Foothills Sentry April 2023

NEWS INSIDE A Monthly Community Newspaper APRIL 2023 Letters Page 4-5 Canyon Beat Page 6 Obituary Page 10 Service Directory Pages 11-13 Prof. Directory Page 13 Classifieds Page 13 Community Sports Page 14-15 The Best News In Town Since 1969 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry FROM POWDER TO PICKLEBALL Canyonites weather snow, fight blight, pack a paddle and revise the rules. See Canyon Beat, page 6 BUILDING BOOM-DOGGLE State legislation says yes to developers, no to neighborhoods. See Commentary, page 10 NO PLAUDITS FOR AUDIT OUSD board replaces promised academic survey with one- dimensional test scores. See story page 8 See "FCA Meeting" continued on page 2 The Foothills Sentry is returning to its roots! Only 54 years ago, kids on horseback and bicycles delivered the Sentry to each household. This year, due to skyrocketing postage rates, the Sentry -- with the Best Local News -- will be delivered to each residential driveway. Of course, it will continue to be available at libraries and civic centers, online at and via subscription. The historic Orange Plaza fountain was damaged by a driver speeding down Chapman Avenue in an at- tempt to evade police. The crash happened at about 5 a.m. March 13. A police officer had observed the vehicle leaving the 100 block of S. Parker with no headlights, and tried to pull it over. Instead, the driver took off, reaching an estimated 80 mph within a few blocks, crashing through the temporary barricades at Chapman and Glassell, careening into the fountain and flipping twice before stopping. The driver was ap- prehended on the scene, taken to a hospital with minor injuries and booked at Orange County Jail. The car was stolen; a handgun and high capacity magazine were found in the vehicle. Mayor Dan Slater reports that the fountain will be restored to its original condition. FCA 60th anniversary observed at annual meeting By Tina Richards The annual Foothill Communi- ties Association meeting, March 6, was highlighted by a presenta- tion from Supervisor Don Wagner recognizing the organization’s 60th anniversary. A certificate commemorating FCA’s six de- cades of community service was given to a surprised President Rick Nelson, who was unaware the Supervisor’s acknowledg- ment was coming. Wagner applauded FCA for be- ing “the folks on the ground who are doing for themselves.” A rep- resentative for U.S. Representa- tive Young Kim also presented a certificate of recognition. The remainder of the formal proceedings included talks by North Tustin resident Jane Rice on a forthcoming statewide effort to amend the California consti- tution, Justin Kirk of OC Public Works and a keynote address by Supervisor Wagner. Coming to a street near you Rice is the local representative for Our Neighborhood Voices, a group that is collecting signatures to place a measure to restore local control over zoning on the 2024 ballot. The measure, if success- ful, will override state legislation (SB9 and 10) that mandates local jurisdictions approve multi-fami- ly developments in single-family neighborhoods, with few restric- tions. Our Neighborhood Voices at- tempted the same ballot initiative last year, but ran out of time to collect enough signatures. The group must collect 874,641 sig- natures statewide by April 29, 2024. Kirk, planning division manag- er for OC Development Services, reported that the county is facing the challenges described in Rice’s presentation, and that it is doing what it can to retain its autonomy. Developers don’t have carte blanche, he said, unless they meet certain requirements. Unless the project is within one-half mile of public transit, parking must be in- cluded; units over 800 sq. ft. have the same setback requirements as larger structures. “Although the county’s ability to regulate is greatly diminished,” he added, “this isn’t the end. We’re work- ing with other jurisdictions to get some control back.” Changing times Wagner noted that housing is a serious issue, but that solutions out of Sacramento don’t work all the time for all neighborhoods. Marathon OUSD board meeting covers a lot of ground and treads water By Tina Richards The Orange Unified School District Board named Ernie Gon- zalez as interim superintendent; agreed to solicit proposals from search firms to find a permanent replacement; defended a mislead- ing agenda item pertaining to the proposed Villa Park High School swimming pool; and moved pub- lic comments from the beginning to the end of the March 2 meet- ing. Gonzalez, the district’s assis- tant superintendent of human re- sources, was selected to serve as interim superintendent by unani- mous vote. Gonzalez has been with OUSD since 2010 and in hu- man resources since 2014. In a separate action, the board agreed to seek proposals from search firms to locate candidates for district superintendent. Board President Rick Ledesma said he wanted the process fast-tracked, with interviews in early April to enable a vote on the selected firm April 13. He subsequently sched- uled Monday, April 3 at 5:30 p.m. for a public meeting to interview search firms. New pool for school During the Feb. 5 board meet- ing, Ledesma and Trustee John Ortega lobbied hard for a new 51-m swimming pool at Villa Park High. The existing pool could, they reported, fail at any time. While the entire board agreed that a new pool is needed, Trustees Ana Page and Kris Er- ickson noted that elementary and middle schools also had pressing needs as urgent as the VPHS pool. In addition to those facilities, Orange and Canyon High pools were also reaching end-of-life. As a compromise to the VPHS pool versus everything else argu- ment, the board agreed to fund inspections of all three pools and develop cost estimates for a 25, 30 and 51-m pool at Villa Park. That is not, however, what ap- peared in the March 2 consent calendar. The consent calendar is a slate of usually routine items that can be approved by the board in a single vote. The item, “con- ceptual design for Villa Park pool replacement,” was pulled from the consent calendar by Andrea Orange Paseo passed over The resurrection of a Paseo in Old Towne Orange has been put on indefinite hold by the Orange City Council, March 14. Staff had been exploring the costs of either a permanent or sea- sonal closure of Glassell Street for a few blocks on either side of the Plaza, should the city coun- cil choose to restore the Paseo. It had been created in 2020 to boost business during the pan- demic, with outdoor dining avail- able from Glassell Street restau- rants in a walkable environment. However, many other impacted businesses and Old Towne resi- dents wanted the Paseo to remain a memory only, and Glassell re- opened permanently. Staff reported that it would cost about $58,000 to get a “planned, cohesive and attractive” Paseo up and running. The streets would have to be cleaned every night, for $30,000 per month. The city would have to talk with the Orange County Trans- portation Authority about rerout- ing buses again. If the council wanted to proceed, the next step would be an Environmental Im- pact Report that would also be costly. “I thought this whole thing died a year ago,” Mayor Pro Tem Ari- anna Barrios pointed out. Councilman Jon Dumitru add- ed that, while the timing for the original Paseo was excellent, the Plaza district is thriving now. He could not see the need to dis- rupt traffic or Old Towne at this point. “The time for a Paseo has passed,” he said. “We should move on from the Paseo at this point, until the next disease.” His colleagues agreed. Yamasaki. She said the item de- scription was misleading to the public, and it should be discussed for transparency. Had she not pulled it, the public would have, as several meeting attendees wanted to speak on it. Lynne Friedlander noted that staff was supposed to get es- timates for renovations or up- grades, not a design for a new pool. “The previous board had a Facilities Master Plan, and now you’re ignoring that and voting for a 51-m pool. Everyone wants a 51-m pool, but we don’t have the money for it,” she said. Friends and family She also said that John Ortega was affiliated with the ORCA swim club that uses the VP pool, and that the organization had ad- vised its members that if they vot- ed for certain school board can- didates (Madison Miner and Rick Ledesma), they’d get a new pool. See "OUSD" continued on page 3 Photo by Jonathan Zimmerman