Mailbag: Justice wasn’t served in the death of my sister
My precious sister, Debra, was killed by a motorist Aug. 27, 2013, while riding her bicycle in Newport Beach. The Orange County District Atty. filed vehicular manslaughter charges and the trial began Sept. 8 of this year. The prosecutor presented evidence that my sister was properly making a right turn when she was hit from behind. The defense argued that this was just a “tragic accident.”
The jury decided 7-5, and being a criminal trial, the decision needed to be unanimous. Thus the judge declared them hopelessly deadocked (a hung jury) and the charges were dismissed. The driver received no penalty, no fine, no suspension of his driver’s license, and nothing will reflect on his record.
Is this justice? I am at a loss as to how our judicial system allows a person to kill another human being and that person is free to go on as if nothing ever happened. Driving too fast and/or too close to get you to your destination two seconds sooner is not worth it. Clearly our laws must be changed, and the public must be reminded that our roads must be shared.
I did not take group home money
At the recent Feet to the Fire Forum for City Council candidates, I stated that I received a contribution from an operator of a group home that I had never heard of and had returned that donation.
Well, a funny thing happened when I tried to give back the money. The donor called and asked why. I told him I didn’t take money from group home operators such as him. Bewildered, he said he wasn’t a group home operator. His business was Newport Capital Recovery Group, a financial company.
In my campaign contribution forms, our treasurer had mistakenly typed in Newport Coast Recovery Group, and not Newport Capital Recovery Group.
Mystery solved, donation gladly accepted and the record cleared up.
The writer is mayor of Costa Mesa.
School board is not representative
At a recent Newport Mesa School Board meeting, I officially requested that the school board take the necessary steps to ensure that the board is representative of present school enrollment.
Currently, the only member who has a child of school age is leaving in November and there is no representation for the Hispanic students, which represent 43% of the total student enrollment.
I suggested these three necessary steps to obtain this objective:
• Term limits on all board members to ensure that turnover on the board continually represents school enrollment, which members would include parents with young children and Hispanic parents. Current board members have been seated for 35, 23,18, eight, eight and four years, respectively, with the last mentioned leaving the board to run for a City Council seat. Their numbers do not indicate a healthy turnover rate.
• Spending limits on all candidates running for election to the board. My research found that Education Code 35177 states that the governing board of a district may, by resolution, limit campaign expenditures or contributions in elections to district offices. School board candidates have spent exorbitant sums to run for a seat or to retain their seats. Present school board members have spent sums as high as $38,000 in such endeavors, a sum that would preclude most young parents with school-age children.
• Rescheduling meetings to weekday evenings and occasional Saturdays, so younger working parents can be candidates. Currently, young working parents cannot attend meetings, much less serve on the board, because of the overwhelming number of meetings or study sessions which are held Mondays to Fridays during working hours.
Incorporating these three recommendations of term limits, spending caps and rescheduling meetings will enable young, working parents of school-age children to vie for a seat on the Newport-Mesa School board in the future.
I have been advised that the school board will not discuss my recommendation until the Nov. 18 board meeting. These and other issues will be discussed at the school board candidate forum to be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mesa Verde Methodist Church, 1701 Baker St., Costa Mesa. Your attendance is important for the future of our schools. This event is being sponsored by Mesa Verde Community Inc.