Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CM PRESS # 711

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There are a couple of pieces in the almost daily Daily Pilot today about the proposed rental of the Downtown Community Center to an out-of-town group that will displace presumed Costa Mesa residents from using the facility in what we guess must be pick-up shirts vs. skins games. One is by Steve Smith here. And one is by Alan Blank here.[UPDATE: 6/3/09--It appears that the DP has removed Blank's column.]

There are several issues involved in this that need airing. Here's just a few of them. We may post more later when we have time.

1. The Downtown Community Center is owned by the citizens of Costa Mesa--they're already paying for it. Should they be forced out by a higher bidder from a different city?

2. At present, the Recreation Division takes in almost no information on people wanting to enter a long range rental agreement with the city for any city facilities. Give your name and address and say you'll supply an insurance policy, and that's about it. No questions about how many people will use the facility or other information. Will it be fifty people? A hundred? Two hundred? We don't know. Will those coming to see the games also use the library and the pool and other facilities in the Community Center complex? How many cars will there be? How many guests?

3. If Costa Mesa residents are booted out because more money can be made by renting to out-of-towners are we going down the wrong track as far as having a "Costa Mesa" Community Center? Wasn't it built and funded for Costa Mesans? Aren't they the "community" it was supposed to serve?

4. Even if there is more upfront money to be made in renting to out-of-towners, are we going to have a lot of hidden bills that erase that money? More City staff needed? Police overtime? Wear and tear on the facility? And, will we be adversely affecting the quality of life of Costa Mesa residents who may not feel welcome in their own Community Center? Will there be adequate parking?

5. We suspect that most residents of Costa Mesa presume that the Downtown Community Center complex is relatively safe for their children who use the pool and other facilities. If there are large groups of strangers there, will residents be less inclined to use the facility? We know when we've brought our kids to the pool it seemed overcrowded.

6. Aren't we constantly reading that Costa Mesa doesn't have enough sports facilities for residents and aren't there constant calls for more tax money to build more? If this is true, then why are we renting to out-of-towners? And, if it is said, as it is, that this particular facility has very few Costa Mesa residents using it, then could this just be that its availability isn't widely known in Costa Mesa and it has to be advertised a little more?

With the lack of information presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission when they were trying to decide whether or not to boot out the presumed Costa Mesa residents to allow in an out-of-town group, it was no surprise that they couldn't make a decision one way or another. Lack of information can cause paralysis.

Speaking in a general sense; as far as the CM PRESS has been able to determine, Costa Mesa has no rental application forms and there is no policy paper or manual on standard procedures to be followed in renting out citizen owned facilities.

If you're in the private sector and you want to rent out a commercial facility or an apartment that you own, you'll have an applicant fill out a rental application giving all the relevant details of the use of your property along with some background information. Shouldn't the City of Costa Mesa do as much?

We'd like to see staff come up with a quick written report on how other cities handle this. We'd be especially interested in seeing how Irvine and Newport Beach proceed. And, by a report, we mean one that has the actual rental applications and policy pages or manuals from these cities and not just a report based on telephone calls.
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Gene on extra Chromosome 21 fights cancer.
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Link to OCR article and charts.

The information in this new OCR article was reported by the CM PRESS on April 6 in CM PRESS # 686.

However, at a recent city meeting we heard a resident refer to the increase as being 3.6 percent and not the correct 36 percent.

No, it's not an increase of 3.6 percent or almost 4 percent. The increase is a WHOPPING 36 percent or almost 40 percent!

We'll bet a dozen donuts that if the CMPD were to plot the violent crimes and the residences of the violent criminals on a scatter map that there would be an overwhelming sea of pin heads on the Westside on the map.

And, if we're right, this just indicates that much more needs to be done on the Westside to improve the area.

The best thing that can be done is to remove the habitats of the criminals and make the Westside a desirable place for upwardly mobile young professionals who want to raise their families in our city.

Santa Ana continues to be the most violent large city in OC.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

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