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Mailbag: Where are all the quality candidates?

My purpose here is to give you my view of one of Costa Mesa's City Council candidates, Jim Righeimer, and to comment on what I view as the continuing downfall of a once great city.

I read about the DUI checkpoint debate, which was started by Righeimer after being inconvenienced at one of them recently. I was surprised to hear that he mentioned my name there. Why? I have never to my knowledge even met the man and only know him from what I have researched since he became a candidate opposing public safety and the Police Department in particular. Maybe he knows that I was the father of these checkpoints in Costa Mesa, and that I strongly believe in their objective and in those who operate them. They save lives through education and, when necessary, arrests. The streets that you and your kids drive on are safer because of such checkpoints.

At what point did quality candidates decide that the city of Costa Mesa wasn't worth the effort and stopped running for local office? Costa Mesa has had excellent City Councils in the past. The likes of Peter Buffa, Joe Erickson, Don Hall, Mary Hornbuckle, Sandy Genis, Linda Dixon, Jay Humphrey, Arlene Schafer, Mike Schaffer, Orv Amburgey and so many more over the years. Currently, Katrina Foley and Wendy Leece are attempting to hold this city together and make decisions based on what is best for the community and not on outside interests funneling money into their businesses or campaign. One would think this would not be the case considering that Foley and Leece are polar opposites as far as party politics go, but again they make decisions with a conscience.

Former council members mentioned above didn't always agree on issues, but they sure agreed Costa Mesa was a great city with a great future and voted toward improving it every day. With the couple of exceptions I mentioned, I would be embarrassed to have the current council representing me. The city has now become a hotbed of racial tension and, over the past year, public scandal. Public safety is at risk and the plan to elect another of their cronies to the council, as I envision their efforts to be, continues to take shape. Once famous for shopping, theater, concerts, fine dining, the Orange County Fair and compassion for those less fortunate, we are now known as no more than a city overrun with violent gangs, illegals and self-absorbed politicians. Sad because as most of you know Costa Mesa, is a beautiful place and deserves qualified elected officials who care more about Costa Mesa than they do about themselves.

Service above self. An old concept, but it still holds true.

Dave Snowden

Newport Beach

Editor's note: Dave Snowden is Costa Mesa's former police chief.

Police tactics shameful

I was disgusted to open my mail this weekend and see the first negative campaign hit piece. Was it from Meg Whitman or Jerry Brown? No, it was from the Costa Mesa police union. You see, the union is not happy with Costa Mesa City Council candidate Jim Righeimer because he has suggested that the city re-negotiate its public safety contracts in light of the failing economy. The union has launched a website where they slander and defame Mr. Righeimer, but most amusingly, an officer is allegedly taking an entire month off of work to drive a trailer throughout Costa Mesa carrying a large anti-Righeimer banner. Wish my employer would give me a month off!

As a wife and mother, I find the police Union's tactics shameful and disgusting. Sadly, very few of Costa Mesa's 120-plus sworn police officers choose to live in Costa Mesa. They choose not to educate their children here and they do not pay taxes here. Yet, they have no problem slandering City Council candidates in an effort to hijack our elections for their own financial gain. Fortunately, the union does not represent the voice of all of our hard working police officers, many of whom oppose the union's sleazy tactics. I trust and highly admire these officers. They are true role models for our young son.

As of the latest political reporting, the union has transferred over $40,000 into an account to directly attack Mr. Righeimer. That is close to the average median income of a Costa Mesa resident! They will easily spend more than $100,000 to prevent Mr. Righeimer from getting elected. This needs to stop. I encourage all of you to get involved and get educated about the candidates in this race. The city of Costa Mesa belongs to the hard-working men and women of this city, not the out-of-town unions.

Kerry M. Kops

Costa Mesa

McEvoy: Stay out of Righeimer's personal life

I will be the first to admit I am extremely critical of my political opponent Jim Righeimer, but only his public positions and voting history. I couldn't care less about his personal life; it is his public life and only his public life that is worthy of debate. Imagine if professional athletes were solely drafted on their grade-point averages and not their athletic talent — sports would suffer.

As a candidate for Costa Mesa City Council, I hope that the voting public can look past the mudslinging and focus on what the candidates bring to our City and to be candid I have faith that they will.

Chris McEvoy

Costa Mesa

Foley needs to step on fairgrounds

It's widely understood at City Hall that Councilwoman Katrina Foley has been the single biggest impediment to the city completing its agreement with the state to purchase the Orange County Fairgrounds. Her ever-changing demands of the city's financial partner, her vote against the lease agreement that she helped negotiate on behalf of the City Council, and her failure to use her Democratic party influence to smooth the sale through the Legislature have, when combined, cost the city time, a unified voice, and a successful result.

In her flier as a current candidate for the school board, Foley has the temerity to claim that she was "... instrumental in saving our fair from sale to developers." In fact, it appears that the city's opportunity to own the fair has slipped away — along with an agreement that would have produced more than $220 million in new revenue sharing for our cash-strapped city. And it is apparent that the private sale will proceed, likely to development interests.

Leigh Beach

Costa Mesa

Measure V would improve city charter

The Newport Beach City Charter was written in 1955, updated in 1974, and is substantially the same now as it was 36 years ago.

This year a distinguished group of Newport Beach citizens met over several months to carefully considered and recommended a comprehensive update to the City Charter. These important changes are incorporated into Measure V and would accomplish the following:

1. Measure V would block and eliminate loopholes to Proposition 13 that would otherwise allow the City Council to raise property taxes without citizen voter approval.

2. Measure V would eliminate the requirement that every word in every city ordinance be published in a newspaper while still requiring title and summary to be published. This change will save taxpayers at least $70,000 annually.

3. Measure V will still preserve the right of the residents to vote on the sale of waterfront property, but will eliminate the requirement that the sale permanently be recorded in the charter.

4. Measure V updates the Newport Beach civil service procedures to incorporate current state law requirements.

5. Measure V eliminates oil operations in a significant area of the city and restricts oil exploration to a designated 21-acre site where operations are currently occurring to allow the city to manage its oil resources more efficiently.

6. Measure V improves the city's ability to contract out for services by reducing administrative overhead and cost.

7. Measure V eliminates provisions that are now illegal under state law.

Dennis D. O'Neil

Chairman, Committee for Yes on Measure V

Newport Beach

Former opponent supports Franco

I know it's weird.

If someone had told me a year ago that I would not just be supporting Judy Franco, but enthusiastically supporting Judy, I would have said they were crazy. (Remember, I ran against her four years ago). Just in case you're curious, here are the reasons:

1. She has a broad and very specific understanding of the issues facing the district. She brings intelligence and amazing comprehension to these issues.

2. She has always been committed to communication with parents and teachers, and I believe that she has recommitted herself to even more communication within the district.

3. She has said that she is open to having regularly scheduled informal meetings with parents and teachers encouraging them to speak freely.

For these reasons and others that spell out her ability to change with the times in which we live and work, and for her dedication to new transparency within the district, make Judy my firm choice for the school board.

Sandy Asper

Newport Beach

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