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Letters to the Editor

Let’s give democracy a better chance in Newport Beach

We have an extremely important presidential election coming up soon, and its dramatic outcome will be felt in every city, county and state. 

At the same time, we have several notable local elections in those smaller arenas that also reflect what we are like as a community and what our aspirations for the future are. They can affect our way of life almost as profoundly as a national election. 

For those reasons we must consider all our votes very carefully.

For several years now, our City Council in Newport Beach has not been very democratic because of the existence of voting blocs or teams whose many disadvantages I have described in a previous letter. Whenever a single candidate has to fight against a slate of candidates, the slate obviously has an unfair advantage. 

Two of our candidates in the upcoming City Council election have either to run against an incumbent who is part of the team, or an incumbent who is running against a totally new candidate who, according to a colleague, had not even been involved in his first debate when he was endorsed by three members of the team or bloc. 

Without even considering names, qualifications, or accomplishments, two of our candidates, Nancy Scarbrough and Jeff Herdman, start the race with obvious unfair disadvantages. And this does not even take into consideration that new candidates must run against incumbents who have been building up “war chests” since before their first election.

The high cost of running for office against slates or teams discourages many good potential candidates from running. And it is the reason that Newport has far fewer candidates trying to seek election when compared to neighboring cities.

Given those large disadvantages promoted by the “Team” culture, Newport Beach is very lucky to have the two stellar independent candidates mentioned above, Nancy Scarbrough and Jeff Herdman. I would like to focus first on the qualifications of the incumbent and in a subsequent letter talk about how lucky we are that Nancy is running in District 2, my district.

Incumbent Jeff Herdman, as I pointed out most recently, is arguably the most qualified of all the Council members. He has excellent communication skills and is very conscientious. He is openly available to his constituents and, in addition to being the chairman of the very important Aviation Committee, he has a long list of accomplishments: completion of Bayside Drive traffic calming program, water main replacement, Park Avenue bridge completion, Grand Canal dredging, annual Island Beach sand replenishment, swim platform installation at Ruby Beach, Island seawall extension project, re-evaluation of Island flood zone, Big Canyon Habitat Restoration Project, Short Term Lodging Program ordinance revision, Cottage Preservation Ordinance creation, projects to protect and enhance Newport Harbor water quality, Trash Wheel project, Initial Election Reform Action Committee, and state funding for cultural arts and the sculpture garden in Civic Center. 

Jeff ran independently in 2016 against the slate of candidates of Team Newport consisting of Will O’Neill, Brad Avery and Lee Lowery, and won. 

Let’s vote for Jeff Herdman in 2020 and show the slate of council members, O’Neill, Muldoon and Duffield, who are supporting the brand new candidate, that we think that their blocs or teams are unfair. 

 And since Mayor O’Neill has declared this the year of the “helper” let’s tell him that he could provide a good personal example by breaking up “Team Newport,” thereby giving democracy a better chance in Newport Beach.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

The importance of a reliable water supply

In addition to Ms. Palmer’s letter to the editor pointing out the “here and now” problem of electrical supply limitations for mandated housing edicts coming out of Sacramento, let’s not forget a few years ago we were on severe mandatory water rationing across the state.

The variable cycle of a reliable water supply will never be resolved until we allocate and fund significantly more construction of water storage facilities statewide, to meet the current water demand, much less future statewide housing edicts from our short-term thinkers in Sacto.

Oh, and did the wise ones up north consider the impact of their premature closing of functional existing power plants’ electrical supply, thus blithely upsetting the grid’s reserve supply/demand capabilities we find ourselves in now?

Clean energy is an admirable goal, but you need to have backup energy ready to go for the inevitable rainy day.

Thanks for keeping Stu News alive and well. It’s vital to us all.

Denis LaBonge

Newport Coast