Today, destruction began on the old McDonalds property on Balboa Peninsula which was sold to the city of Newport Beach at a cost of over $4,000,000.00 to the taxpayers. If you don’t think that’s excessive, take into consideration that just one year prior, it sold to “friends of the city” for less than $2,000,000.00.
Why did the city buy this property? They want to move the Lido Firestation– of which 80% of its calls go North– further south, just 20 blocks away from the Balboa Firestation, giving each station a mere 10 blocks of coverage if it is evenly split between them. Your city council at work, folks!
But this isn’t just a fiscal atrocity. By moving the firestation deeper into the already-congested Balboa Peninsula, summertime traffic will doubtlessly continue to cause massive traffic jams as it has for decades prior– and as everyone knows, in a traffic jam on Balboa Peninsula, there isn’t exactly a lot of room to “pull over and make room” for emergency vehicles. This plan, promoted by District 1 Councilperson Diane Dixon, is going to cost lives. Lido Isle and everyone north of the current fire station will experience delays in the most critical of times. As over 80% of “fire” calls are actually medical emergencies in our area, this not only will cost taxpayer money, this will undoubtedly cost taxpayer lives.
Dixon released an article promoting the idea that by moving the firestation, it will cause faster service to the area by the Wedge (which is already serviced by a firestation 20 blocks closer) but somehow will not simultaneously cause slower service to the areas where it is being moved further away from.
Our former Fire Chief, Scott Poster, fought this exact plan tooth and nail 25 years ago– and won. He saw that this tragic decision would decrease service times and cost people lives. If you know him, ask him about it personally. After his retirement, city staff once again brought up this plan to a new city council under a new Fire Chief, and a new-to-the-area and completely historically-uninformed council voted to proceed with the plan, lining the pockets of the building owners with millions of dollars in profit.
The official reason for the move is that the fire station is too old and too small– and that is true. But a simple build-up would have saved the city millions of dollars and untold amounts of human tragedy in the permanent future. This isn’t even beginning to reference the noise factor for nearby residents who will experience new disturbances as insurance companies require Full Lights and Sirens (FLS) when any vehicle is responding to an emergency.
We all know how difficult it was when we (totally didn’t because it’s unhealthy) tried to turn into the McDonalds for our own guilty pleasure. Imagine making that turn that with a giant fire truck. But they are doing one better– they’re blowing out the sidewalk facing the nearby hotel to get an exit point there, instead, requiring at least two turns to get going in any direction from that exit.
Don’t like this? Think this makes you less safe? Think this is a crony deal? Think this is a waste of YOUR money, which councilpeople swore to be fiscal stewards of? Write them and tell them so, at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are sure to provide their own spin, and if they do, simply forward it to me at email@example.com so I can debunk what I am certain will be some serious “whoppers”.