(Los Alamitos, 8/28/2014) This week our Thursday columnist treats us to a “twofer:” A candid evaluation of concerns from Los Alamitos City Council’s last meeting, as well as a detailed report on what took place, and an introduction to several key issues I’ve been intending to address.
by Highlands Guy: Got home late from work, and much to wife’s chagrin, as soon as I walked in the house I turned on good ol’ channel 3. Thought I should keep up on what’s going on in our little hamlet.
There were the same faces staring down from the dais that I’ve grown to respect over the last few years. They have been forthright and reflective of community standards and expectations on a number of issues.
But now that we are on the precipice of a change in one of the seats, the wheels are turning slower and the usual full-steam ahead does not seem to be the watchword of the day.
My foci today are all over the board, but have all been on the city hall agenda and cover a variety of subjects. They include recent discussions that have been heard in the council chamber on the Fourth of July fireworks show at the JFTB, the passing of the ordinance allowing bingo, the future of LATV3, and conversations on the relocation of city hall. The point of view is mine, but I did find some friends and neighbors who were, generally, in agreement with my premises.
LATV3 has evolved over the years. Quality of programming, time/energy/dollar investment, leadership, and city involvement have waxed and waned based on little more than emotional appeals. And it sure seems like we’re on the cusp of yet another incarnation.
But the form it will take was certainly not clear from the recent conversation by our civic leaders. They touched on technical and logistical issues but none were explored in any meaningful detail.
Underlying much of the debate has been the absence of a clear definition of just what our city’s goal is for LATV3. Thus, at this juncture, I would offer that the city needs to get out of the “TV” business. We do not have the time, money, or expertise that needs to be devoted to this venture.
We should not spend any more tax money on someone’s hobby. Studios and related equipment are not within the expertise of the council or a commission. I believe the monopolistic TV service providers are the logical entities, legally and technologically, to carry out this mission.
Remote Caller Bingo
The recently enacted remote caller bingo ordinance passed quickly, and with little discussion. Why the action was initiated at all appears to be that Comité del Amor, the non-profit running St Isidore Historical Plaza, is looking for a new source of income. And while I am a supporter of preservation generally, and of this institution specifically, I think on one level, having a voting city council person who is also intimately connected with the non-profit gives an appearance that should be more fully vetted.
On another level, and not discussed at all, is the exact relationship with the city. For instance, is LAPD going to be expected to add value to this picture? My experience with the high school bingo program has shown that in addition to providing a certain amount of security, the local police agency has requirements imposed by the State of California. So, who is it that will foot these bills? Let me be clear, I fully support this type of fund-raising, but the details need to be more clearly defined and the unintended consequences in the near and far-term need to be explored.
4th of July Fireworks
What am I missing here? A few residents are upset because they now have a less than stellar view of the annual fireworks show and they are strong-arming the city council? And it sure seems that the city council is bowing to the pressure in the face of the facts. For years our neighbors in carrier row have had the benefit of living right next to the base which gave them a ring side seat to the festivities. But things evolve and now due to a number of legitimate factors the site from where the fireworks are sent aloft has moved a few hundred feet south.
First off, we should not forget that the show is put on by, and for, the entire north Orange County community. So we need to be cognizant that our friends and neighbors in Cypress, Seal Beach, Garden Grove (and other nearby cities) participate and enjoy the show also. Which begs the obvious question of, what percentage of the city’s population is represented by the folks who are complaining? I wish them no ill-will but did they take into account the many Highlands residents who now have a better view from their yards and from one of the least used parks in the city, Orville Lewis? Last I heard they are voters too.
From what I have read in city documents, the move makes sense on a number of levels. Vehicle ingress and egress movements are more efficient. Parking and sitting areas allow for much better security containment as well as access and identification by first responders, for both LAPD and JFTB personnel. Access to food and game vendors (as well as “outhouse” facilities) is more efficient. And on a personal level, my experience on the tarmac as opposed to the previous very uneven, mostly dirt and weeds, field, is definite plus.
And what about the hundreds of hours, of my tax dollars, by city staff and JFTB personnel over the last three years putting the new configuration in place? Are we just going to blow it off? Finally, to have a few residents attempting to blackmail the council with the threat of bringing back “safe and sane” fireworks (there’s a misnomer if I ever heard one), is outrageous. Just ask any police or fire department about the little kids who get eyes and fingers blown out. But at least a few or our neighbors will get their way. Are you kidding me?
Moving City Hall
The conversation, during the recent special meeting about moving city hall was also not up to the council’s usual diligent approach. No real ideas other than wait and see. Come on, this has been at the back of the community’s mind for years. It would have seemed reasonable that pro-active investigation would have been in progress by elected or paid city staff. As it is, there does not appear to be enough “future thinking”.
The current members of the council are intelligent and have proven their worth to the city. And I have been impressed with their effectiveness over the last couple of years. But the issues noted above deserve more of their time. Maybe a reduced schedule of personal appearances or award shows is called for.
“There never is a good time for tough decisions. There will always be an election or something else. You have to pick courage and do it. Governance is about taking tough, even unpopular, decisions”
– Jairam Ramesh (1954-) Indian economist and politician, member to the Indian National Congress. Member of international Council of Asia Society. Degrees in public policy and mechanical engineering.
…And that’s just the way I see it.
As always, your perspective, reporting, and insights are welcome.