Foothills Sentry - November 2023

Foothills Sentry Page 4 November 2023 JOHNSON MOTORCARS 34 Years of Specializing in the Service and Repair of Mercedes-Benz Gary Johnson 714-997-2567 982 N. Batavia # B13, Orange, CA 92867 @ ramblingroseoc Out of order Dear Editor: The Irvine Company (TIC) proposes to destroy a vast stretch of wildlife habitat by developing 1,180 new homes between Jam- boree and the 241 toll road. For- merly known as "Santiago Hills Phase II," it is now called "Orange Heights." In typical marketing fashion, TIC promotes itself as a hero for preserving open space when, in fact, we have lost our entire valley ecosystem because of its rampant development. We need to defend this valuable foothill ecosystem that supports deer, bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, long-tailed weasels, white- tailed kites, gnatcatchers, cactus wrens, roadrunners, quail, pol- linators and many other animals who need it for their survival. This proposed project has the potential to significantly increase noise, air, light and water pollu- tion and degrade the quality of life for residents in East Orange. This outdated project was origi- nally approved in 2005, before many large-scale developments erased thousands of acres of open space throughout the entire coun- ty. A new Environmental Impact Report (EIR) needs to be drafted and circulated to take into con- sideration all of the new housing developments, recent wildfires, habitat loss, increased pollution, traffic congestion and other issues that have plagued Orange County over the past 18 years. It does not matter how much the project has been scaled back. We cannot afford to lose more of our rural open space to inappropriate urban sprawl. The Orange City Council can call for a new EIR. As part of the democratic process, citizens de- serve an opportunity to comment on the proposed project as it cur- rently exists, especially since TIC is proposing something different than the original “Santiago Hills Phase II.” We have not had an op- portunity to comment on this new project. It is in the city's best in- terest to request a new EIR for the following reasons: 1) Wildfire: There have been multiple devastating fires in re- cent years; in 2017, one of them burned the exact site of this pro- posed housing project. Similar proposed projects in Los Angeles and San Diego County have been stopped for this very reason. 2) Sprawl: The proposed proj- ect contradicts the city's effort to develop sustainable infill projects that are near amenities and transit hubs. Light, noise, air and water pollution will increase exponen- tially at the proposed project site, because it currently produces no pollution. 3) Wildlife corridor: Sensitive species are heavily reliant upon this site as a crucial habitat. It is perfectly situated between Ir- vine Regional Park, Peters Can- yon and the Santa Ana Mountain Range. Other large-scale devel- opments and the toll roads have already decimated the popula- tions of these species in Tustin, Anaheim Hills, Irvine, Lake For- est, Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano. Please call, email or write let- ters to Mayor Dan Slater and Or- ange City Council members, and tell them to require a new EIR. Joel Robinson Orange Dear Editor: Much has changed in the 18 years since the original Environ- mental Impact Report was ap- proved for what is now known as the Orange Heights develop- ment in East Orange. Massive wildfires have swept through the region. Orange County has lost vast amounts of wild land to large-scale developments. Traffic congestion and pollution have in- creased exponentially. I implore Mayor Dan Slater and the city council to require a new EIR from The Irvine Compa- ny so the city can re-evaluate the significant impacts of this pro- posed development. In the mean- time, the city council can explore the many other ways to improve housing availability and afford- ability in the city, without losing habitat for wildlife and increasing urban sprawl. Let’s hold Mayor Slater to the promise made on his campaign website: “Just as important as preserving Old Towne, Orange’s next leader must find a way to preserve and retain our precious few remaining open spaces.” Heather Westenhofer Orange Slow down Dear Editor: E-bikes (where 35 mph may be an average speed) can be a silent danger/killer. E-bikes have the capacity to reach high speeds, and are silent, just as bicycles are. Caution is imperative when it comes to pedestrians, and also the e-bike rider. I’ve encountered young people speeding up and down neighbor- hood streets. One almost hit my husband as he was crossing a street. Also seen was a group of young teens riding e-bikes in the Orange Plaza without concern for vehicles. One was darting in and out of traffic, and another group was speeding down the sidewalk. It seems there is a lack of train- ing or knowledge with regard to safety and the laws. This is a di- saster waiting to happen. E-bikes are considered “vehicles,” and are subject to the same rules as cars, trucks and busses. Purchasers of e-bikes should be made aware of the laws that apply to vehicles on streets and road- ways. Stressing these laws and dangers should keep riders and people safe. E-bikes are a fan- tastic mode of transportation, us- ing green energy and less muscle power than ordinary bicycles. But they come with responsibility. Mary Keogh Orange Kudos to Kiwanis Dear Editor: As a new member of the Ki- wanis Club of Orange, I was invited to attend its installation dinner. I didn’t really want to go. I injured my knee; it was kill- ing me. What was I doing here? I didn’t know anyone very well, but in a short time they drew me in, big time. My wife passed away last year. We were married 46 years. I have been looking long and hard for a place to belong. The Kiwanians made me feel welcome. Their commitment to being a family, to helping others, and doing great things for our community, espe- cially the kids, is gratifying. I can belong here. The club is always looking for new members, new ideas and new connections. If you are in a situa- tion similar to mine, and you are looking for a place to land, put down roots and be happy and connected, the Kiwanis Club of Orange is that place. Here’s how to join: see kiwani- . Randy Garell Orange Pooling resources Dear Editor: I find it incredulous that the very same people who promul- gate public education are against the pool at Villa Park High School. They call it “fiscally ir- responsible,” but is it financially sound to fix a broken car only for it to live for two or three years? In this case, is it fiscally re- sponsible to continuously repair Villa Park’s near-death pool, all at the expense of the taxpayer? I don’t think so. They mention that the pool will deplete the district’s maintenance fund. But we are currently sitting on tens of mil- lions of dollars of real estate. Is it fiscally responsible to hoard wealth to such an extent that would otherwise be invested back into our communities? I don’t think so. They argue that a pool on our campus is incompatible with the Villa Park community. But many residents of Villa Park, includ- ing members of the city council, have expressed support for the pool. Are the soccer moms who use our football field, the ORCA moms who use our pool, and the cheer moms who use the PAC a nuisance to the Villa Park com- munity? I don’t think so. I dislike having outsiders voice their concerns over local issues. They want to push forward a bond for the pool, but why must we burden the taxpayer, thus con- tributing to decreased student en- rollment? It’s imperative that we concern ourselves with student needs and concerns. Through a new pool, we can enhance and support our public schools. Alexander Tran Orange OUSD student board member Over this board Dear Editor: The current dysfunctional OUSD board majority has hit a new low. Rather than expressing any regret or contrition for their complete lack of leadership and responsible management of the September board meeting, these failed “public servants” criticized their colleagues at the October meeting. Those colleagues had been singled out by the uncon- trolled aggressors in the audience and were angrily approached with loud insults, a six-foot-long flag pole, and violent threats to such an extent that they left the room to escape physical harm. I arrived at that September meeting early, and was denied a seat as all seat tickets had been doled out hours before. I struck up a conversation with a woman who said she was from Glendale. She said that she represented an organization that provides money for people dissatisfied with their public schools, so they can send their kids to private schools. I was taken aback. This woman trav- eled all the way to Orange to add to the discord here, and perhaps make some money from it for herself. Unbelievable. The roomhad been packed since early in the afternoon by these po- litically fueled anger groups from Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, Glendale, Hollywood and who-knows-where else. One thing is certain -- they were not from our OUSD neighborhoods, and they knew nothing about our excellent schools. I was sitting near the area where an angry confrontation between audience members ex- ploded into an ear-popping melee of vitriol. It was frightening. It was also disgusting in that no one did anything to stop it. Audience members, unknown to us who are stakeholders of OUSD, raged at each other as if in armed combat. One man, to my shock, rushed in, shouting epithets while holding his toddler daughter. That child seemed also in shock, bewildered by what she was being exposed to. In a shameful irony, the man who held her was there under the banner of protecting children. I looked around to see what Board President Rick Ledesma was doing to control the situa- tion. He stood motionless, look- ing on. Bemused Board Vice President John Ortega sat safely at his board seat taking videos of the disastrous “school board meeting.” Taking videos! I am hopeful the current recall effort will bring relief and sanity back to OUSD, so we can begin to build our school district back up out of the rubble and back to serving our children with an ex- cellent education. Kathy Moffat Villa Park Dear Editor: I am relieved that the petitions to recall OUSD Board Trust- ees Rick Ledesma and Madison Miner were approved for a public vote. I am so tired of these aw- ful school board meetings that are full of lies and gaslighting. They make me sick to my stomach. The next step to get them out is to set a date for the recall, and guess who gets to pick when it is? Yup, the Ledesma board majority. They have the choice to put the recall on the primary ballot in March, and they better take it. A stand-alone election would cost us nearly $1,000,000 more. We don’t need to lose even more funds due to their political pos- turing. A recall vote at the March primary would make it easier for members of our community to participate and have their voices heard. It’s the most accessible and fiscally responsible choice. If they force a standalone election on us, it certainly won’t improve their public image. Since Ledesma and Miner say they are champions of parent’s rights and conservative econom- ics, this should be an easy choice for them to make. Kim VanDerHoek Orange Dear Editor: With the recent troubles in our local school districts, I started to wonder "Who do these board members actually work for?” Turns out they aren’t working for us. The majority of the OUSD Board and OC Board of Educa- tion seem to be working for just a few very wealthy people and special interest PACs. Madison Miner, Rick Ledes- ma, Angie Rumsey and John Ortega from Orange Unified got well over 60% of their campaign funds from just a few people or PACs. Mark Bucher is one of those people, and he’s been fund- ing questionable candidates in OUSD since the 90s. Some of his politicians were recalled a little over 20 years ago. Ken Williams, Mari Barke, Tim Shaw and Lisa Sparks from the OC Board of Education got over 75% of their campaign funds from the SAME groups. Those groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars influencing our elections just last year.