Mailbag: Supporting Reagan, but not a public statue of him

At the public meeting of the Newport Beach City Arts Commission on Feb. 10, City Councilman Rush Hill spoke eloquently about his close personal relationship with the Reagan family. He and Councilman Keith Curry obviously are devoted to President Reagan and grateful for the opportunity to have worked for him. Although it seemed to us that these sentiments were not particularly pertinent to the point of the meeting, we can understand why they might like a statue of their hero in a public area of Newport Beach, to express their gratitude and devotion to him.

However, our City Council should be doing what is best for Newport Beach and all its citizens, not using public space either to further individual members' personal wishes or to make a political statement according to their personal inclinations.

The question is not what we think of Reagan, the question is, is it appropriate for Newport Beach that a statue of any president or other political figure be erected on city land? Are the citizens of Newport Beach well served by politicizing city government?

We agree with the general consensus among the audience (many of whom liked and supported him) that Reagan's statue should not be a public part of Newport Beach. There are other ways to celebrate his 100th birthday. For example, using the money already gathered, to which many of us would add our contributions, for support of an Alzheimer's outreach program at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.

Robert and Katharine Young

Corona del Mar

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Paid leave is becoming all too common

Every day you can Google "paid administrative leave," and some government worker in our country has been placed on this type of "leave," pending an investigation of their alleged wrongdoing. However, during my business career of more than 30 years and after searching the Internet diligently to find an example in corporate America, I did not find an example anywhere. I do know that if an employee of any company that I have worked for had been accused of wrongdoing — especially if it was within the company or it impacted the company image in a negative manner — that employee would be instantly terminated and walked out of the building.

It is amazing how many examples I did find among government workers (whose salaries are paid for with our tax dollars) that have been put on paid administrative leave for some pretty crazy stuff. Do we all remember Orange County Judge Ronald S. Kline, who was accused of child porn charges and later found guilty, and who received 27 months in prison? How about Sheriff Mike Carona, who is now serving 66 months of prison time for his unethical behavior? I even found a case of an accused professor at the University of Iowa, and he has been on paid administrative leave since 2005. We are talking about some high-powered people (role models?) and all earning serious annual salaries, most of which are $200,000 and higher.

What are the terms? OK, yeah, I get it — "innocent until proven guilty." The majority of instances that I found of the accused persons on paid administrative were found guilty. If they are found guilty, can we get our money back? Can we let them use up their vacation time and if the process goes beyond that it becomes unpaid leave? There should be some accountability if they are guilty of wrongdoing. Can we rewrite the handbooks?

To quote a proverb; "As you make your bed, so you must lie in it" (one has to live with the consequences of one's actions, and one has to take the responsibility for them).

Am I over simplifying this subject? Am I missing something? If so I welcome your insight on this subject. It just seems insane to me that this is so common and, in turn, also so costly.

Bill Sneen

Costa Mesa

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