Voice of Our Commentators

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Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Economy Up, but the Needy Still Down

We think the community needs to pull together more than ever to see to it that as many as possible have access to healthy foods, water and shelter. Putting our minds together will bring solutions.

One way The Grain Project has been pushing is for volunteers to help families collect excess backyard fruit and donate it at a centralized place in each neighborhood — a school or community center — for all to share. Once each neighborhood CommUnity Harvest group has collected for each week, neighborhoods can crop-swap with other neighborhoods for the largest variety of local foods and greater positive impact and improved health and well-being in the community as a whole.

We have been doing just this for over two years now in central Santa Ana’s Jerome Park area. It has been amazing! Orange County has quite a large variety of food growers. It’s just a matter of discovering each other and sharing and coordination. We can grow this!

— The Grain Project / April 25

CalOptima’s PR Consultant Bids Farewell

To clarify the Internet record on this item, I am providing the following:

It became my responsibility to explain the difficult situation CalOptima has been subject to due to an ongoing campaign of anonymous and unsubstantiated allegations. I carried out this responsibility with care and discretion and categorically deny the supervisor’s [Janet Nguyen’s] claims about the nature of my comments. It should be noted that the supervisor was not on the phone call in question and did not hear my comments directly.

It is also important to note that CalOptima was one of the finest clients I have ever worked for in my 30 years in public relations. Its executives and its staff are highly professional and ethical. They are dedicated to seeing that Orange County’s poor, sick and frail residents receive the care they need, and their work in this regard is recognized nationally to be excellent.

It was an honor to be able to contribute to their good work.

— Laer Pearce / April 25

What’s Ahead for Santora Arts Building?

So a New Wave-style Christian church wants to buy the Santora and utilize the spaces for a variety of purposes, including ministry and arts promotion and community development.

This can go horribly wrong for the building and community, or it could go remarkably well.

Are they going to gut the interior and erase suite space for the sake of church seating? Maybe they will pump more money into building upkeep and architectural preservation? Maybe they will enhance lobby space decor and remain committed to showcasing a variety of responsible local artists.

— Got your back / April 23

I am encouraged by a couple of things in this update: that the artists are meeting to share their concerns and hopefully approach the prospective owners to discuss their mutual interests and that some who know the buyers believe they have a keen interest in the arts and will be attentive to those concerns.

Let’s face it, the arts and religion have had an uneasy relationship throughout history. Even when religious art was commissioned, as with Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, it was not accomplished without a lot of “agony and ecstasy.” So as long as the new owners maintain a hands-off attitude as to the content of the work produced by resident artists, it should be fine.

I will be eager to learn more as this story unfolds and appreciate Voice of OC keeping its ear to the ground about what could easily have slipped through the cracks as an issue lacking consequence. It has great consequences for the artists in Santa Ana and for the artistic community of Orange County as a whole.

— Rick Stein / April 26

What’s Wrong With Civilian Jailers?

How could we possibly get any lower quality individuals than what we’ve seen in any number of cases where the taxpayers have had to pay oodles of lawsuit awards and settlements for the actions of your top-dollar [sheriff’s] deputies?

State prison guards have been selling cell phones, dope, you name it to prisoners for years. They’re all highly compensated workers. So it’s got nothing to do with pay.

A crook is a crook. If a guard gets caught doing something illegal,  prosecute him or her. What about that one female deputy who got caught doing the nasty with an inmate? Was she a minimum-wager? Ha.

There have been $15 million to $20 million in lawsuit settlements and awards against Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies that the taxpayers had to foot for deputy misconduct in the last five to seven years. Santa Ana Jail uses civilians. Compare the lawsuit awards. It pales in the face of what we’ve had to pay on account of deputy misconduct.

— Beelzebub / April 23

Online Voter Registration

[From Voice of OC article:] “To prevent voter fraud, the online system will use California driver licenses or state-issued ID cards to verify the identity of individuals registering online.”

Driver licenses and ID cards are not secure.

To cut back on voter fraud, cut back on “vote by mail.” That is the weak link in the system.

— Robincook / April 20

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Voice of Our Commentators

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Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Costa Mesa Retracts Firefighter Layoffs

[This article has a] typical liberal-union slant. No shock from this website.

The city of Costa Mesa does not have some “outsourcing effort” to get rid of all city employees. Rather, they are trying to find ways to eliminate the huge current and future deficits facing the city. Thanks to union hacks and previously compliant councils, the city has to give a ridiculous six-month notice to lay off employees per the union contracts.

That’s what they did last year. During the interim, they said they would study what services can be outsourced to save money and what services can still be provided by current staff. That is exactly what they did with the fire services. They analyzed the costs and determined they could save more money by keeping fire services in house.

Hopefully the residents will see that the council is doing what’s in the city’s best interests, while the union only exists to keep getting more filthy lucre for itself.

— Newbie / April 19

Actually, Newbie, the council does have an outsourcing effort. That was their stated goal when they issued the layoff notices over a year ago.

Just think, though, how much pain, suffering and angry discourse would have been avoided if they’d done the studies before issuing the layoff notices, as their own [memorandums of understanding] required and as the public and their then city attorney advised them at the time.

If they had done it the right way, their reputations would be much better now, and the division in the community could have been avoided. Not to mention city staff not having had an ax hanging over their heads for 13 months!

— Valan2 / April 19

This Saves Money?

In reference to [Costa Mesa city spokesman Bill] Lobdell, it’s really ironic what he’s doing now considering that he wrote a column for OC Metro a few years back demonizing public employees and essentially saying that he thinks they’re the root of all evil.

In a fiscal crisis [City Councilman Jim] Righeimer authorizes a $3,000-a-week spokesman, who was quietly moved onto staff from freelance status. But it’s all about saving money.

— Jota / April 18

Why Ban Retail Sales of Dogs and Cats?

The reason for the focus on dogs and cats, as opposed to other pet animals, is twofold. First, most pets are either dogs or cats; others are in the minority. The second and more important reason is that 3 to 4 million unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters every year.

Every time you buy a dog or cat from a breeder, it means an animal in a shelter will be put to death. That’s the simple fact. The only way to reduce the shelter holocaust is to outlaw sales of breeder-sold animals in pet stores.

Adopt, don’t buy!

— Sincerely yours / April 18

Fewer Safety Complaints at San Onofre

I wonder if the fewer complaints indicate a real improvement or not. It is hard to say when the problem originates with a fear of reporting in the first place. This could be an indication that the fear is actually higher now. I wonder how many safety concerns would have been reported in a more complaint-friendly environment.

— Gary Headrick / April 18

A group who wants to see San Onofre shut down says Edison is misleading regulators? Yawn, no story there. I know! If we call them “experts,” then it gives them gravitas and makes our story “real.” Brilliant!

How about we wait to hear what the regulators say?

— El Hombre / April 13

Hey, El Hombre, if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has this place closed down, something must be wrong with it or else Southern California Edison would have it churning out more nuclear waste. I guess you believe in “safety last.”

— Nancy Nolan / April 16

Alleged Abuse of Special Education Students

This stuff, if it’s to be believed, sounds way over the top, especially in a school for the disabled. There are always two sides to a story. I would like to hear the other side too.

— Beelzebub / April 18

 

Wow! Sounds like a career is ruined over a he-said-she-said allegation. People need to be careful when they use words like “abuse” about a teacher. Even when he is found not guilty, the accusation will never go away.

This teacher was my daughter’s aide many years ago and to this day is still one of her favorite teachers. Never at one time did I feel or see anything inappropriate go on. I just hope there is solid evidence supporting these claims, because all you have are aides that have it out to get the teacher fired.

— McL / April 19

I agree with the last post. This appears too biased. Do those making the allegations truly realize the harm they cause? This could very well be disgruntled or misinformed aides. If so, isn’t slander a form of abuse?

— Gttyis / April 19

Transparency in Santa Ana

Councilman [Vincent] Sarmiento pointed to other strides the city has taken to make City Hall more transparent, like having a public information officer, and then later in the story Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez declined to comment. Mayor Miguel Pulido and council members Carlos Bustamante and David Benavides did not return requests for comment made through Public Information Officer Jose Gonzalez. And they tout that as trasnparency?

The predominantly Democratic Banana Republic continues to operate in secrecy as they pay lip service to open government. Ironically it is eerily similar to the predominantly Republican City Council in Costa Mesa. The more you look at it the more you realize they are all cut from the same cloth.

— Don Draper / April 14

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Voice of Our Commentators

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Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

More Charter Missteps in Costa Mesa

Amazing how there can be so many attorneys working for Costa Mesa and a simple meeting notice gets screwed up. How many hours at $495 per hour were billed for this screw-up? Costa Mesa has spent millions in legal fees with the bill skyrocketing every day since this current crew has taken over. …

General law protects residents from rampaging rogue councils with specific noticing requirements. In a charter city, those noticing requirements could be eliminated, and residents would need to get the item on the ballot to fix the charter. That would require 15% of the registered voters to sign petitions. Then the city council can decide in which election — it doesn’t have to be the next election — the ballot measure will appear.

Residents would have to go through all of that just to get the protections they have now.

General law helps to protect residents from the whims of vindictive city councils with harsh political agendas.

— Reggie / April 10

 

Wow, spending more and more money while claiming to be broke. Then trusting a private company that you hired to count the ballots. What a joke.

— Pnator / April 10

The only [thing] becoming “transparent” about the city of Costa Mesa is how badly things are being run over there.

— Gericault / April 10

Apology Isn’t Enough?

I know both [gay student Kearian ] Giertz and [Fullerton Union High School Assistant Principal Joe] Abell. I don’t think either one would be pleased with how things have turned out.

Giertz made a heartfelt comment at the competition. Abell made an admittedly bad judgment call. If he had time to think the situation through, I don’t think he would have done the same thing. I have never seen Abell say or do anything bigoted.

Abell did make a public apology after speaking privately with Giertz. His voice was filled with emotion. Giertz has been quoted as indicating he did not want Abell fired for his actions; he just wants people to be aware and, I might add, respectful of others.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this incident could help educate educators as well as the general public?

— Bc / April 10

Seems to me that this is more than bad judgement for a single incident. It implies out-and-out bigotry and discrimination for an entire group of people, and he deals with many students who are members of this group.

This whole incident is reprehensible.

— Shbrownsbr / April 7

Okay, does the district mean that the incident should have been handled in private so that the student could explain to the assistant principal what the assistant principal did wrong without embarrassing the assistant principal in front of everyone?

I’m not calling for the assistant principal’s head, but since it is completely clear to everyone, including the district, that he did wrong, what does the district really mean by “handled privately”? Handle what privately?

— Kburgoyne / April 6

Not sure that there was anything that needed to be “handled.” Sounds like the assistant principal meant no harm, even if he shouldn’t have done what he did.

I think there’s a lot of pressure on people in his position to make sure that things aren’t inappropriate, and he was reacting quickly and from his gut, but it sounds like there was nothing inappropriate here.

— KR / April 5

I’m not sure how poster KR can possibly state that the assistant principal meant no harm. How can the deliberate humiliation of a student in front of a good portion of the school body by an authority figure result in anything except harm?

How could anyone possibly have been threatened by a student saying he hopes to be able to marry the man of his dreams in 10 years? This was not threatening or inciting language in any way.

That’s sort of like saying, “I pulled the trigger, but I didn’t mean any harm, and I’m sorry if anyone got hurt.”

I agree that calls for his being fired are a little extreme, but he definitely meant harm.

— Footwork61 / April 5

Privatizing Jails

Kimberly [Edds, spokeswoman for the deputy sheriffs union], nicely written article, if you are looking at this issue from strictly a union approach. If you are looking at it from a taxpayer or sheriff’s organization approach, the article is not so good. As a guy who used to run a law enforcement union, I have a better-than-layman’s understanding of both sides of the coin.

Even you acknowledge that the economic times dictate different approaches and there is only so much blood to be squeezed from the turnip. Meanwhile, it is long past the time where sworn people should be used in the jails. The simplest solution would be to contract out the entire operation to a private corporation who provides such services at a much lower cost.

Yes, there are arguments both pro and con about the qualitative aspects of using the private sector. There are many places currently using contractors and doing well.

Should the department have met and conferred [with the union] prior to implementing such a process? The answer is yes. However, you know very well that the union is in the business of protecting jobs and would likely have reached impasse rather than an agreement on replacing sworn deputies with civilians. Still the meet-and-confer process should have been attempted before imposing the changes.

Bottom line, Kimberly, is that sworn people should be on the streets performing the critical tasks that are part of their job description. The noncritical tasks within the law enforcement organizations should be handled by competent, civilian paraprofessionals. This is the future trend, and many police departments have already gone to the concept. With scarce resources, this becomes a high priority for both the county and the state.

— Ltpar1 / April 10

Privatizing jails is not the answer. Sure, it cuts costs, but at the expense of quality. Do you really want $10 security guards handling hardcore criminals?

[Sheriff Sandra] Hutchens is pandering to politicians while disrespecting her line staff and putting them in danger. [The deputy sheriffs union] is doing what unions have done for a hundred years: protecting their members.

— Keepdapeace / April 11

Brian Chuchua and the Anaheim Chamber

Imagine that Adam Elmahrek [author of the Voice of OC article in question] walked precincts and spoke at community meetings for a political candidate, and then the Voice of OC told him to either stop it or leave his job as a VOC reporter, and then Adam claimed he was being forced out because of his personal views. Would anyone think VOC was in the wrong?

That’s pretty much what is happening here. The Anaheim Chamber of Commerce has a policy for its ambassadors, who, as the name implies, represent the chamber, not themselves. Ambassadors need to take a leave from the post while they are candidates for office.

What is hard to understand about that? How is that unreasonable or unclear?

— Force Majeur / April 12

Force Majuer, why didn’t the chamber place him on leave when he ran for council in 2010? Not a good argument when dealing with “unwritten rules.”

It’s hard not to see this as retaliation.

— ShadyHU / April 12

An ‘All-Latino” City Council?

Is [Santa Ana City Councilman Sal] Tinajero implying something by using terms like “all-Latino council”?

This particular council (regardless of any specific ethnicity) has given away as much, if not more, to developers over the last several years, and gave the unions enough rope that the city almost went bankrupt.

How does race or ethnicity figure into any of that?

— Al Simmons / April 12

Transparency in Anaheim

This is a no-brainer idea. Anaheim is often involved with large, complicated deals that are in the millions of dollars. These deals have the ability to make some people very rich. We need to know who the council is dealing with on these types of transactions.

Look at the bed tax giveaway. We have a right to know who is lobbying these elected representatives and who is standing to benefit from their decisions.

— NotSorryForMe / April 9

This sounds simple and fair. If a deal is really a good deal for the city, its supporters shouldn’t have much of a problem convincing voters. I’d rather have voters approve these huge public investments in private developments instead of council members, who get contributions from the developers to run for office, contributions to stay in office, sweetheart deals, finders’ fees, commissions and all sorts of other financial windfalls once they’re out of office.

We’ve got to put a stop to this insider circle of greed.

— Lostinspace / April 6

Bullet Trains for OC

Keep in mind that the entire state still has to pay for this boondoggle. So whether we benefit or not, Orange County will still either pony up higher taxes or see continued cuts to education and public safety.

It no longer matters where this thing is going. It needs to die.

— Cynthia Ward / April 9

Curt Pringle: Master of His Universe

Don’t hate the players, hate the game. You may not like it, but from Washington, D.C., to the OC, that’s the way things are done.

Looking at any individual, including Curt Pringle, and saying he’s doing wrong makes as much sense as blaming the TV weatherman for rain.

— Whatsupdoc / April 5

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Voice of Our Commentators

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Here is a roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of last week. Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Gay Student Ordered Off Stage

How bad does a decision have to be before an assistant principle gets fired? This wasn’t about embarrassing someone. It was about communicating that the student’s gayness and desire to get married aren’t OK.

The school district says that the situation should have been handled privately, but I fail to understand what the “situation” was. That the kid went “off script”? Were all the other kids that went off script also disqualified from the competition?

This is anti-gay discrimination plain and simple. Apologizing isn’t enough.

— MickLak / April 4

While I don’t condone [Assistant Principal] Abell’s initial actions, I commend him for his apology. Whether the apology was forced by his employer or done by his own accord, it’s difficult to do and is really all he can do.

Suspending him won’t undo his mistake, nor will it change any bias he may have. However, accepting his apology and including him in an open dialogue to improve school and district policies in order to protect [gay] students, faculty and staff just might.

— Sdterp / April 4

How cool would it be if the Fullerton Union High School District stands up and states that the assistant principal’s actions were discriminatory and violate the district’s no-bullying policy?

— Dsocialme / April 4

Nguyen ‘Slandered’ by PR Firm

Nguyen is showing the public three things:

(1) She is a totalitarian who believes she can use her political position to punish those who speak in a manner she does not approve;

(2) She is ridiculously thin-skinned for a politician; and

(3) She does not care a whit about fact-finding before portraying as fact politically advantageous hearsay.

— OCTruth / April 4

Costa Mesa Charter Debacle

It seems the council would learn from mistakes and stop throwing good money after bad. From what I heard about this trial: Add up hours for court time alone at $495 per Jones Day attorney, three at each hearing … equals $18, 562.50 for courthouse time only, not any prep and travel time. Then they appealed, and lost again.

When will they stop wasting taxpayer money? When will the council boys wise up?

This article prompted a friend to ask:

Q. How many Jones Day lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A. At least three, and it’s really expensive, but the lights still don’t go on.

— My Town / April 4

The argument that the citizens of Costa Mesa are “anti-democracy” because they want our elected officials to govern in accordance with the law is absurd.

Costa Mesans have spoken passionately at City Council meetings about, among other issues, moving the charter initiative to the November ballot. This request was not about thwarting a vote on the charter — in fact, quite the contrary. We made this request so that we would be voting on the charter initiative during an election when there would be a larger, more representative, turnout.

At this moment, it appears as though that will be the case. We feel that this charter initiative is worth fighting against for the good of Costa Mesa. Now it looks like we are closer to having a fair fight.

Incidentally, kudos to Mr. [Nick] Gerda for penning a well-written, comprehensive article.

— Jay Litvak / March 30

Bypassing the Public

This is unreal!

Let us count how the people’s will has been bypassed in this process:

(1) The $158-million [hotel subsidy] is passed as a “discussion” item;

(2) The “Giveaway 3” [council members who voted for the subsidy] don’t show up to a special meeting to discuss the matter;

(3) The Giveaway 3 refuse to put this item on the ballot for a vote;

(4) The mayor is threatened with having his ability to place items on the agenda challenged;

(5) [Councilwoman Kris] Murray threatens removing the mayor pro tem title from [councilwoman] Lorri Galloway because she has the audacity to place an initiative that would give people the vote?

It is time for the people of this community to take back their city and stand against the bullying tactics of the Giveaway 3.

— NotSorryForMe / April 4

No-Bid Contract for Trash Hauler

The dark side of privatizing. I’m not opposed to it, but it’s certainly not the panacea the Costa Mesa City Council makes it out to be. This is a perfect example of how private companies act eerily like unions. Anti-competitive practices are apparently not exclusive.

Say what you want about Democrats and their union masters, but it appears that Republicans have theirs as well.

— Don Draper / April 3

Who negotiated this contract? Giving any company a contract with no ending date and beyond the current terms of all the City Council members does not seem legal.

If I were a resident of Costa Mesa, I would be extremely concerned. Give them the six-year notice immediately. If the council thinks that getting $500 meals and gifts is status quo and not a conflict of interest, vote them out and find residents with integrity who will not accept such gifts.

— Cacityguy / April 3

Santa Ana Ethics

Santa Ana says that the new city attorney [Sonia] Carvalho “is a frequent speaker on topics related to ethics (and) the Brown Act.”

This should be interesting.

— Junior / April 3

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