Opinion: Response to ‘Mega city delimma’

Eric L. Christensen

I was very disappointed to read the opinion article from Enea Ostrich, College Park East resident, in the Sun last week.  The article was replete with inaccuracies, falsehoods and even slurs on Rossmoor residents.  The article was so inaccurate and nonsensical, that it really doesn’t deserve a reply—except that if no one corrects the misstatements, then some may come to believe them.

First, the mega city concept has been a non-starter because all three areas want to remain “independent.”  To my knowledge, the concept has no support with any of the local political leaders.  This response is not intended to debate that concept, but rather to respond and correct the statements made by Ms. Ostrich.

She states:  “The key is that independence doesn’t pay taxes to the county . . . They (Rossmoor residents) keep voting off taxes and you can’t do that if you want to remain on your own.”

Obviously, Ms. Osrich does not understand public financing.  Rossmoor residents actually pay taxes, just like residents of Seal Beach and Los Al.  We pay the same rate of property taxes and when we purchase something, we pay sales taxes.  We do not fortunately pay the exorbitant 11 percent utility tax (the highest in the state of California) that Seal Beach residents pay to their city (not the county).  And we have paid taxes and received services from the county for nearly 55 years.  Moreover, her statement that we “keep voting off taxes” is an outright lie.  We have voted for additional assessments for Rossmoor Park, the Rossmoor Wall and Rush Park and each time the vote passed.

Ms. Osrich then misstates:  “What many do not know is that Seal Beach acquired the land way before it became commercial.  This parcel was mapped out by the county, not by the city of Seal Beach.  Anyhow, what Rossmoor failed to understand then was that they had good commercial land right there.”

Where does she get this?  Doesn’t anyone do any research anymore?  The actual facts were that when the Rossmoor Center was annexed by Seal Beach in the mid 1960s, it was a commercial business center owned by Judge Alfred Gittelson.  He petitioned the Orange County Board of Supervisors to move his property to the city of Seal Beach.  The Rossmoor Homeowners Association aggressively opposed the move and 2,600 Rossmoor residents signed petitions opposing the move.  On a 3 to 2 vote, the Board of Supervisors approved the move.  Rossmoor clearly understood that valuable commercial property was “stolen” from the community.

Ms. Ostrich then opines:  “If San Clemente could eliminate their police department and contract with the Orange County Sheriff for police services then so could Rossmoor.  Instead, they mope and say they are poor.”

This is exactly what the Rossmoor Community Services District is trying to do and what Supervisor John Moorlach is opposing for unknown reasons.  Rossmoor tax dollars are currently paying for sheriff services.  We want to transfer those tax revenues to the RCSD and have them sign a contract with the Sheriff so we can continue to have the great services we receive from the Orange County Sheriff.

But OC Local Agency Formation Commission and Supervisor Moorlach are actively opposing this plan.

But no one in Rossmoor is “moping” and we do not by any means consider ourselves “poor.”

We are actively and strategically working to improve services for our community and convince our elected representative that we need and deserve his support of what Rossmoor residents want.

Ms. Osrich then, incredibly, states:  “Now if three (sic) became a ‘mega city’ . . . Rossmoor or ‘Bossmoor’ would try for some spots on the council . . . They would get close to being voted in but no dice—they would not be placed on the council because everyone knows their end game . . . Seal Beach and Los Alamitos would have some good choices in council and would get their spots because they pay their bills.”

Wow, I did not realize that our neighbors harbored such jealously and even hatred of our Rossmoor community.

Ms. Osrich apparently needs to take a course on civics again.

We elect representatives, we don’t “place” them on city councils.  And as I noted above, Rossmoor pays the same county taxes as all of the other residents of Orange County.

As 26-year residents of Rossmoor, my wife and I love this community and are proud to be residents of it.

We hold strong affection for our neighboring communities of Seal Beach and Los Alamitos and would never think of disparaging them.

Hopefully, in the future, people will actually investigate the facts before venting their personal frustrations.

Eric L. Christensen is a past president of the Rossmoor Homeowners Association.