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NEWS
By Fred Smoller | December 17, 2011
Two important power shifts are taking place in California. Power is shifting up from the cities and down from Sacramento to county government. The first power shift is evidenced by the impending decision by the Santa Ana City Council to disband its Fire Department and turn firefighting responsibilities over to the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). This is a turning point in local government. Santa Ana is Orange County's largest city. Its Fire Department is more than 100 years old. Its City Council is composed of all labor-friendly Democrats.
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NEWS
November 17, 2011
On Nov. 2, Daily Pilot columnist Steve Smith wrote about Dr. Hazem Chehabi ("City Life: Syrian doctor is a man of peace") . I want to support his viewpoint. I have known Hazem for many years and completely understand the position that he is in. He is a dedicated doctor, wonderful parent and serves other people in our community. He is chairman of the UC Irvine Foundation, whose job it is to produce funds for our local university and our future leaders. Sometimes we find ourselves in difficult situations in life.
NEWS
By Lauren Williams | October 28, 2011
Syrian-American groups plan to protest at UC Irvine on Saturday. The Syrian Emergency Task Force's Los Angeles office and Syrian Rising Generation Movement claim Hazem H. Chehabi, chairman of the UCI Foundation, in his capacity as the honorary general consul at the Syrian consulate in Newport Beach represents an oppressive Syrian government dictatorship. Chehabi is also the medical director at the Newport Diagnostic Center, where activists have protested his alleged support of the Syrian government, the OC Weekly reported.
NEWS
October 12, 2011
I am both amazed and amused at the continuing controversy surrounding the Ronald Reagan statue in Newport Beach. The Reagan statue fits perfectly in this image-conscious, cliché-driven, self-contradicting city. The family values president was divorced, remarried and estranged from his children and grandchildren for extended periods of time. The opponent of big government increased the size of state government while governor of California and the size of the federal government while president.
NEWS
By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com | August 9, 2011
COSTA MESA — Open-government advocates described the city's Tuesday release of a 27-page document listing compensation packages for all City Hall employees as among the most detailed reports they've ever seen. "They're to be congratulated," said Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, a Carmichael-based government watchdog group. "It's far above average. I don't have any basis for saying it is among the most detailed disclosures [in the country], but I suspect it probably is. " The report, posted on the city's website under the "Transparency" page, identifies 572 current and former full- and part-time employees mostly by name.
NEWS
July 30, 2011
Re. "City Life: Costa Mesa needs to hire Lobdell permanently," (Steve Smith column, July 26): I sure hope that Bill Lobdell's employment at the L.A. Times and Daily Pilot has come to an(other) end, this time for good. He was a reasonably good editor and columnist in past times, but he can never again be considered impartial in covering news and politics now that he has accepted employment in government, especially as the hired voice of this dysfunctional crowd in the Costa Mesa City Council.
NEWS
July 15, 2011
It is a warm Saturday morning, and I am coming down Placentia Avenue, when, lo and behold, a huge sign probably costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars bellows out something of this sort: "We are using your tax dollars wisely by preserving this park. " Let us start with this observation: I have yet to see a lazy government employee use any tax money wisely. Now let me tell you about the beautiful natural park that existed before the so-called servants who spend our hard-earned money wisely began rolling out their heavy equipment that cost all of us thousands, actually desecrating this park that actually was the reason some bought homes in that area.
NEWS
By Mike Reicher, mike.reicher@latimes.com | June 30, 2011
COSTA MESA — Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a labor leader embroiled in Costa Mesa's recent political conflicts to the board of directors that oversees the Orange County Fairgrounds. Nick Berardino, 62, general manager of the Orange County Employees Assn., will join the nine-member Fair Board, the governor's office announced Thursday. The move elevates Berardino's stature as he is locked in an ideological battle with a Republican Costa Mesa council majority that has challenged the city's employee unions on pensions and pay. Brown, a Democrat, has appointed a political ally to a position that his Republican predecessor essentially discarded.
NEWS
By Alexandra Baird, dailypilot@latimes.com | June 25, 2011
The Irvine City Council plans to sign off Tuesday on a three-year contract extension for Orange County Great Park Chief Executive Michael Ellzey. The renewal of his more than $200,000 annual salary will come with perks, including a $750 monthly car allowance and a $250 cell phone and Internet service allowance, according to attachments to the meeting agenda. The contract would expire June 30, 2014. Ellzey's contract will be among a package of Great Park-related action items that the council is expected to finalize.
NEWS
By James P. Gray | June 11, 2011
When former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger first took office he promised to address the out-of-control worker's compensation system, and he did. Unfortunately, after making progress on about 15% of the difficulties — the ones that were the easiest and least controversial — he basically declared victory, and sailed off to do other good deeds. Recently I read that Gov. Jerry Brown said he would reduce the size and expense of state government by eliminating 37 state panels, advisory boards and agencies.
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