As I just posted: In Dana Point, when you use state and federal grants to fund a $7 million beautification project disguised as congestion relief, you don't have to worry a whole lot about public scrutiny and can expect a crowd of impressed citizens when you complete the project.
But in nearby Mission Viejo, if you want to try and use grant money to build some decorative signs, you better be ready for holy hell to be raised at city council meetings and the local blogosphere.
Witness the brouhaha over informational kiosks that have been approved to be put along Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo. The federal government is ponying up $285,000 for the kiosks to be built, and the city has to foot the additional $40,000. The city council approved that plan in April, but after public outcry, Mayor Frank Ury kicked the proposal back to the city's community services commission for further study. On Monday, the members of the commission voted 6-1 to go ahead with the kiosks.
This has drawn a chorus of complaints from the populace, objecting to both finances and asthetics. Check the comments on a Mission Viejo Dispatch post: "Stupid and disgusting," "so dissapointed in this decision I can barely find words," "PORK," and... drumroll... ""Bridge to Nowhere."
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Similar complaints have been raised in the past about easles, a rose parade float, street widenings and pretty much everything Councilman Lance MacLean has ever done. I'm not saying whether anyone is right or wrong on this stuff. Just, after considering the case of that bridge in my Dana Point, thought I might take a moment to imagine how much more entertaining the building process would have been if it had happened in Mission Viejo.