The majority of Huntington Beach residents, who voted in 2006 approving construction of a new senior center in the vacant five acres of Huntington Central Park, need to be heard louder and clearer. The time has come to end this five-year battle by a small group of opponents fighting to delay the inevitable new senior center being built off centrally located Goldenwest Street and Talbert Avenue.

It has cost us city taxpayers an incredible amount of our tax dollars to fight these opponents in the courts. This tax money is wasted and gone. It could have been used for bettering our beautiful city of Huntington Beach, of which I have been a resident for 46 years.

I have seen many changes here and give praise to our past mayors and councilmen and women who could foresee setting aside property for the Central Library, Central Park, the Shipley Nature Center and the Bolsa Chica wetlands, which could have been used for more harbor homes, and instead kept the natural habitat open for all to enjoy.

Finally, after many years, the appeals court ruled in favor of the new senior center, but, yet again, another delay! Councilwoman Connie Boardman is worried about the raptor habitat, instead of improving better care and services offered to more than 40,000 senior residents in Huntington Beach ("Center vote appealed," Feb. 9). I don't get it! How many more unnecessary delays can we take?

For readers who have never set foot in the existing Michael E. Rodgers Seniors' Center on 17th Street and Orange Avenue, please come by and see all the wonderful classes, programs and events that go on in this 1940s old Air Force barracks building.

If you are not in need today of senior services, believe me, you will be someday as there is no stopping getting older. It is a wonderful thing for retired seniors to have a place to go and stay active like each city's own senior center. It is also wonderful to see our cities able to help those seniors who have no one to depend on and are in extreme need of help and services.

So, in closing, I can only hope that this long-awaited new senior center can proceed soon and finally please the voters who have been so patient in waiting for their new senior center in Huntington Beach.

Carol Settimo

Huntington Beach

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Don't judge Islam by extremists

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Mona Shadia's columns and learning more about the real face of Islam, not the stereotypes that we too often see in American media. For this reason, I was saddened to read Jeff Hubbard's rather incomplete depiction of what the Koran teaches ("Shadia has veiled truth on Islam," Community Commentary, Feb. 9). It's a little like taking a passage from Leviticus where God tells His people how to treat their slaves and their wives and telling us that this is what the Bible teaches.

Raised in a very white Anglo-Saxon Protestant community, I knew little of Islam and made my first visit to Egypt and Palestine with a distinctly anti-Arab sentiment. I returned from my travels better informed and truly appreciative of Muslim culture.

In the movie "Not Without My Daughter," about an American woman trying to escape from her husband's repressive family in Iran, a shopkeeper explains to her that "This is not Islam; this is tribalism." Too often, the two are confused.

Islamic law, as Hubbard describes it, is no more what the prophet Muhammad preached than the Inquisition, the Christian Crusades to free the Holy Land or the Salem witch trials were what Jesus taught. All religions seem to have groups who distort the principles of their founders.

I hope you will continue to print Shadia's well-written column.

Maureen Buffington

Newport Beach

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Today's panels, tomorrow's 'Pong'

This is in response to the Independent article "District slashes electricity costs,""School's solar panels have historic price," extolling the benefits of the solar panels installed at various community schools. Allegedly, the panels will save $15 million over 25 years.

Nowhere in the article or the Mailbag did I see any mention of the cost of purchasing, installing, maintaining and repairing the panels. Nowhere in the article did I see any mention of the shelf life of the panels, particularly considering the caustic effects of the atmosphere so close to the ocean. Did anyone do a cost-effectiveness analysis? Did anyone look at the alleged savings numbers and ask themselves, "Is this realistic?" Did anyone look at the impact of the time value of money? Has anyone considered the opportunity costs of other uses of the same dollars?

Solar panels can be a great way of harnessing the natural energy of the sun. But let's not kid ourselves about their cost-effectiveness. They're a feel-good municipal project that, considering the direct and collateral impacts, are likely a net financial loss to our community. Of course, by the time we realize the panels are a net loser, anyone associated with them will have long departed from elected office. And in 25 years, the technology in these panels will be akin to a "Pong" video game today.

If you really think these solar panels will result in a net savings for our community, then I know a bullet train idea between Clovis and Bakersfield that's a slam dunk moneymaker, or so we're told. I'll give you this — the panels over the City Hall parking lot at least provide shade for the cars parked beneath them.

It's always easier to invest in feel-good money losers when you're using someone else's hard-earned wages.

Fight on!

Robert Smythe

Huntington Beach