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Letters to the Editor

Measure B opponents accused of lying

And we wonder why good people with honorable intentions don’t want to run for public office or to oppose ballot measures in good faith.

In its most recent costly mailer, the “Yes on B” proponents ask in bold red type “WHY ARE OPPONENTS OF MEASURE B LYING TO YOU?”

That same ad shows a slightly overweight, double-chinned, bespectacled accountant-type with fingers crossed asking the “why do they lie” question.

Additional accusations follow in the mailer:

–“Dishonest campaign”

–“Opponents have literally been lying to you”

–“Lie #1”

–“Lie #2”

–“Lie #3”

So, time for honest rebuttal to the proponents’ lying accusations. 

YES, Measure B IS a power grab. Measure B states that one person “shall have SOLE DISCRETION to set City Council agendas and to CHANGE THE ORDER OF BUSINESS on the agendas.” Sounds to me like a heckuva lot of discretionary power is vested in one person. How possibly can the proponents disagree with the meaning of their own words? 

YES, Measure B changes our form of government from seven co-equal collaborative representatives to a strong mayor with six subordinates. Please use common sense. Of course, a strong mayor form of municipal governance dramatically and radically changes our current co-equals governance. 

YES, and ask any city with a strong mayor: the expense of the strong mayor’s staff to administer the strong mayor’s Council subordinates, other City staff and the residents (all 85,239 of us to each of whom the strong mayor will purportedly be “accountable”) will cost a bundle.

I am not naïve. I get that politics is a blood sport as reflected by this latest mailer. But is it any wonder that able folks whose hearts, intentions and ambitions are in the right place are deterred from running for public office or from opposing ill-considered ballot measures? 

Please vote “NO” on Bad for Newport Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

Problems in neighboring cities are proof that Measure B is bad

I’ve been opposed to the Measure B charter change since I first read the text and learned who was behind it. It’s amazing that so many of the dangers I and others saw in it are playing out in other cities just as we prepare to vote. 

For instance, we learned this week that in Anaheim, which has a system similar to what Measure B would introduce in Newport Beach (directly elected and incredibly powerful mayor), the elected mayor is now the subject of a federal corruption probe. He is alleged to have tried to ram through the sale of Angel Stadium to secure $1 million for his reelection campaign. 

This is one of the biggest risks Measure B poses in a city like ours: that the race to be mayor of Newport Beach would be astronomically expensive and open the door to corruption. The race could easily attract crooked politicians from other cities who would seek to buy the office by raising millions through back-room deals with actors who couldn’t care less about our city.

Meanwhile, in Westminster, which also directly elects its mayor for four years, voters will be asked next month if they want to scrap their system and return to one like ours, where the mayor position rotates annually between councilmembers. That city has often seen hours-long, rancor-filled council meetings and it is expected to file for bankruptcy within the next few years.

It would be naïve to think Newport Beach is immune from these kinds of corruption and chaos. 

As someone who’s been observing Newport Beach politics for years, I can honestly say that our system of government works. No one councilmember has too much power. Because the mayor position rotates annually and is mostly ceremonial, and thanks to the checks and balances built into the system, there is little incentive for corrupt and self-serving politicians to run for office. Instead, the system is designed to attract those who simply want the opportunity to give back to the community. 

If Measure B passes, all of this goes away, and all bets are off. 

I’m definitely voting NO and hope you will too. 

Dorothy Kraus

Newport Beach

What to do with Tustin Ave. traffic could be decided at community meeting

Residents in the Newport Heights area are beginning to wake up to the traffic problems that they will be facing if the city decides to block one end of ongoing traffic on Tustin Ave.

Residents are learning how much the changes in traffic flow on other streets will be impacted as drivers are diverted to alternate routes.

According to a traffic study conducted by the city, neighbors learned that the Tustin Ave. closure which greatly decreased its traffic flow from 834 cars to 276 daily, increased the traffic on the only other straight thoroughfare Riverside Ave., which runs from PCH to 15th Street, by 1,400 additional cars per week and increased their daily average by 200 more cars per day.

The other end of Tustin Ave., which reaches to 17th St., will get no break, pushing their total cars average per day to 2,517.

If you are a pedestrian, avoid walking on that street. You would do so to great peril.

Other streets which will see increased traffic from the Tustin Ave. closure, are Ocean View Ave., Avon St., Cliff Drive, Irvine Ave. and Redlands Ave. – literally all streets running parallel to Tustin Ave. will be greatly affected by the closure.

The reasons that Tustin Ave. residents give for wanting to close their street are not clear. Some say the street is very narrow, especially when cars are parked on both sides, that partygoers bring a lot of noise to the area and some councilmembers just said that the reason was because the street was ”unique.”

Actually, every street in the Heights is unique as it is a relatively old area.
But Newport Heights residents should not yet despair. They will have an opportunity to make their concerns known at a Community Meeting next Wednesday evening, June 1. It will take place at the intersection of Tustin Ave. and Ocean View Ave. at 5:30 p.m.

After the neighborhood meeting, there is a plan to place the item on the City Council agenda for the June 28 meeting. If you have any questions, please contact Tony Brine, City Traffic Engineer, 100 Civic Center Drive. Phone: 949.644.3329.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach


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