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Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

First things first, go all the way to the end and vote No on Measure B

The most important thing voters who love Newport Beach can do when they get their ballots next month is to go all the way to the end and vote No on Measure B. 

This measure, crafted by one councilman and supported by only three of his colleagues, would drastically change the form of government that has served Newport Beach so well for nearly 70 years.

As written, the measure would in essence take us from a democratic system to one-man rule. The elected mayor would have total control over the agenda for city council meetings, meaning he would have total control over what gets discussed and how the future direction of the city gets decided. 

The number of council districts would be reduced from seven to six, and the six representatives would have no voice unless the mayor felt like listening to them. Residents and businesses could find themselves silenced and ignored. The city manager job would become no more than a clerical position. 

It’s easy to imagine a scenario where amazing people who love our city don’t want to run for council, top talent won’t want to apply for jobs with the city (who wants to work for a dictator?), and our incredibly smart and engaged citizenry stops wanting to participate in civic life because one man would be directing and starring in his own show. Hard to imagine anything more antithetical to the spirit of our city than that. 

Another immense privilege the elected mayor would enjoy is that term limits would not apply to him. In 1992, Newport voted overwhelmingly to limit the time a person could spend on the dais to eight years. Yet with this initiative, the person seeking to be our new ruler would get to spend twice that amount of time – 16 years in a row! – on the council. 

Interestingly, when the proponents of this measure are asked what’s wrong with our current form of government, they have no answer. That’s because there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s democratic, it includes checks and balances, and it’s one of the things that has made our city among the most desirable places in the country to live. 

The bottom line is that we have nothing to gain from Measure B, and everything to lose. Please join me in going all the way to the bottom of the ballot and voting NO on B. 

Ralph Wilson Jr.

Newport Beach

Mr. Lowrey’s decision to run in District 4 

I don’t know Mr. Lee Lowrey. From his photograph in a number of recent media publications, he appears to be a pleasant looking fellow.

Over the years, I have attended from time-to-time various community events/meetings including Council study sessions and Council meetings, WAKE UP! Newport meetings, Speak Up Newport meetings, the annual Mayor Receptions, Government Affairs meetings, Police Appreciation Breakfasts, Citizen of the Year events, annual Economic Forecasts, Scholarship Award Dinners, Athletic Award Dinners, Boat Parade Dinner and Auction events, the annual Sandcastle Contests, annual Mayor’s Dinners, the annual Fire/Lifeguard celebrations, Board/Commission meetings, and other civic events/meetings. Those who attend these and other civic events may get a feel for our town. 

Mr. Lowrey could certainly have been a frequent attendee at these events/meetings, but I don’t recall seeing/meeting him (which I’m sure could be my fault). Undoubtedly his attendance has been good as a planning commissioner.

If I am incorrect concerning Mr. Lowrey’s community involvement (other than his important service as a planning commissioner), I apologize.

I am a bit more concerned about reports I have heard that Mr. Lowrey repeatedly stated that he was definitely not going to be a District 4 Council candidate. He has apparently now reneged on that commitment. 

It has also been reported that he was originally leading a campaign against the direct election of the Mayor ballot measure but has changed his mind on that as well.

Are you as curious as I as to why Mr. Lowrey has had a change of heart on these (and perhaps other) matters? Will his commitments/de-commitments portend future decision-making judgments by Mr. Lowrey if he is elected to our Council?

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

Characterization of Lowrey didn’t seem fair

Your characterization of Lee Lowrey struck me and my wife as pointedly harsh, especially compared to your recent write-up on candidate Tom Miller who, unlike Lee, has not spent years volunteering on the Planning Commission.

Just my two cents,

Sean Matsler

Newport Beach

Agree that Grant serves District 4 needs better

I support the points made by Tom Johnson in his March 29 Stu News editorial that concludes Robyn Grant is the best candidate to fill the upcoming District 4 City Council vacancy. Like Tom, I am concerned about Lee Lowrey’s lack of community experience and the immediate endorsement of his candidacy by four City Councilmembers who make up the current Council majority. 

This is the same majority that supports Measure B, the “Election of a Mayor,” to be considered by voters in the June primary election. I believe this endorsement is a power grab to maintain a “Gang of 4” council majority and is not in the best interest of our community. 

I agree with Tom that we need the District 4 City Council candidate to have a proven history of accomplishments for our community.

The current council majority is made up of Will O’Neill, Noah Blom, Duffy Duffield and Kevin Muldoon. They want Mr. Lowrey to fill the vacancy when Kevin Muldoon is termed out and are counting on him to fill the void to keep the majority in control. I believe they are providing their support in exchange for his support for Measure B. 

Mr. Lowrey will likely be looking at the council majority to determine how the “gang” wants him to vote and will direct future Political Action Committee donations to candidates and causes they support.

I have met with Robyn Grant on several occasions and found her to be knowledgeable of District 4’s and the entire City’s priorities and concerns. She is very experienced in numerous Newport Beach community organizations and will look at future issues individually to determine what is best for her district and the City as a whole. Her experience and positions on City issues and programs can be found at

We do not need to create a strong Mayor form of government for Newport Beach that deprives local districts of representation, and do not want political party-based offices. We need our City Council to be community-based representatives for their district. I urge Newport Beach voters to support Robyn Grant for District 4 City Council.

Ron Rubino



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