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Letters to the Editor:

We Can’t Afford Scott Peotter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lynn Swain

Committee to Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peggy V. Palmer

Newport Beach

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

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

Restaurants to jog your memory:

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

Matt Clabaugh

Newport Beach


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

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

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few community notes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letters to the Editor:

Peotter Recall – follow the money

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karl Kimme

Newport Beach

One more misstating of facts

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

Steve Roush

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Good Neighbor Policy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chuck Fry

Newport Beach

Peotter is Part of the Problem

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

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

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

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

Shannon Green

Corona del Mar

Skinner clarifies “drain the swamp” comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Koll project should be considered after General Plan Update

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

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

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

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

Don Harvey

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor:

Recallers spend $90k to submit signatures

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

What happens next?

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

What about the bunny tax petitions?

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

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

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

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

Scott Peotter

City Councilmember, District 6

Voters want independent city council

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

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

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

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

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

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