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City's New Hotline for Residents Not Exactly a Hotbed of Activity

April 25, 1998|DEBRA CANO

A new city hotline has yet to begin ringing off the hook, but officials aren't sure if that's a sign of apathy or contentment.

The hotline, (714) 998-0250, was set up in October by Councilman Barry L. Denes when he was mayor as a way for residents to voice concerns, comments or criticisms.

Mayor Rich Freschi said he believes that Villa Park is the only city in Orange County that offers the service.

"I have mixed feelings regarding how little it's used," he said. "On the one hand, I'm pleased there are no complaints, and on the other, I'm disturbed by the apathy and apparent lack of interest."

During monthly council meetings, a resident volunteers to answer the hotline, with the phone number flashed on the TV screen during the live cable broadcast. When the council is out of session, residents can call and leave a message, with the hotline checked daily by city staff members.

Through March, the city logged 39 calls during council meetings; only a handful have been left on the 24-hour answering machine.

Councilwoman Patricia L. Bortle said she believes the silence is golden: "If people aren't using it and screaming and yelling, then I'm really pleased. Basically, I think we have a very happy, content town."

Toward the end of the March council meeting, one resident called the hotline wanting information about police activity at an abandoned property. Staff members responded that police had been called to the property about a stolen vehicle found there.

A delighted Freschi eagerly added: "You see, when you call in, you get results."

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