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Daily Pilot

Mailbag: Oreo the swan is an island mystery

8:46 AM PDT, June 13, 2013

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My friends and I spotted Oreo (as we have fondly named it because it looks like a cross between Pearl and Rupert, our former island swans) June 4 on our morning walk around Balboa Island — and subsequently on June 5, 6 and 7. It seems to favor the North Bayfront area and the strip of water along Bayside Drive (across from Promontory Point).

Does anyone know where this swan came from and whether it is a new resident or just visiting? I've done a little research, and it's actually called a black neck swan, native to South America (Chile, in particular). How did it make it to Newport Harbor?

I have become infatuated with this amazing-looking bird (my husband says "obsessed!"), and thought others might find it interesting also.

I'm curious and hopeful that someone out there has more information on how the swan made it to our area.

Julie Frey

Balboa Island

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Mesa Water strategy

Recently, the Mesa Water District changed its financial strategy from "Be financially responsible and maintain competitive rates" to "Be financially responsible and transparent."

In changing this goal it leaves the impression the district is not that concerned about the rates it charges customers. One would hope that the goal that replaced it would be important, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

The district is getting ready to discuss and approve the budget for the next fiscal year. This document lays out the financial plan, the spending priorities and what will be accomplished with the rates collected.

It is probably the most important financial document the board considers during the year. The meeting for this review and possible approval is taking place at 3:30 p.m. instead of in the evening when the regular board meetings are held.

This earlier time allows for less public participation in the process, thereby reducing transparency. If the district was serious about being financially transparent, it would hold this important meeting at a time that would allow for more public input and involvement.

Glynis Litvak

Costa Mesa

The writer is a former Mesa Water District employee.

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Hoag abortion ban

I was disappointed to see the letters in your mailbag section all held the same opinion — that Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian was wrong to ban abortions at its facility.

I hope you will publish other opinions as well about this matter. I, for one, applaud Hoag for its decision. If abortion supporters are worried about where they or their daughters can get their next abortion, they need only look in the yellow pages for any number of providers.

I must say that the fact that one writer called abortion "a service" is unconscionable. The suction and dismemberment of an unborn human being forcibly torn from its mother's womb is anything but a service.

Karen Fisher

Huntington Beach