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RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Perseverance Pays

July 25, 2007

When I first started selling TV advertising for our cooking show, "At Home on the Range," I learned quickly that "No" meant "No, not now."

John Crean always said 99% of success was just outliving your competition and never giving up. Through the years our ad and syndication sales grew because I never gave up. If I learned anything in my years working on that show, it was that perseverance, coupled with patience, pays off.

That philosophy continues to ring true for me in every endeavor I undertake. As chairwoman of the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) for the Santa Ana Heights Redevelopment Agency (RDA), perseverance and patience were at times the only thing I had going for me!

This Redevelopment Agency has been plagued by bureaucratic mishandling at the county level for years.

Originally set up to offset the impact of John Wayne Airport on the west and east side of Santa Ana Heights, a plan was created in 1986 outlining specific guidelines and projects the money was to be used for.

Over these many years, the only project to come out of this RDA was a business park the county pushed through on Birch Street, something residents never were in favor of.

Though many projects were brought forward by the PAC and the community, all seemed to languish in bureaucratic limbo passing from county department to county department and never going anywhere.

To say it was frustrating is an understatement.

Then in 2003, the east side was annexed to Newport Beach. What seemed to be a great leap forward tossed us into even more confusion. Half our RDA area was in the city, the other half was still unincorporated in county jurisdiction and in the sphere of influence of Costa Mesa. Now we had three entities to deal with in order to make our community whole again, and no one was in agreement.

I never lost heart. I knew our time would come. Waiting patiently and pleading our case to whoever would listen, county doors shut for us time and time again.

Supervisors came and went, with no progress.

Then this year the regime changed for us with the election of Supervisor John Moorlach, and almost overnight projects in the works for more than 10 years moved into warp speed, including approval by LAFCO of the annexation of the west side of Santa Ana Heights to Newport Beach on July 18.

I tell you about my neighborhood's long ordeal so we might serve as an inspiration and example of perseverance to others who continue to work to better their communities.

Regardless of your issues, progress starts with residents, not politicians. East and West Santa Ana Heights are proof persistence and patience pay off.