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Opinion

Commentary: Newport-Mesa provides a wonderful sense of community

Spirit Run
Participants in the Youth 5K make their way on Newport Center Drive in Newport Beach during the Newport-Mesa Spirit Run in 2017, which the writer of this op-ed says personifies the sense of community spirit in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.
(File Photo)

As I grow accustomed to spending holidays away from home, I look back with nostalgia and miss many good things about friendly, beautiful, idyllic Newport Beach. I remember the Christmas Walk and Spirit Run that I would take part in almost every year.

More importantly, I remember the contributions of local businesses and organizations. It is great to see people help each other not only for the increased prestige that comes with helping others, but because they genuinely want to build a tight-knit community that meets the needs of everyone and sets an example for other communities.

I would say our Newport-Mesa community has done an exemplary job of improving ourselves and showing how local support and charity can benefit everyone in an inclusive way. While Irvine shuns the homeless, our area has homeless shelters, mental health services, soup kitchens and other amenities that can support and assist people in a non-judgmental way.

Our Newport Beach public library is considered one of the best in the country, with state-of-the-art equipment and reading room, and our city has one of the finest city halls. I often write about Orange Coast College, as it has excellent staff, resources and support. Soon, dormitories will make it so that it becomes a self-sufficient community where students can reside 24/7 to better themselves.

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Of course, key to this is a solvent financial system. There needs to be ample money and lack of red tape to support trim, efficient and responsive government services. Corona del Mar High School’s Best Foundation is an example of innovative accounting, as it is a way to raise funds for projects, retain control of how money is spent and not lose existing federal and state funding.

In addition to a government system is a strong taxpayer base. By working hard for our income, paying into our tax system and making sure that things stay local, we can make sure our money is going where it is needed: helping to take care of elderly people who have paid into the system and raising another generation of healthy and educated people who can contribute to their community.

More than simple reminiscing and praise, we can see this as an example of local government at its best. Only both a localized tax base and generous donations of money, material and labor can such a community have needs met effectively.

Having lived in China, I can see many people back in the U.S. are wary of a big government system that mandates many things from the capital in Beijing, and individual freedoms, religion and choices are nominally curtailed.

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Through showing a good example of civic responsibility, leadership, hard work and initiative, we can show how the Orange County way of life is both comfortable and productive. Our community would not be the same without the help of well-known volunteers at the library, the staff at Orange Coast College or of the many small businesses that add charm to our town.

Let us continue our involvement in our great community!

Joseph Klunder, who grew up in Corona del Mar, now lives in China.

How to get published: Email us at john.canalis@latimes.com. All correspondence must include full name, hometown and phone number (for verification purposes). The Pilot reserves the right to edit all submissions for clarity and length.

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