Mailbag: Heavy editing of letters diminishes viewpoints

Re. "Zucco: Why we edit your letters to the editor," (Feb. 27): At the risk of not getting another letter published in the Daily Pilot, I have some feedback for the letters editors. I am taking this risk because I strongly believe the Pilot's letter-editing process should be improved.

I personally know many of the contributors to the Pilot's Forum. Many, including myself, are long-time Costa Mesa residents who have submitted letters to the Pilot for many years. Most of these letters were published with only modest editing. We have a vested interest in the community and have used our writing skills to inform the community and to express our grievances and praise.

I also know that, with few exceptions, we submit well-written, well-researched, logical and interesting letters. Sometimes these letters are longer than 200 words, but they are longer in many cases to communicate a relatively complicated issue and in a style that the reader will remember. It seems that letters of this type are no longer appreciated by the editors because, regardless of content and quality, in their eyes they are just too long and must be extensively edited.

Sometimes the extensive editing results in letters that are nearly incomprehensible, missing key points or have information substituted in place of the author's. The resultant letter reflects poorly on the author. I suggest that when your editors do such extensive editing, they add their names to the author's so that the readers know who contributed the editing, good or bad, but too often it is bad.

The letter editors' substitution of information is a serious concern. The source of the substituted information is not always clear, and it is not something known by the author.

For example, in my last letter, "Does culture allow rushing?" (Feb. 23), my reference to a city report was substituted with "City officials told the Daily Pilot that ..." However, I didn't know what the city officials told the Pilot.

According to Costa Mesa resident Eleanor Egan's Facebook comments, the substitution of information happened again in her recent Pilot letter, "Outsourcing can obscure transparency" (March 1).

I know that sometimes the author is involved in the editing process and this is appreciated. However, in my case, I got to approve the edited version, but then it was significantly edited further without my approval. The resulting letter was terrible.

Again, according to Egan's Facebook comments, this same thing happened to her.

Your editors should improve their editing approach, perhaps with the idea of always involving the author in any significant edits and giving authors the confidence that their letters won't be distorted and compromised after the final mutually agreed upon edits.

Charles Mooney

Costa Mesa


High-density developments hurts city

After reading Bradley Zint's March 1 article "Council to consider small-lot law," I felt I had to respond. As a proud Westside resident, I am unhappy with the high-density developments being shoved down our throats and the lack of parking provided for some. Zint's article indicates that the parking requirements will not change, however, all that is requested is a variance and parking is changed.

I am also mystified at the comment coming from Planning Commissioner Colin McCarthy in the same article, indicating that people cannot expect to buy 50-acre lots. I don't believe anyone is looking to buy such parcels. Again, McCarthy shows how out of step he is with reality. Home buyers in Costa Mesa should be able to expect a nice home and yard to have their children and dogs grow up in.

That is not an extraordinary expectation. McCarthy has his. This is why people move to the suburbs.

I went to look at the live-work units that are popping up like mold all over the city. The project on 18th Street — and I mean project in every sense of the word — looks like the Great Wall of China.

Downtown Costa Mesa has become so difficult to maneuver that many of us are now shopping in Huntington Beach. The new Westside development residents will likely shop in the downtown area, adding even more traffic. In the evening it takes two cycles on the traffic lights to get through the intersections. I haven't heard of any mitigation measures, only a council that says, "tough."

Shame on our City Council and Planning Commission for allowing and approving this situation. I understand it is their intent to try to balance out the homeowners with renters, while at the same time approving a 300-plus unit apartment complex. However, the current homeowners have a right to a certain expectation of quality of life.

Terri Fuqua

Costa Mesa


Time for council districts

Are there HUD small-lot developments in the Mesa Verde area? I doubt that. That is the quickest way to ruin an established neighborhood.

Another reason for having representatives from districts and not at large. We seem to have several from one district.

Ardy Hurst

Costa Mesa

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