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Thursday, June 30, 2011

So Long A.B.L.E. Hello July 4

It's hard to believe that tomorrow begins a new era in our city.  The Eagle in the sky won't be heard overhead since the City Council voted to dismantle the helicopter program and contract out with Huntington Beach.  I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that the new system will work as well.
I just want to say "thank you" to Tim and the rest of the ABLE team.  There are many in our city who value the force multiplier effects of ABLE.  Yes, it was an expensive program to maintain in these challenging times.  I am hopeful those interested in a public-private venture of some sort will figure out a way to restore Costa Mesans helicopter protection at a lesser cost.

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July.  We have so much to be thankful for in America and I always enjoy celebrating here in Costa Mesa.  As I have said before, I love living here because I can be FREE to be me--no pretense, no keeping up with the Joneses. We're a little conglomeration of America in Costa Mesa.   We've got conservatives, liberals, Dems, GOP, Independents, Greens, Decline to State, Libertarians, many ethnicities and religions, kids, seniors, boomers...those who love fireworks and those who don't like them.

Yes, this year will be a little different, but I know our police officers and firefighters/paramedics are ready to serve if called.  And I do wish our youth groups a prosperous 5 days of sales.  I'll be out there buying a few more sparklers myself.

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.