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O'Neal has much experience I enjoyed reading your...

October 18, 2002

O'Neal has much experience

I enjoyed reading your recent piece on Paul Freeman's upcoming

retirement from the City Council. In his response to the question

about the four candidates for City Council, he made seemingly less

than enthusiastic comments about Melissa O'Neal. As a neighbor and

associate, I would like to share my thoughts on her candidacy for the

benefit of your readers.

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I first met O'Neal, her husband Mike and their Boxer Raleigh

during their morning walks in our neighborhood. O'Neal and I later

served together on the Wastewater Advisory Committee for the city of

Laguna Beach. She was selected by the City Council because of her

background and experience obtaining funding for and managing the

construction of water and wastewater-related projects in the desert

southwest.

O'Neal's pragmatic approach to problem solving and facilitation

skills were quickly recognized by all members of the committee. She

was instrumental in architecting and implementing a mutually

agreeable resolution to eliminate the risk of grease-related sewage

spills without requiring restaurant owners to install expensive and

impractical grease interceptors.

I am confident that, if elected, O'Neal would demonstrate the same

level of commitment and excellence as she has on the Wastewater

Advisory Committee. I believe that she has the right priorities for

the city, is realistic in her expectations, while at the same time,

being fiscally responsible. She is receptive to alternative opinions

and viewpoints, and carefully considers all options before reaching a

decision.

If, like Paul, you are "not sure where she stands on specific

issues," talk to her, because she is very approachable. As for me,

I'm confident she's the right person for the job and will be voting

for her on Nov. 5.

VICTOR OPINCAR

Laguna Beach

Pearson is a dedicated City Council candidate

Clay Leeds' portrayal ("Bland forum gives one clear outcome,"

Coastline Pilot, Oct. 11) of Elizabeth Pearson as one who would

repress public comment in his account of the recent City Council

candidates' forum is contrary to my experience working with Pearson

as a four-year member of the Planning Commission.

Pearson strongly supported the public comment procedures put in

place during the 37 lengthy and contentious Treasure Island project

hearings of several years ago. The joint Planning Commission/Design

Review Board provided for extraordinarily generous public input time

periods, way beyond the norm. Ironically, we were criticized by some

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