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Joplin Center Neighbors Not Happy Campers

September 01, 2002

Re "Where Gang Members Must Behave--and Do," Aug. 19:

The title gave me the belief that there might be some great things happening at the Joplin youth detention facility. But alas, the story let me down when there was absolutely no evidence that this claim is even remotely true.

My second comment is, what motivated this story? Is it a coincidence that it comes immediately after Orange County lost a critical lawsuit brought against them for ignoring the law in order to develop the Rancho Potrero Leadership Academy right next door to Joplin? Could it be that the county is concerned about its ability to justify the astronomical cost of operating Joplin?

I am beyond a state of shock from what I have learned of the fiscal irresponsibility tied to both facilities. Many of you may remember that during the county bankruptcy, Joplin was a priority for closure because of its high cost and the limited number it serves. Joplin has never made economic sense, so the county needs to turn up the propaganda machine to justify it somehow.

Lori Hornback

Trabuco Canyon

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While not wishing in any way to demean the well-intentioned activities of the Orange County Probation Department in dealing with recalcitrant and troubled youth, there is one element described in the recent article pertaining to the Joplin Youth Center that perhaps deserves broader implementation.

As required of the Joplin residents, we should require that certain members of Orange County government, such as director of planning Thomas B. Mathews and staffer Frank McGill, as well as Supervisor Todd Spitzer himself, wear color-coded shirts signifying their current status and privilege. Because of their recent shenanigans, including flouting of environmental law and the illegal grading pertaining to the euphemistically named Rancho Potrero "Leadership" Academy site in Trabuco Canyon, lowly yellow shirts would be in order, since these individuals in government continue to present "special disciplinary challenges."

This would serve both as a minor act of contrition and as a warning to a generally unsuspecting public that the latter is dealing with an unscrupulous bunch of bureaucrats that has little regard for law or for Orange County citizenry.

John Sefton

Trabuco Canyon

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This leadership academy project was not based on sound economic, social or environmental policy. It was indeed a waste of money. The county has everything it needs for a youth facility, with much of the infrastructure already built, at the former airbase. Have you seen all the housing there?

Not only would a youth facility here make economic sense, it would make social sense as well. The youth could be used in work programs for the parks planned there.

Instead of building up Joplin, it should be incorporated into O'Neill Park. The county could possibly use Joplin and the lower area as an outdoor camp for Orange County schools.

Chris Vargas

Cypress

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