Mailbag: Larger issues face Surf City than books a few people dislike

The Huntington Beach Central Library is a "hallmark of modernist architecture," a Daily Pilot reader writes.
(File Photo)

Our officials are wasting time and money on unimportant things. Monitoring books on the shelves is not their job, but repairing sidewalks that bulge up because certain trees should never been planted is. We have houses whose homeowners do not take care of their frontyards, running the whole neighborhood down. At an unattended property in Huntington Beach, the eucalyptus trees stand high above the house, just waiting to break off and cause damage or worse. They belong in a park, where there is room, not reaching over the sidewalk. A storm a couple years ago broke branches that lined the street well over half a block, and I could not drive out of my garage. The house is a hotel for four-legged creatures. The grass is not cut, the leaves are not raked, so everything ends up in the storm drains.

The city is well aware of this, but so far nothing has been done. I guess that takes backbone and determination to resolve, whereas books in the library are easier to regulate.

Maria Bauer
Huntington Beach


Huntington Beach is paying a steep price for voter apathy in the 2022 local election. According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, the four conservatives elected to the City Council all received less than 14% of the vote. The current council majority parlayed its MAGA trappings and grievance-fueled political blitzkrieg into what many now see as a hostile takeover of local government. The majority’s entire time in office has been spent tearing down community norms and institutions while catering to its extremist base. Opposition from remaining council members and the community has been marginalized, and the threat of action from state and county authorities remains high over policies and positions taken by this rogue group of ideologues. Voters cannot afford to make the same mistake in this November’s election. The three majority-anointed candidates running for City Council are just as objectionable to a majority of the citizenry as those in 2022 should have been. Hopefully the grievance factor will start going against the majority instead of for it. Surf City may not survive another extremist tsunami, which will wash away our community values and sink our civic reputation further into the mire of MAGA mediocrity.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

As a longtime resident and business owner in the community, I am deeply concerned about the request for proposal to outsource our Huntington Beach libraries. In 1909 an organization was formed to create a library here. That same year our city was officially incorporated with a first city council (then called board of trustees) established, and the library was officially turned over to our city.

That branch grew over time to the five branches we enjoy today. The Main Street Library is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Huntington Beach Central Library is a hallmark of modernist architecture with over 100,000 square feet of books, community meeting spaces, a theater and beautiful grounds. The Oak View Branch Library serves the vital Oak View community with a large Spanish-language collection. The Banning Branch Library is a popular study center for local students. And the Helen Murphy Branch Library was named in memory of a branch manager who worked in the library system for more than 20 years.

Our local library has seen additions, improvements, changes, challenges like the 1933 earthquake, and a host of librarians and dedicated public servants who have maintained this vital community pillar.

Public libraries are the bedrock of an informed citizenry. Our libraries have withstood challenges, but never before, to my knowledge, the assault of a few council members who believe they know more and better than 115 years of steadfast leadership.

I find members of this council to be arrogant, capricious and politically petty enough to wield this venerable institution, this symbol of democracy, community, literacy and learning as a weapon against community members who disagree with their agenda.

For 115 years, our city and its leaders have gotten it right. Please don’t let the political fervor of this moment in time and the ambitions and political motivation of people, very temporary people, dismantle an institution our city and its members built.

Dr. Chris Duquette
Huntington Beach

I spent my youth biking down Newland Street to the city beach, participating in the junior lifeguards, playing Frisbee golf in Central Park and golf at the old Driftwood and Meadowlark courses, and attending the annual Fourth of July parade. But some of my favorite memories are evenings spent at the Huntington Beach Library where I would meet friends to “study.” The library became the epicenter of our schoolwork and social life and provided an enriching environment that stimulated and furthered my academic efforts.

I have now been living on the East Coast for over 30 years, and my wife and I are starting to think about how we will enjoy the remainder of our lives free from the stresses of work, raising children, and snowstorms, while being closer to my mom (who still lives in the house she and my father bought in 1965). Huntington Beach seemed the perfect place for us for all the obvious reasons, and we routinely scan the real estate sites for our next home. Until now. The politics in Huntington Beach have always spanned the spectrum and usually tilted somewhat conservative, which I never had a problem with being a registered Republican until relatively recently. But as I follow the current efforts of certain City Council members to turn Huntington Beach into an intolerant dictatorship with a handful of individuals imposing their supposed “morality” on others — I just can’t see myself proudly saying that I live there or contributing to the city tax base. The last straw was the pandering of these individuals to the lowest common denominator of historical intolerance — banning books — and worse yet, handing one of the city’s greatest community assets to a private company to run, and run at the behest of these few intolerant people who are using a public institution as a weapon against those that disagree with their beliefs. Frankly, it is reprehensible. Shame on you. No one is forcing you, your children, or your grandchildren to read anything they do not want to read, so please stop forcing your purported morality onto others.

Joel Lehrer

Turf could threaten health

Newport Beach just completed a $2.7-million installation of synthetic turf at Arroyo Park touting its water savings and increased usage. What was not recognized was the increased heat production from artificial surfaces (climate change) and the tremendous shedding of microplastics from the increased heat production and agitation of the fields. In a 2024 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, 47% of patients had microplastics in their major vessels, potentially increasing the risk of a cardiovascular event fourfold. Plastics are also a known endocrine disruptor. Our children should not have to inhale more microplastics because they played a sport on synthetic grass.

We need to be reminded that plastic is a forever chemical — it never goes away and just disintegrates into smaller pieces of microplastics. We ingest both by breathing and eating, a credit card size piece of plastic every week, and projects such as these increase that number. Newport Beach is a great city but needs to be more forward thinking and environmentally conscious in their future planning.

Barbara De La Pena
Newport Beach