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Mailbag: Is the 60th anniversary party a metaphor for the city?

January 06, 2014

After six months of obstructing efforts — from those of the Daily Pilot's reporters and City Council members to concerned citizens — the Daily Pilot was able to cobble together some information that gave a very grim picture of the city's 60th anniversary celebration's accounting ["Special Report: 60th party cost nearly $400,000, documents show," Dec. 23].

It left me angry and confused, and I wondered if this was not the perfect metaphor for the city's dysfunction.

My major concerns are that the project was conceived and acted on without enough consideration, and there was no oversight or accountability.

These threads stitch together the current fabric of Costa Mesa governance.

Watch the pattern. Layoff notices were issued, despite advice to the contrary. The council majority has never taken an iota of responsibility. They chose to deflect the blame. Nothing was gained and much, including first-class city employees with institutional knowledge, was lost.

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Next up: the charter. There had been no call for a charter from anyone when the mayor announced the intent to go in that direction. The charter went down in flames with voters, but rather than take any responsibility, the council majority decided to jam another down our throats and repeat the cycle.

Fairview Park has two issues that follow the same, sad pattern. The first is the committee, which was assembled quickly and given a mandate to determine the park's highest and best use, but with no usable data available. A member tried to get the data, and no one took responsibility for the poor planning.

The mysterious decomposed granite path at Fairview Park is the best. No one oversaw the project or reviewed the terms of the land use, and no one has stepped forward to take responsibility.

Yes, this is a common thread, and our metaphorical fabric is fraying at the edges.

Mary Ann O'Connell

Costa Mesa

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Outsource police instead

The Jan. 5 Daily Pilot quotes the city manager of Newport Beach as saying that as a potential way of saving the city big money on pension costs, the outsourcing of lifeguard services should be explored ["Newport considers outsourcing lifeguard services"].

I sent a letter that was published Nov. 10 in which I expressed the opinion that trash collection would not be nearly as effective in saving the city money as outsourcing of policing to the Orange County Sheriff's Department ["Outsource to O.C. sheriff"]. Now it seems that lifeguards are the target.

Let's cut to the chase and go after the big costs to the city: fire and policing.

Larry Kirschenbaum

Newport Beach

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