The cost of Newport Beach's City Hall just keeps on rising. We will now need an additional $6.5 million to finish the project; we are now up to $139 million.

After financing this project over the next 30 years, it could very well exceed $237 million. We have also been informed that the travel allowance for the architects will require an additional $69,000 (where are they coming from?).

Forgive my ignorance, but couldn't our money have been better spent? The sea walls on Balboa Island are still in dire straits, the dock taxes imposed on those living on the waterfront are unjustified, the Peninsula could use a serious face lift, and the list goes on.

The $139 million price tag appears to be fiscally responsible by our civic leaders? I have read some of the biographies of our City Council members and a common thread is that they are fiscally and business-minded.

Really? Keep on spending; it's not your money.

By the way, what is up with those bunnies?

Juli Hayden

Newport Beach

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Thank you, doctors

I applaud the eight doctors from Hoag Hospital who had the courage to refute the hospital's statement regarding its new policy banning abortion. It is clear that Hoag's publicly stated reason for changing its long-standing position is disingenuous, at best.

For those of us who live in Newport Beach, Hoag is the only practical option for hospital care, particularly in an emergency. As such, it is the de facto community hospital. Therefore, at a minimum, it owes the community complete honesty and transparency.

Moreover, as it purports to serve all the citizens of Newport Beach, it should not follow one segment's religious doctrine, but rather well-settled civil law, namely a woman's right to choose. Hoag should reverse its policy regarding abortion forthwith.

Mark B. David

Newport Coast

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Catholic healthcare

I wish to thank the doctors who recently addressed Hoag Hospital's decision to cut abortion services in the wake of its partnership with the Catholic hospital group, St. Joseph Health System.

The doctors clearly articulated the reasons why this policy is unsound and Hoag's justifications disingenuous. However, I'd like to add that our concern as a community should extend beyond those who support access to abortions.

Catholic doctrine also prohibits contraception, including birth control pills, condoms, IUDs, vasectomies and tubal ligations. It also frowns upon fertility treatments, including artificial and in-vitro fertilization. The Catholic Church also has directives on end-of-life care that may limit treatment options to suffering patients that are otherwise legally available.

According to St. Joseph's website, its "Catholic health-care delivery system" includes hospitals, home health agencies, hospice care, outpatient services, skilled nursing facilities, community clinics and physicians organizations.

Roughly one-third of all medical services provided in Orange County are now funneled through the gates of the Catholic health-care system. This should be of concern to anyone who wants to make medical decisions in concert with their own physician and loved ones. Medical options, which are legal and desired, should not be rendered unavailable due to the growing market share of the Catholic health-care system.

Valerie Burchfield Rhodes

Laguna Niguel