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Monday, August 14, 2023

Golden Plus One Anniversary! Celebrating My 51 years in Costa Mesa

It's been 51 years since my late husband John and I left Tucson and put down our roots in Costa Mesa, and I feel like celebrating! 

All things considered, it's been an exciting 51 years and looking back, I am very thankful that I didn't leave Costa Mesa, and I don't plan to leave in the future. It's a city where, although not perfect, middle-class families with children, singles, and seniors representing many cultures enjoy a wonderful quality of life.

I am still in love with Costa Mesa: its people, fresh Pacific Ocean breezes, (I never use air conditioning) our nature and playground parks, the multi-ethnic vibe, endless creativity...the fun just never ends!

So how did John and I find Costa Mesa? Or how did Costa Mesa find us?

In 1968 John enlisted in the Army Reserves during the Vietnam War and did his basic training at Ft. Knox. We were married in Tucson in 1969 at the end of my junior year at the University of Arizona. I graduated in 1970 with a BA in Education with an English major and journalism minor.

While I taught high school journalism and English for two years at Canyon del Oro High school, John completed his BS in architecture and graduated in 1972.

Immediately after John's graduation, we were ready to strike out on our own (and leave the heat for cool California). John landed a job with the famous America's Cup winner and local architect Bill Ficker, and we moved to an apartment in Westminster, and he started working at the very cool Ficker offices on the old Irvine Ranch on Bison. 

I was hired as a reporter, likely because of my very short 70's mini skirt, at the Santa Ana Register on Grand Ave. and reported on the City of Tustin affairs, its schools and city government and sometimes the Orange County Department of Education the OC Planning Commission. The newsroom was noisy with busy reporters typing on typewriters without spell check and using carbon copies.  There were no copying machines.


A dear friend from junior high school lived in Huntington Beach at the corner of Hamilton and Brookhurst, so we were familiar with the Costa Mesa area when we started looking for a home to buy.

We drove west on Brookhurst and turned left on Victoria, driving up "the hill".  We spotted the "Open House" sign on Valley Circle, by the small shopping center. The lots were long and narrow and there it was: a cute 3-bedroom home for $24,500. 

The realtor told us that very soon, a "big marina" would be near our home, bringing the Pacific Ocean to the Marina Highlands bluffs just a block away. In those days, Costa Mesa's motto was "Hub of the Harbor."  It would be a great investment! We could add a second story someday and have an ocean view.  My smart, architect husband could design the second story!

Also, thinking ahead, Victoria School was just a block away so our (future) kids could walk to school. I was a product of Chicago area public schools and John went to public school in Tucson and we believed in public education.

We borrowed the down payment from John's folks, bought the house and moved into our "heaven on earth" in Costa Mesa.

Valley Circle, Costa Mesa, CA

Next:  The 70's.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Time to Open Council Chambers for Citizens

 The OC Board of Supervisors allows citizens to speak in person during public comments and public comments on agenda items.

So does the City of Newport Beach.

It's time for the Costa Mesa City Council to re open the Council Chambers so residents can once again attend meetings in person and comment on items of concern to us.

What is the delay?

We're willing to distance and wear masks if still required, although evidence is surfacing that masks are useless.

At the April 6 meeting I called during public comments via Zoom, which is confusing for many people, and asked to restore in person Council Meetings.


If people don't feel safe, they can still call in with comments.

We've spent a year stifled in many ways from giving our First Amendment comments to our elected City officials.  Freedom of speech, transparency, presenting our grievances--all curtailed by COVID.

Time to open!

If you agree, please send emails to the City Council and City Clerk.

Tonight's Agenda: 


Tuesday, March 23, 2021


We have a voice! And now is the time to shout!

Time is short!  April 12 is the planning commission public hearing to approve giant LED signs for Triangle Square.  Everyone I talk to is against this idea mainly for safety reasons and aesthetics.  More than  756 people have signed the online petition to voice their NO opinion.  It's a bad idea.  

If you care about the future of Costa Mesa, its image and its safety, now is the time to speak up or forever, and I mean, forever, hold your peace.  If approved, the agreement will give the owner renewable rights to advertise anything sold in Costa Mesa for years. 

With City Hall closed, we can't attend meetings and let officials see our faces of distress over this project. Letting our public officials hear our voice through emails and Zoom calls is not effective. We the People are greatly handicapped in voicing our opposition.

If we really want officials to listen to us, we need to pick up our phones, call planning commissioners and have a chat.

Or, meet for coffee. 

In other words, we need to step up our game if we don't want this to happen.

What you did previously doesn't matter.  

If you sent an email, signed the petition or spoke at a Zoom meeting, you need to do SOMETHING again well before the April 12 meeting so the planning commissioners will have time to return your call or read your email.

And you need to save Monday, April 12 at 6 pm to speak during the meeting.

Be prepared--the April 12 meeting may last A LONG TIME.  We may get tired.  But we can't quit now! 

We MUST send a strong message, our united voices, that we don't want these giant billboards, which forever change the character of Costa Mesa.  Long after we've gone, people will say, "how could they approve  these signs?"

Some of us may go to City Hall and call into the Zoom meeting from  outside the Council chambers.  

Of course we care about suffering businesses, but it is not our job, We the People of Costa Mesa, who elect our officials and those they appoint, to rescue a failing business venture.  

Our job is to speak up and let officials hear our united voice. It's time!

714-754-5165:  Leave a message for planning commissioners to return your call. Officials work for us!

Email info:

Commissioners and Staff | City of Costa Mesa (

CC: the City Council as the giant billboard project may go to the Council

And cc City Clerk:

More info:

Tuesday, March 16, 2021


Here is the agenda for tonight's City Council Meeting:  CITY OF COSTA MESA (

My comments:

Honorable Mayor and City Council:

Re: New Business 4-- Hazard Pay:

I urge you to please reconsider your position to force businesses to award “Hazard Pay” to grocery workers.

It is not the responsibility of government to interfere in the marketplace, even in a pandemic.

By voting to approve this pay and force grocery stores to pay employees $4 per hour you are setting a dangerous precedent.

In America we enjoy free markets, not subject to government intervention.  Regardless of claims of excessive profits, it is not for the government to decide to order raises.

Will you ask the owner of Amazon and Home Depot to do the same?  What is next?

By intruding into the workplace, intervening in a private employee-employer relationship, you as a city council are venturing into an area where you have no jurisdiction.

It is not the government’s role to impose “economic justice” to a certain class of employees, even if they are frontline workers.

All workers have freedom of choice and may decide to work or not to work at a business, depending on risks. That’s the American way.

Some workers belong to a union.  It has been the historic role of unions in America to advocate for workers’ rights and protections.  Let the unions advocate for their employees.

A Costa Mesa car repair owner, John Munteen, wrote a book called “Willing to Die” about why he left the tyrannical communist government in Romania.  He passed away last year and his son now runs the business. Many like Mr. Munteen fled communist countries to come to America---for freedom.

Let’s not go down this path. This idea has consequences and is a bad idea. It’s over-reach by government.

Re: NB 5--Mayor Selection

Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council,

As a member of FIPAC I am keenly aware of the City’s financial challenges and the expense of a special election in 2021.

After much thought my recommendation is for Mayor Pro Tem Marr to become Mayor and for the city council to receive applications for a new city council member.

Please consider what the City of Irvine did when Mayor of Irvine Don Wagner was voted to the Board of Supervisors.  Christina Shea, as mayor pro tem, became mayor and (I believe) applications were received and Mike Carroll was selected to be on the City Council.

This plan would be in the best interest of the City because the MPT has a real time knowledge of current city affairs and it will be a smoother transition to become mayor and better for the city.  And after reviewing applications, the Council can decide on the best qualified for a new council member.  I don’t think it matters if the council member is at-large or from the current Mayor Pro Tem’s council district.

Re: NB 2-Arts & Culture Plan

The Arts and Culture Plan is outstanding! So many wonderful ideas.  All the time an energy by all the people involved is appreciated!

However, we are in the midst of a pandemic with many financial challenges.

I would ask that all proposed budget items for the Plan be carefully reviewed by the FIPAC which can make recommendations based on the City’s current and future financial status.



Saturday, March 13, 2021

Giant LED Billboard Vote @TS Delayed to April 12

          Contact Our Costa Mesa Officials-info below

         Distracted Driving Awareness Month is April
                           No Coincidence!

A recent Giant Billboard Proposal lowers Giant Billboard by 5 feet and may be more distracting

                                     Current View from 1901 Newport
One never-ending nightmare. That's what a grassroots effort opposing giant LED billboards at Triangle Square feels like. 

Eleven years ago residents rallied to oppose a very bad idea to put just one LED sign at 19th and Newport. 

Residents prevailed and the owner pulled the proposal. Unfortunately, the son of that project reared its ugly head a year ago with a new TS owner proposing THREE GIANT LED SIGNS at the 3 TS intersections. The reason? The signs alone would revitalize and bring customers to the ailing center.
Mercy! How to fight this unsafe, ugly idea during COVID? We can't march to City Hall and speak in person at planning commission meetings, which have been continued numerous times. Even if the PC nixes the idea, due to a Development Agreement, the City Council must still hold a public hearing and vote. 

A small team organized in 2020, met on Zoom, and started speaking during planning commission Zoom meetings and lobbying planning commissioners.

We created a petition with more than 753 signers saying "No" we, the residents of Costa Mesa don't want these signs. Petition · Residents of the City of Costa Mesa: Say "NO" to 3 Digital Signs from Sunrise to 2 AM at Triangle Square ·

We are not Las Vegas or Times Square. We let commissioners know over and over during public comments that "no way, no how" would this plan fly with many Costa Mesans. We made flyers and encouraged Costa Mesans to call and send emails.

Safety and aesthetics are the main concerns. It's utterly insane to think that drivers at these 3 busy intersections, 19th and Newport, Harbor at 19th and Newport at Harbor,  won't be distracted by the flashing signs.  People are ignoring the fact that where the 55 ends at 19th is one of the busiest intersections in OC.

                                   Harbor at Newport Blvd from Courtyards

Also, we've very concerned about  Third Party advertising which means the owner could advertise ANYTHING sold in Costa Mesa. Use your imagination. The sky is the limit.  Pardon the pun!

We've given planning commissioners and City planning staff evidence that current data proves the signs would be a dangerous distraction. 

For reasons unknown to us, the owner asked for a continuance to April 12 for the Planning Commission public hearing which the Commission approved this week. 

There is no real financial benefit for the City when compared with the risk of loss of life and property and cost for police and paramedics to attend to the accidents. More headaches with more accidents, and risks to drivers, walkers and bike riders. 

Data clearly shows this kind of advertising is not effective and poses risks to life and property.   How can the California Department of Transportation approve such an idea? Boggles the mind!

Are we utterly insane to think that a Development Agreement giving the City 25 percent of the advertising revenue,  due after the first three years, is a good deal? Who is negotiating on behalf of the residents? It is a BAD plan. What if TS goes BK? What happens with a new owner?

Does the owner really think these giant billboards will rescue TS from bankruptcy? The 30-year-old owner has given us, the residents, the taxpayers, a "pig in a poke". 

                                             19th and Harbor

Any pretense of an outreach to residents whose opposition was not heard, was a joke. Those closest to TS on 19th and Fullerton, did not receive invitations.

After nearly a year, why do we continue to oppose this idea?  Because it stinks to high Heaven and does not compliment our City's quiet, small town image.
How does Mayor Foley's  recent election to the BOS affect this project? I'll have to write about that later.


APRIL---Distracted Driving Awareness Month – April 2021

·        Please take a few minutes to contact the officials below and even if you have already sent an email, please “refresh” the planning commissioners about your opposition with a new email.  They might not remember the one you sent a year ago. Copy and paste this link and it will take you to the individual PC emails. Commissioners and Staff | City of Costa Mesa (  

·        Calling and leaving a message and asking a commissioner to call you is also amazingly effective. Remember, these appointed officials serve us.  Have a chat with them to tell them you oppose the billboards! 714-754-5165

·        Copying the City Council on your email is also effective to give the City Council a head’s up on your opposition. citycouncil@costamesaca.gov

 T      City Council's Constituent Services Team, please call (714) 754-5105 or email

C      City clerk to make sure your comment is in the public record    

Friday, March 5, 2021

Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers is A Bad Idea

Sometimes it feels like we are living in the Twilight Zone. On Tuesday, the Costa Mesa City Council voted 6-1 to direct City staff to write a new ordinance forcing about 12 local grocery stores to give employees “hazard” pay. The vote was 6-1 with Council Member Don Harper voting “no”. Thank you, Council Member Harper, for showing common sense and representing many of us who think this is an absurd idea. Mandating a $4 an hour raise, Council Members reasoned grocery workers were being underpaid and at a greater risk of catching COVID while the corporations they worked for were raking in the dough. There was no data given to support this accusation. What happened to the old-fashioned idea that union bosses are supposed to represent employees and negotiate raises? The City has no jurisdiction to tell local businesses to offer “hazard” pay. The City is exposing taxpayers to lawsuits. Everyone has a personal responsibility to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other diseases. All workers may stop working and collect unemployment benefits if the risk is too great at work. Or workers may find another job. Trader Joe’s recently increased its “thank you” pay by $2 hour in addition to an earlier $2 raise and expanded health benefits. It is up to the employer to reward employees. Mine did with a generous debit card. There are many heroes in COVID. We cannot go down this path to recognize one group. Where does it end? This dangerous idea is the tip of the spear toward more government control by somehow equating “hazard” pay with “economic justice”. This idea is anathema to the American free enterprise system and creeps us toward socialism. We elected the Mayor and City Council to work for Costa Mesans. I helped elect some of these council members because I believed they would vote for what is best for Costa Mesa. This ordinance is government over-reach. The ordinance will come back to the Council for a vote at a future meeting. Please let the City Council hear from you. The Council must focus on ways to save money at City Hall and ways to bring in more businesses to Costa Mesa. Let private businesses decide what employees should earn. That is the American way.