Mailbag: Motel 6 project would add needed housing to Costa Mesa
Recently I’ve seen common misconceptions about affordable housing being used to describe the Motel 6 development in Costa Mesa. As a resident of Costa Mesa for the last nine years and as the president of Community Development Partners, a local affordable housing developer working on the Motel 6 development, I find it pertinent to lay out some of the facts of the project located at 2274 Newport Blvd.
The Motel 6 development will include 88 units of affordable housing. Of this there will be 30 units for veterans struggling to find housing, 10 units for those struggling with mental illness and at-risk of losing housing (Mental Health Services Act or MHSA-eligible tenants), and 48 units set-aside for very low-income seniors. Project Based Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing (VASH) Vouchers will accompany the veteran units along with case-management services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The 10 MHSA units will have case management services provided by the county. The 48 units for very low-income senior units will have resident services provided by our nonprofit partner Mercy House Living Centers. All residents will also have access to these services provided by Mercy House. Wrap-around case management and resident services improve a resident’s ability to stay in housing long term, which is the goal of permanent housing.
The Motel 6 development is not a shelter. Shelters provide short-term sanctuary. The Motel 6 development is permanent rental housing with no requirement that tenants need to leave. Like most apartments, residents will have a lease that is 12 months in length, with the ability to renew each year.
Costa Mesa is committing $5 million in federal funding that the city receives from the federal government to provide affordable housing. This funding includes federal ARPA and HOME funds that the city receives and administers in part to provide affordable housing. The city has not spent any of those funds to date. By committing those funds to this project, CDP can leverage approximately $10.7 million from the state Project Homekey program, $4.5 million from the county federal tax credits and a bridge loan from Century Housing, a nonprofit lender for $7.9 million. These leveraged funds will help get the project completed. The city’s $5 million commitment will help provide 88 units of much needed affordable housing within Costa Mesa.
President of Community Development Partners
Rebuttal to an open letter to NMUSD community
I would like to correct the misrepresentation of Newport-Mesa Uncensored. Twenty-one faculty of Newport Harbor High signed an open letter published in the Daily Pilot claiming that our group “equated 10 of [their] colleagues with being pedophiles” and that I am the leader of the group. Both of these claims are blatant falsehoods. We entrust these 21 signatories with the education of our children and the fact that they brazenly bent the truth for political means only adds to our concerns about the politicization of our classrooms. Critical Race Theory and gender ideology have permeated our schools while academic performance has declined. Over the past five years, per pupil spending in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District has increased 67% to $23,367 and today, 41% and 52% of students are failing to meet English-language arts and math standards, respectively, according to the state’s 2021-22 Assessment of Student Performance and Progress report.
Newport-Mesa Uncensored is a group of concerned taxpayers who care about education. We have identified library books with sexual content, textbooks with CRT and, most recently, a Social and Emotional Learning program (RULER) that provides ideologically driven therapy to students without parental consent. Evidence is on our Instagram — @newportmesauncensored. Through attorney Craig Alexander, who represents the Center for American Liberty, we will continue to advocate for the next generation.
Stephens knows what to do
When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, many cities in Orange County used reserves to balance their budgets, while the city of Costa Mesa showed a small surplus that first year of the pandemic. Fast action by Mayor John Stephens and the City Council to reduce expenses allowed the city to show the surplus and surpluses have followed in the years since.
Costa Mesa has continued to show surpluses while at the same time the mayor and council approved financial assistance for local businesses and residents. They knew that by helping businesses and residents during the hard times Costa Mesa would rebound faster and stronger as the local economy began to rebound.
We are seeing the benefits of that policy today. Current year projected revenue is $26 million (19%) more than three years ago. Costa Mesa has a solid economic base and Mayor Stephens is working to expand and diversify that base so the city can continue to expand and improve services for the residents.
Mayor Stephens’ opponent says that Costa Mesa needs “saving.” He cherry picks one financial metric and from that predicts doom and gloom. Financial health of a city is not predicated on only one metric.
Mayor John Stephens has proven that he can help manage Costa Mesa’s finances. He is working hard to not only do just that but is also actively involved in helping lead the many other initiatives the city is undertaking to improve the daily lives of city residents. I support John Stephens for mayor of Costa Mesa.
Taboada is a member of the Finance and Pension Advisory Committee.
Prop. 1 could mean later-term abortions
The strong support for Proposition 1 expressed in a letter to the Daily Pilot by Rev. Dr. Sarah Halverson-Cano and 24 other members of the Faith Community in Orange County raises questions and concerns from me, one person of faith. Dr. Halverson writes that Proposition 1 will “enshrine the right to an abortion in California ...” but does not acknowledge that it could significantly expand that right beyond the current limitation of viability. The language of Proposition 1 places no limits on reproductive freedom, right to choose or right to privacy. And recently passed legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to make California a sanctuary state for those seeking abortions could in the future oblige all who pay taxes to finance anyone seeking a late-term abortion that can cost thousands of dollars.
Dr. Halverson’s statement “Proposition 1 will protect access to abortion for the most vulnerable among us ...” Clearly, concern for the vulnerable does not extend to the child who is soon to be born. It never does for anyone advocating abortion on demand.
Dr. Halverson states she is “particularly troubled that one religious perspective has been imposed upon others.” As just one person, am I allowed to question the imposition of a constitutional amendment that some believe would enshrine the right to end the life of a baby who would survive without the benefit of extraordinary medical care?
I ask all voters, people of all faiths and people who do not subscribe to any faith to join me and vote no on Proposition 1.
Opt against PAC mailers
There are those who say that democracy is at stake in the upcoming election. For the most part, those observers are talking about the national elections.
But one could say that undemocratic elections have been the rule in Newport Beach for at least a decade.
First of all, if you look around at surrounding cities, you will discover that they always have more candidates running for council than Newport Beach. Huntington Beach has 18, Laguna — which is much smaller than Newport — has seven candidates running for three seats, six are running in Irvine for two seats, seven are running for two seats in Fountain Valley and so forth. Actually this upcoming election in Newport Beach has more candidates than I can ever remember — eight candidates for four seats, one running uncontested.
Because Newport usually has fewer candidates it means that there is less choice — choice being a quality of democracy.
There are four things we could do in Newport Beach to make all City Council elections more democratic. First of all, lowering the cost of running for office would make a big difference. It costs approximately $125,000 to $200,000 now to run. Secondly, running for council takes enormous energy because the candidates are running at large. They have to get elected from the entire population rather than just their area. This also takes an enormous amount of time and money.
Finally, the most discouraging element to keep candidates from running in Newport is because we have allowed Political Action Committees to control our elections through the candidates that they support and help finance.
These PACS send out disgraceful “hit pieces” on candidates who challenge their candidates. This is what allows them to play an outsized role in our elections. Because who wants to run for City Council, knowing that they might be subjected to these despicable attacks?
Although it is a nonpartisan election, literature from political parties is tolerated. These undemocratic practices have allowed power groups to take over. It is too late this election to correct most of these practices. However, one democratic change is still possible. You can reject those candidates who have been financed by the PACS and/or have gained votes from the disgusting “hit pieces” being leveled at their opponents. It is very gullible to think that the candidates of the large PACS have no control over their campaigns.
Fortunately, we do have independent candidates who have not let the distasteful fliers discourage them. This alone shows their strength and perseverance, qualities you will need to have as a council member in Newport Beach. And these independent candidates are Tom Miller, Jim Mosher and Joy Brenner.
The election of these candidates alone can go a long way to help diminish the power of political PACS and open Newport Beach up to more democratic governance.
Why does anyone support Blake?
Laguna Beach voters probably have noticed the many Peter Blake banners and signs around town but should note how many are on empty storefronts and construction sites.
Seeing all those signs on those empty stores should remind voters that Peter has been on the City Council for four years and has blamed others for this blight but has done nothing to solve it.
There are large Blake banners on the Mo Honarkarowned buildings along North Coast Highway between Cliff and Jasmine streets and on the Hotel Laguna where he is the operator. There is a Blake banner on that monstrosity in the canyon, the Dornin project, and on buildings owned by Joe Hanauer. Banners on construction sites and possible construction sites tell voters that many of Blake’s supporters are developers.
Do we really want to reelect an ineffective council person, one who favors development and is a bully to boot?
H.B. council should choose its attorney
It’s time that Huntington Beach get in sync with the rest of Orange County municipalities and appoint its city attorney rather than depend on its citizens to cast a vote for a politician campaigning for the office. Most of us who live in Surf City have little knowledge about the city attorney’s office, its duties or even who currently holds the office.
First and foremost the city attorney’s office has as its sole client the elected council of the city. Therefore, it stands to reason that this client should be the one to choose who its legal representative is.
A hometown pick for NMUSD
There’s never been a more compelling time for respected, responsible leadership in our NMUSD schools. In the Corona del Mar area, we have the choice between a political climber who is connected to a group that has attacked our student organizations, our teachers and even our parents — or a longtime parent leader who is respected in our community for her years of selfless volunteerism and for her commitment to being a positive voice for students and parents.
Lisa Pearson knows education, knows leadership and knows our community because she has lived here for 30 years. Her endorsements are from local parents, business leaders, community leaders and the Newport Beach Police Assn. These groups are vested in our schools and only want them to improve, and our dedicated police officers know who can be tasked to prioritize school safety.
Our years volunteering at Corona del Mar High School on the Boosters, Foundation and PTA, alongside Lisa, showed us what servant leadership looks like. No other candidate in her race has the depth nor the experience that matches her exceptional integrity, her ceaseless dedication to her community and her tireless commitment to educational excellence. She worked collaboratively with teachers, staff and fellow parents. On campus, Lisa mentored younger moms who were serving for the first time, and she gained the students’ affection on campus.
An elected official is held to a much greater standard of accountability and public trust.
This is not achieved by gaining political favors or hiding behind online provocateurs and bullies. It is built by leading thoughtfully and without seeking favors. It is built by years of caring for our kids and our schools. Only one candidate in Trustee Area 4 can be that committed steward of students and be that positive voice for parents. Please vote for Lisa Pearson for the NMUSD school board in Trustee Area 4.
Newport Beach residents Liz and Ray Kennedy, Carol and Gary Crane, Cosy and Bob Ctvrtlik, Colleen and Tony Premer, Kelly and Jim Neiger, Dana and Steve Neiger, Tina and Tom Neiger, Mary Ann and Greg Haly, Sue Ellen and Paul O’Connor, Tracey and Royce Sharf, Vicky and Eric Fults, Molly and Tim Britt, Dana and Brian Flood, Jane Jones, Julie and John Guida, Carolyn and Steve Shaw, Regina and Joe Jennings, Suzanne and Cam Woods
Working quietly for their community
If you like me had grown tired of negative campaigns, crazy accusations and doomsday headlines then the Chamber of Commerce celebration on Oct. 28 congratulating and recognizing the Citizen of the Year, David Beek, and Business Person of the Year, Mario Marovic, was just what this city needed. You saw the best of our Newport Beach community. People who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes and until now unrecognized as they strove to do what was best for our wonderful city without seeking recognition or power. They merely did it to make our city a better place. And they have. Congratulations to David Beek, Citizen of the Year and Mario Marovic, Business Person of the Year, two well deserved and outstanding people. Your efforts are much appreciated. Thanks also to Steve Rosansky and the Chamber, the celebration of what is right about this community was just what the doctor ordered.
Thomas C. Edwards
Porter would fight for constituency
The Daily Pilot published a letter criticizing ads run by Rep. Katie Porter as she seeks reelection to Congress. Regrettably, everything in it is wrong.
It asserts that since California already protects a woman’s right to choose to continue a pregnancy, her support for abortion rights is just empty talk. Not so. If the Republican Party succeeds in prohibiting abortion nationwide, as it intends to do if it can, that could override California law. Scott Baugh will vote to criminalize abortion even here in California. Katie Porter will vote against that bill and for a law protecting the right to abortion in every state.
It claims that taxes and the summer blend are why gas prices are so high, and that the evidence fails to support Rep. Porter’s fight against Big Oil’s price-gouging. Wrong again. The staggering profits oil companies just admitted they earned this year show what we must pay for gasoline is vastly greater than the actual cost to produce it profitably. Scott Baugh will do nothing to stop modern-day robber barons from collecting windfall profits. Katie Porter will continue to lead the charge against oil companies’ greed.
And it claims Rep. Porter’s fight to lower the price of prescription drugs would discourage innovation and development. Nonsense. Drug companies continue to demand enormous prices for drugs developed decades ago and far more than what will encourage the search for new drugs and give Big Pharma a fair return. Scott Baugh would join his Republican Party’s unanimous vote against making life-saving insulin and other drugs affordable. Katie Porter will continue to fight to lower the cost of healthcare.
Finally, if you have a retirement savings account, please do check whether that money is enough to replace Social Security and Medicare, if Republicans succeed next year in taking it away. Scott Baugh will vote with his Republican Party to undo these programs that provide you benefits you earned working all your life. Katie Porter will, as she has year after year, vote to protect Californians’ retirement, health and bodily autonomy from those who will try to take them away.
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