Community Commentary: We all just want a safe, clean place to live

M.H. Millard, in his May 12 commentary ("Unions, city must find a responsible balance") begins with a head fake espousing labor harmony to get your heads nodding in agreement, then does a nifty behind-the-back crossover dribble and starts to blame the "greedy" employees for all the problems he perceives in our city.

After that bit of ball-handling, when he's got you singing anti-union hosannas, he turns and drives right to the basket, telling us that our Westside is basically a crumbling morass of putrefaction and decay and Costa Mesa will never reach its potential until that problem is "fixed."

It's curious that Millard continues to harp on the plight of the Westside of Costa Mesa, as he's done for more than a decade, even though he lives just about as far from that part of town as you can be and still remain within the borders. Nothing that does or does not happen on the Westside will affect his neighborhood at all.

He bemoans his perception of decay in the Westside, stating the city continues to "look as though it's part of some abandoned inner-city where nobody really cares if it has slums, gangs and social dysfunction." And yet, as I drive through that part of town, I see very few of those signs he mentions. Quite honestly, much of the Westside compares favorably with his neighborhood and, in a few cases, where young families have recently moved in and a renaissance seems to be taking place, is a whole lot nicer.

He supports the current efforts by the City Council to "run the city more like a business," which include attempts to outsource at least half the city employees, assuming that what is left of a disassembled city staff will somehow make Costa Mesa attractive "to well-educated, contributing residents."

I can tell you from first-hand experience what those kind of residents want above all is a safe, clean place to live, work and play. They want to know that their public safety staff will be there when they're needed, that the streets will be clean, the buildings free of graffiti and our parks a sanctuary for residents seeking relaxation and recreation at the end of a hard work day. The draconian measures being implemented by the City Council majority will dramatically negatively impact those factors.

GEOFF WEST is a resident of Costa Mesa

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