After reading Friday's article, "Kids to 'occupy' Fun Zone," I must say, it's great to see young people get involved in their community and we welcome Courtney Brown and her friends to our open house this weekend. After reading their comments, their enthusiasm is inspiring, and honestly, it appears we are all on the same page:
Let's put the fun back in the Fun Zone!
The whole objective for the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum renovation is to be more relevant and more inspiring, and to relate better to a new generation. We are not doing that very well with our current facility. We need an innovative new center to achieve what Courtney, her friends and indeed the community is demanding — entertainment, education and a welcoming, fun place to socialize.
Which brings me to another point. Where exactly is the Fun Zone? Some of the people we have heard from are under the mistaken impression that the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum will be replacing or somehow demolishing the area people have come to regard as the Fun Zone.
That couldn't be further from the truth. The Fun Zone stretches about three blocks and includes boating, water sports, the Catalina and Balboa Island ferries, candy stores, arcades, restaurants and shops and the Balboa Pavilion. All of that stays.
The Ferris wheel stays. The Pavilion, boats, candy stores, arcades and other shops — all stay. The museum will change.
Again, I believe we are all talking about a common goal — putting the fun back in the Fun Zone.
Rita Redaelli Stenlund
The writer is president of ExplorOcean/Newport Harbor Nautical Museum.
Charter would 'Free Costa Mesa!'
Recently, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer brought up the idea that Costa Mesa should switch from being a general law city to a charter city ("Charter city request proposed," Nov. 3).
What Righeimer has suggested is akin to the Declaration of Independence that gave birth to this nation, but on a city level.
He has said, in effect, let's be free of far-away legislators, and let's govern ourselves with our own constitution, which is called a charter.
The major advantage to being a charter city is that the charter gives the city home rule over its municipal affairs.
Notwithstanding the above, this isn't as revolutionary as it may seem. In fact, all of the cities that surround Costa Mesa, with the exception of Fountain Valley, are already charter cities.
The idea behind being a charter city is a simple one: Locals know better about what is right for them than politicians in Sacramento and residents are in a better position to do what is necessary via home rule to fulfill their American dream.
In a charter city, any city ordinance that regulates a municipal affair will trump a general state law on the same subject.
Thus, under home rule — when a city becomes a charter city — its own laws will govern municipal elections, zoning, the spending of tax dollars, and city contracts.
Becoming a charter city — home rule for those who live here — has angels in the details.
For example, many residents of Costa Mesa would like to see our municipal government buy locally. As a general law city, we are bound by state laws on this.
As a charter city, we may determine that it is best to pay a little more locally if the money will circulate here. Or, we may just use that freedom to bargain more effectively for the best price and the best service. Then again, we may decide to write our own ordinance that requires the low bidder to get the contract.
The point is that we will have the freedom to determine what is right for us, not a nanny in Sacramento.
We will also have more freedom on how land is used in the city and many other things that Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Irvine all now enjoy as home-rule cities.
The state will continue to occupy the field for traffic and school laws and a few other things so that there is consistency across municipal borders in the state. In most other areas, Costa Mesa will be the supreme authority for Costa Mesans, not some faceless politicians in Sacramento who may represent districts hundreds of miles away from our city.
There are really no disadvantages in Costa Mesa becoming a charter city.
In my view, becoming a charter city may be an important step toward improving the Westside and all of Costa Mesa.
Free Costa Mesa!