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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Welcome Mat Out for Criminals

Do you value the helicopter (Eagle) that has kept a lid on crime in Costa Mesa for nearly 40 years?

Do you think criminals are deterred from coming to Costa Mesa because they know the Eagle eye is watching over Costa Mesa residents?

Do you think our city's crime rate will go up if the amount of time Eagle is in the sky is reduced from 5 hours to 1 hour a day plus emergencies?

Do you think the City of Huntington Beach can do the job as well to protect us with its helicopter as Eagle?

Do you know that Costa Mesa will experience three (3) days of fireworks starting July 2?

If any of these questions bother you in the least bit, I suggest you plan to ask more questions and wait for your answer at Tuesday's  (June 7) City Council meeting 

The item is listed under "New Business" #1 Alternatives for the operation of the ABLE program.

Word on the street is that it is already a done deal that CM will contract with HB for $700 hour for $100,000.  That would be 142 flying hours.

But not so fast (I say that a lot these days). Here's some more information to help you decide what is best for our city:

May 19 the ABLE board made up of CM and NB officers voted to ask the CM City Council to extend the ABLE program to Oct. 1, 2011 so that "additional research can be done" on writing an RFP (we're writing a lot of those these days, so ABLE should be "able" too).  Expenses of $567,881 for the three months would come out of the ABLE reserve fund.

Add to this option, Newport Beach resident Peter Adderton who is offering to work with ABLE to cut costs and create a public/private venture that serves both cities for more than just an hour a day.  Remember Peter came to a recent CM City Council meeting and asked the Council to consider his offer to help.  (He had personal experience with the effectiveness of ABLE when there was an intruder in his home.)

The staff report for Monday states response time would be 5 minutes 49 seconds from HB.  If the Eagle is airborne in CM the response time could be a couple of minutes. Officers can now call up the Eagle for support--that likely won't be the case since CM will be on a limited budget. 

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict that CM crime will increase.  Once the criminals find out Eagle is gone, they will cross the border from SA.  Thieves, druggies, sex offenders, parolees, gangs--what's to stop them? We have the most parolees than other cities per capita.  I went on a "ride-a-long" on Saturday night and got an eyefull of what happens after 10 p.m. in our fair city.  We cannot afford to lose ABLE.  Tomorrow night I will read some actual reports of the great work ABLE has done recently.

The sky is not falling.  We are balancing our budget.  Why would we be willing to put residents at great risk?  This is a great turning point for us.  There is no urgency.  ABLE voted to use their funds.  We need to really think about this one. 

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by extending ABLE to Oct. 1.  To do otherwise is not good law enforcement.


savetheeagle said...

Actually, EAGLE has been around since 1970. That is more than FORTY years of continuous service to the citizens of Costa Mesa. This service is not just a "luxury" as some council members have theorized. I know that it was more than a "luxury" when Officer's Ketchum and Libolt gave the ultimate sacrifice for the City of Costa Mesa while flying EAGLE TWO. EAGLE has already cut back from ten hours of flight time a day to five. You can continue to cut back pilots and flight time until it can no longer be effective. How effective would patrol officers be if they were only allowed to patrol five hours a day? Sure, you can contract out to Huntington Beach for air support, but are they really going to be there when you need them? If a large scale natural disaster strikes are they going to leave their town to help ours? Maybe we can have their patrol officers respond to the west-side for calls for service. They are just across the river after all. I am sure that crime will increase considerably without the daily patrol flights and the deterrence of EAGLE. The facts are out there. Do a Google search on project Sky Knight. In my opinion, it is a crime that a couple of council members would cancel such a valuable program for a political agenda. This is not about the money folks! The City of Costa Mesa spent less than one percent of the budget on this program last year.

Original Max said...

I feel safer with ABLE. Newport has the same helicopter and yet it's not considered a ghetto because of it's demographics. Costa Mesa is considered by some to be a ghetto because of its high crime rates in the past. Getting rid of the helicopter will only make it worse.

If I was a car thief, I'd much prefer to steal cars in a city without a helicopter. Even better, a city with a dwindling number of police officers in a department with low moral.

It seems like there are some people that think police officers should only take home $4K a month with no benefits. I have a feeling those are people that have never been a cop for 20 years in our city. It seems like a tough job. I'm glad I am gainfully employed elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

These are all fascinating ideas.

1) Crooks 'research' which cities have a copter, and based upon such research, may decide (not) to perpetrate act(s) requiring beat officers accompanied by helicopter to respond;


a) the requirement of a helicopter is predominately required because the perpetrators are 'right there' i.e. Shalimar / or [on skid row] - 'the demographics require a helipcopter";

Re-read the very first line of the post by Wendy. It reads " Do you value the ... Eagle that has kept a lid on crime in Costa Mesa..."

Sure it has, but not by deterring the out-of-towners - more like the slum-crook/gangs. And of course the crime will go up, regardless of whether the crooks come from without or within. The crime will go up simply because the crooks are already in Costa Mesa. The out of town argument is a red herring.


Anonymous said...

In the times of cutting, there needs to be some sort of compromise. Problem 1) when news came out about the salaries of the pilots, EVERY went MAD, really mad. I have a friend, Vietnam Vet - helicopter pilot, then National Guard pilot who would GLADLY, pilot helicopters for 1/2 the salary. PROBLEM 2) now the ABLE program is being held for ransom - because unless we continue to pony up the huge salaries, we lose the program. For the kind of money being spent, there should be able to be a copter in the air 24-7 at half the cost. Such a waste.

Jeff said...

"Once the criminals find out Eagle is gone, they will cross the border from SA"

Crossing the border from Santa Ana? You make it sound like they are invading from a foreign country. You don't see a connection between the charities in the city that YOU keep supporting and the decline in quality of life here? Wake up!

"Thieves, druggies, sex offenders, parolees, gangs--what's to stop them? We have the most parolees than other cities per capita."

What could be drawing them to CM? How about all the charities and resources you've helped offer these folks at the expense of tax paying citizens?

Costa Mesa had to conduct a homeless task force. I think that demonstrates just how poorly CM has been run.

"I went on a "ride-a-long" on Saturday night and got an eyefull of what happens after 10 p.m. in our fair city."

As a city resident who's been a city council member for a number of years what have you done to keep Costa Mesa and it's residents (who don't live in gated communities) safe? From what I've seen, very little.

Want to start improving CM? Crack down on the motor inn on Harbor Blvd. which is a parole haven. Same with Sandpiper Motel on Newport blvd. Tahiti inn on harbor also has several trouble makers.

I appreciate you wanting to improve things but it sounds like grandstanding. Talk is cheap lets see some action.

Barry said...

What do you expect when 4 out 5 council members have their heads firmly lodged up their rear ends?