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.

Settlement in Police Beating Death

I am glad that Fullerton had to pay [a cash settlement to the mother of Kelly Thomas]. I think they got off easy at $1 million. I hope they use better judgment from now on and not hire bullies.

I am so sad and upset that this is what our wonderful country has come too. My parents taught me to respect police officers. They even went so far as to tell me to trust them if I needed help. That video [of the beating] broke my heart. It’s time, people, that the police know the law applies to them as well.

I want to thank the Fire Department for having the heart to treat Mr. Thomas like the human being he was.

— OCmom / May 21

Grindle Again Reverses Stance on Sidhu Contributions

That’s a cheap-shot headline that makes it seem that Shirley Grindle is losing her marbles.

I am glad to report that she looked and sounded great last night on KNBC, channel 4, even if after all these years Vicky Vargas can’t pronounce her name right.

I think that your headline writer’s suggestion that Shirley can’t decide if she is for or against something, needs to read the story a little more carefully. Unlike our DA, Shirley is a private citizen, and when someone tells her something she must believe them until shown wrong. She was shown wrong, and she asked that action be taken.

— Dr Dan / May 18

C’mon, Shoot First Shirley takes aim at perceived enemies based on her agenda. Some in office or development get a pass on the same faults she barks about with “the bad men.” She barks to protect her friends, which may not be the public in many cases. Time to retire that mutt.

— Ockiote / May 19

While Shirley has her heart in the right place and is a true crusader for “equality under the law” and the common man, she is just another voice in the wilderness.

It has gotten worse, not better, Shirley.

It has reached a point that I would trust a snake oil salesman before I would trust a politician.

— Beelzebub / May 18

This will be the perfect opportunity for the DA to make an example of a shady political insider like [Anaheim City Councilman Harry] Sidhu. Karma is starting to come to Anaheim.

— ShadyHU / May 18

Backers of Anaheim Initiative Dealt a Surprise

Amazing! In the 11th hour the city staff seems to have moved the goalposts from the edge of the field to somewhere out in the middle of the parking lot.

Only in Ana-slime. First the hotel giveaway, then the taxi permit scandal, now this. Somebody call “The Daily Show” ‘cuz only Jon Stewart could make this scenario seem to make sense.

— Praetor / May 24

Synchronized Traffic Signals

This project is a bit overhyped. Almost all the streets targeted by OCTA for signal coordination already had some sort of timing system in place, run by the individual cities. The problem is that any coordination broke down at city limits or at Caltrans freeway ramp signals. The OCTA project is trying to eliminate these discontinuities.

But OCTA is also trying to take undeserved credit for signal coordination in cities. All but the smallest municipalities in OC already were running decent signal timing. OCTA is buying them new equipment and will tweak the timing a bit, but it’s a very small improvement over the good work the cities had already had in place for years.

And the bottom line is that when traffic gets heavy enough, like it does in Orange County, signal coordination breaks down and is not much better than random operation.

By all means this isn’t a bad project. It’s just not nearly as great as OCTA makes it out to be.

— Otherhand / May 18

It’s really sad that OCTA hasn’t managed to put some signage on the streets where the signals are synchronized that would indicate the optimum speed for hitting signals and the times when the synchronization is in effect.

It’s my understanding that the synch only works in one direction, based on a.m. or p.m. traffic peaks and timing, but how do you find that out if OCTA can’t invest a little money in publicizing their projects.

I also seem to recall that Caltrans didn’t like to play or surrender any control of the lights close to the freeways, so any plans always got bollixed up when you went under a freeway.

More reporting, please.

— Moonunit / May 19

Curtail Canyon Development

No, we don’t need another environmentally destructive housing tract here behind the Orange Curtain, but we do need to protect and preserve our finite natural resources.

I sat aghast in the Board of Supervisors hearing chambers during the first go-round with this developer when the Board of Supervisors basically voted to approve the destruction of hundreds of 100-year-old oak trees in favor of planting acorns. Sounds like the same plan is being proposed once again.

— Green Planet / May 21

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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.

Canyon Development

OC needs another pink sprawl housing tract and more cars on Santiago Canyon Road about as much as we need another bad rash. Concerned citizens need to show up at the [Orange County] Planning Commission meeting in Santa Ana next Wednesday afternoon at 1:30 and demand that they follow the local review board’s recommendation.

Rutter [Development Co.] needs to bring its plan into compliance with the rules and not the other way around.

— Ben Hadd / May 17

Gathering the Evidence at San Onofre

Good investigative reporting being done here. It is important to understand if Edison has done something improper and if the NRC has been complacent. We can’t let San Onofre be restarted when Edison and the NRC seem to be so conflicted. Too many lives and livelihoods are at stake.

We must heed the lessons learned from Fukushima, Japan, where the disaster continues to threaten a whole country.

— Gary Headrick / May 16

Oh, another case of the missing government document, eh? That’s the big-boy version of “the dog ate my homework.”

Another bureaucrat desperately trying to save his job.

— Beelzebub / May 11 

 

Unbalancing Costa Mesa’s Budget

Why do the $12 million worth of additional capital improvement “wishes” have to be in the budget in order to “go through those items”? If the budget is balanced (almost) to continue normal operations, wouldn’t it make more sense to consider these additional items as nice-to-haves and see if there’s a way to add them to the budget without putting it out of balance?

There just seems to be another agenda behind the idea of intentionally unbalancing the budget. The proper agenda for the city should be to adopt a balanced budget, not to create an artificial crisis.

— Valan2 / May 12

Always keep in mind that [Councilmen Jim] Righeimer and [Stephen] Mensinger are real estate developers. Ask yourself how this push for a massive infrastructure build will help their real estate friends.

There is also a push to float bonds for infrastructure. Bonds drove Victorville and Stockton to bankruptcy because the cities took on too much debt. And, ask yourself, who will really benefit from the bonds and get the commissions on the sale.

— Reggie / May 11

The Anaheim Taxi War

This type of thing probably happens in every major urban area. Cab drivers fighting over turf with the pols holding the carrot. And most of them end up in court.

— Beelzebub / May 16

 

 

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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.

The Kelly Thomas Video

Bottom line: Kelly gives his name at around 4:00 in the video to the officer [Manuel] Ramos. So why do they continue to question and intimidate him? They said all they needed was his name. They got it, so why did it have to end in the death of a mentally ill man?

— Minimon / May 10

This is so disgusting. I could not even watch past 23 minutes or so.

The police in Orange County must learn to recognize the difference between persons experiencing mental illness and those on drugs. Persons with schizophrenia can be very strong and can appear to be taking drugs. The officers really didn’t even give him a chance from the initial encounter. They do not know how to approach these people.

I am a member of National Alliance on Mental Illness in Clackamas County, Oregon, and we offer to all the police and sherriffs crises intervention training, which helps them to learn how to read, approach and deal with people who experience mental illness. We have very few occurrences now that blossom as this one did.

Please, someone in power take control of this situation. Call NAMI there or our Clackamas County office in Oregon to get this rolling.

My dad was a policeman and sherriff here and in other states and even without training would not have treated a person like this nor let it go this far. Shame, shame on all of you.

— Pms23 / May 9

That’s California. In Portland, Oregon, cops did the same and nothing was done to them. Here cops are above all laws.

— Elliottworks / May 9

Elliotworks, the only reason these lowlifes are on trial here is because it was all caught on video and audio and the citizens put up a huge stink to get the DA to do his job. Also, Kelly Thomas’ dad photographed his face while he was on his deathbed and sent it viral all over the Internet. The camera never lies.

Otherwise these cops would have walked. Trust me on that. The perfect storm for the cops came together in this case. Had one element been missing, these cops would still be patrolling the streets.

— Beelzebub / May 9

To the other four officers who were there: You should be ashamed of yourselves. You watched this man cry for his father to help him as the life was squeezed out of him. And you did nothing to stop this.

Go home and look at your kids and remember his last cries, “Daddy, help me!” And then go look at yourself in the mirror.

Law enforcement should all wear video headsets, and it should be made a crime to tamper with or shut off that headset during your shift. It would protect citizens from animals like this and also aid in the prosecution of cases.

— Disgusted Citizen / May 8

I am guardian of a mentally ill person like this and a proponent of Laura’s Law, and I go to National Alliance on Mental Illness as well as other meetings continuously.

I see something very different than most of you.

It is human nature to want to blame someone for the end result of an incident. But how many of you were there? And can you listen closely to what the individuals are saying and can you see clearly what is happening?

What I see is a mentally disturbed person who is not obeying the police orders to place hands and feet in a protective state. Kelly doesn’t obey. Why? He can’t process the requests. Why do the police want him to do this? Because to assess the situation they need to make sure the person can’t reach for a weapon. Do mentally ill people have weapons? Was that a possibility? Yes, absolutely. Would Kelly have used one? I don’t know, you don’t know, the police couldn’t know.

We can armchair quarterback this all we want. The bottom line is that the police were called for a reason. The police weren’t doing this for pleasure. They wanted him to cooperate so he could be on his way. But a mentally ill person who doesn’t cooperate can be a danger.

I see much of the video showing the police trying to get cooperation. Kelly gives them many red flags. We can’t assess the danger or the moves Kelly may have made.

The nature of the illness causes the original dispatch, the nature of the illness prevents the cooperation, the nature of the illness puts everyone in the twilight zone, and the nature of the illness takes something that can start out harmless but become disastrous.

Those of us who take care of these types of people take many classes to learn how to diffuse situations. Even with this training, our lives are in danger, because that is the nature of mental illness.

I am not saying what happened was right or wrong. I am saying that we need to blame the illness, not the family or the police. The fatality is dreadful, but it was the mental illness that is to blame for starting the scenario that ended in his death.

I am all for educating the police more as well as the family, but it is so harmful to armchair quarterback these incidents and point fingers.

— Magwil / May 10

Turmoil at CalOptima

Though it may be attention-getting, the Voice of OC’s use of the word “coup” and the words “tightens her grip” to describe what is happening with this public agency is unfortunate.

For the first time in its history, a board has been seated that will be more collaborative, transparent and accountable to stakeholders committed to its programs and to taxpayers. We only have to look at the records of similar boards of CalO-like agencies serving nearby counties to see what the potential and promise of this reformation holds for the medically vulnerable population residing in OC.

Supervisor [Janet] Ngyuen and her colleagues on the Board of Supervisors should be applauded for leading this transformation. Having said that, everyone, past and present, who has served and does serve on this board deserve our heartfelt thanks, because the agency they oversee literally affects the lives and health status of thousands of human beings.

This agency serves a purpose larger than any one individual and as such needs to focus on moving forward. New DNA has been added to the CalO board. Now we need to let that board govern, starting with the recruitment of an executive team to manage the agency. What can possibly be more important than that?

— JLottSr / May 9

JLottSr makes quite a slam to all those individuals who had volunteered to serve on CalOptima’s board over the years with his remark, “For the first time in history a board has been seated that will be more collaborative, transparent, and accountable …”

They must have been doing something right to raise CalOptima to national recognition for its program. If you look at the roster of past and present board members, there are significantly experienced people of high reputation and integrity. People talk about transforming the organization, but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

While I’m sure that like all public agencies it had its aches and pains, [CalOptima Vice Chair Jim] McAleer is quoted that he “has yet to see those significant issues come to light” that Supervisor Nguyen has been waving her banner about. It’s unfortunate that it seems to be falling prey to the typical political jockeying for power and influence, using smokescreens and anonymous accusations.

There has been a major exodus of some quality people, both staff and board, and some people want to characterize it as somehow cleaning house. But it seems to be more similar to a bully in the schoolyard. Good people tend to exit the schoolyard rather than be hassled.

— Boldgold / May 9

Where does Lott get this @#$%? How is it that CalOptima can be recognized as a national leader in managed care and earn high ratings for its programs if it has never been transparent, accountable or committed? How is it that every one of the executives who fled the Nguyen/Hospital Association of Southern California rein of terror has been snapped up by competitors, consulting firms or government if they were so bad at running the organization?

Lott just makes this stuff up in the hopes some naive fool will believe him.

— DocC / May 9

CalOptima will end up being a disaster zone. Anything Nguyen and the supes touch turns to manure. I can’t count all the scandals in the last five years on both my hands. Take cover. By the time this train runs off the side of the cliff, a brand new Board of Supervisors will be seated, and they will tell us that it’s not their fault.

We’ve seen this movie dozens of times. Why wouldn’t you be able to know how it ends in advance?

— Beelzebub / May 9

It is time that the current manipulation of the CalOptima board stops in order to actually focus on the purpose of CalOptima, which is to serve 420,000 beneficiaries whose lives depend upon their receipt of proper health care — care that prevents costly illness and saves tax payer dollars.

The CalOptima board does not exist in order to obtain higher rates for providers who serve as board members. At least one-third of the board membership should consist of consumer beneficiaries or their legally authorized representatives. Board appointments should be made through a clearly defined and open process that selects people based upon their qualifications, not their ability to support the political ambitions of any member who clearly has conflicts of interest.

Until such time as the basic conduct of the CalOptima board and our own Board of Supervisors is ethical and consistent with the mission of CalOptima, it is unlikely that highly qualified professionals will put their hats in the ring for the position of CEO. Nor can there be any hope that such a person will be selected by a group of people who appear incapable of doing what is right.

— Roslyn / May 8

Is Santa Ana Ethics Law Unfair?

The staff report says it “unfairly” affects Santa Ana council candidates running for state or other elected office. That’s ridiculous. It does happen to affect those council members who disregard the commitment they made when elected and try to run for another office instead of serving the full four years they obligated themselves to. But that certainly doesn’t make it unfair.

The existing ordinance is a necessary protection for the constituents. Otherwise a council member could open a new campaign fund the day after being elected and just start raking in gifts, campaign contributions and other money from developers and special interests in the city.

They would then be free to vote on City Council agenda items concerning those they received all that income from. All they would have to do is make sure they are funneling the money into another office account instead of a City Council campaign account. It’s a pretty nice scam.

Instead of changing the rules and lowering the ethical bar here, how about the council members make a commitment to the public to make sure the playing field is level by simply not accepting any money or gifts from people with business before the City Council?

Otherwise it could easily be proved that this City Council places a higher priority on making sure it has access to developer and special interest cash than in doing the public’s business in an ethical, honest and equal manner.

— Al Simmons / May 5

Let’s see how the so-called “progressive” City Council handles this.

If they vote to revoke the rule, they are voting to make the city a more pay-to-play city than it already is. I hope the public cry will make them think otherwise.

— Tefere / May 4

Editor’s note: On May 7, the Santa Ana City Council referred the matter to its ethics committee.

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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.

Farm Workers Memorial

This is long overdue and absolutely appropriate given the Fair Board’s mission to celebrate Orange County’s agricultural history, which would not exist if not for the efforts and sacrifices of immigrant farm workers.

— Stunned / April 27

So despite the fact that you and [Fair Board member Nick] Berardino claim to care so much about the fairground, you don’t know that Centennial Farm is at the front right next to the main entrance?

I know it is easier to bash [Fair Board member Dave] Ellis if he was suggesting hiding it away somewhere on the property, but in truth Centennial Farm is one of the most visible and trafficked parts of the property.

Way to show your true colors.

— Howdy Pardner / May 2

Glad to see the new Orange County Fair Board is tackling such pressing issues.

— Matthew Cunningham / April 27

Do We Really Need San Onofre?

Nick Gerda [Voice of OC writer], thanks for your top-notch reporting on this matter and keeping us current.

But realistically, Nick, until the day comes when we can really harness the sun’s energy to provide for our energy needs, we simply need nuclear power.

It has been proven to be one of the safest and cheapest forms of energy. The problem is that when there is a problem, it’s usually a big one. But look at the mess that oil caused in the Gulf of Mexico. Producing energy is a messy job.

Without nuclear energy we’d be paying $10 a gallon for gas, and our electric rates would go through the roof, which would cause havoc for the economy.

We must continue with nuclear power for the foreseeable future, Nick. We have no other plausible choice. All we can do is try to make it as safe as possible. And by keeping a close eye on this situation you are doing your part. Thank you.

— Beelzebub / April 27 

A Performance Audit for Costa Mesa City Hall

I’m a performance auditor for another Orange County city. I agree: Performance audits done correctly can be a great asset. Many times they prove employees are doing an efficient and cost-effective job.

But given the Costa Mesa City Council’s track record, I’d be leery. Real audits follow strict standards set by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, including the requirement to be free from political pressure. An auditor has to be free to go where the evidence takes him and report only what he can prove.

— Noclib1 / April 27

Placing the Blame at School

When children do poorly on tests, blame it on bad teachers. When they do well, attribute it to prayer walks.

When parents help children study, they learn as well as the children. But how many of the parents of these children are working two or three jobs to pay the rent?

— Dweezle / May 2 

The Arts and Día del Niño

Rick Stein [executive director for Arts Orange County], you are a sharp dude with many healthy community connections. I respect your relationship with the Latino Community especially.

We look forward to your support in saving and preserving the Santora Building and Artists Village as a place for arts before decades of work is lost forever.

The Santa Ana youth that you work with are welcome in the Santora for arts experience and education. Please participate with the United Artists of Santa Ana in this critical endeavor. Peace.

— Got your back / April 30 

 

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