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Newport Beach

Volume 7, Issue 50  |  June 24, 2022


Letters to the Editor

I have questions and they need answers

Question Everything!

Since I was a teenager, I have made this my mantra. Maybe it is a generational thing. The other one that stuck with me is “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” Remember the Jonestown Massacre in 1978? 

Question:

Who wrote Measure B, and why?

First, who?

At the Speak Up Newport event on May 11th, Councilmember Noah Blom said that he wrote the measure along with City Manager Grace Leung. The following morning at the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce meeting, Councilmember Will O’Neill said that an attorney wrote the measure. 

Did Blom pass the bar while we weren’t looking? 

O’Neill is an attorney; did he write it? 

This seems like a fair question. To my knowledge, it has not yet been answered. In my mind, it goes to motive. 

What is clear is that the text of the measure was not discussed by the full council. At the City Council meeting on 10/12/21, Councilmember Blom asked to bring the matter of a direct elected mayor back to the council at a future meeting for consideration. What was brought to the next meeting was the text of the measure, complete, as you read it today, not for discussion, but for a Yes or No vote. No discussion was allowed. Why?

It is also clear that the author(s) did not seek public opinion on the text of the measure. There was no Study Session or any other public forum to debate the text of the measure, much less the need for the dramatic change. Why was there no discussion with the full council or the public? 

Which leads me to my next question…why was it written at all? 

Was it because the system we have operated under in Newport Beach for over half a century, no longer works? No one seemed to be concerned with the current system of appointing our mayor until this year, when Councilmember Joy Brenner was overlooked for Mayor Pro Tem. The appointment of our newest councilmember, Noah Blom, was blessed by the same four councilmembers who voted “Yes” to put Measure B on the June Ballot. This occurred after the four councilmembers had already voted to put Measure B on the June ballot. So that doesn’t explain why the council majority decided the Charter needed to change.

So why?

If the argument is that “horse trading” (Blom’s words) is taking place among the councilmembers in the process of appointing our mayor, and they themselves are participating in that process, then that brings up a whole other set of questions. 

In a democracy, it is our duty to discuss, and question, the issues and the decisions of those we elect to lead us, and to keep the pressure on until we have the answers. 

People who follow their leaders blindly, may find the decisions made on their behalf aren’t always made with their best interests in mind. We could talk about some of the recent decisions at the state and federal level, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole. Just think Jonestown. 

When we ask questions, we may not always agree with the answers, but the fact that we are paying attention, needs to be apparent to leaders. This helps avoid that nasty word, corruption. 

If we hope to avoid the fate of the city of Anaheim, which is now mired in legal issues, that will last years, cost the city thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of dollars and tarnish the reputation of that city’s government for decades, we need to be asking our council for more transparency. 

So, who wrote Measure B? And why do we need it now?

I think a truthful answer to those questions would be very helpful to the public who are now being asked to vote on this Charter change without any discussion as to its merits. The “Kool-Aid” answer is, it’s simple, you should be able to elect your mayor. I am not looking for the Kool-Aid answer. 

Before you cast your ballot on June 7th, please ask a few questions. Don’t just follow someone else’s “voter guide.” 

And when it comes to Measure B, don’t drink the Kool-Aid. 

Nancy Scarbrough

Newport Beach

The passage of Measure B would significantly change our city’s governance

It has been disheartening to witness the turmoil created by the Measure B initiative. For those of us paying attention, June 7th can’t come quick enough. 

Over the past several months residents and business owners have asked me, in an almost apologetic tone, “What do you think of Measure B?” Often the question comes from long-time residents, including those who have served in our civic and non-profit organizations. A common refrain is often: “Where did this idea come from?” and, “I’m happy with the city as it is.” Others, younger with families and busy lives, are trying to get up to speed with a complex decision that requires going far beyond the tag line: “Wouldn’t you like to elect your mayor?” 

When proposed by one of our councilmembers last fall, Measure B split the council, eventually leading to a 4-3 vote to place it on the ballot. This brought some tension to the dais. I have great respect for all my fellow councilmembers as we continue to conduct council business professionally despite our differences on this issue. 

Our community is divided over Measure B, which is unfortunate given that council has a duty to work toward bringing citizens together. This is a good time to remember that the best council decisions derive from citizen impetus rather than a council led project out of nowhere.

Newport Beach will continue to move forward regardless of the Measure B result. However, the passage of Measure B would significantly change our city’s governance, adding additional risk. Newport would become vulnerable to the vagaries of one person, the elected mayor, who would have near total control of city hall. Even the best of humans make mistakes. Our country’s founders knew this and created checks and balances on power which allowed our nation’s democracy to thrive. We currently have such a system in Newport. It is a council of seven equals who, believe me, have no problem trying to keep each other in check. 

An elected mayor would be the “go to” councilmember for those seeking favor. He or she would operate in a different civic universe than the rest of the council. Indeed, the elected mayor would be the proverbial 800-pound gorilla of city hall. There are many examples of elected mayor cities which have come to grief. The current Anaheim mess is a classic example.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” For the past 70 years Newport Beach residents have done a fine job of electing seven councilmembers who must work together when making the best decisions for our city. While our councils have had ups and downs, the vast majority of citizens elected to council served their neighbors and community admirably. 

Today our city is a testament to the success of the council-of-equals system. Over the past decades, Newport has gone from strength to strength. No city of our population provides its citizens with a better quality of life. 

We are all thankful to live here, in a beautiful and thriving coastal city. Our aspirational town reflects the optimistic hard work of its residents, businesses and civic leaders. 

We have the city we deserve. Let’s protect it. Vote no on Measure B.     

Brad Avery

Newport Beach Councilmember, District 2

Former mayor 2021 

Where was the discussion? Is this democracy?

In several public forums, I have heard Will O’Neill and Noah Blom publicize that the Newport Beach City Council unanimously voted 7-0 to discuss the changes to the charter that could pave the way for an elected mayor in Newport Beach.

I’ve learned that the council policy to put something on the agenda is a three-step process:

–Any councilmember can request a future agenda item and if two other councilmembers agree it goes on the agenda for a future meeting. Though not a policy but as a manner of courtesy, all councilmembers typically vote yes to put it on the agenda for future discussion. Hence the 7-0 vote to discuss the issue. Why not discuss?

–The agenda language is drafted and presented to the City Attorney.

–In this particular case (and perhaps for the first time) the agenda language was artfully crafted so there would be NO council debate or discussion on the contents of the initiative – the only action permitted was whether the item should be on the June or November ballot. None of the three opponents realized that the language dramatically narrowed the discussion options to NO DISCUSSION allowed.

I still don’t know whether lawyers wrote the language of Measure B or whether Noah Blom wrote the language with approval from the City Manager as he claims, but what I do know is none of the three councilmembers who opposed the initiative had any input into the writing of the initiative.

By now most have heard about a negative situation involving the mayor of Anaheim.

From former Anaheim councilmember Denise Barnes: “We need to clean this up,” Barnes said. She expressed to councilmembers how hard it was to be a taxpayer steward while being blocked from agendizing discussions, especially when it came to stadium negotiations.

“I just go back to the night of December 2020 when we were completely rushed to get that deal done,” added Barnes.

Does anyone else see a correlation between the current issues in Anaheim and how Measure B got on the ballot? Does anyone else have a problem with how it has played out in Newport Beach? Can anyone else recognize how an elected mayor can manipulate the agenda?

Gary Cruz

Newport Beach

Think about it…

Do we really want to create the potential for words like “affidavit, Brown Act violations, collusion, corruption, criminal charges, evasion and scandal” to be associated with our city? This is taking place right now, in real time, in the City of Anaheim. It could, in fact, happen in Newport Beach with a directly elected mayor with even more power and authority than that of the current mayor of Anaheim.

Mayor Harry Sidhu, along with the former Chamber of Commerce president, while representing the city in high stakes contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Angels for the sale of Anaheim Stadium, shared confidential city information with the Angels, including at least one document prepared by the city’s attorney – a violation of the Brown Act. There are actual voice recordings of the mayor and past Chamber president committing collusion regarding the sale of Angel Stadium.

Mayor Sidhu moved to Anaheim for the purpose of running for mayor and got elected thanks to hefty contributions. Now the council is asking for his resignation in light of the federal investigation taking place, and potential charges levied. 

Do we really want to risk something like this happening in our city with the type of directly elected mayor being proposed in Measure B (the textbook definition of a power grab)? When power is taken away from a collective group of officials and representatives, and concentrated in the hands of one politician, it’s a power grab. No other Orange County city has done what Measure B proposes to do: maintain the at-large voting system while taking power away from council representatives and transferring it to a “one-stop shop” elected mayor. 

Measure B is being bankrolled largely by donors from other cities. People support ballot measures in other cities and states to empower themselves, not local voters. These donors clearly expect to have the mayor’s ear, and to have their interests given precedence over those of Newport Beach residents. 

Early on, SPON took a position of opposing Measure B. With the events unfolding as they are in Anaheim, our position is clearly reinforced. 

Measure B proponents want to move us to a system that works better for professional politicians than for residents – exactly the opposite of what our current system is designed to do. Don’t roll the dice and risk all the hard work that has gone into making Newport Beach a uniquely beautiful place to live.  Don’t change a winning formula. 

Say No to Measure B. 

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Councilman, 2016-2020

Did they take the time to read Measure B?

Mr. Clarence (“Clancy”) Hoiles passed away in 1981. Mr. Hoiles was the Chairman of the Board of Freedom Newspapers Inc. which (among other daily newspapers) at the time published The Orange County Register (then known as The Register) (the “Register”). I did not know Mr. Hoiles well, but well enough so that he kindly sponsored my application into a local golf club 44 years ago.

I remember Mr. Hoiles as being reserved and conservative in thought and speech.

I believe Mr. Hoiles would have been surprised by the Register’s recent poorly conceived editorial suggesting that the residents of Newport Beach vote affirmatively for the controversial Measure B. 

Readers of the Register surely must be asking themselves whether the editorial board which reached its ill-advised judgment ever read in its entirety Measure B, analyzed its content, considered its potentially dire consequences and interviewed informed folks opposing the Measure.

In its zeal to write the editorial, one wonders whether the board considered ANY of the following points:

–Why did the proponent abandon the signature gathering effort (i.e., a conventional democratic means of gauging electorate interest and publicly looking at the pluses and minuses)?

–By reducing the council districts from 7 to 6, one district becomes a super district by having the mayor AND another councilmember representing that super district. Moreover, each new district will have at least 2,000 more constituents for whom the councilmember is responsible.

–The measure gives one person the ability to serve a total of 16 consecutive years on council, thereby gutting the 8-year term limit approved by the voters many years ago.

–Tell me one (just one) problem in the City Charter that the measure is trying to solve! Why haven’t any of the pro Measure B councilmembers EVER made the directly elected mayor a centerpiece of their concerns about the City until now? Is this a one-person crusade?

–The measure is on its face fatally defectively drafted, e.g., three other councilmembers “MAY” (not “WILL”) be able to place an item on a “FUTURE” agenda (When? In a month? In a year? Never? When the strong mayor decides to add it to the agenda?). What will the next measure cost our taxpayers to undo the damage of these and other defects in Measure B? And, in light of the defectively drafted measure, think twice if you think “your” councilmember will be able to put anything on the agenda.

–Measure B produces junior, subordinate, diluted, weakened councilmembers to the strong mayor’s will and power. (And, as is well known, power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.) Say goodbye to give-and-take, compromise and collaboration among the former co-equal councilmembers. 

–Why would an experienced, highly educated City Manager want to be stripped of duties and under the thumb of a strong mayor? We think our preeminent City Manager will be on the lookout for other City Manager-operated municipality opportunities where the City Manager can, through independence, make a difference and add value.

–Be ready for big money mayor elections – and some (perhaps a significant number) of donations will come from outside Newport Beach, all of which donors will want to curry favor with the all-powerful mayor.

The Register editorial board still has time to right its wrong. I urge the board to reconsider its hasty ill-conceived editorial and I urge a NO vote on Bad for Newport Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

May might be Bicycle Safety Month, but this cyclist isn’t one honoring it

May 21st – Not an uncommon sight on Newport Coast Drive. In front of me, a truck hits its brakes hard, stopping so as to not run over a bicyclist. Truck was turning left; bicyclist was going straight through the intersection. Trouble is that the truck had a green light to turn left. The bicyclist? He ran the red light without a care, in full view of all the cars that were properly stopped. And this was the second red light he ran that I saw; who knows how many other close calls there were. 

Is there any way to stop these idiots? Apparently, there aren’t enough “white bicycles” on the roadside, with flowers and pictures and memories written by loved ones. May is Bicycle Safety Month? 

Yea, sure. 

Matt Clabaugh

Newport Beach

The current system to elect the mayor has worked for 70 years

The proponents of Measure B just sent out a mailer basically calling their opponents a bunch of liars. Their strong language shows that the truth hurts and it’s gotten under their skin. 

Even more revealing is the email they blasted out saying it’s dishonest to draw a parallel between what’s happening in Anaheim and what could happen in Newport Beach if Measure B passes, since Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu was backed by a council majority. “But he didn’t act alone, therefore he’s not too powerful!” is a weird way to make a case for Measure B, but whatever.   

Let’s remember that two months after Sidhu was elected to his first four-year term, “his” majority approved sweeping changes to how the Anaheim city council conducts its business. And six months later, they appointed Sidhu to the team negotiating the sale of Anaheim Stadium to the Angels, over the objections of other councilmembers.

When asked why he wanted to be on the negotiating team, Sidhu responded: “What do you mean why? I’m the mayor. I would like to represent the city council…it is very simple. As the mayor, I represent the city, just like all of you. And I’d like to appoint myself as a council representative to the negotiating team. There must be someone from the council because we have a vision for the city…I think we have done enough discussion.”

Anyone else reminded of when Will O’Neill said he came up with the idea of the elect our mayor campaign because, after serving as mayor for one year then being forced to pass the baton, he realized, “Voters should be choosing the person whose vision matches the city’s majority?” Anyone else see the parallel with the Measure B team’s focus on the importance of getting Newport Beach’s mayor appointed to any number of boards and other interest groups?

If you don’t think a mayoral candidate in Newport Beach would pick a slate of candidates to run with to ensure a council majority, you haven’t been paying attention. All four councilmembers who put Measure B on the ballot ran as part of slates. They appeared together on mailers, were funded by the same sources, got the same endorsements. On the council, they usually vote together and always choose the mayor and mayor pro tem from within their ranks – even though our charter makes clear that the positions are supposed to rotate among all councilmembers and therefore all districts. 

Fast forward to today: Anaheim is engulfed in scandal. The stadium sale is on hold as the FBI investigates whether Sidhu shared confidential information with the buyer in exchange for a massive contribution to his reelection campaign. Councilmembers who’ve been in the minority are talking about how difficult it is to be blocked from putting discussions on the agenda, including about stadium negotiations…about how hard it is to watch the council majority shut down public debate when they don’t agree with the community members who are speaking. 

Of course, we don’t know if a similar scenario would play out in Newport Beach if Measure B passes, but it certainly could. And that’s reason enough to Vote No on B. 

Let’s stick to the system that’s served our city so well for nearly 70 years and make sure it works the ways it’s intended to – with the mayor position rotating among all districts and with all councilmembers having an equal voice in the conduct of the city’s business.   

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Elect Our Mayor is the right policy for our city moving forward

My name is Henry Park, the name that was recently used without my permission on a hit piece mailer sent by the No On B campaign. They lied about me and claimed that my donation to help elect our Mayor was “outside money.” Far from it, my wife and I have been raising our family here in Newport Beach for years.

Why would they lie about me? Why would they specifically name me and claim that I’m an “outsider?”

I donated to the Elect Our Mayor initiative because it’s the right policy for our city going forward. The Mayor should be elected by us and accountable to us. Policy should be made solely by the people accountable to us, not by people farther from us. If you agree, then vote yes on B.

I also donated because I wanted to see the truth go out to voters. The lies in mail coming from the No crowd claimed that the initiative created an unaccountable “king” and would require hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra spending every year. None of that is true, and even the Orange County Register called those claims “utter nonsense.”

I didn’t expect the No campaign to turn around and lie about me. But they did and that’s dirty.

It’s the current system, with these current behind-the-scenes politicos, that we need to move beyond. I’m exhibit A of the effect of their rot.

Stop the backroom deals. Stop the pettiness. Shine light and require the Mayor to campaign in the open to us.

I urge everyone to take my cautionary story and vote Yes On B.

Henry Park

Newport Beach

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

Sometimes you just have to start with a cliché – in this case in reference to Measure B on the Newport Beach ballot…If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! But, some folks with an agenda think direct election of the Mayor for Newport Beach is a great idea. Who are these folks?

Who should be FOR Measure B?

–If you, your spouse, son or daughter is a political consultant: This means full employment! We definitely need more misleading negative campaign expenditures which have been relatively few in Newport Beach. But don’t worry, at least someone is benefiting from this!

–If your family includes entities that need greater influence in city hall. Much easier to influence a mayor whose campaign cost you a lot of money – see above and let him or her use the new “strong mayor” position to control the debate. That is, unless you don’t think lots of money has any effect on policies.

–If you or a family member wants to seek higher office. Or is that too cynical? Again, a new elected mayor will have much more visibility than any councilmember and will be able to be an elected official for up to 16 years. However, I’m guessing we’ll see a number of “one and done” mayors who feel they are ready for Congress or whatever after one term. We have been fortunate that historically, the great majority of our councilmembers have the old-fashioned idea that service to the City alone is an honor and a duty.

–If you want to be mayor of Newport Beach but currently live somewhere else. Given the money that will be involved, you have a lot better chance of succeeding than one of those citizen politicians who’ve lived here for years that we keep getting on our council. And, your purchase of a house here will help the real estate industry.

–If you don’t believe that we already elect our mayor. In fact, we do! Each of our seven councilmembers, although they each represent a district, are elected “at large,” meaning all of us get to vote for each councilmember. Then, the members periodically select the mayor for limited terms. The council is a legislative body where the mayor is only temporarily the first among equals. Measure B would provide a very powerful mayor and reduce the councilmembers’ input and historic collegiality. In other words, equals have to cooperate. With Measure B, the council would only have to decide whether to support or oppose the mayor’s wishes. 

Who should be AGAINST Measure B?

All of the rest of us who recognize that this is an exceptionally well-run city and always has been in comparison to other municipalities. Our councils and city managers have, for the most part, collectively done the right thing without the “leadership” of a strong mayor.

Remember, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Please vote “No.”

Andy Rose

Newport Beach

The writing on Anaheim’s walls could mean trouble ahead for Newport Beach

Does Measure B protect Newport Beach from an Anaheim-similar FBI investigation?

All of us have recently read about the current FBI investigations of Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu and other city officials. Mayor Sidhu is alleged to have planned solicitation of $1M from the Angels for his re-election funds and to have shared city information with the Angels during negotiations for the current stadium land sale. 

The FBI investigation (also) reports that Sidhu, his council majority and possible other city officials allegedly hosted “retreats” with his majority bloc to discuss strategy for items coming up before council. This action was in violation of the Brown Act and essentially was a shadow government.

We say to ourselves that this type of reported illicit behavior wouldn’t happen here in Newport Beach. But as we all address risk management in our private lives, just what does Measure B provide Newport Beach residents in the way of “curbs or firewalls” for any future Mayor misconduct? How can we prevent or save our city from any similar public illicit notoriety or possible special interest corruption? 

Currently, the Newport Beach Mayor serves at the pleasure of the city council. If Measure B passes, both council and residents would have to wait until criminal conviction of any Mayor or a very expensive recall election. That’s it – our city would be tied up for months or years and undoubtedly would incur large legal fees. 

Newport Beach is a city resplendent with rich assets, both public and private, in which special interest groups often are interested in potential financial access and influence. While the proponents of Measure B are campaigning hard for a Mayor-centric city government and perhaps ignoring any protective limitations of power, who and what is protecting the rest of us?

Kathe Morgan

Villa Park resident

Measure B still brings in questions

There is only one thing that cities can do to make their government more democratic and that is to elect councilmembers by their constituencies, not at large. Or they could also increase the number of councilmembers elected by their constituencies.

Interestingly enough, the vast majority of cities who directly elect their mayor, also get to vote directly on the councilmember representing them. Now why did Measure B not propose that? The reason is – a more democratic government is not the goal of the proponents of Measure B.

So, how does electing a governor for over 80,000 people make Newport Beach more democratic or more efficient?

One person responding to that many people does not give residents more power. It just gives more power to that one person who is under no obligation to share it with councilmembers (recent flyers make us wonder if there will even be a council).

Many leading citizens are against Measure B. Those who own property in Newport Beach might be concerned with the stability of the city if there is a new system of government put in place which cannot be observed ahead of time in any other city. 

How can we expect that it will function efficiently in a short period of time? Might there be a bit of chaos? Why even gamble with the future of Newport Beach? Make the conservative choice, vote No on uncertainty – VOTE NO ON MEASURE B!

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Was the OC Grand Jury document on deployment and response by fire departments in emergencies flawed?

(The following letter was submitted to the Mayor and City Council challenging the Orange County Grand Jury’s document on deployment and response of resources in a recent report.)

The recently published document by the Orange County grand jury regarding the deployment and response of resources by Orange County fire departments to emergency medical calls for service is both stunning, and concerning in the inaccuracies, opinions and falsehoods presented as fact. The determinations made appear to be based on these failures or research, and lead to what may be a pre-ordained belief, without factual support. Because this document rehashes a 2012 effort of a similar matter, I am disturbed by the need for another review that fails to build on the earlier discussion.

Fundamentally, the local fire department deploys resources designed to respond to and to mitigate the unwanted effects of the environment on life, property and the environment itself. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that the environment is “everything but me,” referring to himself at the time. Except for specifically law enforcement related matters, unrelated to unwanted fire, this defines the responsibility of fire department emergency response. The two most time sensitive, or emergency responses, include fire suppression and emergency medical/rescue code-three (with lights and siren) response. The fire service is truly a multi-mission operation that serves to address many of the emergency needs of the community. The capability of the local fire department is only limited to the funding and leadership provided by the governing agency decisionmakers.

To fully understand the importance of emergency response it is necessary to carefully consider the concept of time, and the influence of time on the growth of uncontrolled fire and patients in extreme medical conditions i.e., coronary, stroke, blood loss et al. In all these situations the outcome is directly related to timely intervention. The sooner that trained personnel, operating efficiently, arrive at the scene and begin fire suppression or medical treatment the more likely that a desired outcome is probable. There are three components to the total response time of a fire department: call processing time, turnout time and travel time. The only component that cannot be manipulated to a great extent is travel time as rescue personnel can only travel so fast through the city streets to arrive at the scene of an emergency. 

The distribution of fire stations across the land mass of a city like Newport Beach serves to place fire department rescue personnel near potential fires or medical emergencies under static conditions. During times of fire department system stress due to uncontrolled fire i.e., Emerald Bay and Coastal Fire recently, in Orange County and specifically Newport Beach, a rapid and integrated system is employed to shift similar resources into areas of reduced coverage. This was recently demonstrated and reported to the City Council in a timely fashion by the fire chief regarding the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel. Rapid intervention serves the people you and your fire department serve. 

Of the two identified time sensitive functions of the fire department, fire suppression and medical/rescue, resource deployment should be considered for the need based on a timely response to the incident, or potential incident. Because the building stock of a community changes slowly over time, the deployment of firefighting resources and staffing at the local firehouse responsible for initial fire suppression efforts should be based on factors related to risk, occupancy type and travel time to all areas of initial responsibility, or first due for the resources staffed at that firehouse. Earlier intervention of fire should equate a smaller fire that is extinguished faster, requiring fewer total resources from neighboring firehouses. This concept should result in a more efficient operation that has fewer fire stations assigned to a fire and committed to a fire outside the first due area.

Because the community will need the firehouses staffed for fire suppression needs, the use of these same firefighting personnel for emergency medical/rescue response was seen as a wise use of taxpayer funds. The report fails to understand the wisdom of this important concept, and in fact fails to consider this altogether. Fire apparatus, fully equipped to perform all the multi-mission functions, and available 24/7 unless committed to a prior emergency is the gold standard of the business. The idea presented to staff a two-person medic unit in place of a “second” engine at the Laguna Woods firehouse fails to consider the multi-mission functions of a fire station that protects a large hospital, a very busy complex of freeways and housing with mature residents who will need additional support under emergency circumstances. That Laguna Woods firehouse is staffed in that fashion because it is the busiest firehouse in a densely developed county of over 3 million residents. Drawing broad conclusions based on a limited, and often false understanding, has resulted in a bad recommendation. 

I found it unusual that Newport Beach in particular, with a somewhat unique deployment of resources only matched by the City of Orange, was not mentioned in the text of this report. This was especially noteworthy as the thesis of the report was focused on resource deployment, city operated ambulance services and the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). The limited investment by the OC grand jury into the research on this important subject only serves to support the idea that the effort was biased from the start and will provide ample information for those intent on diminishing the value of a future OC grand jury report on a similar subject. 

Paul Matheis

Lake Forest

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