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Mailbag: Change is never going to be 'low stress'

December 13, 2012

In his Dec. 8 letter to the Daily Pilot, Tom Egan wrote, "Do we really want to give [the Jim Righeimer-led council] more power [with a charter] to further tear up our low-stress city?" ("Mailbag: I disagree with commentary on C.M. charter").

"Tear up"? "Low-stress city"? If Costa Mesa was low-stress before Righeimer and company, it was because no one was bucking the status-quo folks who didn't want real improvement. And Costa Mesa can use some improvement to compete with other cities to our south for the most productive citizens.

Among other things, an improved Costa Mesa will see improved schools. Egan was on the school board for four years. The schools don't seem to have improved as a result of his time there.

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You see, I bring all this stuff up about improvement, the schools and productive citizens because it's all connected. Ultimately, it's the citizens of a city that make a city what it is.

If a city attracts productive citizens, then everything gets better. Crime goes down, the schools get better and the quality of life goes up. And to attract such citizens, you have to start physically improving the city.

You see, a city doesn't just have to drift. It can attract people the way a business attracts customers. If you want to attract thrift-store customers, you open a thrift store. If you want to attract a different demographic, you open a different type of store. It really is a matter of build it and they will come.

Been over to Lions Park recently? We're not attracting productive citizens there. In fact, many of the citizens in Costa Mesa can't even use that park or the adjacent library. They're afraid to take their kids there. It's very low stress for the people who live in the park because it's near the charities where they can get many freebies, but it's very high stress for stable citizens who are the backbone of this city and who pay for the park.

Yes, change and going against the status quo can be stressful, but we need to change or Costa Mesa won't be the place where you'll want to live.

We don't need stress-adverse people on the City Council. We need people there who want to improve this city, who know how to do it, and who have the intestinal fortitude to make it happen. This will mean that they'll have to step on some toes.

M. H. Millard

Costa Mesa

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