Towering achievements and let-downs

THE CLOCK TOWER in Village Green Park in Garden Grove lit up with rainbow colors (Tribune photo).

At last, the Orange County Tribune’s long-delayed “Tributes and Tribulations” list, taking note of the praise-worthy and cringe-worthy events and trends in and around the communities of Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Stanton and Westminster.

  • Tribute: Garden Grove City Council’s compromise decision to light up the clock tower in the Village Green park with rainbow colors as an alternative to displaying the gay pride flag in the city hall lobby. A good bargain with better visibility, although it leaves unsettled the question of who and what will get that privilege next time.
  • Tribulation: Westminster City Council meetings have become a bit embarrassing. Regardless of which side you are on in the struggle, it’s hard to not come away with the feeling that things are starting to spin out of control.Councilmembers interrupt each other, sometimes repeatedly and angrily. Members of the audience do the same. Each side compares the other to communists. Y’all need to calm down. It’s possible to disagree without being disagreeable.
  • Tribute: Saturday night’s “Heart for the Arts” event at the Gem Theater in Garden Grove benefitting One More Productions was an esthetic, financial and emotional success. Damien Lorton and Nicole Cassesso, who started their troupe in a backyard, celebrated a 15th year at the Main Street venue. If you haven’t tried OMP yet, it stages first-class, professional quality musical theater right in the middle of the city’s up-and-coming downtown.
  • Tribulation: We’d like to know who gave approval years ago to the idea of allowing a huge open-air trash and recycling center to be located in a residential area across from an elementary school in Huntington Beach. The current operator, Republic Services (successor to Rainbow) is trying to make amends by paying for a gymnasium at Oak View School and enclosing its refuse facility, measures which followed settlement of a lawsuit by the Ocean View School District arguing that dust and odor was making students sick.
  • Tribute: Stanton is getting some serious chops as a home for fan-favorite fast food. A slick new Wendy’s is open on Beach Boulevard at Orangewood Avenue that features a 21st century look which includes a fireplace, of all things. Also coming to Beach is a Naugles, a legendary taco eatery and – all the way almost to Garden Grove Boulevard – will soon be a Raising Cane’s (superior chicken fingers) and an In ‘N’ Out (nationally-famous burgers).
  • Tribulation: The discharge of legal “safe and sane” fireworks is now legal in all four cities. Stepped-up efforts by police and fire to suppress the use of illegal and dangerous pyrotechnics will likely be valiant but not make much of a dent in the problem. Common decency suggests that the terror that the noise inspires in dogs and military combat veterans would be enough reason for forbearance, even if the $1000 fines and the danger of fire and/or injury weren’t enough. Apparently not.

Jim Tortolano’s Retorts column appears on Wednesdays, except when it doesn’t.

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