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Mailbag: Support for the mayor's funding initiative

February 15, 2013

Re: "Commentary: "The state of our city is strong," by Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry (Feb. 13):

First, I commend Curry and the City Council for their effective fiscal management of our city. Further, I support his proposal to use development fees to fund installations or facilities related to the arts.

As a resident who believes that the arts should be an integral part of our city, and as a member of the Newport Beach Arts Foundation, whose mission is to support the arts in Newport, I think I speak for all of our foundation members when I say we support Curry's efforts to secure a stable source of funding that will encourage growth of the arts and cultural experiences in Newport Beach.

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For example, the foundation has been steadily working to raise funds that will help us participate in the funding of sculpture for the new Civic Center. While organizations such as ours will always look to private sector funds to help us accomplish our goals, we will all surely benefit from the kind of initiative Curry is proposing.

Carmen D. Smith

Secretary, the Newport Beach Arts Foundation

Newport Beach

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Beach encroachments

Re. "Beach sore spot rises again," (Feb. 14):

I wanted to write to you because of my very strong feelings about the encroachment issue brought up by your article. By building onto public land for private use, Newport Beach beachfront property owners have "stolen" land from U.S. citizens, but instead of pursuing criminal charges, the city and the California Coastal Commission are willing to take a fee to look the other way.

The nominal fees will help with parking and access, but will continue barring the public from accessing the beach land where these encroachments occur.

This solution sends the wrong message to the public. These landowners knew what they were doing was wrong, yet they proceeded to do so because they felt entitled to the public property adjacent to their private property.

How would this go over if we, as homeowners, started encroaching on our neighbor's property? Public parks? How about school properties? Why should the beachfront property be treated any differently?

The homeowners were notified a year ago and have done nothing to correct the violations. Because they have chosen to keep stolen property, the fees that the city wants in exchange for use should be paid as the fine that they owe for all of the years of possessing stolen property, and the public beach land should be immediately returned to the rightful owners: the American people.

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