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Letters to the Editor:

Take it from a former student, Yelsey is the choice

Leadership matters in our schools and that’s why I’m supporting Karen Yelsey. 
As a CdMHS alumnus (class of 2011), I know about the importance of a great education. In my years at CdM, I had challenging classes, amazing experiences on the baseball team. It was a launchpad to my business administration degree from Pepperdine University and a 4-month internship, during my junior year, in Washington D.C. with Congressman John Campbell (ret).

Karen Yelsey knows our schools like the back of her hand. She engages with our parents, teachers, and administrators every single week. She partners with our city and law enforcement leaders to ensure that student safety is a top priority. Karen insists that the NMUSD strives for excellence in everything they do.

I recently learned of a program out of Stanford University called “Challenge Success” that works with schools and parents to improve school climate and helps bring balance to the pressures of 21st century student life. Karen was instrumental in bringing this program to CdM and to the district. 

She also worked with the City of Newport Beach, the NBPD and the NMUSD to secure a 3rd School Resource Officer for our two high schools in Newport. This required a partnership that comes from strong relationships built on trust.

Karen rejects partisan politics on the school board. She serves all students and has no political ambitions. That’s why parents, students, coaches, and teachers from all political affiliations trust Karen Yelsey. We need education leaders who put our kids above all else and that’s what we have with Karen Yelsey in NMUSD Area 4.

Clark Cashion

Newport Beach

Former mayor gives one last push for Brenner and Stoaks

As the election draws to a close, Newport Beach residents face some stark choices. After a month of dodging the question, our mayor was forced to disclose that he is a licensed marijuana grower and had secretly employed Councilman Scott Peotter as his lobbyist.

Duffield skipped most of the candidate forums, saying “same questions, same people, I got a sense of what these people were thinking.” That is simply a breathtaking expression of contempt for Newport voters. His platform is clear, cut spending throughout the city and redirect it to the harbor where his business is located. While legally recused from participating in most discussions on the harbor, Mariner’s Mile and the General Plan, he is directing policy behind the scenes despite his conflicts of interest.

Scott Peotter has sought to campaign on national issues like Sanctuary Cities and the Supreme Court which only goes to demonstrate how out of touch he is from neighborhood issues like traffic, high density, homelessness, and rising crime. His reckless policies will lead to a budget deficit. Deficit notwithstanding, he wants to join his employer Duffield in redirecting funding from other city services to the harbor.

Residents should be most concerned about the $50,000 to support Duffield and Peotter that has come from Howard Ahmanson Jr., an advocate for high density housing. Consider Ahmansons’s views from his 2013 blog, “I believe that social justice requires that a region be overbuilt, or at least over-entitled in both high density and single-family housing”. Think about how Peotter and Duffield will go about implementing Ahmanson’s philosophy in the next General Plan Update.

I don’t agree with everything Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks say (and they certainly did not agree with me all the time when I was on the council), but I have no doubt that they will approach the issues from the perspective of what is right for Newport Beach, not what will comport with an extreme partisan philosophy. We simply must end the failed experiment in machine politics and get back to a city council focused on traffic, public safety, density and improving our quality of life. Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner will do that.

Finally, don’t be fooled by the cynical Measure T. No other city in America has these limits on lease obligation debt and it has nothing to do with taxes. It’s just another con by the political machine. Vote no.

Keith Curry

Former Mayor 

Newport Beach

What’s the truth behind Measure T

“This is a phony measure put on the ballot by the political machine to allow them to circumvent the campaign contribution limits. No other city in the entire nation has this kind of restriction on lease obligation debt. It has nothing to do with taxes. Vote NO on this cynical phony measure!” Keith Curry

I believe Measure T was proposed by Scott Peotter and passed by the four of Team Newport on the City Council, so they could have a platform on which to run and to get around campaign contribution limits (as there are none for ballot measure campaigns).

Do we really need to hold an election when we will rebuild the Police Station, repair the sea walls, or other large maintenance projects that are capital improvements? At the last minute, the council realized they had to make exceptions for local emergency “force majeure” events. 

The City’s financial projections do not show need for debt for decades. NB would be the only city in the nation to adopt this.

The City’s Finance Committee refused to endorse this. The City’s outside financial advisors did not endorse it. The Government Finance Officers Association does not support it.

There is no other city in the nation which has adopted this kind of restriction, although lease obligation debt has been validated in court decisions as far back as 1942.

Measure T, if passed, would require an election if the City wanted to issue lease obligation debt over $50 million. This is not the same as bond debt. Lease obligations (COPs), by definition, do not increase taxes, so there is no need for the expense in time and money of holding an election. Lengthy and costly legal validation would also be required. Bond debt already requires an election by State law.

I am voting NO on Measure T.

Nicole Reynolds

Irvine Terrace, Newport Beach

Resident tired of political fliers espousing partisan politics

I hope other Newport Beach residents are as shocked and dismayed as I am by the campaign mailings we are receiving regarding candidates for our City Council. Reflecting our leadership in Washington, they are full of invective, outright lies, and rank partisanship. 

There is no place for partisanship in Newport council races. For example, there could not be a more non-partisan candidate than Joy Brenner, whose background and credentials present a decades-long record of civic-minded community service. 

Unlike her opponent, Scott Peotter, she has no hidden agenda or ambitions for higher office. Yet, because she opposes the Duffield/Peotter/Muldoon political machine that has so damaged the integrity of our Council, she has been targeted with false and misleading ads. 

I appeal to all voters to make your ballot choices carefully. Choose candidates that have a long record of serving the community, who have the endorsement of other long-serving civic-minded leaders, and whose only agenda is to improve the quality of life for all Newporters.

Robert Taylor

Newport Beach

Real estate development has turned me against this incumbent

Mr. Muldoon is not getting my vote…and here’s why. Mr. Muldoon was elected to NB city council in 2014 as part of “Team Newport,” backed by big-money development interests.

The Shopoff land owners, who are planning to add three 13-story towers in the Koll Center and are also building Uptown Newport (the wall of apartments you see going up on Jamboree between MacArthur & Birch) in Newport Beach, are also contributors to Mr. Muldoon’s re-election campaign.

Other donors include the Building Industry Association of So. California PAC, Apartments Association of OC, the CAAPAC Apartment Association, The Irvine Company, other real estate companies, developers and land planners, mortgage brokers, property managers, and attorneys.

For this year’s reelection campaign, he is backed by a political action committee which Howard Ahmanson Jr. has contributed almost $50,000 to. Ahmanson, heir of the Home Savings fortune, is part of the pro-development YIMBY (“Yes in My Backyard”) movement.

The Museum House, approved by Muldoon and the rest of Team Newport, a 25-story condo tower planned near Newport Center, was a project pushed by Muldoon’s campaign manager, Dave Ellis, also a consultant to the project. Muldoon and the council added 3,700 unnecessary pages to Line in The Sand’s referendum petition, making it very difficult to carry around. Muldoon and the council only rescinded their approvals after some 14,000 persons signed this petition.

As mayor, Muldoon also wrote a letter, at the behest of Irvine’s Mayor, Don Wagner, without the council’s consent or public discussion on the impact to NB, supporting Irvine’s bid to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters. Had we known, what would we have said?

Mr. Muldoon jumped at the opportunity to make Newport’s problem with noise and pollution from JWA a campaign issue. One of his friends with no relevant PR experience was brought in as a PR consultant. 

Muldoon voted to delay the city’s long-overdue General Plan Update. But why? The General Plan is the blueprint for development in NB. 

Our city needs election reform, and the only way to get it is to vote out the incumbents, put in by special interests. We cannot continue to petition every oversized and out-of-place development the council approves because of its political backers. 

The future of Newport Beach is at stake. If we keep the same team in city hall, the developments will stay, Mr. Muldoon will move on, and we will pay with increased urbanization to our primarily suburban city.

That is why I’m voting for Roy Englebrecht along with Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner. Let’s take our coastal beach town back this November. 

Dorothy Kraus

Newport Beach 

Yelsey invaluable to District

Candidate Karen Yelsey is the community’s choice for school board in the NMUSD Trustee Area 4. She is part of our community, knows our area schools and her priority is the agenda of our community. Karen knows our parents, teachers, students, administrators, our city leaders, and has maintained positive relationships with each of the groups for decades.

Our parents know that if they have any questions or concerns, they can call Karen directly because she attends our PTA meetings. She remains accessible, is willing to meet in person and most importantly, will listen and not dismiss. 

Our teachers know that she will meet with them about curriculum, training, or policies, is reasonable, and they can count on her to listen and not dismiss. 

Our students know that she talks with them personally, she cheers them on at performances and sporting events, and when they need to talk, whether they are her own kids or not, Karen will listen and not dismiss. 

Our administrators know that she takes their priorities seriously, that she makes careful financial decisions that put their students first and when they need support for a new program, Karen will listen and not dismiss. 

Our city leaders know that Karen can be trusted, that she partners with them and when they need to look at opportunities together, Karen will listen and not dismiss.

Karen Yelsey is a proven leader whose agenda is to provide the best education in the healthiest and safest schools possible for our students and our community. She has no political aspirations, sees no purpose for partisan politics on our school board and is consistently dedicated and genuine.

That’s why our community is supporting Karen Yelsey for NMUSD Trustee Area 4. 

Debu Tewari, MD, MBA

Nita Tewari, PhD

Some Newport Beach notables back Dixon for re-election

As former city council members, Citizens of the Year, and long-time community volunteers and civic leaders, we have often disagreed on issues facing the city. But we all agree on one thing: Newporters need to re-elect Diane Dixon to the city council.

The reason we all agree that Diane is best for Newport Beach is simple: she listens to all stakeholders, she does her homework, and she tries to fashion solutions that work for the residents and businesses. 

Over the past four years, we have all been asked by Diane for our thoughts, advice or suggestions. She has always listened respectfully and made the effort to understand our points of view. 

Really, you can’t ask for anything more in a council member. 

With her hard work, dedication to the city and fairness toward all, Diane is an independent voice on the city council and has earned your vote for re-election. We urge you to vote for Diane Dixon in the 1st District.

Debra Allen

Former chair, Civil Service Commission

Michael Henn

Former mayor and council member

Tony Petros

Former council member

Nancy and Jack Skinner

Citizens of the Year

John and Elizabeth Stahr

Citizens of the Year

Walter and Masami Stahr

Author and teacher

Yelsey helped grow The Freedom Committee in local schools

School board leadership is essential to an outstanding educational system, and NMUSD Area 4 Trustee candidate Karen Yelsey has proven herself to be a dedicated, responsible and effective leader. 

As a parent whose children attended Andersen Elementary and Corona del Mar High School, and the coordinator of various school programs including community service and character education, I have had the opportunity to observe Karen in action. 

I was fortunate to help The Freedom Committee of Orange County develop a Living History Program, “passing the torch of liberty on to future generations.” After personally attending some of our events and witnessing the program’s profound effect on the students, Karen led the District to engage The Freedom Committee to expand the program. 

What began with 5 veterans speaking at one school grew to include 100 veterans visiting all of our high schools and many of our middle and elementary schools, providing thousands of students with a better understanding and appreciation of our nation’s rich history and the sacrifices and accomplishments of our veterans. 

Please join me in thanking Karen for her service to our students, by voting for her on November 6th. Thank you. 

Denise Weiland

FCOC Living History Program Coordinator

Newport Beach 

I’m running against Dixon for a number of reasons

In 2014, I supported someone who is now my opponent, Diane Dixon. 

She pledged to “Stop the Dock Tax”, which she later affirmed.

She promised to lower taxes, which she not only raised, but also added more of – she recently voted to approve Newport’s first Mello-Roos tax.

She promised to lower our spending, she voted to increase it by over $55 million annually since she took office.

She promised to shrink the size of government, but our staff has grown since she took office (and our “contractors” have ballooned significantly).

She promised to Save the Fire Rings, but she got rid of the same amount as the previous council proposed.

She promised to protect small businesses, but she has regulated them out of town.

She promised to protect the free market, but she has voted to approve socialized programs which have forced small and locally owned businesses to close.

She promised to protect property rights, but her “Lights Out at 11 p.m.” proposal in 2015 sought to steal property rights from bar and restaurant owners on Balboa Peninsula’s historic establishments, and now there are proposals to expand a section of Mariner’s Mile which would require several land seizures through Imminent Domain.

She promised transparency, but then attacked activists from the dais, accusing them of owing the city money – a claim which a judge later stated in a ruling was completely false – but not before she spent $16,000 of taxpayer money to defend  a claim that was repeatedly offered to be settled for a mere apology.

She promised to stop cronyism, but the Balboa Theater was sold to her friends for $1.1 million when there were offers for $1.6 million and $1.7 million on the table. She then purchased the abandoned McDonalds building for over $4 million of taxpayer dollars when the then-current owners had purchased it for less than $2 million just 18 months prior.

She promised to enhance safety, but she is moving the fire station from Lido Peninsula to that same McDonalds building – the opposite direction of where 80 percent of the calls for that station are coming from. This crony deal will not only cost taxpayers money, but it will cost them response time when residents need them the most (78 percent of all responses for fire are actually health emergencies).

She promised to use fiscal restraint, but then spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single road sign saying, “Welcome to Balboa Village.”

She promised to keep our historic amenities like the fire rings, but then she voted to get rid of the same amount of fire rings as the previous council had suggested. Now, she is trying to close Dog Beach between Newport and Huntington Beach (on the Santa Ana River) which has been there for 101 years and costs taxpayers $0.

She promised to help pay down our unfunded pension liability, but under her watch, our unfunded pension debt has increased an eye-popping $70 million.

She promised integrity, and she ran with Councilman Scott Peotter, endorsing him in 2014 – but during the recall, when she also endorsed him, she was actively mingling with the recall proponents. During this election, she endorsed him yet again – while actively mingling with his opponent. 

Perhaps that was due to her approving city-wide raises, having positions like Dog Catcher bringing home over $180,000 in total compensation – and that position alone will retire with 90 percent of their base pay for the rest of their lives as a pension – also almost entirely unfunded.

Our city has annual revenues of about $250 million and an unfunded pension liability of $250 million by even the best numbers – the cost to exit CalPERS? A whopping $1.3 billion – that’s not a typo. With finances like that we couldn’t get a home loan in Kansas.

She has not only failed to deliver on her campaign promises – she has actively voted the opposite of how she promised she would vote.

With regular attacks on property rights, the raising of taxes, the raising of debt, the raising of spending, and dog catchers taking out $180,000 per year, it is clear that Dixon – who moved here just 6 months before filing to run for office – is not a fit for Newport Beach. I have been active in our local community for nearly 15 years, and I am embarrassed that I supported her original campaign, and I am happy to step up to the plate to stop these types of things from continuing in our small beach town. 

For these reasons, I ask for your vote for Newport Beach City Council, District 1.

Mike Glenn

Candidate for District 1

Newport Beach

Try Focusing on the Positive

Tired of the election hit pieces? Try focusing on the positive and you’ll feel better. We live in a beautiful small city, population 80,000 vs Huntington Beach – 202,000 and Costa Mesa – 114,000. Some would even go so far to say “small town” because in many ways we are. Many of us don’t know our neighbors, but many do, and we talk to each other. The fact that we refer to geographic parts of our city as “villages” says a lot about how we think of our city: The City of Newport Beach is made up of villages which are made up of neighborhoods such as “the flower streets” where I live.

We have beautiful beaches, a harbor and estuary, sun and surf. Local small businesses are close by, many within a short walk, but if you crave that mall experience, we have one of the nicest within a few minutes. We have a fair amount of money with an average net household worth of over 1 million dollars and solid city finances, thank you Dave Kiff and staff. We have good schools, an excellent library system and our emergency responders are some of the best.

So, what’s not to like? Not much and this might explain why many move here. Many see opportunity here. Just like people moving all over the world they arrive and blend in. You may wonder what this has to do with the city council election, and justifiably so. We have three candidates challenging incumbents. Two of these incumbents have little history in Newport Beach and the third can’t vote or support action on what he cares about most, the harbor. When you live here for as long as I and many others have, you develop not only a deep affection for the community, you also have a better understanding of how things function. You know the alternate routes when the summer traffic hits. You know when the best time is to hit the beach and the surf or take that bike ride. You have a feel for the city that comes from years of being part of the community. Many newcomers will, with time, develop this deep understanding and affection and will surely contribute positively to the community fabric. Newport Beach is a beautiful place to call home. We are wealthy in many ways beyond that million-dollar net worth. Please don’t forget that.

I’m very pleased to see three council candidates with strong histories of local involvement and positive contribution to the community I know they hold dear. They focus on what is so good about Newport Beach. When deciding who to vote for, please look at all candidates’ records; look at what they’ve done, or not; look at their connections to the community; look at their historic giving to Newport Beach. Then make your choice. I’m very pleased to see three council candidates with strong histories of local involvement and positive contribution to the community I know they hold dear. They focus on what is so good about Newport Beach. I hope you choose Tim, Joy, and Roy. That’s who I voted for. (Sent mine in already.) Thanks for being part of the wonderful community of Newport Beach, our town.

Dennis Baker

President, Line In The Sand

Newport Beach

Disgusted by local politics

I am disgusted by the ‘politics’ of the upcoming election for city council in Newport Beach. You have probably heard it all by now. Please hear my disdain for the actions of Duffy and Peotter. They should be ashamed.

Kathy Leek

Newport Beach

Isn’t it time for someone new in Washington?

I think it is astonishing that voters in the 48th District, given the opportunity to vote for an exciting, energetic and moderate new candidate such as Harley Rouda, would cast a ballot instead for Dana Rohrabacher. Isn’t it time that we elected someone with fresh new ideas that focus on all aspects of our lives? 

Rohrabacher is a one issue candidate – immigration. Granted this is a huge problem, but there are so many other problems out there that touch our daily lives that need to be resolved. Rohrabacher is just out of touch with the concerns of his constituents and with the tenor of modern-day issues.

Harley Rouda, on the other hand, is focusing on many issues of tantamount importance to our lives in Orange County and in the nation – health care, the environment, transparency in government, and treatment of our veterans and our senior citizens. If we don’t elect congressional representatives like Rouda in this election, it is highly likely that cuts to Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and the ACA will be imminent. 

Harley also is energizing our youth, giving them hope for the future. Many of his workers represent earnest young people who want to live in a county and country where partisan politics are not dividing friends and families.

All of us who vote in the 48th District should be energized as well. We have the opportunity to send a stellar candidate to represent us in Washington. Let’s not let that great opportunity pass us by. The whole country is watching us!

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Editor’s Note: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Newport but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

Guest Column

Grace Leung

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

Grace Leung

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung   

Nice to see a calm day, compared to last Friday (October 12) when our first rain storm of the season came in! I appreciated all the hard work put in by our crews in Public Works and Utilities, who mobilized and responded quickly for both the rain and the high winds that followed on Monday and Tuesday of this week.   

Our next meeting is (tonight) Tuesday, October 23, and the following are items that may be of interest. As always, this is not a summary of the entire agenda, which can be viewed here.

No Study Session items this week, so here are the items of note for the Regular Session at 7 p.m.   

Under the consent calendar are the recipients of the Cultural Arts Grants for Fiscal Year 2018/19 as recommended by the City Arts Commission. The Commission is recommending grants to eight local arts organizations totaling $24,000. The staff report provides the details on the grant amounts for each organization and the programs they are funding.

If the Minor Amendments to the City’s Local Coastal Program looks familiar that’s because we originally introduced this item at the September 25 City Council meeting. The Coastal Commission inadvertently did not provide us the final version of their approved amendment. Therefore, we need to introduce this ordinance again. Our amendments, and the Coastal Commission’s suggested modifications, are primarily clean-up in nature, intended to correct citation errors and clarify ambiguities and inconsistencies.

The 9th annual periodic review of the Zoning Implementation and Public Benefit Agreement with Sober Living by the Sea (SLBTS) shows that the SLBTS is in compliance with all requirements. The number of client beds is unchanged from the last review, at 43 beds. 

Following a second procurement process, the bid for Grand Canal Dredging Project Phase 2 has come in at just under $1.3 million. Including two additive items and contingency, the project’s total budget is at $1,459,000. In getting feedback as we prepared this second bid, we found that several aspects of the project impacted the pricing including: the confined area of the Grand Canal, small size of project and varying tides. This project does require a budget amendment of approximately $600,000 from the Tidelands Capital Fund to fully fund the project. 

The City utilizes a contractor to maintain and collect waste from refuse containers located throughout the City at beach areas, bus stops, on piers and various other locations. A contract with CR&R for Citywide Refuse Container Collection Services is on the agenda, following an extensive Request for Proposal process. The agreement is for 7 years and includes specific vehicle requirements. This is a change in vendors, from Robert’s Waste & Recycling, who has agreed to extend their contract to the end of February 2019 to allow time for transition.

As a reminder, public comment is welcome at the City Council meeting. The public can comment on any item on the agenda. If you cannot attend the meeting and/or want to communicate with the City Council directly on an item, the following email address gets to all of them: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on The Week in Review. Based on some questions received, I’d like to clarify that this email (the Insider’s Guide) will continue, with the primary focus on providing information on the upcoming City Council agenda. The Week in Review is in addition, highlighting significant items of interest. It is posted on the City’s website; this week’s edition can be found here.

Thank you for reading. Feedback is appreciated so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Grace K. Leung

City Manager

City of Newport Beach

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

P: 949.644.3001

Letters to the Editor:

The Mayor fights back on attacks of character

(Mayor Marshall “Duffy” Duffield is the incumbent in District 3 for the Newport Beach City Council in District 3, running against Tim Stoaks. Duffy, below, responds to recent criticism from Rush Hill, who Duffield unseated in 2014.)

May I remind you of your personal FPPC problems for participating in the Mariners Mile redevelopment committee that resulted in the taxpayers paying over $60,000 in legal fees to make it go away?

Scott Peotter was paid for services rendered just like Mayor Todd Ridgeway paid Dennis O’Neil for his legal services while on the council. The FPPC has ruled there is no conflict with me or Scott on this issue. 

I’m sure you remember the day in May 2013 at my office when you, as Mayor, proposed a no-bid contract (custom RFP as you put it) for your failed water taxi idea for the Harbor. I would be building dozens of water taxis for the City according to you. This was your way of deferring my attempt to run against you. What would Reagan think if he knew about the “custom” City RFP you, as Mayor, were awarding me?

Rush, who would you like to choose as the person on the dais who came up with taking back the management of the harbor if it wasn’t me? I volunteered ten years of my life to be on the Harbor Commission. I pushed hard to take back the Harbor Department from the County Sheriffs while you weren’t even aware the management of the harbor was in shambles. 

While you insert another lie into your rant about me you failed to specifically show how a Port Plan would benefit my business. There is zero benefit to a Port Plan and Duffy Electric Boats. 

I see where you are a licensed architect with the California Architects Board. Mr. Stoaks tells us he’s also an architect but sadly, it’s a lie. He’s not a licensed architect. You’re right. We should change to “restore honesty and propriety to the city council”.   

Marshall “Duffy” Duffield 

Mayor, Newport Beach

The truth matters

(Karen Yelsey is the incumbent in the District Four seat for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in November. Her opponent is Dr. Gina Nick. Yelsey is responding to criticism made recently by former local education columnist Steve Smith.)

During my tenure as a NMUSD School Board Trustee, I have rarely taken the time to respond to critics, preferring to meet with people personally. However, when critics don’t tell the truth, there is no choice but to call it out. 

In this case, Steve Smith endorsed my opponent with too many false statements to list them all. Here are a few of my responses: 

Smith: “Yelsey has little credibility…” The truth: First, how does one disprove a smear? But more than that, during my entire adult life, Smith is the only person who has ever questioned my truthfulness and honesty. My fellow trustees and more importantly, community parents who know me will all testify to my complete honesty. What a smear!

Smith:  “…failure to keep her word about 12-year term limits…” The truth: I never promised or made any statement that I would serve for a maximum of 12 years.  However, I did advocate for term limits and due primarily to my efforts, NMUSD district voters will have term limits on the ballot this November. 

Smith: “…rubber-stamping.” The truth: I have never been a rubber stamp (again, how does one disprove a smear?), and those who know my record know how I have advocated and helped bring tremendous improvements to our district.

Smith: “the new stadium at CdM High has been stalled for over five years.” The truth: While Smith is blaming me for this, he knows the reason. We held over twenty community meetings over those five years to listen to the concerns of East Bluff residents. Listening to the community and addressing their concerns is time consuming, but time well spent. P.S. It won’t be a stadium. Smith would have known that if he had attended even one of those community meetings and contributed instead of blaming. 

Smith: “Yelsey had not pushed hard enough for fences around all schools…” The truth: All of our schools have fences and limited access points. Smith also wants metal detectors. There is much disagreement within our community on the need for metal detectors. But Smith doesn’t care about what parents want for their kids, he just wants to spout mean nonsense.

Smith: “There is still tremendous waste of precious resources…”  The truth: Our district is one of the best managed and fiscally sound districts in the county. For example, during the financial crisis of 2007-2008, school districts all around NMUSD were forced to lay off teachers and other personnel. NMUSD, which faced the same external financial pressures as all the other districts, did not lay off a single teacher. Additionally, NMUSD has maintained the highest rating of credit worthiness. We are one of only two districts in Orange County with a Moody’s AAA rating and one of only 29 school districts in the State with a AAA S & P rating. In our latest refinancing of general obligation bonds (2017) we saved taxpayers $140 million (by receiving a lower interest rate due to high credit rating).

Smith: “(Gina) Nick is an entrepreneur and district parent who understands …accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility.” The truth: Smith doesn’t do his homework. This statement is an example of why our community should not believe anything he writes. Let’s take them one by one.

–Nick is an entrepreneur. Nick has filed for personal bankruptcy twice. Readers, check the public records at the Santa Ana Bankruptcy Court, Cases 8:08-bk-17533-RK and 8:17-bk-10053-CB. Is this the type of entrepreneur that our community should entrust with a $300+ million budget?

–District parent. Nick only moved to Newport Beach earlier this year. She is not known in our schools. If the opponent is interested in how the schools or school board functions, why has she not personally attended one school board meeting?

–Transparency: Nick has not disclosed that she only moved to Newport Beach months ago, that she supports private schools, since her child was in a private school last year, and what about those personal bankruptcies? Not very transparent.

–Fiscal Responsibility: Who is Smith kidding? According to the papers filed by Ms. Nick with the bankruptcy court, she had accumulated more than $785,000.00 of general unsecured debt, to creditors including the U.S. Department of Education and the Sallie Mae Student Loan program, as well as First Credit Union Credit Card, Discovery Card, the Laguna Niguel Rolling Hills Homeowner’s Association, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, BMW, Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America. According to the Final Report filed on February 12, 2009, by the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to her case, she had no assets with which to pay any of those debts.

Apparently, she did not learn anything from the first experience because on January 6, 2017, she again filed bankruptcy in the Santa Ana Bankruptcy Court, as Case No. 8:17-bk-10053-CB.

This time, according to the papers she filed with the bankruptcy court, she had accumulated another more than $185,000 of unsecured debt, to creditors including Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, American Express, Capital One and Discover Card, all for credit card purchases, CRB Auto for a deficiency claim on her Mercedes Benz, Time Warner Cable, and Navient Student Loans.

Our district’s annual operating budget is over $300,000,000, and with all due respect to Ms. Nick’s fine intentions, I don’t believe our school district needs that kind of fiscal responsibility.

All of the above comments about Steve Smith and Ms. Nick are not smears or accusations. They are the truth. I stand behind my record as an NMUSD trustee, hope voters will do their homework on me and my opponent and know the voters in District Four (Corona del Mar and Newport Coast) will make the right decision and vote for Karen Yelsey on November 6.

Karen Yelsey, District Four Trustee

Newport-Mesa Unified School District

Newport: we have a problem

Back in 1995 when the movie Apollo 13 was released, a phrase in the movie, “Houston We Have A Problem,” became part of our culture. Fast forward 23 years to 2018 and we have another phrase, “Newport We Have A Problem,” that is now relevant to the current Newport Beach City Council election. 

When the current city council treats a city manager the way they treated Dave Kiff….when 50 residents at a city council meeting stand and chant “Vote Them Out”…when the current city council tries to push through the Museum House after city residents voted overwhelming in 2014 to defeat Measure Y…when the current city council does little to address pension reform…one can only conclude that yes “Newport We Have A Problem” and it is with our current city council and the incumbents running for re-election. 

But as in Apollo 13, it ends well and on November 6th it will also end well for the City of Newport Beach when residents elect Joy Brenner, Tim Stokes, and myself to the city council.

Roy Englebrecht, District 4 Council Candidate 

Newport Beach

Longtime local likes the passion of two council challengers

Newport Beach is my home – we moved to the little house behind and across the alley from the Quiet Woman Restaurant in Corona del Mar in August of 1949. I caught my first fish on Shark Island long before it became Linda Isle in 1953. I have seen a lot of change – and I accept the deltas. Today there are lots of events happening around our hamlet that are making me nervous.

Passion is an important word in my vocabulary. I have been a volunteer advisor to recent graduates in the University of Southern California – my alma mater for both undergraduate, doctoral studies, and post-doctoral studies – mentoring database since 2010. I teach all of the young people that if they can find a field of endeavor that they are passionate about – they will never work a day in their life.

I have had lunch and meetings twice with both Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks. These are both very passionate people that love this hamlet like my family and I do. I know who I am voting for on Election Day.

Dr. Donald W. Wise

Chairman and Founder

Newport Beach Men’s Luncheon

Former Republican leader questions candidate’s party loyalty

As the public learns more about candidate Clyda “Joy” Brenner’s donations to Democrat candidates, I feel the need to remind voters that political philosophy matters in local government.

In an attempt to rationalize her 43 donations to Democrats over the past two years Brenner responded to the Newport Harbor Republican Women’s criticism with, “There are levels of government where the color you wear (Red or Blue) may have in impact. It’s simply not true at the local level.”

Brenner continues rationalizing by comparing the Republican voters with Nazi brownshirts; “History shows all too sadly that if someone blindly votes “party” lines leaders can rise who have no moral compass. I think of the 1930s when “brown” was the color in a country that suffered a terrible fate because of party “color” blinded voters …”

It is simply stunning that someone can become so ideologically extreme that they would equate any mainstream party with Nazi brownshirts simply because they don’t comport with all of their loopy extremist positions. Brenner is not a mainstream Republican or Democrat. She is a leftist nut that absolutely does not fit Newport Beach. As our Country becomes more polarized it is people like Brenner that are part of the problem, not the solution.

I am the past Chairman of the California Republican Party and assert that Democrats govern by a different set of principles than Republicans. 

For example, federal law controls immigration but California’s Democrat-controlled legislature passed Senate Bill 54 creating “sanctuary cities” prohibiting local law enforcement from investigating illegal immigrants.

In April, Newport Beach joined dozens of cities in filing an amicus brief in opposition to S.B. 54.

Brenner opposed the city’s involvement in opposing sanctuary cities saying it “is a divisive discussion over which we have no actual control. It’s just ‘playing politics’ when we have much more important issues on which to spend our time and energy.” 

Earth to Joy…philosophy matters. 

I want Newport governed by people with the philosophy that local government is where Republican principles are implemented. Based upon your donations to Democrats, support of sanctuary cities, and comparing Republicans with Nazis I suggest you run for Santa Monica city council.

Michael J. Schroeder

Newport Beach 

Past Chairman, California Republican Party. 1997-1999

Hart name on endorsement list means a lot

I was pleased to read a letter (Stu News, Oct. 19) from my good friend Evelyn Hart. Evelyn is one of the smartest women I know, so I listen when she says: “I know Diane to be a hard worker, an excellent listener, smart and caring, and a natural leader. She has demonstrated all these qualities in her first four years in office. 

I have watched with admiration as she has navigated the crosscurrents and occasional storms of city politics with balance and grace – and always with the best interests of the city as her first concern. 

Her investment in the community includes hundreds of hours spent in meetings, town halls and one-on-one discussions with residents, in briefings and reading reports from the city staff and other agencies as well as non-governmental stakeholders, and the late nights in meetings of the city council and other boards and committees. 

“Smart, capable, ethical and dedicated to the residents of Newport Beach and our shared quality of life, Diane is exactly what a city council member should be.” I agree, let’s reelect Diane Dixon.

Craig B. Smith

Newport Beach

We need accountability in City Hall

What does Saudi Arabia and Newport Beach currently have in common besides sand? Scapegoating, an age-old practice. Last week it was Scott Peotter’s turn to get thrown under the camel. There were rumors about his business relationship with Duffy for months and the conflict of interest this presents for both council members.

Documents have now been found and presented validating that Peotter was in fact

employed by Duffy’s boat business for at least half of 2017. Diane Dixon said last week she was withdrawing her endorsement of Peotter because he breached his fiduciary and ethical obligations to the city by not disclosing this business relationship. She said his failure to reveal it may have put city council business at risk. I agree.

What about Duffy? He obviously knew about the relationship too. He hired Peotter. Surely it must have occurred to Duffy that it created a conflict if a fellow councilman, on his payroll, voted on matters for which he, Duffy, had to recuse himself. Who else in city hall may have known about this? Anyone, for example, City Attorney Aaron Harp, interested in the “rumors” that Peotter was working for Duffy could have Googled the company listed in Peotter’s statement of economic interest to see that it was owned by Duffy. 

We need accountability in city hall, not people who master the art of plausible deniability. We need people who will work to protect our town, not do whatever it takes to protect their team. It is time for the city to investigate. Why is city attorney Harp sitting on this?

Dennis Baker

Corona del Mar

Aghast that Duffy and Peotter remain in race

I am totally aghast that Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield have not taken their name off the ballot for City Council after all of their manipulations and illegal activity have been revealed. This is not just a political issue, it’s also a moral issue which we expect the City Council to understand and appreciate.

After attending a couple of candidate forums, I was totally impressed with the knowledge, presentation and commitment of Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks. Both of them have a better moral compass than either Peotter or Duffy who only seem interested in advancing their personal business. I only hope it is not too late to get the word out that both Peotter and Duffy need to be replaced by the more honest, transparent, committed candidates Joy and Tim.

I personally am depressed that all that I’ve been hearing about the collapse at city hall seems to be true and that we have been represented by people out to further their own positions as opposed to representing the highest good for the City of Newport Beach. 

It clearly is time for a change and I’m saddened and sorry that it has come to this.

Patricia Griffith

Newport Beach

Editor’s Note: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Newport but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

Letters to the Editor:

Who’s Republican and who’s not in a non-partisan race

Republican voters have recently received what is likely to be one of several mailers touting the Team Newport candidates including Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield from the local Republican Party Committee. This small group of activists (of which Peotter is a member) mostly consists of people who do not live in Newport Beach or reflect the values of our community. If you are a Republican, ask yourself:

Peotter and Duffield voted for a tax increase of up to $4,500 per home for the new residents of Uptown Newport. The tax will be used to secure $8 million in bonds to shift a facility funding requirement from the developer to the taxpayers. Do you find that to be “Republican?”

Peotter and Duffield have proposed excessive and wasteful public spending: For example, Peotter proposed $200,000 to make himself look better on cable TV, Peotter and Duffield supported a $16,000 per month lobbying contract for the discredited “Port Plan”, Duffield proposed millions to buy a fireboat and millions more to operate it, Peotter and Duffield supported paying $355,000 to Woody’s Wharf, a major campaign donor to both of them. Is that “Republican?”

It was recently revealed that Peotter has been lying to the public regarding his role as a lobbyist to obtain the land use permits allowing Duffield to convert his boat manufacturing facility to a marijuana growing facility. When did the Republicans become the party of pot?

Duffield proposed cutting all departments by “1-3 percent” which would have amounted to a $3 million cut in public safety, a number equal to fifteen cops or firemen.  Peotter opposed the plan to add police on the peninsula proposed by Diane Dixon.  Peotter even held a fundraiser hosted by someone convicted of thirteen felonies involving fraud against the city of Newport Beach. So much for the party of law and order.

Given that four local congressional seats are highly competitive this year, Republicans should be outraged if party funds had actually used this mailer as it indicates. Of course, that is not the real case. Money from big money donors is being run though the party to avoid disclosure. More of the same ethical behavior we have come to expect from Duffield and Peotter.

Republicans don’t be fooled. Elect Republicans Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks.   

Keith Curry

Former Mayor

Newport Beach

Kudos to council for support to Conservancy

This is a shout out to our current Newport Beach City Council. Kudos for supporting the Crystal Cove Conservancy, an environmental and educational success story in Newport Beach. Our City has been a great partner.

  The Conservancy is poised to start a rebuild effort of the remaining 17 cottages. Seeing an opportunity to increase occupancy and additional education efforts, our City partnered with the Conservancy on a contribution basis earlier this year.

The benefits of this partnership will flourish once the cottages are rebuilt. The history is restored, the visitor opportunities increase, and the revenue numbers double from sales and bed taxes. Sounds like a true win-win for our community.

The current City Council’s leadership on this environmental and fiscal stewardship partnership was key. Voters who care about the quality of our community should recognize the wisdom of our current council and vote for the incumbents: Duffy, Muldoon, Dixon, and Peotter. This is the best it’s been for many years. 

Feeling positive about the vision of our City Council. 

Judy Weightman

50+ year resident

Newport Beach

You can’t make this stuff up!

Muskrat Consultants LLC, a licensed medicinal marijuana distributor with manager/member Marshall Duffield, Mayor, City of Newport Beach, is in the news. This new business will be located in Adelanto on property operated by DC Developments, whose manager/member is also Marshall Duffield. Presumably it will be next door to Duffield’s electric boat manufacturing facility. But wait, it gets better.

Who appeared before the Adelanto Planning Commission in September 2017 on behalf of DC Developments to request approval to subdivide the property? None other than fellow Newport City Council person Scott Peotter, the same Peotter who voted in 2015 to ban medicinal marijuana in Newport Beach. 

A consulting fee of $10,000 from DC Developments convinced Peotter that medicinal marijuana wasn’t so bad after all. To think that this wouldn’t make the news, Peotter and Duffield must have been testing their new product. 

In terms of business partnerships, “Muskrat” Marshall and Scott “Pot” Peotter are Newport’s odd couple.

Craig B. Smith

Newport Beach

Duffield deserves as much of the blame as Peotter

Your editorial about Peotter and Duffield and their cannabis connection omits one important fact. This is not just Peotter “digging a big hole.” Two men are involved in this transaction. It seems you feel Peotter is the more culpable of the two. Exactly why is that? Both city councilmen had a duty to inform the citizens about their mutual business relationship. Neither did. It appears you find Duffield’s part in the transaction less appalling than that of Peotter.

Both ignored their duty to provide transparency to their constituents. Why not call Duffield to task as well as Peotter? Have you a relationship to Mr. Duffield you are trying to protect?

Melinda Seely 

Newport Beach

Council race should not involve partisan politics

If the question was asked of Joy Brenner (running for District 6 on the City Council), do you favor Cheerios or Wheaties for breakfast? The answer would be that it has nothing to do with the Newport Beach City Council. 

The same can be said if questioned about her political party affiliation. The answer again, would have to be that political parties have nothing to do with the Newport Beach City Council. It is a non-partisan office.

Those who try to make the city council race about political parties evidently did not pay attention to high school civics, which describes non-partisan offices at the local level. 

Using partisan politics to attack Joy Brenner in a non-partisan election must mean that her opponents have nothing of critical substance to say about her record of decades of outstanding selfless, volunteer community service in many areas of Newport Beach. 

I have known Joy for 33 years and worked with her as a volunteer in her earlier years. She is honest, responsible, and dedicated to serving her community. Joy politely listens to input from all sides and objectively makes her decisions. She loves her hometown of Newport Beach where she grew up and is not beholden to doing the bidding of any special interest or political party. 

It is the way our Charter City was set up to have the City Council be a non-partisan decision-making local governing body to address only city issues. Her major supporters are residents who also love their city, which is why you see Joy’s campaign signs and banners on the residents’ private property all over Newport Beach. This in contrast to her opponent whose campaign signs can be seen mainly on public property and stapled to telephone poles by paid workers by a public relations firm, who most likely do not even reside in Newport Beach. 

Political parties who send out endorsement slates for local city council candidates, as well as the candidates themselves who list political party endorsements in their literature, are not abiding by the “non-partisan” rule. They should remember that the Newport Beach City Council is a non-partisan office to be free of partisan politics. Political parties and their representatives are not to be involved in the Newport Beach City Council race.

Carol Boice

Newport Beach

Disappointed in current local political scene

I am so disappointed in our incumbent city council members Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield. They do not represent the best interests of the citizens of Newport Beach. Their pot farm interests and allegiance to large builders rather than the people who voted for them has left me dismayed and angry.

I have had enough. Enough of millionaires donating $50,000 to them in a small city election, enough of blatant old school politics. I am voting for Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks who better represent the people of Newport Beach.

B. Kiley

Corona Del Mar

Encouraged to follow the money

As the November election approaches, it is worthwhile to consider whose money supports the incumbents. The largest donor by far is Howard Ahmanson Jr., who has spent over $200,000 since 2014, most of it to install Scott Peotter in office. Just a few days ago, Ahmanson contributed $50,000 to help Mr. Peotter and Mr. Duffield survive the November election by attacking their opponents Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks.

Ahmanson’s views on growth and development should most concern Newport residents. In 2013, Ahmanson wrote: “I believe that social justice requires that a region be overbuilt, or at least over-entitled, in “both high density housing and single-family housing”. Contemplate what it means for our city and how his candidates have implemented his vision. 

Since 2014, development or real estate related interests have directly given more than $122,000 to Mr. Duffield and $82,000 to Mr. Peotter. Developers poured another $57,625 into the 2014 election to indirectly help these candidates and it’s not just developers whose money supports the incumbents. Great Scott Tree Service has given Team Newport related committees and candidates over $11,000. Interestingly, this occurred after they kept the city’s tree contract when the council declined to open sealed bids to determine the actual lowest cost provider for this service.

Donors associated with Woody’s Wharf restaurant have given over $7,000 each to Mr. Duffield and Mr. Peotter after Mr. Duffield switched his vote and settled a lawsuit with Woody’s, which then received $355,000 from the taxpayers as part of the settlement. An excellent return on their investment.

The Family Action PAC and its head, developer Larry Smith, recently gave a committee backing Mr. Duffield and Mr. Peotter $10,000. Given the extremely conservative nature of this PAC, one has to wonder if they will be surprised to learn that their candidates are pot farmers.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that special interest money buys special attention from these incumbents. This money will pay for an avalanche of negative mail attacking Joy Brenner, Tim Stoaks and Roy Englebrecht in the coming days as voters make their decisions. Only by becoming educated regarding who really represents the residents will we be able to elect a council who puts the best interests of the city first.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Citizen of the Year and former mayor weighs in with her endorsements

As a former mayor and Citizen of the Year, and a 50-plus-year resident of Newport Beach, I urge my fellow Newporters to re-elect Councilwoman Diane Dixon in the 1st District.

I know Diane to be a hard worker, an excellent listener, smart and caring, and a natural leader. She has demonstrated all these qualities in her first four years in office. I have watched with admiration as she has navigated the crosscurrents and occasional storms of city politics with balance and grace – and always with the best interests of the city as her first concern.

Her investment in the community goes well beyond the home she owns here. It includes also the hundreds of hours spent in meetings, town halls and one-on-one discussions with residents, in briefings and reading reports from the city staff and other agencies as well as non-governmental stakeholders, and the late nights in meetings of the city council and other boards and committees she serves on.

Smart, capable, ethical and dedicated to the residents of Newport Beach and our shared quality of life, Diane is exactly what a city council member should be. Let’s recognize and reward her excellent work and return her to office on November 6!

Evelyn Hart

Newport Beach

Editor’s Note: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Newport but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

Letters to the Editor:

Dixon withdraws support of Peotter

After giving careful consideration of the facts revealed in the October 12, 2018 Daily Pilot, I have withdrawn my endorsement of Scott Peotter for Newport Beach City Council. I informed Mr. Peotter of my decision. 

Mr. Peotter had a moral and ethical duty to inform the city council, the City Attorney and the public of his financial relationship with the Mayor. He was asked about this relationship repeatedly in several recent candidate forums and refused to answer. Over the last four years, the Mayor has correctly recused himself from votes of the council that presented a potential financial conflict with his business interests. Now, armed with this new information, I believe that Mr. Peotter also should have recused himself from these votes. Mr. Peotter’s failure to disclose these facts may have put city council business at risk.

Mr. Peotter has a fiduciary duty to the City of Newport Beach. He breached his ethical obligation by failing to inform his Council colleagues of his relevant financial relationship with the Mayor so that we were fully informed while doing the City’s business.

Diane Dixon, District 1

Newport Beach City Council

Newport Beach

Current council doing great job, deserves our support

As a lifelong resident of Newport Beach, I have experienced many city councils. In my opinion our current council is doing a great job. Despite the fuss made in some quarters about the resignation of Dave Kiff and his replacement, it appears to me that the transition has been handled well and our new city manager has all the right qualifications.

The dedication of this council to fiscal responsibility is impressive. We are fortunate that this council has given increased attention to our harbor, our city’s crown jewel. As well as enhancing the lives of our residents with its recreational opportunities, the harbor provides an enormous economic benefit to our city and this council is paying attention.

Over the past four years there have been substantial infrastructure improvements in the harbor and an actual Harbor Department created as part of our own city government. No longer will we be calling an Orange County Sheriff Deputy our Harbor Master. No doubt our first Harbor Master, my father Joseph Beek, would be proud.

With a sense of history and anticipation of continued progress, I encourage re-election of Mayor Duffield and council members Peotter, Muldoon and Dixon.

Seymour Beek 

Balboa Island  

Council has improved school safety

School safety has been a major priority for grandparents, parents, and students in our community and around the country. Our NMUSD Trustees and Newport Beach City Council stepped up this year to address the concerns head on.

With their combined leadership, our city council added another School Resource Officer into our local high schools and middle schools, bringing the total number of SROs to three. Our city council also added recently another crossing guard to the Newport Heights area surrounding Ensign Intermediate School.

This response does not happen without the leadership of our incumbents. I’m voting for Mayor Duffield, council member Muldoon, council member Peotter and council member Dixon to continue this positive trend in school safety.

Carl F. Thon

Corona del Mar

Newport Beach can do better than Scott Peotter

The stunning disclosure that Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter openly lied to the public regarding his association with Mayor Duffield’s pot growing business should in itself be disqualifying from public office. Peotter called his employment by Duffield a “rumor” but he knew the real truth. But this is not the first time Peotter has failed to tell the truth to Newport Beach residents.

At the candidate forums, he takes credit for the pension pay down, but in fact, he voted against the pension pay down twice, in 2016 and 2018. He says he has reduced debt, but our unfunded pension liability is $70 million higher than when he took office.

He says he is reducing spending, but the city’s operating budget is $56.5 million higher under his watch.

He says he has lived in Newport Beach for thirteen years. Not consecutively. He moved to Irvine in 2010. He returned to Newport Beach in March of 2014 solely to run for office. From 1990-1998 he was a member of the Irvine Planning Commission. Take a look at the high rise, high density in that city to see if Peotter’s planning vision aligns with yours. While in Irvine, Peotter was part of the efforts to prevent the airport from moving to El Toro air base.

He recently sent around a slate mailer claiming to be endorsed by Newport Beach Fire. Neither the Firefighters Association nor Fire Management Association have endorsed. He lied.

He claims to be a “big Republican” but he introduced measures to limit the public’s rights to petition their government and he proposed endorsing a Democrat bill that would make initiatives and referendums like Proposition 13 or the gas tax repeal very difficult to qualify.

He is the first council member to have someone convicted of thirteen felonies involving fraud against the city of Newport Beach itself, to host his fundraiser. 

We can do better. It’s time to replace the dishonest Scott Peotter with Joy Brenner.

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Calling on City Attorney to look into potential Peotter conflicts

Ante up $10,000 and deal the POT, Mr. Mayor. 

According to the State of California, DC Developments, a company our Mayor Marshall Duffield is associated with, hired Newport Beach City Councilperson Scott Peotter to appear in front of the Adelanto City Council seeking approval for a marijuana cultivation and distribution hub. For his appearance, a payment of $10,000 was made from a company controlled by Duffield to a company connected to Peotter. 

When an issue concerning the Newport Harbor comes before the Council, Duffield recuses himself from voting due to potential business conflicts. I would encourage our City Attorney Aaron Harp to review past City Council meetings to determine if Peotter, being an employee of Duffield, should have done the same. If they felt there was nothing to hide why have they refused for over a year to comment on their business arrangements?

Clay Wells

Newport Beach 

Council has created no new debt

A decade ago, Newport Beach had minimal debt on its balance sheet. Between 2007 and 2014, the City then took on $281MM in civic center debt, $253MM in unfunded pension liabilities, and tens of millions in debt to fund Marina Park. Debt fatigue set in.

At the same time, it lost millions in off balance sheet income...Led by an incompetent city manager, the former city hall site sat rotting for years. A competent council and manager would have sold the property and construction would have started the day after the city moved out. The property should be sold immediately, and the proceeds used to reduce our debt.

A new city council was elected in 2014 and 2016 that ran on a platform opposing debt. They have been successful. They’ve stemmed the tide on pension liability. They have paid down the civic center debt each year. Most importantly, they haven’t taken on any new debt and have instead used existing resources to build a new fire station and library in Corona del Mar and capped the Balboa Island sea wall. 

Now challengers want to “take the City back.” Back to where? This city council has voted consistent with their platform. Let’s not forget to vote for Duffy, Muldoon, and Peotter.

Roger D. Lockhart

Newport Beach

Is the current council out of touch?

The misogynistic attitude that has been displayed by some of the incumbents and a few of their followers is distasteful and should play no role in modern society. 

While we are trying to promote equality for future generations in society and in the workplace we must be careful of complacency and at the other end of the spectrum, overreach in our daily lives. 

This is obviously not a new battle but one that has been brought to the forefront again in the last two years, in part by the attitude of some of our new leaders.   

And like some of those in our federal government, there are members in our local government who are “out of touch” in the treatment of their peers. 

Certainly, it is one of our greatest rights – the freedom of the press. And as painful as it is for some of us to read misogynistic and extremist letters in our local newspapers and online, we can presently take comfort in the fact that these views are in the minority.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Another voice for change in Newport Beach

For me, the main reason to vote for Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks for Newport Beach City Council is to vote against the incumbents Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield. 

I was appalled by what I saw, earlier this year at city council meetings, as Duffield, Peotter and the rest of the Gang of Four seemed to push out City Manager Dave Kiff. At one point, Peotter referred to “the kind of guy” the City would want as the next City Manager. 

Diane Dixon had to call Peotter to task, to remind him that the City might want to hire a woman.

At various points Mayor Duffield did not know the proper procedure; he had to confer in whispers with his friend Will O’Neill. 

None of the Gang of Four had any explanation for why they were reportedly pushing Dave Kiff out of his position months early, a move that cost the city thousands of dollars as well as much lost reputation. At one point either Duffield or Peotter, I cannot recall which, said to the audience “you know, you do not select the City Manager, we the city council do.” 

That is right: but now is the time we get to select the city council. We can do much better than Peotter and Duffield. Vote for Brenner and Stoaks.

Walter B. Stahr

Newport Beach

“Muskrat Love”

Do you remember the song by Captain and Tennille? “Muskrat, Muskrat, candle light…Doing the town and doing it right…”

It was the first thing that came to mind when I read about Muskrat Consultants, Mayor Marshall Duffield’s new medicinal marijuana dispensary business, associated with Councilman Scott Peotter. 

“Doing the town, doing it right…” That’s them, all right. They’ve been doing our town; now it’s time for a change. 

I’m voting for Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner.

Nancy J. Smith

Newport Beach

Editor’s Note: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Newport but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

Letters to the Editor:

Does Brenner have a track record of donating to Democrats?

I recently read Joy Brenner’s letter to the editor attempting to rationalize her forty-three donations to democrat candidates and liberal political action committees through ActBlue, a SuperPAC formed to promote Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Federal Elections Commission records show Brenner donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign just a week before Donald Trump’s historic election. 

Seventeen of her contributions were earmarked for liberal New Jersey Senator Cory “Spartacus” Booker. Sen. Booker’s antics to defeat Judge Brett Kavanaugh are reprehensible. 

Brenner also donated to democrat Hans Keirstead running against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

When Brenner had a choice, she supported democrats.

I will be supporting Republican Councilman Scott Peotter because I know where he stands.

Mike Schroeder

Past Chairman, California Republican Party 1997-1999

Newport Beach 

Kudos to Glenn for calling out police association’s “lie”

Why do we have such a hard time calling lying, lying. We use terms such as intellectually dishonest (Roy’s term), telling falsehoods, misspoke, alternate facts, deviating from the truth, testing credulity, trifling with the facts, etc. Thank you

Mike Glenn for calling it like it is: “…what they have said is a blatant lie.” If I was a police officer in this city I would be incensed at my association publicly lying on my behalf.

Dennis Baker

Corona del Mar

Vote for independent city council candidates

This November I urge fellow Newporters to vote for candidates who respect the views of residents, who have strong community ties, and are independent thinkers. Four years ago, many of us were misled into voting in a slate of ideologues (Team Newport) whose actions have favored developers, abused campaign finance rules, and failed to deliver the budgetary constraints they promised. 

Three candidates, Joy Brenner, Tim Stoaks and Roy Englebrecht, deserve our votes. These individuals are not beholden to special interests. They approach government service motivated by the simple desire to improve the quality of life for all Newport residents.

Marie Kontos

Newport Beach

Englebrecht is a resident’s resident

As a fiscally responsible 43-year resident and property owner of Newport Beach, I can appreciate Roy Englebrecht’s concern about the fiscal health of Newport Beach. As a longstanding resident himself, he has the history necessary to make wise decisions that will help keep our city in good financial standing. Unlike most of the incumbents who do not value the resident’s viewpoints, it seems, Roy feels very strongly about the importance of the resident’s role in updating the General Plan. He also feels that the General Plan that the incumbents keep promising but never deliver should be the number one priority of the council. 

Roy is involved with the community through the Newport Beach Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission, Orange County Youth Sports and Mariners Church. Most recently he has shown concern for the safety of our children as they live, work and play in areas without sidewalks, fast moving traffic and inadequate night lighting.

As for Roy’s rival in District 4, Kevin Muldoon has shown little interest in the community. He has only lived in Newport Beach for seven years and has not been involved in any public service or volunteerism to my knowledge, other than his stint on Council. As one of the four incumbents who tend to vote as a block, Muldoon has been involved in some bad decisions which haunt most of the present council, particularly the four who make up the majority. He voted with them on the disastrous Museum House fiasco, the decision to give up the gas tax, to subpoena the Recall documents, and he most likely was part of the group that got rid of the popular City Manager, Dave Kiff. Recently, it was discovered that Muldoon as Mayor and spokesperson for the council in 2017 tried to lure Amazon to Irvine at the behest of the Irvine Mayor, adding that, “The City of Newport Beach is pleased to support a collaborative proposal to the City of Irvine to bring Amazon to the area.” He did all this without ever bringing it to the public’s attention. It would have been a disaster for the residents in terms of unmitigated growth.

Along with Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks, Roy has been endorsed by the Line in the Sand. The three candidates are running separately but will work together as a team who will listen to the community and strive to make decisions that are in the best interests of the majority of residents in Newport Beach.

Tim Stephens

Corona del Mar

Editor’s Note: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Newport but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

Letters to the Editor:

No need for misleading and untrue statements

During this election season there has been a lot of talk about replacing Team Newport – a group of candidates who ran as a slate during the Newport Beach City Council election in 2014. While some of those “team” members usually vote together, Diane Dixon studies the issues; she has held town hall meetings to confer with the residents and she votes independently. Please don’t lump her in with the other incumbents when placing your vote for city council. Vote for Diane Dixon.

Sadly, I feel her opponent has been spreading lies about her. Mike Glenn’s flyer titled “The Truth about Diane Dixon” is full of untruths. Two specific examples: Flip-flopping on the dock tax was hardly Dixon’s doing – and no property owner “was stripped of their dock held for decades.” Regarding “General fund giveaways, diverting money to her friends in private business through a fund referred to as BVMA,” this is completely false. The BVMA is the Balboa Village Merchants Association. It, like the Newport Film Festival and other city recognized nonprofit organizations, applies for grants annually. If approved by the Council, grants are awarded. This practice has been in place for years, long before Dixon was elected.

It would be better for Mr. Glenn to focus on the positive attributes he would bring to the City Council – hopefully something more significant than creating a dog park.


Nancy J. Smith

Newport Beach

What’s happening to the conduct of our public officials?

How did our common understanding of what is right and wrong in terms of the conduct of public officials change so drastically in the last four years?

Before 2014, a council member would have been shamed by accepting a donation from a known felon and compelled to return it. Now, Scott Peotter has a thirteen-count felon hosting a campaign fundraiser on his behalf. The crimes in question involve fraud against the city itself by filing false plan checks in order to evade the height limits in our neighborhoods. Where is Mr. Peotter’s sense of propriety in organizing this event?

Prior to this, Peotter held a fundraiser at Bob McCaffrey’s home. McCaffrey compared Peotter’s opponent Joy Brenner and other prominent Newport Beach women to “drooling dogs.” Not only did Peotter fail to condemn this language, Duffy Duffield also attended to support Peotter and McCaffrey.

Peotter and Duffield refuse to respond to the legitimate question, “Does Scott Peotter work for Duffield?” This question involves significant conflict of interest issues.

Duffield claimed credit for the creation of a new Harbor Department on his recent door hangers, but on four occasions, Duffield was forced to recuse himself on this very issue. If it was illegal for him to be in the room when this was discussed, how can he claim credit for this accomplishment?

Peotter and Duffield often direct public funding into projects and activities that will benefit Duffield’s business. The $60,000 spent in pursuit of the discredited “Port Plan” is one example.

Both Peotter and Duffield are under investigation for conflict of interest and campaign law violations.

Peotter and Duffield like to claim to be some sort of extreme Republicans, but as someone who knew Ronald Reagan personally and worked with him for eight years, I can tell you the Gipper would be outraged by the behavior of Duffield and Peotter. We need a change to restore honesty and propriety to the city council. I will be voting for Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner.

Rush Hill, former Mayor

Newport Beach

Happy with current council and wants more of same

Seven Orange County cities have sales tax increases on their ballots this year. Without question, these are all pension taxes. Pensions are crowding out basic services across the County. But not here in Newport Beach.

In 2014, a wave of new candidates ran on a platform of attacking the pension tsunami. Those four are now up for reelection: Mayor Duffield; Diane Dixon; Kevin Muldoon; and Scott Peotter.

Despite CalPERS’ abysmal investment returns of 2.4 percent and 0.6 percent in 2015 and 2016, the City’s unfunded pension liability actually shows decreases for 2017 and 2018. This Council has implemented a discretionary paydown that previous councils did not. This council has passed balanced budgets each year with continual surpluses thanks to solid fiscal management. 

This council is again running on a fiscally conservative platform that attacks the pension liability issue without increasing taxes. Contrast that with challenger Roy Engelbrecht who has run on a platform of increasing the Newport Beach sales tax, implementing a hiring freeze, and slashing 10 percent for all city department budgets. Contrast that further with the other challengers in this race who have endorsed him.

I’m voting for fiscal conservatives. I’m voting for Duffy, Muldoon, Peotter, and Dixon. 

Bob McCaffrey

Newport Beach

Is Peotter for or against pensions?

Incumbent Newport Beach City Councilperson Scott Peotter stated his number one concern for the City’s future is the unfunded pension liabilities the previous City Council encumbered us with. I cannot disagree with him on that matter. 

However, he currently draws paychecks from the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District, the Orange County Sanitation District, the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency, as well as the City of Newport Beach. Reportedly, he is the president of a company in Irvine.

If re-elected he too will qualify for a pension from the City of Newport Beach. How many public troughs does he want to eat from?

Rather than seeking a solution, it seems he wants to add to the problem. 

Clay Wells 

Newport Beach

City Council members met secretly regarding city manager

Question: Why did Mayor Duffield and Councilmen Peotter, O’Neill, and Muldoon feel it necessary to have secret meetings regarding City Manager Dave Kiff in what many feel what a forced retirement plot? He was scheduled to retire at the end of 2018 in any event. It seems obvious that the goal was to be able to replace Kiff before the November election.

The reason? Hire a new City Manager who would go along with their financial shenanigans? Fortunately, Councilmember Diane Dixon, in a public meeting, exposed the secret maneuvering, gave the timeline, and caused their preferred (and unqualified) candidate to drop out. 

Meanwhile, the taxpayers are out $200,000 severance pay used to “encourage” Kiff to retire early, on August 31st.

Let’s put an end to secret meetings and wheeling/dealing by electing Joy Brenner and Timothy Stoaks, and re-electing Diane Dixon. 

Craig Smith

Newport Beach

Current council has saved residents millions

Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula owe deep gratitude to this City Council for fighting the Federal Government the past two years. The Federal Emergency Management Agency changed its flood maps to include all of Balboa Island and much more of the Peninsula. This would have increased insurance premiums by millions of dollars every year.

But the City Council fought back. They hired attorneys. They hired engineers. They appealed. And they won. How often do you hear of a city fighting back against the Federal Government and winning? 

This leadership under Mayors Muldoon and Duffield have saved our residents an extraordinary amount of money. This is the kind of leadership that should be sustained. I will be voting for the Council that cares for its residents’ fiscal well-being. I’ll be voting for Duffy, Dixon, Muldoon, and Peotter. 

Peter C. Pallette

Newport Beach

Don’t like partisan politics in local elections

It’s been a long time since I’ve written to a newspaper editor, but now I believe I must voice an opinion about what a local election should and should not be. 

First, local is truly that. Local. Does a candidate express views about the city, in this case Newport Beach, that I believe resonate with how I envision the city now and in the future? Does the candidate address issues like traffic and planned growth? Has the candidate acted in a way that validates my views or has he/she voted in an opposite manner? I know how I reacted to Measure Y, the Museum House, and the proposed “Port” plan for Newport Beach. I care about Mariner’s Mile and the impact of JWA on Newport. These issues matter to me. 

When I asked the highly astute, and I will add gifted, students who were selected by CdMHS to ask questions of our local candidates at a forum whether partisan politics has any role in local elections, all three immediately answered ‘no.’  They answered that question quickly and unequivocally. There is no role for partisan politics in local elections. If you want a park built or upgraded in your neighborhood I can guarantee it will not matter whether a council member is a Republican or Democrat. It matters whether they hear you from the dais when you make an appeal. Are the city council members concerned with the residents or with the financial supporters who helped them win an election? Are the council members using the city for their political or financial gain or are they serving the people?

That’s all that matters to me. 

State and national issues are dealt with on those levels. That’s where partisan politics has a role. Partisan politics is NOT involved in garbage collection, parks, sewer lines, traffic, high density developments or issues that impact me daily. 

Partisan politics certainly affects me, but it’s more distant. I care deeply about who’s serving my views in Sacramento and Washington DC, but that’s an entirely different issue. That is and will remain partisan. But that’s simply false on the local level and anyone who understands basic civics recognizes this as false. It’s smoke and mirrors to bring partisan politics into local elections. Do council members vote for an increase in the police force along party lines? No. I simply find it false to see a political party “endorse” a person running for city council. 

For some reason “partisan” politics is being thrown into the local election to muddy the waters and confuse local voters, it seems. That’s unconscionable. When I see “endorsed” by the Republican or Democratic party on local campaign literature, I immediately feel it’s a ploy, that the candidate is likely using a party’s endorsement to get to higher office, not to serve the city. To me, the person lacks credibility. 

Look at who’s running and try to think why. Look at what they’ve actually done. Look at what council members have tried to do. Are they running to serve the people of the community or to enrich themselves, their friends, their political allies or move to higher political ground at my expense?

Local matters. Please read the “real people” endorsements, look at voting records, transparency, financial backers, and whether you want Newport run by a political machine. I for one am weary of partisan politics. Think and vote for the person who will honestly serve you and this city.

Lorian Petry

Corona del Mar

Coming to the defense of a candidate after partisan claims

Since Scott Peotter and friends have brought up the issue of comparability with the candidate who is running against him for Newport Beach City Council, Joy Brenner (claiming that he is “more Republican” than she), I thought it would be an opportune time to name some of the other qualities that you might want to use to compare the two candidates. However, I won’t stoop to the level of saying in which of these areas, if any, that Scott Peotter is deficient. I will leave that decision up to the reader. It shouldn’t be too difficult as he is well known, very vocal, and his actions have been the subject of many letters written to the local papers.

Let’s speak instead of the positives which are so noticeable in Joy Brenner’s character and personality.

Let me start by saying that by the second time that I was in Joy’s presence, I was able to observe how naturally she interacted with people and how eloquently and candidly she spoke. I decided very quickly that she was the perfect City Council member for our fair city. Since that initial time that I met Joy and talked with her, I have seen her on several occasions – frequently enough to also appreciate her intelligence, her warmth, and her work ethic. Joy is not afraid to speak and write openly about her feelings and vision for Newport Beach. And her strength of spirit is always evident in her speeches to the council and to civic groups. 

To return to Scott’s comparison of being “more Republican” than Joy, it is important to remind people that this is a non-partisan local election. Having said that, since the question has come up, Joy has pointed out in a letter in the local papers, if one deemed it important, that she does belong to the same political party as Scott. Finally, it should be noted that there have been several residents in Newport Beach, including past council members, who have not hesitated to challenge Scott’s Republican values. 

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Editor’s Note: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Newport but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

Letters to the Editor:

Time for a change on council

This is a crucially important election year for our city, and voters need to have their facts and priorities straight.  

As in 2016, Line in the Sand is endorsing candidates who are longtime residents and have no agenda other than to serve. Joy Brenner, Roy Englebrecht and Tim Stoaks are running independently of one another and us, individually challenging the members of the “team” that got elected as a slate in 2014 and that vote as a bloc on most major issues including the Museum House project, which Joy, Roy and Tim helped defeat. In addition to dramatically changing the Newport skyline, the Museum House condo tower “Team Newport” wanted to see in Newport Center would have set a terrible precedent for more high-rise, high-density development in that area. Have you ever seen a town with only one high-rise condo tower in it? Neither have I. 

As one of the citizens who lugged around the 10-pound petition to force the council’s approval to go to a citywide vote, I must note that team members Muldoon, Duffy and Peotter all voted to add the 3,800 unnecessary pages to the Museum House petition. That sent quite a clear message about their disdain for the public’s views on out-of-place development and citizens’ first amendment right to petition government without fear of punishment or reprisals.

Line in the Sand is also supporting candidates who support campaign finance reform. Joy, Roy and Tim have grassroots campaign teams and are raising money from residents who care about preserving the character of our town. They are not building up giant war chests with funds from developers, out-of-towners and special interests. One “Team Newport” backer bragged in 2014 that close to $1,000,000 had been spent to get them elected. One can only imagine the kind of strings that are attached to that kind of money. Team Newport has made it clear that campaign finance reform is not on their radar. Why would it be? 

With Joy, Roy and Tim on the council, we can get back to being a citizen-run coastal town that is paradise for its residents and businesses, not for developers and the politicians they get elected. It really is time to take our city back.

Dennis Baker, President

Line in the Sand

Partisanship is inappropriate

Once again we have seen partisanship rear its ugly head both in D.C. and in Newport. And who has suffered? Both the citizens and our system of government. Nothing gets accomplished and no problems get solved when we are arguing like politicians. And that’s what they want, especially those who are trying to inject partisanship into our local nonpartisan council race. 

This week, Scott Peotter and his surrogates are claiming that he is “more Republican than me”. There is not a Republican or Democratic way to solve the main problems about which people in Newport Beach are concerned, like traffic and over development. 

For the record, I’ve been a Republican my entire life, except for a few years when I registered as an Independent. That was decades ago. Like Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan and many of us, I have at times made donations to members of the other party. Like most Americans, I vote for the candidate I feel will do the best job. Sometimes we vote in ways that make us uncomfortable, while holding our noses.

So, is Scott Peotter a “better Republican” or, more importantly, a better representative of our community? Before deciding, I encourage you to look at his irresponsible spending proposals. He claims to be a tax fighter but his recent vote on Uptown Newport says otherwise. I am fiscally conservative both personally and civically. The same cannot be said of Scott.  

As a council member, I know that my job will be to represent the entire community and stay focused on local issues. We have a unique city and a lifestyle that you can’t find anywhere else. It takes constant vigilance and real love for our community to maintain this. It takes character and humility to know that your sole job is to represent your constituents. That’s who I am and who I plan to be as your councilwoman.   

Joy Brenner

Newport Beach City Council Candidate District 6 

Letters to the Editor:

Challenging year for Republicans so you need to know your players

This is a challenging year for our Republican Party. Even historically safe seats are competitive this year. 

 I wanted to be sure you were aware of events in Newport Beach so as to avoid embarrassment during this election season.

As noted below, Newport Beach Councilmember Scott Peotter is having a fundraiser hosted by Andrew Goetz.

Mr. Goetz was convicted of 13 felony counts related to filing false plan checks with the City of Newport Beach. The goal of this conspiracy was to evade the city height limits in various neighborhoods. Mr. Goetz was initially charged with 26 counts. He pled guilty and surrendered his architect’s license. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Mr. Goetz subsequently was convicted of fraud in obtaining a real estate license by making false statements on his application and fined $1,000. In 1984, he was convicted of theft by credit card.

These were not random crimes or unrelated to municipal business. They were frauds committed against the City of Newport  Beach. The case was investigated, and the arrest made by the Newport Beach Police Department. 

I will leave to you to draw your own conclusions regarding Mr. Peotter’s judgment, ethics and suitability for public office, given his decision to have Mr. Goetz host this event.

Let me assure you that polls show Mr. Peotter trailing badly. As you may know, last year over 10,000 Newport Beach residents signed a petition in support of recalling Peotter. He was elected with approximately 11,000 votes.

Because of what many feel are his lack of actual accomplishments in office and severe unpopularity, Mr. Peotter will very likely attempt to run for reelection by wrapping himself in the Republican banner. (I know, odd for a candidate who voted for the largest property tax increase in Newport Beach since Prop. 13, up to $4,500 per year for the new homeowners in Uptown Newport).

He will likely seek to use your endorsement, photo, or statement in support of his campaign. May I respectfully suggest that in light of this new information regarding his association with known felons, that now, it would be appropriate for you to pull your endorsement or not make it in this race.

Because I know how much you value your well-deserved reputation for integrity in our community, it would be unfortunate if a mailer from Peotter highlighting your support arrives on the same day as one detailing his pending conflict of interest and campaign finance violations, building code violations, abuse of staff, personal self-dealing while on the council and association with known felons. That certainly will not help the Republican cause in November. A review of the financial reports filed today will demonstrate that there will indeed be a robust campaign supported by former Republican mayors and notable Newport Beach citizens to tell this story.

It is worth remembering that the local Republican Party embarrassed itself before through its involvement in Newport Beach politics. In 2006, the party endorsed Jack Wu for city council. Many well-meaning elected officials followed the party and supported Wu who was subsequently found guilty of felony embezzlement related to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s campaign funds. Several elected officials have since told me how embarrassed they were to be associated with Wu. Ironically, one of Wu’s strongest supporters was Scott Peotter.

I don’t want this to happen to you. I hope this information is helpful as you decide on who to lend your good name in the November election.

Yours for a Corruption Free Republican Party,

Keith Curry, Former Mayor

Newport Beach

It’s been a long road back to re-gain my reputation

To be clear, it was the roof midpoints and grade averages that were altered and/or affected. This is now how the current zoning code determines building heights.

In the past 15+ years, I have completed over a hundred projects (all by referral) with an amazing sense of space, beauty and attention to detail.

Collectively, these projects have added hundreds of millions of dollars of value which, in turn, have yielded millions of dollars annually to property tax rolls. 

In addition, they have added to the revenues of hundreds of people, including real estate agents, suppliers, subcontractors and City staff. 

Re-establishing my work took a very long time. It cannot logically be said that the City does not follow zoning rules, and at the same time bring up my mistakes from long ago. 

Andrew Goetz, Architect

Corona del Mar

Peotter provides better conservative path than Brenner

I am an unapologetic conservative that believes in electing Republicans to city councils.

I have walked precincts and donated to Republicans my entire adult life because they believe in free enterprise and limited government.

As the Newport Beach city council campaigns approach election day, I have learned that over the past two years candidate Clyda “Joy” Brenner has made over 40 donations to liberal Democrats across the country.

Federal Elections Commission records reflect her “earmarked” donations through Socialist Bernie Sanders’ ActBlue PAC include 17 contributions to liberal New Jersey senator Cory “Spartacus” Booker. (

Brenner also earmarked a donation to Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC just days before the 2016 presidential election.

Now that I know where Brenner stands, I will vote for Scott Peotter for city council. Scott has done a great job for taxpayers the last 4 years.

Kurt English

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Time for a change on council

As a former member of the Newport Beach City Council, I have a unique perspective on this year’s election. During my first two years, I was privileged to serve with dedicated public servants who put the city first and worked in a spirit of collegiality to accomplish important projects like Sunset Ridge Park and Marina Park and to initiate the early pay down of our pension liabilities.

In 2014, things changed with the election of the Bob McCaffrey “Team Newport” machine including Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield. I witnessed firsthand this new four-person council majority overturn staff recommendations and award lucrative city contracts to their campaign supporters. Nearly immediately, we were confronted with Councilman Peotter violating the Brown Act and making potentially libelous statements before the Costa Mesa Tea Party. I saw as Duffield was led by Peotter and a special meeting was called so that he could reverse his vote in the Woody’s Wharf litigation. This resulted in paying $355,000 in tax dollars to Woody’s, another major donor of Scott Peotter.

I was on the council when the Peotter/Duffield machine added thousands of unnecessary pages to the Museum House petitions to undermine the rights of residents.

Dozens of citizens came to the city council to object to Peotter’s misuse of the city seal in expressing his personal opinions. 

I saw our city staff repeatedly threatened by the bullying tactics of the Peotter/Duffield machine.

I was on the council as completely irresponsible ideas were randomly served up. Duffield proposed all departments cut their budgets by up to 3 percent, a proposal that would have reduced funding for public safety by $3 million and resulted in the loss of 15 police officers or firemen. Duffield and Peotter voted twice and continue to advocate a $3.5 million business license cut that would create a structural budget deficit affecting library and public safety services to primarily benefit large law firms and mega employers.

As chairman of the finance committee, we quietly buried some of the most irresponsible ideas from Peotter and Duffield.

I love our city, and we need a change on the city council to restore the ethical standards, fiscal responsibility and sense of civility that we all expect and deserve. I will be supporting Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks; I encourage you to join me and demand change for the good of our community.

Tony Petros, Former Council Member

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Let’s protect what we have

Deluged by political flyers for the upcoming November elections? Confused by too many details from each of the new candidates? Frustrated by the incumbents’ years of voting, driven by outside big monied interests and not by the welfare and needs of city residents? How does one sort it all out before marking ballot choices this November? I have a single suggestion that will help

Keep in mind “deep grassroots” when making your selections. Three of the four on the Team of Four moved to this city just before running for city council. They have voted as a block during their terms. One has spent years intimately involved with the city of Irvine’s insatiable appetite for high rise development. A drive down Jamboree is a heart-wrenching reminder of his prior interests. A second member also arrived from Irvine with a commitment to high powered PAC-funded interests and personal ambition. A third arrived from Pasadena. Only one member of the team is a real local, forever dedicated to the quality of life on the harbor – if it will improve his boat business. 

Are these four dedicated to short and long-term goals of the community? Presently there is little doubt about where their loyalties lie. Their shallow grassroot concerns focus on the green of money rather than the deep natural grassroots of what is left in the city, needing protection and preservation.

The challengers, Joy Brenner, Tim Stoaks and Roy Englebrecht, have deep roots in the Newport Beach community. They have lived here for decades. Their children attended local schools. They have dedicated years to community service, to starting up community organizations, to challenging airport noise. They have been green-focused on the health and welfare of local citizens and on saving what is left of public city land for the public now and for the future. 

If you lack time to follow up on past and present decisions of current incumbents, you might want to visit a website reflecting the challengers’ values, (“Still Protecting Our Newport”). Click on “About” at the top. Here you will note values that Joy, Roy, and Tim support. This website reflects the long historical record of volunteer community activists dedicated to protecting and preserving Newport Beach for quality living for all city residents – efforts dating back four and five decades. The challengers are eager to leave our gorgeous natural bounty for future generations to enjoy. They do not want to see it sold off for private gain and exclusive pleasure of only those who can afford it. They are eager to take back the city council for its residents. 

So, if an activist rings your doorbell, thank them for volunteering, especially if it’s for the challengers. If you’re irritated by a few political flyers left on your fence or door knob, just remember they are from your neighbors currently “hitting the streets” to bring fresh clean politics of transparency and honesty back to city government.   

If your life is too busy, then visit the entertaining YouTube site of two young watchdogs of local politics at They reveal current shenanigans of self-serving incumbents – in real time. Your optimism will be renewed when they interview the dedicated local challengers bringing fresh sea breezes of creative dedication to community concerns, once the Team of Four is replaced this November. Indeed, “The times, they are a-changin’ ” (Bob Dylan).

See you at the polls this November, too, for Joy, Roy, and Tim.

Sheila Koff

Corona del Mar

Letters to the Editor:

Beware of the “Growth Machine”

The question is who to vote for in November’s City Council election? I know who I’m voting for because actions speak louder than words. Forums are good introductions, but often don’t do much to differentiate one candidate from another. All candidates say they “love” Newport so, once again, we need to examine actions, not words.

There is one type of action I discovered that sums it up for me. Some members of the current City Council are wittingly or unwittingly part of the “growth machine” which is well ensconced in Orange County. Of course it is – because there is lots of money to be made here through decisions about big, lucrative development – the sky’s the limit. There are political futures to be furthered as well. 

Here’s one case in point. In 2017, then Mayor Muldoon (with Duffy as Mayor Pro Tem) wrote a letter on behalf of the City Council and City of Newport Beach (that’s us), at the behest of the City of Irvine Mayor and the Irvine Company, saying that we would all love it if Amazon would locate its second headquarters in Irvine – with 50,000 new high paying jobs along with other associated jobs and families. This never appeared on our City Council’s agenda for the public to see. And what would we have said? We would certainly have wanted to know more about the sheer volume of development, density and traffic that would mean. What would 50,000 or more new families do to the already too expensive housing market? However, the letter said, and I quote, “The City of Newport Beach is pleased to support a collaborative proposal of the City of Irvine and the Irvine Company to secure Amazon’s second headquarters. We are proud civic leaders of one of 34 cities in Orange County – America’s sixth largest county, greater in population than 21 states in the Union…Each of our cities presents unique opportunities and strategic advantages to accommodate all that Amazon seeks for its next headquarters.”

As it turns out, Amazon went elsewhere and subsequently we read of the impact of its first headquarters in Seattle, of its loss of “soul” from the building boom primarily by Amazon’s impact. An article in the New York Times by Timothy Egan reads, “I live in the city that hit the Amazon jackpot, now the biggest company town in America. They have 40,000 employees here, who in turn attracted 50,000 other new jobs. They own or lease a fifth of all the class A office space. But median home prices have doubled in five years, to $700,000. This is not a good thing in a place where teachers and cops used to be able to afford a house with a water view.” This article ended with, “To the next Amazon lottery winner I would say, enjoy the boom – but be careful what you wish for.”

17 of the 34 City Mayors wrote such a letter as requested by their growth machine cronies. Laguna, for one, did not. Laguna has a soul it has steadfastly tried to preserve, and, like Laguna, I hope we would choose to keep our charm and character as well. As a start we can elect people who by all indications will choose to put the Newport Beach citizens first. Three people running for our City Council want to know what we think, and I’m voting for them – Joy Brenner, Tim Stoaks, and Roy Engelbrecht.


Jean Watt

Newport Beach

Apparent conflict of interest

As a Newport Beach resident, I am very troubled by the fact Mayor Duffy Duffield has skipped the recent Speak Up Newport Candidate forum and along with the other incumbent council members, has not confirmed their participation in the Feet to the Fire Forum. If they will not appear publicly and answer the public’s questions, they should not be reelected.

I am also concerned that Scott Peotter and Duffield refuse to answer the question regarding Duffield’s employment of Peotter. As residents, I think we have the right to know if Peotter’s vote is compromised by his employment with Duffield (or vice versa).

The behind the scenes ouster of City Manager Dave Kiff, the phony ballot measure, the refusal to answer questions from the public and the insulting comments by Bob McCaffrey have convinced me it is time for a change. I’ll be voting for Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks.

Craig B. Smith

Newport Beach

Yelsey has the needed experience to help our kids

Parents and teachers expect our school board candidates to have backgrounds in teaching or volunteering in their schools. This often will include serving on the School Site Council, PTA Board, Boosters or Foundation Board, or The Superintendent’s Parent Council. This important background not only forges relationships between parents, teachers, and administrators, but it also builds knowledge of the school’s unique characteristics, legacy programs, and future directions. This foundational knowledge is a critical expectation of those who are seeking the office of Trustee for the NMUSD School Board. 

Karen Yelsey has a challenger who one day may be prepared to be a viable Trustee, but with no experience in the NMUSD schools, it’s difficult to imagine that she is now. It is imperative to look closely at a challenger who seeks to serve our 22,000 students and manage our $300 million budget. It is not for the faint of heart, the inexperienced, or the out of touch. For these reasons, those of us in Area 4 feel so strongly that the experience, commitment, tenacity, and school/community engagement of Karen Yelsey overshadow her challenger. That challenger, according to her social media history, has lived in Newport Beach for less than a year. It appears that her focus is on political endorsements with the goal to launch a political career using the NMUSD election as her starting blocks. The problem is, those starting blocks are our kids, in our community. 

I welcome new parents to our community and to our schools. Our schools need volunteers seeking to serve our students and teachers. The volunteer opportunities are plentiful, and I’d love to have coffee with any parent who desires to get plugged in to our schools. For now, a Trustee who has demonstrated strong and tenacious leadership, working for the very best policies, programs, and services to provide an outstanding education in a safe and healthy school environment is who gets my vote. That Trustee is Karen Yelsey. 

Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi 

Newport Beach 

Was McCaffrey’s fundraiser the right event to choose?

I am disappointed to hear that City Councilman Scott Peotter and our Mayor Duffy Duffield are willing to attend a fundraiser at the home of Bob McCaffrey. McCaffrey referred to Joy Brenner as a “drooling Dog.” Brenner is running against Peotter for a seat on the City Council. McCaffrey’s comment is offensive. By accepting an invitation to obtain money for his re-election, Peotter is condoning such childish behavior. Peotter will not get my vote. 

Dortha Wells

Newport Beach

Need to stop overdevelopment and improve traffic

In the past four years, traffic in Newport Beach has become much worse. Over-development is aggravating traffic problems, just look at the Fashion Island apartments and the Uptown Newport project. 

The increase in traffic and overdevelopment coincides with the takeover of our city by the Team Newport and the voting block of Scott Peotter, Duffy Duffield and Kevin Muldoon. With their backroom maneuvers and their uncivil behavior, this “team” has changed the character of City Council for the worse. 

To move the city in a different direction, where the views of residents are respected, its members are non-partisan, and council actions are transparent, we need different council members. I’m voting for a change.

Caroline Taylor

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Seven Newport Beach Mayors Say it’s Time for a Change

As former mayors, we are very concerned about the direction of our city during the past four years. We have seen the city council majority make rash and partisan decisions that are not in the best interests of the residents. For example, the council refused $485,000 in traffic improvement funds to make a political point. They voted to approve the largest property tax increase in 40 years for a new development without a vote of the people.

The tone of discourse in our city has changed for the worse. Some council members seek to demonize our public employees and civic facilities. Tom Johnson recently called out Scott Peotter specifically for his abusive and condescending remarks to city employees. 

There has been a disregard for our campaign laws, open meeting laws and conflict of interest restrictions.

We are most concerned with the classless and outrageous way our outstanding City Manager Dave Kiff was forced out early, and we are very disturbed that a politician, not a professional city manager, was a leading candidate to replace Kiff.

The council majority simply does not represent the values of our city. You would expect the mayor to set a tone that avoids these abuses, but Duffy Duffield has failed our community and must bear responsibility for his decisions. In addition to Duffield, one councilman in particular, Scott Peotter, has been at the center of all of these problems. Peotter even voted against the city Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy and twice voted against the accelerated pay down of our pension liability. 

We believe it is time for a change if we are to protect the quality of life and restore our civic values in Newport Beach. We are supporting Tim Stoaks in District 3, who is running against Duffield, and Joy Brenner in District 6, running against Scott Peotter.

Tim and Joy are longtime community activists who have worked for decades on projects like OASIS, the Corona del Mar Library/Fire Station, Santa Ana Heights improvements like the Fire Station, trails and parks and our new animal shelter. They have been in the lead on reducing airport noise and they will represent the interests and values of residents, not politically connected donors.    

Join us in demanding a change for the better in Newport Beach and reject the machine politics of the past four years. Vote for Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner.

Former Newport Beach Mayors:

Evelyn Hart      Rush Hill      John Cox

Keith Curry       Mike Henn    Don Webb

Jan Debay

Neighborhood events bringing residents together

Sometimes they say it takes a village to support the growth and development of an individual. In the case of Newport Beach, it is going to take a “village” to restore the City to its full potential.

During the past few months, the community of Newport Beach has been at the forefront of embracing change in our government. This has formed organically through many neighborhood events, in which each of the candidates, Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner, has factually focused on bringing the residents together again.

These candidates have successfully brought thousands of Newport Beach residents together in just a few months. Both Stoaks and Brenner have worked around the clock to educate and inform like-minded people as to why we need to transform our City on November 6, 2018.

This has been a call to action, in which the community has literally been taken “off-line” and become united. Residents across the City have walked away from each event with a strong feeling of good, with new friendships being formed and citizens being energized with optimism.

If two honest and principled Newport Beach residents can collectively listen and bring thousands of people together for the common good of our City (especially, without self-serving and conflicting interests), then both Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner can bring common sense back to Newport Beach in the most conventional way. 

Why? Because Stoaks and Brenner have the pulse of the people.

Lu Baker

Newport Beach 

Guest Column

Grace Leung

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

Grace Leung

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung   

Greetings to the Newport Beach community!

I must confess, with four days on the job, I feel a little strange calling this the “insider’s guide” so I hope you bear with me as I get to know the City and all that is going on in this active community. And there’s no better way than to just start diving right in to the City Council agenda.

For the next meeting, on Tuesday, September 11, the following are items that may be of interest. Following Dave’s caveat, this is not a summary of the entire agenda, which can be viewed here.

Study Session begins at 4 p.m., when the Library Foundation will present a check for $153,125 to the City. This will help fund valuable library resources, programs and cutting-edge library enhancements. Then Public Works staff will present an update on traffic signal system technology, a critical element to managing traffic circulation that is continually evolving. 

The Regular Session at 7 p.m. has these items of note:

On the consent calendar is the award of landscape architecture and civil engineering services for rehabilitation of Grant Howald Park. This will kick off much needed renovations for this park. A key part of this contract will be to begin the community engagement process for design features as it relates to the fencing around the park. Community outreach and design is estimated to go through Spring 2019 and construction to then start early 2020 (following the Fall 2019 soccer season). We are hopeful to complete this project summer 2020.

On for public hearing is an update to the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance. This update amends the City’s Zoning Code and Local Coastal Program to conform with new state requirements that took effect on January 1, 2018. Our current code only allows ADUs in single-family residential zoning districts. In order to conform with state law, the code will be amended to allow development of ADUs with single-family homes in all residential districts.

In my first week with the City, I am so impressed with the pride and love that people have for living and/or working in Newport Beach. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to work for Newport Beach and feel a deep sense of responsibility to serve the community and the organization well. I know transitions can be challenging and I hope to make it as smooth as possible. As part of that effort, I will be evaluating how we as a City communicate with the community. Don’t worry, I will continue this Insider’s Guide, but it may evolve in the future as I look to ensure we are communicating as effectively as possible. 

Thank you for reading. I hope to get to meet and know you over the coming months. To that end, please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 


Grace K. Leung, City Manager

City of Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor:

Conflicts of interest...Newport Beach deserves better

It is widely believed that Councilmember Peotter has been retained by Mayor Duffield to assist in the relocation of some of Duffield’s boat manufacturing facilities to Utah. The refusal of Duffield and Peotter to answer the simple question, “Does Peotter work for Duffield?” is very troubling.

Duffield refuses to voluntarily answer the question, and Peotter calls it “rumor”.

This is not some political “gotcha” issue. Residents have a right to know if Peotter’s vote can be influenced by compensation Duffield pays to Peotter; or affect a vote over resource allocation between Duffield’s and Peotter’s districts; or is it just plain illegal.

Duffield is required to recuse himself on most harbor issues. However, Peotter votes on these issues, some of which may financially benefit Duffield. Is it allowable under conflict of interest laws? Should Peotter also be recusing himself because Duffield is a source of income to Peotter?

What about the City Council’s duty to police itself? Both Peotter and Duffield are already the subject of multiple complaints regarding campaign law and conflict of interest violations, none of which the Council has directed the City Attorney to review. Yet again Council shirks its duty, by not directing the City Attorney to look into this employment issue. How long will Council ignore its duty, as ethical issues pile up with Duffield and Peotter? This is politics at its worst, and confirms voter skepticism about the ethics of government officials.

What about the City Attorney’s independent duty to assure that Council is acting lawfully? When asked, the City Attorney reportedly said, “trying to find answers to these types of issues is not possible given the ethical rules related to the performance of your duties”. Really? This “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude is disingenuous and disrespects his office as well as the citizens of Newport Beach.

I think it is entirely possible to find the truth. Duffield and Peotter should be asked directly, under oath, if necessary, so City business can be conducted in the open without fear of conflicts of interest. And then, depending on the answers, Councilmembers should conduct themselves in a lawful, transparent way without even the appearance of a conflict.

Open and transparent government in Newport will not begin until these kinds of egregious cover ups are stopped.

Mike Henn

Former Mayor, Newport Beach

Time to cancel the Team Newport Show in Newport Beach

The Newport Beach City Council has been on vacation for nearly a month, but like a TV series finale, they left us with a few cliffhangers.

On July 30, the council issued a statement designed to embarrass Jeff Herdman, but failed to reveal the three councilmembers who advanced the name of Shawn Nelson as City Manager. In response to a Public Records Act request, the city said they did not have any “relevant documents.” Really? Why don’t you just admit who it was? You were there.

It was revealed that Scott Peotter is apparently employed by Duffy Duffield to plan the relocation of part of Duffy’s business to Utah. This raises some significant conflict of interest issues for both councilmembers. At the West Newport Beach Association forum, Duffield flat out refused to answer the question, “Does Peotter work for you?” It’s time for Duffield and Peotter to stop the cover up and answer the question.

On August 14, the council approved $600,000 in contracts to four firms to provide maintenance services in the harbor. Only four firms submitted proposals and all four got contracts. Duffield declared he had a “source of income” conflict of interest on this matter. Exactly which firm or firms is a “source of income” for Duffield and how much is it? Looks more like Duffy is a source of income the other way. In addition, if Peotter is working for Duffy, shouldn’t he also have recused himself?

A court ruled that the public cannot compel the city council to appoint a special prosecutor, only the council can make that decision. Alright, what is the council going to do about the campaign finance and conflict of interest violations that have been piling up against Peotter and Duffield? So far they have done nothing. I thought Muldoon was running on “law and order?”

Finally, Peotter announced he was going to hold a fundraiser at the home of Bob McCaffrey. McCaffrey wrote a rambling and incoherent opinion piece in which he compared Peotter opponent Joy Brenner and other women leaders to “drooling dogs”. Will Peotter have the moral courage to move his event from McCaffrey’s home? If he does not, will the other members of the council attend and validate McCaffrey’s remarks? At West Newport, Peotter defended McCaffrey and Duffield was silent.

I am looking forward to the fourth, and hopefully final, season of Team Newport Follies.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

The future of Newport

The key concern which unites Newport Beach residents now is overdevelopment. Most of the other problems engender from this one main problem – traffic, pollution, safety issues, expansion of Pacific Coast Highway, code and General Plan noncompliance and lack of civility and trust between residents and City Council. As a result, Newport Beach is losing its vibrant personality.

For those who live in West Newport, the number one overdevelopment issue is the expansion of Pacific Coast Highway. This has been a concern that dates back to the early 1970s by a group who were called the “Freeway Fighters” and included the father of one of our current Council members. If expansion takes place, this area of Newport Beach which is considered by most residents as the heart of our city, will lose that “small town” feeling, and safety issues for students crossing the Highway to reach the three schools in the Newport Heights area will become a major concern. Already the lack of crosswalks and the dangerous speeds frequently maintained by people passing through the Heights have led to unfortunate and even tragic accidents.

Overdevelopment in other areas of Newport Beach has also impacted public views and tranquility. For instance, the development planned for Koll Center deviates from the character and guidelines for buildings in that area. Fortunately, concerned citizens have been able to stop plans for some of the other proposed structures and private homes whose sizes have violated code and General Plans. But it has been a constant struggle for residents who want to maintain the character of Newport Beach which is being violated by unwise development.

We have a chance to change this lack of communication and transparency by electing Joy Brenner, Tim Stoaks and Roy Englebrecht to City Council! They will work to preserve the quality of the city that we all love.

Tim Stephens

Corona del Mar

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