Friday, July 29, 2022

MASSAGING MEASURE Y - SAVING OUR CITY


THE BIRTH OF MEASURE Y

Six years ago some well-intentioned residents of Costa Mesa crafted a ballot measure that eventually became known as Measure Y.  They did their very best to gather enough signatures to place it on the General Election Ballot, then spread their word around the city with such vigor that Measure Y passed with slightly over 68% of the ballots cast in November 2016. 



INTENDED TO STOP RAMPANT DEVELOPMENT

Measure Y was apparently intended to rein-in what those residents perceived as an attempt by the then-city council to unleash out-of-control development.  Measure Y requires a vote of the populace if certain triggers are met.  


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED…. BUT…

It accomplished the goal - Costa Mesa city staff members  have advised us over and over that developers withdraw projects, or don’t even submit them, when they are made aware of the voter-support necessary to proceed.  Significant development has dried-up. 

THE HOUSING ELEMENT STRANGLED BY MEASURE Y
Enter the State of California, which imposed unrealistic requirements for housing in Costa Mesa - 11,760 dwelling units must be planned for over the next 8 year cycle.  In the previous cycle the requirement was 2!  If Costa Mesa does not fulfill the obligation to meet this planning requirement - re-zoning, etc. - and produce an acceptable Housing Element the penalties are severe.  We are told they involve a $100,000 per month penalty, prohibition of The City to receive ANY grant funding - parks, streets, etc. - AND the State would take over control of ALL development in the city. 

THE AD HOC COMMITTEE DOES THE JOB

As the city wrestled with the requirement to produce an acceptable Housing Element - the guiding document required by the State - it became very clear that Measure Y was a barrier to compliance and that something just had to be done to fix the problem.  In an attempt to find a solution to this problem, earlier this year The City formed an Ad Hoc Committee comprised of Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Marr, Councilmember Arlis Reynolds and Councilmember Jeffrey Harlan.  Over several months they met and worked on this issue.  Two weeks ago this committee published a commentary in the Daily Pilot explaining their work product and the City Council held a Study Session - all members of the council except Don Harper attended - in which all the elements of this issue were thoroughly discussed and public comments were taken. 

LOTS OF DISCUSSION, BUT NO DECISION

Then the City Council included this issue on their regular council meeting agenda two weeks ago.  In that meeting they presented a probable new city ordinance to be placed on the November 8th ballot.  This ordinance would modify the most onerous and problematic elements of Measure Y and, if passed by the voters, permit the city to move forward and produce a proper Housing Element. This new ordinance would NOT repeal Measure Y, only make mandatory adjustments to comply with state law. There was a couple hours of discussion, including many public comments.  The decision was made to consider all that discussion and continue the item to the council meeting of Tuesday, August 2nd.

SMALL, BUT VOCAL OPPOSITION

A few residents have taken exception to this proposal - many of them were creators and supporters of Measure Y - and have spread misinformation about exactly what this new ordinance would actually do.  First, it WOULD NOT repeal Measure Y!  

WHAT IT WILL DO

It would help the city to  meet the housing requirement planning and avoid those costly penalties mentioned above.  It would permit significant development along several commercial or industrial corridors in the city that would NOT require a vote of the people as long as all other development requirements are met.  Despite what opponents of this new ordinance proclaim, these corridors are NOT in, nor do they abut, residential areas.  The ordinance was specifically crafted to protect residential neighborhoods. 


TUESDAY IS THE DAY - FISH OR CUT BAIT

Tuesday, August 2nd, the City Council will, once again, hear this issue. They MUST make a decision on that date because the cut off date for placement on the November ballot is August 12th.   If they decide to present the issue to the voters in November, and it passes, it will permit the City to meet the obligations imposed by The State and avoid the penalties mentioned above.   If the council decides to NOT place this issue before the voters (unlikely), or if it fails to pass, the future of housing, and all development in Costa Mesa is quite unclear. 

LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD

If you have an opinion, or questions, please participate in the Council meeting, either in person or via Zoom.  You can also submit your viewpoints via email.  The City Council wants to hear your opinions. 

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Saying Good-bye To An Angel


MY ONE ENDURING LOVE…

I have had one great, enduring love in my life.  My Sweet Susie and I have been married for more than 53 years.  She is absolutely the best thing to ever happen to me.  She is my wife, lover, confidant, quiet critic and encourager - the person who has shared the many great joys and successes in my life for more than a half-century and the person who has given me strength to move forward in troubled times.  I love her with all my heart.

…BUT

And yet, there has been another love in my life - a woman I’ve known for more than 60 years - a beautiful person no matter how you measure that word.  I think I’ve loved her most of my life - as I would love a sister and great friend.  I’ve never held her hand, stolen a kiss or tried to woo her, but over the decades we have shared hugs that have meant more than any of that.  We have been there for each other - she more than me - and had an enduring bond since we met as teenagers.  And now she is gone…

CANCER TAKES ANOTHER

My dear friend, Sherry Harper, died in the early morning hours of March 13, 2021 following her recovery from the removal of a banana-sized tumor from her brain by skilled surgeons at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.  During her recovery she began to show signs of the return of her illness - a Grade 4 Glioblastoma, an incurable form of cancer.  As a woman of great faith, she assessed her options - her children wanted her to place her wellbeing in the hands of one of the cancer research hospitals in Southern California, to see if some kind of undefined experimental treatment could solve the problem - and she chose to place herself in the hands of God.  36 hours later she passed away at her home, surrounded by those she loved most in this world, each of whom knelt beside her bed, exchanged words of love and gave her their permission to depart this world.  It was a perfect departure for my friend.

MY PAL, THE BEAUTY QUEEN AND SKI RACER

My friend was born Sharron Lee Graves on June 12, 1944 and was raised in Petaluma, California by her mother, Shirley and adoptive father, John Graves.  In her youth she became a champion water ski racer, skipping across the waves at more than 70 miles per hour.  She was also a beauty queen - Miss Sonoma County, 1962, a title she won the day after she broke her nose in a water ski racing accident.  She flew as a stewardess for American Airlines from 1964-1966, then became a ticket agent at the San Francisco Airport for a few more years.  She married Al Coppin in 1966 and had three wonderful children, Shawn, Daniel and Michael.  Sherry and Al were married for 14 years.


DIVORCE RECOVERY MINISTRY LED TO HUSBAND #2, SANDY HARPER

Following their divorce Sherry Co-founded the Singles Ministry and Divorce Recovery Ministry at Marin Covenant Church in 1980, where she was the Minister to Singles.  During this time she met her second husband, Sanford (Sandy) Harper, to whom she was married for more than 25 years until his death from Leukemia.  For a couple decades they traveled the country in motor homes - 15,000 miles a year - making friends and spreading her Divorce Recovery Ministry far and wide.  They eventually settled down in Tucson, Arizona.  With Sandy came a step-son, Chris, who became Sherry's 4th child in every sense of the word.


MY SISTER’S PAL - AND MY TEASING TARGET

Sherry came into my life as a pal of my sister, Linda, when they met and became close buds during a vacation at Clear Lake, CA.  Back then Sherry was just a cute little target of teasing and jokes.  My cousins and I would drag her out of the tent in which she slept - sleeping bag and all - carry her down to the dock and dump her unceremoniously out of the sleeping bag into the water.  She was a great target.

VACATIONED TOGETHER OFTEN - SHE BECAME A CHAMPION

Our families would coordinate our vacations at Clear Lake and we had some wonderful times.  Sherry and I both became pretty darn good water skiers - but she was the brave one.  She dominated women’s water ski racing on the West Coast for many years - a tiny slip of a thing, skipping across the water, holding off all comers.

A BASIC TRAINING RESCUE

As the years passed we drifted apart, but she still insisted in driving down to Fort Ord to rescue me and an old high school pal from Basic Training on a weekend pass at the end of 1963.  And, her father, John - one of the really fun men I’ve ever known - insisted in taking us for a boat ride on the Petaluma Slough in his hot boat, The Big Deal, before we took the bus back to Fort Ord.  So, early that Sunday morning we began running hot laps past the warehouses along the waterfront, the dry stacks of the 392 Chrysler engine blazing away.  We woke up the entire city and several hundred people lined the waterway to see what was going on.

A FRIEND WHEN I NEEDED IT MOST
When I was assigned for duty in New York City following Basic Training, Sherry - then a stewardess for American Airlines - would occasionally end up in the Big Apple, so we would do stuff - take the Staten Island Ferry, trek around Central Park, etc.  She was a great friend when I really needed one.

A FRIEND - WITH WHEELS!

When I got out of the Army the end of 1965 I had no car - my ’57 Chevy convertible was long gone - so Sherry, who was based in the LA area, would let me use her nifty little 1962 Austin-Healy Roadster from time to time.  In fact, I drove it north to Petaluma for her at the time of her wedding.  Again, she was there for me.

A CARING FRIEND FOREVER

In 2003 my best friend since we were 5 years old, Larry Moore, crashed his motorcycle outside Las Vegas and spent the next 6 weeks in the hospital there before he passed away.  Sherry and Sandy drove up from Tucson, not to see Larry, but to see how I was doing… She was that kind of friend.

SUSIE’S TRAVELING PAL AND GREAT FRIEND

Susie and I were good friends with Sherry and Sandy.  We would visit each other’s homes when our respective schedules permitted.  Susie really became great friends with Sherry when they traveled to England together and spent a month visiting friends and relatives.  We have joked about how it was like traveling with me - Susie is an early riser and Sherry, like me, was NOT!  They remained great friends ever since.

THE HOME STOP

Once the decision was made to transport Sherry to her home in Mission Viejo under hospice care her wonderful daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Coppin, somehow convinced the transport drivers to take a detour to our home on the way.  They stopped in front of our house, opened the rear doors of the ambulance and, as we began to talk to Sherry, they stopped us.  They had more work to do!  They carefully pulled the gurney holding our dear friend out onto the street in front of our home so we could hug her, give her a smooch and tell her we loved her.  I will be forever grateful for that act of kindness - and for Liz’s persistence.

AND THEN SHE WAS GONE…

That was the final time we saw our friend, who passed away peacefully at her home 36 hours later, surrounded by those she loved.


A CATHOLIC MASS FOR HER

Last Friday, April 9th, a mass was held in honor of our friend at the Catholic Church she regularly attended.  She had become a devout Catholic over the past couple decades.  It was a wonderful event with many family members speaking.  We were in tears as we watched the video feed.


THEN A CELEBRATION OF LIFE - WITH ME AS LEAD-OFF BATTER

Then, on Saturday, the 10th, a Celebration of Life for her was held at a non-denominational church in Orange.  This was also a wonderful event, attended by more than a hundred friends and family members (with proper social distancing, of course!), including her ex-husband, who was among those speaking about Sherry.  I was asked to be the first speaker - the lead-off hitter in the line up that day. I just hoped to not strike out swinging with all the power hitters to follow me.  Choking back tears, I spent several minutes telling the audience about “My Sherry” - about our more than six decades of friendship and how much she meant to Susie and me.

FAMILY STORIES

I was followed by presentations by her children and grandchildren, and her ex-husband, all of whom shared stories about Sherry and what a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother she was.   Her daughter-in-law, Liz (Lizzie, as Sherry referred to her), chronicled the last two weeks of her life for us.  Her husband, Mike, explained how much her loss meant to him.  Her daughter, Shawn, spoke of her unfailing love and how much she inspired her to follow her own ministry.  Her former husband, Al, had a tough time explaining his feelings for her - clearly still very deep after all these years.  Her stepson, Chris, told us just how welcome she made him feel as her "fourth child."  Her son, Dan, a wonderful single man still searching for the right woman, explained how his mother had filled the nurturing, supportive role he sought in a wife.  Son-in-law Bob King read a long note from Sherry’s brother, Bill, who could not attend, which attempted to chronicle all the men in Sherry’s life, and how she had trusted him with her Austin-Healey and taught him to drive.  A friend, the daughter of one of Sherry’s old friends from when she was a young mother, read a note from her mother talking about how much Sherry’s strength and support meant to her.  Through all these speeches the common thread was what a supportive, giving person Sherry was.   I had very wet cheeks as I listened to these words.






FRIENDS SHARED THEIR STORIES OVER LUNCH

Following the service we enjoyed some refreshments with other attendees and several folks stopped by our table to say hello.  One woman spent quite awhile with us, chatting about the impact Sherry had on her life - she was a participant in the Divorce Recovery Ministry very early on and she and Sherry became great friends.  Others shared similar stories.

“THE ROCK”

So, we said good-bye to our friend, a woman described by family and friends as “the rock” of their family - always there when she was needed, even at times when she anticipated that need and showed up just to chat and listen.  I knew THAT woman well.

SURVIVED BY…

My friend is survived by her ex-husband, Al Coppin, her daughter, Shawn King (Bob), son Daniel Coppin, son Michael Coppin (Elizabeth), step-son Chris Harper (Sarah) and five grandchildren, Aiden and Avery King, Samantha Bell and Jackson Bear Coppin and  Hanalore Harper.


GOOD-BYE, DEAR GIRL

Of all the thousands of images of my friend that were circulated as a result of many of us rummaging through scrap books, photo albums and other archives, this last one is my favorite. It is one of the very last images captured of her by one of her children.  She is laying on her side with a beautiful, contented smile on her face, on her bed at home - the place where those she loved best knelt beside her to say good bye and to give her their permission to leave.  That image captured exactly who she was - a woman sharing all the love she had to give and clearly at peace with her decision to depart.  I’ll forever be grateful for that image of my friend.

For more than 60 years Sherry was my friend in the truest sense of the word.  I’ve loved her as a sister.  She has left a huge hole in our lives.  I will miss her great sense of humor, her kindness, her patience and the friendship, wisdom and love she shared with us all.  So, good-bye, my dear Sherry.  You served us all well during your time on this earth and we know that you will be there, among all the other angels, watching over us from above.  We love you, dear girl.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

2020 OFFICIAL ORANGE COUNTY ELECTION RESULTS

OFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS

This evening the Orange County Registrar of Voters posted the "Official Results" for the General Election conducted on November 3, 2020.  I don't think there will be any changes after this evening, but will check again on Friday since I doubt anybody in the Registrars office will be working on Thanksgiving.

STATE AND NATIONAL LOCAL RACES

In the 48th Congressional Race Democrat Harley Rouda, who defeated 30-year Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher in the last election, was defeated by Orange County Supervisor Republican Michelle Steel - a woman married to a GOP power broker and who seems not to be able to put two cogent sentences together.  Orange County will now return to being under-represented.  A sad day for us all.

In the 37th State Assembly race Democrat Dave Min soundly defeated Republican John Moorlach.  As a member of the minority in Sacramento Moorlach was unable to be effective.  He has subsequently announced his run for the vacant Orange County Supervisor's seat created by Steel's election - a seat he held before.

In the 74th State Assembly race Democrat incumbent Cottie Petrie-Norris squeaked out a slim victory over Newport Beach Councilwoman Diane Dixon.  Petrie-Norris has been a very effective representative for our area.

NEWPORT-MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT-ERSOYLU, CRANE AND WEIGAND WIN

This election was a game-changer for this district, which has been burdened by long-term members for the past decade.  In District 1 Dr. Leah Ersoylu defeated incumbent Vicki Snell.  In the Area 3 race Carol Crane soundly defeated challenger Charles Kent Booker.  In the Area 6 race Krista Weigand handily defeated 3 challengers. It's going to be interesting to see what a difference their presence on the board will make.



COSTA MESA RACES - FOLEY, GAMEROS, HARLAN, HARPER AND "Q" WIN

It's a mixed bag of news in the Costa Mesa races.  Incumbent Mayor Katrina Foley crushed a field of  four challengers, including current councilwoman and former mayor Sandra Genis and former councilwoman Wendy Leece.  Foley received more votes than all the challengers combined.  She has demonstrated her popularity in the past two elections.  In District 2 newcomer Loren Gameros had a solid victory over challengers Ben Chapman and Gary Parkin.  In District 6 Planning Commissioner Vice Chairman Jeffrey Harlan had an impressive victory over 3 challengers.  However, in the District 1 race, current Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens was defeated by the dullard quitter, Don Harper by 323 votes.  The presence of Jason Komala also on the ballot certainly had an impact on this race.  And, Measure Q, which authorizes the sale and taxation of Marijuana in Costa Mesa, had a solid victory, gathering 65% of the votes cast.





SPECIAL DISTRICT RACES

It was a mixed result in the Costa Mesa Sanitary District races.  In Division 2 30-year board member Jim Ferryman was defeated by Brett Eckles.  In the Division 4 race, long-time incumbent Art Perry crushed challenger Michelle Figeuredo-Wilson.


In the Mesa Water Division 2 race incumbent Jim Fisler defeated challenger Adam Ereth.

In the Municipal Water District of Orange County Division 4 race, Karl Steckel defeated four challengers, including Mesa Water's Stacey Taylor and lame duck councilman Allan Mansoor.

And, in the Coast Community College District Area 4 race, Mary Hornbuckle crushed Michael B. Collier by gaining 72% of the votes cast.