The recent happenings at Fairview Park are classic examples of how the desire of people to maintain Fairview Park for passive use stands in direct conflict with the requirements of big government.

The problem is that government cannot grow if it doesn't spend money. Every five years or so someone comes along with a better idea for the park, oblivious to its history and why it is not just an open field waiting to be developed.

Almost 30 years ago, the residents of Costa Mesa recognized that most of the parks in the city required a permit or an appointment to use them. There virtually was nowhere you could go in the city to enjoy a park unless you were involved with a ball sport. This desire drove the decision to buy the land from the county, preventing its development.

The fate of Fairview Park was sealed long ago with the discovery of the buried archaeological remnants of Native American settlements. Big government doubled down by accepting mitigation money from big business to rehabilitate the mud holes required for the San Diego fairy shrimp.

Government tends to ignore its own laws, so we must keep a watchful eye. Plans for a golf course, sports complex or parking lot will always be waiting in the wings. It is time to disband the Fairview Park committee.

James J. Jones

Costa Mesa

*

Writers wrong on 'United' ruling

In recent weeks, the Daily Pilot has run several short letters, possibly orchestrated by an organized campaign, criticizing the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. Without addressing the implications of the decision for public policy, one consistent error in these letters needs to be corrected.

Contrary to widespread myth, Citizens United did not invent a new doctrine that corporations are people. That doctrine has been formally recognized in American law since at least the early 1800s, and has roots in common law going back to the Middle Ages.

It was recognized in William Blackstone's magisterial "Commentaries on the Laws of England," one of the primary sources used in the framing of the U.S. Constitution. It was first addressed by the Supreme Court in Dartmouth College vs. Woodward in 1819 and reiterated in Pembina Consolidated Silver Mining Co. vs. Pennsylvania, Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad (the latter treating the point as so uncontroversial that it was disposed of in a mere headnote) and many times since.

Corporations are defined as people in the first section of the United States Code and Section 14 of the California Civil Code. As some of the loudest critics of the decision know perfectly well from their first-year law school classwork, none of this is new.

Ironically, the premise underlying concern about corporations paying to publicize their viewpoints is that an ill-informed citizenry, unlike a thoughtful public, may be easily influenced by slick, expensively produced political advertising. These letters may make a case against free, unrestricted political speech in a way their writers perhaps didn't quite intend.

Thomas J. Eastmond

Newport Beach

The writer is an attorney practicing in Irvine.