Mailbag: Should we blame the coronavirus spread on ‘stupidity’?

A couple of surfers leave the water at Huntington City Beach in April.
A couple of surfers leave the water at Huntington City Beach in April, when Gov. Gavin Newsom said all state and local beaches in Orange County must close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Social distancing, hand-washing, wearing a mask — this is the tripartite “prescription” that epidemiologists agree will slow the spread of the coronavirus. Given this, there’s a distinction between ignorance, defined as a lack of knowledge or information, and stupidity, defined as a lack of good sense or judgment.

The science deniers in my beloved Surf City cannot claim ignorance — we have the knowledge and information needed to mitigate the spread of this deadly contagion. Rather, stupidity is the only excuse one can make on behalf of this unmasked foolishness.

Ben Miles
Huntington Beach

Praise for a city service

Services provided by cities and counties receive so many complaints, I want to present a commendation for a change. We live in Newport Beach, and for several days, water was accumulating on the area between our sidewalk and the curb of the street. On inspection, I saw water coming up from a crack between our driveway and the sidewalk. The water was making a pool in the street in front of our house and running down the gutter.

Ugh, I thought, I have to call a plumber and get ready for a big bill. It was Friday, and my wife suggested that I should first call the city of Newport Beach’s water department. I told her that everyone at the city was probably home because of the virus, but I would try to reach someone. I called the city’s water distribution department, and to my pleasant surprise, rather than hearing “enter one, enter two,” etc., the number was answered by a live person, and warm-sounding young lady.

Telling her the problem, she took my information and said I would be called between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. At 1:30 my telephone rang and it was Richard from the water distribution operation. He had already been out, had inspected the problem, and told me “good news for you, this is the city’s leak.” A short time later, a city representative was at my door telling me that the leak would be stopped Monday morning. Early Monday morning a crew was out to cut a hole into the street and repair the leaking supply pipe. The next morning, a crew was out to repair the hole.

Not only was the service fast, but everyone who contacted me was exceedingly friendly and showed concern. Thank you city of Newport Beach water distribution department.

Martin A. Brower
Corona del Mar


Let’s get the students back in the classroom. It really is as easy as ABC. Teachers will do remote teaching from their homes using their laptops, and students will be in the classroom listening to their teacher teach them on the large screen monitor in each classroom. Teachers are now safe from catching any COVID-19 from students, and students can finally get back to school with their friends. Each school would hire “classroom monitors” who would be assigned to each classroom to maintain order and be there for any student need.

Roy Englebrecht
Newport Beach


An open letter to the school board

The following are open statements sent to Newport-Mesa Unified School District school board members written by Corona Del Mar high school students in the ASB program:

Elected school officials should be held personally accountable for their actions, which decide important school policy. As I’m sure you can assume, we are writing this letter as a response to our districts new disgraceful school reopening policy.

We are members of ASB on campus and we refuse to stand by while the students we represent are put on the back burner. If you won’t serve the students, we will.

We demand a full reversal of policy directed by the district and a consideration of full re opening in the fall. We have the manpower to back up our demands.

If current policy is not changed, we guarantee any board member who voted for this proposal will be unseated next election. We pledge to knock on doors, make phone calls and run a challenger to take your seat.

We won’t back down, we will never stop serving our students.

Theo Rokos, Corona Del Mar ASB
Monty Crane, Corona Del Mar ASB
Charlie Olson, Corona Del Mar ASB
Conrad Oliver Meir, Corona Del Mar ASB

Letter writer gets it right

Once again Huntington Beach resident Tim Geddes is right on target in his letter published in the Daily Pilot. Much more concise than I, he argues that both county government and city government in Newport Beach are “controlled by conservatives who are tone deaf to community needs.” Even many of the conservatives in Newport Beach feel that way.

Essentially what is needed is a total shake-up of both the county Board of Supervisors and the City Council (not to mention the Orange County Board of Education). Costa Mesa recently went through just such a major transformation, which resulted in a city government that is much more responsive to the community needs than that of Newport Beach. Two of Newport’s council members, Joy Brenner and Jeff Herdman, have tried to uphold their campaign promises to the community in Newport, but it is difficult swimming against the tide.

In short, the total transformation that took place in Costa Mesa, the residents of Newport can put forth candidates supported by the community as Jeff and Joy are. They can create a majority if they elect new council members who are also like- minded.

Geddes also characterized accurately, in my opinion, two candidates who are running for higher office, Michelle Steel for Congress and Diane Dixon for Assembly as “arch conservatives.” That distinction may draw some votes in Newport but not large numbers in other surrounding communities of the respective districts they will represent.

The two incumbents who will offer voters an escape from seemingly traditional “old backroom politics” are Harley Rouda and Cottie Petrie-Norris, who were elected in 2018 to Congress and the California Assembly, respectively. These candidates are like a breath of fresh air. In my memory, Orange County has never had such accomplished, energetic and positive candidates.

You have a choice: You can stay in the past with what I would describe as politics characterized by a cynical outlook on life, or you can look into the future with some optimism and faith.

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach

Concerns about Moorlach

To date, Orange County voters have looked for leadership, integrity, effectiveness, and a measure of independence from their elected officials in responding to our many challenges.

Our needs, especially in our coastal communities, are different than in other areas. Whether it is public health, education or reopening our local economy, we need problem-solving that protects and preserves our safety above all else.

Our Congressional representative (Harley Rouda-D, Laguna Beach) and our state Assemblywoman (Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna ) have stepped up big time in this regard. Their opponents have lapsed into partisan nay-saying with no solutions and no responsible approach to the COVID-19 pandemic still plaguing our county.

Add another Republican who falls into this category, State Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa). From my experience Moorlach has spent his entire political career carping about leadership in Sacramento without providing it. He has been a partisan warrior without caring about his constituents. I believe he benefited from a smear campaign in the form of several mailers that knocked out one of his rivals, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, without realizing the Democratic primary winner, Dave Min, is eminently qualified, capable and better suited to serve our citizenry than he is. I would rather have a UCI Law Professor who will fight for our interests than a CPA who puts dollars over denizens.

Like Rouda and Petrie-Norris, Min cares about people and stands up for them. He will move Orange County forward while Moorlach is stuck in neutral or reverse.

Now is the time for results. Now is the time for representation. Now is the time for leadership.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

Defending Rouda

Letter writer Mary Brown has it all wrong about Rep. Harley Rouda.

Few members of Congress could possibly have a better record of looking out for constituents. In his first year Rouda held five Town Hall events and took part in over a thousand meetings with constituents. In May he voted for the Heroes Act which, according to the House Appropriations Committee for local governments in CA-48, would bring $2.7 billion to local governments in coastal Orange County; ensure pay for police, firefighters, first responders and teachers; assist Orange County businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program; distribute a second round of direct economic payments; make sure that all Americans can receive interim healthcare coverage; and fund testing, tracing and treatment mechanisms to get us back to work. According to IRS statistics for CA-48 this legislation would also provide tax relief for more than 100,000 Orange County families by repealing the cap on State and Local Tax.

Rouda’s commitment to bipartisanship is reflected in comparing his voting record with the nearest Republican, Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-42, Corona). According to ProPublica, Rouda and Calvert have voted the same 42% of the time. Far from being a “radical socialist” our congressman is the finest example of a principled, hard-working public servant who reflects the hopes and values of his constituents.

Bob Taylor
Newport Beach

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