Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Newport Affirms City Hall In Park, Spits in Costa Mesa's Eye. Caspa Pokes Other Eye With Stick

The big news in the Newport-Mesa area last night came out of the Newport Beach City Council meeting.


As reported by Briana
Bailey in the Daily Pilot, HERE, the council voted unanimously to support the will of the people and move forward to build the new City Hall on that 12+ acre parcel adjacent to the Main Library. Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the shrub-huggers, this was a good decision - one that made sense from so many standpoints that it was hard to see how any reasonable person could have opposed it. However, as we have seen over the past couple years, passion and reason are not usually found snuggled up together. The only remaining clinker in this scenario is activist Allan Beek's lawsuit. Hopefully, the well-intentioned Beek will see the light and drop the suit and save the city from having to spend some much-needed money on it. We'll see.

All was not goodness and light, th
ough. Bailey reports that the council, with a 6-1 vote, chose to ignore the recommendation of their City Manager, Homer Bludau, and decided to move forward with the annexation of the Santa Ana Country Club and some adjacent residential areas. By ignoring Bludau's advice, made quite clear in the last few days in an article by Bailey, HERE, the Newport Beach City Council effectively thumbed their collective noses at the Costa Mesa City Council at a time when it has appeared that there had been progress made in the relationship between the two bodies recently. I fear this new harmony has been blown out of the water.

My pal, Byron de Arakal
, in his column that appears on the pages of the Daily Pilot this morning, HERE, was assuming too much when he projected a wiser vote in Newport last night. You can't really blame him, though. Bludau's recommendation was the right way to go. The council simply ignored it. The title applied to Byron's column by the editors, "Annexation to worsen Newport-Mesa rift", got it right. Even though Byron's assumption of the outcome was wrong, he nails the reasons why there must be harmony between the leaders of our two cities. There are just too many regional issues - Banning Ranch, John Wayne Airport Expansion, the 55 Freeway extension - that will require close cooperation between our two cities if there is to be any progress made on them.


Having watched the Costa Mesa City Council majority in action for some time, I wouldn't be surprised if they chose to look for some way to get even with their counterparts in Newport Beach. That, of course, would be small-minded and petty - but not entirely unexpected of them. It's time for them to shake off this loss and get focused on the other battles to be fought on our behalf. I know it's almost too much to ask, but I'm looking for some glimmer of statesmanship - the maturity to move forward on important issues. In a campaign year, when our mayor is running for re-election and the "improvers" look to solidify their stranglehold on our city government, that seems like an unrealistic hope. We'll see.

And then, in an unfortunate bit of timing, the Daily Pilot published a commentary by former columnist Humberto Caspa, H
ERE, that is guaranteed to pour salt in the wounds opened by the Newport Beach City Council's annexation vote. Caspa, long a critic of the current majority, and Allan Mansoor in particular, attempts to outline the path to power taken by Mansoor on his way to becoming an international media star who made our city a metaphor for anti-Latino actions. Yep, I can see a rebuttal being pounded out by Mansoor any time now.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect for Newport Beach (not that I think they are really due any), Costa Mesa needs to be concerned about Costa Mesa issues. The whole concept of annexing and developing Banning Ranch for instance has a profound impact on Costa Mesa. Yet, by being a part of Newport Beach, we have absolutely zero influence over the decisions Newport will make that will only impact us. No resident of Newport Beach will feel the pain of a Banning development, but we will have more traffic down the 55 and a probable bridge at 19th street. How is that in any way in our best interest? What do we get for the privilege of being Newport's thoroughfare? Nothing; no tax revenue; no developer fees; zilch. As I have said before, we need to do exactly what Newport did when Irvine had approved developments that would impact Newport. Take them to court and stop them. That is not statesmanlike, but Newport leaves us no choice when they make decisions like the ones they have in recent years.

2/27/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce, I agree... The debate between our two communities has now taken on a very different flavor. Jeff Overley, in his article about the annexation in The Register today, quotes Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry as follows: "I appreciate the concerns about Costa Mesa," said Councilman Keith Curry, "but frankly, they took a run at us on Banning Ranch, they were highly obstructionist on the West Santa Ana Heights annexation, and at the end of the day, it's about self-determination – people have a right to petition their government to be in the city they want to be in."

That sure doesn't sound much like a voice of conciliation to me. No, I fear we are in for some rough times with our neighbors at a particularly precarious moment in our history. Some of the things in the hopper, as I mentioned in my posting, are critical to the future of our city.

You may, in fact, be correct. The only way to deal with them is through the courts. I, personally, would hate to see that happen.

2/27/2008 01:52:00 PM  

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