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Letters to the Editor

Elect Our Mayor campaign flyers

Measure B is an important proposition for our city of Newport Beach and so warrants discussion and thoughtfulness. Thus, I have tried my best to read information for both sides of the argument.

However, there has not been much available information for the “pro Measure B argument,” so much was my delight when a huge flyer from “Elect Our Mayor” was in my mailbox at the end of last week. My hope was that it would contain relevant facts and details to help me reach my best judgement for supporting Measure B.

My anticipation was short lived and replaced by outright disbelief, when not only was there a lack of information, but the wording “why are opponents of Measure B lying to you?” was accompanied by a not-so-subtle image of Pinocchio. Surely, they could not and would not be using it in such shallow terms to merely brand all opposition as liars. That would mean any opposing voter being labeled as a liar.

Measure B was initiated by some members of the council, the flyer stated, “paid for by elect our mayor,” so I find it difficult to not believe that the councilmembers supporting Measure B have not bestowed their approval for the flyer. If that is the case, then name calling of opponents in such a childish and churlish manner would show the true disdain held for anyone who is of an opposing mind.

I do not usually like to quibble about ideas made by others; however, I think that the reference of Pinocchio may be interpreted another way and so in this instance I will quibble.

We are aware that Pinocchio was a puppet with a puppet master pulling the strings. Maybe it was a Freudian slip by the proponents of Measure B who see themselves more as Pinocchio with a puppeteer behind their scenes?

I would say to the people behind the campaign for Elect Our Mayor that if you decide to send such information to my home, then please have the decency to self-check what you are sending to me and how it may be offensive. I ask that you please treat us, residents and voters with respect regardless of what any voter’s stance is on any issue.

Gina Cruz

Newport Beach

Pro Measure B arguments – Where’s the beef?

Proponents of Measure B started out their campaign saying the issue was simple – do you want to directly elect your Mayor. But as opponents of Measure B have defined the numerous harms and flaws of Measure B, proponents have found a new “reason” for you to support it.

Recently in both letters and social media posts some proponents have claimed that the unelected, professional City Manager (who is hired and can be fired by City Council majority vote) has too much power because the City Manager creates the agenda, while it takes the votes of three City Councilmembers to place an item on the agenda. Therefore, agenda setting should be vested in a strong elected Mayor. This argument is totally disingenuous because the policy that requires three City Council votes to place an item on an agenda is a City Council policy (Council Policy A-1) that can be changed by Council vote any time the members see fit! At their next meeting the City Council could vote to allow only one City Councilmember to request an item be placed on the agenda if that was really an issue!

Measure B proponents have had to manufacture false issues to come up with reasons for voters to support Measure B. But Measure B will:

–Allow a powerful Mayor to decide what goes on and what stays off City Council agendas.

–Increase term limits to allow one person to serve 16 years combined as a Mayor and a City Councilperson. 

–Result in massive expenditures on Mayoral campaigns with outside interests becoming major contributors.

–Measure B is a political solution in search of a problem. There isn’t one thing Measure B proponents can point to that the City did not obtain over the past 67 years due to not having a strong Mayor.

Measure B is opposed by 12 former Mayors and many Citizens of the Year as dangerous to our community.

–Eliminates one City Council district, which allows the district the Mayor resides in to have twice the voting power as every other City Council district. 

Don’t be fooled by the power grab. Vote No on Measure B.

Homer Bludau, 

Newport Beach City Manager (1999-2009)

Measure B: A solution in search of a problem?

I read the “City Attorney Impartial Analysis.”

I read the “Direct Argument In Favor of Measure B” and I read the “Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure B.”

I get that the Mayor “should have to talk to you” – yes, presumably, to all 85,239 of us (according to the 2020 census) as promised by the Measure B proponents.

I get that the Mayor should “be accountable to all of us” – yes, presumably, to all 85,239 of us as promised by the proponents.

But, for the life of me and despite all this new knowledge from the “Voter Information Guide,” I have been unable to determine what problem the proponents of Measure B are trying to solve. 

I have concluded that Measure B may be a solution in search of a problem and may possibly be a one-person crusade.

Here are some questions to ponder:

–Is Newport one of the most financially stable and healthy cities in California?

–Does Newport balance its budget each year and also pay down the unfunded pension obligations each year?

–Has Newport’s fiscal management resulted in a surplus every year for the past 10 years?

–Does Newport’s current management structure (a City Manager and staff) create a superbly managed, collaborative, fiscally strong, highly rated city as concluded by residents, visitors, other cities, bond raters, investment participants, developers and others?

–Does the current Council/Manager governance model evenly disperse power among seven co-equals which model has served us well for nearly seventy years and results in the indisputable conclusion that (as Mayor Muldoon stated at the May 19, 2022 Speak Up Newport Mayor’s Dinner) Newport Beach is stable and strong?

If the foregoing questions can all be answered “Yes,” please help me understand what is broke in Newport and what problem we are attempting to solve by enacting Measure B.

As the majority of absentee votes have now been cast and as we approach the June 7 decision day, I cannot get the notion out of my mind that Measure B is not only a solution in search of a problem, but it is a deficiently drafted, poorly conceived and unnecessary idea that may lead to regrettable unintended consequences, conflict, enormous taxpayer costs and possible corruption not unlike what the City of Anaheim recently experienced. 

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

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach


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