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Castaways Is a Legacy Worth the Price

August 01, 1993

* I support the Newport Conservancy 100%! I have been going out to the Castaways for 19 years and can't imagine not being able to go for a walk there anymore if it is developed. I'm sure that many other people who I see out there every day would be equally upset if they could no longer do the recreational activities they now do.

Many of the arguments I've heard against the proposed assessment district are false. Half of the land will not be given free to Newport Beach. A walkway does not equal half the land. To those who complain about wildlife such as opossums and skunks in their yard or garage, I suggest you do all you can to save their habitat so they won't have to come to your home. Where do you think these animals will go when 400 townhouses are built on top of their habitat?

Another point I've heard is that the tax base will increase with more people--but so will the services, traffic congestion, pollution and noise. So we end up with more of what we don't want. I suggest the people who are making these arguments do a bit more critical thinking and get their facts straight before sending out false information. I don't like taxes any more than anyone else, but this is a rare tax I can support because I know the land I use on a daily basis will be there in perpetuity. This is something Newport Beach can be proud of for a long time to come.

CANDI HUBERT

Newport Beach

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* The citizens of Newport Beach are confronted with a historic opportunity to acquire some of the most inherently valuable parcels remaining in our local area. This transaction between the City Council and the Irvine Co. through a citywide assessment district is a must to perpetuate our well-balanced city.

The price in land alone seems extravagant, but when broken down to $10 per month for most property owners, it's a steal. And this fee includes enhancement, facilities and management. Just think of those in other nearby areas who pay hundreds of dollars monthly in homeowners fees for not much more than a greenbelt and a pool. Owners of Rancho San Joaquin townhouses, for example, pay $180 per month.

If you are among those few who feel they won't benefit from the acquisition:

* Take a stroll on the Castaways bluff--it's habit-forming.

* Walk or drive along Backbay Drive and know these parcels are critical to the delicately balanced ecosystem of the estuary.

* Shield your eyes from the views of the bay, the Pacific and Catalina while driving on Jamboree Road between Park Newport Drive and the Hyatt Newporter.

* Imagine driving up Dover Drive without seeing the eucalyptus trees, Newport Center or Saddleback.

* Think of the pleasures you will be giving to others today and in the future who do appreciate the value of open space and nature. That feeling of generosity from helping establish a legacy is easily worth $10 a month.

MARIANNE COX TOWERESEY

Newport Beach

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