Letter to the Editor:

Are we better off?

As the recall of Councilman Scott Peotter nears the successful completion of the signature gathering, I think it is important to reflect on one question. It’s a paraphrase of the question Ronald Reagan so eloquently asked in 1980: “Is our community better off after the election of Scott Peotter?”

Is traffic better now than in 2014? What ever happened to the Corona del Mar By-Pass? Is the noise and disruption from John Wayne Airport better or worse? Has development been appropriate for our community, or has densification intensity harmed our neighborhoods?

Have we addressed the infrastructure needs of our streets, sewers, libraries and public buildings, or have we siphoned off revenues while cutting fees for specific major campaign donors?

Is our unfunded pension liability higher or lower? (It’s $70 million higher).  Has the power of special interest groups, and the political manipulators like Dave Ellis, been reduced or enhanced?

Does our civic interaction reflect a culture of respect for the residents and a sense of civility, or have we devolved into name-calling, childish YouTube videos, and efforts to undermine the constitutional rights to petition our government by our elected representatives?

Do we have leaders that are focused on pragmatically solving problems and working to improve our quality of life, or do we have a Team Newport-led council majority predisposed to vote as a block? Are citizens or independent councilmembers even willing to bring forth new ideas if the Team is not in support?

Each resident should answer these questions for themselves. But when I answer them, I come away profoundly concerned about the future of our city.  The upcoming update of the Newport Beach General Plan, and the new city budget will reflect choices that will change the very character of our community for a generation. This is why I believe, along with thousands of other Newport Beach residents who have already signed the recall petition that the best means of protecting Newport Beach values is to recall Scott Peotter now. As you think about Ronald Reagan’s question, decide for yourself, and join our efforts.

Michael Toerge

Corona del Mar