Mission Viejo

Basics First Please

By Ed Sachs

City councils manage basic services. Basic services include public safety, transportation flow and maintenance, city appearance, park maintenance, trash, restroom facilities and other related services.
Mission Viejo resident Ed Sachs

When a new project or event comes before the council, the key questions every council member need to ask is; how would my vote benefit the residents and do we have funds to pay for (the project)? Bringing restrooms to some of our parks is a “yes” to this question in my opinion.

For a number of years, the Mission Viejo council majority has approved “feel-good” projects and events, spending taxpayer money with little discernible benefit to city residents. A few examples are the over-built Marguerite Tennis Center, a Rose Parade float and more recently, subsidizing the for-profit International Tennis Federation Wheelchair Tennis Tournament.
The City of Mission Viejo spent $300,000 on this Rose Parade float 

Our city council majority made these items priorities over children urinating in park bushes or on themselves. If we can walk and chew gum at the same time, we should also be able to consider installing restrooms at the parks where we have so    many sports activities.

A $5 million tennis center renovation is used only by a small percentage of Mission Viejo residents. Recently, the tennis center was used for the aforementioned International Wheelchair Tennis Tournament. What a wonderful opportunity to show off our city and boost our local business economy, right?
However, the city council majority and staff failed the city. They could have demonstrated our city’s support for this event by offering our tennis center at no charge, while leaving the tennis federation to sell tickets and secure sponsors which would have supported the costs of their tournament. But the city instead chose to use tax dollars to pick up the tab for many of the expenses related to this event. At the very least they could have asked the international organizers to offer tennis clinics at no charge to city residents who may also be confined to a wheelchair. But they didn’t.

When the Toyota Grand Prix comes to Long Beach, the Indy Racing League does not ask Long Beach to pay for advertising, food and lodging for the racecar drivers, teams, sponsors, guests and race officials. Having negotiated multi-million-dollar contracts sponsoring two race teams, I understand how these events are paid for. Apparently our city doesn’t. I am still waiting for someone to explain how a $300,000 Rose Parade Float benefits the city and its residents.

Feel-good projects should only be considered when the city has first taken care of its residents’ basic needs. Every week-end, thousands of children with their family members spend hours at our parks. There is a priority need for bathroom facilities at many of these parks.

Restrooms are not as sexy as Rose Parade floats, but if we can build a Dog Park for pets to defecate, surely we can prioritize making restrooms available at our human parks.

Ed Sachs and his family have lived in Mission Viejo since 1991. Ed spent 30 years in the consumer electronics industry where he was inducted in the Hall of Fame. He retired as President Emeritus at Pioneer Electronics in 2009. Since retirement, Ed has opened his own leadership-consulting agency while becoming active in the community. In 2012, Ed ran for Mission Viejo City Council. Ed and his wife Leagh, an accomplished and award winning photographer, have two sons, David and Daniel.

Questions? Comments? The CCS wants to hear from you! Contact Mission Viejo Contributing Editor Steve Magdziak at: (949) 441-0499.





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