Retorts: The good, the bad and the slow

CONSTRUCTION on the OC Streetcar line linking Santa Ana and Garden Grove should get underway in 2019 (OCTA image).

Where does the time go? It fades away like your dad’s best jeans, as the song lyric goes.

This is the last Retorts of 2018, so it seems appropriate to look back in the news of the year almost gone, and look forward to the year just around the corner.

Therefore, as editor and publisher of The Tribune, I offer some TRIB-utes and some TRIB-ulations from 2018 from local news developments.

  • Tribute: The electorate in Garden Grove passed Measure O. The 1-cent sales tax increase was approved by nearly two-thirds of voters, and will go a long away toward not only keeping the city solvent, but will allow for a larger police force and other worthwhile undertakings.
  • Tribulation: In the minds of many in Garden Grove, the move toward replacing the municipal fire department with the Orange County Fire Authority is still under a cloud. It’s not that the OCFA won’t provide good service – it will – but that the city’s own financial manager says it will cost more than $10 million extra over a decade.  There have been arguments made back and forth on the move, but that figure has never been credibly refuted.
  • Tribute:Both the city of Westminster and the Westminster School District have taken moves this year to commemorate the Mendez v. Westminster civil rights case which led to the abolition of racial segregation in California schools.
  • Tribulation: All four of our cities – Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Stanton and Westminster – have been remiss in doing enough to preserve historically significant buildings, or at least placing markers noting what used to be there. Local history gives us perspective, and, darn it, it’s interesting.
  • Tribute: There’s been excellent movement toward reducing the homelessness problem in Orange County. New shelters are being built, and programs are underway to provide services so that the unhoused can find shelter, employment, medical aid and more.
  • Tribulation:Some aspects of the homelessness problem defy easy solutions. Although many of the unsheltered are victims of bad luck and circumstances, there also appears to be a hard core of people who would really rather not be helped, improved or shaken loose from their bad habits. On the other hand, some folks think that the homeless should simply be arrested or dumped in the desert. Neither attitude is helpful.
  • Tribute:Some good things getting started in 2019 can be construction of the OC Streetcar project, linking Santa Ana to Garden Grove, and the advance of a traffic circulator plan in Huntington Beach, which will provide better transit links between and among activity centers such as Bella Terra, downtown and Golden West College.
  • Tribulation:The re-construction of Interstate 405 (San Diego Freeway) is already proving to be a pain in the keister. Some arterial streets are cut off or lanes reduced, snarling traffic. We want to have faith that it will bring improvement, but anyone who hoped the work on the Garden Grove (22) Freeway would solve the bottleneck of the “Orange Crush” has been exposed to the limitations of those who plan these things.

Jim Tortolano’s Retorts column appears on alternate Wednesdays. The 50th anniversary of Retorts – across various venues – will come in February 2019.


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