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Letters to the Editor

Noted architect wonders if the Superior bridge could be better?

(The following is a letter sent to a number of people including Arlene Greer, Chair of the City of Newport Beach Arts Commission, and cc’d to councilmembers Joy Brenner and Will O’Neill, among others, from noted local architect Ron Yeo.)

A friend of mine that lives adjacent to this project (Superior bridge linking Sunset Ridge Park) is losing his sleep because of it. He feels that it is a nice design but could be so much better in order to represent the best that Newport can offer.

The bridge will go from the expanded parking lot to Sunset Ridge Park which is a 10’ wide trail. The bridge path will be 12’ wide.

Letter SNN bridge photo 1

Photos courtesy of Ron Yeo

Proposed Superior bridge to connect Sunset Ridge Park

He feels that any project this important should be reviewed by the Arts Commission. Was that done? If not, do you think that it should it be reviewed?

He feels that by narrowing the bridge center (which lessens the structural load) and widening the ends (making the bridge entry more inviting) would result in a better aesthetic solution. Similar to the LA bridge photo below.

Letter SNN bridge photo 2

LA Bridge

My thinking is that Newport may not have to go over the top in design like Calatrava’s “Turtle Bay Bridge” in Redding, CA.

Letter SNN bridge photo 3

Calatrava’s Turtle Bay Bridge in Redding, Calif.

But the proposed 8-foot-high railing is way out of character. It not only detracts from the beauty of the bridge but makes the walk & bikeway feel like a cage. It also takes away the open view feeling when crossing the bridge.

I feel that the railing should be reduced in height in order to be consistent with the other bridges in Newport.

Letter SNN bridge photo 4

Coast Highway crossing of Bay

Letter SNN bridge photo 5

Arches bridge over Coast Highway

Let me know what you think?

Ron Yeo, FAIA Architect

Corona del Mar

I looked hard at all sides of Measure B – for me, it’s a no

Change can be a good thing and I try to remain open-minded about new ideas. That’s why I took an interest in the directly elected mayor initiative (“Measure B” on the June ballot) when councilman Will O’Neill first introduced it. I did what I usually do to draw my own conclusion: I researched the facts, listened to people I trust and followed the money. 

Here’s what I discovered.

1– If Measure B passes, the mayor would have an incredible amount of power, more than anyone has ever held in our city. He or she would decide what goes on the council’s agenda, and therefore which way attention and money flow. Challenging the mayor’s personal priorities and decisions would require massive effort and coordination on the part of other councilmembers and/or Newport residents and businesses. 

Our city has been successful for many decades thanks to the balance of power on the council. I see no reason to suddenly replace a system that works with one that gives one person the ability to rule like a monarch.

2– Opponents to Measure B include a long list of former mayors and mayors pro tem, former city officials, three current councilmembers and groups from across the political spectrum. 

Closer to home, I’ve had several friends and neighbors tell me they were open to the idea at first but decided to vote no after getting all the details. In fact, I haven’t spoken to a single person who has studied the issue in depth and supports it. 

That speaks volumes to me.

3– As a general rule, I look at the funding behind any candidate or ballot measure before forming an opinion. What shocked me most with Measure B is the amount of money it’s attracting from special interests and individuals from other cities – even other states! The only reason for these outside groups and people to contribute to Measure B is that they believe the change in Newport’s form of government will benefit them – that they’ll have the elected mayor’s ear and be able to influence his or her priorities and decisions. This is more than a red flag for me. 

It makes B a nonstarter. 

I’ve made up my mind to vote NO on B and believe my fellow Newport Beach residents will do the same if they get all the facts, listen to those who know our city best and follow the money.

Susan Rashap

Newport Beach

Vote yes on B and enable all of us to elect our own mayor

This June, the voters in Newport Beach will have an opportunity to approve a charter amendment that would enable all voters and all community members in the city TO DIRECTLY ELECT THEIR OWN MAYOR.

If approved, this means having a Mayor that is directly accountable to all of us – THE COMMUNITY – for the first time ever! 

If that sounds good, then vote YES on Measure B!

Presently in the City, voters elect a councilperson for each district and then this small group of seven people goes into a back room in City Hall and literally picks the Mayor themselves. And each passing year a group of seven councilpersons re-visits the process, and they pass around the mayorship like pinch-pint at a BBQ, regardless of the community’s opinion or that person’s past performance. 

Maintaining this archaic system is the real power-grab! Yep, hard to believe we still allow such an archaic process that promotes and rewards the game of political favors – “make me the chief today and I’ll make you chief tomorrow.”

People opposing Measure B are trying to keep this archaic approach in place. The “opposition” is headed up by some of the same unscrupulous culprits and miscreants of the past.

You know them…many of the city’s well-connected “good ole boys (and girls)” and “insiders.” These are the same folks who gave us a $240 million Taj Mahal. The same ones who aided and abetted and profited from the over proliferation of drug rehabs throughout the City, and many of these folks are ex-councilmen that couldn’t get re-elected in their own districts or even to a second council term – yea those same old insiders! The funniest part is that this cabal has decided to name their campaign “No Elected Mayor: Stop The Power Grab” – what a joke!

You’ll probably hear them claim next that a vote for their side saves the children and brings us clean drinking water too!

The irony is, when you read the actual ballot question you will see just how simple the issue is. But don’t take my word, here’s how an impartial City staffer wrote the ballot question:

….Shall Article IV, City Council, and Article X, Elections, of the Newport Beach City Charter be amended…to provide for the direct election of the Mayor, who would be nominated (and elected) by residents and registered voters of the City of Newport Beach…

In actuality, Measure B will DECENTRALIZE power and put it back in the hands of our voters and community members. If we don’t like the direction a Mayor is taking the City or if a Mayor doesn’t hold to his promises…we can vote that person out too!

The Insiders don’t want you to pick your own Mayor. They believe you aren’t smart enough and can’t be trusted to elect your Mayor.

Reject that cynicism and let’s put the VOTERS and COMMUNITY back in charge of deciding who should be the Mayor of Newport.

Let’s send a message to the Insiders and end THEIR power-grab...Vote Yes on B!

Bob Rush

Newport Beach