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Archive for the ‘Costa Mesa’ Category

By JOHN EARL
OC Voice

Note: This article was originally published in the OC Voice Oct. 2007 print edition. It is reprinted here because it relates to Joe Shaw’s column about the banning of street signs by the Huntington Beach City Council. His column focused on the economic consequences, this article focuses on the related constitutional issues at they played  out in the city of Costa Mesa.  Also read Shaw’s column here.

Costa Mesa day laborers looking for work on street corners at two separate locations in the city, Placentia Avenue and 17th Street, and Placentia Avenue and Victoria Street, say that city police are routinely harassing them and making it difficult for them to find employment.

police-carAlmost without exception, workers at both corners who were interviewed by the OC Voice on three separate occasions during September claimed that police routinely—from once in a while to several times a week—approached them while they were standing on sidewalks or in parking lots and told them, sometimes without giving a reason, that they had to leave the area, sometimes threatening them with tickets or even arrest if they returned.

Costa Mesa Chief of Police Christopher Shawkey says that his officers are only enforcing a city ordinance that prohibits anyone from soliciting employment, commercial, or charitable transactions on public streets in a manner that distracts motorists and creates a potential safety hazard, and that prohibits the same types of solicitation in private parking lots where the owners have posted signs banning those activities. (more…)

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Part 3 of a series

By John Earl
OC Voice

Poseidon Resources Inc.’s website claims that the desalination plant it wants to build in southeast Huntington Beach, at Newland and Beach avenues, will be a “cost-effective solution to provide residents with a safe and reliable water supply by using existing structures—at no cost to taxpayers.”

NOT THE VIRGIN MARY: The OC Voice took this photo of the city's new seal and later noticed the mysterious man in the background.

NOT THE VIRGIN MARY: The OC Voice took this photo of the city's new seal and later noticed the mysterious man in the background.

Elected officials who voted to approve the desalination plant three years ago have consistently echoed Poseidon’s claim: Poseidon would privately own and operate the plant for its own profit and for its investors—a strictly free market affair with no taxpayer investment or risk, they said.

City council representative Don Hansen praised the project’s supposed free market values to a crowded city council chamber before he gave Poseidon his vote along with three other council members, Keith Bohr, Gil Coerper and Cathy Green.

“My belief is that the market is going to drive the majority of these decisions. I truly believe that,” Hansen said.

If the Poseidon desalination plant is not profitable, he added, it “will never see the light of day. And it’s purely born on private investment dollars, the risk that they [Poseidon] are going to take.”

In a candidates’ debate last year, Hansen warned that “We’re going to need the water” and reassured again that “It’s not us building the plant. It’s all private investment.”

If all goes well for Poseidon, its Huntington Beach plant will produce 50 million gallons of drinking water per day by sometime in 2011. It still needs to obtain additional government permits and must work out a franchise agreement with the city first.

Poseidon plans to build an almost identical desalination plant in the city of Carlsbad. That project is further along in the permit process and if financing comes through it could start construction this summer. Poseidon’s CEOs dream of building large desalination plants at other California coastal locations as well.

Hansen’s appeal to the free market instincts of the voters is persuasive in a city where the call for smaller government is almost a religious doctrine. But attributing either Poseidon project to to free-market karma is misleading because the company could benefit from as much as $1 billion in taxpayer supplied subsidies that would make it easier for Poseidon to attract the private sector financing that it also needs but still lacks in order to build and operate the two plants. (more…)

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By Chris Bunyan
Guest Columnist

Courtesy of savebanningranch.org

Courtesy of savebanningranch.org

Voices of opposition against the proposed development of Banning Ranch were heard at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Recreation Center on July 21st. The event was sponsored by the Save Banning Ranch Task Force and served as the first public forum for those against the development of the Newport-Mesa’s last parcel of open space. Banning Ranch, a 412 acre piece of land, is currently under county jurisdiction but will soon be annexed into Newport Beach. Banning Ranch is home to many species of rare wildlife and flora and has precious wetlands as well. The goal of the Banning Ranch Task Force is the have the entire plot of land turned into a state park.

The developers have hired a public relations firm to lobby area residents. Slick brochures were mailed out that neglected to detail the severe traffic impacts that the proposed development would have on both Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. Banning Ranch Task Force member, Chris Bunyan, the forum’s underwriter, spoke to the full to capacity audience about the catastrophic effects on local roads if the project were to occur. “The developers want to open 15th-17th Streets in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. Thus increasing the average daily trips to the currently quiet streets of the Westside; this cannot be allowed to happen, “said Bunyan. (more…)

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By John Earl and Scott Sink
OC Voice

Increased deportation raids conducted at gun point by “La Mirgra” in work places and homes across America are terrorizing documented and undocumented immigrants alike.

Multinational corporations operating under the banner of “free trade,” and xenophobic hate groups like the Minuteman Project, are the main beneficiaries of what a recent article in Nation magazine calls the emergence of Juan Crow, a reference to “Jim Crow,” the past practice of institutionalized racism used against African Americans.

Against that background, “Terror in the Barrio: The Rise of the New Right in Local Government,” a new book written by former Daily Pilot columnist Humberto Caspa, is both an informative and flawed history of Costa Mesa’s slide toward fascism.

Oddly, although “Terror” is part of the book’s title, there isn’t a single personal case history of that terror present in its pages. This could lead the reader to wonder why, since examples have been plentiful for the past several years in Costa Mesa (see “Chilling Effect,” OC Voice, Oct. 2007).

The specific proposals that marked the city’s right-wing turn, presided over by former mayor, Allan Mansoor (a member of the Minuteman Project), former Pro-tem Eric Bever (they have since switched roles) and former Councilmember Gary Monahan included disbanding the city’s Human Relations Commission, closing the Job Center after 17 years and using the police to enforce federal immigration laws on the slightest pretense. (more…)

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