In the Nov. 19 Daily Pilot, Mark Hoppe of Irvine takes issue with Msgr. Wilbur Davis' view that the Ronald Reagan statue in Bonita Canyon Sports Park is inappropriate ("Mailbag: Church should stay out of Reagan flap"). Hoppe avers that close to 100% disagree with the Davis' position about the former president's statue. What a fatuous statement, in view of all the controversy in our city over placing it on city property and now using city funds for maintenance and security.
Many of us here, and even some in Hoppe's Irvine, are tired of having Reagan pushed on us in settings that are inappropriate. I was appalled last summer when I went for a pleasant Fourth of July evening of baseball and fireworks to have to watch a mawkish hype of Reagan on the big screen. When I go out to the ball game with my family I don't want politics or controversy.
I realize that many think of him as the great communicator but, let's face it, he was a politically polarizing figure — and to many, like me, his presidency was a terrible blow to our country. I can't help but think back to Reagan's defeat of our great California governor, Pat Brown — the man who saved our drought-stricken Southland and stopped the terrible northern flooding with his California Water Project, who fathered our tremendous freeway system and gave the impetus to make our University of California the greatest public higher education system in the world.
I'll never understand how a movie actor who had hardly anything going for him except "Girls on Probation," "Brother Rat" and "Bedtime for Bonzo" could win over a giant like Brown. Reagan put California in the same shape he did the country, as well as stultifying the UC and gutting the safety net for our old, poor and handicapped.
How about a statue of Pat Brown?
Spend no public money on statue
It was bad enough that our conservative City Council sanctioned the desire of one of their members to deify Ronald Reagan by erecting a statue of him in one of our public parks.
Those of us who opposed that decision to install the Reagan statue were mollified ever so slightly by the assurance that public funds would not be expended for the project. Yet now we are told public funds will be used to repair the statue and (presumably) install video cameras or other security devices to protect it from further vandalism.
That is simply wrong. If even one dime of public resources will be expended to deal with the statue, the project should be brought to an end by putting the statue up for sale.
James R. Percival