Give me a home

Dear Editor:
I loved reading Daniel Correa’s “A solution for homelessness is needed now,” in the February Guest Commentary. His thoughts embody a fantastic concept that should be employed by every city in the United States! There are a few things that I think are also important along with his proposed ideas for a “homeless community:”

There should be a chance for the residents of the “community” to get involved with the running and upkeep of their shelter areas. “Having a direct hand” in assisting others can be a confidence- builder for those who volunteer. 

There could even be tasks that would give “perks,” whereby residents can enhance their existence with added “extras” that they earned and worked for. It is so important for people to feel valued and needed.

For those who truly want to move out of homelessness, there should be help for them finding employment or other social services where they could find housing. Offer an R.O.P. education at city educational centers where they are free to learn a trade. Learning empowers and fills those times of boredom and the feelings of hopelessness. 

Those who need help living without alcohol or drugs should have meetings available: AA, NA, and all the other self-help groups. These groups are always happy to help others to find their way to a better life without the crutch of addictions. Finally, an area that is often swept under the carpet (because of its stigma) involves those who have been incarcerated, who have served their time, or are out on parole. 

I can imagine that getting back into society is one huge hurdle for them. Where can they get a job? Who can they go to for help to start over in a world where they, possibly, haven’t had much success in the past? This is very important to address.

We all, in some form or another, pay for the lack of resources for the homeless. I think we can do better to help the needy. For those who only want to live by “their own code,” there are laws. We need to have safeguards against people who cause harm to others. There is no excuse for lawlessness, but there is a huge need for compassion. I hope more people are inspired by Daniel Correa’s ideas, as I was, to help the homeless.  

Mary Keough
Orange, CA

Dear Editor:
My question for Mr. Correa on his plan to create an “open space” with portable showers and bathrooms, access to law enforcement, and medical care for the homeless is this:  How does this plan in any way make homelessness less attractive? 

If anything, it will become a magnet for others who wish to live on the fringes of society.  The poor people who are genuinely just down on their luck will take help that is offered, but as we know, many people do not want help.  For those, I say, great, create that open space….in the desert.  Slab City has plenty of space. 

Colleen Nelson
Santa Ana

Honey do

Dear Editor:
As residents of Southern California, it is crucial that we maintain our wildlife. According to the Global Research Center, “Since 2006, California’s honey production has fallen by nearly half.” We need to take action and help increase our honeybee population. One of the best ways to do this is by beekeeping and making it legal to do so in every city of Southern California.

Changing our cities’ laws is one of the ways that we can help bees thrive. Currently, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Fullerton and Villa Park do not permit beekeeping. The City of Orange, however, does permit beekeeping, after obtaining a permit. I propose we change these laws to allow beekeeping with a permit.

After doing this, everyone who can handle having beekeeping be a part of their life should learn how to start in a way that won’t negatively affect their neighbors. From researching, people can determine how to buy or build a proper beehive, and how to provide the correct maintenance and resources. Access to water is one thing a beekeeper must provide. 

 Joining a community of beekeepers can help teach new keepers the best ways to maintain a proper hive. Most of these communities have low-cost fees to join for one year, typically at around $10 to $20, and few requirements. Beekeepers will even gain a fresh, pure and organic source of delicious honey!

By changing our cities’ laws and becoming beekeepers, Southern Californians can help maintain and grow our low populations of bees. The bees need our help to flourish and survive our drought-prone weather. Beekeeping is one of the best ways to significantly and efficiently grow our honeybee populations back to a healthy number and maintain that number.

Grace Barbour

Ed. Note:  Villa Park City Manager Steve Franks reports that personal beekeeping is welcome in that city.  Many residents do have bees and there is no city ordinance prohibiting it.

Fuzzy math

Dear Editor:
California law allows school districts to tax developers for funds to increase classroom capacity for additional students from new developments. In my opinion, OUSD is collecting these tax funds on the false assertion that its classroom capacity is insufficient. 

Of note, district enrollment has declined from a peak of 32,000 in 2003-04 to 26,500 in 2016-17, and continued decline is expected.  Davis Demographics, the district’s long-time consultant for enrollment projections, reports that school capacity is sufficient for the next several years. 

On Feb. 18, OUSD increased the developer tax rate based on the findings in a Fee Justification Study. The study states that a new high school is needed to ease high school overcrowding. The new rate was based on the $264 million cost of that facility. In my view, this increase was approved despite the board and the superintendent knowing a new high school is not a realistic expectation and expansion is not necessary. Rather than expansion, the district chose Measure S high school modernization.  As to overcrowding, it does not exist. Davis Demographics projects high schools should have more than enough room through 2023.

The district plans to use developer tax funds for Kelly Stadium improvements.  Accommodating student population growth is the district’s justification for using developer funds. Concerns about enrollment growth are not mentioned in the Fred Kelly Stadium Master Plan and related documents. Stadium improvements have nothing to do with enrollment. The primary need is correcting disabled access deficiencies to comply with federal law. Another pressing need is correcting structural and utility deficiencies caused by aging, Using developer funds to correct these deficiencies is prohibited.

Quite simply, OUSD is defrauding developers.

Jim Dinwiddie

Crime time

Dear Editor:
In a previous letter, I wrote about how pension liabilities and government employee salaries have cut into the budget of the county and various municipalities to the point that justice is being rationed with harmful consequences for the citizenry.

I have personally exerienced crimes in Villa Park where sheriff’s deputies refused to make a report or made a false report, which I have documented and repotred to Todd Spitzer, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Sheriff Sandra Hutches and the city of Villa Park.  They have not addressed these serious problems. 

Because of my experiences with these elected officials, I believe none of them should ever hold office again, and I strongly urge all citizens not to vote for Sandra Hutchens or Todd Spitzer or Tony Rackauckus or any of the current sitting city council members in Villa Park. I don’t believe any of the current crop can be trusted. 

Kelley Wise
Villa Park

Spitzer responds

Dear Editor:
The February edition of the Foothills Sentry featured a letter from a North Tustin resident who was upset over my vote to approve the 21-home construction project by Steve Sheldon located on unincorporated county property in Cowan Heights.

This resident is not alone in her frustration -- which is exactly why I was finally pushed to be involved only after it came to the board.  The project was at an impasse.  Neither side was happy.  I was brought into this project to be a mediator between Sheldon and the residents of Cowan Heights and North Tustin.  I had offered to be involved before it was presented to the Board of Supervisors the first time, but my offer was dismissed.

Before the Board of Supervisors’ approval, I met numerous times with residents to help broker an agreement between Sheldon and the community.  I fought to protect the integrity of North Tustin to produce a project that would better fit with the neighborhood.  I believe with the concessions made by Sheldon, this project will improve the community and enhance the neighborhood of North Tustin.

Todd Spitzer
OC Board of Supervisors

Common ground
From the editor: Orange City Councilman Mark Murphy took exception to being identified as an “out-of-town official” at the Orange Park Acres annual meeting in last month’s Sentry.

Murphy reports that his home in High Horse Trails is part of Orange Park Acres and he, therefore, is no out-of-towner.  Indeed, High Horse Trails is included in the OPA Specific Plan and a map appearing in Orange’s 1989 General Plan confirms that the hillside community is considered part of Orange Park Acres.