Mailbag: Recognizing Costa Mesa leadership during the pandemic

Costa Mesa City Hall. A reader writes in praise of city leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Costa Mesa’s Mayor Katrina Foley and Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens, with the support of the majority of the City Council, have provided leadership to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in Costa Mesa, and this leadership needs to be recognized.

They have implemented a moratorium on commercial business evictions, held a town hall on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, partnered with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), provided face mask education and enforcement to reduce the enforcement burden on businesses, established a $1.7-million business grant program for over 200 businesses, expedited outdoor operating permits, promoted buy-local programs, worked with city staff on the Business Assistance Collective (BAC) that has contacted over 2,000 businesses to solicit ways the city can help them survive, and established the ReStore Costa Mesa Recovery Team to collaborate between the city and sectors of the economy and nonprofits.

Costa Mesa’s leaders have had to walk a fine line to minimize the risk of increasing infections, promoting businesses that can open safely and helping businesses survive until they can reopen.

I hope the leadership efforts of Foley and Stephens are recognized and rewarded in November with their reelection to mayor and District 1, respectively.

Mark Cleveland
Costa Mesa

Candidates should state their cases

Voters deserve to “see” the candidates of each race in Orange County, either in head-to-head debates or candidate forums. They should not be able to hide behind partisan campaign propaganda or paid advertising.

In 2018, then Rep. Dana Rohrabacher refused to debate challenger Harley Rouda, wouldn’t hold town hall meetings or be interviewed by neutral media. Rohrabacher lost.

The exact same thing happened with then state Assemblyman Matthew Harper and his challenger Cottie Petrie-Norris. Harper lost.

I want to see Harley Rouda debate Michelle Steel. I want to see Cottie Petrie-Norris debate Diane Dixon. I want to see state Sen. John Moorlach debate challenger Dave Min.

We deserve to measure and evaluate the candidates for these offices in front of early absentee ballots and mail-in voting.

Time is running out for us to do this. If we want a knowledgeable and aware electorate here, we should demand candidates put themselves out there.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

Waiting for Rouda to act

I recently read a letter signed by our congressional representative, Harley Rouda, on the impact of the coronavirus on firefighters, police and other first responders. It was quite disappointing and demonstrates Rep. Rouda’s lack of fitness to represent us.

The letter points out something that should concern us all but offers no suggestions what to do about it. Rather, it sanctimoniously put the onus to ”do something” on other people, like the Orange County supervisors or the governor.

Meanwhile, people like Supervisor Michelle Steel are in the trenches, working day and night making the hard decisions of how to best to fight the coronavirus without needless damage to people’s livelihoods.

When he’s not cursing the Senate Majority Leader, this is the kind of “small ball” we get from Mr. Rouda. It’s easy to express concern and then sit back and criticize hard decisions made by others, but I would like to see our congressman show a little more real leadership, call for specific action and take responsibility for something.

Russ Neal
Huntington Beach

Lack of council commitment to Herdman

Recently, a few pro-Herdman supporters suggested that the full endorsement of Jeff Herdman’s competitor Noah Blom, a “single” filing candidate/no slate, by Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill, Councilman Kevin Muldoon and Councilman Duffy Duffield was because of some nefarious goal to keep Herdman from ever becoming mayor or that the incumbent of almost four years has some unfair disadvantage. To that I say — campaign balderdash.

Is it just possible that the City Council doesn’t find Herdman an effective leader and is tired of all the discord in his own district over the last three plus years? After all, this question was even addressed to Herdman by the event moderator during the Newport Beach Chamber candidate forum on Aug. 20.

This discord can be heard from his own constituents in the way he presided over the John Wayne Airport expansion as chair of the aviation committee, sealing the fate of Newport Beach residents to one of what some consider the worst airport expansion deals in city history, increasing the volume, jet pollution and noise for years to come.

Is it possible that this discord is over Herdman’s habit in telling his community one thing and then doing the complete opposite, such as his council initiative promoting the redevelopment of Marine Avenue, while supporting ex-council members turned developer consultants Ed Selich, Don Webb and John Noyes for the overhaul of this historic main street on Balboa Island without one resident vote?.

Could it be that the council endorsement of Noah Blom is because they believe Noah is the right man for the job and because they have found Jeff to be an ineffective leader, one who has worn out his welcome to both council members and the residents of Newport Beach alike?

Anita Rovsek
Balboa Island

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