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Guest Column

Mike Glenn – Save Newport

Save Dog Beach – your help is needed Tuesday

Mike Glenn

Courtesy of Save Newport

Save Newport Publisher Mike Glenn 

After many long months of dredging, the heavy machinery will likely be gone from Dog Beach by the end of next week and the next big South Swell will drop the sandbars back in the channel right where they used to be, returning the area to the Dog Beach we have all known and loved for 100 years.

However, as you might know, Newport Beach has been in the midst of an anti-dog-on-beaches campaign right now that was begun right as the Dog Beach is being released back into the hands of the dog-loving public. Newport has recently begun placing signs and enforcement agents at the mouth of the county land, blocking access from people who wish to use the off-leash area for their dogs. While we (and local residents!) have been asking for doggie bag dispensers there for years, the city has spent thousands of dollars on signage designed to scare people from the area. The recent Twitter “virtual ride along” with a patrol unit highlighted why dogs are supposedly not welcome on the beaches. The assaults are escalating.

Diane Dixon – the originator of the idea that we should close Dog Beach – wrote that she supported Dog Beach in the past, but recently used a private email account with city letterhead and the city seal to tell county officials that she no longer supports it. Suddenly, inside of the city, the ratcheting-up of anti-dog-beach sentiment has begun once again.

Our efforts previously won us a unanimous 7-0 approval by Parks, Beach and Recreation to not only approve, but actually to expand Dog Beach to Orange Street – making it partially on city land and partially on county land. Somehow, after the meeting, the meeting minutes were modified to strike this from the record – even though we have what was actually said and actually passed on video (we foresaw “oddities” and wanted to keep a record for ourselves in case they materialized).

The county voted 5-0 to approve Dog Beach, but then “certain elected officials” began emailing organizations and groups to get them to complain, stopping the process before it got to the required second vote. All and all, the Dog Beach remained – so we figured everyone was happy. But now the attacks have begun once again and it is time to go on the full offensive if we want to keep this treasured area of land for our four-legged friends. This time, we won’t stop until we have an actual official dog beach – and if that requires removing people from their positions, then that is what it will require.

Here is what we need from you: Please show up at Newport Beach City Hall (100 Civic Center Drive) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and speak on “Non-Agenda Items.”

Speak about why we need to keep and support Dog Beach.

Ask the council why the Parks, Beach and Recreation vote calling for the expansion of Dog Beach was modified in the meeting minutes to not reflect what was actually voted on.

Ask them who has approved the sudden enforcement against dogs in the area.

Ask them if they will hold Diane Dixon accountable for using the city seal and official city letterhead for non-official business (they previously held other council people accountable for this, so they should hold her accountable, too).

Ask council if they will hold Diane Dixon accountable for illegally withholding documents despite them being requested via a Public Document Request Act.

Ask Diane Dixon to explain the reasons why she is against Dog Beach (she won’t respond, but the public outcry will make media attention).

Ask the council to agendize expanding Dog Beach to Orange Street, as the Parks, Beach and Recreation committee had originally suggested a year ago.

Dog Beach has been around for a full 100 years, since 1917, it’s Newport Beach’s last remaining dog beach, and I do not want to see it go away. We need literally just three minutes of your time to speak on this, on Tuesday. Every voice makes a tremendous difference and can really help to sway council people. Please, share this with your friends. We need to send a message to council that we want to keep and preserve Dog Beach.


Guest Column

Dave Kiff

An insider’s look at what’s going on in and around City Hall

Dave Kiff

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

On Tuesday, May 23rd, the Newport Beach City Council will meet for a 3 p.m. Joint Meeting with the City’s Finance Committee to hear the first formal budget presentation of the year. Then the regular non-Joint Study Session gets underway 4 p.m.-ish. Finally, there is a 7 p.m. regular session. More detailed Council meeting information is at the end of the Guide. I don’t summarize every item on the agenda, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like. 

As noted, the Joint Meeting starts at 3 p.m. and is focused on the proposed Fiscal Year 2017-18 City budget. What’s newsworthy about it? A couple of things:

It socks away more money than ever before for pensions, including to address our unfunded liability issue. Another $9 million (!) is proposed to go towards a discretionary additional payment for pensions.

It proposes sending about $6M towards critical harbor infrastructure, including sea walls around Balboa Island.

It’s balanced (wait, that’s not news – our budget is always balanced).

Our capital plan proposes some new efforts that Mayor Muldoon first spoke of back in January, including using better technology for traffic solutions and to start an update of the 2006 City General Plan. 

Then the Study Session is really focused on one main item, that being preparing for Summer along Ocean Front Walk. Folks interested will hear about ideas from the PD for safer travels, as well as our ongoing discussions about things like Surrey cycles. If I were planning on listening in, I’d try for a little after 4 p.m. 

The evening’s Regular Session is at 7 p.m. The items worth noting are a handful:

An airport item involving how Commuter Aircraft at JWA are defined. A bit complex, but simple at the same time. Operators of commuter planes (like SkyWest) are buying new Embraer and Bombardier planes that have seating capacities of 76 seats, but the JWA Settlement Agreement defines commuter planes as having up to 70 seats. JWA is still governed by a “million annual passenger” cap that is in the Settlement Agreement – and any new seats filled on a plane count towards the cap. 

Some changes to the lease agreement involving the Lighthouse Café at Marina Park. The changes would include allowing the Café to have a mobile cart for some food (and coffee). Changes would also allow them to move from a beer and wine license to a spirits license (Type 47). The restaurant and all sales must end/close at 11 p.m. nightly.  

More turf removals are coming to town. The drought may be behind us, but it’s still not legal going forward to use potable water to irrigate turf in medians. That’s a state prohibition. So we’re continuing our efforts to remove turf from medians and to replace it with a colorful but drought-friendly palette – this time on San Joaquin Hills Road and San Miguel Road.   

The Calendar Notes involve some interesting and fun things:

Friday, May 26

3 p.m. – John Wayne Park Dedication, 2501 Cliff Drive. It’s helpful for this one if you RSVP. Please do so to Jenny Sudo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949.644.3003.

Today’s Fun Questions from Residents/Visitors:

This one came to me from a gal at the gym. She wondered: On street sweeping day, if the sweeper has gone by but the “no parking” sign still has some time left (say it’s 11 a.m. and the sign says “no parking” until 12:30 p.m.), will I get a ticket if I park there? The answer:  Generally no, but this is a “spirit of the law” question at this point. To be safe, you should still try and avoid parking there during the street sweeping times, as sometimes the sweeper can surprise you by being delayed or on a different schedule because of an emergency somewhere else. The PD does, though, try to understand that parking is often tight and will work with known issues in a neighborhood to make sure residents get the most flexibility possible to get back needed parking spaces. 

A visitor from Utah asked me this week why there are small smelly tar mats along the beaches. He assumed they were from oil wells offshore. Though we’ve stepped on them, too, Newport residents know that this isn’t so (and how to dodge them) – they’re from naturally occurring seeps beneath the ocean floor, and often make their way to the beach in the form of innocent-looking small pieces of what appear to be thick black plastic. But they’re not, and when you step on them you’ve got some very sticky oil to deal with. He seemed better when he understood that this happens all up and down the Southern CA coast, again via natural causes. Thanks, NOAA.

As always, thanks for reading. Please forward this Guide to family, friends and members of your HOA if you represent one. I always like hearing from you, too, so please don’t hesitate to ask a question or offer a comment. 

Sincerely,

Dave Kiff

City Manager

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949-644-3001


Letter to the Editor:

“Rules don’t apply” to Councilman Peotter

Of all of the characteristics embodied by Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter, his disrespect is the one that bothers us the most.

We could have predicted that he would act in this manner because of the disrespect that he showed our neighborhood between 2007 and 2010 while building his house behind us. Although he was a Newport Beach Planning Commissioner at the time and certainly knew the city’s rules and requirements, he consistently behaved as if those rules didn’t apply to him. 

City rules allow 2 years for the construction of a home, but this particular site was allowed to remain unfinished for almost 4 years despite multiple complaints to the city begging for action to close it down. In an extraordinary departure from protocol, he continued to live in the construction site during this time. 

A 2009 OC Register article about the site contains photos of the mounds of debris present at the site, including mattresses and tires left outside. To those of us who endured this fiasco, his disregard for the very rules he was charged with enforcing presaged his future behavior on the council.

Respect for the rules is a basic expectation for our elected representatives, but Mr. Peotter continues to behave as though the rules don’t apply to him. The Brown Act requires that confidential information disclosed in closed session remain confidential for obvious reasons, but Mr. Peotter readily shared confidential information with his political associates.  

Rules concerning fundraising exist to ensure that politicians are not unduly influenced by donations, yet Mr. Peotter flouted those rules as well, with no expressions of regret.

How a councilman comports himself is important not just with those with whom he agrees, but also with those with whom he disagrees. He represents every resident in the city and it is incumbent upon him to behave like an adult and behave respectfully to everyone. Here again, Mr. Peotter continues to behave as though the rules do not apply to him. After voting in support of the Museum House, he published an editorial in the Daily Pilot in which he made this comment about the environmental organization SPON: “I like to spell it SPAWN (Still Pouting And Whining in Newport).” What kind of respectful person says that?  

It is time to restore respect and integrity to the Newport Beach City Council. It is time to recall Scott Peotter.

Liddy and Scott Paulsen

Newport Beach

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