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Mailbag: Interim city manager gets Huntington Beach welcome

Interim City Manager Sean Joyce speaks during a Huntington Beach City Council meeting.
(Daily Pilot)

I was in the audience at the last Huntington Beach City Council meeting of the year, Dec. 21, a couple rows from incoming interim City Manager Sean Joyce. The entire debacle surrounding the agenda item regarding the efforts of council members to seek legal help outside of City Atty. Michael Gates’ office must have disturbed him. Having been on the losing end of a disputed interpretation by the city attorney’s office myself regarding a Mobile Home Advisory Board issue (which could have been challenged by the City Council if it had the independent ability to seek a second opinion), I wholeheartedly supported the effort by what appeared to be a council majority to buck the city attorney if necessary.

Matt Szabo’s excellent write-up alluded to the crowd which appeared to be whipped up by the Save Surf City folks backing the council recall effort. This crowd has latched onto the leading conservatives in local government, Councilman Erik Peterson and City Atty. Michael Gates, to push their agenda and oppose any effort by the current council majority to move the city forward. This group takes the “washing machine” approach (spin and agitate) to governing without proposing practical solutions.

Many fear this negative and nihilistic approach to governing will infect the 2022 local elections. It is much easier to be against something and spout misinformed rhetoric than soberly look at the facts and use logic and reason in decision-making. By the end of the meeting, I was worn out and shocked at what had gone on. I said to Mr. Joyce as we were leaving, “Welcome to Huntington Beach.” He just smiled.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

Praise for Brenner

Janet Clarke’s letter (Daily Pilot Mailbag, Dec. 26) points out the excellent qualifications of Joy Brenner to lead our fair city of Newport Beach. And she bemoans the “ol’ boys’ network,” which allegedly conspired against her when they recently passed over her for both mayor and mayor pro tempore.

It reminds me of the 1954 Newport Beach council election. Back in those days, before we were a charter city, the council members ran on one ballot slate and the winners were the top vote getters; the new mayor was traditionally the person who received the most votes overall. In that year, Dora Hill ran on a platform to get rid of the corruption at City Hall. Swept into office by a landslide, she ended up getting the most votes and that meant she was entitled to be the next mayor. One of the other elected councilmen said to her, “You don’t expect to be the mayor, do you?” Her reply was, “I certainly I do,” and she was elected as our mayor, the first woman in all of Orange County and I think the only woman in the entire state at the time. (I was just a little kid then but had the pleasure of living next door to her.)

With the prospect of directly electing our mayor on the horizon, I don’t see why we all can’t elect Joy Brenner to that position and enjoy the prospect of her being mayor for eight years. Some of our best mayors in this city have been women and Joy Brenner should join their ranks.

Lenard Davis
Newport Beach

Not all of commentary was on target

As someone who works with young adults in addiction recovery, I am a huge fan of evidence-based practices for supporting adolescent mental health. So reading Dr. Sina M. Safahieh’s commentary (Commentary: Taking teen mental health seriously, Daily Pilot, Dec. 22) was confusing. While many of the suggestions were appropriate, some were absolutely likely to cause more harm. Wilderness programs are no longer covered by most insurance because they are more likely to cause harm. California recently banned sending children to out of state programs due to massive levels of abuse and lack of evidence in the efficacy of “residential treatment centers or therapeutic boarding schools.”

The best programs involve wraparound support not only for the teen but the whole family, creating sustainable change in their own environments. This comes alongside crisis stabilization in a hospital with licensed clinicians, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient services. Mental health does not improve via institutional abandonment. Adolescent mental health gets worse quickly in developmentally inappropriate locations that prohibit socialization and growing independence.

The quickest way to lose a relationship with your children is to send them away to a facility that controls and limits your access to them and their access to the outside world for an unspecified length of time, lasting months to years, and then to tell them they are lying or they deserved the abuse that happened behind closed doors. It will also make it much more difficult for them to ask for help in future, which is the last thing any parent wants.

Lilly Ettinger
Waco, Texas / Newport Beach

Surf City projects speak to greater need

It is inspiring and encouraging that local politicians can be effective in accomplishing municipal achievements that maintain our community and increase the quality of life for the citizenry of Surf City, such as the approval of construction projects at Bluff Top Park and Rodgers Senior Center.

If only our federal government could be as effective on behalf of our nation’s residents. Let the United States Build Back Better, starting with a child tax credit, tuition-free higher public education and an expansion of Medicare benefits that include hearing aids, eye glasses and dental care. A healthy, well educated population makes our country stronger.

Ben Miles
Huntington Beach

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