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Mailbag: Costa Mesa needs to attract more families

June 26, 2012

I always appreciate the thoughtful comments by my friend Tamar Goldmann (Re. "Council agenda is harming public services," June 21), but this time, I think she reached several wrong conclusions. Let me explain why.


FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version had Tamar Goldmann's last name misspelled.

First, she said crime is up in Costa Mesa. The fact is, violent crime is actually down. Property crimes are up by 11%, and that is why this City Council has restructured the Police Department in such a way that more officers are patrolling our streets than ever before.

In addition to that, we have a contract with the city of Huntington Beach for police helicopter services. At 25% of the cost, their helicopters are in the air and available twice as much as our own were. Even with those savings, we will be spending $608,260 more for police services this coming fiscal year than last fiscal year.

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The fact is, property crime has started to rise in California in recent months for a variety of reasons, including early release of state prisoners. Property crime in Irvine, which labels itself "America's Safest City," is up 17%.

Costa Mesa is experiencing the same trend, hence the reason for the council's desire to eliminate local motels that cater to these early-release prisoners. Last year, one of these motels had more than 520 calls for service from our police and fire departments.

Talk about a drain on the taxpayer.

In fact, what Ms. Goldmann considers a "pet project" — spending $500,000 toward the elimination of these parolee motels — is in realty the best method of bringing down property crime. Get rid of the places where parolees, prostitutes and drug dealers live and watch crime drop.

Ms. Goldmann concludes the council is funding these pet projects at the expense of vital public services.

The council's so-called pet projects next fiscal year include repaving a record number of residential streets, medians and alleys, improving our neglected parks, paying down (for the first time) a portion of a quarter-billion dollars worth of unfunded pension and health-care liabilities, and putting $500,000 aside to get rid of the parolee motels that contribute to large amounts of crime in Costa Mesa.

This council is following a more holistic approach to creating a safer and better city. Not only do we make sure we have enough officers patrolling the streets, we are also repairing the crumbling infrastructure, repaving pothole-laced streets and replanting barren sports fields.

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