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Mailbag: Do not fence in Andersen Elementary

March 01, 2014

Officials are considering building a fence around Andersen Elementary School in the Port Streets neighborhood of Newport Beach.

From what I can tell, the neighborhood is not interested in having a 6-foot, wrought-iron fence around the school. The school is situated in a lovely greenbelt, and a fence would make the greenbelt look more like a prison. I have heard that a good number of people have signed a petition against the fence.

Recently, Newport-Mesa Unified School District Supt. Fred Navarro spoke at Andersen to the area neighbors. It seemed to me that Navarro had already concluded that a fence was necessary and that the only questions remaining were what type of fence and how restrictive.

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The neighbors in attendance seemed mostly to disagree with him, arguing that Andersen is in a low-crime area and the fence would be an eyesore unsuitable for preventing any significant crime and restrictive to after-school use.

Most stated that they didn't want the fence and noted that they believe the safety risks were greatly overstated by people who don't live in our neighborhood, haven't studied the statistics or may represent parties that would benefit from the fence construction.

The principal could only cite dogs on the campus and parents delivering items to their children without first checking in at the office. These are not safety concerns, for the most part. She also said that it was her preference to fence off not only the school yard, but the entire adjacent soccer field. This would cause large problems for weekend and after-school hours access, add to the cost and be an even larger eyesore.

In an environment in which schools lack items for education and teachers are being laid off, this fence seems an unnecessary expense. Other safety features, such as a new office entrance to the school and video camera surveillance, might be more acceptable to all.

This seems to be a case of trying to fix a problem that may not be of significance while ignoring an abundance of problems that are more immediate.

Dave Larue

Newport Beach

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Finding the right reasons for a fence

Re. "Commentary: Adams Elementary fence belongs on perimeter," (Feb. 21) by Deborah Lucas: I am an architect and Costa Mesa resident of 23 years. I live down the street from Adams Elementary School, a wonderful fabric of our neighborhood.

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