I appreciate the placement of the article about the sad demise of the Costa Mesa Motor Inn and the subsequent loss of affordable housing on the front page ("City moves to replace problem motel," May 22).
Hopefully it will bring greater awareness of the effect that the City Council's recent punitive actions against our so-called problem motels will have on some of our city's most vulnerable residents.
The article missed a few salient points. It failed to mention that after hearing impassioned statements by numerous residents against rezoning of the motel property to high-density residential because they are convinced of the dire need for affordable housing, Mayor Jim Righeimer joined with council members Wendy Leece and Sandra Genis in admonishing the developer that when he presents plans for approval, he would need to include provisions for some affordable units.
That makes a new kind of council majority. And it was a significant gesture recognizing that action must be taken to solve our shortage of housing affordable for the working poor. Hopefully the units required will be at least 15% of the total project.
Unfortunately, the article did not cover a related item on the agenda — the appeal of the loss of a conditional use permit for the Sandpiper Motel ("Motel hearing causes friction," May 25). Some of the public mentioned that the Sandpiper is a valuable site, facing Newport Boulevard and sharing a 3.7-acre plot with the Rolling Mobile Home Park.
They mentioned that last July there was an attempt to rezone the mobile home site to high-density residential. The request was denied because there was no access. The Sandpiper would conveniently provide such access, and some wondered if there might be some connection between the possible development of a high-density luxury project and the targeting of the Sandpiper as a public nuisance and the revocation of its conditional use permid.
The council is making many decisions that affect not only motels but also mobile home parks, which provide much-needed affordable housing to low-income residents — many of whom are seniors.
Proposal could increase density
The Newport Beach City Council is working on a proposed amendment to the general plan dealing with land use for inclusion on the November ballot. I say the question to voters would amount to this: Do you want projects that could significantly increase development in our city?
We could see more hotels, apartments and office and commercial space and increased traffic in Corona del Mar, along Coast Highway, around John Wayne Airport and elsewhere.
Is this what we want? Clearly someone does. Judging by a recent mailer from the Coalition for General Plan Accountability, a project of the Newport Chamber of Commerce, and by a telephone poll being conducted by an unknown source, it would appear that someone is willing to bankroll a campaign in favor of these developments.
Will all these offices and hotels benefit ordinary residents in any way? Will they enhance our city's charm, livability and sustainability? Voters should ask themselves those questions before they vote.
Where can Curry do least harm?
I recently read a commentary by Newport Beach Councilman Mike Henn and former Mayor Dennis O'Neil supporting Councilman Keith Curry for Assembly ("Commentary: Curry is the best choice for Assembly," May 15).
I disagree with the headline. But I must confess, I am torn overall.
Curry's government-knows-best philosophy is best suited for Sacramento — not Newport Beach. We recently witnessed his too-cute-by-half explanation for the Lincoln Club rescinding its endorsement of him. Very Sacramento-esque.
If Curry is elected to the Assembly, he can't hurt Newport's taxpayers anymore. But that's the wrong way to look at it.
I am a native Californian, and I love this state. I am saddened to see it deteriorate at the hands of an incompetent Legislature that is growing the government at an unsustainable pace while driving business to Texas. Curry will only add to this trend.
Our state is in trouble because of big-government politicians like Curry. We should reject his Assembly candidacy and keep him here in Newport Beach, where he can be recalled and replaced.