Sparks fly

Dear Editor:
Reference the article in the April Sentry, Villa Park will have to add additional law enforcement this year due to its fireworks sale. This is a cost to their city, and a very predictable situation when the VP City Council irresponsibly allowed the sale of fireworks. 

That said, the unfortunate problem is that residents (also irresponsible) in surrounding cities purchase the fireworks from VP, and go to their city (responsible ones that do not allow any fireworks) and detonate them. The temptation outweighs their common sense and responsibility to their community. 

Again this year, I ask of VP: please amend your irresponsible ordinance and allow sales to only those who live in your city.  True, the rationale given for this decision was to draw revenue due to sales. The city enacted the ordinance without imposing restrictions on sales to only VP residents. This means sales are more heavily valued than public safety, neighborhood tranquility, and additional costs for law enforcement, fire department, EMS and animal care services.

Although you might think it harmless, it is not. Think of the trauma to those with disabilities, the elderly, veterans with PTSD, and all of the animals who suffer needlessly for hours to satisfy your selfishness and irresponsible behavior. You are also showing poor parenting skills by teaching your children it is OK to violate the law by purchasing and detonating fireworks where they are prohibited. If you must physically detonate fireworks, buy them in VP, sit on a street in VP, and detonate them. VP welcomes this activity. 

There are so many venues in OC that offer safe and sane firework displays with EMS, fire department, and professional pyrotechnics on-site to ensure a safe and responsible environment. Many of these options are free, and a great family experience. 

If you still have the need to illegally detonate fireworks where they are prohibited, please visit the animal shelter July 5th, inquire about the additional staff and costs associated with response and enforcement. Research injuries/death from fireworks nationally, remind yourself of the Canyon 2 fires this past year. 

Thank you, Orange City mayor and city council for your leadership in adhering to the “no fireworks in Orange.” I am especially reminded of this, as two of our neighbors' houses caught fire last year due to fireworks. Thankfully, the families were alerted by neighbors, and were not injured or killed. The repairs on their homes were just completed last month.

Patriotism is not in detonating fireworks. Volunteer for veterans, go to a veteran’s activity, go to a July 4th parade, say the Pledge of Allegiance, have a family barbecue.  Please be responsible.

Terre Duensing

Thanks for nothing

Dear Editor:
In a prior issue, Supervisor Todd Spitzer responded via letter to a homeowner who was understandably upset over the supervisor’s vote to change the zoning on property in Cowan Heights in support of Steve Sheldon’s proposed development. That project, with modifications, has now been approved.

The Supervisor wished to set the record straight ... but the record still looks anything-but-level from where I sit.

The Supervisor wrote, “This resident is not alone in her frustration.” You bet she’s not. By my count, there are approximately 2,500 other homeowners who are equally disturbed by this project, and the supervisor’s role in it.  

Let the record show that the battle to protect the existing zoning of our North Tustin community was lost at the first board of supervisors meeting on this project, where the board voted to change the zoning on the parcels in question, laying the foundation for higher-density development.

Supervisor Spitzer led the charge on the zoning change, in support of his long-time friend and supporter, Steve Sheldon.

Honoring the tradition of supervisorial prerogative, the other supervisors went along with his proposal – but in fact, the only real support our community received at that meeting came from Supervisors Andrew Do, Shawn Nelson, and Lisa Bartlett, who were sensitive to our concerns about the most extreme aspects of the proposed development and pushed for reasonable modifications.

Supervisor Spitzer also wrote, “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.” It’s true that he offered to be involved in early negotiations with Sheldon – but since he was obviously aligned with Sheldon’s interests, we thought we could fare better without that kind of help.

It is true that in the final negotiations with Sheldon, Spitzer did serve as a mediator and was helpful (we believe) in encouraging Sheldon to accept the terms for the project that were eventually agreed to. And the supervisor was thanked publicly for that role.

However, a man can only expect so much gratitude for helping bring about a solution ... to a problem he caused. The community remains distressed that our existing zoning was changed, simply to benefit a developer and a homeowner looking to cash out on their property.  

Spitzer is responsible for that result, and I believe our community will remember that when we go to the polls in June.

Jane Rice
North Tustin

Blind eye

Dear Editor:
At the Tuesday, April 10 Board of Supervisors hearing, I spoke up about the traffic safety issues along Santiago Canyon Road near the dangerous blind curve section leading to the Red Rock estate. 

I am extremely disappointed at the board of supervisors for denying the community appeal against Red Rock Gardens' request to commercialize a private residence. 

Our District 3 supervisor, Todd Spitzer, led the charge to go against the county General Plan, the Sil-Mod Specific Plan, and their own county counsel to approve the permit allowing the private residence to become a commercial venue. 

I am afraid it is sad times for the rural OC. I am also wondering how a district supervisor running for DA can blatantly neglect the governing laws of the land and be trusted to “protect” the governing laws and the people? I am perplexed, to say the least.

Chay Peterson


Rainy day reserves

Dear Editor:
Regarding April letters “Lost at sea:” Thank you, Mr. Foster, for allowing the Orange County Water District (OCWD) the opportunity to clarify its efforts in capturing storm water. 

Over the past 20 years, the district’s storm water recharge has exceeded 16 billion gallons each year on average. A California Assembly Select Committee Addressing the State’s Water Crisis noted “The Orange County Water District has one of the most significant storm water/groundwater recharge projects in the state…”

Here’s what we do. Over the course of more than 80 years, OCWD purchased more than 1,500 acres of land, and created more than two dozen recharge basins in Anaheim and Orange that look like small lakes. We divert water from the Santa Ana River into those basins using inflatable rubber dams.

We also own a six-mile stretch of the Santa Ana River, from Imperial Highway to Ball Road in Anaheim. In that area, we use T- and L-shaped levees that spread river water and make the flow more manageable for capture. 

The region behind Prado Dam is vital to catching and holding as much storm water as possible. A 1993 agreement called for increased temporary water capture and storage behind the dam.  In recent years, OCWD has been working even more closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and manages Prado Dam, so that additional stormwater can be captured. 

You’ll be happy to know that the “millions of acre-feet” you referred to as being lost to the ocean was actually 68,000 acre-feet, and that was because of last year’s abnormally high rainfall.

When speaking about stormwater capture and water that would otherwise go to the Pacific Ocean, let’s not forget the water that goes into the sewers.The Groundwater Replenishment System uses about 60 percent of Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) treated wastewater (about 185 million gallons per day) that would otherwise go to the Pacific Ocean.

The GWRS purifies it and produces 100 million gallons per day of near-distilled-quality water, which is put back into the groundwater basin. We will be expanding the project to use 100 percent of OCSD’s reclaimable wastewater by 2023.

Efficient capture of stormwater and other local water resources have saved OCWD water users millions of dollars in imported water purchase costs and have protected our oceans and desirable California lifestyle.

Denis Bilodeau
President, Orange County Water District

Thumbs down

Dear Editor:
The Foothill Communities Association has reviewed the analysis by Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Trails at Santiago Creek project, and concurs with their finding that the DEIR is seriously flawed. The project should proceed no further until theses flaws are corrected. 

Richard Nelson
President, Foothill Communities Association