Mailbag: Widening 405 would hurt Costa Mesa

Ever since the San Diego (405) Freeway was finished in the Costa Mesa area, we could not understand why the California Department of Transportation did not complete the expansion from the Euclid Street interchange northward to relieve the bottleneck. Now that the plans have been put forth, I am vehemently against Alternative 3 for widening the 405. I do favor the second alternative over the first.

I think the voters who passed Measure M had no idea they would be voting in favor of toll lanes for the 405 between the San Gabriel (605) and the (73) Corona del Mar freeways. After the Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans reassured Costa Mesa several years ago that we would not have to go through any further freeway construction, I resent that you are now proposing an alternative that would make us have to do just that.

We use the Fairview Road bridge several times each day and do not want to see it demolished once again after you (OCTA) squandered $7 million of our tax money to rebuild it three years ago. How foolish is that? You seem to have no concern about the efficient use of our money.

Also, Costa Mesa gets no benefit from the toll lanes — they are just a faster way for others to get through our city.

With California in such trouble financially, I would hope that you would drop Alternative 3 from your plans and proceed with alternatives 1 or 2.

Sue Graham

Costa Mesa


Reject Alternative 3

We are writing to provide our strongest public comments against OCTA's proposed Alternative 3 to widen the 405 and install toll lanes. We live on the flower streets in Costa Mesa and this project will impact us. In addition, the city has already added sufficient lanes to handle the flow of the 405 at the 73 (seven lanes). OCTA is only proposing six lanes total.

Costa Mesa already has more than OCTA is proposing. The project makes no sense. There are economic and social impacts to devastating our city for four years with this mess. We want to encourage OCTA to reject Alternative 3.

Phil Lesh

Costa Mesa


Carnett's proselytizing

I've tried to restrain from expressing my frustration with Jim Carnett's columns. But my impatience seems to grow with his all too frequent "cutesy" manner and religious homilies. His June 26 column (Carnett: With summer comes vacation Bible school) starts with, "It's that time of year across the Fruited Plain. Yes, vacation Bible school season!"

Fruited plain? His too-frequent Christian beliefs and ongoing proselytizing is annoying, especially when you consider his past writings. I specifically refer to his April 24 column, "I too was once an atheist (or an agnostic)." The headline alone revealed he wasn't quite sure what he was.

This column, referring to another column by Bruce Gleason on April 14 ("Time to come out, come out"), opened with "Atheists are getting to be as evangelistic as most evangelicals. They seem hell-bent — forgive the awkward reference — to exhort fellow nonbelievers to 'come out' and announce to the world their rejection of divinity."

Well, his niggling mannerisms have provoked me to encourage the Daily Pilot to give equal time and space to atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, etc. I would also like to articulate my personal point of view: If one person is delusional, we call them crazy. If millions are delusional, we call it religion. Every religion believes that their book of fables is the absolute truth, and all are wrong. I'd like to spread that across the fruited plain.

I agree with Gleason. I encourage atheists to come out of the closet. You'd be surprised at how many others feel the same.

Carolyn Fitz-Gibbon

Newport Beach


Health-care ruling

The court has ruled, so our duty now is to implement the Affordable Care Act responsibly and cautiously. I look forward to working with my colleagues to do just that. Anything we do must be examined through the prism of affordability — which could be a challenge in this Legislature. My concern is that the court's ruling will be seen as a green light by some to expand beyond what the federal law requires. California can't afford to do that.

On Wednesday the Democrats moved 880,000 poor children enrolled in the popular and successful Healthy Families Program into the problem plagued Medi-Cal program to "save money." There is no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow and there are many challenges facing the state that need to be addressed as well as health care.

Sen. Tom Harman

Newport Beach

The writer represents Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine and other communities in the state Senate.


Fireworks hurt Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa needs a safe and sane city, not safe and sane fireworks. This letter is in response to the Wednesday letter by Councilman Steve Mensinger titled "Costa Mesa needs to attract families." Yes, Mr. Mensinger, the city of Irvine has for the eighth consecutive year been designated by the FBI as the nation's safest city, and I agree it is in large part because they are skilled at attracting and keeping good people, law-abiding folks, including young families, seniors, you name it.

The culture in Irvine appears to support low crime rates. But let's take a closer look at Irvine.

In Irvine, they don't promote the use of fireworks, not to mention the sale of fireworks. They don't allow sections of their city to appear like war-zones. Their residents don't have to worry about illegal rockets landing in their backyards or on their roof-tops.

Like in Costa Mesa and everywhere else, they want to see their children in the pursuit of athletic activities as opposed to being exposed to gangs or drugs. But somehow, like most of the more urbane and admired cities in our county, our state and our nation, they can reach their fundraising goals without having their young selling fireworks.

Like last year, the use of fireworks in Costa Mesa will be legal not just on this Fourth of July, but also on July 2 and 3. This is being done not in spirit of patriotism, but along the theory that if you allow the use of fireworks for three days instead of one, you increase the demand for fireworks and allow the kids to bring in possibly more revenues to fund their uniform and equipment purchases.

Mr. Mensinger has publicly said that the problem is not with the safe and sane fireworks sold by the kids, but with the illegal stuff, but refuses to recognize that the two tend to go together. Within minutes of the use of the legal fireworks, you hear a cacophony of rockets. It is a fact of life. The use of illegal fireworks in Costa Mesa is many times greater than in, say, Irvine or Newport Beach.

Every year animal lovers who plead with the council to get in sync with the majority of cities and end this practice of sale and use of fireworks, to no avail. Many of our pets suffer greatly.

But in Mr. Mensinger's universe, that is of no consequence. Many citizens, especially seniors who want some peace and quiet, are greatly irritated by the fireworks.

Although many accomplishments have been made by this council majority, they are no friend to seniors or to pet owners, which is very sad. Those nice families that Mr. Mensinger wants to attract to Costa Mesa better not have dogs they are attached to and regard on an emotional level as members of their families.

Until we learn to put residents first, attempts at attracting nice new people to our city may prove futile. Actions speak louder than words.

Al Melone

Costa Mesa

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