A View From the Mesa: Costa Mesa pride is riding high

My sister was wearing her "I love Costa Mesa" pin on our trip up the Central Coast.

"What's so great about Costa Mesa?" a proprietor of one of the region's wineries asked her.

That's the wrong question to ask my sister.

She leaned across the counter and began the whole list of things that make our city great: the first Wahoo's Fish Tacos, Mitch Hurwitz, the creator of "Arrested Development," the surfwear industry, South Coast Plaza, hub of Orange County performing arts, a free train, international headquarters of several justice organizations, Cla-Val who has the valve contract for the world's tallest building, our recycling program and community gardens.

The guys next to us laughed, "Wow, you really do love Costa Mesa."

We do.

There are lots of things to be proud of in our city. Costa Mesa has launched many good things that influence the world.

It was brought to my attention recently that our state senator, Tom Harman (R-Costa Mesa), is in a key position to get a state budget passed. Wouldn't the solution to our state budget crisis be a great thing to come out of Costa Mesa?

What if we launch Harman to Sacramento with enough will and creativity to develop a longterm solution to the budget deficit? I could be proud of that.

I would be proud of a plan that had a balanced approach to cuts and revenues. Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature have already approved cuts that take care of $11 billion of the $26 billion we need to make up.

Fixing the rest of the shortfall with cuts alone would result in serious cuts to public education. In our Newport-Mesa Unified School District, we would start feeling those cuts as soon as 2012 with increased class size, cutting or reducing sports, reducing teachers and support staff, even reducing graduation requirements.

Our students and public education are not the only ones who would be affected. An all-cuts budget would affect almost everyone.

However, there is another way. We do not have to cut our investment to education of our most vulnerable neighbors — those with disabilities and the elderly. We do not have to lose access to state parks and universities.

This is a chance for Costa Mesa to lead the way in wisdom and compassion. It is possible to do both.

According to several sources, including the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, a best-case scenario would be extending four taxes we have already been paying for five years. We don't have to pay additional taxes and we don't have to cut more to those we care about.

Now I know that Costa Mesa didn't come up with the idea but it would be great if Harman was the one to make it happen with his influence and position.

Would you join in to make Costa Mesa shine?

Call Harman's office at (714) 957-4555 to urge him to work with all legislators to create a long-term solution to the budget deficit with a balanced approach of cuts and revenue. Bring your family out to a Pray and Play" interfaith service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m June 11 at St. Joachim's Catholic Church, 1964 Orange Ave., Costa Mesa, where concerned people will be praying for Sen. Harman and all legislators to make the courageous decision to support education and other vital services to our community.

I'm hopeful there are more good things to come out of Costa Mesa. Let's lead the way for California.

CRISSY BROOKS is co-founder and executive director of Mika Community Development Corp., a faith-based nonprofit in Costa Mesa, where she lives.

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