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Sunday, June 9, 2013

More illumination, less smoke

The Fairview Park Advisory Committee meeting, unfortunately, modeled City government. Fortunately, also, it modeled City government.

The positive aspects were the preparation by the staff, the staff support, and the interest shown by both City Council and Parks and Recreation Commission representatives. The mandate for the Committee was to develop a vision for the Park and establish priorities for moving the Park toward that vision.

Too much time was spent quibbling about details, some that are irrelevant to the Committee’s purposes. For example, there were efforts to debate the amount of money allocated to a proposed project (parking lot lighting); we elected the City Council to manage our money. Councilwoman Genis said she believed the Parks portion of the General Plan would have to be amended. Checking the requirements before commissioning an in-depth study seems prudent; arguing dollars doesn’t.  

A pertinent section states:

 Pedestrian scale security lighting should occur only in the developed parts of the park site (the neighborhood parks on the north and south, the entrance and picnic areas on the west side, and the parking lot and train station area on the east side). The parking area north of the bluff on the west side, the restored areas and botanic garden should not be lighted and should be closed to the public after dark. Light fixtures should be chosen which repeat the sandblasted exposed aggregate concrete and wood materials of the other park furniture.

Jumping ahead -- again

The debate led to discussion of more playing fields in Costa Mesa, especially some not beholden to the school system (which takes our money without giving us. . . etc.) If the Planning Commission believed more fields were needed it would task Parks and Recreation to develop a plan. The information they supplied to the Fairview Park Committee would help decide what could, and more importantly, what should or shouldn't be done in Fairview Park.

He's got a hidden agenda -- or maybe it's her

There were several instances of outright hubris. We heard intimations of hidden agendas as we hear at Council meetings and see in newspaper commentary. A few accused Mensinger of wanting to use the Park as a sporting annex for Estancia (he’s an Estancia sports booster). Others accused Genis of wanting the park to be a weed patch, nothing more. Some accused Committee members of being shills for the model railroad or for youth sports. Some accusations were outright, some sotto voice, and perhaps from the visitors' gallery.

How did these people develop such insight into others’ motivations, feelings, thoughts and beliefs? Not by asking or listening or knowing, that’s for sure. Just by assuming.

Manners forgotten

Some people may need a refresher on the manners they should have learned in kindergarten or in their homes. People of integrity and intelligence serve on the Council and on advisory committees. It’s easy to disagree with others about the City’s direction or the Park’s priorities. There’s no call to label and insult good people, unless you're assuming you have infinite knowledge and wisdom.

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