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Mailbag: Republicans are too out of touch

While I vehemently disagree with R. Claire Friend regarding the Wisconsin recall, I respect her right to exercise her freedom of speech ("Wisconsin recall election," June 15). Having said that, I would respectfully ask her to save her history lessons, which have become increasingly redundant and a staple in most, if not all, of her political diatribes.

We don't need another lecture about our Founding Fathers fleeing King George, and certainly not from Friend, who appears to have been in a coma during the eight long years that George W. Bush, and especially Dick Cheney, conducted much of the administration's affairs in a clandestine manner and under a cloth of secrecy.

Contrary to Friend's belief, there might have been a time when America was the greatest nation in Western civilization. That time has passed, no thanks to certain individuals (the majority of them being Republican) who have abused their positions as representatives and abused resources to rebuild other civilizations (chief among them Iraq — you know, the war that their oil was supposed to pay for).

All this has happened while our own infrastructure is falling apart, while Congress, under the misguided direction of John Boehner, takes a week's vacation every two weeks. Interesting that none of the heroes (i.e. Gov. Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Allen West and Paul Ryan) who Friend sings the praises of address that salient truth nor have any of them proffered a budget or legislation that would return America to its former greatness.

What speaks volumes is the obvious omission of any mention by Friend of the Republicans' great white hope, Mitt Romney, who would never mistake a brioche for a croissant but asked for one of those "chocolate things" as he pointed to a doughnut during a press junket at the Main Street Café.

Talk about disconnected!

Bette Doremus

Newport Beach

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Harbor tennis coach stresses fun

I read the article about Newport Harbor High School girls' tennis in Sunday's paper (Re. "Radeva, Cernius moving on").

My daughter Elizabeth was fortunate enough to have played under Kristen Case. Unfortunately, she is out of the country studying, so I have to write this for her.

Tennis with Kristen was not just about hitting a tennis ball. It truly was about inspiration, helping those girls reach for the stars and, most of all, having fun. It was a commitment, but isn't that a life lesson in itself?

They won league in 2009 and enjoyed themselves when they accomplished that goal, but they would have had fun and learned many valuable lessons whether they had won or not. I speak for many who do not agree that Kristen expects too much from her athletes. I remain friends with parents I met when Elizabeth was on the team, as does Elizabeth with her team members even though they are now at different colleges.

Kristen was inspiring in so many ways. Three years later, Kristen is still in touch with Elizabeth as a mentor and now a friend, and that has nothing to do with winning a tennis match.

It saddens me that many people seem to forget that being part of a team is about so much more than winning or using it to get into a college.

How many of our local kids will ever play a sport in college, let alone get a scholarship? Not many.

It reminds me of something boys' golf Coach Scott Tarnow said when my son was on the team. At the very first parent meeting. he said that he saw no Tiger Woods on the team. so he stressed that the boys needed to study and, of course, have fun. Maybe parents need to keep that in mind.

It shouldn't be about what the college counselor says to do or the parents hoping for a scholarship. It should be about the kids and inspiring them to reach, or even exceed, their potential, which is just what Kristen stresses.

I for one will forever be thankful that Kristen took over the team, as I know my daughter is.

Chris Cramer

Costa Mesa

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Mesa staff brings best out in students

Baldwin, Sciacca, Sheldon, Abuel, Hayes, Vasquez, Center, Ryan, Bell, Scott, D'Agostino, Peralta, Kelly, Poveda, Kahawai, Kumar, Olguin, Uhl, Lindfors, Gilboe, Krenic, Sconberg, Piazza.

These are just some of the names of my team members — team members I've been with for six years but who may have not met me. They were my eyes, ears, voice, heart and sometimes counselors.

They were my kids' teachers at Costa Mesa Middle and High schools. I've watched them, relied on them, trusted them, questioned them, learned from them and marveled at them — mostly from afar.

Now, with a graduating senior and eighth-grader, it's come time to thank them. I've struggled with how to do that. How do you thank a group of people you don't really know for being such an important, positive influence in the lives of your precious children, for choosing, every day, to care for, protect and educate them?

I don't know that it's possible. I'm hoping this public acknowledgment will let them know, in a small way, how much their work is appreciated and that it will remind the community what a true treasure they have at Mesa.

So, to the teachers and staff of Costa Mesa Middle and High schools: My kids are better people because of you. They are critical, "out-of-the-box" thinkers. They win and lose with grace and kindness; they are helpful, considerate and funny. They can laugh at themselves and are empathetic to others.

They are proud of their accomplishments but they know that middle and high school is just a small part of a bigger life. They know to keep themselves safe and to make wise choices in their relationships and schooling.

The credit for this goes, in a very large part, to you. I couldn't have asked for a better team.

With one kid going away to college and one heading to a different high school, it's a bittersweet time for me, but I can rest assured that my kids are ready for their new challenges and opportunities because of the foundation you have given them.

From a grateful mom, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Go Mustangs!

Julie Clevenger

Costa Mesa

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Protect pets during Fourth of July

Celebrating the Fourth of July is fun for people but not for your pets. The Animal Assistance League wants to remind pet owners that pets can easily become frightened, injured or lost during the Fourth of July holidays.

•Keep your pet safe inside, away from the noise. Their hearing is much more sensitive than ours. Have a television or radio on to drown out the sounds of fireworks.

•For pets who become nervous or upset, consult a veterinarian about tranquilizers. The vet will prescribe according to weight, age and condition of the pet. It is important to consult a veterinarian because tranquilizers can overdose or become toxic when combined with other medications, flea collars or sprays.

•ID tags and current license tags with home phone number and alternate phone numbers (including area codes) are important at all times, but especially so during the Fourth of July holidays.

•Have a registered microchip implanted. It cannot fall off, and all shelters have scanners.

More pets are lost at this time of year than any other. They are often hit by cars, never make it back home or are killed by a shelter because their owners don't show up in time or at the right shelter to claim them.

If you have found or lost a pet:

•Put up signs, pass out a lot of fliers and place ads. Most found ads are free and some lost ads are too. Place ads in the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, Pennysaver and any community papers. If you find a pet without ID tags, take it to a veterinarian and have it scanned for a microchip.

•Go to shelters every day if possible. Check the shelter websites often.

•Have pictures and description details available.

If you are close to shelters in another county, be sure to check there. Pets, especially dogs, can travel a long way.

The local shelter servicing Costa Mesa and Newport Beach is the Orange County Humane Society Shelter, 21632 Newland St., Huntington Beach. Call them at (714) 536-8480 or visit http://www.ochumanesociety.com.

For more information call (714) 891-PETS.

Leila Nelson

The writer is the past president and humane education chairwoman for the Animal Assistance League of Orange County.

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OCTA's toll road plan is a bad one

I strongly oppose Alternative 3 of the Orange County Transportation Authority's plans for the San Diego (405) Freeway (Re. "Comment period open on freeway project," June 19).

I am a Costa Mesa resident, work in Long Beach and use this section of road often.

Adding general-purpose lanes is one thing. Adding a carpool lane could make some sense.

Using taxpayer funds to support a private road is a horrible idea.

J. Rob Royal

Costa Mesa

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