Mailbag: Costa Mesa encourages native plants but not the pollinators needed to help them grow

Artichokes and roses are two of the many plants pollinated by bees at a reader's Costa Mesa home.
Artichokes and roses are two of the many plants pollinated by bees at a reader’s Costa Mesa home. The city has told her she must remove a colony of the insects from her yard.
(Priscilla Rocco)
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I was just cited by Costa Mesa Animal Control to get rid of the bees that have been living in a trash can in my atrium on and off for the last 10 years. My neighbors have no problem with this; on the contrary they call my gardens the arboretum.

Thirty-three years ago when I bought my home, I took out the lawns, put in a drip watering system and started planting and composting. The front and back gardens have fruit trees, grapes, berries, artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes, beans, other seasonal vegetables, native plants like milkweed and lots of flowers and vines. Therefore it is full of very busy bees, butterflies, nesting birds, lizards, spiders, moths, squirrels, and the occasional opossum, duck or raccoon. Everyone who walks their kids and dogs to the corner park loves my garden — especially the monarchs! For many this is their first introduction to nature; where they see a garden bursting with color and life year-round.

It’s ironic that if you take the city’s advice and take out your lawns and plant a garden that attracts pollinators, said pollinators must be transients! If bees decide they’d rather live in a trash can in your atrium where they can roll out of bed to pollinate your produce, suddenly you become a criminal beekeeper. The city gives you seven days to remove or exterminate the bees, or you’ll end up in court. These services cost hundreds of dollars, a hardship for those of us living entirely on Social Security. What’s more, I hate to break it to you, but the bees will come back. Where there is a garden, there will be bees.


So what’s the city going to do next? Make us tear out our pollinator gardens and replace them with lawns?! This is the same twisted logic that caused Costa Mesa to spend $100,000 on the Mariposa Butterfly Garden to bring in monarchs and other butterflies to the city, without planning even one native milkweed plant to attract the butterflies and feed their larvae. I went there yesterday. It is lifeless; not one butterfly or bee in sight. My garden is bursting with them, so I must kill them.

Bees are allowed in neighboring towns like Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods and San Clemente. As well as Anaheim, Fullerton, Orange, Stanton, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda. I have asked the Costa Mesa City Council to put a moratorium on removing my bees, but I’ve heard nothing yet.

Priscilla Rocco
Costa Mesa

Women prohibited from priesthood

Let me get this straight: A married father of four and longtime member of a different faith is happily welcomed into the priesthood. He will “use his priesthood for the benefit of the weak and vulnerable in society.” Of course, women have been doing just this since the beginning of time. We as women are the civilizers and peace builders. Even after the church turned a blind eye to child rape for decades, protecting evil men, we are banned from ordination and the altar, except maybe to clean it. If “priestly duties” had been open to women, I strongly believe this horrendous suffering would not have taken place on the scale that it did. I am a former Catholic, and I finally got the message of exclusion.

Jane Bove
Fountain Valley

Although not making news as much as in the past, we still hear tales of Catholic priests involved in child molestation throughout the world. Not being a Catholic, I’ve never fully understood or agreed with the policy of Catholic priests not being allowed to marry. This policy is most likely a part of what drives these men to children as their sexual outlet, as they legally have no other in which to satisfy their unfulfilled sexual desires. Thousands upon thousands of child molestation cases have trickled down through the years.

When I read about Greg Walgenbach, the first man to be ordained as a bona fide Catholic priest in Garden Grove (He’s the first married man to be ordained as a Catholic priest in Orange County, Daily Pilot & TimesOC, June 9) who is married and has four children, I let out a loud “hallelujah.” I don’t know if this is some kind of prelude to future workings within the Catholic church, but in my opinion, it’s a great new start. Catholic priests were men before they became priests and just because they now wear that white collar does not negate the feelings that lie within themselves as men. I hope the church will seriously consider changing the rules. I’m reminded of something that Moses said a long time ago that may be relevant, which is, “Let my people go.” Perhaps that should be changed to “Let my people marry.”

Bill Spitalnick
Newport Beach

Positive words for A Word, Please

The Daily Pilot is the main reason I still subscribe to the L.A. Times (I live, work and play in Orange County). June Casagrande’s byline is a “go to” I really enjoy. Regarding her recent column, “A Word, Please: You’re free to peruse this commentary in every sense of the word,” Daily Pilot, May 21, for me, “peruse” means not only to read, glance, skim or browse but to do so with purpose: 1. searching for a connection, subject, relevance, interest; 2. discovering a backstory, agenda, bias, motive, use; 3. finding names of people, places, things; 4. seeing what is not included.

Thank you, June!

Bobbi Cox
Laguna Beach

H.B. is being gaslighted

Many people are familiar with the term “gaslighting,” derived from the play “Gaslight,” by Patrick Hamilton, the source material for a 1944 movie starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In this psychological thriller, Bergman’s character suffers from her husband’s attempts to make her question her own reality through various tricks and mental ploys. A political “gaslighter” tries to trick his or her subjects into questioning their own values or beliefs by staking claim to their version or interpretation of the subjects in contention. It could be the American flag, the Bill of Rights or commitment to concepts like the rule of law and law and order. The goal is to get our citizens, in this case, to question their own patriotism by not agreeing with the fallacious premises being propounded. The exercise in gaslighting being perpetrated by Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Pat Burns, most recently at the June 4 City Council meeting, is only one example of trying to define “patriotism” on his terms. His previous attempts at defining what the American flag should stand for and how we should interpret the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are examples. His opposition to Pride flags, masks, vaccinations, or other so-called threats to individual or personal freedom as he defines them is compounded by his advocacy for guns and religious extremism. The Surf City citizenry is being gaslighted big time, and it is only getting worse. The Surf City electorate is finally wising up to being played by the gaslighters, especially as it pertains to our library system. We won’t get fooled again!

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

Church may be answer to housing prayers

Hats off to our local neighborhood Congregational church and its willingness to use excess space to build low-income housing. This is such a Christian act. We have a large number of residents who would qualify for this type of housing. These individuals are facing challenging difficulties and navigating the increased rental costs happening all over Laguna. A large number of these individuals work in our stores and restaurants. They have been good citizens for a long time. The rental situation is constantly changing in Laguna as landlords find they can get more money for their rentals. It would be a shame to lose these great workers because there is no affordable housing in town. Laguna Beach Unified School District has worked with the county of Orange to establish a 55-year agreement, allowing National Church Residences to transform a vacant school into 70 units of low-income senior housing in South Laguna. One of our servers from a local restaurant finally cleared the waiting list, and she was able to move into this wonderful residence. This move has made all the difference to this older individual’s ability to stay in Laguna comfortably and pay her rent. The renters have added to the neighborhood, bought goods and services from local merchants and not caused any problems over the last 50 years. I am sure the Congregational church will be a good steward of its land and involve its neighbors in making decisions to make the projects work and fit into the community. I hope that our other churches that are wealthier and have more land will consider doing this Christian act of providing housing for needy residents.

Jim Kelly
Laguna Beach

Shaking things up in Newport

Last week was an exciting week for Newport Beach. There were two events that portend major changes in the future not just for Newport Beach but for California and the country at large. On Thursday, June 6, a trio of tremors hit the Costa Mesa-Newport Beach border, the greatest of which had a magnitude of 3.6. I felt it as well as some similar-sized quakes in Los Angeles County.

If you want to delve further into the potential of a larger Newport Beach-Costa Mesa earthquake, you could research information about its relationship to other California faults. The earthquake last week was close to the Compton thrust fault, one which could have major consequences for the L.A. Basin. More importantly, Thursday’s quake also occurred near the Newport-Inglewood fault, which could bring a shake of even greater consequences to Newport Beach. Fortunately, experts say that these smaller recent quakes have no predictive power over the next major destructive earthquake.

Another event to hit Newport Beach last weekend with potential for major change in not just our city but our country as a whole was of the man-made variety. On Saturday, June 8, former President Donald Trump was in town. Evidence of that visit was very visible as I drove down PCH on my way to lunch at Fashion Island. Love him or hate him, there is probably no other person in America who elicits stronger feelings than Trump.

The crowd to welcome him was excitedly waving colorful flags and wearing equally colorful clothing. From my perspective it was a cheerfully positive crowd, eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of their hero who is turning our political world upside down.

At this point, I am guessing that he carries the vote in Newport Beach in November but loses the overall vote in Orange County as he did in 2016 and in 2020.

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach