June 2019


Dear Editor:
It was overcast on May 4, as the nine of us took our seats in the fold-up chairs we had brought to watch the parade on Chapman Avenue in the City of Orange. We were among several thousand local and visiting persons that lined the street to enjoy the parade after a 28-year absence. As the Orange Police Department Mounted Honor Guard turned on its motorcycles’ flashing lights and started west on Chapman Avenue, the sun broke through and the parade was underway. Following were over 60 entries that included Assemblyman Steven Choi, two former Mayors of Orange, Carolyn Cavecche and Tita Smith, nine former City of Orange queens who joined the current Miss City of Orange Madelyn Walker. The Angels sports reporter Trent Rush as the parade announcer kept everyone informed as the participants passed before city hall. After two hours, the final group, the Villa Park High School marching band, closed the parade to a large round of applause from all the spectators. The sun shown brightly on all. As we gathered our chairs and prepared to leave this wonderful event, I was keenly aware that there was a noticeable absence of all the current City of Orange governing body. Mayor Mark Murphy did not participate in the parade and neither did any one of the city council members. What a dark cloud that created. 

Russel Monroe

Road to ruin

Dear Editor:
I am writing this letter, as a resident of the Holly Tree Homeowners Association who is very concerned and opposed to the proposed Bent Tree Road entry to Peters Canyon Park. As of today, our emails to OC Parks have gone unanswered. As a resident who will be immediately impacted by this proposed entrance, along with the rest of the homeowners in this association, I never received notice from OC Parks regarding this proposed entrance or the meeting that was held in April regarding the Peters Canyon Regional Park General Development. 

I am one of 18 homeowners in this association who owns and maintains Bent Tree Road. This is a private road; it is not maintained to county standards, and is not wide enough for two cars to pass at various points. By proposing an entrance at this location, just 200 yards from an existing entrance, OC Parks is promoting trespassing onto private property. 

There is also the issue of safety, as the exit from the horse trail onto Bent Tree Road, and connecting to this proposed park entrance across the road, is blind to residents. Currently, horse trail users turn right onto a dirt stretch along Bent Tree Road before crossing. This proposed entrance will lead users to immediately cross Bent Tree when exiting the horse trail and connecting with the park. 

There is also the burden of the adjacent Homeowners Association members regarding street parking on Stirrup, Derby and Bronco Circle. These neighbors will lose their street parking in front of their homes to visitors of the park. This is already evidenced by the large amounts of parking on E. Lemon Heights Drive and Lower Lake by visitors accessing the already existing lower Peters Canyon Park entrance. 

Monica Erion
North Tustin

Dear Editor:
OC Parks’ General Development Plan proposes building a new trail with an entry point on Bent Tree Road in North Tustin. Access by the public is only via Bent Tree. While this new trail truly sounds like a lovely idea, the County of Orange is ignoring the fact that Bent Tree is a private road. It was built, paid for, and is maintained by the members of the Holly Tree Lane Road Association. It was not built to required county standards, as it is private. No government funds were ever utilized. Signs that it is a private road have been posted for decades. The purpose of this road is to provide ingress and egress for residents. All others use it by permission.

In short, the county is making a plan to create a trail for public benefit with access via our private road. We have never even been contacted by the county to obtain permission. I see two options. The first, is to abandon this site altogether; and the second, is for the county to take over responsibility for the road by building it to county standards. Only if the latter choice is employed is the county entitled to build this trail. I am not willing to bear the costs of a road used by the general public.  

How can a county agency expect a private road association to maintain a road for public use?

Alice Rose
North Tustin

Bully pulpit

Dear Editor:
Laura Ash Picker has started a petition calling for accountability and transparency by Tustin Unified School District in preventing and responding to fighting and bullying in Tustin schools. Laura’s son, a sixth grader, was assaulted by two students in front of Hewes Middle School right before spring break in March. The assault was committed by two students with histories of behavioral problems. The vice principal broke up the fight, but did not notify the parents of the victim, instead, sending the student to class.

Less than a month later, a seventh grade girl was assaulted by another student outside of class at Hewes. The incident was filmed by a complicit student who posted it on Instagram for the world to see. Sadly, the victim had gone to the school administration multiple times in the week leading up to the assault to report feeling unsafe because of things her assailant had said to her in class.

The school said nothing publicly to parents to detail what is being done to prevent a repeat of these types of incidents.

Here is the link to the petition:  change.org/p/tustin-unified-school-district-accountability-and-safety-at-our-schools.

Mary Gumbrecht

Pay to play

Dear Editor:
Interesting article about all the improvements to Peters Canyon Park, without including dollar amounts and where the money is coming from.

I have to wonder if the money is coming from some disaster relief funds and that’s why they let the park burn. Or could the money be coming from the water resource bonds, which is not really why we approved those billions in bonds.

Then there are cities like Tustin that just had to replace all the perfectly good median curbs due to replacing the old landscaping with new drought tolerant landscaping. The new curbs probably only tripled or quadrupled the cost compared to just R&R the foliage. One thing about Tustin, it is always willing to spend OPM (other peoples' money).

W. Tom Foster
North Tustin

Ed. Note:  OC Parks has money in its capital budget to pay for park improvements on an incremental basis.

Blight in sight

Dear Editor:
I wonder why the City of Orange allows one of its corners, at the intersection of Collins Avenue and Glassell Street, to look so awful. My husband and I drive past daily. It is surrounded by a chain link fence with shade cloth to hide the unsightly mess of vehicles, cement chunks, and just basic construction “junk,” and has been this way for quite some time now. If I am correct, and I am not sure of this, but this supposedly has a well or something to do with our water department? When I say the shade cloth “hides” the junk inside, I am being facetious, as it actually hides nothing … it looks terrible. 

If this lot had been a residence, one would think the city would require the owner/s to clean it up. We have lived here, in an adjoining neighborhood, for over 20 years, and are appalled that this unattractive eyesore has been there for so long. If this is part of a city yard, one would think they could put up a block wall, or attractive enclosure, so that passers-by, on their way to our historic Old Towne or to our esteemed Chapman University, would not have to look at such a messy corner.

With the above being said, I would hope this could spark some action on the part of the city, as Collins is having some difficulties, also including a home that has had the walls stripped to the wood frame and sits just a block or so away from the corner, off Glassell. The shade cloth, placed around on chain link, seems to be a magnet for taggers, which adds to my consternation with how our neighborhood is looking so degraded lately.

Hopefully this blighted look is going to be rectified soon, as it seems to have prevailed for far too long.

Mary Keough
Orange, CA

Zoning revisited

Dear Editor:
Former OPA resident Charlie Leffler likes to re-write history and overlook the actual facts regarding OPA and the Sully-Miller property.

Yes, I was on the council in 1993 when the rezoning for the area adjacent to Mabury Ranch was unanimously approved by the entire city council. In supporting the rezoning, I considered several factors in my decision-making process. First, both Mabury Ranch and OPA supported the proposal. Second, the request for the 12.6-acre parcel was to re-designate the General Plan from resource area to low density residential, and rezone from sand and gravel to r-1-8. There was no opposition, including Mr. Leffler. He may want to review the minutes of the hearing—it’s all there. In light of the support from the surrounding community to change the use from an obnoxious industrial operation to residential, I believed then, and still now, that the decision 26 years ago was a correct one.

The currently proposed project is completely different than the council’s decision on the 12.6-acre portion of the property in 1993.  This project presents the fewest homes (128) ever proposed for this entire site and includes: 1.) an opportunity for the public to attain approximately 120 acres (including the 50-acre Ridgeline property) for open space, trails and recreational uses; 2.) $4.1 million for greenway improvements; 3.) $1million for local equestrian trail improvements; 4.) $2 million for equestrian and recreational purposes; 5.) $1 million for traffic and circulation improvements; and 6.) the permanent closure of the current sand and gravel operation, once and for all.

The proposed project would rezone the current residentially zoned 12.6-acre area north of the creek to open space to integrate into the Santiago greenway.  This re-designation would provide a critical and much-desired link between the Santiago Oaks Regional Park and the downstream trail system, benefitting the entire community.

Mike Spurgeon
Mabury Ranch

A humble hail

Dear Editor:
I was awarded the OPA annual Gary Bandy award at last month’s Denim and Diamonds event. I am deeply grateful for the recognition.

This award has an illustrious past. Many OPA’ers have worked diligently for the community during the previous 25 years and have been more worthy of the award than I. I am humbled to be included in this group, all of whom have a deep love for this community, its wonderful people and unmatched lifestyle. None exceeds my feelings for OPA and its rich history.

This is but a brief note of thanks to the OPA’ers who voted my name on the Gary Bandy trophy. Thank you so very much. There is so much more to do to keep OPA the unique place that is.

Peter Jacklin
Orange Park Acres