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Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

Why do we need a Library Lecture Hall just because some people want it?

Our Newport Beach Library Board of Trustees are wonderful community-minded individuals. They support the Central Library and sponsor the Witte Lecture Series of six or seven annual high-profile speakers events through the Newport Public Library Foundation. 

They are floating an idea to build their own “Library Lecture Hall” next to the Civic Center adjacent to the Central Library. 

Here’s the problem, they “want” taxpayers to pay for it. They think they “need” it.

The early cost is eight million dollars. 

I’ve seen this movie before. The early cost estimate for City Hall was 50 million dollars. It ballooned to 140 million dollars costing us eight million per year to pay off the 228 million long-term debt.

The City Hall construction included a multi-million breezeway connecting it to the Central Library.

Instead of building a “Library Lecture Hall” why don’t they simply use the ornate City Council Chambers or the new Community Room?

Newport has many “needs” including harbor dredging, properly funding public safety and top-notch city services.

Do we really “need” another lecture hall because someone “wants” it?

Bob McCaffrey

Balboa Island

Skinner, Moorlach and Petrie-Norris make certain no more disingenuous Museum House petition issues

In November 2016, the Newport Beach City Council, knowing that Line in the Sand planned to challenge their approval of the 25-story Museum House condo tower through a referendum, very intentionally added 3,700 pages to the referendum petition that we were required to carry. This action was taken with the clear intent of undermining the resident’s right to petition their government and it failed spectacularly when Line in the Sand obtained the required signatures to reverse the decision.

In September 2017, I submitted a complaint to the OC Grand Jury and the OC District Attorney’s office, both of whom opened an investigation into the actions of the council and both of whom concluded that it was not against the law for them to have taken this step.

The only remedy remaining was to change the law. In January 2019, I approached State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris with a request to carry a bill in Sacramento that would prevent this abuse from occurring again. To his credit, John had already considered such a bill and introduced SB 359, which would allow referendum proponents to submit a 5,000- word summary in lieu of adding thousands of unnecessary pages to a petition if a future unethical city council tried to take the same action. 

I was invited to address the Elections Committee as the bill started its process through the legislature and took the 10-lb. Museum House petition with me to show the legislators why this was necessary. The bill sailed through both houses with no opposition and was signed into law on Tuesday. 

Anyone who carried the Museum House petition in 2016 will appreciate the fact that good people of both parties still respect the underlying democratic principles of our great nation and are willing to work together to protect our rights. 

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

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