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Mailbag: Reports can be hard to find on city website

March 14, 2014

I read with interest the article "Report: Departing cops cite politics," (Feb. 27), regarding data provided to the Costa Mesa City Council about the statistics for our sworn police personnel (staffing, recruitment, attrition and years of service).

The council had requested the information, and it was provided by the city's Assistant CEO Tamara LeTourneau. This is particularly important to me since actual facts are not obvious, while I have no trouble finding many points of view about our Police Department's status and its ability or inability to adequately serve us and whether any deficiencies are linked to special-interest politics or our council's actions or inactions.

But I couldn't find the reports. They were given to the council and obtained by the media, but an ordinary resident couldn't find them.

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I waded through the cumbersome, counterintuitive city website and contacted some community-activist organizations. Two council members offered suggestions, but they couldn't help either. Then I wrote to the council and city CEO's office.

Letourneau replied promptly, attached the reports and provided a link. I went back to the city website, and it was still not obvious how to find them, but they were there. I will study them carefully.

This is not the first time an ordinary resident has had trouble accessing city data, and this particular data addresses three high-profile issues in our city (transparency, public safety adequacy and the drama between city government and public employees).

I am pleading with our city to make a much greater effort to have data like this immediately and clearly identifiably available to residents. Many of us would rather make our decisions — including how we vote — based on fact rather than emotional argument.

Gretchen Passantino Coburn

Costa Mesa

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City cannot afford theater

I have been an avid supporter of the arts for most of my life. Nothing pleases me more than to see a live theater production.

That said, the very idea that our city would spend $2 million to support a theater on the peninsula is unconscionable ("Newport council may raise curtains for Balboa Village Theatre," March 9).

It floors me that while we cannot afford to keep our trash pickup in-house and our City Council is continually looking for ways to outsource services, we would actually think about funding an enormous art project on the peninsula, where traffic, parking and general overcrowding are continuing problems.

Our city already supports an excellent theater, Newport Theatre Arts Center, which has been thriving for years on Cliff Drive. We do not need another one.

I hope our leaders think long and hard about spending money on this.

Nancy Lynn Beck

Newport Beach

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