Mimi MIA

Dear Editor: 

“Where’s Mimi?” That’s the question constituents of Orange County’s 45th Congressional District have been asking for some time concerning Rep. Mimi Walters, even long before her staff quit answering the phones at her Washington office. 

She held no town hall during April’s recess. Walters has ignored multiple invitations to speak about her position on the policies and legislation being enacted under the current administration. But that doesn’t mean she’s been idle. According to an invitation sent out through her re-election staff, she attended a $500-a-plate fundraiser in her honor in Newhall -- that’s nearly 75 miles from her district -- where former teen idol Scott Baio was the special guest. I guess we’re not as interesting as Chachie. 

It seems as though Walters’ interest is everywhere but in Orange County. She recently wrote an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee, published 424 miles outside her district, championing Republican women and praising all the progress they’ve made. The problem is that she had to reach back to Rep. Mae Ella Nolan, the first woman to chair a congressional committee, who served in the 1920s. 

Her voting record has been her strongest voice. In the first 100 days of the Trump administration, Mimi has voted “yea” or “aye” to every piece of legislation backed by the Trump administration and the GOP caucus. 

I, myself, have made multiple calls and sent emails and postcards to her office. I had a nice conversation with one of her staff members when I called the day of the first scheduled vote on AHCA legislation. I was told that she had not let her staff know her position. I gave him my contact information, and was told that I would receive a response from the congresswoman in a week. It’s been over a month. I’m not waiting anymore. 

Walters has branded herself as a modern Republican woman who wants to “have a strong voice and a seat at the table,” but the people of Orange County haven’t seen her use that voice locally. When asked on talk radio station KRLA why she won’t hold a town hall, she said she didn’t want to say the wrong thing in front of her constituents. “The whole goal is to try to get as much press as they can, and then try to get me to say something that they could use against me.” But then she gave in – sort of – on May 1 by holding a “tele-town hall” in which she spoke on a dial-in conference call. Her answers did not always address the question, often sounded rehearsed, she never asked callers anything about their lives or concerns. She contradicted herself by saying that “the climate is changing,” but then stated her support for off-shore drilling. Her inability to be consistent shouldn’t surprise us. She opposed her own voting record this week. Her single legislative accomplishment is a Sexual Assault Victims Bill. However, her “support” of sexual assault victims does not extend to health care for challenges those victims may face. The AHCA, which Mimi voted for, would classify those challenges as pre-existing conditions. So much for that “strong voice at the table.” 

There are those in the 45th District who will say that Mimi is representing the Republican position, and that is what they want. However, in the 45th district, 47.62 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. That’s five percentage points ahead of Trump. A bipartisan coalition of concerned citizen groups held a town hall in Irvine on May 9. Over 1,000 residents of the 45th packed the gym at Northwood High School in hopes that Mimi Walters might show up, but she did not. We are left with no choice but to send out a search party for a new congressperson.

Kimberley Matthews Donahue 
North Tustin

Council capers

Dear Editor:
I came upon the letter from Villa Park City Councilwoman Diana Fascenelli in the May issue. I can tell you that watching in real time, or watching the taped version of the monthly meetings are the best “reality TV.” It is apparent that the council members do not care for one another. The finger-pointing, the diatribes and combativeness is better than any “Bravo” housewives reunion. 

Each month, there is at least one or more times when councilmembers trade snarky comments with one another. What I will say is that all five council members were elected to make the Hidden Jewel a great place to live. But what happens at these meetings is far from great. Bob Collacott, Bill Nelson and Vince Rossini have one agenda, and Fascenelli has Robbie Pitts under her wing with another agenda. 

Dana Reed
Villa Park

Dear Editor:
We’re in our 26th year living in Villa Park.  We moved here for the reasons that are shared by the majority of residents: schools, larger lot sizes, small-town atmosphere.   It’s been a great place to raise our kids, and meet good people who have become life-long friends. I liked it so much I even tried to get involved in politics, running for city council with a friend.    

To this day, I thank everything I believe in that I/we lost. Because, as Villa Park has changed in appearance, demographics, the one thing that stays constant is the petty, self-centered approach to running the city.   

Back then I referred to the council as a “clique.” Not the good, friendly clique where people of like mind try to do what’s best.  It’s a San Quentin clique (without the shanks), them against us, the old vs. the young (at the time we were the youngest that ever ran for council), the “ins” vs. the “outs.” They ganged up on us, made sure we were bad-mouthed in the community, had our campaign signs stolen by high school kids for $2 apiece (We caught one, and he ratted off the candidate who hired him), and got excluded from helping with the Volunteer Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast. 

Plus, these petty people made sure our microphones did not work on the night of the first-ever candidate’s debate. And, standing in the back of the room, suspenders in place and smirks on their faces, the “clique” laughed as nothing was broadcast when our turn came to answer questions.

The only saving grace to the in-fighting and back-stabbing is that it is not a paid position. In retrospect, with a city as small as Villa Park, you really don’t need a city council.  A talented city manager and Mike Knowles is all that’s needed -- one person to manage the finances, and one person to make sure everything else works correctly. Done! No more them vs. us, no more lies behind backs, no more 3 vs. 2. Above all, no more council members thinking Villa Park City Council is a stepping-stone to higher office. It’s been tried, unsuccessfully. 

Bill Lawton
Villa Park

Oral history

Dear Editor:
My family owned the property where Pheasant Lane is located since the 1950s. We sold it in 1979-80 to my mom’s friend, who was a developer and had built in Orange Park Acres. Ridgewood Development was the developer; Harriet Frizelle Harris owned it.

It was planned, back when we sold it, to strategically connect Wimbledon, which was then called Mills Drive, so the “Naylor” property could be ultimately developed. Mr. Naylor passed shortly before we sold, and Mrs. Naylor soon thereafter. It was then sold to a man who lived up by Orange Hill Restaurant. He used the land for nursery storage for years, leaving the original uninhabitable house on the property intact. It was all agreed upon in late 1979. Our family owned the majority of the property in the canyon below Orange Hill Restaurant. 

How is it possible that this property is landlocked when Wimbledon, which was Mills Drive, ends directly into the old Naylor residence at the end of the street? That’s why there are only homes built on the right side of Wimbledon. The land in discussion was 18941 E. Mills Dr., and we were 19902 Mills Drive. All records pertaining to both properties and easements are with Nisson & Nisson, attorneys in Tustin. Arthur Nisson handled it all, but has since passed. His son and nephew run it still. 

I know it’s impossible for this land to be landlocked, because I know the history, and what was agreed upon.

John Hanson
Las Vegas

Grass is not greener

Dear Editor:
A year ago, the homeowners of Santiago Hills voted to have their property taxes increased, in order to maintain and upgrade the landscape areas inside the tract, and the Chapman Ave. and Jamboree medians.  

I have been a homeowner in the tract for 30 years, and saw my property taxes increase by $500.  I bought into the idea after seeing our community continue to degrade over the years.  We love the area, but strongly considered moving after seeing the original beauty of this area degenerate. Now, seeing what our taxes are paying for, I think it’s time to consider moving again.

Most of the dead trees and bushes have been cut down, but none have been replaced.  The landscape design and construction on Trails End Road is a disaster.  The company that worked on the landscape change took almost a year to do a street barely one hundred yards long.  

 The company tore up the roots of several mature trees at the entrance, causing them to die.  It planted some new trees, and several of them died, too.  They have been dead for over six months, and still have not been cut down or replaced.  The “meadow grass” that was installed looks like a massive carpet of weeds growing over two feet high.  Natural sagebrush and trees would have been better.  The medians on Chapman and Jamboree, which had come to life after the winter rains, are now turning brown and barren.

Surprisingly, they want to landscape the pathways around the tract in the same fashion.  It makes me want to cry, thinking of how the children playing tag and kicking the ball on the greenbelt grass will negotiate through this “meadow wonderland.”  City of Orange, you owe us a refund and an apology.

Bob Hahn
Orange

Pick pockets

Dear Editor:
Regarding the SoCalGas recent billing, and the enclosed notification of its “request for a rate increase:” The company has made an application (A.17-05-007) for an increase to be used for the “mobile home park utility upgrade program” (to put in individual gas lines into each mobile home).  WHAT? Why should all gas company customers pay for an upgrade that will give it more money and customers? It seems ludicrous that it would even put these notifications in our bills. Most of us are doing our best to keep our heads above water, financially, and to have “us” foot the bill for putting natural gas into mobile home parks makes us pay more, but get nothing in return. 

As far as I saw on the form, it lists nowhere to complain, give opinions, or to connect with an advocate that can look after the consumers. What can we do, other than have the gas company raise our rates once again? If Sentry readers see this, and have knowledge of how we can protest this pay increase, I would hope they can share this info so we can try to stop the gas company from bilking us out of more money to pay for something that will benefit only it. If mobile home parks want to have natural gas, let them (the park) pay for it. The gas company can make up the cost of installing it some way other than charging current customers more.

 Mary Keough
Orange

Coyote ugly

Dear Editor:
Coyotes are becoming “backyard terrorists” in our neighborhoods, slaughtering our pets in their own homes while we watch helplessly.  My neighbor recently lost her dog to a fearless pack of coyotes that snatched it from her driveway, with her standing just feet away.

There is little we can do, privately, to protect our homes from these increasingly frequent and frightening attacks. It takes action by city or government agencies.  

The problem is obvious and growing.  The danger to our children is also growing with the increasing pack sizes and presence among our homes.

Some people think coyotes are a protected species.  They are not.  Some people think we would have to wipe out whole packs to control the attacks.  Another myth.  Research shows it isn’t necessary to kill a whole pack to stop them from “pet predation” and aggression against people.

Culling a few alphas is recommended by professionals as an effective management technique.  Young predators learn how to hunt from their elders.  If you take away the ones that are teaching the dangerous behaviors, the remaining animals lose the confidence that human aggression is “safe.” Basically, we have to show them their natural behavior is safer than the learned behavior of hunting among humans.   

I believe our ecosystem is out of balance because of the drought.  The scarcity of vegetation cover for rabbits and wild creatures allowed coyotes to gorge and reproduce rapidly.  But once they wiped out their natural prey, they had to change tactics. They quickly discovered that domestic animals are not only abundant, and there is little danger in hunting them.  

Coyotes are now attacking and killing domestic dogs without even eating them.  I suspect that’s a result of “coyote territory” now including homes with dogs.  Domestic dogs are rivals, to be killed as competitors.  

I walk almost daily in the “rough” under the power lines, and it never troubled me to see one or two coyotes.  The pairs were usually mom and one pup, and the singles were shy.  Now I see images from my neighbors’ security cameras with evidence that they are hunting in packs of three to five, using pack tactics to target domestics where adult humans are obviously present.  

Coyotes are just wild dogs, not national treasures. They do, however, help control rabbits and rats, which would become bigger problems if allowed to reproduce without challenges.  But now, it’s the coyotes who are reproducing without challenges, and the large numbers are detrimental to all other local wildlife.  We don’t need to attack the whole species, only target the pests.  I believe it’s our duty, as stewards of our land, to help maintain balance, to protect ground nesting birds like quail, egrets, roadrunners, and to protect our ground dwelling families, too.

Terrie Warner
Orange