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The Alternative of Waiving Appeal Fees

October 30, 1988

Re: County's Appeal Fees Are Too High, Unfair (Oct. 23).

I agree with the editorial rebuking county supervisors for increasing public appeal fees to a whopping $1,700. I'm sick of the arrogant behavior frequently demonstrated toward the rights of ordinary citizens by these elected officials.

This past summer, Supervisor Thomas F. Riley was the recipient of a birthday party bash and the celebrated subject of full-page, color ads in local newspapers bought with tens of thousands of developer dollars. Not long ago, the developer, the Mission Viejo Co., began grading more than 3,000 acres for a development called Aliso Viejo. Drive by the region. Riley proudly voted in favor of the developer agreement that permits the irrevocable scarring of a once-beautiful coastal region.

In contrast to Riley, Sherry Meddick is an ordinary citizen. Her environmental efforts, however, have been extraordinary. Meddick tirelessly appears before county government with well-researched environmental-impact documentation. She is polite, professional and thorough. But nobody gives her a birthday party. Nobody runs full page ads honoring Sherry's name. Instead, they raise appeal fees to $1,700.

Looks like Riley and his supervisor cohorts returned a few favors. The appeal-fees action all but removes ordinary citizen input into the process and finally and firmly puts land, air and water decisions into the hands of one single, prosperous group: land developers.

So happy 100th birthday, Orange County. Thanks, but no thanks to our supervisors for the present.

SHAREN HEATH

Laguna Beach

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