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Letters to the Editor:

Koll Center Residences “too much”

I received a mailer from the Koll Center Residences asking me, “Where Should Newport Beach Grow?”

They have a project that is three 13-story buildings they want to add to the Airport area. (They don’t say the size in the mailer, but that’s what it is).

So, in answer to their question about growth…I don’t want this large, this massive, this tall and this dense of a project anywhere in Newport Beach. If I only consider traffic, it’s too much. I believe most citizens of Newport Beach would say the same.

Since our Planning Commission and City Council have made so many changes to our City’s existing General Plan, we need to work together to update a General Plan where we can all be in agreement.

Thank you,

Jo Carol Hunter

Newport Beach

Reflecting on the PTA Reflections Program

I was thrilled Stu News highlighted the PTA Reflections Program recently. Reflections is dear to my heart. 

As a five-time PTA president, twice on Harbor Council, a Reflections chair in several Newport Beach schools, and on Fourth District PTA (all of Orange County), I was privileged to revise the program and give workshops about it at two California State PTA conventions. 

As many know, PTA’s slogan is that PTA advocates for all children, in every way, in everything. That’s what’s so special about Reflections. It encourages creativity for children at every grade level and in every area of the arts – no boundaries. And now it is incorporating technology arts. Thank you for a wonderful article and encouraging the Reflections Program.

Bonnie Engstrom

Former PTA president at:

Roy O. Andersen Elementary School

Corona del Mar High School

Mira Vista High School

Harbor Council PTA (all Newport-Mesa schools)

Is Rohrabacher perpetuating misunderstanding on sanctuary city laws?

There seems to be a misunderstanding of what the three California “sanctuary” laws are intended to do, which is being perpetuated by Dana Rohrabacher, a partisan city council, and a lack of appropriate and informed reporting on the part of the Daily Pilot.

Under the laws, state and local agencies would not be able to detain immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement based on mere “hold” requests, something many departments already stopped doing after a 2014 court ruling. Subpoenas and court orders would be honored and followed but not mere requests.

Electronic fingerprint records for all offenders, booked into state prisons and local jails, will continue going to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, concurrent with the booking.

Police and sheriffs will continue sharing inmates’ release dates and transferring people to immigration authorities if they have been convicted within the last 15 years of one of roughly 800 offenses outlined in the Trust Act. That California law prohibits state and local law enforcement from holding people past their release dates for federal immigration agents unless they’ve been convicted of certain crimes.

Those certain crimes include all serious and violent crimes, registered sex and arson offenses, domestic violence charges and other felonies. They also cover many nonviolent offenses and “wobblers” – crimes that can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor.

The California law is designed to enable the State to better enforce its state laws, most particularly its criminal laws. When people are afraid to call the police because they or their families may be deported, violent criminals are free to act without consequence. California has lawfully decided that it wants people to report crimes instead of just hiding. The State has also properly decided that it does not want to be forced to defend lawsuits brought by people who are arrested by ICE and confined for years without cause or a court order. ICE makes law enforcement more difficult, not better. 

Second there is Supreme Court precedent exactly on point which provides that the federal government is responsible for enforcing federal laws and it cannot force states to “deputize” state law enforcement personnel to do that job. The federal government may not punish states for refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement agents by withholding federal funds unrelated to the action in question. There have been repeated suits over this and California has successfully challenged the Trump administration for threatening to withhold federal funds over rules which forbid collusion with ICE officials. The only unfortunate possibility is that the US Supreme Court, as now politicized, is only too willing to ignore or reverse established precedent, particularly when it comes to immigration. It is sad when we must hope for justice and not expect it.

I object to the City Council spending one penny of the City’s money on a partisan issue that is being more than adequately challenged by A.G. Sessions and the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Kristin M. Cano, Attorney at Law

Corona del Mar


Letters to the Editor:

Could the Kiff exit get even uglier

Newport Beach’s City Manager Dave Kiff will be retiring soon. Normally, his myriad of fans would simply wish him well, but this is not a normal situation. Team Newport (Councilmen O’Neill, Muldoon, Peotter and Duffield) are running him out of town despite wide acknowledgement among his peers and the residents that he is one of the best city managers in California. 

Our bay is no longer covered with green mats of algae because of his advocacy for clean water. We are proactively addressing our pension liability under his direction. His enormous depth of knowledge about the airport benefits everyone under the John Wayne flight plan, making his departure especially mourned by those concerned about flight noise.

Team Newport claims that Dave is retiring of his own accord and vigorously deny that they have pushed him out, but his newly amended contract calls for severance pay. 

Have you ever heard of a retiree getting severance pay? Of course not. 

Councilpersons Herdman, Avery and Dixon were left completely out of this power play and were never even aware that Mr. Kiff’s contract was being discussed until it was a done deal. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, Ms. Dixon presented Mr. Kiff’s description of events, confirming that he had been forced out. These backdoor dealings are clearly a violation of the Brown Act, for which the maximum penalty is removal from office.

The jungle drums are beating that Team Newport has Mr. Kiff’s ultimate replacement already chosen. Meet Mark Denny, a man with a prior conviction for voter fraud and exactly 10 months experience as a city manager. What Mark does have is a virtual web of political connections to the people who have the greatest influence over Team Newport and this may well be enough to get him the job. It is telling that he was hired as city manager in Dana Point even though he never even applied for the job, had absolutely no experience as a city manager and there were other excellent candidates for the position. 

Making a bad situation worse, there is much speculation that Team Newport is considering removing Mr. Kiff effective immediately and replacing him on an interim basis with Assistant City Attorney Michael Torres. Mr. Torres has no experience whatsoever as a city manager and has had no opportunity to develop administrative nor leadership skills in his current position. This is a situation that can only lead to chaos. Newport Beach deserves better than this, but we may not get it.

It is time to clean house in Newport Beach, but not by removing Dave Kiff. It is time for Team Newport to be swept from office and elect representatives who put “city before self” on the City Council. Character matters. Team Newport has revealed with absolute clarity the foul nature of their character through their words and deeds. 

I can only hope that the next election will rid us of the dry rot that currently permeates our city council and I will do my level best to ensure that occurs.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Is the housing project worth it?

Once again, we are facing down an enormous housing project designed to enrich some developer but entangle the rest of us with more traffic and more high rises. I’m not sure why our decision makers aren’t listening to the residents, but they aren’t. 

The vast majority of my neighbors see no value whatsoever in these monstrous developments, but they keep coming and coming. At the moment, it’s the Koll Center Residences, three high-rise luxury condominium towers. Eventually we will exceed the capacity of our roads and face gridlock all the time, just like L.A. Not exactly what I signed up for.

Tom Baker 

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Don’t like the Koll Center Residences

I try to stay current with developments proposed to my City…especially a major project like the Koll Center Residences.

I oppose it in its current size. It’s three huge 13-story buildings. So dense, so massive, so imposing on other buildings. It also will add a large amount of traffic. There is no way this project fits into the area for which it’s proposed. I would turn it down.

Since our Planning Commission and City Council many times don’t recognize our current City’s General Plan, let’s work together to update a General Plan with which we can all agree.

Thank you for listening,

Jo Carol Hunter

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff   

Here is what’s going on at the upcoming Newport Beach City Council meeting set for tonight, April 10, 2018. Meetings are held in the Newport Beach Civic Center at 100 Civic Center Drive – the public is always welcome. I do not highlight all of the items on the agenda – please go to the City’s webpage and review the agenda if you want to see all of the items.

There is a brief study session in the afternoon with a number of presentations, like National Library Week. Lots of cool stuff happening during the upcoming week at our always-terrific Newport Beach Public Library system. 

Study Session starts at 4:30 p.m. in case you want to attend. Then the Regular Session starts at 7 p.m. 

The items that seem worthy of highlighting and/or explaining are these:

With the Balboa Peninsula Trolley getting prepared to roll into its second summer (with some changes, like the offsite parking area will be off of our Avon Street Lot near Tustin Avenue, instead of at the Lower Hoag Campus), the Council will be asked to finalize the grant agreement with OCTA that helps fund the program.

A quiet but important agenda item involves the disposition of a special improvement district’s reserves – in this case, back to the property owners associated with the taxes paid into the district. This includes about 273 parcels and is part of what we referred to as the Circulation Improvement and Open Space Agreement (CIOSA) that was envisioned in 1995.

The Council will consider an amendment to the city manager’s contract (that’s me) that plans for a transition for me, as well as for a recruitment for a new city manager. I’m actually not allowed to comment on it, so I will save you some reading time. 

Lastly, the Council will consider an action relating to Senate Bill 54 (De Leon, 2017) which some have dubbed the “Sanctuary State” act. The Council previously opposed aspects of SB 54 as it was going through the Legislature last year. The proposed resolution to be considered on Tuesday would state the City’s continued opposition to SB 54.  

As always, I enjoy hearing from you about this or any other community issue involving the city government. So does the City Council – remember that you can email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express your thoughts or ideas.  

Thanks for reading!

 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

949-644-3001


Letters to the Editor:

Planned condo towers seem out of place

I used to work in a four-story office building in Koll Center Newport and still have friends there who’ve been worrying lately about a new project that is being proposed next door called the Koll Center Residences. It is apparently three very large condo towers that will be put where the parking lots have been for the offices. They will tower over the next-door business properties and force workers to park farther away in another bulky parking garage.   

Even though Koll Center Newport is a fairly intense business complex by previous Newport standards, it was well laid out and provides a pleasant place to work with an open feeling that is a big relief from maneuvering around Los Angeles. 

Putting three bulky 160-foot high, luxury condominium towers in this location just seems out-of-place, out-of-scale and out-of-order. Are the people who work there going to be able to live in these very large luxury condos? It makes me seriously wonder who thinks up these things.

Thank you for considering publishing this so that other Newport Beach residents can be made aware and weigh in before it’s too late.

Tamara Watt

Newport Beach

Could a replacement for Kiff already be in the works?

The jungle drums are beating that the replacement for Dave Kiff has already been picked.

Meet Mark Denny, a man with a prior conviction for voter fraud and only 9 months experience as a city manager.

In 1996, Mark was convicted of voter fraud when he helped arrange a decoy Democratic candidate in a tight Assembly race. Dana Rohrabacher’s future wife was involved in that incident as well. He was working for Curt Pringle at the time.

He then worked as former Supervisor Bill Campbell’s chief of staff until he was hired as the director of county parks in 2008. Around 2014, he was hired as the Chief Operating Officer of the county, a position that involved overseeing the Registrar of Voters. This created a flurry of controversy given his prior conviction and he was ultimately stripped of the ability to oversee elections.

He was in the COO position for 3 years before moving to Dana Point as the Director of Parks and Recreation in the fall of 2016. During that time, the OC Register reported that he was under investigation for awarding $1 million dollars of no bid contracts while running the parks department. According to the article, the contracts were awarded to a friend of a friend of Denny’s with little oversight and no appropriate paperwork.

I spoke at length with a city official in Dana Point yesterday and this is what I learned:

Dana Point, like our city, has a council majority of three who often are at odds with the other 2 councilpersons. The gentleman I spoke with didn’t know if Dave Ellis was involved but said that it is commonly believed that there is an outside person or group who is directing decisions for the council majority (sound familiar)?

A bit more than a year ago, the city manager there said that he was planning to retire in a few years and that he thought that it would be good to have a Parks and Recreation director. The council agreed and created this position on a Tuesday night and by Friday, Mark Denny had been offered the job and accepted. It was clearly planned in advance. The information about his past became known after he had accepted the job.

The city manager then announced that he was going to retire immediately.

The city hired a recruitment specialist to find experienced candidates. The well-respected assistant city manager applied for the job and the recruiter found them a number of excellent candidates. Unexpectedly, the assistant city manager withdrew his application, leaving three finalists for the job. 

Mark Denny never even applied for the job, but when the selection occurred, the three members of the ruling cabal picked him in July 2017.

He has now been city manager for 9 months. The man I spoke with was quite guarded in his description of how Mark was doing on the job, but did say that he was “learning on the job.” He said that the skill sets Mark had acquired at the county are quite different from the skill set needed to run a city. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this scenario is pretty similar to our own. If you google Mark Denny, there are quite a few articles written about him, many of them uncomplimentary. 

Newport Beach deserves an experienced, ethical city manager to replace Dave Kiff and we should settle for nothing less.

Please feel free to forward this widely. Sunshine is probably the only antidote to the dry rot that has taken hold of our city.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Maybe we’re asking the wrong questions

I didn’t prepare myself to speak at the City Council meeting on Tuesday about the City Manager’s resignation because, even though I have the greatest respect for Dave Kiff, I felt I needed more facts and information. I basically believe that his sudden announcement to retire early without even the usual “need to attend to health or family matters” excuse is because of something certain City Council members have caused to happen.

I came away from the City Council meeting without much more in the way of facts and information, but I also came away with an opinion, some questions and a not so comfortable observation. My opinion is that at least four of the Council members have acted to coerce/induce the City Manager to resign all of a sudden without any notice to the public and at least to one of the other City Council members. (Brad Avery is totally silent, and Diane Dixon had left the meeting.)  That in itself is alarming, distressful and totally not understandable.

My questions come as a result of my having had the experience of serving on the City Council. It’s always the matter of getting four votes for anything. You can acquire and assure yourself of the four votes by telephone or whatever. In this case the only question that has been asked and answered is whether 3 Council members came to Dave and asked for his resignation – his answer was no. But no one has asked the myriad of other questions. Was it two members who came to his office; was it one member; was it a phone call? Did Council members Dixon and Avery get asked if they wanted to ask for his resignation?  We don’t know because Councilman Avery remained silent and Council member Dixon had fled the meeting.  

My observation was that the four Council persons who were consistently and vehemently accused by members of the public and past elected officials at the meeting chose to absolutely ignore the pleas and comments and people.  They noticeably and I would add arrogantly said nothing. I can’t believe that I, in their place would have said nothing, unless I was indeed in on the very thing the people were complaining about and felt that I could get away with it politically and legally. It looks to me that somebody/s has let their little power trip go to their little heads and this is most definitely not what the people of Newport Beach, let alone the City Manager, deserves. As has been said, it’s disgusting!

Jean Watt

Newport Beach

Former Mayor denounces council in Kiff action

The following is a complete transcript of former Mayor Michael Henn’s comments at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Mayor Duffield and council members, my name is Michael Henn. I was Mayor of Newport Beach in 2011 and a city councilmember for eight years.

I am here tonight regarding the retirement of Dave Kiff, City Manager.

Dave, among a long line of great city managers for Newport Beach, you are the finest. Your knowledge, dedication, integrity, work ethic and accomplishments are second to none. I count among the foremost blessings of my life the opportunity to work with you for the betterment of our city. 

Congratulations to you and your team on 20 years of superb service to our residents. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

I wish you and Tom success and happiness in all the remaining chapters of your life.

However, it is with a heavy heart that I appear here tonight. It is alleged that you were encouraged to retire early by a small group of councilmembers, and that this was done: 1) in private, 2) without the knowledge of councilmembers Herdman, Dixon or Avery, 3) that the councilmembers who did this, did so without the authority of the council acting as a whole, 4) that this action was not based on any sort of performance reason, and without due process.

The voters should know that in my eight years on council, never once did a rogue group of councilmembers engage in such a serious action against a senior city executive without notice, due process or the proper authority.

This action, if true, is a terrible affront and is deeply disrespectful to fellow councilmembers, and to the voters who elected them.

Councilmembers Peotter, Muldoon and O’Neill, and Mayor Duffield, you, or some subject of you, are apparently the rogue councilmembers. You owe the voters of this city answers to the following questions:

1) Are the allegations true? 

2) If so, what were your true motivations? 

3) Who were the councilmembers that conducted this rogue act? 

4) Mayor Duffield: as mayor, one of your prime responsibilities is to assure proper due process and respectful treatment of all your council colleagues. You must have known about this. How could you be so feckless as to standby and allow this disrespectful and insulting action to occur, or worse yet, encourage it

5) Have the rogue councilmembers already picked a new city manager? Is it Mark Denny from Dana Point?

6) If not, how will council assure that a proper, fully-inclusive and objective process be used to select the next city manager?

Most of all, Dave Kiff, Councilmembers Avery, Herdman and Dixon, as well as the voters of Newport Beach, deserve an apology.

Mike Henn

Newport Beach

Kudos to Kiff from friend

In all the years I have known Dave Kiff I have found him to be an intelligent, knowledgeable, hardworking, caring person who will go out of his way to assist when he’s called upon, professionally or otherwise. 

He will always land on his feet and let them take him whichever way he chooses to go because he can!!

And, you can never not like a person that loves dogs!

Let us all know where you land, when you do, so we can keep track of you Dave!

Lynn Cathcart 

Friends of OASIS, Board of Directors

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff   

Here’s what’s going on at the upcoming Newport Beach City Council meeting set for (tonight) Tuesday, March 27th at 7 p.m. Meetings are held in the Newport Beach Civic Center at 100 Civic Center Drive – the public is always welcome. I do not highlight all of the items on the agenda – please go to the City’s webpage and review the agenda if you want to see all of the items.

There is no study session in the afternoon, so the Regular Session starts at 7 p.m. The items that seem worthy of highlighting and/or explaining are these:

Council Member Muldoon asked his colleagues to consider a statement in support of a ballot measure proposed for the November 2018 statewide ballot. This relates to tightening up some of the things that arguably were loosened with recent ballot and legislative actions involving the parole system and who is eligible and when. It also would place new penalties on parole violations, among other things.

Some new improvements and maintenance are/is coming for Peninsula Point Park near the Balboa Pier, and Bayview Park near the Marriott Bayview.

I think folks will be happy to see improvements to the crosswalks along Newport Boulevard and Balboa Boulevard – recall that we’ve had a number of community meetings that Council Member Dixon has hosted about further enhancing the visibility of current crosswalks on the Peninsula.  

The Annual “Status Report” on the General Plan and its Housing Element. This is usually a pro forma item, but it allows the staff and Council to ensure that we are following State law relating to reporting in on how we’re implementing the General Plan and whether there have been any recent changes to housing activity in the community.    

I’ve placed Advocacy for a Port Master Plan back on the agenda and will explain why. The goal of having a special carve-out for aspects of Newport Harbor’s public and private permitting is (to me) a good one. Today, nearly all permits to do things like dredging around residential piers, residential pier repairs, sea wall repairs, and more all have to go to the Coastal Commission. Ideally, those permits could be assigned to the City and City Council for approval, provided that we considered them through the same lens that the Coastal Commission would – same concerns, same protections, same compliance with the Coastal Act. This concept will not cause Newport Harbor’s current character to change – it’s about permit authority, not becoming port-like (or even Port-lite). Anyway, in order to even be able to submit a plan for permit authority to the Coastal Commission, we think we need state legislation to allow us to send a Port Master Plan in for Commission review and approval. There are certainly good questions involved in this process, and good reasons to ask questions, but It seems to make sense to try it out. There could come a time in the near future when we decide this isn’t going to work, and our advocacy agreements allow us to pull the plug quickly. Speaking of advocacy, Council Members Dixon and Peotter and I had a good conversation between Council meetings to become more comfortable with the approach and staffing that Don Schmitz and Sean Henschel will provide. Therefore, I was comfortable putting it back on the agenda quite quickly. If anyone has any questions about this at all, please contact me and I’ll wade through it with you.  

A couple of random notes:

A lot is going on regarding homelessness in our region. In fact, I spent last Saturday morning in Judge Carter’s chambers listening to updates about the clearing of encampments in the Santa Ana riverbed as well as a planned clearing of the Santa Ana Civic Center encampment. While I won’t include it here, I recently wrote up an email that I sent to a number of residents about this issue, including what we’re doing as a City and community. I can send that to you if you ask me by return email.

Secondly, Speak Up Newport is planning their Wednesday, April 11 forum on this issue. SUN meets at 5:30 p.m. – with the program at 6 p.m. –  in the Community Room at the Civic Center. Note, too, that a small (12-unit) “permanent supportive housing” location in town has recently completed its renovation and is open for business, housing six veterans and six low-income seniors. It’s an amazing place and looks terrific.  

We’re chugging along on our airport efforts, thanks to great enthusiasm by our key community groups. We’re now in the thick of a data study looking at ways to improve departure procedures so that planes can depart in the quietest manner (but still safely, of course) possible. Our groups like AWG, Air Fair and CAANP are really engaged on this. It’s exciting. I’m happy to fill you in more on this if you ask. This coming week may (emphasis on “may” because stuff like this is very uncertain) also see the first few planes using a new pathway in the Upper Bay that involves two gentle turns, versus the current “just one” turn procedure. I will confess to trepidation as to how this will work, but we’ll be following it very closely.

I hope everyone has a pleasant Easter and great spring break in the upcoming weeks.  

As always, I enjoy hearing from you about this or any other community issue involving the city government. So does the City Council – remember that you can email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express your thoughts or ideas.  

Thanks for reading!

 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

949-644-3001


Guest Column

Will O’Neill

The Blurred Line Between Tax Education and Tax Advocacy

Will O'Neill

Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill

After Stanton residents voted to increase their own sales tax, the city’s Finance Director crowed to his fellow municipal finance directors about his city’s successful campaign. According to his article, the only thing that “went wrong” was that Stanton “didn’t suppress the opposition with one-on-one meetings early.”  

Cities throughout our State have been using Orwellian tactics to “suppress” opposition to tax increases through coordinated and premeditated “education campaigns.” These campaigns operate in a grey legal area because each campaign uses public resources to accomplish its goals.

The California Supreme Court in Stanson v. Mott stated resolutely that “a fundamental precept of this nation’s democratic electoral process is that the government may not ‘take sides’ in election contests or bestow an unfair advantage on one of several competing factions.” The Supreme Court in Vargas v. City of Salinas then created its own grey area exception by allowing governmental entities to express publicly an opinion on the merits of a ballot measure so long as the governmental entity “does not expend public funds to mount a campaign on the measure.”

Cities undeterred by the Stanson prohibition or blinded by their own fiscal desperation of their own making have driven Mack trucks through the Vargas limited exception. Cities throughout our State are hiring political campaign consultants or public relations firms to “educate” the public on the cities’ opinion. At what point, though, do campaigns move from education to advocacy?

In 2010, for example, the City of Tracy hired political campaign consultant Lew Edwards in connection with a sales tax increase. According to the consultant’s presentation, the consultant conducted a poll to determine “campaign messaging,” draft the “ballot arguments,” and create the “ballot question wording.” The City then sent “education materials” to voters through broadcast television and City-created newsletters, presentations, emails, and even sent the materials through utility bill inserts.  

Campaign consultants respond to cities’ requests for proposal by touting their “wins” or “successes,” which they define by whether a tax measure passes. One consultant bragged that it has “enacted more than $30 Billion in California revenue measures with a success rate of 94 percent.” Another consultant bragged that its “competitive strength” is that “we WIN.” Where the objective is supposedly public education, though, winning and losing or success and failure cannot be measured by ballot box results.

Enough is enough. Cities must stop using tax dollars to advocate under the thinly veiled guise of education.  

The City of Newport Beach recently passed a resolution prohibiting public expenditure on these “education” campaigns. We invite other City leaders to use our resolution as a model. We also invite residents throughout the State to demand that their leaders stop hiring campaign consultants who view tax increases as “wins.”  

Will O’Neill is Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Newport Beach. He will gladly provide anyone a copy of the City’s Resolution and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Letter to the Editor:

The BBC, where Dorothy knew everyone’s name

Loved the story about Dorothy Yardley. When I first came to the Balboa Bay Club as the wife of the new owner, Bill Ray, the first person I met was Dorothy, the heart of the club. She knew the name of every member, and to me, scared to death as I could recall NO names, she was my savior. In the reception line before a big party, Dorothy was always there to tell me the names as the members passed through the lines, saving me great embarrassment.

Once, when my dad was coming to California with his buddies to play golf, Bill and I wanted to give a party to welcome the Texans to Newport. I asked Dorothy if she thought John Wayne would come to the party if invited. “Well, of course he would,” she said. The four Cowtown guys were standing on the porch when The Duke ambled up, put out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m John Wayne.” Well, those four guys were speechless, thrilled to meet face-to-face with their long-time hero, and I can guarantee you, they were still talking about it at the 19th Hole at Colonial Country Club for years after!

Yes, Dorothy was the heart of the BBC, and no she didn’t pass after a long stay at a retirement home. Dorothy passed at Hoag Hospital after a short illness, but is still a fixture at The Club, having a drink with one of her multitudes of friends. I, still, think of her often as my mentor and much-loved friend.

Beverly Ray

Former Owner Balboa Bay Club

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Stop Playing Games at Taxpayer Expense

Once again, Mayor Duffield and Mayor Pro-Tem O’Neill, in a desperate attempt to find something, anything, to serve as a record to run on, have proposed an unnecessary and foolish prohibition to using city resources to advocate for city and county ballot measures. This of course is already prohibited by state law and has been so for many years.

Much like the misguided effort to refuse our gas tax funds, this proposal is fraught with unintended consequences.

For example, when our local transportation tax measure, Measure M, was reauthorized in 2006, Newport Beach, like every other city in Orange County, was represented by elected officials and staff in working groups leading up to the drafting of the ballot measure to ensure that local priorities were considered and included in the measure. This policy would preclude the representation of Newport Beach in the preparation of any extension of our local transportation funding source and likely result in our city losing valuable street and road improvement funds. Measure M has been used to improve our traffic signals, repair our roads, provide a needed bridge over Superior at Sunset Ridge Park and even fund our summer bus service on the Peninsula.

Secondly, we all know that any tax increase must be voted on and none is projected to be submitted to the voters. Where this policy may come into play, however, is in the case of a natural disaster. Laguna Beach was required to go to the voters to seek special tax funding to make emergency repairs to Bluebird Canyon after a catastrophic landslide. This policy would prohibit the city from even explaining the need for special funding to the voters and would delay emergency improvements. Consider what would happen if we had a Tsunami, canyon fire or earthquake.

Third, the city spent millions in the 1990s in indirect support of the three ballot measures related to moving the airport to El Toro. Since taxes are part of any airport plan, this policy could have prevented advocacy on one of the most important issues to city residents.

Ironically, the only recent use of city resources to advocate on tax issues was the August 31, 2017 council meeting hastily called by Team Newport to reverse themselves on their misguided refusal to accept our own gas tax funds. The resolution included a statement of city opposition to SB1, the state gas tax bill and thus engaged in advocacy.  

Let’s stop playing political games and wasting tax dollars on empty gestures such as this.

Keith Curry, Former Mayor 

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

“Lucky us” because we spent our youth in CdM

Nancy Gardner’s article brought back wonderful memories of my youth in Corona del Mar. My younger sister and I, seven and ten, lived in a duplex apartment at 514 Avocado in 1950 with our mother. Dad was in the army in Korea, and Mother worked at the iconic Merle’s Drive In as a car hop to make ends meet.

Mom and Dad at Merles Drive In

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Gayle Jones

Gayle Jones’ Mom and Dad at Merle’s Drive In, where her mother worked as a car hop

Merle’s site is now Corona del Mar Plaza, with magnificent Fashion Island on a hill to the north. (As chance would have it, my company built the Plaza for The Irvine Company in 1999.)

Merles Drive In

Click on photo for a larger image

The iconic Merle’s Drive In, where Corona del Mar Plaza is now situated

Besides jumping off rocks into Newport Bay in China Cove, our playground was a field across from our Avocado duplex. We ran up and down the ravines in summer and made Christmas tree forts in winter. We also rented horses by the hour from the stables in the middle of the field. Mother was working, and we were on our own, always feeling safe. Lucky us. The stables moved to the south of Cameo Shores when the residential community, Irvine Terrace, was developed. Remarkably, our duplex still stands; it’s even the same color.   

514 Avocado home

The 514 Avocado Avenue duplex in Corona del Mar, where Gayle Jones grew up, still stands today and is the same color

On Saturdays, my sister and I would have lunch at our favorite coffee shop before we made our way to the Port Theater for a matinee. A nice lady behind the counter took our melted cheese sandwich and chocolate shake order, and her husband cooked our delicious lunch. Of course, this was Audrey and John McIntosh’s Snack Shop. Lucky us.

The Snack Shop Group was a restaurant empire in Orange County when my husband and I moved to Shore Cliffs in 1976. The McIntoshes were neighbors and it was fun sharing stories of “old” Corona del Mar with Audrey. My husband, Roy, shared the love of fishing with John. We also visited with Nancy’s father, Judge Gardner, on our walks around Shore Cliffs. Lucky us. 

Thank you, Nancy Gardner and the talented folks at StuNews, for keeping Newport Beach residents entertained and informed. I never miss an issue.

Sincerely,

Gayle (Willinger) Jones

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Opposed to any large development

I totally oppose your view regarding the Koll Residences. I totally oppose your view regarding developer fees making this or any large development OK.

I’ve been a resident of Newport Beach for 47+ years. I’m not against more houses, more buildings, more development. But I am against large developments. In the case of the three 15-story Koll Residences, this is too large of a project. It doesn’t fit the General Plan. It is too tall and too dense.

To read your article in StuNews that Developer Fees are needed, then this large development is fine. A grin and bear it.

I totally disagree.

This project will generate several million dollars in developer fees. But we’ll have this project for maybe a hundred years…we’ll have this project’s traffic and the imprint that its residents make on our city.

My friends and I feel you are incorrect and you do a disservice to your paper in taking a stand that is so unrepresentative of the citizens of Newport Beach.

Thanks for listening,

Jo Carol Hunter

Newport Beach

Reader shares “wanted” sour cream recipe

Several issues ago, we published one of Nancy Gardner’s always entertaining columns. One reader, Jamie McGrew, wrote afterwards saying, “Your mention of the Sour Cream salad dressing, nearly brought tears to my eyes; and it sure as heck re-ignited my taste buds just recalling its great flavor. I can’t even recall the countless times I’ve tried to re-create it at home. If you have any clues about that sour cream dressing recipe, please advise.”

Well Jamie, today’s your lucky day. “I saw this letter (Jamie’s) and after I resolved a few reservations, I decided to send it. Hope it makes a few people happy,” Leslie Betz.

I worked for the Snack Shop/Far West Services between 1962 and 1966. I started as a dishwasher in the Huntington Beach restaurant, No. 8. I was also a bus boy, host, and eventually a cook. I worked in the Coco’s on 17th Street and Harbor at Adams. I also worked at the Reuben E. Lee as a kitchen steward. 

While at Coco’s, one of my duties was making the sour cream and house dressing. The dressing was made in five-gallon buckets. I reduced the recipe down to about a quart.

There is a small group of former Snack Shop employees who get together here in OC at least twice a year. At one of our dinners, I whipped up a batch and put the dressing in Mason jars to give everyone a sample. Everybody remembered the dressing and said it was a great replica.  

Snack Shop sour cream salad dressing

1 1/4 cup good mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup butter milk

2/3 cup milk

1 T garlic salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

3T white wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients and put in refrigerator for 24 hours. The next day, it will be thicker and may need thinning with more buttermilk. 

Enjoy this great recipe. I feel okay to share it with those who remember a great company. It was a great place to work while going to college.

Leslie Betz 

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Help in the name of sour cream salad dressing

Nancy Gardner: Thank you for the great Snack Shop/John McIntosh article.

It certainly brought back cherished memories. 

Your mention of the sour cream salad dressing nearly brought tears to my eyes; and, it sure as heck reignited my taste buds just recalling its great flavor. I can’t even recall the countless times I’ve tried to recreate it at home, all with good but not GREAT results.

I would give big bucks (at least $10!) to know how to make that dressing. And, who could forget the Nui-Nui Burger, though I think that came later; Hurley Bell, the Arches, we’re great too, Bob Batchelor at the Arches, just superb; and don’t forget the Chef’s Inn, now Banderas.

B-t-w, my father David McGrew, was quite a fan of your father; he always remarked well about him at the dinner table, after he had spent a day in Santa Ana going through court house records.

If you have any clues about that sour cream dressing recipe, please advise. Thanks again.

Best regards.

Jamie McGrew

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Investigation should be handled by DA’s office

I agree with the opinion of Lynn Swain expressed in her letter about the Newport Beach City Council approving of the expenditure of staff time and taxpayer funds to investigate the recall effort of Scott Peotter. The Orange County District Attorney’s office is the agency best suited for the job. A duplicate of the DA’s investigation would not only be costly and time-consuming but could appear by many to be politically motivated. I would think also that citizens might feel that such an investigation is a thinly veiled attempt by council members to discourage future recall efforts, thus depriving them of one of their constitutional rights.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach 


Letter to the Editor:

Protecting integrity of elections is foundation of democracy

Mr. McCaffrey’s enthusiasm for retaliation against the committee who sought to recall “his” councilman Scott Peotter is clouding his logic. He appears to be suggesting that we knew that a paid professional circulator had forged signatures and encouraged this practice. May I point out that the recall failed by a miniscule number of signatures (106) and that the forged signatures clearly contributed to that failure? If we had known about it, we would have stopped it AND submitted 107 more signatures to qualify the recall. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. 

We encourage the District Attorney’s investigation and will assist in any way we can. On the other hand, the City Council’s desire to see our private emails and confidential invoices is nothing more than political payback by Peotter, who clearly is orchestrating this witch-hunt. The District Attorney is the appropriate person to conduct this investigation and we look forward to supporting his results.

Lynn Swain

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Protecting integrity of elections is foundation of democracy

I applaud the Newport Beach city council for undertaking an investigation of “irregularities” in the Scott Peotter recall petitions.

Protecting the integrity of our local elections is the foundation of our Democracy. 

Leaders in the recall campaign have already admitted to submitting fraudulent signatures – that’s a crime.

They reported paying folks $25 per signature thereby creating an incentive for people to break the law.

Did they orchestrate a conspiracy to break the law? Did they knowingly submit fraudulent signatures?

We won’t know until a thorough investigation is done by the District Attorney and our city.

Bob McCaffrey, Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island


Letter to the Editor:

Recall signature investigation should be handled by District Attorney

In December, we learned that the recall of Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter failed to qualify by only 106 signatures. A month later, the Orange County District Attorney opened an investigation into the allegation that one of the paid professional petition circulators had forged signatures, contributing to the insufficiency of signatures.

On Tuesday, Mr. Peotter and the Newport Beach City Council (excluding Mr. Herdman and Ms. Dixon), gave themselves subpoena powers to investigate the recall committee. Their stated reason was to restore trust in the election processes, but are they the best ones to do so? They clearly have skin in the game and most of them openly supported Mr. Peotter while we were collecting signatures. In contrast, the District Attorney has no skin in the game and his investigation will be both competent and thorough. Those of us on the recall committee support such an unbiased investigation by the DA, with an emphasis on the word “unbiased”.

Mr. O’Neill inadvertently revealed the underlying agenda when he spoke about forcing the release of confidential invoices as well as the private emails of the recall committee. It is hard to imagine how that data will lead to the arrest of a rogue individual who may have forged signatures, but it isn’t hard at all to imagine how information about the workings of his opponent’s campaign will be helpful to Mr. Peotter. The immense power of the subpoena that the council has voted upon themselves is that they will be able to compel answers to any questions that they wish while someone is under oath. Can we trust them to exercise that power responsibly? I would argue that we cannot. 

Democracy works best when democratic processes are respected. Mr. Peotter’s investigation is a thinly disguised threat to those who dare to challenge his position and should not be tolerated. Anyone who thinks that Mr. Peotter will fairly investigate his own recall is in error. The Orange County District Attorney is the only person we can trust to appropriately investigate this situation.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Boulton’s message keeps ringing

Cartoon

Click on photo for a larger image

This is so appropriate, especially in light of Sean Boulton’s right-on piece last week.

Charles Davison

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Boulton’s message should be shouted from the rooftops

BRAVO, BRAVO for the article published this morning (Thursday, Feb. 1) about the pressures on our youth in today’s school culture – focused on this area in particular!

What Principal Boulton stated needs to be shouted from the rooftops of our homes to EVERYONE who lives in this area!  

The two latest incidents in this area: the murder of Bernstein and now the suicide of this fine young man last Saturday, these are cries for help! 

My three grandchildren either have attended or still attend high schools here (NHHS, CdM, and OCSA) and I simply can’t believe the PRESSURE they are under. They don’t have time to enjoy their youth! If there is any way that this message/article can have an impact on this community, please help as much as you can. Thank you for publishing his article. Keep up the good work…        

Jan Landstrom 

Corona del Mar 

Reader applauds Boulton’s column

As a parent of three CdM students, I applaud the recent guest column written by Newport Harbor’s principal, Sean Boulton. I hope this article sparks meaningful conversations and positive changes at CdM and Newport Harbor. His advocacy of vocational training schools should be strongly supported by all Newport-Mesa families. 

Sincerely,

Brian Flood

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

We care about the character of our City

In his letter last week, Bob McCaffrey vilified us being anti-property rights and anti-development. Bob McCaffrey might be surprised at how much we have in common. For example, we both support property rights. If property has a specific development right delineated in the General Plan and zoning code, we need to respect those rights. However, our opinions diverge from there. Mr. McCaffrey appears to feel that the term “property rights” is synonymous with “build whatever you can get away with.” We do not support this view, as evidenced by our vocal opposition to the Museum House and the latest high-rise condo tower Koll Residencies.  

The character of a city is the result of its General Plan, which determines the intensity of development, and its zoning rules, which determines what buildings will look like. Our zoning rules should be consistently applied to all properties (unless unusual circumstances exist) and we all benefit when the rules are applied consistently and equitably. When our city allows frequent exceptions to zoning rules, we end up with big box houses that are not in character with its neighbors. When our City Council approves high rise, high density projects like the Museum House condo tower, our city creeps ever closer to looking like Miami.

Mr. McCaffrey’s views will likely influence the Team Newport City Council members more than our own given his extremely generous support of their election campaigns, but we hope that giving voice to the not so silent majority in our city who are concerned about overdevelopment may someday level the playing field and result in a council that will hear our voice as clearly as his.

Lynn Swain Newport Beach  |  Susan Skinner Newport Beach

The ENC remembers Elizabeth Steele

Recently our community lost an individual whose impact will continue for generations. I remember several years ago sitting with Elizabeth Steele at the Environmental Nature Center, her sight nearly gone but her vision as clear as ever. She asked me to call her Betty, but I always called her Mrs. Steele. We talked about philanthropy, the giving history of the Harry & Grace Steele Foundation, her love of the outdoors, and the impact of the ENC on our children. Our conversation was often interrupted by the excited voices of children who were making, for many of them, their first discovery in nature. Mrs. Steele would recognize their reactions and simply smile. She knew the impact the ENC was having on these children. She also recognized that the real impact may not be immediate and may not truly come to fruition for many years later. If those children only knew of the impact that Mrs. Steele had on the ENC, I’m sure they would have stopped to thank her personally.  

We sat across from each other talking on land that she helped to acquire next to a building that she and the Steele Foundation were largely responsible for building. Her support went far beyond capital investments for Mrs. Steele knew organizations rely on the community’s continued support in order to provide their valuable service. When people ask me about what philanthropy means, I immediately think of Mrs. Steele. She identified a community need, did her homework to identify an organization addressing that need, and provided her financial support to allow the organization to do its work to the best of their ability. 

Next month, the ENC will start construction on our communities’ first Nature Preschool, another project Mrs. Steele helped bring to fruition, to provide more of those experiences in Nature like the ones Mrs. Steele witnessed, but even more lasting and impactful ones.

The ENC’s relationship with Mrs. Steele is one of many similar stories of relationships she had with other organizations throughout our community. Her impact will continue to be realized for many years to come. Our community is better because of Mrs. Steele. She is an example for us all.

Bo Glover, Executive Director

Environmental Nature Center


Letter to the Editor:

Property Right are “the cornerstone of our Republic”

I have been the target of streams of letters and social media comments from title insurance executive Lynn Cuckovich Swain and psychiatrist Susan Skinner for my support of politicians that believe in private property rights.

I would like to speak to the issue of private property rights and remind them they are a cornerstone of our Republic. When government erodes property rights you get Cuba.

Cuckovich Swain and Skinner unnecessarily demonize “developers” and anyone that supports development, including city councilmembers that support private property rights.

For the record, I am a 50-year resident, believe private property rights are good, and I support quality development. 

After all, respect for private property rights allowed a “developer” to build Cuckovich Swain’s and Skinner’s houses. 

I’m confident that Cuckovich Swain is happy the original plans in the 1970s to create a landfill at Big Canyon never materialized. 

Those “evil” developers built one of Southern California’s most desirable communities where families flourish. Big Canyon prices started at $71,000 for a home that’s now worth millions. Cuckovich Swain should be praising Big Canyon’s original developers Richard B. Smith, McClain Development, and Deane Development because now she’s got a roof over her head.

Skinner’s been singing the same tired “developer bad” tune for years.

Her house in the Port Streets once was a pasture for cattle grazing the day away. My guess is she’s glad the cows are gone and she has a warm place to sleep. In Skinner-world no one else is allowed to enjoy a home in Newport Beach. She’s got hers.

In the last 20 years Newport’s population has increased a paltry 6,000 (8 percent), all from the annexation and build-out of Newport Coast. 

Newport Coast is a magnificent addition to our city that shores up our tax base with beautiful homes and amenities.

Quality development like Swain’s and Skinner’s neighborhoods create the value that results in property taxes that pay for our police, fire, parks, streets, and all those services they crave.

But, they’ve got theirs. No one else is allowed.

I will gladly continue to support city councilmembers that respect private property rights and quality development.

Bob McCaffrey, Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island


 

 

Letters to the Editor:

Petition launched against Koll airport project

Currently, a petition is being circulated involving an important traffic issue in Newport Beach. The issue involves the pending approval of a mega development – the Koll Center Residences near John Wayne Airport, within the City limits.

This huge new residential development, if built, will impact our overloaded streets in a negative way. Because it is being proposed near the airport it is easy to overlook its import to the rest of the city.

I would urge all interested citizens to read the petition: go to ProtectNB.org and do some research. The website makes it very understandable. Please look into this for yourself then contact the NB City Council and help defeat this new assault on our community.

Melinda Seely, President, Airfair

Newport Beach

Speak Up Newport hosts meeting on sea level rise

Wednesday, Jan. 10, Speak Up Newport hosted an informative meeting on sea level rise, its potential risks for Newport Beach, and measures the City is taking to protect public and private property. 

The program included City Planner, Jim Campbell, who described how the City is planning to prepare for changes in sea level on Newport’s beachfronts and harbor. Robert Stein, of Public Works, described the Balboa Island sea wall improvements and other projects the City has in the works. Campbell and Stein explained that the City is taking a cautious approach, based on the lowest estimates of sea level rise. Current projects should provide protection for the next ten years. 

They were followed by Brett Sanders and Jochen Shubert of UCI, who are working on a flood mapping project. Their flood maps are available for review at floodrise.uci.edu. The maps show the extent of flooding within the City for various assumptions regarding sea level, rainfall, storm surge and other variables.

The program was well done and attracted a large turnout. Stein had one graph in his presentation that merited only a brief comment, but may have been the most significant item of the evening. It showed various forecasts of the rapid buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Scientists believe that it is this buildup of greenhouse gases that is causing sea levels around the globe to rise.

In the question and answer session, one attendee asked about this: “If carbon dioxide is the cause of problem, shouldn’t the City be addressing it?” 

The panel had no answer. However, the question resonated with the audience, as indicated by the loud applause that followed. My take away from the meeting, in addition to being pleased by the City’s preventive measures, is voters want the Council to take a public stance on asking Congress to enact measures to immediately address the problem of reducing carbon dioxide emissions as recommended by the Paris Climate Accord. Dozens of other ocean front cities have done this, and our combined voices will be heard.

Craig Smith

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Nancy Gardner column stirs thoughts of a favorite childhood teacher

Nancy Gardner’s article in your 1-8-18 edition regarding her former teacher at Newport Harbor High reminded me of my favorite teacher, who happened to teach 4th grade in a Sioux City, Iowa school. I never forgot this woman, who had never married or raised her own children, nevertheless was the most influential teacher in my life. Unlike Nancy’s teacher who sounded fun and progressive, Miss Trehune was known for endorsing long-held American traditions and rules which she believed important.

My respect for this teacher has grown with each passing year as I experience the rewards of living according to the words and truths she taught. She was unforgettable, but not due to her personality, looks, or any awards. In fact, she was exceedingly plain looking, deplorably blunt, and frighteningly honest. Yet, for more decades than I care to share, she remains the teacher that most influenced my life.

She always began Monday mornings asking if anyone would like to share something special they had done over the weekend. I had nothing to report of significance, but being a veracious child I raised my hand. When she called on me I began my little speech and soon realized it needed something a bit more exciting if I wanted to keep everyone’s attention. I was actually pretty good at embellishing at that age, but I didn’t get too far into the fiction portion before Miss Trehune stopped me and asked if what I had said was really true. Apparently, I had exaggerated beyond anything she found acceptable and used it as an example to the class that one must always stick to facts. I cannot tell you how embarrassed I was, but it accomplished my teacher’s apparent purpose. Not only did I strive to never exaggerate after that experience, I do my best to always be as accurate as possible.

 

Miss Trehune was even more eager to point out the good among her nine-year-old students, whenever she saw an example to do so. My Mom hadn’t time to make my lunch one morning and there was no school cafeteria. I was given money to go across the street to a local restaurant. I sat by myself at the lunch counter, ate, and went back to class. The first thing Miss Trehune did when class began was to announce she had just witnessed something special by a student in our class.

I was totally shocked when she identified me as that student. I had no idea Miss Trehune had lunched at that restaurant as well. She had noticed a man and his wife wanting to eat at the counter, but there weren’t two seats together. I saw their problem as well, so I told the couple I would move to another seat so they could sit together. Obviously no big deal, but from that time to now, due to Miss Trehune, I’ve purposed to think more of others in similar situations.

Miss Trehune never let a teaching opportunity go to waste. We were the children she never had and as such she devoted her life to teaching us more than just facts from books; she taught us tools to be better people. Teaching was not just her profession, it was her life. I sometimes wonder how many students she taught incorporated this amazing woman’s advice into their lives and thus benefited from her wisdom. A teacher like Miss Trehune is a gift that keeps on giving throughout life and thus helps make our World a bit better for everyone.

Bonnie O’Neil

Newport Beach

 

 


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

Happy 2018 to you! I hope that your holidays were safe, fun, and relaxing (unless you like it otherwise, and that’s fine too – I know more than a few holiday adrenaline junkies). Anyway, back here at City Hall we’re revving up for another year. The new Mayor is Duffy Duffield and the new Mayor Pro Tem is Will O’Neill.

Our first meeting of the year starts with a Study Session at 4 p.m. and then goes to a Regular Session at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

As to Study Session, we’ll honor Pacific Life on its 150th Anniversary. Then the Council will go into two policy items:

A briefing by the City’s consultant that looks at the state and regional economy

that’s Beacon Economics. We had Beacon do a public workshop about this time last year, and I think that the folks attending got a lot out of it. This time, it’s a Study Session item so that more people might be able to hear it or see it online. This can be a good one to tune in to if you want some solid guidance about the current (and possibly future) state of the regional economy. I should probably put in here something about not making investment strategies or decisions based on this, as they are just projections and you can’t come back after investing the kids’ college fund in Bitcoin to say “well, the City’s economist said so…”

An update on past actions, present activities, and the future goals regarding Ocean and Bay Water Quality. This is always a great subject for the community to learn more about, as some really significant strides have been made to improve the water quality of our Bay, especially. The City is well-served by members of the Water Quality/Coastal Tidelands citizens committee, and the goals we’ll talk about on Tuesday reflect the Committee’s ideas as well as the perspective of our good Public Works staff.

On the Regular Session agenda are a few housekeeping items and others, of which I think only one seems worth a community mention. That is the appeal by Electra Cruises of a parking management plan (PMP) for Lido Marina Village. I don’t have a perspective on the merits of the appeal, but it is a good time to remind folks about zoning and parking in our commercial areas. 

Most commercial areas, like Lido Marina Village, have parking standards set forth in the code, and they are generally linked to the types of land uses in the area. Parking requirements can be addressed in a variety of ways – with on-site parking or offsite, with shuttles or more. In Lido Marina Village, the new restaurants and shops are bringing more customers and employees to the area, resulting in greater use of the private parking structure there (and to some extent, to surrounding residential areas).  

The structure is also used by Electra Cruises’ patrons. In this case, a parking management plan helps determine how to best accommodate all uses – sometimes on an hourly basis. While this PMP was approved by the Planning Commission, Electra appealed the approval to the City Council. The City Council will hold a public hearing to determine the merits of the appeal, and then can decide to reject, modify, or accept the PMP.   

A few notes:

The Council’s annual planning/goal setting session is likely to be Monday

evening, Jan. 29 at Marina Park, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This is tentative and subject to change, but you may want to pencil it in on your calendar if you like attending these (and you know you do). There will be cookies.

The City Finance Committee meets next Thursday afternoon, Jan. 11, at 3

p.m. here at City Hall in the Corona del Mar Conference Room (Bay D, 2nd Floor). No cookies.

Newport Beach Restaurant Week is coming up, starting on Jan. 15 and going

through Jan. 28. It’s a fun and creative time to try out new (or old favorite) restaurants. More information at www.dinenb.com

A personal note here, and I get to do this as it’s my e-mail. Twenty years ago

(Jan. 5, 1998), I walked into my first day of work at (the old) Newport Beach City Hall, starting my job as an “assistant to” the city manager. I was nervous and excited, and so honored to be working for this great community. I was looking forward to some great projects, experiences, and fun people to meet and to work with.  Twenty years later, those expectations were all met. And they continue to be met. I hope that you enjoy living and/or working in Newport Beach as much as your city staff – including a much older me – enjoys serving here.

Thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letter to the Editor:

Final comment from Glenn on the City/Dixon lawsuit

My objective here was to prove that Dixon was lying, and to do so in a court of law. I have accomplished that objective.

The defamation section I was less concerned about, even though that was the legal tool which allowed the case to be heard. I was going to donate all money won anyway – so that was not the objective.

The fact that the judge said that State Code 47 allows people to literally lie from the dais without any recourse for citizens who are being slandered by elected officials tells me that we have a very serious problem in the state of California, and while I am happy to be vindicated by a judge from Dixon’s accusations, I am saddened that she has all the legal ability to espouse as many lies as she wants – and her entire defense in this case was not that she was telling the truth, it was that she was immune from being held accountable for telling lies.

That’s concerning.
Mike Glenn


Letter to the Editor:

Concerns expressed for the General Plan update process

The General Plan, the blueprint of development for our city, is ready to be updated. 

In past updates, our City Council has added extensive new developments to this blueprint. Once a development has been added to the General Plan, there is no effective way to prevent it from being built. 

As an example, the high-density apartments at San Joaquin Hills and Jamboree were added to the 2006 General Plan update and were just now built. 

Many of us are concerned that our current City Council will add substantial development to the General Plan. A majority of the councilpersons voted for the 25 story Museum House tower last November and a simple majority can add additional development to our city through the General Plan.

Because our General Plan revisions add development rights, they require a Greenlight vote. 

However, in the last two updates, the City Council represented the update as an opportunity to remove traffic and density, although each added huge new developments to our city. 

This disingenuous presentation backfired in 2014 when residents decisively defeated Measure Y. Voters don’t like to be fooled by their elected representatives and they felt hoodwinked by the way the new development was hidden.

Although the city did a major outreach to residents in 2014, they ignored the results when the overwhelming sentiment expressed was to slow development and protect quality of life. 

SPON’s General Plan committee has been recently formed in part to give a greater voice to the residents in the update process. An educated and involved electorate is the best way to make this update resident focused and will make it harder to quietly slip major projects into the plan.  

Voters deserve to know exactly what they are voting for. For my part, I’m asking our City Council for transparency, a level playing field and a clear accounting of the new developments that they are adding to our city. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff  

Happy almost-Christmas Boat Parade time to you. That starts Wednesday the 13th, you know. Be prepared for good times, good decorations, good friends, and not-so-good traffic.

This coming Tuesday, December 12 is the last official regular Council meeting of 2017. Hard to believe we’re already there. At this meeting, not a lot happens besides some important ceremonial moves. As this is not a year where we had a Council election, we have no newcomers nor folks terming out.  

Starting at 6:30 p.m., there are some very minor business items, one being the 2nd Reading of the rescinding of the approvals for Banning Ranch. Why is this coming up again? Glad you asked.   

This is a good chance to remind folks of the arcane rules about ordinances versus

resolutions versus other actions. An ordinance is typically (but not always) an action that amends the municipal code (in Banning Ranch’s case, the development approvals being rescinded include lots of things, some being changes made in 2012 to the Zoning Code). Remember that the Municipal Code itself spells out our local laws relating to everything from parking to fire and building codes to the harbor to nuisances to zoning. When the Council amends the Muni Code, they do it via two nearly identical actions (called 1st Reading or Introduction and then 2nd Reading). This is in part to allow more transparency and in part to allow the Council to reconsider or change an action before it becomes law. A Muni Code change does not take effect until 30 days following an affirmative vote at 2nd Reading.

The City Charter give additional roles to ordinances, requiring that franchises and new fines and penalties be adopted by ordinance. This too is a two-step process. The Council only adopts about 25-35 ordinances in any one year. 

A resolution is different. It is not an action that amends the Code, but it does express a formal determination by the Council of a policy, adopting a fee, stating an intention to apply for a grant, a budget’s adoption, certain personnel changes and more. Resolutions only have one vote, and they typically become effective upon adoption. Last year the Council adopted about 130 resolutions, though we’re on track for less in 2017.

There. You now know more about ordinances and resolutions and are half asleep. So am I.

So back to the December 12th meeting. After the Banning Ranch business item, we go to the annual reorganization. The reorganization goes like this:

The mayor for 2017, Kevin Muldoon, is recognized for his service, and will offer his thoughts as he concludes that role, Then,

Council takes nominations for the mayor’s position for 2018, and takes a vote. Oftentimes only one Council member is nominated before nominations are closed.

With the new mayor taking the gavel and the center seat, he or she takes nominations for the vice-mayor or mayor pro tem position (and another vote is taken). The vice-mayor then takes the seat to the mayor’s right.

Everyone else picks their 2018 seats, with the Council members next in seniority picking first, by alphabetical order of their first pet’s name if two or more have the same seniority. Or their own last name, whatever.

The new mayor gets to make some remarks.

The meeting ends and off everyone goes to eat. City staff breathes a sigh of relief and imbibes in a few drinks (afterward, of course – what were you thinking?) as another year of meetings is under the belt.

A few notes:

Thank you to all who have attended the two Open Forums on the airport in recent days and weeks. We’ve had strong discussions and I have appreciated the good questions and comments. I know Council Member (Jeff) Herdman has as well. Just as an update for all, the last known FAA NextGen adjustment at JWA was made on Thursday, December 7, as the plane routes going to two destinations (Las Vegas and Salt Lake City – the FINZZ) were shifted very slightly west. While we didn’t see evidence of this until Friday, December 8, as we were in Santa Ana reverse flow conditions, the shift did happen according to our review of a handful of flights Friday afternoon. For those who want further updates on JWA, the Aviation Committee meets on Monday, December 11, at 4 p.m. at the Community Room at City Hall.

The Christmas Boat Parade (as noted) starts on Wednesday, December 13th and occurs through Sunday, December 17th. With fireworks on the first and last days. More details are at www.christmasboatparade.com

By the end of this month, I have to say goodbye to another Department Director at the City. 2017 was a year that saw some retirements that I really didn’t want to see – that of Community Development Director Kim Brandt and now Utilities Guru George Murdoch. George is a remarkable man and leader, and he’s one of those people that I knew, if George was around, things were going to be OK. He led us through the drought. He would be the guy up in the middle of the night at a water main break, supervising a flooded street, or even that night this summer when a sea wall (or lack thereof) on Newport Island was in the news. If you didn’t know George, you knew his work – it was in the quality of your water service, the way we didn’t have to worry about wastewater spills, how your streetlights went on when they were supposed to, and much more. George has been with the City since 1980, starting as a $5.44/hour refuse worker. He retires about 38 years later, as one of the most well-liked and respected department directors we’ve had here. Fortunately, he has been good about sharing his knowledge, so we’ll be OK. I think. I will still miss him a great deal.

A reminder that City Hall takes a few days off between Christmas and New Year’s, so the Civic Center will be closed during the week of December 25 all the way to Monday, January 1, 2018. The Newport Beach Public Library has different hours, and is open in a limited way that week – check the Library’s Holiday Hours at www.newportbeachlibrary.org before you go. I hope that you and your families have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and good and safe holidays overall.          

Thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor:

Do some get more than their fair share?

Newport Beach District 6 City Council Candidate Joy Brenner addressed the Planning Commission last week with some concerns. This is a transcript.

My concern this evening is not primarily the 2706 Ocean Blvd. project, but about the city policies and procedures which have made this another lightning rod to our citizens.  

After attending many meetings on this project with concerned citizens,

city planning staff and even representatives of the builder, I’ve come away

amazed at the confusion over what the owner is legitimately allowed to build, and further amazed at what has been proposed in the way of variances. Small variances are understandable, excessive variances are not.

Understanding how to calculate Floor Area Ratio, even on irregular lots, such as this, should not be this difficult to determine, yet we have spent hours upon hours trying to get to the accurate number.   

BUT the ratio I am most concerned with is the ratio between Perception and Reality. Many, if not most, of our citizens have the perception that our city is not protecting us. We see buildings around us that have pushed the limits so far, we believe they MUST have cheated. 

WE DESERVE BETTER! Our citizens should not have to monitor our City’s actions at each and every turn. We need our city representatives to enact policies which are absolutely fair, transparent, understandable, totally above board and to have all those in positions of responsibility follow them to the letter and spirit of the law.  

This not only protects the city, but also the builders, property owners and 

other residents.  

It should not take an applicant one-and-a-half years, as this project has, to know what they are allowed to build and it should not take that many hours of city staff time, but MOSTLY it should not take EXCESSIVE VIGILANCE by our citizens to make sure no special privilege is being granted to one homeowner over another. 

ALL of our PROPERTY RIGHTS have to be protected from those who want more than their fair share.  

Our zoning laws need to be so fair and so transparent that citizens can easily determine whether they are being interpreted fairly, or whether special privilege is being granted.

MANY, if not most, of our citizens have lost faith in our city representatives and their willingness to stand up for us. I believe most of you have read the temperature of our community and IT IS HOT! Many of us are interested in city government and how it works and we enjoy fostering understanding on issues such as this.  

But, there are a LOT of citizens who are extremely irritated that every time they turn around, it seems another building project is pushing the limits of not only our infrastructure but of our quality of life.  

The city planning staff has gone out of their way to meet with and help us understand the complexities of this particular project and I believe that is a sign of changing times. One of our citizens said recently, that we should get rid of the building officials and just put a rubber stamp on the counter. I don’t believe that, but if our citizens have that perception, then our electeds, their appointees and our city staff have to be vigilant in not only changing that perception, but of changing the climate which fosters that perception.

Thank you for your time, attention and service to our community!

Joy Brenner

City Council Candidate, District 6


Letters to the Editor:

Peotter is a “rare politician that does what he’s promised”

Groucho Marx was right when he famously said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

The Peotter recall is the wrong remedy.

Defeated city council candidate Michael Toerge and Fidelity Title Insurance executive Lynn Swain have driveled out a stream of letters accusing Peotter of everything but causing Malaria.

My suspicion is the letters are ghost written by Keith Curry, an angry failed politician that saddled Newport’s taxpayers with $140 million in debt for the Taj Mahal.

Peotter is one of those rare politicians that does what he’s promised – a novel concept to Toerge, Swain, and Curry.

Peotter led the charge to repeal the Dock Tax, return wood to our beach fire rings, audit the Taj Mahal, respect private property rights, and kill unnecessary projects like the 25-million dollar West Newport community center.

Newport’s finances are solid, home values continue to rise, and we are one of the safest communities in the state.

The council is working to reduce our massive unfunded pension debt – despite having little control over the abysmal investment performance of CalPERs.

Swain and Toerge want Peotter recalled simply because they don’t like him.  

He’s not “their kind of guy” because he speaks his mind and advocates for taxpayers.

Bob McCaffrey 

Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island

Scott Peotter Must Be Desperate

Scott Peotter must be getting desperate because he rolled out Team Newport puppet master Bob McCaffrey to once again launch personal attacks on the recall leaders and by extension the 10,688 residents who signed the petitions to remove Peotter.

McCaffery claims Peotter “does what he promises,” but does he? Dock fees were not eliminated, they were reduced by an average of only $18.00 per year for two-thirds of dock owners. Some major donors, however, received reductions of over $700.  

The current fire ring plan is essentially what the prior council proposed except it is implemented in a way to cause maximum smoke and health impacts on Newport Beach residents.  

The so-called civic center audit was a $300,000 boondoggle that still has never been completed in final form and resulted in no findings of wrongdoing by anyone.  

Peotter and Team Newport have temporally stopped the West Newport Community Center because they don’t think residents on the west side of town deserve facilities on par with Newport Coast or OASIS.

Our unfunded pension liability has increased by $70 million since Peotter took office and he opposed efforts of the council to reduce the liability in 2015.  

As for taxpayers, Peotter is pulling down compensation from four public agencies at the same time. He was the only council member to vote against the city’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy.

No Bob, he is not being recalled by more than 10,000 residents simply because we don’t like him. He is being recalled because he continues to act like our campaign contribution and disclosure laws don’t apply to him; he is rude and insulting to his colleagues and the public; and he (with your shilling on the side) attempted to prevent the residents from stopping the high-rise Museum House project.  

We are tired of the special interest, pay to play, pro high-rise antics of Peotter and the self-proclaimed “kingmakers” like yourself who stand behind them.

Lynn Swain

Committee To Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Reader cites various perceived political abuses

As America debates the impact of Russia on our election process, it is important to note that locally, we have seen the integrity of our city council elections attacked by Scott Peotter and his Team Newport puppet masters. 

Consider this pattern of political abuses:

In 2014, Dave Ellis had bragged that over $900,000 was spent through various committees to elect “Team Newport”. Much of this money is still untraceable. Peotter was cited twice for accepting donations that exceed the legal limit and is still under investigation by the state for failing to report in kind donations from Woody’s Wharf. Peotter was the deciding vote in favor of ending litigation with Woody’s.

Team Newport boss Bob McCaffery attempted to prevent now Councilmember Jeff Herdman from even running for office. This cynical effort was quickly rejected by the courts.

Peottter’s brother, Bruce Peotter, went to court to force Fred Ameri to run under the name “Farouk”. Again, rejected by the courts. Later, racist signs appeared in the Farsi language purporting to support Ameri. Scott Peotter wrote in the Newport Beach Independent in support of this political dirty trick.

Peotter and Team Newport hijacked a charter amendment from former Councilmember Keith Curry, put their names on it and raised money to support it.  The funds mostly were used to pay for signs in support of favored council candidates in order to circumvent campaign-spending limits.

Perhaps the most outrageous political dirty trick was when the city council added thousands of unnecessary pages to the Museum House petition in an effort to obstruct the rights of the people to stop this high-rise development.  More than $400,000 was spent by Ellis and project supporters in television ads, phony petitions and “petition blockers” in order to frustrate the rights of our residents.

This pattern was repeated when Peotter himself employed out of town “blockers” and false mailings to try to stop the recall petitions.

Expect Scott Peotter and his political bosses to continue to use every dirty trick in the bag to save his job and keep his special interest vote on the city council.

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar

It’s all about the traffic

Traffic is always an important issue for Newport Beach residents. I watched with great interest the October 24th City Council Study Session where several methods of dealing with traffic flow in our City were presented. While these efforts are appreciated, what ever happened to the Corona del Mar bypass?  When Newport Coast Road was completed in 1992, the traffic through CdM decreased significantly. Four years later, when the 73 Toll Road was completed and the free route to and from the 73 Freeway was replaced with a toll, traffic returned to CdM. 

Creating awareness of alternate routes to and from areas inland will certainly improve traffic through CdM. To accelerate this process, the bypass effort should be organized into two separate phases, the first is one that enacts measures the City can employ now and independent of other public agencies. These would include real time traffic monitoring and messaging to alert Coast Highway bound traffic. A second parallel effort would be working with other public agencies to facilitate a broader and more effective bypass. This would include the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), the City of Irvine and traffic solutions surrounding the drop off and pick up of students at Sage Hill High School. Local leadership is needed to implement these quality of life improvements now. 

As we plan for Mariner’s Mile, we must be certain that we support local businesses and residents and not turn this stretch of highway into a wide thoroughfare with added automotive traffic lanes. It is also important that we work with our neighbors in Costa Mesa to reduce the impact of the termination of State Route 55 on both of our cities, particularly cut through traffic on our residential streets.

Now is the time to plan for autonomous vehicles and the impact of home delivery and shared ride services such as Uber and Lyft. For example, how do we prevent double parking for pickups that stall overall traffic movement and how will the demand for parking be reduced in a shared economy?

Under the leadership of Tony Petros, the council made several major investments in bicycle safety, and improved traffic flow, but these seem to have fallen in priority.  

The key to addressing both our traffic issues and the need for better-managed parking is the upcoming revision of the General Plan. As a councilmember, my position on the General Plan will be focused on how we reduce the impact of traffic, better provide for parking and use the General Plan to improve our quality of life. This will not happen if our city council is not committed to putting residents first.

Michael Toerge, District 6, Candidate for City Council

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff  

A good after-Thanksgiving to you. I hope that you and your extended families and/or friends had a nice visit and that everyone is safely home.

We’re getting near the end of the calendar year, of course, and that means only two more business meetings for the City Council before a fairly long break starting December 13. A lot is still going on during that period, like the Boat Parade and lots of traffic and shopping, but we try to ratchet down meetings to be respectful of your schedule as well as our own.

Here’s what might be of interest on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, November 28, 2017. I don’t summarize every item, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’sagenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.  

The study session begins at 4 p.m. with:  

A presentation on the Orange County Drowning Prevention Task Force, of which our Lifeguard Division is a big part. While not a lot of backyard pool or ocean swimming goes on in the fall, the Task Force works hard every year to make sure that deaths by drowning are minimized and hopefully eliminated. Right now, it’s still the leading cause of death or disability for California kids under 5 years old. For more information and for a cool home poster, click here.

We’ll talk with the City Council about moving our water meter reading system towards something more automated. It would involve swapping out some

of the infrastructure at 20,000+ water meters over time. 

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Items include:

Anyone remember the Banning Ranch project? Of course you do. After winding its way to the California Supreme Court, a case against the City’s 2012 approval of various entitlements for the Project (at the western edge of the community) has led to the City having to formally vacate those approvals to comply with the Court’s order. The project itself was denied by the California Coastal Commission in early 2017, so the City’s 2012 approvals never resulted in a project. People often ask where this project is in the process, and that’s complicated, as it remains tied up in other litigation. If it were to come back to the City Council for a re-do or modification (or even the same project), a lot of the entitlement work would have to start generally from square one.

The Friends of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter (aka FONBAS) have formed and are ready to start working to support our great little shelter in West Santa Ana Heights in the community’s only “residential-kennel” zone. I can’t say enough about the good folks who have volunteered to support the Shelter through donations and volunteering their time and affection. The agenda for Nov. 28 has a formal agreement that establishes that fundraising relationship. If you want to support FONBAS, visit www.fonbas.org

The Council annually allocates about $40,000 towards various community

programs, and the award of those grants is on this meeting’s agenda. It’s also

proposed to fund the Newport Beach Historical Society and the Balboa Island 

Museum and Historical Society.

We continue to try to find a more efficient way of dredging Lower Newport

Bay (aka the Harbor). It’s problematic right now because we still have some

material in there that is not suitable for offshore or onshore disposal. We’d like to

figure out a way to place that material somewhere appropriate and then move

forward on a dredging method that would be more routine and less sporadic. 

Meaning a more continuous annual effort versus once every 10 years or so. It’s a

good goal (championed by Council member Duffield), and it’s achievable if we

can get the right permits and address this legacy material. An item on this

agenda conducts some start-up testing to see how we can best tackle that first

hurdle of the unsuitable sediment.

A few community notes:

If folks are up for a second “Open Forum” on the airport, we are. Therefore, come and talk about any airport issue this coming Friday, December 8th, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. We’ll be in the City Council Chambers again. Like last time, it’s very informal and we hope to answer any and all questions. A number of good ideas came out of the last one, which I will write about in the future. Again, this forum is not a formal meeting of the Aviation Committee. 

It’s almost Christmas Boat Parade time again. This 109th annual event starts on Wednesday, December 13th and occurs through Sunday, December 17th. With fireworks on the first and last days. More details are here.

If you are a Council follower, we may be starting the City Council meeting of December 12th a few hours earlier than usual, possibly with a business meeting at 4 p.m. (versus just a Study Session). That evening is the traditional “reorganization” where Council members can name a new Mayor and Mayor pro Tem.

Thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letters to the Editor:

This reader likes “basic policing”

If you (Mark Adams) have a chance, please read the NBPD “Events” log. You will see the “basic policing” that occurs on a daily basis. If the city council approves “magic wands” (not batons-wands), then surely the daily “events” would triple. 

And of course, if the criminals would commit crimes in their own cities instead of preying on NB residents (we can dream can’t we?) NBPD would be available for even more “basic policing”. 

Sheri Black

Newport Beach

Surprise, another attack on Peotter

In her recent Forum letter, Lynn Swain forgot to list one last Scott Peotter misstep involving his lack of transparency and fiscal responsibility that were two of his campaign pledges. This particular misstep calls into question alleged child endangerment and missing City funds.

During his tenure on the city council, Peotter and his Team Newport cronies, who also touted transparency and fiscal accountability at City Hall, authorized the City Manager and City Attorney to spend nearly $450,000 of taxpayer funds to prevent me from accessing embarrassing information using the CA Public Records Act. Why not ask the Councilman why the City of Newport Beach did not want these records released to the public? 

So, as Ms. Swain states, perhaps citizens can’t afford not to recall Councilman Peotter.

Kent Moore

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

We Can’t Afford Scott Peotter

Scott Peotter is soon to be recalled by the residents of Newport Beach. Rather than offer any defense for his irresponsible behavior and ideas on the city council, Peotter and the puppet masters behind him offer only the argument that the recall would result in a cost estimated by the county to be $272,885-$303,385. How does this cost compare with some of Peotter’s other ideas?

$273,000 – The cost of a special election for the Museum House which Peotter advocated rather than simply to rescind project approvals.

$480,000 – The amount of road improvement funds Peotter proposed to turn down in order to “make a point”. This amount would have risen to $1.9 million annually had he succeeded.

$355,000 – The amount of taxpayer dollars paid out to the owners of Woody’s Wharf, major Peotter donors.

$500,000 – The amount of the fee cut given to mooring holders, 60 percent of which do not live in Newport Beach.

$300,000 – The cost of the politically motivated “audit” of city hall which has never been actually completed and was settled with no finding of any wrong doing.

$3.5 million – The amount of the irresponsible fee cut proposed by Peotter for the licenses of large businesses in the city. This would have created a huge budget deficit and was not even supported by the business community.

$719,000 – The amount of additional annual debt service if Peotter’s policies had been followed in the financing of the civic center. 

$300,000 – The amount of funding Peotter attempted to delete from Diane Dixon’s efforts to improve police services on the Peninsula.

$70 million – The amount the city’s unfunded pension liability has risen since Peotter took office.

When Peotter says we cannot afford the recall, I say we cannot afford not to recall him. Let’s take back our city from the out of town special interests.

Lynn Swain

Committee to Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach

76 Station expansion - is this a good investment for West NB?

This letter is in regard to the 76 Station Expansion (Superior Ave. and Placentia Ave.) that was presented to the Planning Commission meeting on November 9, 2017, this business should facilitate its operation as a “dusk to dawn” operation.

During the presentation, the Newport Beach Police Department made it quite clear that this particular area of West Newport has the highest crime rate within the City’s parameters. 

As a stakeholder of one of the adjacent properties, I can assure you that their statistics are accurate. Our community has been working very hard with the Police and Code Enforcement to clean up this area and make it a better place to live. This area borderlines Costa Mesa and has had a propensity to channel more crime and transient activity into Newport Beach.

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, (NACS), Crime and Convenience store hold-ups account for about 6 percent of all robberies in the nation. Additional studies found an increasing trend as the number of alcohol outlets in an area rose and had a direct impact on neighborhood violence. For example, the following convenience stores are located within 300 feet of each other from property line to property line: Minute King, 7-Eleven and 76 Gas Station.

Recently, developers have been investing millions of dollars to revitalize this area of West Newport Beach. This is the case of the Ebb & Tide development located at 1560 Placentia Ave., Newport Beach; MBK Homes has recently completed 81 detached luxury homes that begin at approximately $1,000,000. According to the developer these homes are almost sold-out and there is a residual waiting list of 121 applicants.

We need to ask ourselves, if we are doing an injustice to the developers and the new homeowners by adding another convenience store that will be selling alcohol?

Ironically, one of the most trending “Hipster” or “Counter Culture” places to dine are referred to as Gourmet Gas Stations, or also known as, “Park, Pump & Pig-Out.” An example of this concept is the 76 Gas Station in Fullerton. This particular station has a deli that makes cold and hot food and they also have a mini-express spa onsite. It is located across the street from St. Jude Hospital and is enjoyed by the employees and visitors from the hospital who want to leave the hospital for fresh air and a quick lunch in a pleasant outdoor setting.

Visit the website at: http://www.sunnyhillscarwash.com.

“Let’s challenge the applicant to bring added value to the community, by meeting the needs of the residents and in so doing provide a better quality of life for West Newport Beach.”  

“I personally, I think that a good cup of “Joe” yields more profits and less problems than a bottle of hooch.”

Peggy V. Palmer

Newport Beach

More additions to columnist Duncan Forgey’s “grab bag”

(In response to Monday’s Boozin’ in Balboa column by Duncan Forgey)

Restaurants to jog your memory:

Ok, I know you couldn’t do’em all, but leaving out Tale of the Whale (crock of spreadable cheddar cheese), the Galley (best greasy spoon in the country), the Alley (2nd only to Arches as local hangout) and Sid’s?  

Matt Clabaugh

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

Here’s what might be of interest on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, November 14, 2017. I don’t summarize every item, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.

The study session begins at 4 p.m. with: (1) A preliminary, early, conceptual roll-out of how an update to the General Plan might work. Did I mention this was early? You want to pay attention to this one. A community’s General Plan is its most consequential document (the City budget is a close second). The General Plan tells all about how and where various land uses will be accommodated, how circulation and traffic will (or won’t) work, where parks and recreational amenities will go, and much more. Yes, much of Newport Beach is built out and things are set – but it doesn’t mean that we can’t improve upon and adjust what we have. Staff will present some ideas as to how to involve the community, the Council, and various commissions in ensuring that the next update to the General Plan reflects the community’s values.

(2) An update on our new Harbor adventure – that of taking on limited code enforcement and mooring administration. As you know, we’ve been doing this since July 1, 2017, when we transitioned from the County Harbor Patrol to having City crews both manage moorings and take on general on-water code enforcement. It’s been a fun adventure, especially for our new part-time staff who do that under direction of their fearless leader, Dennis Durgan. And I do mean fearless – there is virtually no problem that scares Dennis off. From illegal live-aboards to loud charter boats to miscreants jumping off the Lido Isle Bridge. Miscreant is such a good word. But isn’t it normal to be a miscreant once or twice or twelve times? I’m only asking hypothetically. Anyway, four-ish months in, it’s time to update the Council on how we’ve done with Harbor Operations and what our next phases might be.

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Again, it looks to be a bit quiet on the evening side. 

(1) Consideration of supporting the California Water Fix, aka the Delta Tunnel program. We haven’t waded into these waters (rim-shot here) previously in a formal way, but our City’s approach has always been to attempt to ensure that our current mix of Orange County Water District groundwater and purchased Metropolitan Water District water (right now, it’s split about 70 percent OCWD and 30 percent Met) is always fully safe and fully reliable. We believe that the Delta Tunnel project will continue this assurance of good clean Met water from the Sierras snowpack. 

(2) A lot of new ADA access ramps and other sidewalk improvements are coming to Harbor View, Spyglass, Eastbluff and the Port Streets. This is another $1.2M towards ensuring that our community is fully compliant with disabled access laws (and easier for strollers).

(3) Lastly, the Council may formalize the General Plan process ideas that it will have talked about in the afternoon’s session.

A few community notes:

(1) Anyone who wants to talk about any airport issue is invited to our first informal discussion group this coming Friday, November 17th, from 3 – 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. We’ll be in the City Council Chambers, but don’t assume it’s that formal. You can come in shorts and flip-flops. Anyone is welcome, and you are further welcome to ask any question you want. Council Member Jeff Herdman, as chairman of the Aviation Committee, is hosting this with me in order to facilitate good communication and awareness about all things JWA. This is not a formal meeting of the Aviation Committee. 

(2) The current sculpture exhibition in the Civic Center Park is fun to walk along and through. Some of the kinetic ones are quite interesting, and the “Burnt Matchstick” is rather dramatic. Please consider picking one of these nice fall weekend days to walk through the park. 

(3) November and December are both times when we (and other agencies) squeeze in important infrastructure projects that can impact your daily routes. For advanced notice of these, be sure to check out Public Works’ Traffic Advisories page. It is updated weekly.   

I hope that you have a good Thanksgiving, as I won’t be e-mailing before that. About (this past) Veterans Day, after much DVR-ing and in slow bites, I only recently completed the PBS documentary done by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on the Vietnam War. It was a lot to digest and a lot of emotional material. With no slight to veterans of other wars, I left the documentary wanting to shake the hands of and thank every Vietnam veteran for their service, knowing that some of those thanks didn’t occur when they first came home. The series is very much worth watching.

Thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letters to the Editor:

Peotter Recall – follow the money

As reported in the press, the campaign finance disclosures from the committees on both sides of the Scott Peotter recall have been submitted and they tell us much about who holds power in our city.

Dozens of Newport Beach residents contributed $78,672 to fund the pro recall efforts.

Two pro-Peotter committees were formed. “Newport Beach Residents Against Recalling Councilman Peotter” raised $27,000 from three donors. Howard Ahmanson and his affiliated Fieldstead Companies contributed $17,000 of the $27,000 (63 percent) with Larry Smith, giving another $8,000. Both Ahmanson and Smith are activists on social issue politics and Ahmanson is known for his extremist positions.

The other donor was Great Scott Tree Service who gave $2,000. On May 26, 2015, Peotter made the motion to reject unopened bids for trimming the city’s trees and to award the contract without bids to Great Scott. We will never know if they were the lowest cost provider because Peotter’s motion resulted in the bids being returned unopened. Once again, special interests donors are getting great return on their investment from Peotter.

The second pro-Peotter “Committee to Oppose the Recall” raised $14,125 from four donors including city developer John Saunders who gave $1,100. Peotter himself contributed 82 percent of this amount ($11,648) which was used to fund out of town “petition blockers” and to campaign against a fictitious “bunny tax”.

In addition to 10,688 residents calling for his recall, Peotter’s opponents raised more than twice as much money from a broad-based group of community leaders. Peotter raised money from politically aligned extremist activists and vendors doing business before the city. As the recall continues, we can expect Peotter to continue to shake down city vendors and developers to save his political scalp. It’s time to stop the “pay to play” and recall Peotter now.

Karl Kimme

Newport Beach

One more misstating of facts

One more misstating of facts from liberal (Susan) Skinner in her article. Twenty-two hundred units in Koll project is twice as big as Museum House? The Museum House was 100 units. Did she take any math classes? Once again, misleading public with fake facts.

Steve Roush

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Good Neighbor Policy?

The NMUSD is changing its 50-year relationship with neighbors to its campuses.

It will transition CdMHS from a daytime-intensive use facility to a day and night intensive use facility. The District plans to install two lighted artificial turf fields at CdMHS where there have never been field lights before.

The District repeatedly refers to its “Good Neighbor Policy”. They say they want to be a good neighbor but they don’t want to follow host city rules. The District recommended the School Board to vote to exempt the district from City of Newport Beach regulations. Why? Because the city does not allow sports facility lighting installed within 200 feet of a residential zoned district. The lighting on this project will be 110 feet from residential structures.

The District walked away from negotiations with community groups for a binding field use agreement. Why? The District wants to have a fluid use policy whereby it can increase the nighttime field usage at any time for any reason with a School Board vote. 

Other communities have use agreements with their school districts that insure the facilities are being used as the Trustees intended. They stipulate hours of use, the maximum number of nighttime events to occur annually and state enforceable consequences for violations of the contract. Under these contracts, the District monitors the facility use. 

In the absence of a binding use agreement with the community, the new or current board could change hours of operation at will and may expand use to rent to outside groups. 

If the Trustees were sincere in their commitment to limit use, they would be eager to work with the community to come to a committed agreement.

Chuck Fry

Newport Beach

Peotter is Part of the Problem

As America reacts with disgust at the sexual harassment and assault record of Harvey Weinstein, the California Legislature, Fox News, and other political and media leaders, I have become exceedingly angry that our own City Council Member, Scott Peotter, was the only member of the city council to vote against the city’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy (September 13, 2016).  

What was he thinking? In light of the revelations of how wide spread sexual harassment and outright assault is in our nation, his vote becomes even more indefensible.

Further, Peotter claims to have recently worked for an organization whose leader, Ralph Drollinger “once counseled a group of Sacramento lawmakers that female politicians with young children had no business serving in the Legislature. In fact, he called them sinners.” (LA Times, August 3, 2017).   

Enough is enough for me, we need to eliminate the disrespect for women from our institutions and a good place to start is to support the recall of Scott Peotter. We owe it to our daughters.

Shannon Green

Corona del Mar

Skinner clarifies “drain the swamp” comment

Thank you for publishing my letter regarding the recall of Scott Peotter last Thursday. My last line referenced that the recall was a good first step toward ‘draining the swamp’ and restoring faith in city government, which you understood to mean that I was intent on removing the rest of the city council. I am not.

While I absolutely feel that Councilpersons Muldoon and Duffy (and to a lesser extent Dixon, who actually tried to remove some of the added pages to the petition) should be held accountable for their actions in undermining the constitutional rights of the residents with the 3,700 pages of the Museum House petition, there is a much larger swamp that needs to be drained. 

Much of that swamp revolves around political consultant Dave Ellis. While it is perfectly legal for him to elect candidates to the council and then immediately lobby them on behalf of large developers, it stinks to high heaven. Until this cycle is broken, we can expect more council decisions that disregard the best interests of the voters in favor of special interests. 

Add to that the total lack of transparency on the part of our city government. For example, the General Plan updates in 2006 and 2014 added extensive new development. Because the General Plan required a Greenlight vote, the city had to figure out a way to get it past the voters. The ballot question for both asked if voters wanted to “remove traffic and density from the General Plan”. In actual fact, the high-density apartments at Jamboree and San Joaquin Hills were approved in the 2006 General Plan as were the 2,200 dwelling units that will be used for the upcoming Koll Residences (twice as big as the Museum House) and were already used to approve Uptown Newport (1,244 units coming out of the ground right now). Even if you had wanted to find out what extra developments were being added, it was nowhere on the city’s website for the 2014 General Plan.

In 2012, the Planning Department pushed, and the City Council approved, the conversion of 79 hotel rooms into apartments (which were added to the number of new apartments in Newport Center). This shouldn’t have been allowed without a General Plan Amendment for a number of reasons, but the city allowed this to occur. Those 79 new apartments should have been counted in the Greenlight calculations for the Museum House (leaving 21 units left that could be approved without a vote), but even after having this called to their attention, the Planning Department chose to ignore this inconvenient fact.

The list goes on and on. My hope is that the combination of the Museum House referendum and the recall of Scott Peotter will drain some of this swamp. I would love to live in a place where I could trust that my government is acting in my best interests. 

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Koll project should be considered after General Plan Update

Newport Beach residents have spoken clearly and vocally that we do not want massive high-rise condominium towers degrading the quality of life and special character of our city.  

The three colossal luxury condominium towers proposed by the Shopoff Group are a perfect example of the high-rise, high-density development that Newport Beach residents have already strongly opposed. This project looms over the next-door existing businesses as if progress has a right to trample existing property rights.  

This project needs to be considered during the upcoming General Plan process. The City is about to launch a General Plan Update because the current document is outdated and legally inconsistent. The Update will correct its many problems and will more accurately reflect residents’ needs and sentiments.  

Consideration of the Shopoff project should be postponed until the General Plan update is completed so that the views of existing residents and businesses are properly considered.

Don Harvey

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Recallers spend $90k to submit signatures

On Friday (Oct. 27) the usual cast of characters that supported my opponent from 2014 showed up at City Hall to submit their signatures. They had until Monday, Oct. 30.

What happens next?

The petitions were sent to the Registrar of Voters Friday to perform the official verification for the City Clerk. The ROV will verify that the signors are indeed registered voters in Newport Beach. If there are 8,445 valid signatures it will come back to the Council to set an election.

What about the bunny tax petitions?

Very good question. I submitted 1,783 signatures to rescind their signatures from the recall Petition. The ROV will check my signatures and SUBTRACT the signatures that match on the recall petition.

Many people that signed told me that they were misled. They thought they were signing a petition to stop high-rise development. Of course, no one on this council has ever supported High Rise development anywhere near the coastal district. But since when does the truth matter in gutter politics?

Liberal Democrat, former U.S. Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” 

Join the Orange County Republican Party and others in endorsing against the recall!

Scott Peotter

City Councilmember, District 6

Voters want independent city council

In November 2014, Scott Peotter was barely elected to the Newport Beach City Council with 11,920 votes. On October 27, the signatures of 10,688 voters were submitted on a recall petition asking that he be removed from office. As I walked the city with my recall petition, I was impressed that our neighbors gave so many varied reasons for supporting his removal, ranging from his jaw dropping incivility to his total disregard of campaign finance laws. In August, his attempt to turn down $480,000 in gas tax funds due to our city brought him the scorn of residents as just one of the many poor financial decisions he has made in his tenure.  

By far, the biggest objection voiced to Mr. Peotter was his attempt to deny the residents their right to stop the Museum House project by adding 3700 pages to the referendum petition. This was an act of stunning legislative arrogance and it was the act of a bully. Democracy works best when democratic processes are respected and his attempt to undermine the constitutional rights of the residents failed when the project was stopped. His use of out of town “blockers” to harass recall petition signers, false and misleading mailers, and misrepresentation of the cost of the recall shows that he continues to hold the political rights of the public in contempt.

While I expected the public opposition to his strong support for high rise development, I was surprised by the number of residents who signed the petition because they resent the “boss style” government introduced by Team Newport and the men who got them elected: Dave Ellis and Bob McCaffery. The belief that Ellis and McCaffery control their candidate’s actions is strong, reinforced by the fact that Dave Ellis was a lobbyist for the Museum House and that every councilmember who voted for it had been elected with his help.

Voters want an independent city council and a level playing field, not backroom machinations that disregard the best interests of residents. They want civility and fairness. The recall of Scott Peotter is the first step toward draining the swamp and restoring our faith in government.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Committee to Recall Scott Peotter turns in 10,866 signatures

The Committee to Recall Scott Peotter submitted close to 11,000 signatures to the City Clerk demanding a recall of Newport Beach City Councilmember Scott Peotter. 

“Nearly as many people signed the recall petition as voted for Peotter in 2014,” said recall leader Lynn Swain. “These signatures represent a complete public repudiation of Peotter’s carpet bagging support for high rise development, partisan posturing, special interest favors, boss rule by political consultants and his un-civil attacks on his colleagues, the public and the city staff,” Swain continued.

The city in conjunction with the Register of Voters now has 30 business days to review and validate the petitions. 8,445 valid signatures are required.

“The success of the recall is all the more impressive given that Peotter employed out of town blockers to impede residents, sent out false and misleading mail citywide and consistently and falsely misrepresented the cost of a special election,” said recall supporter and community activist Susan Skinner. “Hundreds of residents from every part of the city participated in the signature gathering and residents were clear and forceful in their reasons for supporting the recall.”

The signature gathering process began in May and focused on several issues including Peotter’s support for high rise developments such as the Museum House, his efforts to undermine the citizen referendum for the Museum House project, his personal attacks on his colleagues and the public, and continued violations of the city’s campaign laws. In the face of strong public outrage, Peotter backed off his efforts to reject gas tax funds paid by city residents and reversed himself to support the Corona del Mar Library and Fire Station.

During the recall process, it was discovered that Peotter had defaulted on a $13 million loan in Irvine and lost his Newport Beach home due to financial mismanagement. Several charges regarding financial reporting irregularities are currently under investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Peotter moved into Newport Beach in March of 2014 in order to run in the November election. He was part of the so-called “Team Newport” elected with nearly a million dollars of support from special interests and directed by lobbyist/campaign manager Dave Ellis. Ellis was a lobbyist for the Museum House project.

“The recall is a clear message that the residents are tired of the political game playing, name calling, and special interest back room deals of the past three years. We need a city council member who will represent residents, not special interests. The rest of the city council should view this as a wakeup call,” Swain said. 

For more information on the many reasons to recall Peotter, go to: www.recallscottpeotter.com.

Issued by the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter

Peotter “violated his oath”

This morning (Friday, Oct. 27) the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter turned in almost 11,000 signatures to initiate the recall election of the 6th District Councilman representing Corona del Mar.  

From the beginning, Mr. Peotter has been out of step with the majority of Newport Beach residents. You can’t relocate, rent an apartment in a new area only nine months prior to an election, and expect to understand your new community and the people you are elected to represent.  

This is just the latest in a series of public rebukes for Scott Peotter and Political Consultant Dave Ellis. The recall represents the fact that our community wants a representative who listens to their constituents and is not committed to an outside special interest group. The community has made it clear that clean, honest and transparent government is what we in Newport Beach expect. 

We have to talk to each other about issues and every person in our community who has engaged in this discussion is to be congratulated. Lynn Swain and Susan Skinner deserve special appreciation for the dedicated community leaders they are. They, and the Recall Committee, gave of their time and resources in this grass roots effort. Now it is time for all of us to step up to the plate and become educated in order to protect this very special place we call home!

Joy Brenner

Newport Beach City Council Candidate, District 6


Letter to the Editor:

Resident doesn’t like new JWA flight patterns

The John Wayne Airport and the flight path are two of the greatest issues impacting the quality of life of Newport Beach residents. Airplanes fly over many of us and the long-term impacts of noise and pollution are known to negatively impact our health. If you live near or under the departing planes, a permanent change will soon impact you and your neighborhood.

The Newport Beach City Council has decided the best departure pattern for their residents. In their litigation and negotiations with the FAA they have used their power of gerrymandering to decide the winners and losers. Since we don’t get to be a party to the Closed Legal Sessions or the negotiations with the FAA, the fate of many Newport residents is wholly in their hands.  

Here is my spin based on the new “S” two turn pattern proposed by the City and the new departures using GPS that keep the planes in one lane in the sky.

If you are under the planes you are doomed, with carcinogenic particulates in your lungs and on your home, cars and patios. The noise will have indirect impacts on your health, too. The City has not proposed any relief for you. When you are outdoors enjoying our outdoor lifestyles with your grandkids or kids, be sure to provide a fine particulate mask to protect their lungs. The City can no longer blame the FAA or airlines since this is their departure plan recommended by their consultants.

The City Council has failed to set policy before they decided to represent our best interests. The resulting gerrymandering does not follow any specific policy. If the Council had set a policy that stated, “The planes fly over the least residents and most water possible” their plan could be better justified. Instead, we received a NIMBI (not in my backyard) plan. In addition to the need for specific policy, the Council should also have developed a plan of relief for those residents suffering from the long-term impacts from the airport. Things would have been different and a defensible plan would be in place instead of a gerrymandered one.

I am hopeful that someday this Council or a future Council will fully understand the impact of the airport on property values, tourism and especially the health of all Newport Beach residents, and decisions will be made with proper planning and sound public policy. 

Lee Pearl 

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Jon T. Lewis,  Chief of Police Newport Beach

Robert Sharpnack, Chief of Police Costa Mesa

Russell Lee-Sung, Deputy Superintendent of Schools

 

Dear Parents: 

Halloween is the children’s “night” for Trick or Treat and make-believe horrors. Unfortunately, some of the horrors are too real! Each year, many children suffer from automobile accidents, falls, cuts, tampered “treats” and other unnecessary miseries. 

To make this Halloween a safe one, please follow these tips: 

Know Your Child’s Plans 

What will his/her route be so you can find him/her if need be? 

What companions will he/she have? 

What time will he/she be home? 

Tips on Costume Safety 

Makeup is safer than a mask which can obscure vision. 

Costumes and wigs should be flame-resistant. 

Reflective strips and bright clothing will increase visibility along with a flashlight.

Wear comfortable shoes. 

Props or items that children carry should be made of cardboard so they won’t injure your child if he/she should fall down. 

Critical Safety Tips 

Trick or Treat in your own neighborhood. 

Trick or Treat in a group of two or more and only in well-lighted areas. accompanied by a parent or adult. 

Stay on sidewalks and look both ways when crossing the street. Never cross the street between parked cars or mid-block. 

Don’t allow your child to enter ANY house. 

Before any treats are eaten, they must be inspected by you. Discard fruit or any candy in loose or torn wrappings. 

Law Enforcement Tips 

Discuss with your child the importance of respecting the property of others. 

Advise your children that throwing eggs and water balloons, spraying shaving cream, etc. is inappropriate and could be illegal. 

Curfew in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa is 10:00 p.m. 

All fireworks are illegal in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. 

If you should discover anything wrong with the “treats” brought home, call the police, so other parents can be warned and the people responsible can be caught. Preventive measures, no matter how good they are, are ineffective if not applied by you. 

Jon T. Lewis,  Chief of Police Newport Beach

Robert Sharpnack, Chief of Police Costa Mesa

Russell Lee-Sung, Deputy Superintendent of Schools

Kids trick or treating

Click on photo for a larger image


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

Here’s what might be of interest on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, October 24, 2017. I don’t summarize every item, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.

The study session begins at 4 p.m. with a couple of interesting items.

If you’ve ever wondered if traffic system management is going to change with automation, this is a good one for you. Our Public Works staff will discuss new technologies in guiding you and your car (or bike) on your way through town. This includes information such as that gathered by Google and Waze as they use your phone (and how it pings one antenna then another as you travel) to give you timely information about current commute routes and times. 

Crosswalks on the Balboa Peninsula. We didn’t get to it last time, so this is a re-do. Public Works has been working on ways to improve pedestrian visibility at the many crosswalks and intersections along Balboa Boulevard and parts of Newport Boulevard. 

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. I have to confess that it looks pretty quiet. But here are a few more noteworthy items:

The annual review of the Zoning Agreement between the City and Sober Living by the Sea. This Agreement was entered into in 2009, and settled litigation at the time. The City asked SLBTS to deconcentrate some of its recovery facilities, as well as to agree to a cap on beds citywide and certain protocols associated with doing business in residential areas. SLBTS, in turn, asked for the ability to remain in some places and to have adequate time to de-concentrate. As has been the case in past years, the City has found SLBTS to be generally in compliance with the Agreement.

A fairly large dollar item to support the reconstruction of our ocean piers. We typically remove and replace the piers’ piles and struts on a regular basis, so this is actually a fairly routine item for us. The dollar amount ($1.4M) is a bit larger this time, though, as the piers are showing their age. And the Balboa Pier took a beating or two over the last weekend with the high surf, so we had some emergency work to do.   

Some community notes:

The first involves two programs by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce: One is the Chamber’s annual Citizen of the Year dinner, where they will honor former City Manager Homer Bludau. The honor is well-deserved, given Homer’s work as city manager as well as in retirement. Congratulations, Homer. This event is Friday evening, November 3 at the Balboa Bay Resort. 

Second is the Chamber’s annual Economic Forecast. Presenters there will be UCLA’s Jerry Nickelsburg, UCI’s Christopher Schwarz, and the OC Register’s Jonathan Lansner. This event is next Friday, October 27 at lunchtime also at the Balboa Bay Resort. For more information on either event, visit www.newportbeach.com or call 949.729.4400.  

For those of you following the review process for the Koll Center Residences near John Wayne Airport, it’s likely that the project may not be heard before the Planning Commission at least until sometime in January 2018 (versus initial plans for December 2017). A community meeting is planned on the 260-unit project for Monday, October 30 in the Friends Room at the Central Library starting at 6 p.m. More information is here.

I read a story as many did in the OC Business Journal about the land beneath the Newport Beach Tennis Club being sold to a new owner (this is the club near the Ralphs in Eastbluff). Please know that, thus far, the only rumor we have heard is that the new owner may keep the tennis club use there. Any change in the use from something that is recreational in nature would require a General Plan Amendment, a zoning change, and possibly (depending on scope of the change) a vote of the electorate under Greenlight.

Wind and Heat coming. According to the weather, we have some “red flag” days ahead, especially Tuesday. Having just watched (and worried about) the Sonoma and Napa County fires over the past many days, we all worry about our own wildland-urban interface areas during Santa Ana conditions. For those of us on the eastern side of town, near Buck Gully, near Upper Newport Bay or adjacent to any area with dry brush, please be prepared and aware. Some great information about the wildland-urban interface is on our Fire Department’s webpage here. And Cal-Fire’s good information about preparing your home, family and pets for fast evacuation (“Ready, Set, Go!”) is here.

Thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment.

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

949-644-3001

Letter to the Editor:

Peotter’s misguided efforts

While recent headlines have focused on Scott Peotter’s misguided efforts to refuse Newport’s gas tax revenues, and ridiculous charges by Peotter supporter Bob Rush regarding an imaginary “enemies list”, it is important not to forget that Peotter provides a clear and present danger to the quality of life in Newport Beach due to his full throttled support of high rise development.

Peotter attempted to undermine the people’s right to petition their government by putting thousands of unnecessary pages in the Museum House referendum petitions. These petitions weighed more than ten pounds and cost thousands to print. He failed in this effort when 14,000 residents opposed this project. Even with this, Peotter opposed rescinding the project approval and sought a special election (now he wails crocodile tears about the cost of a special election but he was all for it in February).

Peotter has advocated raising the height limits on Lido, and the new General Plan will allow him the opportunity to fix his high-rise vision on our city for a generation.

We need public officials that will focus on reducing traffic, improving our streets, protecting our quality of life and keeping our city safe. Peotter would rather address state and national issues to the detriment of Newport Beach taxpayers.  

It’s time for a change. Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com for more information.

Georgia Foell

Big Canyon


Letter to the Editor:

Brenner first to throw hat in ring against Peotter

Joy BrennerIt is with tremendous enthusiasm that I have decided to run for Newport Beach City Council, District 6. Having observed the response to the Recall Scott Peotter campaign, it became apparent that now is the time. Earlier this year, I had declined to run because of time constraints. I participated in efforts to find an equally passionate and qualified candidate, but those efforts failed.  

Once this Recall is verified in November, I will no longer be focused on our current councilman or his record. My aim for the future is to “Take Newport Back for our Residents.” I will serve with Energy, Integrity, Common Sense and Passion” as I have done in every phase of my life since I was a sophomore at Newport Harbor High School.  

I wish no ill will toward Scott or his family, but his commitment to an extremely partisan agenda was apparently more important than listening to his constituents. We are a community of good, intelligent and fair-minded people. We need to be represented that way. I want to be a council member who is focused on making our city better, improving public participation and protecting our quality of life.  

The special recall election will give Newport Beach residents the opportunity to express their views on the tone of politics in our city. Having spoken with hundreds during the signature gathering, I am convinced the residents want change. We want a council member with community roots who will work for the good of Newport Beach, not an out of town partisan agenda. I look forward with excitement to representing us all in a fair and ethical manner.  

For more information about my Newport Beach City Council District 6 candidacy, please visit my website and follow me on social media @JoyForNewport.

Joy Brenner, Candidate, Newport Beach City Council District 6

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Brenner first to throw hat in ring against Peotter

Joy Brenner

It is with tremendous enthusiasm that I have decided to run for Newport Beach City Council, District 6. Having observed the response to the Recall Scott Peotter campaign, it became apparent that now is the time. Earlier this year, I had declined to run because of time constraints. I participated in efforts to find an equally passionate and qualified candidate, but those efforts failed.  

Once this Recall is verified in November, I will no longer be focused on our current councilman or his record. My aim for the future is to “Take Newport Back for our Residents.” I will serve with Energy, Integrity, Common Sense and Passion” as I have done in every phase of my life since I was a sophomore at Newport Harbor High School.  

I wish no ill will toward Scott or his family, but his commitment to an extremely partisan agenda was apparently more important than listening to his constituents. We are a community of good, intelligent and fair-minded people. We need to be represented that way. I want to be a council member who is focused on making our city better, improving public participation and protecting our quality of life.  

The special recall election will give Newport Beach residents the opportunity to express their views on the tone of politics in our city. Having spoken with hundreds during the signature gathering, I am convinced the residents want change. We want a council member with community roots who will work for the good of Newport Beach, not an out of town partisan agenda. I look forward with excitement to representing us all in a fair and ethical manner.  

For more information about my Newport Beach City Council District 6 candidacy, please visit my website and follow me on social media @JoyForNewport.

Joy Brenner, Candidate, Newport Beach City Council District 6

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Peotter is a Political Hack

I support the recall of Scott Peotter because he is a lifetime political hack who has accomplished nothing to make our community better.

For more than eight years, Peotter was a politically appointed Planning Commissioner in Irvine, where he was a sure vote for high-rise and high-density development plans by the politically connected. Drive up Jamboree at five in the evening to see the Peotter legacy in Irvine. In the nineties, he ran unsuccessfully for the Irvine Ranch Water Board, where he complained about the cost of their headquarters building. His tune hasn’t changed.

He is a political disciple of failed Costa Mesa politician Allan Mansoor, another developer puppet and hack who did lasting damage to that city. Peotter actually worked as a political staffer for Mansoor when he was in the State legislature. Mansoor was a poor representative for Newport Beach who did nothing to address the group home issue or anything else important to Newport Beach residents.

Peotter himself has managed to get appointed by the rest of Team Newport to the Sanitation District, Vector Control District and Transportation Corridor Agency. He therefore collects four public paychecks which appear to be his only source of income. Public records show that his ventures into private sector business have resulted in financial failure and defaults.

He has been cited for repeated campaign reporting and contribution limit violations and was personally involved in justifying the infamous “Farsi” attacks on Fred Ameri, both in the pages of the Newport Beach Independent and before the Republican Central Committee.

Peotter moved back into Newport Beach in March 2014 just in time for the November 2014 election where he was supported as part of Team Newport in an effort to take over the city government. Narrowly winning, he is a sure vote for high-rise projects like the Museum House and he now wants to take the lead in giving us a General Plan that will lock his high-rise vision into our laws for the future.

I have had enough. It’s time to recall Scott Peotter and elect someone with real community roots and connections. A new council member who will work to improve our quality of life and not be just a partisan, political hack.

Paul Blank

Corona del Mar


Letter to the Editor:

Peotter is a Political Hack

I support the recall of Scott Peotter because he is a lifetime political hack who has accomplished nothing to make our community better.

For more than eight years, Peotter was a politically appointed Planning Commissioner in Irvine, where he was a sure vote for high-rise and high-density development plans by the politically connected. Drive up Jamboree at five in the evening to see the Peotter legacy in Irvine. In the nineties, he ran unsuccessfully for the Irvine Ranch Water Board, where he complained about the cost of their headquarters building. His tune hasn’t changed.

He is a political disciple of failed Costa Mesa politician Allan Mansoor, another developer puppet and hack who did lasting damage to that city. Peotter actually worked as a political staffer for Mansoor when he was in the State legislature. Mansoor was a poor representative for Newport Beach who did nothing to address the group home issue or anything else important to Newport Beach residents.

Peotter himself has managed to get appointed by the rest of Team Newport to the Sanitation District, Vector Control District and Transportation Corridor Agency. He therefore collects four public paychecks which appear to be his only source of income. Public records show that his ventures into private sector business have resulted in financial failure and defaults.

He has been cited for repeated campaign reporting and contribution limit violations and was personally involved in justifying the infamous “Farsi” attacks on Fred Ameri, both in the pages of the Newport Beach Independent and before the Republican Central Committee.

Peotter moved back into Newport Beach in March 2014 just in time for the November 2014 election where he was supported as part of Team Newport in an effort to take over the city government. Narrowly winning, he is a sure vote for high-rise projects like the Museum House and he now wants to take the lead in giving us a General Plan that will lock his high-rise vision into our laws for the future.

I have had enough. It’s time to recall Scott Peotter and elect someone with real community roots and connections. A new council member who will work to improve our quality of life and not be just a partisan, political hack.

Paul Blank

Corona del Mar


Tourism Matters

Gary Sherwin

Go Beyond/September 2017/Annual Marketing Outlook

Gary Sherwin

Newport Beach & Co. President & CEO

Each year we challenge ourselves to bring forth new and exciting initiatives to the destination, and each year we are thrilled to share our collective success at the Annual Marketing Outlook Dinner and in our Annual Report.

This past Thursday, Sept. 28, was a fantastic evening that brought together travel and tourism professionals, destination partners, and community members to celebrate the past year’s successes as well as look at initiatives to promote Newport Beach in the year ahead. In addition to looking at the wins of Newport Beach & Company, I also had the pleasure of sharing the latest statistics from our bi-annual visitor profile study. 

I’m happy to tell you, Newport Beach continued its historic visitation growth, setting another new record of welcoming 7.3 million visitors for the first time. This breaks the previous high of seven million, which is a 4 percent increase. Additionally, the increased visitation led to a 20 percent increase of $1.2 billion in economic impact.

Visit Newport Beach, Inc. efforts also garnered an all-time record high of 182,620 room nights booked, which was a 13 percent increase year-over-year, and generated $93.6 million in overall economic impact to the city. The group sales team exceeded its annual goal and booked 84,520 room nights, resulting in $21.3 million in direct revenue for Newport Beach hotels and resorts, and a total economic impact of $56.7 million. Leisure advertising campaigns garnered 98,100 visitor room nights, with an economic value exceeding $36.9 million, including the spend on hotel and resort stays, shopping, dining and in-market activities. 

As you can see, tourism is an economic engine for Newport Beach. It’s the city’s third largest revenue source and this income benefits residents who would have to pay over $1,000 more per household on property taxes each year to maintain the exceptional infrastructure expected in the community. Additionally, to keep the city’s economy churning at the same levels that tourism generates, each household would have to spend over $43,000 more locally each year. Furthermore, visitors to our beautiful city play a vital role in supporting local businesses and creating more than 16,000 jobs for our residents.

Finally, the evening also recognized two outstanding community members for their dedication to Newport Beach and serving its guests. For his commitment to Newport Beach & Company, as well as the community via his many public and civic roles, the late Dennis O’Neil was honored with the prestigious Partner in Progress Award, which was also renamed the Dennis O’Neil Partner in Progress Award. Additionally, Jose Mendoza of Balboa Bay Resort received the Rosalind Williams Service Excellence Award for his remarkable customer service that creates a welcoming environment for locals and visitors alike.

So, to the entire destination – Thank you! You’ve pushed and inspired us to achieve more.

Journey Well,

 

Gary C. Sherwin, CDME
President & CEO
Newport Beach & Co.


Letter to the Editor:

“Art has won”

Barry Allen is a great guy. He is someone that I consider a friend and a person I respect as having contributed significantly to our community. His lovely wife, Debbie, is also a class act.

Unfortunately, Barry’s taste in, and appreciation for, contemporary art is on par with my appreciation and understanding of lacrosse.

Paraphrasing Councilman (Brad) Avery, art is subjective and is designed to, at a minimum, foster conversation among the viewing audience. And, when you add a beautiful environment and exquisite ocean view as the setting for that conversation, you realize why art is such an integral part of the human experience. Art encourages civilized discourse.

Councilman (Scott) Peotter hates the rabbits but he is still, to this day, talking about them. They are an essential part of his political essence. And therefore, in that context, the art in the park has served its purpose: it has stimulated conversation and become a substantial part of our community’s political dialogue. Art has won.

Mr. Allen might not like some of the pieces chosen by the Arts Commission and their consultants, but he is publically talking about them and his comments will, if nothing else, encourage people to go and see for themselves what he is talking about. And then, based upon each visitor’s subjective taste, that each visitor will either agree with, or disagree with, my friend Barry. But the very fact that they are visiting the garden, and then stopping at Ruby’s or Sprinkles or Gulfstream to discuss what they have experienced, contributes to our community in both a tangible and intangible manner.

We can quantify the tangible impact on the community by the revenues generated at our local businesses. We can quantify the intangible impact by simply looking at the diversity and number of the people who are enjoying their walks through the garden.

The Arts Commission, the consultants and the City Council all did their job and all should be commended. They have, at a very nominal cost, enhanced the soul of our community by creating a unique respite, like the tide pools and Buck Gully or Marina Park and Fashion Island, where residents and visitors alike can relax, recreate and converse. Our community has reaffirmed the importance of public art in public life. The City Arts Commission, the City Council and Barry Allen should all be thanked.

And, just for the record, it should be noted that since President Reagan has been relocated to Rabbit Hill, his smile seems a little bigger.

Phil Greer

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Are we better off?

As the recall of Councilman Scott Peotter nears the successful completion of the signature gathering, I think it is important to reflect on one question. It’s a paraphrase of the question Ronald Reagan so eloquently asked in 1980: “Is our community better off after the election of Scott Peotter?”

Is traffic better now than in 2014? What ever happened to the Corona del Mar By-Pass? Is the noise and disruption from John Wayne Airport better or worse? Has development been appropriate for our community, or has densification intensity harmed our neighborhoods?

Have we addressed the infrastructure needs of our streets, sewers, libraries and public buildings, or have we siphoned off revenues while cutting fees for specific major campaign donors?

Is our unfunded pension liability higher or lower? (It’s $70 million higher).  Has the power of special interest groups, and the political manipulators like Dave Ellis, been reduced or enhanced?

Does our civic interaction reflect a culture of respect for the residents and a sense of civility, or have we devolved into name-calling, childish YouTube videos, and efforts to undermine the constitutional rights to petition our government by our elected representatives?

Do we have leaders that are focused on pragmatically solving problems and working to improve our quality of life, or do we have a Team Newport-led council majority predisposed to vote as a block? Are citizens or independent councilmembers even willing to bring forth new ideas if the Team is not in support?

Each resident should answer these questions for themselves. But when I answer them, I come away profoundly concerned about the future of our city.  The upcoming update of the Newport Beach General Plan, and the new city budget will reflect choices that will change the very character of our community for a generation. This is why I believe, along with thousands of other Newport Beach residents who have already signed the recall petition that the best means of protecting Newport Beach values is to recall Scott Peotter now. As you think about Ronald Reagan’s question, decide for yourself, and join our efforts.

Michael Toerge

Corona del Mar


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff  

I’m sorry to do this to you for the third time this month, but I had a couple of quick community notes.

1 – The annual Huntington Beach Breitling Air Show is this coming weekend – Sept. 29, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. According to our PD (and in light of what we saw and heard last year), we anticipate that there will be significant – and very different – air traffic over the waters at the western edge of Newport Beach. You can expect increased noise from the Show and its training flights between the hours of noon and 4 p.m. Training is likely to affect us on Thursday (today), too. Noise from the planes may be very loud. While that’s not new to us in the JWA departure path, it is new to the western edge of town. And these are different types of planes, sometimes flying very acrobatic patterns. Please be sure to make accommodations for anyone who may be disturbed, including pets. Residents and visitors to the city may also be impacted by increased traffic along Pacific Coast Highway during the event (approximately 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday). Please use alternate routes when possible to avoid delay. Additional information about the air show can be found at www.hbairshow.com. To receive live updates, text HBAirshow to 888777.  I swear I am not smiling as I write this, but any complaints or concerns can be filed via the City of Huntington Beach’s website at www.hungtingbeachca.gov. You may also call 714.536.5985 to leave a message for Huntington Beach city staff.

2 – It’s sandcastle time at CDM State Beach. That’s this coming Sunday, Oct. 1 at Big Corona Beach in Corona del Mar. The theme is Pirates of the Pacific. In addition to one-eyed scurvy dawgs, there will be a custom built sand sculpture sponsored by The UPS Store and the Los Angeles Rams, a Capt. Jack Sparrow look-a-like and the return of the Bubble Lady. Teams will compete for cash prizes and trophies. The Chamber will be cooking food and serving beverages as well. Registration starts at 9 a.m. Competition is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and awards will be handed out approximately at 3:30 p.m. More information can be found at www.newportbeach.com/events/56th-annual-sandcastle-contest.

3 – The Civic Center will be busy as well, hosting the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival. That’s also Sept. 29 – Oct. 1. More information for the Festival is at www.newportwineandfood.com. While this is not an official City event, it does impact the Civic Center and the Green, so folks should be aware of it should they use the Central Library or City Hall starting today (set up is going on now) through Sunday.

4 – Lastly, the City Council spent a good bit of time on the John Wayne Airport and NextGen issues at its meeting (Tuesday). It might be worth watching if you missed it. Click here to navigate to the video of the Study Session. Once you get to our Calendar, look at the “City Council – 9-26-17” item, and click on the video button way to the right. Then you’ll want to advance to where the video’s timer says 22:05, or click on the item below the video screen that says “SS4…”

Again, sorry for the additional Insider’s Guide in your inbox – I really wanted to make you aware of the air show before you heard it or saw it.

Dave Kiff

City Manager

City of Newport Beach

949-644-3001

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Letter to the Editor:

Are we better off?

As the recall of Councilman Scott Peotter nears the successful completion of the signature gathering, I think it is important to reflect on one question. It’s a paraphrase of the question Ronald Reagan so eloquently asked in 1980: “Is our community better off after the election of Scott Peotter?”

Is traffic better now than in 2014? What ever happened to the Corona del Mar By-Pass? Is the noise and disruption from John Wayne Airport better or worse? Has development been appropriate for our community, or has densification intensity harmed our neighborhoods?

Have we addressed the infrastructure needs of our streets, sewers, libraries and public buildings, or have we siphoned off revenues while cutting fees for specific major campaign donors?

Is our unfunded pension liability higher or lower? (It’s $70 million higher).  Has the power of special interest groups, and the political manipulators like Dave Ellis, been reduced or enhanced?

Does our civic interaction reflect a culture of respect for the residents and a sense of civility, or have we devolved into name-calling, childish YouTube videos, and efforts to undermine the constitutional rights to petition our government by our elected representatives?

Do we have leaders that are focused on pragmatically solving problems and working to improve our quality of life, or do we have a Team Newport-led council majority predisposed to vote as a block? Are citizens or independent councilmembers even willing to bring forth new ideas if the Team is not in support?

Each resident should answer these questions for themselves. But when I answer them, I come away profoundly concerned about the future of our city.  The upcoming update of the Newport Beach General Plan, and the new city budget will reflect choices that will change the very character of our community for a generation. This is why I believe, along with thousands of other Newport Beach residents who have already signed the recall petition that the best means of protecting Newport Beach values is to recall Scott Peotter now. As you think about Ronald Reagan’s question, decide for yourself, and join our efforts.

Michael Toerge

Corona del Mar


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

Here’s what might be of interest to you that’s on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, September 26, 2017. I don’t summarize every item, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like. 

The study session is focused mostly on John Wayne Airport and the recent Next Gen actions. Study Session begins at 4 p.m. Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Here’s more on the Study Session:

The big item is about the FAA, NextGen, and John Wayne Airport. It’s been a

short while since the FAA implemented new NextGen departure paths over us here in Newport Beach. A few things to know as you look at this issue with us: (1) NextGen is a nationwide effort. I was looking back to a briefing I gave nearly two years ago to the Council and our comments were “hey, this is coming and it’s not good”. Indeed, that’s where we are; (2) Of the three new departure tracks that affect us most, each of them seems to have something wrong with it. The biggest problems may be with the two departure paths (called FINNZ and HHERO) that are taking about half of all departures too far to the east; (3) the City Council moved to sue the FAA in October 2016, in part because we suspected that the FAA would get it wrong the first time; and (4) people should hold out hope that this can and will be improved, and that we are working on it diligently. 

I say this because in 2009, a very similar thing happened. The FAA released a new departure pattern (called the DUUKE) in September 2009. The DUUKE was our first RNAV departure, and the way it was coded brought planes well over Eastbluff with a turn over Corona del Mar. It took resident concern, City activism, and County participation to get the FAA to fix it – and they did. The best fix was the FAA’s third try, and took effect in March 2011 – a full eighteen months.  

But no, I will not tell you to be patient. No one needs to be patient. In fact, when 21 airports are involved and the FAA deals with them one by one, Newport Beach residents should be weighing in directly with the FAA. Because it’s hard to contact the FAA’s MetroPlex folks directly (snail mail appears to be the preferred way from the MetroPlex website), we recently set up a web page that allows you to comment, and then we’ll send all comments to the FAA for you. So comment away! That page is here.

But regardless of that, you can and should come to the 4 p.m. meeting to learn more and to speak your mind. One final thought: The Upper Bay is not configured to have a perfect departure pattern using only one turn. i.e. the landforms of the Upper Bay mean that one side is going to be affected a bit more than another after that first turn. The key is to figure out the path that affects the least amount of people and that follows the historic departure paths. 

At our Regular Session, there were only a few items that jumped out at me. These are:

Phase III of the Civic Center Sculpture Garden is up for Council review (following a public review and the Arts Commission’s selections). This involves nine sculptures, and would be the third two-year round of temporary sculptures for the Civic Center Park. There will be additional public comment about the selections. For those who have watched this in the past, a highlight of the public comment is resident Barry Allen’s three-minute analysis of what each piece looks like to him. I’m not sure if Barry is planning on coming down to speak, but I’m bringing popcorn just in case. I might live-tweet it.     

The Wastewater Fee increase was approved at the last meeting and comes back for a “second reading” on the consent calendar at this Tuesday’s meeting.

Also on the consent calendar is a long resolution that memorializes past City and community action regarding JWA, and hopefully expresses some intent and direction to address recent resident concerns about NextGen (as noted in the Study Session synopsis above).    

Some community notes:

For our West Newport friends, the Coastal Country Jam took place at Huntington Beach State Park this past weekend (Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24). Sound from this event impacted Newport Beach residents in the past, but I am told that the organizers have taken steps to reduce the noise impact on the surrounding communities. Residents with noise complaints or concerns can contact State Parks directly at 951-443-2969 (and ask for Huntington Beach Dispatch). Information on the event is available here.

The tragedy at Camp Pendleton several days ago affected many from the 1st Battalion/1st Marines, the USMC unit that the City adopted over 10 years ago. If you want to know more as to how to help, that link is here. Our thoughts and prayers remain with them and their families as they recover.   

On a very fun note, the long-awaited Argyros Girl Scout Leadership Center at Marina Park opened, Saturday, September 23. This is a major accomplishment for the Girl Scouts of Orange County – they worked so hard to get this facility funded and built. Congratulations!! And many thanks to the Argyros family for supporting the funding for the Center. The Center replaces the “Girl Scout Hut” that resided at Marina Park for many, many years when the area was a mobile home park and trailer park before it. Good job, GSOC!

Enjoy your week, and thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

949-644-3001


Letter to the Editor:

Why to recall now

Tom Johnson’s questioning of the need for a special election is a fair inquiry. The question has also been posed by Mr. Peotter. Mr. Johnson’s goal in asking the question is, I believe, civic discourse. Mr. Peotter’s goal appears to be political manipulation.

Fourteen thousand Newport Beach residents signed the Museum House referendum, despite the aggressive efforts of Mr. Peotter and Team Newport to derail citizen participation. Public outrage, again directed at Mr. Peotter and his politically partisan crew, caused the City Council to reverse itself with regard to accepting gas tax revenues. The threat of a recall has tempered Mr. Peotter in both his votes on the council and his rhetoric in the community. Unfortunately, his interactions with recall supporters, and their mothers, and YouTube postings clearly show that underneath this apparent modification lies the same insensitive, uncaring fanatically ideological politician who the public wants to replace.

In theory, the public could wait until the end of 2018 to replace Mr. Peotter. Unfortunately, that wait has serious implications and consequences.

The city will pass another budget during Mr. Peotter’s remaining tenure, the general plan will be revisited, capital improvements will be made and economic decisions will be made with long-term ramifications. To allow Mr. Peotter to continue to have influence over these decisions will continue to take the city in a direction it has overwhelmingly said it does not want to go.

And finally, there is the political reality of what waiting till November 2018 allows Team Newport to do. In a general election, Mr. Peotter is on the ballot with any number of challengers. I would not put it past Team Newport to place one or more additional candidates on the ballot to split the vote and return Mr. Peotter to City Hall for another four years. On the other hand, a recall vote is a clean up or down vote with regard to the performance of Mr. Peotter. If Councilman Peotter truly believes that he represents the people of Newport Beach, he should have no hesitation in subjecting his reputation and performance to a single, direct vote of the people. The people do not want another four years of Scott Peotter, or four years of a clone who is still manipulated by Dave Ellis and his friends. The people want a change.

The recall effort, like the revolt against Museum House and the uprising for a reversal of the gas tax vote, is an organic citizen led movement that has emerged as a direct response to the insensitivity and disdain Scott Peotter and his ideological fellow travelers have shown for the public. Had Scott Peotter listened during the Museum House debate, had Mr. Peotter listened prior to rejecting the gas tax revenues, had Mr. Peotter listened at any time during his almost three years on the city council, the people could most likely be persuaded to wait. Unfortunately, Mr. Peotter does not listen and, therefore, the people cannot wait.

Phil Greer

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Reader believes in “fair” play

Did I miss it?

You told me you needed my hometown because you were going to publish my letter. 

Next thing I know Rush Hill is ANOTHER anti-Peotter agent jumping into the fray. 

I’m not a Peotter supporter. 

I am a guy who believes in fair play. 

And it makes no sense, or cents, to demand the council accept the gas tax money while at the same time sweeping $300,000 under the rug. 

Since the first cost estimate of recall was 500k and the current number is 300k one can assume the real expense is probably somewhere in the middle.

So we are willing to spend the money that we get from the state’s gas tax on a recall? Funny, but the people demanding the gas tax money for road repairs think it’s ok to use to embarrass a council member up for re-election in a year. 

And then we wonder how stupid deals like the city hall and new hotel get through?

If Stu News can’t be objective you provide no service to this community.

Mark Adams

Newport Beach

Loves her “some” Nancy Gardner

I’m a huge fan of Stu News since I subscribed 4 - 5 months ago and read every edition, even when I was on vacation. One of my favorites in your publication are the articles from Nancy Gardner on the history of Newport Beach. I just love her stories and the way she writes them makes them so interesting. Keep it up!

Debbie Stevens

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Enough is Enough

Since leaving the city council, I have tried to refrain from commenting on the actions of the new council, but the irresponsible decision to turn down over $480,000 in tax revenue, paid by Newport Beach residents to fix our streets, demands comment. It was only citizen outrage that forced the council to reverse this misguided decision.

Right up until the day he flip-flopped, Councilman Scott Peotter was the primary defender of this action. He called the street improvement funds “free money” and claimed the amount was not really significant. Peotter disparaged other former council members who challenged this decision and he asserted he was “standing on principle” to send a message to Sacramento.

How foolish these arguments look in the light of the resident response. This is not the first time Peotter has put some vague political principle ahead of the interests of Newport Beach taxpayers. At the same time Peotter was defending the rejection of our own road improvement funds, Duffy Duffield was sending mail on behalf of Peotter claiming that if the recall moves forward, cuts in street improvements would be required. This cynical and deceitful exercise shows why now is the time to recall Peotter. Had the rejection of road funds continued, it would have cost city motorists $1.9 million annually. Peotter and Duffield wrap themselves in the “Republican” banner, but their policies are neither Republican nor conservative. They are simply financially incoherent and irresponsible.

I expect that Peotter and Team Newport puppet master Dave Ellis will respond to this commentary with some personal attack. It’s what they have done to other critics such as Nancy and Susan Skinner, Jean Watt, Keith Curry and Mike Toerge. They have nothing else. The two recent mailings by Duffield didn’t even mention Peotter’s name except in the legal disclosure and the rescission card. It’s time to return to a city council that considers road repair a core service of the city, not a vehicle to play political games. It’s time to return to a council that understands why the position is a non-partisan position dedicated to solving local problems, not perusing state and national partisan politics at the expense of our city’s tax payers.

Rush Hill, Mayor, 2013-2014

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Peotter’s Reckless Financial Management Continues

Public pressure forced Councilman Scott Peotter to abandon his foolish “political protest” of refusing $480,000 in gas tax (SB-1) funds for local streets in order to “send a message” to Sacramento. This cost would have risen to $1.9 million next year if it had continued. The gas tax debacle is only the latest example of Poetter’s fiscal recklessness and irresponsibility.

In 2015, he proposed refunding the civic center debt, even in light of a financial advisor’s report that showed his idea would cost $20 million more in debt service.

At the same time, he criticized the call features of the civic center debt, even when the same financial advisor showed him that changing the provision as Peotter would have wanted would have increased debt service by $719,000 annually for a minimum period of 10 years or $7,190,000.

In 2015, out of the blue he proposed reducing the business license fees by $3.5 million, creating an immediate deficit in the city budget. Even the business community did not support this imprudent action.

He proposed arbitrarily adding $5 million to the 2015-16 budget for “sea walls.” This was more than $4 million more than staff said could be reasonably spent and more than $2 million over the ultimate budget for these improvements. Here again, he would have created a budget deficit.

Peotter was the deciding vote in abandoning litigation and awarding over $300,000 to the owners of Woody’s Wharf, major Peotter campaign donors.

Peotter pushed to change the city policy so that his political ally Jack Wu could be appointed to the city Finance Committee. Wu was later convicted of embezzlement and resigned from his city appointment.

While Peotter has been long on partisan rhetoric, he has been short on real results. The city’s pension liabilities have grown $70 million since he took office and the operating budget has grown each year he has been on the council.

The near loss of our street improvement funds to political posturing and game playing show us how important it is to have thoughtful, responsible leaders on the city council, not political ideologues. We simply cannot afford more of Scott Peotter. Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com for more information.

Becky Hill

Corona del Mar

Scott Peotter Should be Recalled Because He Does Not Respect Our Community Values

Much has been written about the myriad of reasons for the recall of Councilman Scott Peotter and two of the many issues that come up in favor of recall are that he does not represent or respect the values of our community and that he has failed to conduct himself in a civil manner. I got to witness first hand, at the recent and last in the summer, Newport Beach Concerts on the Green, just how out of touch Mr. Peotter is with our community and how he does not conduct himself in a civil manner.

I have been collecting signatures for the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter at each of the concerts this summer and at the concert on September 3, Mr. Peotter showed up with a table and his own two-man crew to collect counter-signatures. Mr. Peotter set up his table and crew about 10 feet from the table manned by the Recall Scott Peotter crew.

I can only describe that two-man crew as ill mannered, boisterous, and aggressive, to put it politely. The Peotter crew was in sharp contrast to the Recall Committee table that was manned by a retired legislator, a doctor, a lawyer and an insurance agent, all longtime residents of our City. 

The Peotter crew kept taunting and insulting the Recall Committee crew and at one point, one of them came right up to me, cackling in my face, sounding like the cackler in the Surfaris’ song, Wipe Out and then screamed, “I am obnoxious.”  I turned away.  

Peotter did our city proud and displayed how out of touch he is with our community he really is. Peotter brought them to the party and supervised their obnoxiousness. He arrived with them, set them up, and stayed with them. I believe that this shows what an outlier Peotter is and how out of step with the community he really is, particularly to have this kind of behavior occur on Civic Center property under the watch of a Councilman. 

If Peotter were in step with the community, his table would have been manned respectfully.

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar


Letter to the Editor:

What happened to political reform?

In one of the first council meetings this year, Mayor Kevin Muldoon appointed Council Members Scott Peotter, Diane Dixon and Jeff Herdman to an Ad Hoc committee to review and recommend reforms to ensure our political campaign laws in Newport Beach can be enforced to protect the public. What has happened since then? Absolutely nothing.  

Apparently, the committee has been advised not to meet since Council Member Peotter is still under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”). Peotter was cited twice for taking contributions that exceed the city limits, first by the city clerk and a second time in a complaint filed by Jeff Herdman with the FPPC. The evidence for the violations was contained on Peotter’s own reporting forms he filed with the city. Since then, a new complaint has been filed by Susan Skinner, alleging that Peotter failed to properly report his economic interests.

Normally, the city would depend on its city attorney to enforce its municipal ordinances, but this creates a conflict since the city attorney reports to the council, and the city attorney himself claims to lack jurisdiction to enforce our city’s campaign contribution limits ordinance, which was adopted in 1995 and had been deemed enforceable for over 20 years and 10 election cycles.

The council had the opportunity to address this in 2015, but the majority, including Council Member Peotter, chose to wait until a new council was seated before considering appropriate political reforms. As could be expected, in 2016 a second candidate filed a report showing that he also failed to comply with the city’s campaign contribution limits. Once again, the city council and the city attorney did nothing.

All citizens, no matter which faction or party they may align with, have a right to expect that our laws with be fairly and fully enforced. Peotter and the city council have failed the residents by not making the campaign contribution limits enforceable by a third party, such as the new Orange County Ethics Commission, a Special Prosecutor or the City Attorney. And where is the District Attorney? He recused himself from the 2016 case since he had accepted contributions from the candidate in question.

Peotter is now facing a recall in no small measure because he has put himself above the law and Newport residents have no other option to ensure the protection of our democratic process. The rest of the city council should act now to ensure our contribution limits are enforced, lobbyists are registered and disclosed, and fundraising from people having business before the council is limited to election years.  

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar


Letter to the Editor:

It’s time to stop playing politics

Last year I ran for city council because I did not like the Team Newport system of boss rule. I came to know my opponent, Will O’Neill, as a smart, thoughtful and hard working person, despite his recent support of policy changes that took hundreds of thousands of dollars away from the arts. And, despite this misstep, I still believe that he wants to do the right thing. And, that is why it is so disappointing to see him participate in what is nothing more than political grandstanding by voting to turn down $480,000 in transportation funds that are needed to repair our streets.

Team Newport says that they want to “send a message” that they oppose the recent gas tax increase. Most of us oppose it but to deny the taxpayers of Newport Beach the benefit of their own tax monies makes no sense. The money we are talking about is money that we paid at the pump and are entitled to. What good does it serve to tell the California Transportation Commission that we do not want our own money but that they should go ahead and spend that money in Oakland? We should thank Councilmembers Dixon and Avery for standing up to this nonsense.

Scott Peotter has called these gas tax revenues “blood money” and “free money.” These revenues are not free, we paid them at the pump and deserve to have them returned to our community. This sort of contrary, partisan, political posturing and intemperate language are expected from Mr. Peotter. It is one of the reasons that he is being recalled.

The money lost, $480,000 this year and $1.9 million annually thereafter, is significant. Mr. Peotter bemoans his inflated cost of a recall but opposes bringing four to six times that amount into the city annually because of some ill placed ideological litmus test. Rejecting the funds is not going to eliminate the gas tax, it is simply going to present a windfall to another municipality.

Residents have been told that Councilman Herdman will move for reconsideration of this spiteful decision. That means that Duffy Duffield, Kevin Muldoon, Scott Peotter or Will O’Neill will have the opportunity to rectify their mistake, take off their ideological blinders and do right by our community.

I ran because I believe that the city council should be a place to solve problems, improve roads and traffic and make our quality of life better. Politicians who just want to play political games and engage in empty ideological gestures should run for a different office.

Phil Greer

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Voter fraud alert

Newport Beach voters should be aware of the pathetic and fraudulent tactics being employed by Council Member Scott Peotter in a last ditch effort to hold on to his job

Once again Peotter has repeated the lie that the recall election will cost $500,000. He knows the city clerk has put the cost at $300,000.

Secondly, reminiscent of the tattooed thugs employed by his campaign consultant Dave Ellis to intimidate Museum House petitioners, Peotter has deployed out of town campaign workers to solicit rescission cards under the guise of stopping the “Bunny Tax.”

Residents should know: there is no Bunny Tax; signing Peotter’s petition will have no impact on any taxes; the petitions have nothing to do with the bunnies; and these are paid workers (Peotter has no resident support).

This is a desperate effort by Peotter to avoid recall.

This is just the most recent example of dishonesty by Peotter. His vote to reject $480,000 in road repair money demonstrates why we must recall Peotter now!

Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com for more information or to report more election fraud by Peotter!

Lynn Swain

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Peotter is too Extreme for Newport Beach

I support the recall of Scott Peotter because his extremist views are not suitable for a member of the Newport Beach City Council. He holds extremist views on the environment. 

Barbara Venezia reported recently that he opposed the appointment of a leading Balboa Island resident to the Harbor Commission because the resident apparently believed in “that whole man-made global warming/sea level rise thing”. Within days, the council voted to spend millions to raise the sea walls on Balboa Island to respond to the recent flooding during King Tides. That would be the whole “sea level rise thing.” Peotter’s anti-science views can cost the city millions.

He is an extremist on the role of women. The LA Times reported this month that the head of Capitol Ministries, Ralph Drollinger, said it was “sinful” for women with young children to serve in public office like the legislature and that “Roman Catholicism is one of the primary false religions in the world”. Peotter reported receiving between $10,000-$100,000 working for Drollinger and his organization. Is this the example we want our councilmembers to provide for our children?  

Peotter has still not revealed who provided the funding to support his efforts working for Drollinger. Peotter was the only council member to vote against the city’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy. Who does that?

Campaign reports filed last week show that the primary financial support opposing the recall comes from well-known extremist Howard Ahmanson Jr. and his Fieldstead Companies.

Peotter is an extremist in his support for high-rise development. Peotter strongly supported the high rise Museum House project, he alone defended the project in the press after refusing to rescind the project approvals when 14,000 residents signed petitions in opposition and he has endorsed raising the height limits on Lido.

I want a city council focused on reducing traffic, public safety and improving our quality of life. Peotter has made it clear that his priorities and concerns are on other issues.

Please go to www.recallsocttpeotter.com  to learn more and stop extremism in Newport Beach.

Lynn Swain, Committee to Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach

City, County, FAA and others need to get on the same page for residents sake

As I sit on my patio this summer morning at 6:45, I think how lucky I am to live in Newport Beach. Then, at 7 a.m. the morning quiet is interrupted by a roar that 7,000 residents directly under the flight path of John Wayne Airport hear each day as the first ten airplanes come less than one minute apart. Several years ago the planes stopped using the power reduction procedure over the residential areas. This has caused more noise for everyone. 

The most significant change is that all planes seem to be in one lane in the sky with little variance. In the past, planes were scattered as far as a mile apart. The new FAA Metroplex project narrows the departure pattern to one lane in the sky guided by new GPS navigation systems. This is great for air traffic safety but bad for people suffering from noise and pollution under the planes. 

What I realized is that our elected officials have failed to recognize one of the most important quality of life issues impacting 10 percent of their residents. That is the impact of noise and pollution on residents directly under the flight pattern. 

Actually, all have worked hard to minimize the impact of noise and pollution on Dover Shores and Eastbluff by centering the planes in the Back Bay, placing noise monitors, creating and extending the JWA agreement and curfew, and holding the airlines to flight restrictions. For that I am grateful to our community groups, residents and elected officials and the FAA. The residents of Dover Shores and Eastbluff will have the best possible outcome within their communities, with JWA, the FAA and the City always focusing on their critical problem. 

After reading a recent study on the impact of airplane noise on humans, my concerns are amplified as I plan to live out my life here. Some community groups directly under the departure pattern have been working to deal with this “elephant in the room” that all have missed for the last 20+ years. This new FAA Metroplex project is now a permanent reminder that without focus on the 7,000 residents impacted, we will never get any relief from the health effects of airplane noise and pollution. 

Last year, the City of Newport Beach entered into litigation with the FAA over the environmental study for the Metroplex Project. At the same time, community groups were working with the FAA to address the concerns of those residents who live directly under the flight pattern after the planes pass the Back Bay. These are the neighborhoods of Promontory Point, Promontory Bay Homes, Beacon Bay, Peninsula Point, Bayside Village, Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island and others. The FAA, in a meeting, stated that they could split the departure pattern after the Back Bay for relief. Because of litigation initiated by the City of Newport Beach, consideration of this option will not be possible.

We have a great City Council who has the best interest of the City as their primary concern. Many of the new City Councilmembers were elected after the City filed the litigation against the FAA. I am writing this letter to inform the community and to ask the Newport Beach City Council to end the litigation against the FAA and work with all parties toward the best possible solution for the residents of Newport Beach. All productive dialogue with the FAA came to a halt as a result of this litigation. 

The best plan would be for the flights to take off from JWA and go over the Back Bay as they currently depart and then split into a north and south pattern. This option reduces environment impact on residents by 50 percent without moving the planes into neighborhoods currently with no noise, pollution impacts or danger of crash. Those of us with the almost 200 over-flights would only experience the direct impact of 100 flights, which is a significant improvement. 

I was in a meeting with community leaders and the FAA told us that a split departure is a possible option. The existing target point in the ocean would be moved and a new point established at a minimal cost to the FAA. Without this we have no chance to improve the current, unendurable situation. 

Our City leaders need to end the expensive litigation and enter into a dialogue with the FAA. All of our Community leaders need to recognize there is a problem and a solution, City of Newport Beach, County of Orange, JWA Staff, Federal and State officials and residents can improve our lives forever in Newport Beach if they can work together for this solution. 

Lee Pearl 

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Campaign finance reform still needed

Campaign finance reports have been filed and once again, our Newport Beach city council is raising money from people having business before the city council, in some cases, three years before they face the voters again.

Scott Peotter is a good example. He is shaking down city tree trimming vendors, trash haulers and other vendors for thousands. Despite currently being investigated for taking excessive contributions from people associated with Woody’s Wharf, and failure to report the costs of a 2014 fundraiser held at Woody’s, he has raised another $1,100 so far from a Woody’s owner. In 2015, Peotter cast the deciding vote to abandon litigation with Woody’s and settle for more than $300,000 and significant operating hour concessions.

You would think that after being cited twice for accepting donations that exceed the city’s legal limit he would learn, but once again, Peotter’s own 2017 reports show that he accepted $400 more than the limit from Buck Johns, operator of the Newport Beach Golf Course. At least this time he refunded the money in advance of being caught by the public. The penalty for this offense is supposed to be removal from office, but due do his influence, the city does not enforce its own law.

If we want political reform and to stop the pay to play influence at city hall, we must recall Scott Peotter. Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com.

Regards,

Chuck Groux

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff  

Here’s what might be of interest to you that’s on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, Aug 8. I don’t summarize every item, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.  

The study session is short, and begins at 5:30 p.m. One item is a presentation about the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Orange County, which has been a wonderful program that assists neighborhood families following a significant traumatic event, such as an accident or a crime. For more information about TIP and what it does, visit http://tiporangecounty.org.

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Here are the items that may be of interest to you:

Senate Bill 1 was passed into law earlier this year, and raises the gas tax, vehicle license fees and fees on electric vehicles. The funds raised are intended to be (in part) returned to local communities for additional roadwork. We have identified about $480K in immediate new revenue in this fiscal year that can go towards roads here, including fixing the remainder of MacArthur to the 73 tollway. About $1.4M is expected for the community next year from SB 1’s changes. These revenues are intended to supplement (versus supplant) our existing expenditures on roads. So one item on the agenda asks the City to identify what projects the City intends to make eligible for SB 1 funds.

Speaking of roads, the next phase of reconstruction Irvine Avenue (this time between 16th and Santiago) is up for design funding on Tuesday. Construction is expected to be underway in this fiscal year (17-18). Additionally, the Council will consider awarding a design contract for the now-approved plan for Bayside Drive’s improvements. Recall that the Bayside Drive approved plan is a four-lane roadway (two in each direction) that includes some additional median and landscaping work. Consider this your advanced warning that both projects will be constructed in the not-too-distant future. 

Council is asked to weigh in on a working group’s amendments to various Council policies. These are the guidelines and approaches that Councils (over many years) have asked staff and commissions to follow as we address issues that don’t fall under the Newport Beach Municipal Code.

Lastly, for our Balboa Island friends, a more formal discussion for the Council and community about the upcoming Balboa Island sea wall effort. The current approach is to add 9” to the walls (which are of varying height now – so adding 9” keeps the variations but just raises the walls) to address storm surges and King Tides as well as any increases in sea level. Grand Canal and Little Island are already at the correct heights. This is about a $2M item.    

I’ll note too that there is a once-a-year formal meeting of the Newport Beach Public Facilities Corporation – where the Council acts as the corporation – that is also open to the public and that starts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug 8th (also in the Council Chambers). This annual meeting is associated with regular reporting on the Certificates of Participation (COPs) that were issued to construct the Civic Center and to refund the Central Library bonds back in 2010.  

Some community notes:

The Central Avenue public pier is coming to, well, Central Avenue. Expect construction to start by late next week. This is the new public pier going in near the Elks’ Club and Nobu, off of that little street that kind of parallels the Newport Blvd. bridge (on the eastern side). We hope that the pier will be installed this fall.

Two weeks ago, the Council authorized moving forward with a Prop 218 protest hearing on our wastewater rates. That means that, possibly, increases could be coming down the, um, pipeline. In the spirit of transparency, I’ll note again that this issue is worth your reading and your attention.  Information is on the City’s website here.

Concert on the Green – On Sunday, Sept 3, it’s Night Shift (Labor Day weekend), starting at 6 p.m. and ending by 7:30 p.m. here at the Civic Center. Bring food and chairs and blankets, but no booze.

As the City Council has only this one meeting planned for August, the Insider’s Guide is taking its usual summer break until shortly after Labor Day. You’ll see something from me on Friday the 8th or so, as folks are back in school, back on the freeways commuting, and yet (I’m sure) the warm summer weather will persist. As Newport folks know, September can be the best time of year as crowds are smaller, weekends a little less hectic, and beach time is still terrific.  

Enjoy your weekend, and thank you for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letter to the Editor:

What Happened to Political Reform?

In one of the first council meetings this year, Mayor Kevin Muldoon appointed Council Members Scott Peotter, Diane Dixon and Jeff Herdman to an Ad Hoc committee to review and recommend reforms to ensure our political campaign laws in Newport Beach can be enforced to protect the public. What has happened since then? Absolutely nothing.  

Apparently, the committee has been advised not to meet since Council Member Peotter is still under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”). Peotter was cited twice for taking contributions that exceed the city limits, first by the city clerk and a second time in a complaint filed by Jeff Herdman with the FPPC. The evidence for the violations was contained on Peotter’s own reporting forms he filed with the city. Since then, a new complaint has been filed by Susan Skinner, alleging that Peotter failed to properly report his economic interests.

Normally, the city would depend on its city attorney to enforce its municipal ordinances, but this creates a conflict since the city attorney reports to the council, and the city attorney himself claims to lack jurisdiction to enforce our city’s campaign contribution limits ordinance, which was adopted in 1995 and had been deemed enforceable for over 20 years and 10 election cycles.

The council had the opportunity to address this in 2015, but the majority, including Council Member Peotter, chose to wait until a new council was seated before considering appropriate political reforms. As could be expected, in 2016 a second candidate filed a report showing that he also failed to comply with the city’s campaign contribution limits. Once again, the city council and the city attorney did nothing.

All citizens, no matter which faction or party they may align with, have a right to expect that our laws with be fairly and fully enforced. Peotter and the city council have failed the residents by not making the campaign contribution limits enforceable by a third party, such as the new Orange County Ethics Commission, a Special Prosecutor or the City Attorney. And where is the District Attorney? He recused himself from the 2016 case since he had accepted contributions from the candidate in question.

Peotter is now facing a recall, in no small measure because he has put himself above the law and Newport residents have no other option to ensure the protection of our democratic process. The rest of the city council should act now to ensure our contribution limits are enforced, lobbyists are registered and disclosed, and fundraising from people having business before the council is limited to election years.  

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar


Art Matters

Todd D. Smith

Upcoming programs at OCMA

Todd D Smith

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

OCMA Director & CEO Todd D. Smith

Today I share the exciting news that eight dedicated individuals have recently joined the Orange County Museum of Art Board of Trustees. They represent leadership in Orange County’s business art, and philanthropic sectors.

The new trustees are Jamie Brooks, Debra Gunn Downing, David Emmes, II, John Gunnin, Pamela Schmider, Tracy Schroeder, Jennifer Van Bergh, and Chris Van Dusen.

Growth of our governing body is an important step in our building for the future. New insight will complement the existing vision and wisdom of the veteran trustees and ensure the museum remains a leader in Southern California’s cultural landscape. We are deeply grateful for the service of our current and former trustees.

In other news, our Senior Curator Cassandra Coblentz is at work on an important new installation of OCMA’s collection. Titled Pivotal: Highlights from the Collection, this exhibition will examine the museum’s long history of supporting artists at watershed points in their career. For over half a century, our museum has championed artists in this manner. Notable artists in the show include Richard Diebenkorn, Mary Heilmann, Cathy Opie and Charles Ray.

We are pleased to offer this reflection on our past while celebrating the work of one of our newest discoveries, Shanghai-based painter Shi Zhiying. Our tradition continues as this will be her first U.S. solo museum exhibition.

And finally, I invite you to visit the 2017 California-Pacific Triennial: Building As Ever. And keep an eye out as we announce several opportunities in the coming weeks to engage with artists in the exhibition.

Todd D. Smith

Director and CEO


Tourism Matters

Gary Sherwin

Newport Beach makes an impact

Gary Sherwin

Newport & Co. President & CEO Gary Sherwin

Ah, summer. Long days, cool breezes and the busiest time of the year here in Newport Beach. Once again, people from around the world come to our very special place to not only soak up some sun but also enjoy our very enviable lifestyle. 

On the business side of things, July is also the start of our Fiscal Year, which means we take stock of the last year and add up the numbers. Once again, our conference sales team had another strong year and booked 84,520 room nights, which resulted in $21.3 million in revenue for our hotels and a total economic impact of $56,738,942 for the community (that includes not only hotels stays, but shopping at places like Fashion Island, dining in restaurants and enjoying harbor-related activities for example).

On the leisure side, which includes people who come just to vacation here, our specific campaigns generated 98,100 room nights with an economic value of $36.9 million. Add up both our conference and leisure marketing efforts and Visit Newport Beach generated $93.6 million in overall economic impact to the city.

It is worth noting that our visitors are critical to keeping your taxes as a resident of Newport Beach low. Without our visitors the average tax bill would go up nearly $1,000 per household if city services were kept at existing levels. And, without our visitors, the number of restaurants and great retail shopping simply could not continue unless everyone in town spent $36,628 more each year.

The year ahead will bring some interesting changes to Newport Beach. Not only will we welcome the highly anticipated 130-room Lido House Hotel on the peninsula, but the Duke Hotel (formerly the Fairmont Newport Beach) will become the Renaissance Newport Beach in early 2018 after an extensive remodel. The Radisson Newport Beach is also undergoing an extensive remodel and will reopen as the Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport Newport Beach in the first quarter of 2018. (The existing Hyatt Regency on Jamboree won’t change).

Newport Beach is not alone on the new hotel front. Our neighbors to the north in Huntington Beach are opening a new addition at the Hilton in late summer that will add 192 ocean-front suites. That is great news for them, but it adds even more competition for visitor dollars. Anaheim will be adding more than 22,000 hotel rooms in the next few years including several four-star properties.

The best news for us is that Newport Beach continues to reinvent itself. In addition to the new hotels, we are seeing tremendous buzz over the new shops and restaurants at Lido Marina Village. And in just a few weeks, our retail centerpiece, Fashion Island, celebrates its 50th anniversary. The iconic center is always coming up with new ways to remain fresh, vital and take advantage of the latest trends.

So, savor those wonderful summer days and the good life in our wonderful community. And know that while we are enjoying them essentially for free, our visitors are paying for the privilege!

Journey Well,
Gary C. Sherwin
President & CEO
Newport Beach & Co.


Letter to the Editor:

Peotter’s Plan is bad for Newport Beach

As someone who served with Scott Peotter on the Newport Beach Planning Commission, an issue that greatly concerns me is Mr. Peotter’s initiative to update the City General Plan. The current City Council has limited municipal planning experience thereby offering Mr. Peotter significant and undue influence in the General Plan update process. If he is successful, this will have negative impacts on Newport Beach neighborhoods for decades to come.

Mr. Peotter has outlined a plan for “trip based” zoning. While this may sound appealing, what he really wants to do is go to a trip-based zone program. This is what was used in Irvine for the Irvine Business Center (IBC) developments that has produced street after street of dense, higher rise development. Take a drive along Jamboree in Irvine at 5 p.m. to see the Peotter Plan in action. Mr. Peotter, of course, was an Irvine Planning Commissioner and was personally involved for years in approving development deals in that city. As with many issues, he wants to bring Irvine policies and development intensity to Newport Beach.

Mr. Peotter’s other idea is to institute “by right” development. This would give extraordinary development powers to the politically connected, and more importantly, would deny the public the opportunity to speak on major projects and influence the approvals by the Planning Commission and City Council.

As we saw with Museum House, Mr. Peotter is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prevent the public from exercising its rights to be heard on development. He alone wrote an opinion piece defending his actions to subvert the petition process, and he refused to rescind the project approvals in spite of 14,000 resident signatures in opposition to this high-rise development.

Mr. Peotter is on record in support of raising the height limits on Lido and he was a consistent affirmative vote on the Planning Commission for larger and denser development.

The recall is not simply a matter of removing him from office a few months before the 2018 election, it is the best opportunity for residents to prevent him from locking his high-rise vision into our General Plan for a generation.

Mike Toerge

Corona del Mar


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff  

Here’s what’s in store for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, July 25, 2017. We’re probably back to a fairly long meeting again, after the luxury of an 8:00-ish end to the last one. It was still light out.

Remember that I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like. 

There are a couple of noteworthy items on study session, which begins at 4 p.m.:

 Our annual visit from Visit Newport Beach and Newport Beach and Company, as they review the year past and look forward to the year ahead in Newport Beach tourism and destination marketing (among other things). The VNB/NB & Co folks, led by Gary Sherwin, are always among the best in the business at what they do.

•And then there is wastewater rates. After a detailed study of our capital and operating needs, we’ll be asking the Council and the public to consider allowing the rates to be adjusted upward to cover sewer costs, as is typical of an “enterprise fund” within government. Our sewer operations consist of about 20 different pump stations (our geography makes moving wastewater more expensive and complex than a relatively flat inland city), many miles of a collection system, a bazillion sewer laterals to homes, and the staff to keep all of that running and from spilling into the Bay. In Newport, we don’t treat the sewage – that goes to the Orange County Sanitation District and you pay for that differently via your property tax bill. The wastewater rate appears on your municipal services statement. This study session item is but one chance for the Council and community to understand the system’s obligations and to weigh in on any concerns about a rate increase. However, at a later date (likely in September 2017), the public has a formal chance to support or protest the possible rate increase via a public hearing.   

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Here are the items that may be of interest to you:

labor agreement with the association that represents our seasonal lifeguards.

A new contract that continues our relationship with our Huntington Beach neighbors, as they provide a PD helicopter to assist our PD in crime suppression.

The routine – but still very special and very appreciated – annual donation of a whopping $250,000 from the Friends of the Newport Beach Library. Each sale of a $1 or $2 book adds up, and the Friends are very gracious about putting that money back into more materials and programming at the NBPL. Thank you, Friends!!

A-Frame signs may be coming to the Lido Marina Village area, just as they have been allowed in Corona del Mar. A-Frame signs are not allowed on public spaces as marketing tools in other parts of town, generally.

Council will review an appraisal for and an update of rents that commercial pier permit holders pay in Newport Harbor. These include large and small marinas and more, when they are over public (and City-held) tidelands.

Council will be asked to consider sending the Coastal Commission a plan to allow residents along the oceanfront in Balboa Peninsula Point to keep (and pay fees upon) their use of about 15’ of City right-of-way that is coastward of their properties. The fate of the plan ultimately will rest with the Coastal Commission, as the Commission considers whether these encroachments are appropriate even with a fee.

State law has recently changed in regards to allowing accessory dwelling units in residential areas (aka Granny Units). The State has been trying to get more housing units built, recognizing a shortage in California of good housing. State law allows cities to make some modifications as we allow these units, and the Planning Staff and the Planning Commission have developed a proposal for Council to consider.  

That’s a lot of stuff. There are more items, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Again, please check out the agenda in full if you’d like.

Community Notes:

A heads-up to our Newport Heights neighbors. The removals of some of the eucalyptus along 15th Street (Heights, not 15th Street on the Peninsula) will be occurring early this week, maybe as early as today (Monday) morning. These are being removed to accommodate the new sidewalk along the coastward side of 15th Street from about Newport Heights Elementary to Irvine Avenue. 

At long last, the Little Island Bridge (aka the Park Avenue Bridge) is about to open back up. After a long and tight-quartered construction project, this once-in-a-lifetime effort to replace (entirely) a very important accessway for traffic, peds, bikers, and utilities from Balboa Island to Little Balboa Island will be all done on Tuesday July 25th. The detour bridge will then come down, likely over a short period of time. Big kudos to our Public Works team, led by Dave Webb and Mark Vukojevic, our contractor, and to the patience of the “four corners” residents (the residents who had to experience all of this on each side of the bridge for way too long) for getting us to this point. Someday they’ll write a book about it.   

The Aviation Committee – which has not met for a long time – will meet at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 24th. There is a lot to talk about, especially in regards to the FAA’s NextGen efforts and new flight paths out of JWA. The Committee meets at City Hall in the Community Room. All are welcome to attend. 

This coming week is the final working week for Community Development Director Kim Brandt. This is a week I’d hoped would never come, but retirement (and a new grandson) is beckoning for Kim. Kim was our first Community Development Director (in a very long time), as it was her assignment to combine the Building and Planning Departments into one department that provided for a more seamless customer service experience and better coordinated work. Her project accomplishments are many – from the management of the department to the LCP/IP to her assistance with Marina Park, Sunset Ridge Park, the Lido House Hotel, and many more. She leaves the department in great shape, with some of the best personnel that I have seen in this field. All the same, Kim’s are tough shoes to fill. Kim has my deepest admiration and thanks – I am so honored that she spent the years she did with me, the CD Department, the management team, and the community of Newport Beach.    

That’s it for now, thanks for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letters to the Editor:

Mariner’s Mile Revitalization Master Plan withdrawn

Thank you for your continued interest in the Mariner’s Mile Revitalization Master Plan. The Mariner’s Mile Revitalization Master Plan has been withdrawn and may be considered again following the General Plan update scheduled to begin in late 2017. 

Please also refer to the notification below. 

The Planning Commission will accept public comments but will not take action on the Mariner’s Mile Revitalization Master Plan at the Planning Commission Meeting scheduled for this Thursday, July 20, 2017. 

Thank you, 

Makana Nova 

Associate Planner, AICP Planning Division 

Community Development Department 

City of Newport Beach 

(This letter was forwarded to StuNewsNewport from The Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile)

• • •

Are Peotter’s thoughts on property rights different?

Scott Peotter likes to defend his support of high-rise development by saying he supports “property rights”. I also support property rights. However, I believe most residents would define property rights as the ability to develop your property in accordance with the General Plan and your permitted zoning.

Mr. Peotter clearly has a different interpretation of “property rights,” as demonstrated by his strong support of the 25-story Museum House condo tower that he voted to approve in December 2016. This site was donated specifically to OCMA for use as a museum and was zoned only for “public institutional” use. The property “right” associated with this parcel was for a low-rise, low impact building. In order to develop the high-rise Museum House, multiple changes to the development rights were required, including height and density increases. In other words, Mr. Peotter wanted to grant an entirely new set of “rights” to the property that had never existed before. He appears to believe that developers should have the “right” to build to any use or height as long as they own the property. This would lead to development chaos in our city.

Mr. Peotter’s support for high-rise, high intensity development is well documented from his votes as a Newport Beach Planning Commissioner, his expressed support for increasing height limits on Lido and his support of height limit exceptions in Newport. 

Our city is about to update the General Plan, which is effectively the blueprint for development in our city. The update is an opportunity to add development rights to properties across the city in a way that may not manifest itself for decades. As an example, the new apartments at the corner of Jamboree and San Joaquin Hills Road were added in the last General Plan update in 2006. Team Newport tends to vote as a block and with the direction of Mr. Peotter, they have the votes to substantially increase the new developments that will be entitled in a new General Plan.

We need a councilman who reflects Newport Beach values and respects the wishes of the residents to preserve our quality of life. There are many other reasons to recall Mr. Peotter, but this is the reason we need to recall him now instead of waiting for the November 2018 election.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

The Recall of Scott Peotter is About Malfeasance

As a Democrat, I just have to laugh at the hypocrisy of the Orange County Republicans who oppose the recall of Scott Peotter, saying recall elections should only be used for “malfeasance” in office, while at the same time aggressively pursuing the recall of state senator Josh Newman. Senator Josh Newman’s “malfeasance?” Voting to fund transportation improvements.

Additionally, Republicans have been even more willing to use the recall elections against their own. In recent years Republican Assembly members Anthony Adams, Paul Horcher and Doris Allen were subject to recall. Their offences were voting for the state budget or voting for the wrong candidate for Speaker. No “malfeasance” was ever alleged against any of them. 

The irony of course is that Scott Peotter actually is facing charges of malfeasance. He is being investigated for failure to properly report his campaign expenditures, failure to report his economic interests, violation of the city’s campaign contribution limits, violation of the Brown Act by disclosing confidential closed session information, failure to have a city of Irvine business license and misuse of the city seal. I thought the Republicans were supposed to be the party of law and order?

Republicans claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility, yet Peotter has personally defaulted on a $13 million loan, proposed a refinancing scheme of the City Hall construction debt that would actually increase city costs by $20 million, changed the rules so that an embezzler could be placed on the city Finance Committee, proposed using city money to speculate in the stock market, and collects checks from four public agencies.

Republicans claim to be a party of inclusiveness, but Peotter wrote an editorial in the Newport Beach Independent in support of the notorious racist Farsi signs used in the last city council election.

It appears that Peotter’s sole claim to Republican support is his slavish support of all high-rise development proposals put forward by clients of his campaign manager, Dave Ellis. I think both Republicans and Democrats have had enough of Peotter’s antics. It’s time for a change. The residents of Newport Beach deserve better. Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com for more information.

Kristin Cano

Corona del Mar


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff  

I hope you have a good summer planned with lots of sun but equal amounts of hydration and sunscreen. Should be a busy one in town given the nice weather. 

Here’s what’s in store for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, July 11, 2017. It again may be a short meeting. Remember that I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like. 

There is no study session. Therefore, the Council meeting will start at 6 p.m. for a brief presentation to “Fast Eddie” (of Fast Eddie’s Barbershop fame in CdM) on his 50th Anniversary of fast haircuts. Congratulations, Eddie! I would still go there like I did 20 years ago if I still had hair. No, I’m not bitter about that. Not at all. Really. What makes you think I’m bitter? 

Following a few closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7:00 p.m. I basically have almost nothing to call out of any interest (!). Maybe except for one item. 

Each year, the Council allocates a certain amount of funding for various special events – like the Christmas Boat Parade, the Newport to Ensenada race, and more. We have a long history of providing some City funding to these events, in the range of about $300,000 per year. 

In some cases, the City Council grants enough funds to cover City support and fees for the event. In other cases, we propose giving a bit more or a bit less. Generally, the event needs to have a specific public benefit to the Newport Beach community or local economy or both.s

While it might be a light Council night, a few community notes are in order: 

The Balboa Trolley is going strong and had a gangbuster weekend as well as on Tuesday, July 4. Remember that you can park off of Hoag Drive for free and ride the Trolley from there to the Balboa Village (and back) free of charge every Saturday and Sunday all the way through Labor Day (including that Monday).  

Our second Concert on the Green is this Sunday, July 16th. It’s the Pacific Symphony’s return to the Green after a great performance last year. The show starts at 5:30 p.m. with a kids’ element then the full Symphony’s concert starts at 7 p.m. and ends by 8:30 p.m. Again, buy food from the food trucks or bring your own. No alcohol here either. More information is here.

I am pleased (and thankful) to report that the City’s endeavor to provide a stronger customer-service experience on the Harbor seems to be going pretty well thus far. This began on July 1 under the good leadership of Harbormaster Dennis Durgan – nothing like jumping right in on a weekend in the middle of summer. But we did it, and Dennis and his crew did it (in part because that’s also the start of the Fiscal Year). For more information about this change, please look here. And remember to offer a wave or a friendly hello to the folks in the vessels called Harbormaster 1, 2, or 3 as you see them on the water. 

That’s it for now. Please keep enjoying summer in Newport Beach (why would you be anywhere else?), and thanks for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letter to the Editor:

Peotter insults and attacks but does not address substance of recall 

How do we know that Scott Peotter is getting desperate in the face of a recall by Newport Beach voters? His “campaign” has resorted to attacks on leading citizens and organizations rather than even attempting to defend his record. 

Peotter, through his emails and posts, and his surrogates Marshall Duffield and Team Newport Ring Leader, Bob McCaffrey, have lashed out at community activist Susan Skinner. She is called an “obstructionist” because of her efforts to oppose the 25-story Museum House Tower. McCaffrey continues his role as a shill for the high-rise development clients of Dave Ellis.   

Duffield, who earlier said he depends on Peotter to tell him how to vote on high-rise development proposals, attacked former Councilmember Keith Curry. Duffield simply made up things regarding Curry’s record and role in the recall and has again falsely asserted the cost of a special election to replace Peotter. 

Other attacks have been leveled at Mike Toerge, Marilyn Brewer, Nancy Skinner and Jean Watt. There is simply no defending the high-rise development record of Peotter, nor his continued violations of state and local laws. This list has grown recently to include failure to make proper economic disclosures, failure to have a business license, failure to have a building permit for his overly ambitious, failed mess of a home remodel, and his well-known violations of the Brown Act and campaign finance reporting laws. 

Rather than pulling back from charges that he is uncivil in his interactions with the public and shows blatant disrespect for his constituents, the Peotter team is doubling down on the insults and attacks. The public should keep in mind that this is all a strategy to take the public’s mind off Peotter’s true record. 

The recall now involves hundreds of residents and thousands have already signed the petition. Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com to learn more and add your name to the petition. 

Ray Lewis

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

We’re decked out in Balboa Peninsula Trolley Red today for this version of a slightly shorter Insider’s Guide because the Council meeting planned for June 27th might also be a tad shorter than most. It’s summertime, the Budget’s adopted, and the City can tend to hunker down into a busy operational mode (managing traffic, keeping the place tidy as best we can, keeping you and our visitors safe from big waves, crime, and fire, and running busy libraries and recreational programs) versus administrative items.

So on to the Agenda for the meeting. Remember that I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.

Study Session starts at 4 p.m., and has a handful of items:

Updating the Council about recent changes to State law that obligate us to change our Franchise Agreements with the 35 or so commercial trash haulers that work in Newport Beach. These are the haulers used by apartments, restaurants, businesses, schools and more. They can provide daily or weekly service (or something in between) and provide “roll-offs” for construction debris.

Updating the Council on our activities involving Short-Term Lodgings, like Airbnb and HomeAway. In short, we’ve been trying to work on improving compliance with our codes for those persons operating vacation rentals without a permit. Sometimes that means telling a homeowner that they cannot rent short-term lodgings at all, if the home is in the R-1 zone and does not have a pre-existing short-term lodging permit.

Our yearly summary of what to expect on July 4. Which is a Tuesday this year, not a Wednesday as I wrote last time. Sorry about that mistake, but kudos to the dozen or so folks that read that far and caught it. Anyway, expect pretty much the usual stuff for July 4 – lots of traffic, our West Newport special enforcement zone w/”LUGO” fines if groups get crazy, but also some great fireworks shows and fun parades and family stuff. A couple of new things – know that the Balboa Rolley will be operating that day and please DO NOT bring in or use fireworks. Our PD will be more aggressive this year in trying to catch you if you do. The past years have seen too many uses of fireworks on our local streets, which can be dangerous for you and your property and subject you to fines and penalties.

The evening’s Regular Session is at 7 p.m. There are only these items that I’ll call attention to:

Council will consider appointments to lots of Boards and Commissions. As always, Council has a great list of worthy candidates to consider. Thank you to all who made the commitment to apply. While not everyone can get an appointment the first or even second time, eventually it happens. 

From our Community Development Department, some contracts with various private sector firms that provide plan check, technical, and inspection services to you if you’re remodeling or newly constructing a home, business, or similar. We have both in-house staff who can do this and outside plan checkers – actually, you generally can choose which path you’d like. But sometimes plan reviews are shipped to outside contractors if we’re overloaded with the workload internally. 

Calendar and other notes include:

The Trolley again. Give it a try on any weekend day or July 4 through Sunday, Sept 3rd. It’s free and a fun way to navigate around the busy Peninsula. Limited parking is available at Hoag Hospital’s lower campus (PCH and Hoag Drive – see map) if you want to send guests there. To download the Trolley Tracker app, go to the App Store and look for “Ride Systems” then select “Newport Beach” (I just tested it and it works).

Can I ring my usual Summer bell about just biker and pedestrian safety in general? It’s our busy season, so that means more people – and more people who aren’t familiar with town. Plus some of them are probably walking or biking while texting. And Junior Guards starts on Tuesday, June 27th. So remember that a gazillion younger folks on bikes in their JG uniforms (with fins and backpacks) will be on the streets and sidewalks getting to and from two shifts of JGs each Monday through Thursday through August 10th. Please look out for all of them. It makes so much sense for us to drive a little more slowly and cautiously down Balboa, on Bayside, on Dover, on Newport Boulevard and more – and across crosswalks, through intersections, and around alleyways. Let’s all survive the summer with life and limbs intact.

Starting on Saturday, July 1, expect to see a few new Newport Beach boats in the Harbor under the direction of our new Harbormaster, Dennis Durgan. Dennis and his crew of harbor ambassadors will be out in the Harbor performing some (but not all) of the functions that the OC Sheriff has done in the past. For any Harbor issue not involving an emergency, call the new Harbor phone number at 949.270.8159, or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The website there is www.newportharbor.org.

Finally, this is my chance to congratulate and say goodbye to Deputy City Manager Rob Houston, who is leaving us soon to become the City Manager of Fountain Valley (“a nice place to live” – and it is). I wish Rob the best in this new endeavor, as the region needs good city managers, I thank Rob for his years of service to the City. 

Have a safe and sane July 4th, and as always, thanks for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001

Letters to the Editor:

Peotter has some explaining to do 

As citizens have reviewed and examined the record of Councilmember Scott Peotter, several distributing questions have arisen. Scott Peotter owes the community answers to these questions.

In 2015, Peotter reported $10,000-$100,000 income from Capitol Ministries, a religious organization whose web site indicates “ministers… must be capable of raising funds for their ministries”… Did Peotter solicit donations from undisclosed parties to support his living expenses? If so, from whom and how much did they provide for Peotter’s personal expenses?

During his four years on the Planning Commission, Peotter reported no income, including, spousal income, investments, investment income or gifts. Yet, during this time frame, he qualified for, and received, two loans, one for $7 million and one for $13 million that repaid the first loan. Shortly thereafter, Peotter defaulted on the second loan. How was Peotter able to qualify for a loan of this size while on the Planning Commission, with no reportable income?

In 2015 and 2016, Peotter reported an ownership interest in 14972 Culver Drive, Irvine. A search on Google maps shows that there is no such address. Why did he report a false address for his Irvine property?

Despite allegedly being the President of Aslan Companies in Irvine since 1992, why does Peotter not have a valid Irvine Business License?

In an April 13, 2015 email to the city manager, Peotter raised questions as to the status of the city tow contract, and specifically Southside Towing, a firm not under contract to the city. On January 26, 2016, Peotter made a substitute motion that overturned the recommendation of the Newport Beach Police Department and awarded a lucrative police towing contract to Southside. Southside is represented by Steve Baric, Peotter’s campaign lawyer and a donor to Independent Expenditure Committees linked to Team Newport. What is Peotter’s relationship to Southside Towing?

In July of 2014, Peotter was cited by the City Clerk for accepting contributions in excess of the legal limit from persons associated with Woody’s Wharf restaurant. Why did Peotter then schedule a September 2014 fundraiser at Woody’s and fail to report the expenses associated with that fundraiser until cited by a resident in 2015? Peotter was later the deciding vote in reversing a prior decision on Woody’s Wharf and settling litigation on terms highly favorable to Woody’s.  

When it was clear that the public rejected Museum House, why did Peotter refuse to rescind the approvals of the project and why did he oppose efforts to require his campaign manager Dave Ellis to disclose his relationship with the project developer?

Peotter should provide clear and complete answers to the public or he should resign.

Kristin M. Cano

Newport Beach

 

The Recall of Scott Peotter is necessary and is a worthy effort

WHY? His record speaks for itself. Consider this:

I. His business, Aslan Companies is functioning without a business license in the city of Irvine. 

II. Scott Peotter, president of Aslan Companies is subject to a $13 Million court judgement and makes $1,667 monthly restitution payments.

III. A recent complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission shows he submitted a false address for property in Irvine, failed to report ANY economic interests during four years on the planning commission and has been raising private, undisclosed cash donations for living expenses.

IV. He is currently under investigation by the FPPC for violating campaign contributions limits.

V. He recommended the city take funds designated for pension cost reduction and instead 

speculate in the stock market.

VI. He recommended a refinancing of city hall debt; City’s financial advisors said this would cost $20 million more!

VII. He violated the Brown Act and was forced to read a public apology (his actions could have exposed the city to liability).

VIII. He changed the rules so that a man later convicted of embezzlement was appointed to oversee city finances. 

Peotter has demonstrated time and again that State laws don’t apply to him and he does not grasp or understand City issues. He supports high density and high-rise development, stating there should be high rises on Lido Island. He voted twice for the Museum House tower condominium project, among other development. Thanks Scott, for that 3,760-page petition.

If this recall is delayed until the 2018 election, Scott Peotter will be involved in two additional budget cycles and a revision of our General Plan. This will give him the opportunity to cause the city irreparable harm with his careless decisions. 

The number of bad decisions he makes - in his personal life and professional life - clearly demonstrate that he is ill informed and lacks judgement; he does not uphold the city goals and directions.  

He does not understand and is not guided by what is in the best interest of our community.

Do you really want a man of his caliber making important, long lasting city decisions for you and your community? 

Go to recallscottpeotter.com to sign the petition.

Marilyn Brewer, California State Assembly (retired)

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Hon. Diane Dixon

Hon. Will O’Neill

Promises Made, Promises Kept

Newport Beach enjoys extraordinary blessings, including weather, location, fiscal prosperity and community stewards, to name just a handful. Our City Council Members and dedicated citizen members have worked hard through public outreach and committee work to ensure that our budget meets community expectations.  

Newport Beach remains fiscally strong in the short-term, but has looming concerns in the long-term. At the positive end, we project another balanced budget, steady revenue sources, consistent surpluses, infrastructure maintenance on schedule and healthy reserves. Long-term, though, we remain concerned about pension liability, large infrastructure projects like sea wall rehabilitation, a structural deficit in our wastewater enterprise fund, and ongoing civic center debt payments.

Our current budget balances the community’s short-term goals with these long-term concerns. For example, we devote more than half of our general fund spending to our number one priority: public safety. Nearly $109 million out of our General Fund’s projected $202 million expenditures will go toward police, fire and lifeguards. We devote substantial resources from diverse external funds toward our Capital Improvement Program, including allocations to rebuild the fire stations in Lido Village and in Corona del Mar (yes, including the library, too).  

Seniors who frequent OASIS will continue to enjoy the extraordinary services and programs provided by top-class staff. Families who use our community centers and parks can expect clean facilities, safe parks and innovative programming. And everyone in between can drive our streets free of potholes with increasingly drought-friendly yet attractive median landscaping.

We have also followed promises made by setting aside more money toward our Harbor and pension liability than ever before. Last year’s budget surplus has afforded an additional $6 million be spent toward deferred harbor infrastructure, including sea walls.  

We will also spend an additional $9.1 million to pay down the City’s unfunded pension liability faster. This approach accelerates the CalPERS discount rate reduction and should save $15 million over 20 years. Our employees remain committed to helping pay their share of pension liability by contributing $10 million this year toward their “normal” cost. 

As more money is required toward pension liabilities, less money is available for important expenditures in our community. Infrastructure spending, for example, will be increasingly challenged as increasing pension liability and decreasing developer fee funds squeeze our ability to spend at expected levels.  

The City Council and our City’s Finance Committee remain vigilant to find the proper fiscal balance. 

We publicly thank our citizen Finance Committee members for their dozens and dozens of hours crafting fiscal policy and offering unvarnished and well-informed opinions about future liabilities such as pension and civic center debt. These members include Larry Tucker, Patti Gorczyca, Joe Stapleton and Bill Collopy. We also thank John Warner for his prior work.

July 1, 2017 starts our new fiscal year and the planning for the next budget. We invite increased public participation. We also look forward to continuing to serve you and keeping our promises.


Letter to the Editor:

Coalition to protect Mariner’s Mile has “simple” message 

Thank you for being a part of our Community Outreach Event this past Monday. We hope you realize how much our community appreciates your involvement to help inform and unite our residents who also treasure our bayside community.

The Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile message is very simple:

1. Protect the Property Owners 

The City along with Cal Trans intends to expand PCH and to accomplish the widening, they would have to take 12 feet of property away on the inland side from Dover to The Arches Bridge.

The City and Cal Trans call it ‘dedication’ or ‘master opportunity’, we call it eminent domain.

2. Protect our Local Merchants

The local merchants and businesses along PCH could lose their businesses, if the expansion of PCH occurs. There are 44 curb cuts on the inland side of this 1.3 mile stretch of road, it is a very dangerous stretch of highway, accidents occur almost on a daily basis. Making PCH a six-lane highway is not a good investment for the businesses and would potentially reroute traffic from the 405 freeway into the heart our town.

3. Protect our Children and Residents

We have 4,300 children attending school in Newport Heights and 1,500 Junior Lifeguards crossing PCH to get to and from the peninsula. We have four sailing and seamanship schools along this corridor that is summer camp to thousands of children. Why would we ever want to jeopardize lives, by adding more lanes to PCH that children travel across everyday?

The Coalition for Mariner’s Mile is looking forward to a smart, thoughtful and responsible development with the revitalization plan for Mariner’s Mile. We also need to make certain that we maintain our current 35-foot height limit, our views, our property values and qualities of our bayside town.

Thank you for those folks that made a donation at our event, your money will be going towards more community awareness, printed collateral and most importantly for our Protect Mariner’s Mile newly retained attorney firm. We are now a 501c3 tax exempt organization and your donations are tax deductible.

For more information or to make tax deductible donation or sign the petition, please visit our website: www.nopchfreeway.com or 

www.protectmarinersmile.com.

We truly appreciate your support. If you should have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Peggy V. Palmer

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

On Tuesday, June 13th, the Newport Beach City Council will meet briefly for a few presentations starting at 6 p.m., then go to Closed Session, then have the Regular Session starting at 7 p.m. More detailed Council meeting information is at the end of the Guide. I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like. 

As noted, the evening’s Regular Session is at 7 p.m. The items worth noting are:

Two items under Public Hearings relate to the yearly renewals of the Business

Improvement Districts (BIDs) for Corona del Mar and for Restaurants across Newport Beach.

The annual City Budget is up for adoption, pretty much on schedule with past years. As I noted two weeks ago, this proposed budget:

Allocates a total of $50M for pensions (that’s a lot). About $9M of this is an “additional discretionary payment” above and beyond what we are required to pay. The LA Times wrote about this last Sunday. Importantly, about $10M of the $50M is paid for directly by employees (me included). A number of residents regularly ask me about pension issues. I am always happy to discuss it with anyone, so please call or e-mail me.

It proposes reserving about $6M towards critical harbor infrastructure, including sea walls around Balboa Island.

Is balanced.

The capital project side of it:

Proposes some new efforts that Mayor Muldoon first spoke of back in January, including using better technology for traffic solutions and to start an update of the 2006 City General Plan.

Allocates funding for the Corona del Mar Library and Fire Station, as well as for a replacement of Fire Station #2 next to Lido Isle. It allocates the funds, but does not expend them – that would take separate action by the City Council at a later date.

On the subject of the Budget, we have a new budget portal to allow you to get to know the budget better. What fun! You might want to take some time to look at the portal a bit – it’s really pretty interesting (says the guy who thinks budgets are interesting). Doing this will make you more educated about your local government and the least popular person at area cocktail parties.  

For our Newport Heights neighbors, the long-awaited Heights alley repair project is up for contract award. It’s nearly a $4M item. If approved, it means that work will start in just a few weeks – first up will be the new 15th Street Sidewalk. So, it’s actually an Alley Repair and Sidewalk Contract.

Today’s Fun Questions from Residents/Visitors:

Are we having Junior Guards this summer even with shark sightings off of the Orange County coast? Yes. For more details, I will defer to Amy Senk as she fills in relevant facts via her column in Stu News.

What’s new on July 4 this year? Well, it’s a Tuesday this year, which may tend to lower our crowd levels. Beyond that not much is new, but we still expect a fun time for all on Independence Day. If you live in the West Newport Beach “Safety Enhancement Zone” area, be sure to be aware of and learn more about the additional regulations that apply in this Zone between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4, and 3 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5. Please do not bring in fireworks in any part of town. Fireworks are illegal here except for the really great shows that the City and others produce on the evening of July 4. Remember the family-friendly activities and parades – there will be one in West Newport and the Mariners neighborhood, as always. More details to come.

As always, thanks for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letter to the Editor:

“Peotter caught again” 

Scott Peotter’s record of ignoring our laws, from public disclosures in violation of the Brown Act, acceptance of excess campaign contributions, failure to report his campaign expenses and mis-use of the city seal are well documented.  

Now we learn that Peotter has failed to properly report his economic interests to the Fair Political Practices Commission. For two years, he reported an interest in a property in Irvine, but provided an address on Culver Drive that does not exist.  

In 2015 he apparently worked in a “ministry” whose web site indicates “ministers” raise their own support from private, undisclosed, donations. Peotter reports he received between $10,000-$100,000 in income from this source. Exactly who was providing cash for living expenses to our councilmember?  

Our state does not allow elected officials to receive undisclosed gifts of cash and puts a $460 limit on the value of such gifts. 

For the four years he was on the Newport Beach Planning Commission, Peotter reported no income, investments, business interests, spousal income or gifts at all. 

How did he manage to live in Newport Beach during that time? It depends on which newspaper you read. In the Daily Pilot he said he lived off his savings (despite reporting no investments nor investment income). In the Orange County Register he says that his income came from outside the city and he did not think he needed to report it.

What’s next? 

Our community deserves council members who respect our residents and respect our laws.  Peotter fails on both counts.

Brad Alewine

Corona del Mar


Letters to the Editor:

McCaffrey calls out Skinner for Peotter attacks

Saying it often doesn’t make it true.

Susan Skinner’s recent email diatribes calling for Scott Peotter’s recall are an exercise in fantasy. Skinner is a well-known obstructionist with a personal vendetta against Councilman Scott Peotter. Scott is a conservative Republican and property rights advocate, Skinner isn’t. 

When she doesn’t get her way she sues the city at great cost to taxpayers.

Skinner calls for Peotter’s recall because he stood up for private property rights in supporting the Museum House project. After a two year planning process, the project was approved unanimously by the planning commission and by the city council on a 6-1 vote.

Skinner claims the Line in the Sand PAC raises its money “mostly in small amount from many people who support its goals.” Not the case.

Public records filed under the penalty of perjury confirm that Skinner has a PAC of her own, Newport 1st.

Newport 1st received $47,500 on December 16, 2016 from an anonymous donor funneling money through Citizens Against Urban High Rise Towers, a non-profit organization that doesn’t report donors’ names as required for PAC’s.

On the same day, Skinner transferred $46,506 from her PAC, “Newport 1st, to Line in the Sand PAC. In some circles this is called laundering political donations.

Why should taxpayers write a $500,000 check for Susan Skinner’s political vendetta?

Why doesn’t she just run against Peotter in 2018 and save taxpayers the money?

Bob McCaffrey

Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island

Mom advocates for safety and helmet awareness for all

My name is Carmen Lofgren and I advocate safety and helmet awareness. I noticed some pictures (in StuNewsNewport) of kids on scooters without helmets. I thought it may be a good idea with summer coming and more families being out having fun, you may want to do a piece on safety, following rules, safety check for bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc., wearing helmets & proper fitting. 

It is a law for kids under 18 to wear a helmet riding any of the above and it is simply a smart idea to wear them no matter your age as accidents happen, and adult brains aren’t any stronger than a child’s brain. Parents should want to protect themselves (who will take care of their child if they’re hurt) and they should lead by example.

I have been raising awareness for the past 2 1/2 years. My son Gary Lofgren was 25 years old, a great human being, and his life was cut short from a bicycle accident. He was not wearing a helmet and all his injuries were to his brain. 

Please check out FB page, Love and Support For Gary to see what we have been doing in the community. I reached out to the CEO of Kaiser Permanente and he started a region wide Helmet Awareness Campaign because of my son’s story & my efforts; I started a Helmet Awareness program at the high schools in the OUSD; I’ve shared the video & donated helmets to students at Ensign Middle School in Newport Beach; did the same at La Purisima Church in Orange; and shared my story with Anaheim Fire and Rescue.

I am currently a member of the Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club and will be working to get a Helmet in a Box program started with Rotarian Steve Bender. I’ve done events with Kaiser Permanente, volunteered with Helmet Heads in Colorado, and recently the Mayor of Baldwin Park has asked me to speak on this very important issue over the summer. 

I hope you find this important enough to share. 

Thank you,

Carmen Lofgren

Concerned citizens still keeping an eye on JWA

Residents who live close to our bay and ocean enjoy incredibly beautiful neighborhoods and spectacular views, but many also have to endure the noise and pollution from airplanes flying out of John Wayne Airport. From the first time Orange County Supervisors introduced the idea of commercial flights from the former small airfield known as Eddie Martin, concerned citizens complained and initiated efforts to prevent the airfield from becoming a commercial airport. Some residents were so furious they developed a plan to lie on the tarmac of the runway, arm in arm, to prevent planes from departing. Orange County Supervisors stopped their plan with the promise they would seek an alternative site, a more appropriate one than that small piece of land.  

When El Toro Air Base closed and the Marines vacated the property, County Supervisors believed they had found the perfect site for a county airport. Having runways which had been used by Marine jet planes, the surrounding property was zoned to prohibit homes, parks, and schools, thus providing the perfect departure pattern. It seemed an ideal site. However, the city of Irvine and other southern Orange County cities waged war against the Supervisors’ proposed plan for this property and won. Irvine ended up with the large piece of property, with the promise they would build a “Great Park.” That was 15 years ago! To date, the Great Park has not materialized. Instead JWA was forced to increase in size, number of flights, and complaints from residents. Not a single official has been held responsible for broken promises. The following website provides a brief history and timeline of JWA: (http://articles.latimes.com/1985-01-31/news/mn-4981_1_orange-county-airport). 

The battle to keep JWA from further expansion has been a struggle ever since the first commercial flight left the ground. Fortunately, the Newport Beach City Council, County Supervisors and SPON developed a Settlement Agreement that was accepted by the FAA. It provides specific protections for those under the JWA flight path and is one of the few airports in our Country to have such a contract. It offers specific protections for impacted residents, such as having designated noise limits that are monitored by sound equipment and a curfew that prevents departures of commercial airlines between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Residents most impacted by the planes resent the increasing number of airplane departures. They are concerned that the accumulated noise and pollution are detrimental to their health and have asked Newport Beach officials for an official study to determine the extent of these potential health risks.  

JWA has a “hot line” citizens can call to report any suspected violations of rules regarding commercial planes, such as those flying below the required height, planes that sound significantly louder than usual, or a commercial plane violating the curfew. It is helpful to provide as much information as possible regarding the plane in question, such as exact time of the flight, identification of the specific carrier, the plane’s identification number, and any other specific information to help JWA representatives identify the offender. The airport number to call is: 949.252.5185. 

Citizen groups such as AirFair, AWG, SPON and the Newport Beach Aviation Citizens Committee have worked to ensure all rules and regulations are followed. As a current Board member of AirFair, I invite all who are interested in airport issues to attend our meetings and join us in our efforts to keep Newport Beach as one of the most desirable places to live in the World by insisting JWA and the FAA consider citizens’ safety and health over airline profits. Please access our website for exact the dates and times of our meetings.

Bonnie O’Neil

AirFair Board member
Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Mayor Pro Tem says wait until 2018

In my sixty-five years in Newport Beach I have always admired the kindness of our residents. My wife Terry and I have been blessed to raise our children and build a worldwide business in one of the most unique and beautiful harbors I have ever seen.

I was honored to be elected in 2014 to the City Council. As just a boat builder I was excited to give back to the community in the best way possible.  

I was unfamiliar with the intricacies of local politics but was willing to put in the time and use my business background to help bring common-sense policies to our great city. Maybe I was naïve, I thought doing the right thing for taxpayers was enough.  

The attempted recall of Councilman Scott Peotter has revealed an ugly side of our community.  

A few people led by former Councilman Keith Curry, are upset that they lost the 2014 election. They desperately want the controlling votes on the council. That’s what this is all about. To achieve this they continually write letters that are inaccurate and unfair.

For example, they claim Scott wants to gamble with tax dollars in the stock market. They don’t tell you that in 2007 Councilman Curry led the charge to create a section 115 Trust allowing the City to invest funds for employees receiving lifetime health insurance. It’s the vehicle we are reviewing to help pay down the City’s massive pension debt created by the Curry City Council.  

They didn’t recall former Mayor Rush Hill for swearing at constituents from the dais saying “We’re here in large part because previous councils did not want to take the kind of sh** you’re giving out.”  

They didn’t recall Keith Curry for saying, “This is designed to leave a big turd in the City after (Peotter) leaves. This is pathetic. This is bad public policy. Nobody else in America has this policy. It’s an absolute disgrace.” (Daily Pilot, June 15, 2016 - http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-charter-amendment-20160615-story.html)

They criticize Scott for his support of private property rights and the Museum House project. They don’t tell you that recall leader Keith Curry voted for it.  

Scott is hardworking and accessible. He’s on the ballot next year. That’s the time to hash out these issues, not in a recall election that will cost taxpayers $500,000.00, money that could be used to pay down our pension and Civic Center debt.

Duffy Duffield, Mayor Pro Tem

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

“Three compelling reasons” for Peotter recall

Many residents oppose Councilman Scott Peotter, but some wonder if a recall is the right thing to do.

I believe there are three compelling reasons why a recall is critical to our city:

First, Peotter has violated his oath to defend the Constitution and has compromised the rights of the residents to petition our government. When he added 3700 unnecessary pages to the Museum House petition, he was trying to stop all of us from exercising our right to petition our government. What’s next? Residents must stand up for our rights.

Second, Peotter simply refuses to obey the law. Twice, he violated the city contribution limits. This is a serious offense and the penalty is removal from office. Twice he violated the state Political Reform Act and is currently under investigation by the FPPC. On more than seven occasions he used the city seal contrary to local law and continued to do so citing a perceived “loophole”. He violated the Brown Act by disclosing confidential information that could have cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because the city attorney believes he is prohibited from prosecuting and the city council has not appointed a special prosecutor, he thinks he can simply get away with it. We cannot tolerate lawlessness by our public officials. We must hold them to a higher standard.

Third, there is the potential for Peotter to do lasting damage over the next two years. In the upcoming budget, he wants to eliminate funding for several projects. These include traffic improvements, public safety buildings, and libraries. He wants to sell the old city hall site eliminating a long-term revenue source and potentially opening up the option for high-rise condo development on this site if the hotel is not successful. He wants to slash revenues by $3.5 million to create justification for more service cuts. He wants to take funds needed to reduce pension liability and speculate in the stock market. He wants to update the General Plan, so that it will reflect his high-rise vision of our city and he wants to replace our outstanding city management with those loyal to him. Our city could be changed forever in the next two years.

Some worry about the cost of a special election, but this is small compared to the millions in lost revenues and costs if even some of Peotter’s ideas are implemented. Visit www.recallscottpeotter.com for more information.

Lynn Swain

Committee To Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

“Rules don’t apply” to Councilman Peotter

Of all of the characteristics embodied by Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter, his disrespect is the one that bothers us the most.

We could have predicted that he would act in this manner because of the disrespect that he showed our neighborhood between 2007 and 2010 while building his house behind us. Although he was a Newport Beach Planning Commissioner at the time and certainly knew the city’s rules and requirements, he consistently behaved as if those rules didn’t apply to him. 

City rules allow 2 years for the construction of a home, but this particular site was allowed to remain unfinished for almost 4 years despite multiple complaints to the city begging for action to close it down. In an extraordinary departure from protocol, he continued to live in the construction site during this time. 

A 2009 OC Register article about the site contains photos of the mounds of debris present at the site, including mattresses and tires left outside. To those of us who endured this fiasco, his disregard for the very rules he was charged with enforcing presaged his future behavior on the council.

Respect for the rules is a basic expectation for our elected representatives, but Mr. Peotter continues to behave as though the rules don’t apply to him. The Brown Act requires that confidential information disclosed in closed session remain confidential for obvious reasons, but Mr. Peotter readily shared confidential information with his political associates.  

Rules concerning fundraising exist to ensure that politicians are not unduly influenced by donations, yet Mr. Peotter flouted those rules as well, with no expressions of regret.

How a councilman comports himself is important not just with those with whom he agrees, but also with those with whom he disagrees. He represents every resident in the city and it is incumbent upon him to behave like an adult and behave respectfully to everyone. Here again, Mr. Peotter continues to behave as though the rules do not apply to him. After voting in support of the Museum House, he published an editorial in the Daily Pilot in which he made this comment about the environmental organization SPON: “I like to spell it SPAWN (Still Pouting And Whining in Newport).” What kind of respectful person says that?  

It is time to restore respect and integrity to the Newport Beach City Council. It is time to recall Scott Peotter.

Liddy and Scott Paulsen

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

On Tuesday, May 23rd, the Newport Beach City Council will meet for a 3 p.m. Joint Meeting with the City’s Finance Committee to hear the first formal budget presentation of the year. Then the regular non-Joint Study Session gets underway 4 p.m.-ish. Finally, there is a 7 p.m. regular session. More detailed Council meeting information is at the end of the Guide. I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like. 

As noted, the Joint Meeting starts at 3 p.m. and is focused on the proposed Fiscal Year 2017-18 City budget. What’s newsworthy about it? A couple of things:

It socks away more money than ever before for pensions, including to address our unfunded liability issue. Another $9 million (!) is proposed to go towards a discretionary additional payment for pensions.

It proposes sending about $6M towards critical harbor infrastructure, including sea walls around Balboa Island.

It’s balanced (wait, that’s not news – our budget is always balanced).

Our capital plan proposes some new efforts that Mayor Muldoon first spoke of back in January, including using better technology for traffic solutions and to start an update of the 2006 City General Plan. 

Then the Study Session is really focused on one main item, that being preparing for Summer along Ocean Front Walk. Folks interested will hear about ideas from the PD for safer travels, as well as our ongoing discussions about things like Surrey cycles. If I were planning on listening in, I’d try for a little after 4 p.m. 

The evening’s Regular Session is at 7 p.m. The items worth noting are a handful:

An airport item involving how Commuter Aircraft at JWA are defined. A bit complex, but simple at the same time. Operators of commuter planes (like SkyWest) are buying new Embraer and Bombardier planes that have seating capacities of 76 seats, but the JWA Settlement Agreement defines commuter planes as having up to 70 seats. JWA is still governed by a “million annual passenger” cap that is in the Settlement Agreement – and any new seats filled on a plane count towards the cap. 

Some changes to the lease agreement involving the Lighthouse Café at Marina Park. The changes would include allowing the Café to have a mobile cart for some food (and coffee). Changes would also allow them to move from a beer and wine license to a spirits license (Type 47). The restaurant and all sales must end/close at 11 p.m. nightly.  

More turf removals are coming to town. The drought may be behind us, but it’s still not legal going forward to use potable water to irrigate turf in medians. That’s a state prohibition. So we’re continuing our efforts to remove turf from medians and to replace it with a colorful but drought-friendly palette – this time on San Joaquin Hills Road and San Miguel Road.   

The Calendar Notes involve some interesting and fun things:

Friday, May 26

3 p.m. – John Wayne Park Dedication, 2501 Cliff Drive. It’s helpful for this one if you RSVP. Please do so to Jenny Sudo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949.644.3003.

Today’s Fun Questions from Residents/Visitors:

This one came to me from a gal at the gym. She wondered: On street sweeping day, if the sweeper has gone by but the “no parking” sign still has some time left (say it’s 11 a.m. and the sign says “no parking” until 12:30 p.m.), will I get a ticket if I park there? The answer:  Generally no, but this is a “spirit of the law” question at this point. To be safe, you should still try and avoid parking there during the street sweeping times, as sometimes the sweeper can surprise you by being delayed or on a different schedule because of an emergency somewhere else. The PD does, though, try to understand that parking is often tight and will work with known issues in a neighborhood to make sure residents get the most flexibility possible to get back needed parking spaces. 

A visitor from Utah asked me this week why there are small smelly tar mats along the beaches. He assumed they were from oil wells offshore. Though we’ve stepped on them, too, Newport residents know that this isn’t so (and how to dodge them) – they’re from naturally occurring seeps beneath the ocean floor, and often make their way to the beach in the form of innocent-looking small pieces of what appear to be thick black plastic. But they’re not, and when you step on them you’ve got some very sticky oil to deal with. He seemed better when he understood that this happens all up and down the Southern CA coast, again via natural causes. Thanks, NOAA.

As always, thanks for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

949-644-3001


Guest Column

Mike Glenn – Save Newport

Save Dog Beach – your help is needed Tuesday

Mike Glenn

Courtesy of Save Newport

Save Newport Publisher Mike Glenn 

After many long months of dredging, the heavy machinery will likely be gone from Dog Beach by the end of next week and the next big South Swell will drop the sandbars back in the channel right where they used to be, returning the area to the Dog Beach we have all known and loved for 100 years.

However, as you might know, Newport Beach has been in the midst of an anti-dog-on-beaches campaign right now that was begun right as the Dog Beach is being released back into the hands of the dog-loving public. Newport has recently begun placing signs and enforcement agents at the mouth of the county land, blocking access from people who wish to use the off-leash area for their dogs. While we (and local residents!) have been asking for doggie bag dispensers there for years, the city has spent thousands of dollars on signage designed to scare people from the area. The recent Twitter “virtual ride along” with a patrol unit highlighted why dogs are supposedly not welcome on the beaches. The assaults are escalating.

Diane Dixon – the originator of the idea that we should close Dog Beach – wrote that she supported Dog Beach in the past, but recently used a private email account with city letterhead and the city seal to tell county officials that she no longer supports it. Suddenly, inside of the city, the ratcheting-up of anti-dog-beach sentiment has begun once again.

Our efforts previously won us a unanimous 7-0 approval by Parks, Beach and Recreation to not only approve, but actually to expand Dog Beach to Orange Street – making it partially on city land and partially on county land. Somehow, after the meeting, the meeting minutes were modified to strike this from the record – even though we have what was actually said and actually passed on video (we foresaw “oddities” and wanted to keep a record for ourselves in case they materialized).

The county voted 5-0 to approve Dog Beach, but then “certain elected officials” began emailing organizations and groups to get them to complain, stopping the process before it got to the required second vote. All and all, the Dog Beach remained – so we figured everyone was happy. But now the attacks have begun once again and it is time to go on the full offensive if we want to keep this treasured area of land for our four-legged friends. This time, we won’t stop until we have an actual official dog beach – and if that requires removing people from their positions, then that is what it will require.

Here is what we need from you: Please show up at Newport Beach City Hall (100 Civic Center Drive) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and speak on “Non-Agenda Items.”

Speak about why we need to keep and support Dog Beach.

Ask the council why the Parks, Beach and Recreation vote calling for the expansion of Dog Beach was modified in the meeting minutes to not reflect what was actually voted on.

Ask them who has approved the sudden enforcement against dogs in the area.

Ask them if they will hold Diane Dixon accountable for using the city seal and official city letterhead for non-official business (they previously held other council people accountable for this, so they should hold her accountable, too).

Ask council if they will hold Diane Dixon accountable for illegally withholding documents despite them being requested via a Public Document Request Act.

Ask Diane Dixon to explain the reasons why she is against Dog Beach (she won’t respond, but the public outcry will make media attention).

Ask the council to agendize expanding Dog Beach to Orange Street, as the Parks, Beach and Recreation committee had originally suggested a year ago.

Dog Beach has been around for a full 100 years, since 1917, it’s Newport Beach’s last remaining dog beach, and I do not want to see it go away. We need literally just three minutes of your time to speak on this, on Tuesday. Every voice makes a tremendous difference and can really help to sway council people. Please, share this with your friends. We need to send a message to council that we want to keep and preserve Dog Beach.


Letter to the Editor:

Peotter’s financial past brings questions of qualifications

The fact that Councilman Scott Peotter defaulted on his Ports Streets home and was compelled to move back to Irvine is well known in the community. What is less well known is that after moving back to Irvine, Peotter defaulted on a $13.7 million commercial construction loan and was sued.

In this case, Peotter executed a Commercial Guaranty on July 20, 2006 for $13.7 million. This was used to refinance a prior loan and to fund construction activity. By 2009, Peotter defaulted on the loan. In court documents, he argued that he did not believe the Guaranty would actually be enforced and therefore he should not be required to pay back the loan. The building was sold at auction for $9 million, leaving the lender with a $5.1 million loss guaranteed by Peotter. In his own court filing, Peotter acknowledged that the amount of the loan far exceeded his own net worth and capacity to repay, yet, he signed it anyway.

California Bank and Trust sued and in a settlement, our councilmember has been making court ordered financial restitution in the amount of $1,666.67 per month for five years. No wonder he has maneuvered to collect four public paychecks from the city, Sanitation District, TCA, and Vector Control District. Every dollar of taxpayer income goes to fund his restitution requirements.

This record of poor financial decision-making, and failure to honor his legal obligations is highly relevant to Peotter’s service on the city council where he has taken the lead in promoting policies that could cost the taxpayers millions and result in taxpayer liability for millions more.

For example, he has proposed refunding debt in a way that would have increased costs by $20 million. He has promoted the sale of the old city hall site that would otherwise be a perpetual revenue generator for our Tidelands needs. He has advocated speculating with millions of taxpayer dollars in the stock market, and he facilitated the appointment of his politically ally to the Finance Committee, a person subsequently convicted of embezzlement. Because of him, the city sewer system operates at a structural deficit. Many of us have made financial mistakes, but with a record like Poetter’s, we cannot allow him to do to the city what he did to his own personal finances. Scott Peotter should be recalled, before it’s too late. Please go to www.recallscottpeotter.com for more information.

Craig Sawin

Corona del Mar


Letter to the Editor:

McCaffrey Wrong About Peotter

Bob McCaffrey, the political boss of Team Newport, recently wrote to the Daily Pilot in support of Scott Peotter.

We last heard from Bob when he acted as a shill for Dave Ellis and Peotter’s disgraceful efforts to deny residents the right to referend the Museum House project. Bob filed a Fair Political Practices Commission complaint against project opponents that was quickly rejected as being without merit.

Bob shares Peotter’s high rise vision for our city.

McCaffrey and Ellis control Peotter and use his vote to enrich themselves and their cronies. For example, Peotter voted for $500,000 in fee cuts to mostly out of town mooring holders.

Bob McCaffrey considers Peotter a “Fiscal Conservative”.

Fiscal conservative Bob? Peotter changed the rules so that a person who would later be convicted of embezzlement could be put on the finance committee. He wants to speculate in the stock market with our tax dollars and his refunding scheme would have cost us $20 million more. He also collects pay checks from four public agencies.

Adult in the room? With Peotter’s name calling, insults and bizarre videos of him vandalizing the civic center park that is the last word to describe him. Add to that his continued inability to follow our laws, including the ongoing investigation by the FPPC over his campaign law violations.

As for debt, Peotter himself has defaulted on a $13 million loan and even lost his own house due to financial mismanagement.

And Keith Curry is one councilman, how did he block the initiatives of the four vote Team Newport majority? I guess pointing out embarrassing facts and being able to do math was too much for Scotty and Team Newport.

You may want to pay closer attention Bob, last week your boy Peotter appeared in the paper playing and supporting Pickle Ball and last Tuesday he flip-flopped and now wants to support the Corona del Mar Library and Fire Station. I guess he is feeling the heat from the recall. Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com for more information.

Lori Morris

Balboa Peninsula


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff  

On Nueve de Mayo, the Newport Beach City Council will meet for both a 5 p.m. Study Session and a 7 p.m. regular session. More detailed Council meeting information is at the end of the Guide. I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.  

Study Session starts at 5:00 p.m. has two main items:

Council’s second look at the proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for Fiscal Year 2017-18. This is the blueprint for construction projects large and small that are planned for 2017-18. It also includes one-time expenses, like a planned Update of the General Plan, that fit better in the CIP than in our other budget document, the Budget Detail. By the way, both documents are posted online now and can be viewed here. The CIP includes things like water mains, sewer repairs, road repairs, park upgrades, and a lot more. 

Much of our CIP items come from detailed “master plans” that usually describe upgrades planned for specific functions (like water, sewer, streetlights, and more) over 10 to 20 years. We’ve been working recently on a Harbor Master Plan – at the request of our City Council – that would better outline what our short- and long-term harbor obligations are. So, this would address sea walls, dredging, amenities, and more. This too will be a part of the Study Session discussion on Tuesday.  

Regular Session is at 7:00 p.m. The items worth noting are:

Getting right to the “big deal” of the evening, Bayside Drive. This last came to the Council in November 2016, with a general preference by the Council to look at something with a roundabout at Bayside and Harbor Island Drive. But as more community members have weighed in, our Public Works staff has reviewed other options. Those include:

Not changing anything, but just doing our planned repavement job (Option Zero? J)

Option #1 - Staying with four lanes total, but narrowing the lanes slightly to allow for limited traffic calming measures, such as medians and landscaping and a better bike lane.

Option #2 – The option with a roundabout at Harbor Island Drive and Bayside. This uses one lane in each direction to approach and leave the roundabout, with the staying one lane in each direction until Bayside restaurant and the shopping center.  

Option #3 -- A “three lane” option, whereby if you are going westbound, you have 2 lanes in your direction. If you are going eastbound between Harbor Island and the pedestrian crossing which is just past the homes, it’s one lane. The traffic counts on the road show that the road’s capacity would be OK with this. This option likely provides more traffic calming than the four-lane alternative.

You will want to read a lot more about all of this issue. There are a LOT of opinions about it (we often say we have 85,000 traffic engineers in town J). Please read the staff report and related attachments. 

And allow me one gentle bit of commentary. Many people have weighed in on this issue. By and large, people offer friendly comments. But this issue has been very polarizing, too. Folks who live on Bayside say there is no way to make the road safe except with a roundabout. Folks who live on Balboa Island say, “There isn’t a problem here, so don’t change it so that there IS a problem.” Both of these statements are on the extreme side of the debate. Our roads are safest when we drive safely and conservatively – and without distractions. We can engineer improvements to the road that help here, but there is nothing better than a safe driver observing the speed limit. Whatever is decided needs to involve as much of the community as possible (as well as our good Public Works engineers), dialoguing in a civil way that recognizes that even though someone may disagree with you, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong (Dave dismounts well-used soapbox).

Council will again consider establishing a temporary (summer) anchorage area in Newport Bay, up near Lido Marina Village (i.e. the Turning Basin).

Residents in the Finley area (across from the Old City Hall at the start of the Peninsula) have asked the Council to consider initiating a resident-only parking permit program in their small neighborhood. As it stands today, some of the employees who work across the street in Lido Marina Village appear to be using the residential streets to park. While this is legal (these are public streets), it’s certainly a new issue and problem for the folks who live in the Finley neighborhood. Residential parking permit programs within the Coastal Zone don’t have an easy go of it – it will be challenging to get full approval should it be called up to the Coastal Commission. But we are trying to be creative in seeking the best solutions to this new parking problem. 

Today’s Random Note:

I will reiterate here again that NextGen has arrived at John Wayne Airport. Forgive the duplication from 2 weeks ago, but I’ve gotten a lot of calls about this issue (most folks saying, “Why didn’t I know about this?”). So, we are now in Week Nine or so of the FAA’s implementation of NextGen in our community. NextGen made more precise flight paths from JWA (and nearly 2 dozen other airports in Southern California). On April 27th, the FAA moved the second half of JWA’s departures on the NextGen paths. Generally, these track the historic patterns of flights from JWA. Please know that we will follow this closely to ensure that the community’s overall goals are met. However, the FAA always has the final determination on where flights go. As I noted before, if you ever want to talk NextGen with me, I’m happy to do so – just call.    

As always, thanks for reading.  Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

949.644.3001


Guest Column

Gary Sherwin

25 years after the LA riots…Gary Sherwin asks:

How do you promote a city that’s burning?

Gary Sherwin

Newport Beach & Company President & CEO Gary Sherwin

Much has been said this past week during the 25th anniversary of the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, obviously one of the most socially turbulent periods in the city’s history.

In addition to the discussion on race, justice, police brutality and other pertinent issues, another challenge presented itself that doesn’t get discussed much in reflecting upon those challenging months. And that was: How do you promote a city that was under siege and literally burning?

At that time, I was serving as the chief media person for the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, which promoted the city as a wonderful tourism destination. My job was to work with media around the world to develop stories that would highlight the amazing attributes of the City of Angels. I was the Minister of Good News.

I was early in my career and I loved working with media from across the globe to create stories you read in travel sections and entertainment programs. It was LA baby, the entertainment capital of the world, and I loved it.

That is, until April 29, 1992, when we stood in our conference room in a high-rise in downtown LA and watched the verdicts come in on the Rodney King trial in Simi Valley. As the multiple non-guilty verdicts came in, we looked at the TV and no one said a word. After the judge dismissed the jury, we all left the room and returned to our offices.

We all knew what was next.

The media depicted a community on edge in South Central. In less than an hour, my assistant came in and said simply, “Well, it’s started.” I returned to the conference room and watched the beginning of the civil unrest. Within an hour and a half, the smoke was so thick outside our offices; we could barely see the Bonaventure Hotel across the street. Downtown was packed with cars jamming the freeway entrances to escape.

Meanwhile, we had work to do. We knew there were thousands of visitors from around the world who were staying throughout the city and like us, they would probably be frightened and unsure of what to do. They also couldn’t get out of town, since shortly thereafter Los Angeles International Airport was closed due to smoke making take offs and landings hazardous.

We set up a “war room” and established communications with police and fire. Faxes, (then a dependable form of communication) was our chief means of communication between the city’s entire visitor industry and us.

We determined at that point we were now in the business of providing crisis communications to our visitors and tourism stakeholders, which also included theme parks, cultural institutions as well as hotels. It was non-stop with 15-hour days and for the first couple of days, I’d almost swear we were the only business operating in downtown. Coming into work was eerie with literally no one on the streets beyond law enforcement.

One day on my way into work, with nary a car on the Harbor Freeway, a sight that I will probably never see again, a police officer stopped me and asked why I was out and about. I told them about my work and he pointed to a fire just off the freeway with an admonishment to be careful since they were seeing widespread gun use on overpasses.

After the crisis died down in the days ahead, we still had a dilemma, how do you promote LA now? The California dream of sunny days and carefree lifestyle was not only an illusion now, but it was highly inappropriate. We couldn’t dismiss the issue that caused the civil unrest but we couldn’t condone it either. We had to walk a messaging tightrope of sensitivity while still expressing faith in the future of the city. And, oh yes, the key visitor attractions remained unharmed and you could still come for a visit if you really wanted to.

Worrying about the effect on tourism in a crisis like that seems petty until you realize that tourism is the lifeblood of much of LA and the people who would be hurt the most had jobs in many of the affected areas. In addition to neighborhoods being burned, an economic price was about to be felt that made a bad situation even worse.

Remember that 54 people died in the unrest, 2,000 people were injured and 862 buildings burned to the ground.

Subsequently, our team in LA literally dispatched people all over the globe to tell the LA story and to try and give some perspective on what happened. I was assigned to Mexico City with a map of the city and red dots highlighting the specific points of the fires. (Hey folks, look at how far the fires were from Disneyland!)

Our goal was not to minimize what happened or dismiss it. Our job was to try and minimize the economic fallout and protect jobs; a mission that was essentially ignored as LA tried to look inward and to find out how we got here.

I’d like to think that our efforts made a bad situation a bit better economically, but when you see 24-hour coverage of your city burning with inflammatory headlines screaming on newspapers around the world, you question how you counter program all of that.

Nonetheless, I did dozens of live TV and radio interviews as well as print and it was an awkward message to convey that LA was open for business and visitors could have a great time when there was such underlining tension throughout the city. Truth be told, most of the areas visitors did usually frequent, except parts of Hollywood, were unaffected physically by the unrest. But we had to trend carefully as to not isolate parts of the city and create an image of “dangerous” and “safe.”

More than a year a half later, we were still involved in crisis recovery. But what took the unrest off the radar was something else entirely. 

The 6.7 Northridge earthquake hit in the early morning of January 1994. In fact, I was in New York City to meet with the media about the civil unrest recovery efforts. That morning before I left for the press event, I got a call from my office to cancel the day’s activities. I had to get home to discuss collapsed freeways and impacted visitor attractions. 

We weren’t talking civil unrest anymore but much to our exhaustion, our crisis communications continued.

Gary Sherwin is the President and CEO of Newport Beach & Co./Visit Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Why recall…why now, former Assemblywoman tells why

Recall of an elected official is a serious issue: a decision that should not be made lightly or without serious forethought. The Recall of Scott Peotter is a serious matter and is a worthy effort. Those of us who have had the privilege of holding public office understand that it brings the responsibility of adhering to a higher standard, a standard that Peotter is unwilling or unable to meet. He has clearly demonstrated this a number of times, embarrassing himself and putting the city at risk with his decisions.

He refuses to respect the law and was forced to read an apology at the City Council meeting for violating the Brown Act, a tenet that city councils are required to follow.  

Peotter attended a public gathering in Costa Mesa and disclosed confidential information about city business and made statements that could have exposed the city to liability.

He has violated the municipal code related to the correct use of the city seal; and continued to do so even after being reprimanded twice by his fellow council members.

Peotter is currently under investigation by the State of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission over violating campaign contribution limits. He failed to report or return contributions in excess as set by State law.

He endorsed the use of racist Farsi language campaign signs that were not properly identified as required by law. Other candidates in the race condemned the racist signs.

Scott Peotter refused to enforce the campaign contribution limit laws against his ally, Lee Lowrey.

He supported the appointment to the city’s Finance Committee of a man accused and convicted of embezzlement.

Mr. Peotter’s actions demonstrate a defiant disregard of the laws of this State. It speaks to his lack of respect and common sense in adhering to standards that we all live within. His actions demonstrate that he is untrustworthy and self-serving.

Why no…Peotter has demonstrated time and again that State laws don’t apply to him and he has failed to understand City issues. He made a motion to refinance the City bonds at a so-called savings. His proposal would have cost the City hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

This recall must occur now. If we delay until 2018, Scott Peotter would be involved in two budget cycles and will have the opportunity to do our City great harm with his thoughtless decisions.   

The decisions he has made clearly show that he is defiant and does not uphold the city goals and directions. He is not guided by what is in the best interest of this community.

He moved to Newport Beach because he couldn’t get elected in Irvine. Newport Beach deserves an upstanding councilman with integrity, who respects the constituency and cares about the good of the community.

Peotter – by his actions has proven – he is not fit for public office in Newport Beach!

Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer, ret.

Newport Beach

• • •

Rush believes in free speech and Scott Peotter

I caught a recent story in a competing publication (Wall Street Journal) reporting on a survey conducted of Yale University students testing their opinion on the value of free speech. Yale is hardly a bastion of right-wing thought. It’s one of America’s most prestigious and liberal institutions.

I was mildly surprised to learn that 72 percent of the students “opposed speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty” while 16 percent favored the idea.

Juxtapose this on the intolerant few that want to recall Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter. Peotter is an outspoken fiscal and social conservative that has riled up those opposed to his views. They’re willing to waste $500,000 of YOUR TAXPAYER money on a special recall election when Peotter is already on the ballot next year.

I firmly believe that in these times of political correctness that Peotter has the right to express his views – that’s free speech.

Even the intellectual elite and Yale seem to agree.

Bob Rush, former Assembly candidate

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Peotter “violated his oath”

I support the recall of Scott Peotter because he violated his oath in trying to prevent the people from stopping the Museum House Project and because he violated several state and local laws. But as I read his statement in response to the recall a new reason has emerged; his fundamental refusal to tell the truth.

The following are some of the false statements contained in his response:

The recall will waste $500,000 of taxpayer money. In fact, the city clerk has said a special election would cost $300,000. Peotter was a strong advocate for a special election when the Museum House petitions were submitted and had all the documents he demanded for the petitions been included, the cost for that election would have been over $4 million.

Recall supporters are spouting lies and half-truths…check out my website for a direct response. Two weeks later and there is not a single word on his web site refuting any of the charges. He cannot deny his campaign law violations because they were on his own reports. He bragged in print about his efforts to subvert the rights of the people to petition to stop Museum House.

The recall is just sour grapes by Keith Curry … and his handpicked 2014 candidate Mike Toerge. This recall was organized by a grassroots citizen’s committee from across the city including some who have not been supporters of Curry in the past. Curry was running for the Assembly in 2014 and both Curry and Toerge confirm he did not “hand pick” anybody to run against Peotter.

Since my election, I have worked to deliver the following: Save the Fire Rings. The plan adopted was essentially the same one adopted in November 2013 by the prior council. Stop the Dock Tax. The Dock fees still exist. Two-thirds of dock owners received a cut averaging $18.00 annually. A few of Peotter’s donors received cuts of several hundred dollars per year.

Audit the Civic Center. This boondoggle cost more than a special election, was rushed to council before it could be completed and still has not been submitted in final form. It was a waste of money to advance Peotter’s political career. 

Enact the Taxpayer Protection Act. This is perhaps the most deceitful statement. The Taxpayer Protection Act was introduced by Councilman Curry, Peotter hijacked the issue, put his name on it to make it look like his and now tries to take credit for it. He even formed a campaign committee and used the funds raised to instead support his endorsed candidates in the 2016 election. His one accomplishment is one he stole from his main political rival. How dishonest.

Eliminate the Business License Tax. This would have created a $3.5 million budget deficit and even the Finance Committee and his Team Newport colleagues found it so irresponsible they defeated it each of the three times Peotter brought it up.

Peotter not only disrespects the law and the rights of residents, he simply can’t tell the truth. Visit www.recallscottpeotter.com  for more information. 

Lynn Swain

On Behalf of the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter


Guest letter

Newport-Mesa Unified School District

New math program for K-5 selected for NMUSD approval

Dear Kindergarten through Fifth Grade Parents,

In August 2016, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) Board of Education gave direction to staff to begin the process of evaluating and piloting new elementary math instructional materials. Through this collaborative, seven-month pilot process, NMUSD K-5 teachers and staff have identified Bridges in Mathematics by

Math Learning Center as the comprehensive set of kindergarten to fifth grade math instructional materials that will best meet the needs of NMUSD students and teachers.

As you may recall from previous communications, this process began with assembling a steering committee of teachers and administrators to develop and guide the pilot process and future recommendation to the Board of Education. The steering committee identified two viable sets of instructional materials that were implemented, analyzed and evaluated in select primary and upper grade classrooms at each site.

Teachers used and evaluated each set of materials for seven weeks and then collaboratively reached consensus that Bridges in Mathematics is the best set of K-5 math instructional materials for NMUSD.

As part of the evaluation process parents and students in pilot classrooms were provided an opportunity to provide feedback on the instructional materials. Community members were able to review website links to publishers and provide feedback through the District Elementary Math Instructional Materials Pilot website at https://nmusd-ca.schoolloop.com/mathpilot.

We are grateful for the guidance and leadership of our Board of Education and their commitment to ensure that we provide teachers with opportunities to identify the best resources to prepare our students for the ever-changing world.

District staff will report on the pilot process and the resulting recommendation of Bridges in Mathematics at the Board of Education meeting on May 9, 2017.

Bridges in Mathematics materials will be on display for public review in the Sanborn Building from May 10 - 23.

A recommendation for final approval will go forward to the Board of Education on May 23, 2017.

We appreciate your feedback and support throughout the process, and will continue to provide communication to our school community to work toward a seamless adoption process.


Guest Column

Marshall “Duffy” Duffield

Duffield complimentary on Peotter’s contributions

Duffy Duffield

Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Marshall “Duffy” Duffield 

Scott Peotter works hard for our City fighting to lower costs, eliminate overtaxing and reducing government every day. He aggressively took on putting the firewood back on the beaches immediately after we got in office. He did it with more vigor than any councilperson and got it done. Team Newport made a lot of promises and Scott led the charge on many issues.  

I was easily intimidated by members of the old council, but not Scott. I supported Scott on 99 percent of his motions. Obviously, the old guard disliked what we were doing and fought back with vindictive and mean remarks. It was not fun and I did not look forward to Council meetings knowing whatever we tried we would be ridiculed in public by one or more of the old remaining councilmembers. Team Newport has done their best to deliver what we promised and Scott was and is a big part of that effort. We inherited a huge debt, therefore we had to revert to limited spending and smarter planning to keep the City running like the citizens expect.

Scott knows Newport Beach. He raised his children in the Port streets and they all graduated from Corona del Mar High School. He spent years on the Newport Beach planning commission donating his valuable time away from his architecture business. He is the only councilmember who has expertise in building and development. I believe his knowledge in this field is vital for the council to know if a project is good, viable or bad for the City.    

Like so many others, Scott was hit hard during the recession. Unfortunately, he had to sell his property and move to a more affordable neighborhood until he could find his way back to the City he loves. Scott is a very sincere man who speaks his mind. I am proud to be working with him on the Council and I always listen to what he has to offer in an objective way. Don’t always agree, just like I don’t always agree with others on the Council but that’s not bad, it’s healthy.

If you want to recall Scott, you may as well recall me too. I’m proud to sit on the council with him and continue fighting for what Team Newport promised.  

Duffy Duffield

Mayor Pro Tem

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Peotter keeps changing his mind

Wow, the recall is only two weeks old and already Scott Peotter has had four positions. First, he said the recall was to inhibit his “free speech”. When one considers that Peotter’s own extraordinary efforts to prevent residents from circulating petitions on the Museum House project was the greatest denial of free speech in recent city history, that argument quickly went away.

Then he said it was about him “keeping his promises” to cut city spending.  But the record shows that under Peotter, pension liabilities are up $70 million, the operating budget is up $22 million and because of him, we now run the sewer system at a structural deficit. His debt reduction strategy actually cost $20 million more than doing nothing and he arranged for a man later convicted of embezzlement to be placed on the Finance Committee. Not a lot of credibility there Scott.  

Next, he hooked up with liberal Democrat Bob Rush as his chairman and claimed he was being recalled because he was “politically incorrect”. Well yes, supporting the racist Farsi campaign signs, opposing the city Sexual Harassment Prevention policy, and insulting residents who speak before the council is politically incorrect, but it is also unacceptable behavior as a member of the city council. Rush was perhaps surprised to find that Peotter opposes nearly all of the capital improvements needed for West Newport and the Peninsula where Rush is an activist.

Now he is wrapping himself in the Republican banner, hoping voters will not notice that the 14,000 residents who signed the Museum House petitions were overwhelmingly Republican and that Peotter alone among the council is using his position to collect compensation from four public agencies.  

The real issue is that Peotter trampled on our constitutional rights and he refuses to obey the laws he swore to uphold regarding leaking confidential information, campaign finance and the municipal code. He is controlled by Dave Ellis and serves the special interests who moved him into town to run.  

Who knows what Peotter’s slogan will be tomorrow? Here are some we know he won’t be using: “Scott Peotter: Working to reduce traffic and improve our quality of life,” “Peotter: Champion of parks and libraries,” “Scott Peotter: He respects the public.”  

It’s time for a change on the city council.  

Richard C. Ingold

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on, in and around City Hall

DaveKiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff  

I hope you get to enjoy some spring weather outside as well as the Newport Beach Film Festival inside. By Friday, it’s NOSA time and boats will be lined up for the 2017 Newport-Ensenada race. Always a nice time of year in town before we get too crowded.

But on to what’s on the Council’s agenda for April 25, 2017. More detailed Council meeting information is at the end of the Guide. I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda to if you’d like.  

Study Session starts at 4:00 p.m. and has two items:

A re-scheduling of an emergency preparedness update from Katie Eing, the City’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. Learn about how the City will work with you and our loyal CERT members across town to help address virtually any natural or other disaster. We do ask that folks try to have the ability to survive without us as best they can for up to 72 hours, though.    

Members of the Orange County Water District will update us on the status of the huge groundwater basin from which we get about 70% of our drinking water. This is a big deal because as the drought officially ends (!), it’s important to factor in how replenished (or not) the basin is. Tune in please if you’re curious about the end of the drought (though it could choose to come visit us again soon!) or how we get our potable water. Fun and interesting stuff, actually. 

Regular Session is at 7:00 p.m. The items worth noting are:

Speaking of drought, it’s officially over. At least the Governor’s emergency decree has ended. That means that our water cutback restrictions can go away (resounding cheers for slightly longer showers!) but some permanent restrictions will remain in place. Such as: no watering before, after, or during rain. No wasteful watering such as hosing down of sidewalks and driveways. No watering of turf in medians (that’s for the City). But things that will go away include the 15% reduction goal as well as the limits on days/week you can water. An agenda item declares locally that the “Level 2” water use restrictions can go away.

Council members have asked that their colleagues consider renaming Ensign View Park (for John Wayne) and Balboa Island Park (for Ralph Rodheim).

Council may update its policy on invocations before meetings to more closely follow US law.

Pickleball! A contract to install the community’s first permanent pickleball courts (at the edge of Bonita Canyon Sports Park, near MacArthur) is up for consideration. If you don’t know what pickleball is, it’s like shorter-court tennis with a firmer ball (I’m sure I just wrote something blasphemous and will be corrected there). It has a growing support base in town.

Appointments to the Harbor Commission will be made. We always get such a good crop of dedicated volunteers to help out on our commissions. I know that the Council wishes that they could appoint every candidate just to honor their commitment and interest. But there are only a few slots open at any one time.  

The Council’s direct appointees – that’s the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the City Clerk – will have their contracts reviewed and possibly approved. These follow relatively detailed performance evaluations with our seven bosses. 

Today’s Random Notes:

As you know, there is a lot of work going on out there in town that can get in your way or invite questions. Here’s a brief summary of some of them.

Irvine Avenue seems almost done – the landscaping is in and the road’s repaved.

Give it a nice slow drive and hear how quiet the new pavement is – ooo, nice. 

We’ve redone landscaping at the “Mixmaster” area near the Newport Pier (where Balboa mixes with Newport Boulevard). It’s colorful and California-friendly. Looks a lot better than the dead grass of last year. 

Ocean and Poppy in CDM is still impacted by major road repairs there – the sidewalk and trees are being replaced, and next will be the new road surface. This has more weeks to go.

Since the rain ended, crews have made a lot more progress in Big Canyon Nature Park (off of Jamboree between Park Newport and Eastbluff). This is an environmental restoration project that also helps remediate naturally occurring selenium in that small watershed. The grading causes it to look fairly stark right now, but that’s because we haven’t started replanting things yet. 

The Park Avenue Bridge (between Balboa Island and Little Island) is coming along, and that long project is also nearing completion in a handful of weeks. 

We are in Week Seven or so of the FAA’s implementation of NextGen in our community. NextGen made more precise flight paths from JWA (and nearly 2 dozen other airports in Southern California). April 27th is another important day for NextGen locally, when the other 50 percent of JWA’s flights may be placed on the NextGen paths. Generally, these track the historic patterns of flights from JWA. Please know that we will follow this closely to ensure that the community’s overall goals are met. However, the FAA always has the final determination on where flights go. If you ever want to talk NextGen with me, I’m happy to do so – just call.    

We were notified that the Marina Park project will be honored with a national public works award for 2017. That’s a pretty big deal for us. An even bigger deal is the nice everyday use that the park gets from the Peninsula and other neighbors who have long deserved a great park there. Congratulations to our City Public Works team, the designer (Rabben/Herman), the contractor (KPRS), the construction manager (Griffin Holdings) and to every one of our community members (like the Protect our Parks members as well as former Harbor Commissioners) who spent years (yes, years) working on a compromise plan that the community could embrace.

As always, thanks for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

949-644-3001


Guest Column

Jeff Herdman

City financial report is “impressive”

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Councilman Jeff Herdman

The City of Newport Beach recently received its financial ratings report from Fitch Ratings. I was so impressed with the report that I wanted to share some of its findings with you. Below I have taken statements from the report to demonstrate the flavor of the financial condition of our City:

AAA Rating

This rating reflects notable financial flexibility and low liability levels.

Consistent tax base performance enhances the city’s strong revenue growth prospects, and a well-controlled expenditure framework.

Conservative financial management will enable the city to maintain financial stability and solid reserves in a potential economic downturn.

The extensive use of pay-as-you-go capital financing and planned pension overfunding to eliminate the outstanding liability support the City’s low debt condition.

The City reliably maintains reserves which generates a low potential decline of the City’s revenues in an economic downturn, and maintains ample fiscal tools to address any future financial stress.

Well-managed long-term liabilities in relation to pension payments to address their city’s unfunded liability. The report provides the following evidence for the above findings:

The local economy benefits from the City’s mature, wealthy tax base and strong employment.

Home values are among the highest in the country.

Unemployment is exceptionally low.

The City benefits from diverse revenue sources.

The City’s mature tax base, stable demographics, high personal incomes, and focus on economic development have contributed to strong historical general fund growth.

The unfunded pension liability constitutes just under one-third of the long-term liability. The City has taken recent action to mitigate the effect of escalating pension costs and eliminate their unfunded pension liability within 20 years, thus placing a low burden on the City in terms of long-term liability.

Conservative budgeting and sound financial policies have resulted in a trend of general fund operating surpluses and strong reserve levels.

As always, I remain at your service. Please continue to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have at 949.922.3594 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Letters to the Editor:

Former council candidate comes out against Peotter

When I began my campaign for city council last year, I believed, and still do, that to govern our community, one has to understand our community.

Scott Peotter’s response to the recall notification, clearly shows that he does not grasp that concept. Simply does not get it.

Mr. Peotter’s right to express his opinions is absolute. However, as an elected official, he does not have the right to force those views onto the people he governs. Mr. Peotter is not entitled to impose his rigid ideology on a community that, quite frankly, has other opinions and ideas about city government and what its role should be. His job is to understand what the community wants and needs, and then work to achieve those goals and desires.

This is the disconnect that exists between Mr. Peotter and the community. This is why Mr. Peotter should be recalled. Simply put, his views are not the views of the people in his district or in the City of Newport Beach.

The people of this city did not want Museum House, yet Mr. Peotter supported the draconian obligation that the petitioners include in their referendum the entire EIR and related documents. When over 16,000 signatures were turned in, Mr. Peotter disparaged the petition gatherers and voted not to accept the will of the people. He sought to subject the taxpayers of our city to an expensive special election. As an alleged champion of free speech and taxpayer’s rights, these actions appear contrary to his expressed views.

Mr. Peotter’s trespasses against the people, and the soul of this city, are extensive and well documented. They range from blind, unquestioning support for all private development to a palatable disdain for civic culture. They run the gamut from a refusal to fund libraries to reducing public safety under the guise of fiscal responsibility. Mr. Peotter needs to go, not because of what he believes, but because of what he seeks to impose upon a city that is better than he believes it to be.

In the last election, the message we put forth was the proposition that to govern Newport Beach, you have to understand Newport Beach. And while the messenger putting forth that proposition may have been a flawed candidate, the message resonated. That message continues to resonate. That is why a recall petition is being circulated. That is why Mr. Peotter will be recalled.

Phil Greer

Newport Beach

• • •

Another vote against Peotter

Scott Peotter likes to say that the recall is about intolerant residents attacking his freedom of speech. No Scott, it is not. Let’s be clear, this recall is about your complete failure to follow the law and to respect both your oath of office and the residents who elected you.

In June 2015, Peotter went to the Costa Mesa Tea Party and disclosed confidential information and made statements that could have exposed the city to legal liability. His speech was posted on YouTube and when it was discovered he tried, reminiscent of Watergate, to cut 17 minutes out of the video. The council made him read an apology to the public on August 13, 2015. Why can’t he follow the law, and what was he even doing in Costa Mesa?

In 2014, he was caught by the City Clerk taking contributions in excess of the legal contribution limit from the owners of Woody’s Wharf, then in litigation with the city. He failed to report the return of the contribution and then defiantly, held a fundraiser at Woody’s. Here again he failed to report the cost of the fundraiser as required by state law. He later accepted, and reported another excess contribution by Council Member Duffield. Again, he was defiant and did not return the money until he was caught by a resident. “I can break the law until I get caught” is not the standard we expect, Scott.

On more than seven occasions, he used the city seal, contrary to the municipal code, in e-mails to raise campaign funds, endorse partisan candidates, insult his colleagues and engage in national issues. Twice the council reprimanded him and they even changed the law to restrict his abuse. Yet as recently as last week, Scott was still using an image of the seal, as if he had found a loophole, on his offensive e-mails. What kind of elected official repeatedly skates this close to the edge of ethics violations on purpose?

All three candidates in the recent council election condemned the racist Farsi language signs, which failed to identify the party that paid for them as required by law. Only Scott Peotter went to the newspaper to defend their use.  Who does that?

Finally, Scott alone went to the newspapers to defend the decision to require 3,700 unnecessary pages in the Museum House petition. This was done for one reason only, to frustrate the constitutional right of the people to petition their government. You took an oath to defend the constitution Scott. You violated that oath.

Intolerant residents? You’re right Scott, we are intolerant of your law breaking, insults and attacks on our constitutional rights.

Lori Morris

West Newport/Balboa

• • •

Glenn awaits Dixon apology

Here are the flawed conclusions by (city) staff about why I “owe the city money”.  Note that I requested none of these in physical form, and many of them I specifically requested in electronic form, which is free (and they were delivered as such).

If the city wants to print things without my permission or request, then that is about as reasonable as a gardener mowing your lawn without permission and then sending you a bill.

It seems there are a lot of staff problems that can be dealt with here, and perhaps more importantly, it highlights that Councilmembers attempting to use documents to publicly shame activists for the city should probably independently verify the accuracy of those documents before engaging in such intentional malice.

Thanks so much for your time, and I am glad this is now resolved from a financial end.

I look forward to a formal and public apology from Councilwoman Diane Dixon on her error.  

I also hope that the city sets a policy up to stop wasting paper – if, in fact, these pages were ever even printed at all.

Mike Glenn

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Long time community activist organizes campaign to oppose Councilman Scott Peotter recall

I became involved in city politics over a decade ago to stop the over-concentration of drug and alcohol rehab homes in West Newport and expose the corrupt politicians profiting from them, while our community suffered the impacts. 

The deeper I dug, the more corruption I found at City Hall. 

They hid documents, obfuscated the truth, and allowed our community to become ground-zero for some of the worst drug rehab over-concentration that California has ever seen.  

I discovered a former mayor and city councilman were involved.  It was disgusting. 

In 2014 a group of councilmembers was elected bringing transparency and sunlight to government.  

Councilman Scott Peotter is a leader in cleaning the mess up and protecting residents. 

Scott and I often disagree on issues and he isn’t always politically correct, but he always fights for us. 

Newport Beach city councilman Scott Peotter is shaking up our bloated and corrupt Newport Beach city government. 

He was elected in 2014 on a platform of reduced spending, cutting regulations, and reining in our massive $500 million pension debt and Taj Mahal bond payments. 

Scott is not afraid to speak his mind – calling out the excesses and corruption of the past decade. 

His political opponents have targeted him for a recall because they want to return to the days of overspending on pet projects like the Taj Mahal, Marina Park, proposed west side community center on Costa Mesa’s border, and give preferential treatment of those “politically connected” at the expense of the ordinary community member. 

Let’s keep Free Speech Alive in Newport – Stop the Scott Peotter recall.

Robert Rush, Chairman

Save Free Speech in Newport Beach

Let’s Recall Scott Peotter

Scott Peotter is an embarrassment to our community and a failure as our city councilman. He tries to say he is being recalled because of his faith, or that he is politically incorrect and outspoken. None of that is true. He is being recalled because of his support for high rise development, his efforts to deny the constitutional rights of residents to petition their government, his utter failure to follow our laws and his insults to his colleagues and the public.

He strongly supports high-density, high-rise development and even endorsed raising the height limits for developers on Lido. He fought hard to block the Museum House referendum by requiring the ten-pound petition and voted twice to approve the project.

Peotter has insulted his colleagues, compared a councilmember to notorious killers, and insulted residents who opposed his high-rise development plans. He violated the Brown Act by disclosing confidential closed session deliberations and broke campaign contribution regulations and political reporting laws. He misused the city seal and has been rebuked twice by the council. He is the subject of an FPPC investigation for election law violations.

He proposed speculating in the stock market with city tax dollars, voted for fee cuts and large settlements for his contributors and voted against the city sexual harassment prevention policies. Claiming to be a “fiscal conservative,” Peotter uses his council position to collect compensation from four public agencies. 

As for keeping his promises, pension debt is $70 million higher and accelerating faster since he took office. The operating budget is up $22 million, capital spending is down because Marina Park was completed, not because of Peotter. His plan to reduce bonded debt would have increased debt service by $20 million. He was successful in putting an embezzler on the finance committee.

Our city cannot afford the extremist policies of a councilman who disrespects our laws and who mocks and insults residents who disagree with him. Sign the petition to recall Scott Peotter. 

For more information visit www.recallscottpeotter.com

Lynn Swain

Committee to Recall Scott Peotter


Guest Column

Scott Peotter

I will always stand up for Free Speech

Scott Peotter

Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter

In his early writings Benjamin Franklin warns, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” 

Recall Because of Being Politically Incorrect

An intolerant group in Newport Beach has initiated a recall against me tonight because I speak my mind. Their list of “grievances” against me read as though the real reason that they want to recall me is because I am politically incorrect!

I have strong beliefs in limited government, reduced taxation, regulatory reform, property rights, and yes; I am an unapologetic Christian.

I politely and forcefully speak my mind but I don’t subscribe to political correctness.

The City Needs Differing Opinions

Over the past decade, Newport has lacked robust debate. Unanimous city council votes have led to saddling Newport taxpayers with over $550 million in unfunded pension debt and the cost of our excessive city hall, a $150 million monument to political excess.

Our children will be paying for those decisions for decades.

Promises Kept

I was elected in 2014 with a clear mandate to stop the city’s excessive spending. Frankly, their criticisms are based on my doing what I promised during the campaign. I know, what a concept that a politician actually makes good on their promises. My opponents are still bitter.

My political opponents want to stifle my free speech and return to the days over-spending and sweetheart deals for insiders.

Recall Special Election Will Cost City $500,000

This recall is based on policy differences, that is what elections are for. If successful, this recall election would be heard sometime between November and February of next year. I am up for election in November next year. I look forward to running on my record. 

The recallers will not intimidate me, I will fight this recall to protect everyone’s right to respectfully speak freely, whether you agree with me or not. In my opinion, that’s the foundation of democracy.


Guest Column

Paul Blank

Notice of recall served to Councilman Scott Peotter 

Paul Blank

Corona del Mar resident Paul Blank 

Editor’s note: Tuesday night, Paul Blank, a longtime Corona del Mar resident, served Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter with written notice of the intent to recall him. The following is Blank’s address to the Council.

Good evening.

I am Paul Blank, a 30-year resident of Corona del Mar. You may have heard me speak earlier this evening during the study session as I am also the current Chairman of the Harbor Commission.

When leaders don’t listen to their constituents or treat them fairly and with respect those constituents can easily turn into activists.

Tonight, I have become an activist.

The residents of Corona del Mar are not being properly represented by their councilman.

A man who moved to the city eight months before the election specifically to run for this seat;

A man who does not own property in Newport Beach;

A man who has consistently opposed parks, libraries, fire stations and the people that use them;

A man who has been disrespectful while conducting public business, insulted his colleagues, called his constituents liars and disparaged dedicated staff;

A man who has insulted leaders and staff in other agencies while representing Newport Beach;

A man currently under investigation by the FPPC for various allegations of campaign finance violations;

A man who tried to undermine the constitutional right of residents to petition their government by requiring 3,700 unnecessary pages in the Museum House petition;

A man who stands in stark conflict with the community on the issue of high rise development.

The activist in me is now working to replace this man as our representative at the earliest possible opportunity. This is not about his right to free speech, it is about the standards of conduct we expect of our elected officials.

On behalf of the registered voters of District 6, my neighbors and friends throughout Newport Beach, and the 30 signers of this notice, we hereby formally serve this Notice of Recall on Councilman Scott Peotter.


Letter to the Editor:

Former foe comes out against Peotter

I am not participating in this recall with a sense of joy. I’m participating from a sense of duty. I ache for my city. Councilmembers serve at the pleasure of the voters. 

(Scott) Peotter has called some of the most respected members of our community liars, pouters and whiners. This is patently disrespectful and inconsistent with the qualities that make a good leader and public representative. His disrespect for the people he serves does not stop there. The list of his indiscretions and questionable actions is long, well documented and will be splayed out in the weeks to come. The sum of Peotter’s record renders him untrustworthy and unsuitable for office.

Michael Lee Toerge

Corona del Mar


Letters to the Editor:

Time for Councilman Peotter to Go

Like many of my neighbors, I have been appalled by the changes in our city council during the past two years. Rather than focusing on the quality of life, parks and open space for our kids, replacement of aging facilities and sound fiscal management, we see council members injecting themselves into national issues, using tax resources to reward their contributors and injecting a coarseness in our public discussion that never existed before.

No one more embodies these changes than Councilmember Scott Peotter. He has insulted his colleagues, insulted leading residents who disagree with him, and has blatantly disregarded our laws regarding campaign contribution limits, disclosure of closed session information, campaign reporting and the use of the city seal.

He has been the leader and instigator in making our city government more partisan. For example, he changed the rules so that his political allies could serve on the city finance committee. This led to the appointment of his political friend and convicted felony embezzler Jack Wu to the committee.

Normally, I would be willing to wait until the next election to address Peotter’s record. But the costs are simply too high to wait. This year he is proposing several items that would have long term financial consequences to our city. For example, selling the old City Hall property would eliminate a long term Tidelands revenue source that would fund public improvements for generations, much like the long time lease for the Balboa Bay Resort. Peotter wants to cut our libraries, fire stations and community centers. This will cause these projects to cost much more in the future. Two more budget cycles and two more rounds of commissioner appointments are too much for me.

What really put me over the top however was how Peotter reacted to the Museum House project. Not only did he vote for this project twice, but he conspired to place in the petition more than 3,700 unnecessary pages to try to frustrate the people’s right to petition the government. Even after 14,000 signatures were submitted he refused to rescind the project and engaged in a round of insults and name calling against the citizens leading this effort. We should demand more from our councilmembers.

Recalling Scott Peotter now will help restore civility, focus the council on city issues and allow us to move our city forward in a spirit of community. Visit www.recallscottpeotter.com.

Georgia Foell

Newport Beach

• • •

A recent settlement by the city (taxpayers) paying over $202,000 to resident Kent Moore’s lawyer is appalling. 

His case involved seeking public documents regarding alleged misdeeds during a trip sponsored by the Newport Beach Sister City Association and minor children in 2010 to Antibes, France.

Moore was frustrated at every turn. At one point the city claimed they couldn’t find the records due to migration to the Taj Mahal from the old city hall site. 

The “dog-ate-my-homework” excuse didn’t satisfy Moore.

He got fed up and rightfully hired a lawyer. The city played cat-and-mouse forcing Moore’s lawyer to file a lawsuit. The city should have produced the documents years ago instead of letting the meter run.

I credit the current council with stopping the clock and cutting our losses. 

Taxpayers should demand our $347,000 per year city manager Dave Kiff and $321,000 per year city attorney Aaron Harp pay the $202,000 settlement.

Bob McCaffrey

Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island


Letters to the Editor:

More, not less, fire investment requested by this resident

This letter is in response to Mark Adams letter.

This reply is concerning your apprehension regarding firemen and the need for a new fire station in Newport Beach. Many of us take the city of Newport as a fun, flashy lifestyle with a spectacular year round climate. 

What many might not realize in their day-to-day activities is that our “beautiful” city is located above a major earthquake fault line, also surrounded by lots of ocean and bay water. If such a disaster was to occur, we will need ALL THE HELP FROM THE FIRE DEPARTMENT that we can get. 

So, that being said, I am in favor of one, two or even three new fire stations. If we can spend multi millions on an extravagant civic center, then we can cough up some money for a new fire station and the personnel that goes along with it. 

Sherry Fox

Newport Beach

Two lanes, not three, through Mariner’s Mile

We already fought this battle in the early 1970’s, when similar forces were also at work for private economic gain. We won that battle with good reason: to tone down the racetrack and to keep Newport a civilized seaside town. (Marshall Duffield’s father supported this control.)

More lanes, and narrower ones at that, being proposed (for Mariner’s Mile) invariably mean faster, more dangerous driving conditions. Already, between Dover and Avocado, there are three lanes in each direction and it is clear that the extra lane there is no solution to a traffic jam.

Any city in the world has traffic in its city limits from 5-6 in the evening — it’s hardly justification to completely uproot everything and everybody and pave over more land!

The last thing the Newport Beach City Council needs to spend money on (private land acquisition for example) is the widening of PCH, when money could be put to much better use in paying down the debt for the absurdly way-overspent City Hall, not to mention the City’s pension responsibility. 

Every beach city between San Clemente and Sunset Beach has two lanes, not three, in each direction.

Newport should be supporting small businesses, not ripping them out by widening the PCH.

Just leave it alone Mr. (David) Webb. You surely have more important things to do. Get it? The residents don’t want what you are pushing. Better to focus on helping to make Mariner’s Mile — REALLY for mariners.

That’s what citizens of this great City want, not a racetrack or a series of car sales lots. I speak as a 50-year resident of Newport Beach.

David A. Grant

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Reader irked at former Mayor Curry and plenty else in our City

I’m not certain why Tom Johnson thinks we residents want to hear from Mr. Curry but we don’t. His excessive spending on the Taj Mahal city hall, his petty battles with councilman Scott Peotter have grown tedious. Curry was a spendthrift mayor and continues to try to impose his grandiose spending habits on our beach town.

I don’t agree with much of what Mr. Peotter presents nowadays.

But when I see full fire trucks parked in front of supermarkets...yes, I know all of the arguments about training, needing a full complement of men together yada yada yada...but still we are wasting resources on lunches...those guys have cars and do not work five day weeks, can have groceries delivered...I can see the financial arguments for delaying firehouse construction. 

Add to that the unfunded pension liabilities in our town and one can see the reasons for the current city council to be fiscally prudent.

That would be a first for our beloved Newport Beach.

Mark Adams

Newport Beach


Letter from:

Steve Rosansky

Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce turns 110

Steve Rosanky

Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Steve Rosansky

Yesterday, Sunday, March 12, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 110th anniversary of its founding in 1907 as the first business membership organized in the fledgling City of Newport Beach. At the time, the City was incorporated just one year earlier. The founding members were 16 local businessmen, who called themselves the “Harbor Boosters,” – each contributed five dollars for the initial expenses of the Chamber.

In the early years, the Chamber was a driver in the creation of Newport Harbor and its surrounding industry. In 1927, the Newport Chamber and the Balboa Chamber merged into one chamber called the Newport Harbor Chamber of Commerce. After several subsequent name changes, the organization is now known as the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Although 110 years old, the Chamber has remained a vibrant and ever-evolving group of businesses dedicated to its mission of promoting economic opportunity through business and community leadership and to enhance the social and civic environment of Newport Beach. Today, the Chamber has grown from the original 16 to 650 diverse business organizations representing thousands of employees and the whole spectrum of the Newport business community.

The Chamber fulfills its mission through events and programming directly related to its four core competencies: Connection, Education, Community and Advocacy. The Chamber hosts a number of monthly events including the popular WAKE UP! Newport series at the Main Library, featuring prominent speakers in an approachable environment. Our Chamber mixers are legendary and occur at the hottest restaurants and venues all over Newport Beach. We also educate our members at monthly business luncheons designed to give business people the tools they need to succeed in today’s challenging environment.

Perhaps the thing the Chamber is best known for is the high quality Civic events that we host every year. Preeminent is the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights celebrating its 109th year, which annually attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the City to see this on-the-water spectacular, not to mention a $6 million+ impact on city revenues. In addition, events like the Police Appreciation Breakfast (this month on March 29th), the Scholarship and Athletic Awards Dinners, Fire & Lifeguard Appreciation Dinner, Corona del Mar Sandcastle Contest, Newport Beach Economic Forecast and the Citizen of the Year Gala have been connecting the business community with Newport Beach residents and Newport Beach Civil Service Employees for decades.

Not to rest on our laurels, the Chamber in the last year has beefed up its offering to include a young professionals group known as Navigate-Modern Professionals; a women’s focused group called In.Spire – Women in Business and networking and referral groups we call the Referral Roundtables.

In summary, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce is the go-to organization in town dedicated solely to the continued success of the Newport Beach business community.

For more information on all of our programs and events, as well as membership, you can visit us at www.newportbeach.com

Steve Rosansky is President & CEO of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce


Letter from:

Gary Sherwin

Tourism Matters: Newport Beach “Springs” Forward

Gary Sherwin

Visit Newport Beach President & CEO Gary Sherwin

This winter is one for the record books. No, not for tourism in Newport Beach which had more rainy days than it has in probably six years. Tourism and rain usually aren’t a great combination unless you are marketing a rainforest. But the upside is that our medians around town are finally green, and the hillsides rival that of Ireland with their emerald sheen.

Aside from the weather, our industry is facing some challenges heading into the rest of the year. The much publicized “travel ban” from Washington has already caused a slowdown in international arrivals according to the U.S. Travel Association, and as national economic policy is clarified and a proposed tax plan is presented and approved, the economy is a bit uncertain although most people have seen their retirement plans soar thanks to a vibrant Wall Street. It seems many people, including meeting planners, are taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach before making meeting and vacation plans. Here at Newport Beach and Company, we are watching developments closely and adjusting our plans where appropriate.

Here in town, we bid farewell to the Fairmont Newport Beach (and its excellent General Manager Karl Kruger) as it temporarily becomes the Duke Hotel and eventually the Renaissance Newport Beach after an upgrade and renovation. Our newest gem, the Lido House Hotel, is rising from the ground on the peninsula with an expected opening in March 2018. Local resident and developer Bob Olsen has put his heart and soul into this project and when finished, it will solidly reflect our unique and special Newport Beach culture. Both properties will be very welcome additions to our community.

Spring is almost here, and it is about time to get out and enjoy our wonderful community again. And if you see one of our visitors out there, please thank them for choosing our wonderful community to relax in.

 Gary Sherwin is President & CEO of Newport Beach & Co.


Letter to the Editor

As a native of Newport Beach, I now live near the northern end of Jamboree in Orange.

The Balboa Peninsula Point, the Wedge, Newport (El) Grammar School, Horace Ensign and Newport Elementary are the framework of my life.

Back to the days of the Independent Daily Pilot to recent years and repeated requests to the now Pilot owners, the LA Times, I found no avenue for receipt of news from and about Newport Beach. (I found the inability for the paper to be mailed to me, ludicrous in that I subscribe to printed newspapers as far reaching as Montecito, CA to East Hampton, NY).

I have known Duncan Forgey since 1st grade. He introduced me to your ‘newspaper’ and I am so happy that he did! I have enjoyed his writings, especially as our histories are so meshed.

City business and news across the board has reignited my NB connections and I give my NB friends a break from my inquiries about what’s happening at ‘home’.

 Thank you for your online publication! Looking forward to keeping in touch.

Chris (Spencer Gentosi) Hooker


Letter from:

Gary Sherwin

Tourism Matters: A Special Tribute

Visit Newport Beach City President & CEO Gary Sherwin

Usually in this space, we talk about the phenomenal assets Newport Beach has including its beaches, harbor, excellent hotels and its aspirational brand, all of which make us a very successful destination. 

Today, I wanted to talk about another critical asset, people, and two of whom we lost on the same day. Former Newport Beach Mayor and Newport Beach & Company Vice Chairman Denny O’Neil and Werner Escher, the Executive Director of Domestic and International Markets for South Coast Plaza, two icons of our community, passed away Jan 6. 

There has been considerable media coverage of both their passing that are richly deserved. Both were instrumental in making our community considerably more economically vibrant. 

After serving two terms on the Newport Beach City Council as well as a stint as Mayor, Denny was appointed to our Executive Committee by the City Council in 2011. Denny admittedly didn’t know much about tourism when he joined the board, but that wasn’t the point. He was bringing the perspective of the city and that of a former city attorney. 

Denny relished his role and set to work learning about our industry, how it worked, the markets we pursue to bring visitation to the city and got to know our staff on a first name level. He was completely dedicated to his work on our board and his respect among our hospitality community soared. 

When we had legal issues such as contracts or lease agreements, Denny brought his legal mind to our benefit, volunteering to handle all of those on a pro bono basis. He championed our development into a broader marketing agency for the City by encouraging agreements to expand marketing of the Christmas Boat Parade and restaurant marketing with the Newport Beach Restaurant Association. 

More importantly, he was a sage counsel, as he was to so many city officials and business leaders keeping us all on the straight and narrow, and respecting the division between public and private partnerships. Denny leaves a hole in my heart and this organization that will not be easily filled. 

I have lost a good friend. 

Werner Escher, although working in neighboring Costa Mesa, was a long-time Newport Beach resident who was a national tourism figure. When he joined South Coast Plaza more than 40 years ago, it was a mall in a lima bean field. It had a handful of stores but it had big aspirations. Werner was literally the pioneer of retail tourism; the concept that people would actually get on a plane from a faraway place and come to shop. When he began this effort, he was mocked. Really, who would come all the way from Japan or China to go shop in his mall?

Of course, Werner was right, they did come and boy did they spend. Asian visitors now account for more than 20 percent of South Coast Plaza’s business. There was always a rivalry with Fashion Island, but Werner admitted he shopped there a lot.

Now retail centers across the country follow Werner’s lead and market themselves globally, but none do it with the flourish of Werner.

The man had a quick wit and an elegant goofiness that endeared him to all his colleagues throughout the country. You could always count on Werner to be a partner with you on projects and to help all of us tell the OC story to a wider global audience. It seemed like he was always everywhere and at every meeting. No one worked it like Werner.

Although he was a promoter of Costa Mesa, he was also proud to live in our city where he raised his family with his wife Diane, who would often roll her eyes as Werner told another corny joke at a social function.

Werner was indeed a character but he was also a visionary who was whip smart and developed a loyal following around the world.

Denny was a true statesman and Werner a true ambassador. Both of their contributions to our city, as well as their loss, will be felt in Newport Beach for a long time.

Gary Sherwin is President & CEO of Newport Beach & Co.


Letter from:

Gary Sherwin

Tourism Matters: Taking a look at the year ahead

Visit Newport Beach City President & CEO Gary Sherwin

In 2016, we established a mantra in our office: do big things, do them smart and be emotionally impactful.

In a quick look back at our activities in promoting Newport Beach last year, I can confidently say that we scored a “hat trick” in delivering on our objectives. It was a record year based on a number of business metrics – including hotel occupancies and room night bookings through Visit Newport Beach – but perhaps one of the more exciting, emotionally impactful efforts will be broadcast on national television in a couple weeks.

Now, before I share that exciting news, let me cover some more recent accomplishments of interest to our tourism community.

Last month we officially launched our new marketing campaign, fresh with creative visuals which speak to the breezy-yet-aspirational attitude of our destination. We are rolling it out across all of our public-facing marketing channels and you’ll be immediately drawn into its theme of encouraging our visitors to take their own unique tastes, interests and passions to the next level. We welcome all to “Journey Well Beyond.” Get a preview of our new campaign here.

In one of our more impactful events, we joined forces with the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Commodores Club to deliver the 108th edition of the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. In marketing the colorful event, we released a series of creative materials celebrating the human, heartfelt aspect of the parade – the emotional connection visitors and locals have with the sparkling event each year. All local news channels covered the opening event and through interviews with our chamber leadership, the positive financial benefits of the parade to our community were reported.

In every list of the key reasons people travel and the expectations they have when exploring a destination, memorable dining opportunities remains among the top three. This makes our January “Newport Beach Restaurant Week” so important to our community. 

As Orange County’s longest standing restaurant week, Newport Beach Restaurant Week, from Monday, January 16 through Sunday, January 29 returns for 14 delicious days of exciting culinary offerings that spotlight the best of dining in scenic Newport Beach. Participating restaurants will offer special, two- or three-course, prix fixe menus priced between $10 and $25 for lunch, and $20 to $50 for dinner. We are proud to work with the Newport Beach Restaurant Association to present this event –bon appetite!

Finally, I’ve saved one impactful event for the end - buried the lede, as they say in media terms. But it’s a rose-filled doozey!

On January 9, ABC will air an episode of its wildly popular “The Bachelor” reality show. The reason we’re so excited is that the key “first date” of the show was taped right here in Newport Beach! We worked carefully with the show’s producers to create a spectacularly romantic date that showcases the best of our destination, and evokes dream-like aspirations of coming to Newport Beach for the ultimate dating experience. Tune in Monday Jan 9 to watch as Newport Beach accepts a rose and becomes a costar that evening!

Here’s to a wonderfully successful 2017 – we certainly are off to a great start!

Gary Sherwin is President & CEO of Newport Beach & Co.


Letter from:

Keith Curry

Council voter suppression to cost taxpayers millions

Newport Beach City Councilman and former Mayor Keith Curry

In just a few days, Newport Beach residents gathered 13,730 signatures to require a public vote on the Museum Tower project. More people signed the petition than voted for councilmembers Peotter (11,920) or Muldoon (11,768). It is also clear to observers of this process that if needed, twice this number of signatures could have been obtained.

This accomplishment is all the more remarkable in light of the unprecedented deceitful media campaign, including paid thugs to intimidate petition circulators and signers. Councilman Peotter launched a series of weird, personal attacks on petition supporters like citizens of the year Jean Watt and Nancy Skinner. The city council attempted to suppress the people’s right to petition by requiring thousands of unnecessary pages such as the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and random staff report exhibits to be included in the petitions. This made them weigh more than ten pounds each and cost thousands to print. It didn’t work.

Now project supporters are alleging that the petitions are deficient because some maps are in black and white instead of color and the EIR was not printed in large enough type. Really? For the city council to reject the petitions for these reasons would require a breathtaking display of arrogance and contempt for the city’s residents.

The council’s tampering in the petition process is now backfiring as the council must print and mail ten pound ballot pamphlets (twenty pounds if you accept the arguments of project sponsors), to 57,020 registered voters. An election that would have cost less than $200,000 will now cost in the millions. This waste of millions of taxpayer dollars is directly and personally the responsibility of those four remaining councilmembers who required all the extra pages to frustrate the petition process. The new council can avoid these costs by rescinding the approvals for the project.

Not to be forgotten is the role of Team Newport puppet master Bob McCaffrey and Residents for Reform who filed a bogus Fair Political Practices Commission complaint to try to shut down project opponents. It was quickly dismissed. Those who may have supported McCaffrey and Residents for Reform on issues of dock fees or public spending may be surprised to see that this group is really just a shill for the high rise development clients of Dave Ellis. It always has been.

Ironically, the project has many positive attributes and could have competed well on its merits. Museum supporters should be asking some hard questions of their political consultants. 

Keith Curry is a former mayor of Newport Beach.


Letters to the Editor:

Reader disappointed in developer tactics, city hall and police for Museum House debacle

Absolutely, let’s bring it to a vote. Your comments on the Museum House developer’s tactics are sadly right on.  

Some of us, and particularly those women who were harassed day after day by the Museum House goons at Eastbluff Center are understandably frustrated. Our respect for city government and the Newport Beach Police Department in particular has taken a big and likely long lasting hit. City Manager (Dave) Kiff sent a memo out asking anyone with a harassment complaint connected with signature gathering to call him. They did and the effect was zip. Minutes after the police left, it was harassment time all over again.  

Another gatherer at Gelson’s was surrounded by nearly a dozen jerks preventing her from reaching citizens interested in signing her petition. The police officer who showed up for a few minutes did nothing as if he were under orders to make an appearance and then look the other way.  

No Kiff, no follow-up and certainly no police protection. Mr. Kiff needs to take the Chief out to the woodshed.

Michael C Smith

Newport Beach

Library Foundation Director expresses gratitude to the community for support

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Library Foundation members and supporters, program attendees and our email subscribers – the Newport Beach Public Library system is truly extraordinary because of you. Whether you brought a child to storytime, checked out a book or sponsored a lecture, it is your participation at any level that makes the library such a vibrant and beloved community center.

During the last year, the Library Foundation provided $220,000 in funding and $295,000 in programming for the Newport Beach Public Library. We receive NO government funding and minimal corporate sponsorship. Our support is primarily from people like you – individuals who understand the immeasurable value of a great public library. To see where your dollars went specifically, click here.

At this time, I ask that you help us keep up this strong momentum of support for the Newport Beach Public Library with a contribution of any amount.  We are a membership-driven, not-for-profit organization so every gift we receive is greatly appreciated and very important. 

Some of our membership premiums are shown here. Library Foundation members also get $5 discounts on tickets to our popular programs like The Witte Lectures. You deserve it for creating such a first-rate library in our community!

Thank you so much if you have already given. I wish all of you the very best of the season.  

In gratitude,

Tracy Keys
Executive Director


Letter to the Editor:

When exercising our right to vote invokes threats of violence, something is deeply wrong

I don’t know if this letter should be a “Letter to the Editor” or the front-page top news story of the day, none the less, the word needs to get out to the residents of Newport Beach – Be very wary of several thugs around town who are trying to stop you from signing a local petition! I have lived in Newport Beach for more 18 years and I have never, ever experienced anything like what I experienced on Tuesday night. While walking into the Ralph’s at East Bluff shopping center, I stopped by a table to review a local petition. While trying to engage in a conversation with the two people at the table about the petition, three young men in the background intervened, were talking over my conversation, insulting me, were making assertive remarks and overtures. This was a very uncomfortable situation, so I confronted them on their bullying and thug tactics. At that moment, I became very afraid of the encounter and I feared the situation could escalate into a violent encounter.

Immediately afterwards I called the Newport Beach Police Department to report the incident, but the police said they cannot do anything as these tactics are not illegal.  Make no mistake while these tactics may not be illegal they are tantamount to obstructing my right to exercise my democratic right to vote – and that is morally wrong. I urge the citizens of Newport Beach to be on guard for these people, but most importantly do not let them intimidate you if you chose to sign the petition.

After the encounter, I learned these people have been employing these bullying tactics city wide for several days. It was even reported these young men are harassing our senior citizens, women and children and there was even one violent punching encounter reported. It’s shocking and shameful that proponents of one side of an initiative have hired numerous outside people to interfere and try to stop our right to exercise our right to vote in our City – we are better than that in Newport Beach.

But the most important question I had to ask was, what it is really that these people are seeking to accomplish that they go to such extremes? What is their hidden agenda?  As I understand it, the Museum House is a watershed issue for the residents of Newport Beach. Aside from the new museum funding that may result from the City’s first major high-rise residential building, the residents of Newport Beach need to wake up to the fact that we are at a fundamental crossroad as to the vison of what we want Newport Beach to be. Will we retain our more historical, residential, recreational character and way of life, or do we take the first and likely the precedent setting step to a community with more high rise buildings, greater density and traffic? And while the City Council and the Planning Commission have decided in favor of the high rise (…no doubt since they want the additional revenue for the City), and while the supporters of the new museum (most of whom are not even residents of Newport Beach) want us to harbor the building, the residents of Newport Beach have not yet had an opportunity to weigh in whether or not an almost 300-foot high rise is acceptable to us.

All this petition is proposing is that the residents of Newport Beach be allowed to exercise our right to weigh in, to decide the community vision and direction of our City that we want for many years to come.

With the bullying tactics of the Museum House supporters, I can only assume that the developers, the countywide supporters of the new museum and Museum House believe the residents of Newport Beach will vote the high rise down and will vote to retain our unique world-class character. Since the highrise supporters fear a vote, they have proven they will spend any amount of money and use any tactics necessary to stop the vote.

It’s a very sad day for the residents of Newport Beach not because of the thinly vailed threats of the thugs with their anything goes tactics, but that the supporters of the Museum House are trying to suppress the residents’ of Newport Beach fundamental right to vote.

Robert Mortenson

Newport Beach resident


A strong California economy

For years I have followed Senator John Moorlach as a member of the OC Board of Supervisors and now as state senator. I applaud him for his concerns about wasteful spending but it seems he doesn’t get that as a senator he’s also responsible for all the things needed to have a strong economy and healthy communities.

Moorlach recently opposed a bill addressing global climate change signed by Gov. Brown. Climate change is real, the CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change are harmful to our health. Trivializing or ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.  Not addressing the problem only makes it more difficult to deal with later. This summer was the hottest worldwide ever, last year was the 2nd hottest summer.  

Californians are already feeling the effects of climate change, from rising sea levels along the coastal communities to drought-stricken farming communities. It’s long past time that we address the problems and plan for our future.  We need to capture the rare rainfall we receive and if necessary, build desalination plants to supplement our water needs. Why isn’t John Moorlach able to see what we need and plan accordingly?

Moorlach wants only to address is pensions. Fair enough, but why does Moorlach attack the pensions of police, firefighters, and teachers when he’s taking an $84,000 pension from OC taxpayers? The LA Times said Moorlach blamed the pension problems on policies when Moorlach “knew better.”  The problem was caused by an economic crisis slowdown. 

The threat to our economy and our future isn’t pensions; the threat is not having clean air and available water. Without them our quality of life suffers, businesses are driven away, and our economy struggles.

I urge you to support Ari Grayson for state senate. Ari has the vision California needs to thrive.

Pat Grossman, MD

Newport Beach, CA


Letter to the editor:

Concerned about Johnson’s city hall thoughts 

(Tom) Johnson’s comments regarding city council are concerning for a few reasons, but I agree with him on at least one.

His statement that Peotter is a proponent of same sex marriage is backwards. Completely false.

His contention that Curry, Petros et al leaving the council is a bad thing is also not mainstream thinking.

Curry’s support of the city hall Taj Mahal cost him an election, the support of the average NPB citizens.

The current council has done nothing to stop unbridled development in the city, hasn’t fixed the crime and housing problems on the peninsula, has approved a hotel debacle on the old city hall site without a strong, planned traffic solution.

As for Muldoon, he may not be the strongest mayoral candidate but Dixon had no experience either.

Is that a good thing? Is new blood and ideas what the city seeks? 

Time will tell. 

Mark Adams

Newport Beach


Invictus not the only yacht blocking the view

The yacht Stimulus on the 200 block of South Bayfront, Balboa Island needs to relocate.  

While the huge yacht is a fine vessel, it is several times larger than any other boat on the Island. It hangs grossly over its dock on all three sides, encroaching on the slip next door. It sits immovable on the sand for hours on either side of low tide every day, and at medium and higher tides its bridge exceeds Balboa Island building height restrictions. It dominates views for several blocks of residents up and down the bay front. It causes navigation problems, particularly during the Beer Can and other regattas, and the only time it has left its tenuous side tie is when it was stolen and run ashore up in Long Beach.

I believe numerous other residents on this side of the Island have registered complaints about this boat with the Harbor Department – when I first talked with the Sherriff’s office 3 years ago they were well aware of the situation, citing dozens of similar calls about this boat. They cited the harbor rule (I think not written but adopted in practice) that the boat is okay as long as it does not protrude into the Bay more than its beam. In this case, its beam is 21’, and according to the Sherriff’s office they’ve measured it many times and it is less than that. I agree, I’ve measured it many times and it’s usually 20’ 11”.

I have rarely seen anyone staying in the house (which by the way violated building codes when it was built by a prior owner), but I believe the owner of both boat and home is a Los Angeles resident who rarely visits. I don’t remember ever having seen the boat leave except when it was stolen. Rarely are there people at the house, I›ve knocked many times to talk with them, but no one is home.

I respect property rights, and he appears to be within his rights. In this small community where we all make accommodations because we live so close to each other, this is inconsiderate and inappropriate, but apparently not illegal.

I wonder if the absentee owner has any idea of the ill will that festers on his Stimulus?

Matt Clabaugh

Balboa Island


South Laguna feeling the crush of summer visitors…Help!

In his interview with Tom Johnson, and in other venues (including in his testimony to the Coastal Commission on Sept 7, 2016), Mr. Mohler has repeatedly asserted that “One wintering owl visits the site for three to four weeks nearly every January.” But this is simply not true. For example, here’s a photo of a Burrowing Owl that I took on Banning Ranch – looking in from the north – on March 15, 2016.

Mr. Mohler’s biologists have not surveyed for owls every year, nor have they surveyed at various times of the year. The latest surveys, in January 2014, covered only 29.75 acres of the 400-acre property.

Banning Ranch includes approximately 122 acres of suitable habitat for the Burrowing Owl, so the 2014 survey covered only a quarter of the suitable habitat. By searching for owls on only a fraction of the property, surveying mainly in January, and by ignoring much of the information gathered over the years (some of it by his own consultants), Mr. Mohler has created a false narrative that he finds pleasing, but that others can easily see through.

 

Click on photo for a larger image

Dudek [an environmental and engineering consulting firm] biologists conducted focused owl surveys on 29.75 acres during three weeks in January 2014, and detected one or two owls on the southeastern mesa; they missed another Burrowing Owl that local resident Cindy Black recorded and photographed eleven times during that same month.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, it has stated that the surveys and analysis provided by Mr. Mohler’s team are inadequate to allow CDFW biologists to evaluate the status of the owl on Banning Ranch, its habitat requirements there, or how implementation of the project would be likely to affect the owls.

Mr. Mohler told you that his “low point” in attempting to build his project at Banning Ranch has been “dealing with a Coastal Commission process that is heavily weighted against Project Applicants.” During eight years of reviewing the biological information that Mr. Mohler and his team have submitted to the Coastal Commission and other agencies, I have encountered a consistent pattern of misinformation, downplaying both the sensitive resources present and the potential adverse effects of the proposed project. His demonstrably false statement about the Burrowing Owl, set forth in your publication, is typical. Readers may wish to consider whether the process might have gone more smoothly, and been more productive, had Mr. Mohler and his team established a basic level of trustworthiness in their dealings with both the agencies and the public.

Robb Hamilton

President, Hamilton Biological, Inc.

Consultant to the Banning Ranch Conservancy