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Bren's Irvine Land Gift: Too Little Too Late?

June 09, 2002

Re "Orange County Billionaire With Space to Spare," John Balzar column, May 29:

Donald Bren has made a billion dollars by creating urban sprawl. Now Bren is going to pave over the last pristine rural area of the Santa Ana Mountains to make way for 2,000 homes--in the same area that you say he is preserving.

What he did was give away land he could not make a buck on, put out some slick brochures and use the Nature Conservancy as a cover. Can't this fellow be happy with the billion he already has?

Ed Amador



John Balzar waxes eloquent on behalf of Donald Bren, Orange County's biggest, richest developer. During the 30 years I have been a resident of Irvine, liberals have reviled Bren. Why? He is "greedy," "rich" and, worst of all by far, a "conservative." Better yet, a "right-winger." When it comes time to take massive gifts of land from Bren, leftists thank him profusely. When Bren donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to our schools, the liberals are all smiles.

The next time Bren wants to build homes or commercial buildings, the liberals will once again revert to their vile epithets and NIMBYism.

John Jaeger



Let's not go overboard with praise for Donald Bren's gift of open space. It is very nice of him to give land that probably less than 2% of the population will ever use or see.

Bren believes that "legroom means different things to different people." To me that means not destroying the hills of Newport Coast, the blight of all blights on the landscape. Miles and miles of pink stucco and tile roofs are not my idea of paradise.

The absolute shame of all time is the development of the land from Corona del Mar to northern Laguna Beach. What was wrong with that pristine view of hills and ocean? It was the single stretch of Coast Highway where one's eyes could just rest and not be assaulted by the commercialization of our coastline.

John Balzar can be as thrilled as he wants to be and kiss Bren's feet. But for me, it is much too little, much too late.

Rhoda Friedman

Newport Beach

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