Mailbag: What is that smell?

SCSA stands next to MarVac off Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa.
SCSA occupies the space next to MarVac Electronics off Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa. A letter writer says he can smell an odor in the area, which he believes comes from the cannabis dispensary.
(Barry Friedland)

So where do you purchase your pot? Well, now there may be a new way to get high, and its 100% free.

I have been going to MarVac Electronics on Harbor Boulevard for decades; it’s one of my favorite stores, but that may change. Next to MarVac is a store called SCSA, which stands for South Coast Safe Access, and the name and logo sort of resemble a quasi-government agency. In reality it is just another pot shop. This shop comes equipped with a scary-looking armed guard and a reception area where you are required to give them your personal information should you go inside. On their website they claim to be “Orange County’s Best Marijuana Dispensary.” So what makes this shop better than Stiizy or 420 Central Newport or Secret Garden or Off the Charts or People’s Cannabis Dispensary or Coast Cannabis or High Tide Church or any of the other approved and planned pot shops for Costa Mesa? Who knows? Is there enough demand to support all these pot businesses? I don’t know, and to be honest, I really don’t care.

On a recent morning I walked into MarVac Electronics and was immediately sickened by the smell of a skunk. I knew Pepe’ Le Pew had not paid a visit, so I believe the smell had to be coming from SCSA. I immediately asked the person behind the cash register if they smelled it also and they said yes. One of the new and younger employees heard me talking and called out, “It is a free high,” and he began inhaling deeply while saying he liked the smell. He probably thought he was being funny. The store manager grumbled some negative remarks to himself about the stench but offered no excuses.

If the smell is coming from next door, the owners of this building probably did not properly prepare it, as one of the requirements is odor-control devices, and techniques must be incorporated so that odors are not detectable off-site.


With the proliferation of pot shops all over Costa Mesa, and our pot-friendly council, I have zero expectation anything will change soon. Within a year I predict most of these pot shops will go out of business, and the owners will lose their shirts in the process. The good news is they poured a lot of money into their buildings so more family-friendly companies may replace them.

Barry Friedland
Costa Mesa

Following the successful Protect Huntington Beach rally at City Hall, Mayor Tony Strickland rebuffed its significance by claiming that any group could turn out a hundred people to complain about the policies of our local government. He stated with confidence that his City Council posse was supported by the overwhelming majority of the Surf City electorate. Maybe that confidence has eroded a little after the Protect H.B. rally at Central Park this past Saturday, which drew a reported 300 people to oppose the council majority’s high-handed tactics in running our city. Especially targeted were the unneeded and irresponsible Charter amendments being forced on the March 2024 primary ballot. There is going to be serious and widespread push-back against the majority’s authoritarian attempts to rule rather govern us. Back in September at the California GOP convention in Anaheim, Donald Trump praised Tony Strickland as being one of his favorite mayors. One autocrat praising another. Taking a page out of the Donald Trump playbook, Strickland seemed to express disdain for any community members who opposed his far-right agenda. At least he’s not calling us vermin.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

Book-banning resolution out of touch

On Nov. 7, voters sent a clear message throughout the country. They voted for governors, congressional candidates and school board officials who detest book bans and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Candidates endorsed by groups like Moms for Liberty lost even in conservative states as Americans reject their out-of-touch cultural platform. But in Huntington Beach, conservative city council members continue to pursue a public library book-banning resolution that will establish a review board of political appointees who determine which books the library can acquire (without librarians’ input) and relocate all books from the Young Adult/Teen section that have the slightest reference to sex. When will the conservatives in this city understand that the majority of residents and tourists oppose their Orwellian plot?

Carol Daus
Huntington Beach