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Green space in Orange County

September 24, 2009

Re "Park land and prudence," Editorial, Sept. 16

I wholeheartedly concur with your statement that the proposed transfer of 20,000 acres from the Irvine Co. to the people of Orange County for permanent open space is "a historic gift ... the product of vision and noble intentions." But I feel compelled to fill in some blanks.

Orange County, one of the most urbanized areas in the United States, opened its last wilderness park more than 15 years ago. The county now owns and operates 39,000 acres. This gift would expand that total with no acquisition costs to the taxpayer, and the money to maintain these parks comes from a taxpayer-protected fund established decades ago.

This land will be protected forever, thanks to the generosity of the Irvine Co. and the county's long-term and strategic planning.

On Sept. 29, the board will take the next step regarding the land transfer. We welcome public input and comment.

Bill Campbell

Santa Ana

The writer is an Orange County supervisor.

::

When I read your editorial, I concluded you were not familiar with the foundation on which Irvine has evolved to become a city envied for vast natural open space. Irvine is the antithesis of "anonymous-looking suburban sprawl."

Two primary reasons for that are the tremendous amount of open space in and around the city and the careful and long-term master-planned nature of the city's development -- shaped in large part by our historic, voter-approved 1988 Open Space Agreement with the Irvine Co.

Open space provides the certainty that sprawl does not occur; that has been our experience in Irvine. Public ownership of that land, to occur if conveyance of the 20,000 acres is approved, is insurance that open space is protected forever.

I am gratified that the county seems intent on following this approach, which will benefit the residents of Orange County for generations to come.

Sukhee Kang

Irvine

The writer is the mayor of Irvine.

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