housing excludes these key individuals from residing in our city and instead forces them into making lengthy commutes.

Additionally, we would be wise to consider the predicament confronting many highly educated millennials who would love to live in Huntington Beach, but due to our lack of housing units, are forced to move away from the community where they grew up.

Longtime residents, elected officials and appointed commissioners need to look beyond the myopic and self-interested views of NIMBYs and instead consider the dire future consequences of killing off the addition of new affordable housing. We must come to understand that the only way to ensure the future of our city is to prioritize and embrace the construction of new affordable housing projects in Huntington Beach.

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Steve Shepherd

Huntington Beach

Restore Trustee Dee Perry’s rights

When we elected the Laguna Beach school district’s governing board, we expected them to have a basic understanding of district-wide course material. Yet based on their recent actions, one could only assume board President Jan Vickers and her three eager followers have failed the government portion of LBUSD curriculum.

A Laguna Beach school board member intends to seek a restraining order blocking a recent decision by her peers to leave her off a subcommittee, according to a letter from her attorney that asserts that she also plans to file a lawsuit seeking at least $25,000 in damages.

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By electing Dee Perry to the school board we, the voters, gave her the ability to access districtwide confidential information, a vital part of her job. If the board wanted to strip these powers from an elected official, then there are a variety of democratic ways that they could move forward with that.

Using your power to create a cliquey subcommittee that denies Perry the rights given to her by voters is not one of those options. This subcommittee is unprecedented, undemocratic and a bad example for the children in our district of how we should use government.

Let’s teach the kids how democracy should work, by crafting meaningful change and moving forward with the goals of this district. But first and foremost, let’s give Perry back her rights and end this immoral subcommittee against her.

Kristi Taylor

Laguna Beach

Policy keeps speakers away

Recently the president of the Newport-Mesa school board enforced a new policy allowing the community to speak on non-agenda items only at the end of school board meetings. At the last board meeting, I waited four hours to speak for three minutes regarding changing this policy.

Oral comments from the public for non-agenda items had been in place at the beginning of board meetings for over 25 years. Twice I have requested that the new policy be discussed and reversed. My requests were denied.

You cannot expect young families to spend $50 to $60 on babysitting and wait three to four hours to speak. Waiting to speak is nerve-wracking for most and particularly stressful for second language speakers. Teachers who wish to speak often have school issues to complete in the evening and cannot wait until 10 p.m. Because of the late hour at the end of meetings, students are discouraged from speaking and the board needs to hear students.

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Newport Mesa School Board bylaws state: “People are our most important resource and should be treated with respect and dignity.” Trustees, follow your own bylaws. Return public comments to the beginning of the board agenda so you can listen to and better partner with the families you represent.

Martie OMeara

Costa Mesa

ISSAC offer students an alternative

International School of Science and Culture is a new charter school that will be opening on Sept. 3. We are offering open enrollment for all from anywhere in Orange County. ISSAC will be K-8 and is opening fall 2019 for K-5 students.

We know that there have been some reports that this charter school is a bad fit for Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. We want the community to know that we believe that parents and students should have options in education, that they should be able to find the right fit for their child to grow, thrive and flourish.

Despite the best efforts from all of us, some of the students don’t perform as well as they could in existing schools and would benefit from a new model or an additional alternative school. The charter school may not be the best option for a given student and for another the existing schools in the area may not be the best option. Just consider the possibilities to find what is most beneficial for your child and for your family.

Reports that a child who attends our school would not be allowed back into the district are not true. Being a school of choice means that parents are free to enroll their children into ISSAC and are free always to return to their neighborhood school.

Like the schools in the local district, we are interested in supporting students to shine. We are joined by a common mission. However, ISSAC does provide something different. We fill a specific need with our program of trilingual education, concentrating on STREAM, with project-based and differentiated learning.

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We would invite the community to come to our office any time for a tour. We are here to answer your questions and help you enroll. For information, please write info@issacweb.org or call (949) 400-4774.

Padmini Hands

Founder International School for Science and Culture (ISSAC)

Costa Mesa

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