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Mailbag: Waiving policy raises some questions

December 07, 2011

What's the rush? The Newport Beach Planning Commission has a quorum with six members. So one has to ask what the real reason was for the waiver of Policy A2, which outlines the process for appointments to boards and committees.

At the Nov. 29 special council meeting, the City Council voted 4 to 3 to waive Council Policy A2, which relates to appointments, including unexpected vacancies. The vote by council members Mike Henn, Keith Curry, Ed Selich and Rush Hill to waive the policy shows disregard for consistent public process, and an established framework for policies to be changed in the public forum, by council.

Council Policy A2 takes a conservative approach to appointments, emphasizing public outreach, limited terms of service and council engagement. With the waiver, citizens lose important provisions of the policy, first established in 1965, and amended by subsequent councils, and are left with no clear appointment process, and a precedent for ad-hoc process for future appointments. This waiver eliminates these provisions of A2, not outlined in the staff report, nor by Mayor Henn:

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•Appointment actions are taken at regular meetings of council;

•Two month advertising of vacancies, with extension to three months possible;

•Appointees limited to a one-year appointment, plus two, four-year terms; and

•Ad hoc council committee established to review applicants and interview candidates.

The council reaffirmed at the study session a commitment to public comment, clear process and engagement. This decision contradicts that principle.

Laura Curran

Newport Beach

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Coyotes a threat to pets

How many pets will be eaten by coyotes in Orange County until each respective city efficiently alerts its residents? Most people are not aware, thinking their small dog or cat is lost and will come home.

It will take the killing of a small child innocently walking or a toddler or infant in a playpen in someone's yard or patio. It is irrelevant if adults are present or chasing the coyote away. This morning in my small walled-in town home community near the beach in Huntington, residents were trying to scare and chase a coyote away, and within minutes it had a calico cat in its mouth (too late for this domestic pet, ignorantly kept outside).

And this is in full daylight! Third pet killed here this week. Recently, a dog was snatched being walked on a leash in the middle of the day and was torn apart by a coyote.

Perhaps if alerting residents was a revenue-generating issue, you can bet hundreds of lives of our innocent creatures would have been saved. There is nowhere in Orange County where coyotes do not hunt.

Lynn Copeland

Huntington Beach

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