Voice of Our Commentators

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.

Cutting Pay for the Mayor’s Aide

One hundred thousand dollars a year of the taxpayers’ money for a part-time secretary? That averages $64.10 an hour. Are you kidding me?

And they have the audacity to complain because they now will only be making $38.46 per hour, plus benefits, plus vacations. Meanwhile Anaheim people are out of work and running out of unemployment benefits.

This money should be used to help the needy people of Anaheim and not some part-time secretary. Transferring the $40,000 to help Anaheim’s unemployed with weekly computer and job training classes at the Ponderosa Elementary School library is a far more noble use of taxpayer dollars.

— Karate Kid / June 21

Tait claims to be the mayor of freedom and kindness but votes against anything supported by the business community, labor and the community. How on Earth does he defend voting against funding for computer and job training for the Ponderosa community? Even if you object to the actions of your colleagues, grow up and support the poorest neighborhood in your city.

So much for the virtue of his “Hi, Neighbor” mantra.

— David Addison / June 21

Toll Lanes on the 405

 Projections of volumes and speeds on new toll lanes on the 405 should be greeted with tremendous skepticism.

It’s likely that projected trips and revenues in the proposed toll lanes will be much closer to the failure experienced by the 73 than the higher volumes on the 91, where there are no other options for drivers, no interchanges on the express lanes and few places where anyone would want to exit.

— Moonunit / June 21

Public transportation as an alternative to more freeway lanes has been rejected time and again by Orange County. Putting light rail down the center of the existing freeways would get people out of cars and be a viable alternative to building more lanes.

The residents reject this option. It’s very easy to just sit there and say “no” to everything; it’s hard to come up with workable plans.

The 405 is fast becoming a parking lot of idling cars. That’s much worse for the environment than a toll lane.

— Reggie / June 21

Santa Ana’s Streetcar Plan

Cordoba [Corp.] has now had to go back to the well twice to ask for additional funds, and it’s only part of the way through the second phase. That’s exactly what the grand jury predicted would happen when the city chose Cordoba for this project. Cordoba was the lowest-ranked bidder for this project by a panel of experts, but the mayor and City Council overruled the staff recommendation and chose Cordoba anyway.

An Orange County Register article notes the lack of transparency by the city when the council subcommittee recommended Cordoba. It’s unclear to this day why they were chosen, and errors and costs overruns like this make it clear that the wrong choice was probably made here.

This second allocation really calls into question whether Cordoba is capable of managing a project of this magnitude. While they try to blame the subcontractors, ultimately, it’s their responsibility.

OCTA should certainly take a hard second look at how the city is allowing this contractor to manage this project, as they are the main funding stream and may just be throwing money away by going forward. The council members are certainly right in questioning whether this contractor will cost the city more money too.

— Al Simmons / June 19

Human Relations Commission on the Chopping Block?

The Orange County Human Relations Commission responded quickly and effectively to the tragic death of Kelly Thomas at the hands of Fullerton police.

While the district attorney conducted the criminal prosecution, the county Office of Independent Review undertook an independent internal investigation, the city manager directed comprehensive training of all police and OC Human Relations led a broad-based task force on the mentally ill homeless.

The task force included Kelly’s dad, Ron Thomas; diverse ethnic community representatives; the Chamber of Commerce; the Fullerton Interfaith Ministerial Association; shelter providers; faith-based community groups; parents of the mentally ill; county mental health experts; and the Human Relations Commission.

Over the last eight months, facilitating this task force with hundreds of members of the public included was a top priority of the OC Human Relations Commission. The final report was delivered to the city of Fullerton with eight recommendations last week.

The terrific people who served on this task force have committed to continuing to see this through to implementation.

To suggest that the OC Human Relations Commission didn’t do enough is just ill-informed.

— Rusty Kennedy, executive director, OC Human Relations Commission / June 15

I never saw Rusty [Kennedy] condemn the Fullerton cops for killing Kelly Thomas. Did you? From what I gathered Rusty blamed it all on “mental illness.” A real human relations director who defends the vulnerable in society would have been all over the cops like stink on manure. But from what I saw, not Rusty.

The Fullerton Police Department has an unmistakeable history of being a “culture of corruption.” And there are many other documented indications of that other than the Kelly Thomas case. The Kelly Thomas murder only brought it all to the forefront. Rusty seems blind to it all.

Being blind to police abuse doesn’t solve anything. It only makes things worse.

— Beelzebub / June 19

Excellent article that is clearly labeled as editorial by the Voice of OC. And VOC board members are quoted, including an excellent suggestion by Fred Smoller to try to pry Prop. 172’s dedicated funding for law enforcement loose for the Human Relations Commission. Seems entirely too logical.

Some of us have tried previously to crack that pot of cash from the exclusive domain of the sheriff and district attorney and local police agencies. They are the ones that know the value of the Human Relations Commission, and they should be the ones to give up a tiny portion of their funds for this vital purpose.

Thanks, Voice of OC, for an excellent reminder about the job that Rusty Kennedy and others on the Commission continue to do to make Orange County the best possible place to live.

— Dr Dan / June 19

The question is how you, Rusty — as executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, whose mission statement is to act as a clearing house and mediate OC communities’ complaints of civil rights abuses committed upon them by their local law enforcement — were not aware that your very own hometown’s police force was grossly abusing the civil rights of the community of Fullerton.

— Madtvmargo / June 18

Costa Mesa’s Budget Priorities

The budget shows that the council majority does not value residents and are willing to put their political priorities over residents.

The budget was balanced when it was presented, then it was made unbalanced by claims that the city infrastructure is falling apart and must all be fixed now. Public safety and public works jobs are being sacrificed on the altar of political gain.

If the city was in such dire financial straits, they would not have hired several very high-priced executives, give money to Costa Mesa United or put aside money to buy up motels to flip in real estate deals.

Broke cities don’t do those things. Cities working to a political agenda do.

— Reggie / June 18

Is the budget supposed to value city employees or city residents? This is typical public employee union mentality: that government exists to serve its employees first and the citizenry second.

It would be refreshing to see an editorial from the Orange County Employees Association saying, yeah, the pensions we’ve been negotiating are out of line. They are beyond what any person in the private sector receives. The work rules we’ve negotiated over the years make government more expensive and less efficient. Yes, we, the union, bear a large part of the responsibility for the fiscal crisis affecting local government.

— Voce Veritas / June 21

Elder Abuse

Here’s a big financial abuser of the elderly thriving under the radar.

Unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships are harming families and pauperizing vulnerable, disabled, and elderly people all over this country.

Guardianship law is designed to “guard,” “conserve,” and “protect” incompetent people and the public. Over the years, the laws have been misused, misapplied or manipulated to unjustly enrich court-appointed fiduciaries at the expense of and to the detriment of the very people the courts have assigned them to protect.

Who pays the price? Every taxpayer picks up the Medicaid tab when wards are pauperized into indigence under the guise of “protection.”

Guardianship abuse is elder abuse.

Join the national movement for reform. Join the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse.

— Elaine Renoire / June 17

Cop Watchdog Gets Some Love

The Office of Independent Review was to my knowledge never an investigative tool either in Los Angeles or Orange County. They are a staff of three and simply do not have the resources to be their own investigative agency.

They do however review all internal investigations to ensure they are not whitewashed and can even offer up an opinion on what type of discipline employees receive.

What they cannot do is publicly report on a peace officer’s personnel file, including termination. That is why their public role is somewhat limited. You cannot blame the office for that; it is the law. The fact that several former critics on the Board of Supervisors are now supporters, I think, lends credence to its value.

I think [Supervisor Shawn] Nelson is taking a bean counter’s mentality to this issue, and it simply isn’t the type of issue that you count on an abacus. Police corruption is as much a mentality as it is an unlawful act. With independent oversight in place, the likelihood that the agency will foster a “wink and a nod” mentality is significantly diminished.

I say expand the office and embed them even deeper.

— Don Draper / June 15

Comments are closed.

Voice of Our Commentators

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.

Healing Fullerton

Yo, Rusty, what about recommending that we rid the county of murderous, abusive and complicit lying cops, all of whom contributed to the brutal beating of Kelly Thomas? Mental illness didn’t kill Kelly. The cops who battered him to death did.

The fact of the matter is that the city of Fullerton can’t heal until all those accountable for the “culture of corruption” at Fullerton PD are held accountable and punished. Until that happens there will always be an open sore on Fullerton’s psyche, Rusty. And until we get local government officials like you to openly and honestly admit to such, the healing process will forever be thwarted.

— Beelzebub / June 14

The Coming Pension Battle

Voice of OC, quit kissing [Supervisor John] Moorlach’s behind. You repeat his nonsense but fail to point out how he has a fully taxpayer-employee funded pension along with a 401k paid for by the taxpayers. The whole story was about paying for pension costs, and you didn’t mention Moorlach’s hypocricy. My 6-year-old daughter could do a better investigative piece on county pension payments than you guys. Where did you get your investigative jounalist credentials, out of a Cracker Jack box?

— Truevoice / June 13

The Next Step in Saving the Santora Arts Building

Its probably time to formalize the United Artists organization and coordinate it with other preservation, neighborhood and business groups to acquaint each with the other.

Groups could prepare a mission statement that others would review and possibly support; a sort of mutual aid relationship.

We need to be ready to join together when threatened and to grow. Its a bit of an effort to develop these relationships but once in place we’ll better understand our own goals and the needs of others in our city.

We have the leaders already among us, the desire and the spark.

— Jeff Dickman / June 13

Mapping November’s Campaign Strategy

[Orange County Democratic Party Chairman] Frank Barbaro and others need to be reminded that the Democratic candidate in the 74th Assembly race was not Leslie Daigle. Bob Rush has done a great job campaigning with no help from Frank Barbaro. Once again the Orange County Democratic Party is loathe to cross the I-5 freeway and will permanently stay in the Santa Ana-Anahiem sphere.

Time to branch out, good ol’ boys. The 74th is a new frontier. Come on down. The Democrats are blue dogs, the issues are progressive and the competition is fierce.

But the pockets are deep and the water is fine. C’mon, dive in.

— Gericault / June 12

Anaheim PD’s $2.2-Million Airplane

With all due respect to Chief [John] Welter, why the (blank) can’t he fly commercial? It seems just fine for the rest of us when conducting our business, but he needs to fly directly into a prison? How often does this happen?

Come on, people, this looks like a vanity purchase.

— Cynthia Ward / June 12

The May 29 Anaheim council agenda report for the purchase of the Cessna Grand Caravan states the aircraft is large enough to carry representatives from multiple departments. This could indicate that some members of the City Council would use the aircraft for travel on city business.

According to California Health & Safety Code Section 11489, narcotics asset forfeiture funds cannot be used for such purposes.

— Anaheim HOME / June 12

Great Park’s Future

[Home development at the Great Park:] 4,894 home x 2.3 automobiles per unit =11,256 more cars on our freeways. Add to these 1,500 new units at the old Wild Rivers waterpark and the 6,000 units just finished or in progress near the I-5 freeway and Jeffrey Road. You do the math.

If we had made this an airport (which it was already designed to be), we would at least be making money, not fighting for scraps.

How much more land of our “not so” Great Park will be given to special interest because of lack of funding? Was this the plan all along, to promise the world to get the voters to side with the park, knowing full well it would never happen and tens of thousands of home would be built instead?

— OCLonghair / June 8

Desert Water Debate

Here we have a public resource — mountain rain and snowmelt water collecting underneath the Mojave Desert — in proximity to six congressionally designated wilderness preserves, the most important being the Mojave National Preserve. Cadiz Inc. wants to privatize this public resource and sell it back to us, using a taxpayer-funded delivery system.

No one really knows for sure the rate of replenishment of the resource, despite Cadiz’s and Mr. Probolsky’s assertions. The biggest variability is our climate, which could be wet or very, very dry.

Sounds like a bad bet to me.

— Jack Eidt / June 7

I think that it’s high time that a nonprofit media group like Voice of OC broker a televised Orange County water forum.

This would include water and sanitation district representatives and activists like Ms. [Debbie] Cook and myself. Maybe six persons maximum to keep it focused.

This could be progressed easily and quickly by Voice of OC via either major cable or perhaps PBS.

It’s obvious that the general public deserves, actually yearns for, more education about the head-on collisions, the burning issues and future challenges that are being discussed herein. I think the public knows that it doesn’t know, doesn’t have enough information. Let’s turn outrage into outreach.

No offense, but these blog-comment sections are monologues, not dialogues. We’re all shouting electronically instead of physically interacting for the betterment of our communities, general stakeholders and precious environs.

These sections can’t possibility drive a consensus; they get mired and bogged down and distract from driving solutions. More controversy evolves, not less. Nothing is solved but venting.

Voice of OC is a leader. I challenge this editorial staff to show, to provide critical and timely leadership by doing this now.

— Roger Butow / June 8

Daly and His Dollars

I got a [Assembly candidate Tom] Daly potholder. I hope he sends out more potholders for the next election. That way I will have one for each hand.

This is great. I haven’t received a political potholder since the days of [U.S. Representative] Bob Dornan.

— Junior / June 8

Comments are closed.

Voice of Our Commentators

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.

Desert Water for Orange County?

While challenging [Debbie] Cook’s editorial as light on the facts, this piece offers no on-point corrections. Rather it itself point-blank lies with lines such as: “Imported water from Met [Metropolitan Water District] shares two qualities: (1) it is expensive, and (2) it is not guaranteed.”

Met water is anything but expensive, particularly compared to what Cadiz water will cost. And Cadiz itself claims if there’s a whiff of a problem, it will stop pumping.

Cadiz will need Met to treat its water. It is a private scheme trying to piggyback on public infrastructure while claiming private efficiency over public.

Cadiz has blithely misled its shareholders by claiming an environmental impact report was underway when it wasn’t. It has lied to Rancho Santa Margarita about seeking the best science while it has taken pains to avoid U.S. Geological Survey review. Now it lies to readers of Voice of OC about Cook’s piece, cost and infrastructure.

The only thing Cadiz has done exhaustively is undergo much lawyering by a small group of men who stand to benefit while the public at large stands to lose. Its inner group has had to meet in private for a reason: Its strategizing could not withstand public scrutiny.

— EmilyGreen / June 7

Adam [Probolsky], is that the best you can do for the $4,000-a-month retainer that Santa Margarita Water District pays you? Please substantiate your claim that I have made or provided “unsubstantiated claims, innuendo, personal attacks and erroneous information.”

I challenge you to a public dialogue regarding the operations and management of SMWD and this troubled water project to which they have become entwined.

— Debbie Cook / June 7

No offense to Mr. Probolsky, but he left out a critical element: the second shoe, so to speak, or the other half regarding the public’s “lack of knowledge.” It is self-inflicted.

Where has the public been? Car 54, where are you? The ratepayers and potentially-impacted parties didn’t track, didn’t attend water or sanitation district meetings. The audience chairs remained mostly empty, so they seemed uninterested or apathetic.

From 1998 to 2004 I begged others in my locale to attend the monthly watershed study meetings hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the county of Orange. All agencies were actively engaged in consensus-driven solutions, tons of presentations, lots of unencumbered or uncensored dialogue. They weren’t without rancor and acrimony, but they were a very educational and painfully honest forum. Many times we sat together with our perceived enemies during the lunch break and discovered collaborative potentiality.

These meetings were well publicized. They were certainly not secretive or stealthy. Quite to the contrary, they were bluntly transparent. Every watershed in Orange County still convenes such study groups, if only quarterly or semi-annually.

I applaud the so-called “newfound interest.” I’m heartened and encouraged by this. It seems that the empty chairs are finally filling up. Hoorah!

Attend at least one city council meeting, one water district board meeting, one Board of Supervisors meeting and one watershed study group this year. You need not speak; just watch, listen and learn what you can. Take away even a smidgen of new information, maybe track future meetings online regarding subjects or projects that interest you.

Maybe you or someone you know should consider getting elected or appointed to represent your concerns, to be your advocate. Usually, the way to change a system is from within, not without.

The price of a healthy, vibrant and safe environment is like democracy itself: It requires constant vigilance, sacrifice of personal time and privacy.

— Roger Butow / June 7

New City Manager-Police Commissioner for Santa Ana

Congrats to [Police] Chief [Paul] Walters. He has demonstrated the leadership that the city of Santa Ana needs to move forward and thrive. His efforts through these tough economic times over the past couple of years saved our city and earned him this position.

— Sean Mill / June 5

Should Chief Walters still oversee the Santa Ana Police Department? Most definitely. No outsider has been through the growing pains, fought more battles and brought the Santa Ana Police Department to the forefront of policing than our current Chief Paul Walters.

The talk of a nationwide search for chief has been done in the past and with disastrous results. The city of Santa Ana is best served by one of its own.

— Manuel Delgadillo / June 6

Three Fullerton City Councilmen Recalled

[Fullerton businessman and recall campaigner Tony] Bushala is like the dog that finally caught the firetruck he’s been barking after for years.

He now has control of the council. Now what?

— El Hombre / June 6

An Airplane for Anaheim PD

I believe the biggest selling point [for buying a $2.2-million airplane that can carry 14 people] is no Transportation Security Administration checks for city management and police bigwigs.

I doubt there will be any fixed-wing patrolling of the city of Anaheim. It will be used for VIP trips to Sacramento and Las Vegas.

— Dweezle / June 5

The purchase is overkill. The 206 Cessna would have been a better buy.

The problem is that helicopters operate below a 1,000 feet and away from airplane traffic, but the Cessna must stay above 1,000 feet and fly in heavy aircraft traffic.

They should have bought a new helicopter and for less money.

— Mrjeep / June 4

No Charges Against Coaches in Kickback Case

Capistrano Unified School District, [Superintendent Joseph M.] Farley and the board of trustees recklessly, irresponsibly and with malice ruined the life, career and reputation of Dr. Eric Patton and other coaches.

Following the incompetent lead of Dr. Farley and their biased internal investigation, they ignored evidence, failed to interview witnesses and failed to substantiate their exaggerated allegations and false assumptions.

After 18 months of grandstanding, they hurriedly took punitive action before the Sheriff’s Department completed its report, which found no criminal intent and no personal gain.

Unlike other school districts across the state, Capistrano Unified and Farley were duped by the Sandoses, and the press eagerly jumped on their bandwagon.

This injustice and irresponsibility is the true crime.

— TritonTruth / June 5

Comments are closed.

Voice of Our Commentators

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.

A Proclamation for Harvey Milk?

Nelson is 100% right on this one. Anybody with a half of a brain knows that if Harvey Milk was a straight Republican supervisor murdered while on the job this [Orange County] Board [of Supervisors] would not hesitate for a second to put him on the proclamation list. Not a second.

This board just sat there and stared. They didn’t have the courtesy to give the citizens an answer. What a disgusting group.

— Truevoice / May 31

Nelson is evolving into a typical talking-head county politician who covers his hiney on both sides of the argument.

We pay the supervisors to make decisions on what to celebrate and what not to celebrate. If they can’t handle simple, routine decisions on such minor issues, how the heck could they make proper decisions on the big ones?

— Beelzebub / May 31

How refreshing to see an Orange County supervisor talk about fairness.

— Doosee / May 31

Farmworker Monument

The Orange County Fair and fairground has become a tool for board members to move their personal agendas. While things such as helping foster families and kids and honoring farm workers are worthwhile, it just seems blatantly clear that these are pet projects of board members. And because they are political appointees, it raises a flag.

Fairs as a whole are founded on agriculture roots, and keeping that component alive should be a perpetual way to honor farming and farm workers.

Somehow the management of the fair seems to think it has to have a Disneyesque feel to it or spend a lot of money on concerts and other entertainment to be successful. I think the fair has lost touch with its role in the community, and I don’t think board members are helping.

Fairs should not have to create monuments to honor agriculture. Rather they should create perpetual emphasis on their roots so that there is no question about who is responsible for putting your vegetables on the table. The Centennial Farm in itself is a tribute to that. Why do you need to spend $100,000 on a statue no one will really care about? Dedicate the farm to the workers and the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives. Baby pigs being born are going to attract more attention than a statue.

The Fair Board as a whole is a disgrace and does not represent nor have a clue about the organization to which they were appointed. Get the elephants back and oust the Fair Board.

— Voiceofreason / May 28

Voiceofreason, the thing you seem to be missing is while a fair has to preserve the heritage of the community, it needs to grow with the interests of the community. Fairs are not meant to be time capsules.

So yes, to continue to be a success and be able to fund things like Centennial Farm and livestock exhibits, the fair also has to provide entertainment that the community values, such as concerts and exhibits.

Sorry, but fairgrounds reflect the community, and it is the 21st century. Orange County is hardly an agrarian society anymore. While the fairground still pays tribute to that history, it must keep up with the interests of the community that supports it.

— Howdy Pardner / May 29

Comments are closed.