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Mailbag: Recall story misstated Banning Ranch facts

October 23, 2012

Re. "Righeimer calls recall effort 'a stunt,'" (Oct. 18):

Thursday morning's article regarding potential recall of Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer misstated the facts regarding Banning Ranch. Contrary to statements in the story, the environmental impact report for the project did not stipulate any cap on compensation to be paid to the city of Costa Mesa to mitigate traffic impacts.

Mitigation Measure MM 4.9-2 in the report and the in the mitigation program adopted by the Newport Beach City Council stipulates that, "The Applicant shall be responsible for using its best efforts to negotiate in good faith to arrive at fair and responsible arrangements to either pay fees and/or construct the required improvements in lieu of the payment of fees to be negotiated with the City of Costa Mesa. The payment of fees and/or the completion of the improvements shall be completed during the 60 months immediately after approval."

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Thus, consistent with conditions imposed by the city of Newport Beach, Newport Banning Ranch could have been required to take full responsibility for constructing necessary roadway improvements. Instead, Newport Banning Ranch will pay fees for barely half of the estimated $8 million to $10 million cost, leaving Costa Mesa taxpayers to pay the remainder.

Newport Banning Ranch could have been required to negotiate with Costa Mesa property owners on the open market to buy additional land to widen streets. Instead, it's likely that Costa Mesa will end up using its power of eminent domain to take property from Costa Mesa businesses — all to benefit development in Newport Beach.

I'm pleased to read that Newport Banning Ranch will have to address impacts on Costa Mesa neighborhoods. This must include all impacts, not just traffic but impacts from excessive noise and other factors as well. The agreement approved by the Costa Mesa City Council last July falls far short in this regard.

Sandra Genis

Costa Mesa

The writer, a former mayor, is running for City Council.

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No on Measure EE

As we approach the Nov. 6 election, we have a lot of information to consider when casting our votes. One particular issue you will have to look at is Newport's Measure EE, a massive change to the city charter proposed by the city. Measure EE is a proposal to change 38 sections of the charter in a single measure versus separating them out and voting on them individually as many other cities do.

Recently, the West Newport Beach Assn. Board met and discussed this measure and voted that it would be in residents' best interest to vote no on Measure EE. This is a view also expressed by area newspaper coverage and editorials during September and October.

Many of the changes proposed by Measure EE could be harmful to our community.

Robert Rush

Newport Beach

The writer is running for state Assembly.

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