Voice of Our Commentators

Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question.

Bike to Death

Couldn’t agree more that on-street bike lanes, expecially on main thoroughfares such as Main Street and Broadway in Santa Ana, are unavoidably dangerous for the bike rider.

The Santa Ana City Council will soon be considering whether to complete the ¼-mile gap in the Santiago Creek Bike Trail by putting it on Main and Broadway or taking the safe route along the creek between the Interstate 5 underpass and Fisher Park. It will be interesting to see if the City Council does the right thing and completes this trail using the safe and sane route along the creek.

— Shirley Grindle

Bike lanes would help, but I don’t feel any safer riding in them. The problem is indeed visibility. Bike riders are hard to see. Too many people don’t even look for them.

So I take the sidewalks whenever possible. You may hit a tree root or broken cement and lay down the bike.  (I did that twice.) But it beats getting smacked by a car going 50 mph.

— Mike Reilly

State Prisoners in Local Jails

The biggest barrier to rehabilitation is the permanent, life-destroyng felony charge on their records. There must be instituted a manner in which persons can have those felonies expunged from their records in a time frame of within one year after their sentences are served.

One cannot get a job in a good economy with a felony record, let alone in this economy. Allow persons to gain the restoration of their reputation and standing in public by having a manner in which they can satisfy the harm done to society’s customs and norms for a victimless crime mostly due to drugs.

— Paul Lucas

Part of the law allows local judges to split an offender’s sentence between jail time and supervised release. Unfortunately, the courts and district attorney are opting for straight custody time in about 75% of the cases. That is driving the buildup in the local jails, as many are getting multiple years in custody.

Everyone really needs to stop crying about more money and look for smarter ways to deal with the problem. Not every offender needs to be locked up.

The state learned that the hard way. Why is Orange County repeating the mistakes?

— Smith2

Budget Forum

There are so many things wrong with what this blog post says about this “budget forum” that it’s hard to know where to start.

The youth in this city have little or no concept of how to provide public safety for a city of nearly 400,000 people. There’s an increased level of complexity from a multigenerational gang social structure and a high level of low-income residents, as well as a large transient population.

The city has an incredible amount of crime and issues but is able to keep a lot of it hidden.

At that age, young adults are not yet true stakeholders in the community having jobs, paying taxes, buying homes, raising children etc. They don’t understand economic development or what makes a neighborhood or community strong.

They also probably don’t understand that a city’s first and foremost job is to provide services: infrastructure like streets, water and sewers as well as public safety. The city works with other outside agencies to provide education and social services.

The jail was an important component of cleaning up the city and changing the crime statistics over the years. It still serves a vital role in helping house criminals and could probably have operations increased and maximized to manage costs better. The answer is not to take a step back, however, and disrupt valuable public safety resources.

There isn’t much info in this post about what else was discussed as part of the budget presentation. Branding? Clean up the city and solve some of the negative issues and the reputation will change. Youth returning? Really? The truth is most youth never even leave the city.

It’s OK for the youngsters to have an opinion, but what does it say about a city council who takes their message and decides to act on it? Let’s have some real discussion about the budget and real priorities instead of propping up “youth” for rehashing the Latino Health Access and Orange County Employees Association agendas.

— SA Resident

This article is a textbook example of what will happen when the Koch brothers buy the Los Angeles Times: biased, poor reporting.

This article is nothing more than a puff piece for the concerned parties. I have yet to read an article at the Voice of OC that was remotely fair. That’s doubly true with the city of Santa Ana — and exponentially true with the commenters. Supporters of the current City Council get away with personal attacks, avoid responsibility and never address issues, while posters who, however distasteful, are banned, kicked off, ridiculed and according to one, threatened with a lawsuit by a council member’s lawyer husband.

Note to the Voice of OC: At least try to appear fair. Neil Young was wrong when he said, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” Rather, “It’s better to be right than be liked.”

— Greg Jenkins

Heroin Therapy

You want to know a better way to fight heroin addiction? Did you know that 87% of the world’s illicit raw opium supply comes from Afghanistan? Look it up if you don’t believe me.

Since the U.S. is an occupying force in Afghanistan and has been since 2002, have you ever wondered why opium (poppy) production and illicit sales from Afghanistan have never been better? hmmm? Oh, and you thought we had a “war on drugs”?

Ever wonder why we don’t take the “war on drugs” as seriously as the “war on terrorism”? The Taliban and al-Qaida in that part of the world generate their revenue in large part through opiate (poppy) production and sales.

Maybe if we started dropping herbicides on the poppy fields instead of just dropping drone bombs on villages in Afghanistan, we could drastically cut the supply of heroin across the globe and reduce the number of heroin addicts by half or more.

— Beelzebub

Anaheim Council Districts

I have monitored Anaheim campaigns for the past 15 years or so, and each election the amount of money spent on and by candidates running for City Council has dramatically increased.

I strongly advise Anaheim to form into at least five districts and elect its council members by district. This would go a long way in reducing the amount of money required to run for a council seat, and it would also provide representation from all parts of the city.

I also believe the mayor’s seat should not be an elective position but should be rotated amongst the council members.

— Shirley Grindle

Voice of Our Commentators

Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question.

Confronting Police in the Neighborhood

How would you like to run into the murderer of your loved one and be harassed and taunted by said murderer? That is what these families face every day.

[Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob] Dunn is a liar. This has been addressed at many City Council meetings. The record is there for the public to see.

It has been almost a year, and very little attempt at keeping the peace has been made. Until we can get these killer cops in jail where they belong, at the very least get them out of the neighborhoods they terrorize.

— Teri Ramirez

They did not turn on “police”; they turned on bad police displaying unprofessional behavior — and they should. Those who carry handcuffs and guns should be subject to accountability.

For Dunn to publicly claim he only just heard about something that has been online and the topic of council meetings just smacks of embarrassment. What kind of public affairs people are not on top of this?

Leaving the officers in the same patrol area where an investigation concerning them is still pending is insane.

The complaint process at the Anaheim Police Department is intimidating in the extreme. Nobody wants to do it, so they tell reporters, they show up at council meetings, they talk to anyone else they think can help them. They are begging for help in any way other than having to go into police headquarters and be grilled by an officer in uniform.

There are now complaint forms in the lobby, and the forms are now online, which is huge improvement, except many of these folks have no Internet at home, much less a computer.

Ultimately the first rule of conflict resolution or even avoidance is information. In the absence of information, rumors will circulate. But since we seem to have no official policy on getting out there to proactively reach neighbors in the wake of killings, we will continue to see what were innocent bystanders become bitter, angry activists.

I expect the police to have been trained to deal with this. Where are you? Talk to the people on Anna Drive, the kids who were in no way involved with drugs, gangs or protests but who saw a neighbor lying dead on the pavement. They saw neighbors fired upon by police with no way of knowing there were nonlethal rounds in those guns. Do you think a few of them might still be having nightmares?

The parents have no access to counselors for those kids or funds if they knew where to find one. Think that might affect nearby school test scores and discipline issues? The community did not cause this, but there is an impact, and we had better fix it.

Yes, if we had no gangbangers we would have very few issues, but I expect those of us trying to represent civilization to step in and deal with the emotions that come with witnessing these horrors.

And that begins with the Police Department. Be the trained professionals you claim to be. Get in there with people who know what they are doing. And please transfer the cops who are still subject to pending investigation and/or civil litigation and are possibly polluting the pool of witnesses.

If nothing else where is our new and improved city attorney on the potential for litigation exposure? The liability exposure to us as taxpayers is reason enough to get these cops moved elsewhere, even if the powers that be ignore the very real human cost of these clashes.

— Cynthia Ward

Homeless Shelter in Fullerton

This citizen of Fullerton can see [Supervisor Shawn] Nelson is trying to improve Fullerton by taking some of our homeless already here off the street and be compassionate in the same move.

Asserting that the shelter is for the majority of county homeless is misinformed. It is for those already here in the area living on the streets and in the parks. It is part of a larger plan to have other cities have similar shelters, but that won’t happen overnight.

I know some think homelessness is a choice, and it is for some. The economy, however, has driven countless numbers out of homes. Sacramento and Obama are not yet aware of the problem’s vastness, much less aware of how to improve it with job creation by business-friendly, smaller government.

— Rick

Rick, a 30,000-square-foot facility is meant to shelter at least 1,000 homeless people and provide meals and programs for many more with their open-door policy. There is absolutely no requirement for those using the facility to be residents of Fullerton.

It would by far be the largest homeless shelter to exist in Orange County, and it will end up being a dumping ground for OC’s homeless population. When there are no extra beds available, the overflow will remain in the area to visit the facility during the day. And at night they have to sleep somewhere, don’t they?

This facility will attract thousands of homeless people from all around OC. It’s unconscionable to place that overwhelming burden on one midsize city and turn the area into a shantytown, placing the business owners and residents, including children, at a heightened risk for crime and lowering their property values.

The fact that Nelson imposed this on the very people who gave him a political career is equally unconscionable. Had he campaigned on a platform of opening up a 30,000-square-foot homeless shelter in Fullerton when he ran for supervisor, it would be a different story. That he screwed them after getting elected is what’s so distasteful.

Nobody is bashing the homeless here, but it’s totally unfair to drop the homeless bomb on one city. Smaller regional homeless centers in all sections of OC is the answer, not one megacenter in Fullerton.

— Beelzebub

AWOL Foster Children

Sadly, not once has anyone expressed concern regarding the children themselves, who have been placed into foster care. What must it be like to come from a background that was so tragic that you were removed from family and then placed into a home with five other children you don’t know who have been thrown away into a system of paid care?

There is no reason why the county Social Services Agency cannot substitute numbers for confidential names in order to keep track of the children along with the reported reason why they flee from foster care.

If there is a pattern within certain homes, there needs to be intervention at the home.

If a particular child has a pattern of running away, the child needs help, not punishment. Has anyone thought to interview these children instead of taking the word of paid care homes?

— Roslyn

Thanks [Supervisor] Todd [Spitzer] for at least bringing up this issue. These group homes are nothing more than moneymakers and create blight in a neighborhood. The owners of the homes are laughing all the way to the bank at taxpayer expense.

Cities should at least start charging every time a call for service is made, and code enforcement should make routine visits to these moneymakers.

— Many pesta

Oh, Todd, picking on an appointed department head again? If you really wanted to make an impact, why not tour a few group homes to see what they have to work with.

You ought to be questioning why taxpayers pay up to $9,600 per kid per month to house them in these for-profit facilities that are a revolving door.

— Smith2

Voice of Our Commentators

Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question.

The $73-Million Oops

The six most important words that little children are taught in their most formative years to promote a civilized society are: “I admit I made a mistake.”

Read the story. Look at the CYA card played by all the principals. These are your decision-makers who call the shots that you are forced to obey and live by.

I feel like I’m being governed by first-graders. Platinum Advisors refuses to return phone calls. [Supervisor John] Moorlach blames those gone or retired to deflect blame from all current county officials, including himself. [Supervisor] Shawn Nelson blames [state Sen. Lou] Correa to deflect all blame from all current county officials. Correa blames [former Supervisor Bill] Campbell and the army of legislative lobbyists. Campbell, the lead man during the bankrupcy financing, blames the legislative staff.

This is the reason so many people detest government leaders and their appointed cronies. They don’t take accountability when they screw up. Basically we have a bunch of leaders with the emotional maturity of children who are leading us right off the edge of the cliff.

So how much will this court appeal cost the OC taxpayers in incremental legal costs? Answer: millions.

What is the probability that a higher, more distant court would overturn the ruling of a friendly, hometown Superior Court judge who ordered the county to return the captured funds to their rightful owner, the state of California? Answer: Slim or zilch, leaning heavily in the direction of zilch.

So who benefits by appealing such a case? Answer: It buys time for three of the seasoned, polished pols on the Board of Supervisors to defer the bulk of the consequences of their actions or omissions so it doesn’t negatively impact their run for higher office.

This was a 5-0 vote. They closed ranks like real pros while leaving the taxpayers twisting in the wind.

— Beelzebub

“Lou Correa was on this board when all this went down,” [Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn] Nelson said.

How rich. So was his colleague John Moorlach, but the mighty chairman doesn’t have the stones to call him out when he is right next to him at the board meetings.

That must be one of the most spineless quotes I have ever seen.

— NotSorryForMe

They all are responsible.

And the decision to spend more money fighting the court ruling is just dumb. We all know how many cases the Board of Supervisors has won via appeals — about zero so far.

— Smith2

Another waste of time and resources. The Democratic supermajority in Sacramento will not allow this bill to go uncollected.

— Paul Lucas

Layoffs in the Enterprise Zone

Let’s see, I lay people off, rehire people (in many cases likely those I just laid off) and I get a government subsidy. What a country.

And how stupid do our politicians have to be to pass such a law in the first place? One more example of why the government should not be setting up conditions where winners and losers are created rather than just letting the market sort it out.

— Jchb11

It is even worse than that. Item 16 on the Anaheim City Council agenda asked the council to increase the amount the Chamber of Commerce receives for administering a program we now know creates a revolving door to the unemployment line.

While Honda Center workers groveled for jobs that already pay below the poverty line, the City Council rubbed salt into those open wounds by paying the administrator of that program even more.

We reward employers for kicking workers to the curb to hire new people for low-paying jobs we subsidize to begin with. This is the face of public-private partnership in Anaheim, and it applies to the Honda Center, the hotel industry and every other “economic engine” in Anaheim today.

Go team.

— Cynthia Ward

The County’s Curious Computer Contract

This is what you get with five conservative GOP folks — crony capitalism and taxpayer rip-offs. I can’t believe this board wouldn’t even speak to the monitor or even do their due diligence. Unreal.

I hope the Voice of OC keeps up on this contract and lets us know when this contract grows and grows and grows.

— NotSorryForMe

Something is very wrong about this contract: double talk, hypocritical statements, illogical thinking, vapid explanations — red flag after red flag.

Grand jury, please take this on.

— Insider2

Hotel Subsidy Redux

They tried to make the claim that Garden Grove would be stealing the convention hotel business. As a business traveler, I can say, that claim is wrong based on the distance. The only thing that will steal a bulk of the convention business is another equivalent hotel within walking distance of the Convention Center.

There is a lot of value to business travelers to not have to rent a car or grab a taxi in order to get between the hotel and the convention center. From what I see with most business travelers, the hotel has to be a significantly cheaper hotel in order to lure the traveler into using a rental car or taxi.

It is very difficult to reconcile these hotels against anything other than the Convention Center. Applying them to Disneyland doesn’t work very well. Disney previously announced that they’re already trying to grapple with near maxed-out attendance even without these hotels. How often are all the other hotels near the convention center and Disneyland maxed-out? Why are these hotels not just stealing business from existing hotels? How often are the Marriott and Hilton maxed-out. I can assure you that those two hotels are the most desirable for business travelers going to the convention center. Easiest walking. No dealing with cars/taxis.

The only reason a business traveler would not be staying at the Marriott and Hilton is price. If the new hotels are high-end with prices in the same range, then business travelers are most likely to choose the Marriott or Hilton because they’re in easy walking distance. There is no good price argument to use the new hotels.

In all honesty, I’m not convinced that if a private business owned and operated the entire resort area, it would sign up for this deal. It does not seem to have a strong return on investment proposition once all the analysis has been done.

— Kburgoyne

Voice of Our Commentators

Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question.

Giancola Next County CEO?

Regarding the Michael Giancola investigation and its findings, bear in mind that Giancola [director of county Waste & Recycling] was not placed on administrative leave during this investigation, contrary to standard county practice.

By being allowed to stay at work, Giancola was able to coordinate cover stories among his allies before they were interviewed. He also issued veiled warnings against any who testified against him. With his well-documented retaliation against enemies, these threats terrified many into lying or developing amnesia during their interview.

The validity of the investigation results is questionable. This is the exact reason the county uses administrative leave: to prevent just this behavior.

— OC Bureaucrat

You need go no further than to know this guy is a 34-year veteran of the OC bureaucracy to move on to the next resume.

Think of all the lessons he’s learned over the years from his managers. It can’t be surprising that he was using his current position and county employees for personal profit. What is somewhat surprising is that he got caught.

Please, Board of Supervisors, look outside the pool of current staff and do your due diligence before making your office look incompetent yet again.

— Wasupdoc

Just like what Supervisor Shawn Nelson said: No need for an ethics commission. Move on, nothing to look at here.

— Reggie

The letter from Ms. [Kathleen] Tahilramani’s attorney that is linked to this story for reading discloses that a settlement agreement of $350,000 has been reached.

Since that settlement is related to Ms. Tahilramani’s accusation that she was the victim of retaliation by Mr. Giancola, how can the supervisors then turn around and appoint him to the CEO job, the most powerful position in county government?

Does not this position require that any person appointed be fully vetted and if they have any history of less than honorable management experience they be passed over?

With four of the five supervisors having stated intentions of running for a different public office, we may have a bunch of short-term thinkers making less than thoughtful decisions that have long-term implications. Not good.

— News Hound

I thought the Board of Supervisors was trying to send a message when they dumped [former county CEO Tom] Mauk: “We’re awake now, and there will be no more surprises.”

Well, looks like they’ve nodded off again. The same people keep telling them everything is fine, they keep listening and they keep getting blindsided.

Terrible for the county, but lots of fun to watch.

— Lostinspace

Wait a second. The board doesn’t even want to know what happened that led to the complaint filed against Giancola?

Even if the investigators concluded he didn’t break the law, shouldn’t supervisors have a higher standard for the person they are appointing to protect and manage billions of taxpayer dollars? What about his judgement, moral or ethical issues?

Looks like supervisors love to be able to “plausibly deny” any knowledge of corruption.

— Stunned

Wow, this is beginning to look very fishy. Did Supervisor Todd Spitzer, the former [assistant] DA, review the report?

— Truevoice

Mayor Tait Demands Retraction

The mayor’s reaction was simply not professional or worthy of the man. It was a deplorable scene.

People in Anaheim don’t always agree, but we act with respect towards each other and differing opinions. It doesn’t make someone a liar when they state a differing opinion, and it certainly doesn’t mean there was a personal attack involved.

Tait is not the Messiah. He is not perfect. He is certainly not infallible. Instead of being adult and respectfully disagreeing with his colleague [Councilwoman Kris Murray], he called her a liar in his statement, then tried to leave like a petulant child.

In contrast, Murray took his criticism, stayed at the dais and answered. She even apologized to the mayor, which I don’t think she needed to do. That’s what real leadership looks like.

— TheAvenger

Go, Tait, go! An at-large council in a city this size is a travesty. This is about Disney controlling the city. Disney would have a lot harder time controlling district-elected council members.

— Old OC Guy