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Letters to the Editor

It seems apparent that the Council does not listen to residents

I am writing in response to Amy Senk’s article a couple weeks ago where she questioned whether or not the City Council is even listening to the residents of Newport Beach. 

Despite a valiant effort by some of my neighbors, the parking permit pilot, which was originally championed by the previous Council for the Peninsula, died supposedly due to lack of resident support. As a result, the parking in summer on the Peninsula continues to get worse. Did they really listen to the residents? 

This past year, Balboa Village lost its ability to use the local parking meter funds (approved by previous Council) to help maintain the condition of the Village and despite many residents and business owners presenting at the Council meeting, only Diane Dixon and Joy Brenner supported the residents’ view of the need for this localized support. I was one who corresponded with Council and presented, but it was clear that the majority of Council had already decided what THEY wanted. 

The Elect the Mayor proposal was hustled through Council rather than getting residents input and signatures which would have been the expected process. 

And most recently, the significant resident outcry about Councilman Blom’s attitude in general, and specifically his arrogance about drinking wine at Council meetings, a majority of Council still voted him in as Mayor Pro Tem. That was a slap in the face. 

Over the 20 years I have lived in NB, I generally thought of the various Councils as people who cared about the city and did their best to support the residents and their views. Now, I am really questioning whether many of the Councilmembers even care about what the residents think. 

Hopefully some resident-oriented individuals will run in the next election. 

Mike Groff 

Newport Beach

Is the fix in with Team Newport? Only time will tell

Is Council candidate Robyn Grant about to get shafted by Team Newport? Robyn Grant is a very well-respected candidate for NB City Council in District 4 but she may not get a chance to run if Team Newport pulls a fast one with redistricting next month. 

Redistricting occurs every 10 years and the changes are usually minimal. However, unethical politicians can use redistricting to eliminate potential opponents and many of us fear that Team Newport is preparing to change the districts such that District 4 no longer contains Robyn’s neighborhood, thus eliminating her from the election in one fell swoop. 

Here’s what happened that makes me think the fix is in: Councilmembers Diane Dixon, Brad Avery and Will O’Neill are the redistricting committee, usually a pretty boring job. The city consultant recommended a plan to keep the districts pretty much the same, which has been the norm in past redistricting. They voted unanimously to do so, which would normally be the end of it and the City Council would rubber stamp the recommendation. 

However, just before the meeting closed, Mr. O’Neill asked to bring ALL the maps to the council for discussion, a very unusual request. Why do that if you are all in agreement about the redistricting map, unless you are planning to have the full council change that decision and eliminate a powerful opponent? Remember that this is the same Team Newport who fired City Manager Dave Kiff in a truly underhanded way and recently voted to pass over Joy Brenner for mayor. 

There is some chatter that they may even change the districts enough to bump Joy out of her district. In Friday’s StuNews, Mr. O’Neill promised that there were no plans to redistrict Robyn’s candidacy away. Let’s just hope that Team Newport is not as unethical as I fear they are.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach