Wednesday, July 18, 2007

BREAKING NEWS! West Santa Ana Heights Goes To Newport Beach!

The local print media will report tomorrow that the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) this afternoon has decided, in it's infinite wisdom, that the much-contested West Santa Ana Heights portion of the county will be annexed by the City of Newport Beach. Apparently, the border will be the east side of Santa Ana Boulevard. I can practically hear the cheering at my home on the Eastside of Costa Mesa as those residents celebrate - and breathe a sigh of relief.

This decision actually comes as no surprise to me. The residents of West Santa Ana Heights were adamant that they didn't want to be annexed into Costa Mesa, and have said so loud and clear for many years. Who can blame them? Their property values just jumped at least 25% - probably much more than that.

This is yet another blow to the municipal ego of Costa Mesa, where, for the past couple years, the priority of the elected leadership has been the expulsion of one third of it's population - the Latinos among us. Given the choice between Newport Beach and Costa Mesa there's no question which way I'd go, for sure. I wonder what the chances are of convincing Newport Beach to throw a lasso around everything in Costa Mesa east of Tustin Avenue and giving it a little tug? Oh, well...

Still pending, and with about the same chance of ending up in Costa Mesa as West Santa Ana Heights, are the Santa Ana Country Club, those few islands of county property remaining near Irvine Avenue, and the cherry on top of the sundae - the Banning Ranch.

Ever since termed-out former mayor Gary Monahan told his peers we needed to play hardball with Newport Beach on these annexation issues I knew we were doomed. It's like playing poker with all your cards showing, for goodness sake. By exposing our intentions, so to speak, we were left with no chips to play. The best we could do was to threaten to dig a tunnel under Newport Boulevard at the end of the freeway through which would regurgitate the beach-bound traffic that is currently dribbling through "downtown" Costa Mesa directly into Newport Beach. That worked pretty well, didn't it?

So, the Costa Mesa City Council will continue to bumble it's way through "negotiations" like a guy in a fast draw contest with an empty gun. It's OK, though - they're taking care of those darn Latinos. Pathetic!

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