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Mailbag: Poseidon project delay should be made permanent

Detractors and supporters of the Poseidon desalination water facility.
Detractors and supporters of the Poseidon desalination water facility attend the California State Lands Commission meeting at Huntington Beach City Hall in October 2017. A Daily Pilot reader writes the project should be denied.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Twenty years after the initial desalination plant proposal, Poseidon has requested a delay in its request for a permit from the Santa Ana Regional water board to address concerns that should have been addressed before the original proposal was made, concerns such as the need for the water as well as the project’s costs.

The Orange County Water District under its Ground Water Supplemental program now produces 100 million gallons of fresh water daily, more than enough to surpass the 50 million gallons that Poseidon is offering to produce, and the district will soon be producing 130 million gallons of fresh water daily. The cost of water the OCWD purchases from the Metropolitan Water District is $900 to $1,100 an acre foot and desal water is $2,600 an acre foot. On these factors alone the permit should be denied. The water is not needed and the ratepayers should not be saddled with additional costs.

The OCWD purchases water to sell to other water boards and at the present time has no willing buyers other than Santa Margarita. If the water is not sold it will have to be stored underground and will require retreatments before it is sold, adding to the costs.

As far as harm to marine life caused by the intake process of a desal plant, all the Santa Ana Regional Board has to do is review the failures of the Poseidon project in Tampa Bay, Fla., which used the same intake process, and the marine environmental damage will be proven. As far as the Bolsa Chica mitigation plan is concerned, there is no use wasting more time on this issue after reviewing the factors of need, costs and environmental damage.

The water board should deny the permit. Poseidon officials are afraid board members are planning to do this, and that is why they are stalling.

Richard C. Armendariz
Huntington Beach

Thoughts on Michelle Steel

Michelle Steel was recently described as someone “in the trenches” in a letter to the editor. I’d like to comment on that description because she actually helped create a trench for veterans requiring assistance in Orange County.

Currently, if veterans need help securing benefits — disability claims, college tuition fee waivers, burial/death benefits and the like — they must wait months just to meet with a Veterans Service Claims Representative in Orange County due to staff shortages.

The Orange County Supervisors (chaired by Steele), oversee the Veterans Service Office, yet little has been done to fill three of the six open claims representative positions and the claims officer position that is also open. The Board of Supervisors apparently did not focus attention on this problem until a recent outcry from veterans, veteran groups and the public demanded action.

The training of new representatives can take up to a year, but veterans and their dependents can’t wait that long to obtain help with urgent matters. This week, two additional positions were approved making for a total of five openings plus that of the claims officer.

What we veterans need to represent our interests in Congress is a leader, not someone like Michelle Steele who simply reacts to problems like this.

Murray Schrantz
Huntington Beach

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Michelle Steele’s campaign posters for the office of congresswoman for the 48th district state list “reducing taxes” as a central theme. That is the same old Republican mantra that worked so well for Dana Rohrbacher, our former congressman and author of three legislative bills during 30 years in office.

It appears Ms. Steele believes that yet another tax reduction for the wealthy represents the summation of her ideas for solving the myriad problems in our great country. Therefore, it is no surprise that she refuses to debate Rep. Harley Rouda, who offers a proven record of legislative activism and accomplishments.

Elliott Mercer M.D.
Newport Beach

Rouda’s acts, alliances betray image

Harley Rouda recently streamed a theatrical “empty chair debate” where he again posed as a reach-across-the-aisle moderate, the way he first campaigned for office, while neglecting a few facts: 1) According to ProPublica, he votes 100% with Nancy Pelosi and 92% with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 2) Though mildly criticizing California’s job-destroying AB5, he supports the HR 2474 “PRO Act,” which is essentially a federalized version of AB5. (3) If he is pro-business and pro-police, why is he supported by the Teamsters and our local anti-police activist groups? (4) How does he square his reach-across-the-aisle image with his “f-off” tweet to Mitch McConnell?

Rep. Rouda ran in this relatively conservative district as a moderate but has acted as a reliable foot soldier for the left in Washington. Now he is trying the same trick again. As the old saying goes, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”

Curiously, as he began to speak a gust of wind blew the American flag off the stage. Let’s hope that’s not a sign of what a Rouda reelection would mean.

Russ Neal
Huntington Beach

A word about Casagrande

June Casagrande’s column, “A Word Please,” is something I look forward to reading and learning from each time it appears in the Daily Pilot. Her lessons sharpen my mind and make me a better, more thoughtful writer.

With all due respect to Ms. Casagrande and to Tyra Banks, may I jump to the front of the line and offer this portmanteau to lexicographers for what I continue to learn from the “A Word Please” columns: “Casalearnsandterms”?

Ben Miles
Huntington Beach

An open letter to NMUSD school board

I write to you as a concerned parent, teacher and community member. After speaking with numerous stakeholders, including my students from ninth through 12th grade, I have come to the conclusion that reopening schools in September or October as planned is just too early. There is time to reflect and change this decision. While many of you are hearing from parents who feel reopening needs to happen as early as possible, I have heard stronger reasons to be patient and wait. While those reasons are mainly concerned with health, they also include three deciders as it relates to students in particular.

1. The socioemotional well-being of our children will not increase as they wear masks, stay 6 feet apart and cannot socialize with others. The exact opposite, anxiety, will be the result.

2. Academic achievement will not increase with limited time in class, time loss to class/schedule and transportation issues. At present, more time is spent “in class” online, than the models being presented.

3. The academic engagement of our children will not increase as a result of the above reasons.

Please reconsider, meet with concerned students, parents, teachers and community stakeholders and do not make a mistake that could lead to someone’s illness, hospitalization or death.

Kirby Piazza
Newport Beach

Let’s call a truce on sign wars

While there are many serious challenges facing us these days, the escalation of political signage may just be a slight irritation to many but reflective of the current intense political climate nationwide. What is it about seeing your name on a piece of polypropylene along a street or in front of a house that brings out the warrior in us? Does my opponent have more signs? Are the locations and placement strategic? Which sign can be read from the furthest distance? How many of my signs can I place in a row on a single street?

Experts will tell you signs don’t win elections. Of course, many of those experts are trying to sell you slate mailers that are not actually connected to any official party organization, only “official sounding” with their voting recommendations for Republicans, Democrats, seniors, parents, conservatives, and financial watchdog voters. Of course, those of us in politics know these “recommendations” can be bought regardless of one’s qualifications or party affiliation.

As this week marks the beginning of the six weeks before election day, the signage will not only heat up in quantity, with 24/7 displays, but in dirty tricks. We have seen signs torn up, stolen, thrown in the street, placed in yards without permission and of course the midnight moving of a sign to block an opponent’s sign. I would like to encourage the Costa Mesa City Council to revisit the non-commercial sign regulations and consider adapting an ordinance similar to Newport Beach prohibiting political signage on public property.

Frankly, it’s a waste, and with so many of our citizens struggling financially, it is a sad commentary on how we spend our resources. Let’s get rid of this outdated, self-aggrandizing and expensive approach and focus on the issues. In the meantime, things being what they are, I’ve got more signs to put out!

Vicki Snell
NMUSD governing board member
Trustee Area 1

No question between Herdman and Blom

Once again, Newport Beach voters will face a small group of special interests attempting to buy a seat on the City Council.

For the past four years, Jeff Herdman has been an independent voice, working hard for residents and listening to all sides before making a decision. He has led on reducing the noise from John Wayne Airport, making our city safe, reducing traffic and protecting residents from poorly thought out development schemes. Most significantly, he has led in efforts for political reform to clean up our city after the California Fair Political Practices Commission found widespread violations of our campaign laws and contribution limits.

The same machine politicians who opposed Jeff’s efforts of reform have found Noah Blom to run against Jeff in the November election. In nearly 11 years on the City Council, I have never met Blom. He never attended a council meeting, community association meeting, civic event or in any other way demonstrated an interest in the city before running for office this year.

You know Blom is out of touch with our community by the positions he takes. During the Sept. 9 Speak Up Newport candidates form, he supported expanding short-term vacation rentals to every neighborhood in our city. Not surprisingly, on Sept. 17, he received a maximum donation from an out-of-town vacation rental business.

Even more bizarre, Blom was the only candidate to support bringing back the high-rise, high-density Museum House project. Perhaps he failed to notice that nearly 14,000 Newport Beach residents signed a petition to oppose this project in a period of only two weeks. He is simply out of touch with our city values and priorities.

Don’t be misled by the well-financed special interest hit pieces that are sure to come. Vote for Jeff Herdman for an independent council member who will represent you, not special interests.

Keith Curry
Former Newport Beach mayor

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