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Editorial: No need to cancel public safety meet-and-greet

May 21, 2011

Last weekend, Costa Mesa police and firefighters planned to host a community meet-and-greet at a Target store. But the event was cancelled because officials had concerns about political tensions and paying participating public safety officers overtime.

We understand why City Hall cancelled, as well as the desire to keep community events from becoming political, but think the event should have taken place anyway. Though Costa Mesa is under fire for its plan to outsource workers and replace them with contractors, the city shouldn't ditch an otherwise pleasant gathering because some folks with political agendas may crash the party.

After all, residents have the right to assemble and protest; there's no reason to change the way the city operates because they may show up. We agree that it's not a good idea to give public safety officers OT for events like this, but the event was already scheduled and advertised, so the expense should have been allowed.

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Also, there's likely some disappointed families who wanted to interact with cops and firefighters. The message they got out of this is that the bullies were allowed to win.

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