August 2019

Sunny side up

Dear Editor:
This afternoon, I noticed a sign on the fence at McPherson Magnet School from OUSD saying they are going to install solar panels. It is supposed to be done in mid-August and save millions of dollars that can go to their retirement fund or to up their current pay. OUSD has a reputation of mishandling money.

Now, since more places are putting up solar panels, I’m afraid they are going to make the sun smaller because they are using up sunrays that used to bounce off the earth and return to the sun. They are being absorbed by the panels and lost forever.  

The same goes for gravity.  I think we could also be losing gravity because of neckties, hanging pictures on the wall and even baseball. Yes, baseball. When you hit the ball and it goes up in the air, some gravity is used to get it down. I am not a kook. If you think about it, it make sense. 

I hope I made your day and given you something to ponder and go “umph.”

Len Musgrave

Off track

Dear Editor:
What’s going on at VPHS? Once upon a time, every afternoon after school, all sorts of people from town congregated on the simple decomposed granite track: students, joggers, walkers young and old, accompanied by trusted dogs, grandkids and stepkids.

But fences went up. Then, over time, a track was laid out, a monument of a million pounds of rubber and plastic.

More fences went up, followed by signs, which defined new terms of limited access. Then, amazingly, it was completely torn up, and brought back to bare ground. 

The fences are still up.

These are the answers I’m interested in: When hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent, who exactly is responsible for oversight? Nobody? Somebody? What excuses a total pullback of one helluva construction project? Who exactly was asleep on the job? 

Might these be the same people responsible for overseeing the new construction at the other end of the campus?  Fail inspires fail.

L. Cecchi
Villa Park

Shop talk

Dear Editor:
Saw the article about Atty. Sommer’s successful defense of the registration of his client’s trademark as related to apparel, backpacks and several other products and product lines.

I guess that the U.S. Supreme Court has, once again, lowered the bar of decency in the “protection of freedom of speech” by ordering the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register a trademark which is clearly and unambiguously intended to strike at an unusual market. This was ordered by an unusually wide margin of the justices.

I certainly agree with, and support, the concept of “freedom of speech” but in this case, as in most cases of this nature, the court has, in my opinion, added another blow to decency.

My hat is off to Atty. Sommer’s ability to convince the highest court in the land to make a major step backwards.

Don Weber 
Villa Park

Dear Editor: 
F.U.C.T. UP? Are you appalled by this language?  

One of our own has created his legacy in the U.S. Supreme Court spouting, “this is a good day for Americans.”  While we, as parents, spend a lifetime teaching our children to be respectful in their language and behavior, in the name of a patent, the above title is now free to be written on T-shirts that a first grader could read. 

The court was mandated to allow a bunch of greedy clothing manufacturers to peddle their “dirty” word street wear according to Attorney John Sommer, to protect our free speech.  

This apparently is what has taken the place of talent or fashion.  It’s bad enough to have made money on this, but to glamorize and exalt it as a win for Americans is disgraceful.  Perhaps Sommer would like to donate T-shirts to all the children at V.P.E. and teach them early on about free speech.  Kids will be the biggest “beneficiaries” of his win.  We are all victims to this continual onslaught of societal decay as our parental controls evaporate.  

Steve Hart
Villa Park

Planning games

Dear Editor:
I’ve lived in OPA for five years. It’s an amazing and welcoming community. So many people from all around come to OPA to use the trails, ride horses and attend events. There is no place quite like it in Southern California. 

I attended the July 15th Planning Commission meeting and listened to Robert Garcia, the city planner, present his slanted report that favored Milan. Next came Milan’s agent Frank Elfend and his appalling, mean-spirited remarks, all of which backfired and angered residents. 

What disturbed me the most was the planning commissioners and their lack of concern and attention to the speakers. After the meeting was over, I noticed some of the commissioners laughing, smiling and shaking hands with the Milan entourage.  Why didn’t any of them come to speak with any of us?

What told the whole story was the commissioner’s unwillingness to allow a grade school student speak.  I watched this young man, maybe 12 years old, try to get the attention of the chair towards the end of the meeting. He was dressed in a suit and seemed very prepared.  He sat in one of the reserved speaker chairs and was completely ignored by the commissioners.  I later found out he would be on vacation for the next meeting and would not be able to speak then.

I understand the 11 p.m. cutoff. But, the chair could have made an exception in this case.  Isn’t part of being a good leader also recognizing opportunities to teach and to set a good example for our young people?  

I was not impressed with the city planner or the planner commissioners.  Now I understand the term “developer-driven.”

Sonya Evans

Dear Editor:
Anyone who viewed the planning commission meeting on July 15 got quite an eyeful and a punch in the stomach by our city’s stance regarding the Sully-Miller development proposal. First, we had to listen to Robert Garcia, senior planner, read his painful staff report out loud to the commission, recommending approval of the Milan project. It was filled with inaccuracies and sounded like Milan had written it for him. Garcia ignored critical issues and invalidated every aspect of the East Orange and OPA Specific Plans that would prohibit the type of development being proposed and the rezoning of designated open space to residential.

Secondly, we were subjected to the long-winded oration of Milan’s consultant, Frank Elfend, calling out community members and bringing up dead people in an effort to justify his self-serving interpretation of the OPA Specific Plan. Why the commission allowed him to go off the rails with his ramblings, yet cut off speakers that exceeded one second past their three minutes, can only be interpreted as compliant favoritism towards Elfend. It was shocking that Milan’s representative behaved in such an unprofessional manner.  

Elfend rudely sauntered in and out of the meeting, loudly crackled cellophane wrapping paper, and applied eye drops right next to those that were speaking. This was the behavior of someone who was not concerned at all about impressions or decorum, but very comfortable among comrades. And comrades they appeared to be, as the commissioners descended from their dais after the meeting to collectively gather with Elfend and his cronies. If body language and behavior are a vote, it appears the commissioners are preparing to vote against Orange residents and Elfend knows it.

Laurel Maldonado

On tract

Dear Editor:
As President of the Mabury Ranch Homeowners Association, I would like to reaffirm the views of our board and homeowners regarding the proposed development of the Sully-Miller property. For the past two decades, we have worked with various entities regarding this property. For more than three years, we have been working with a collaborative group that includes representatives of Orange Park Acres and The Reserve. The goal of this group has been to meet with the owner of the Sully-Miller property, Milan Capital, to find an acceptable plan for the site. 

Because of the collaborative efforts of the group, Milan has proposed to build up to 128 homes (down from 150) with lot sizes ranging from 8,000-10,000 square feet on 40 acres of the site.  The other approximately 69 acres of the site would be open space, with public access. Milan has agreed to spend $1 million on trails for this area, along with $4.1 million to restore the Santiago Creek Greenway. 

Part of this open space is the land north of Santiago Creek and adjacent to Mabury Ave., currently zoned r-1-8.  Eliminating this area from development has been a long-standing goal of the Mabury Ranch community.  

This project will also end the noise and dust pollution coming from the concrete recycling operation. The eyesore will be gone forever. On April 10, the MRHOA Board of Directors voted, once again, in favor of the Milan development plan.

On the other hand, if a project is not agreed to for these 40 acres, the worst-case scenario could happen.  The land adjacent to Mabury Ranch could be developed with high-density, low-income housing units, increasing traffic on Mabury Ave. The concrete recycling operation could be restarted. With the State of California pushing for high-density, low-income housing via the Regional Housing Needs Assessment and various other state legislative bills, the entire development could be forced to change to several thousand units, with corresponding traffic increases. 

While no project is perfect, we believe this one meets Mabury Ranch’s objectives and delivers value to our surrounding communities. 

The time has come to recognize that this plan can deliver a project that fits with our community.  It will forever rid East Orange of the sand and gravel/concrete recycling operations and provide a significant amount of open space and recreational opportunities. 

Patrick Wheelock
President, Mabury Ranch Board of Directors

Letter to the Editor