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Tony Barboza

Tony Barboza is a reporter who covers Santa Ana and Irvine for the Times' Orange County Edition. He has written about a veterinarian shortage at L.A. animal shelters, a glass barrier birders called "the wall of death" and a controversial stunt to put a celebrity elephant in a giant bubble. He lives with his cats Mario and Vincent.

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Sunset Beach Article:

I am a longtime resident of Sunset Beach and I have read your article which was picked up in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The article was given to me by my brother who, along with his wife, just left after visiting here from Las Vegas. By and large the article was relatively on target. But some of what you reported was so far from the reality I know Sunset Beach to be that I have to take issue.

I know Greg Griffin. What you reported about “Mustached John and Longshoreman John” makes it sound as if we are just a bunch of folks who somehow meet around the cracker barrel each day. This may perhaps be how he might personally distinguish, in his own mind, two individuals he knows who each possess the name John. But trust me there are simply too many Johns, or Bills, or Harrys around here to reduce it to such an absurd point. Furthermore, most would not even know what you were talking since that really isn’t how we identify each other. We use last names…you know just like they do elsewhere.

As for home delivery of the mail the way it is handled is cumbersome and stupid. Each resident is assigned a post office box and this box number must appear on all mail sent to any of us. I can’t count the number of times I have had people report that mail sent to me was returned because it had only my street address. Occasionally the workers at the post office will cross reference the address to the box number, should it be absent, and place it in the appropriate box, but not most of the time. Most every one with whom I have discussed this see it this way: We have no particular problem with having to go the post office to pick up our mail but I will add that we would be just as happy to have it delivered to our home just like everyone in all the adjoining areas. But we have all complained about the need for the post office box number, That is to say, the simpler, more straightforward way to see to it that the mails gets to the intended party would be to eliminate the post office box number altogether. Simply have each delivery box dedicated to each of the addresses in Sunset Beach so identified on the box itself, period. That way there would be no necessity to cross check, ever, far less chance of amix-up and it would put an end to those cases where a problem of delivery is created because no p.o. box number. On this note, some years back a problem was created by this silly arrangement. Many people, including myself, came home to discover our electricity had been shut off. It turned out that some changes were made in the automated sorting equipment at one of the main mail sorting stations. This sorting was done before it reached the Sunset Beach post office. Somehow, the system was programmed showing only the post office box number was a deliverable address. It was unable to recognize the street address itself as a valid address. Consequently, all those who had up until that time managed to have the electric bill delivered, despite the absence of the post office box number, suddenly were not receiving the electric bill, hence it was going unpaid. As you would expect we simply pay the utility bills when they arrive. If they don’t it simply goes unnoticed and therefore unpaid. The point is we really are not avid about not having our mail home delivered as you seem to claim at the conclusion of your article. The fact is it is not a particularly important issue for any of us, aside from the post office box numbers as discussed above.

In closing, I will add that, despite what you report, we seldom have power outages. Certainly, no more than would be the case elsewhere. I have lived here for nearly twenty years and can think of only a few times when this has happened. And when it did I saw no one hopping into a sea kayak to tend to sand bags (although we occasionally do have some moderate flooding and do sometimes need a few sandbags) and I know of no one who has or, for that matter uses, a power generator of their own.

I’m sure that in reporting, it is easy to get some of the facts wrong, so I will not make more of this, however, I am left somewhat perplexed by the misperceptions that must have been created by this.


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