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Letter to the Editor:

Voter fraud alert

Newport Beach voters should be aware of the pathetic and fraudulent tactics being employed by Council Member Scott Peotter in a last ditch effort to hold on to his job

Once again Peotter has repeated the lie that the recall election will cost $500,000. He knows the city clerk has put the cost at $300,000.

Secondly, reminiscent of the tattooed thugs employed by his campaign consultant Dave Ellis to intimidate Museum House petitioners, Peotter has deployed out of town campaign workers to solicit rescission cards under the guise of stopping the “Bunny Tax.”

Residents should know: there is no Bunny Tax; signing Peotter’s petition will have no impact on any taxes; the petitions have nothing to do with the bunnies; and these are paid workers (Peotter has no resident support).

This is a desperate effort by Peotter to avoid recall.

This is just the most recent example of dishonesty by Peotter. His vote to reject $480,000 in road repair money demonstrates why we must recall Peotter now!

Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com for more information or to report more election fraud by Peotter!

Lynn Swain

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor:

Campaign finance reform still needed

Campaign finance reports have been filed and once again, our Newport Beach city council is raising money from people having business before the city council, in some cases, three years before they face the voters again.

Scott Peotter is a good example. He is shaking down city tree trimming vendors, trash haulers and other vendors for thousands. Despite currently being investigated for taking excessive contributions from people associated with Woody’s Wharf, and failure to report the costs of a 2014 fundraiser held at Woody’s, he has raised another $1,100 so far from a Woody’s owner. In 2015, Peotter cast the deciding vote to abandon litigation with Woody’s and settle for more than $300,000 and significant operating hour concessions.

You would think that after being cited twice for accepting donations that exceed the city’s legal limit he would learn, but once again, Peotter’s own 2017 reports show that he accepted $400 more than the limit from Buck Johns, operator of the Newport Beach Golf Course. At least this time he refunded the money in advance of being caught by the public. The penalty for this offense is supposed to be removal from office, but due do his influence, the city does not enforce its own law.

If we want political reform and to stop the pay to play influence at city hall, we must recall Scott Peotter. Go to www.recallscottpeotter.com.

Regards,

Chuck Groux

Newport 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  

Here’s what might be of interest to you that’s on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, Aug 8. I don’t summarize every item, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’s agenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.  

The study session is short, and begins at 5:30 p.m. One item is a presentation about the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Orange County, which has been a wonderful program that assists neighborhood families following a significant traumatic event, such as an accident or a crime. For more information about TIP and what it does, visit http://tiporangecounty.org.

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Here are the items that may be of interest to you:

Senate Bill 1 was passed into law earlier this year, and raises the gas tax, vehicle license fees and fees on electric vehicles. The funds raised are intended to be (in part) returned to local communities for additional roadwork. We have identified about $480K in immediate new revenue in this fiscal year that can go towards roads here, including fixing the remainder of MacArthur to the 73 tollway. About $1.4M is expected for the community next year from SB 1’s changes. These revenues are intended to supplement (versus supplant) our existing expenditures on roads. So one item on the agenda asks the City to identify what projects the City intends to make eligible for SB 1 funds.

Speaking of roads, the next phase of reconstruction Irvine Avenue (this time between 16th and Santiago) is up for design funding on Tuesday. Construction is expected to be underway in this fiscal year (17-18). Additionally, the Council will consider awarding a design contract for the now-approved plan for Bayside Drive’s improvements. Recall that the Bayside Drive approved plan is a four-lane roadway (two in each direction) that includes some additional median and landscaping work. Consider this your advanced warning that both projects will be constructed in the not-too-distant future. 

Council is asked to weigh in on a working group’s amendments to various Council policies. These are the guidelines and approaches that Councils (over many years) have asked staff and commissions to follow as we address issues that don’t fall under the Newport Beach Municipal Code.

Lastly, for our Balboa Island friends, a more formal discussion for the Council and community about the upcoming Balboa Island sea wall effort. The current approach is to add 9” to the walls (which are of varying height now – so adding 9” keeps the variations but just raises the walls) to address storm surges and King Tides as well as any increases in sea level. Grand Canal and Little Island are already at the correct heights. This is about a $2M item.    

I’ll note too that there is a once-a-year formal meeting of the Newport Beach Public Facilities Corporation – where the Council acts as the corporation – that is also open to the public and that starts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug 8th (also in the Council Chambers). This annual meeting is associated with regular reporting on the Certificates of Participation (COPs) that were issued to construct the Civic Center and to refund the Central Library bonds back in 2010.  

Some community notes:

The Central Avenue public pier is coming to, well, Central Avenue. Expect construction to start by late next week. This is the new public pier going in near the Elks’ Club and Nobu, off of that little street that kind of parallels the Newport Blvd. bridge (on the eastern side). We hope that the pier will be installed this fall.

Two weeks ago, the Council authorized moving forward with a Prop 218 protest hearing on our wastewater rates. That means that, possibly, increases could be coming down the, um, pipeline. In the spirit of transparency, I’ll note again that this issue is worth your reading and your attention.  Information is on the City’s website here.

Concert on the Green – On Sunday, Sept 3, it’s Night Shift (Labor Day weekend), starting at 6 p.m. and ending by 7:30 p.m. here at the Civic Center. Bring food and chairs and blankets, but no booze.

As the City Council has only this one meeting planned for August, the Insider’s Guide is taking its usual summer break until shortly after Labor Day. You’ll see something from me on Friday the 8th or so, as folks are back in school, back on the freeways commuting, and yet (I’m sure) the warm summer weather will persist. As Newport folks know, September can be the best time of year as crowds are smaller, weekends a little less hectic, and beach time is still terrific.  

Enjoy your weekend, and thank you 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:

What Happened to Political Reform?

In one of the first council meetings this year, Mayor Kevin Muldoon appointed Council Members Scott Peotter, Diane Dixon and Jeff Herdman to an Ad Hoc committee to review and recommend reforms to ensure our political campaign laws in Newport Beach can be enforced to protect the public. What has happened since then? Absolutely nothing.  

Apparently, the committee has been advised not to meet since Council Member Peotter is still under investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”). Peotter was cited twice for taking contributions that exceed the city limits, first by the city clerk and a second time in a complaint filed by Jeff Herdman with the FPPC. The evidence for the violations was contained on Peotter’s own reporting forms he filed with the city. Since then, a new complaint has been filed by Susan Skinner, alleging that Peotter failed to properly report his economic interests.

Normally, the city would depend on its city attorney to enforce its municipal ordinances, but this creates a conflict since the city attorney reports to the council, and the city attorney himself claims to lack jurisdiction to enforce our city’s campaign contribution limits ordinance, which was adopted in 1995 and had been deemed enforceable for over 20 years and 10 election cycles.

The council had the opportunity to address this in 2015, but the majority, including Council Member Peotter, chose to wait until a new council was seated before considering appropriate political reforms. As could be expected, in 2016 a second candidate filed a report showing that he also failed to comply with the city’s campaign contribution limits. Once again, the city council and the city attorney did nothing.

All citizens, no matter which faction or party they may align with, have a right to expect that our laws with be fairly and fully enforced. Peotter and the city council have failed the residents by not making the campaign contribution limits enforceable by a third party, such as the new Orange County Ethics Commission, a Special Prosecutor or the City Attorney. And where is the District Attorney? He recused himself from the 2016 case since he had accepted contributions from the candidate in question.

Peotter is now facing a recall, in no small measure because he has put himself above the law and Newport residents have no other option to ensure the protection of our democratic process. The rest of the city council should act now to ensure our contribution limits are enforced, lobbyists are registered and disclosed, and fundraising from people having business before the council is limited to election years.  

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar

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