I always appreciate the thoughtful comments by my friend Tamar Goldmann (Re. "Council agenda is harming public services," June 21), but this time, I think she reached several wrong conclusions. Let me explain why.
FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version had Tamar Goldmann's last name misspelled.
First, she said crime is up in Costa Mesa. The fact is, violent crime is actually down. Property crimes are up by 11%, and that is why this City Council has restructured the Police Department in such a way that more officers are patrolling our streets than ever before.
In addition to that, we have a contract with the city of Huntington Beach for police helicopter services. At 25% of the cost, their helicopters are in the air and available twice as much as our own were. Even with those savings, we will be spending $608,260 more for police services this coming fiscal year than last fiscal year.
The fact is, property crime has started to rise in California in recent months for a variety of reasons, including early release of state prisoners. Property crime in Irvine, which labels itself "America's Safest City," is up 17%.
Costa Mesa is experiencing the same trend, hence the reason for the council's desire to eliminate local motels that cater to these early-release prisoners. Last year, one of these motels had more than 520 calls for service from our police and fire departments.
Talk about a drain on the taxpayer.
In fact, what Ms. Goldmann considers a "pet project" — spending $500,000 toward the elimination of these parolee motels — is in realty the best method of bringing down property crime. Get rid of the places where parolees, prostitutes and drug dealers live and watch crime drop.
Ms. Goldmann concludes the council is funding these pet projects at the expense of vital public services.
The council's so-called pet projects next fiscal year include repaving a record number of residential streets, medians and alleys, improving our neglected parks, paying down (for the first time) a portion of a quarter-billion dollars worth of unfunded pension and health-care liabilities, and putting $500,000 aside to get rid of the parolee motels that contribute to large amounts of crime in Costa Mesa.
This council is following a more holistic approach to creating a safer and better city. Not only do we make sure we have enough officers patrolling the streets, we are also repairing the crumbling infrastructure, repaving pothole-laced streets and replanting barren sports fields.
These are the type of things that will continue to attract more young families who want to make Costa Mesa their home.
Just look to our neighbors in Irvine. It's not "America's Safest City" because they have more officers per resident; they don't. It's more about who you attract to live in your city. We need to attract more families, not parolees.
Ms. Goldmann makes her living as a teacher, where precision and clarity are essential. I believe her commentary misses the mark in these areas.
Regardless of our differences, I appreciate and respect her viewpoints. The council majority will continue to balance budgets, fix streets and parks, and set priorities that address the needs of all the residents, not just the wishes of organized labor. This council has and will put residents first.
The writer is a Costa Mesa city councilman.
Planning Commission made bad call on Banning Ranch
The status quo marches on in Newport, much to the future's regret (Re. "Banning Ranch OK'd," June 23). The Planning Commission members did Thursday night what is sadly still the norm in Newport. They ignored their democratic duty to listen to the voice of people to such an extent that they were forced to redo things and correct potential illegalities.
But they took nothing to heart in the process. They understand that real estate interests rule here. They ignored those who dedicate their time and after-tax dollars to protect open space, endangered species and the important piece of history that is Banning Ranch.
They followed instead the path laid out by paid professionals who work for Exxon-Mobil and Shell. These corporate behemoths have faith in corporate staying power and bought Banning after other developers had failed to build.
Corporations are legal fictions, not real people. They have no understanding of the value of open space and can put nothing ahead of their bottom line.
The commission ruled at the meeting.
The planners have passed the project onto the next level of government, but the fight is not over.
It is my hope that the citizens of Newport will remember their history, their expressed desire in 2006 that Banning be preserved, and join the effort to save Banning.
Every schoolchild knows that we should save the rainforest. Well, Banning Ranch is the rainforest in our backyard. It is our chance to show the people of the world, from the tropics toWashington, D.C., to Sacramento and beyond, that we understand.
At this time, and for a long time to come, every expansion of the human footprint is a step against a bright and sustainable future.
GOP misses the point
You go, Bette Doremus! (Re. "Mailbag: Republicans are too out of touch," June 21) Couldn't have said it better myself. So many agree with you — even in Newport Beach Republican Central.
After all, Barack Obama is our president for now — like it or not!
Corona del Mar
Rohrabacher stands up to foreign foes
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) is a brave and patriotic leader who stands tall against the crooks and corrupt leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since 1947, Pakistan has played games with the U.S. and has received a large amount of money and weapons.
American leaders are unable to understand, then and now, how these leaders changed their tune. These crooks will say one thing, and they do something totally different than what was stated.
Finally, Rohrabacher found out and understands that they are crooks and are still corrupt today.
In my opinion, the United States should not waste more of our taxpayer money and instead should take care of fellow Americans. It makes no sense to borrow money from China, give it to those corrupt leaders, therefore leaving Americans with more debt.
I admire Rohrabacher and what he is doing for this country. I wish we will find other leaders who will follow in his footsteps and listen to his wise words.
Surat Singh Randhawa