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Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor

Should trees be removed at Ensign boundary for parking easement?

The words that were spoken at Tuesday’s Newport Mesa School Board meeting were reminiscent of the Nazi left-wing socialists’ way of thinking that creates a stateless, classless society that ultimately takes away the power from the people. 

Disturbingly enough and leading the charge for tearing out the magnificent mature trees and installing a parking lot was Superintendent Navarro, who used such terms as, “When we mobilize” (destroy the trees), “Create higher fences” (much like concentration camps) and “Tagging trees” (Tattooing each tree for termination).

Letter to the Editor tree with ribbon Letter to the Editor Save the Trees

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of Peggy Palmer

The irony is that no one has seen the plans or specifications for the project nor were they available at the meeting; however, the majority of the board voted for the project, much like Pelosi’s infamous health care remark, “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it...” 

The NMUSD did not even consider alternatives for this devastating project, which could simply be to remove the chokers along Cliff Drive and build a reduced drop-off without impacting the trees; this would also save the taxpayer’s money, but saving money is obviously not in the school district’s vocabulary. 

Perhaps, NMUSD, the City of Newport Beach and the Newport Beach Police Department should work together and close the gap. Ironically, the proposed “ghost” plan has failed to even seek building permits from the City of Newport Beach, because as Navarro stated, their department follows different rules.

The same night, Bernie Sanders won in New Hampshire; socialism is impossible because it lacks the necessary information to perform. The Supervisors’ and Board Members’ socialistic performance failed on Tuesday night as well. 

Peggy V. Palmer

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

Reader offers potential solution to City’s bench refinishing issues

I read with interest your opening paragraph wherein you reported the City Council’s discussion and vote concerning the refinishing of benches on Balboa Island. 

What caught my eye was what I’ve highlighted in italics below.

“An issue before the City Council Tuesday night was the potential approval of a contract to refinish benches on Balboa Island, all 109 of them, as needed. 

The benches on the average need refinishing every 18 months to two years.

The contract was not to exceed the amount of $691,720, which was for an on-call maintenance and repair service agreement for two years.

Too much, it was decided.

Following some good discussions, the Council veered off in a different direction. They voted 6-0 (Jeff Herdman recusing himself) to reject the sole bid and instead refer the issue back to the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission. They’ll request that PB & R look into a replacement plan with possibly some form of composite benches that would last considerably longer.”

Here’s why: Decades ago a client, Richard “Slim” Gardner, called me at my office to announce he and his yacht were day-docked at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Having heard only of his prize-winning all-wooden yacht, my partner, Cort Kloke, and I jumped at the chance to tour his prize possession. 

We brown-bagged lunch for all and met Slim at the yacht’s gangplank.

It was a sunny bright day and as we walked to the bow of the boat I remarked about how the handrails glistened in the sun and asked what marine varnish he was using. Slim smiled and answered, “I stopped using marine varnish years ago.”

Interested I asked why, to which he related the following:

“For years and years I sanded and newly varnished the exposed parts of my boat with very expensive marine varnish, then while attending a boat show in San Francisco I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who also owns an all-wooden boat. Our conversation led to maintenance and that is when he exposed me to a company called Smith and Company. 

Smith and Company is a small Northern California company owned by Steve Smith and located in Richmond, Calif. Steve has developed products specifically for the preservation of wood.

That got my interest and I rented a car and drove to Richmond to meet Steve and see his products. The long and short is that I bought his ‘varnish’ and the next time I had to refinish the wood on my boat I used/applied his product to the starboard side of the boat and my regular marine varnish to the port side.”

THE RESULTS: “Some twenty-four months later the port side’s wood was peeling and being exposed to the elements. I sanded and re-varnished the entire port side with marine varnish. That port side refinishing process happened three more times: one at 16 months, one at 20 months and another at 22 months.

Almost seven years from the starboard side being refinished with Steve’s product it finally started to peel in various places and I refinished it, and the port side, with Steve’s products, and I have never used marine varnish since.”

MY STORY: I was interested in the product because here in CdM we have west-facing oak French doors that were in need of refinishing every three to four years. Hearing Slim’s experience I changed to Mr. Smith’s product and now the doors’ finish last, typically, more than ten years.

Here is Mr. Smith’s web page:

DISCLAIMER: I have no relationship, ownership or interest in Mr. Smith’s company. 

Decades ago, I met Mr. Smith when I also drove to Richmond to purchase his product. I found him to be a brilliant, self-promoting, eccentric, believable, genuine, trained chemist who loves what he does and truly cares about what he provides to his clients.

Perhaps, in the long term, his product can save our City a ton of money?

Jock Begg

Corona del Mar

Thieves hitting surfers’ vehicles around Blackies

On Tuesday the 28th, I parked my SUV in front of Blackies, put my keys into my lock box, and went for a fun surf session. Upon my return, my lock box and keys were gone, my car was locked. I went back to my office on 31st Street, and the mess of a long day started. 

Within 30 minutes the thieves had already gone to Best Buy, Apple Store and Nordstrom and charged close to $7,000. I was able to get fraud departments of my credit cards to take care of this, luckily. 

A stolen phone, wallet and key wound up setting me back over $1,200. 

So a warning to all surfers, this gang of thieves is clever and working in groups. On Wednesday when I was at DMV, the clerk told me I was the third person this week with the same story. Then on Thursday, I witnessed another surfer looking for his keys. He, too, was a victim of the same.

Maybe Newport Beach Police need to set up a sting operation or something.

Concerned Surfer

Letter to the Editor

Joan Irvine Smith was a visionary, perhaps we need more like her

Philanthropist, environmentalist, social and corporate activist were just a few of the adjectives to describe Joan Irvine Smith in her recent obituary. “Mrs. Smith was a witness to the development of Orange County from citrus groves and lima bean fields to its current population of more than three million people. Joan was an indomitable advocate for the judicious use of water resources, as well as, the local government’s supervision of land development.”

As the State of California continues to mandate excessive quantities of new housing (only as the State’s population stalls), people are being driven to more amicable and affordable states. We should ask why our water resources are being “hijacked” to accommodate 4,800 proposed dwellings in Newport Beach alone? This defies logic and the remnants of the populace are left to discover that California only added residents by a thin 0.35 percent annual rate over the past 12 months. Statistically, this is the lowest growth rate in State records to date, since the early 1900s.

Responsible development has to recognize the value of preservation of our harbor, protection of public views, conservation of our land and historical architecture. These priceless and unique components of our coastal towns should not be compromised at the whim of reckless government officials. The “Plop-Drop & Destroy” development approach is extremely irresponsible and does not consider the unintended consequences or the perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended.

At the beginning of the 20th century, President Roosevelt ushered in a period of conservation as a major part of his administration. As the new century began, the frontier was disappearing, and many Americans, including Roosevelt, saw a need to preserve the nation’s natural resources. He wanted to protect animals and land from businesses that he saw as a threat. 

Joan Irvine Smith also comprehended the importance of our limited water resources and the responsible management of growth. She and other activists sought that future developments would complement existing neighborhoods and would do no harm.

Perhaps protecting our natural elements and finding common ground for the good of California’s coastline would be a better initiative in 2020.

Peggy V. Palmer

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor

Our Wish List for Newport Beach for 2020

H – Hope and help for the Homeless

A – Abatement of “luxury” variances

P – Prevention of a six-lane PCH

P – Preservation of public views

Y – Yearlong good communication with residents and city government

N – Nurturing civic participation of residents

E – Establishing election reform

W – Wielding control over climate change problems

Y – (not) Yielding to developers’ demands

E – Establishing guidelines for city growth which do not compromise Newport’s natural beauty

A – Arresting the aggressive pace of “mansionization”

R – Ringing in a new year of peace and  prosperity

By Tom Baker, Lynn Lorenz and Portia Weiss

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor

Coastal Commission doesn’t cave in to developer wants

Finally, an exciting victory for those of us who believe in public access to the California Coast! 

At a December 12th meeting, the California Coastal Commission played hardball with a developer in Santa Monica who attempted to skirt the edict of the CCC; he/she had promised to build a resort hotel that included affordable rooms to replace the two affordable hotels that had been knocked down.

In a series of defiant moves, after not keeping its promise to the CCC, the developer had the audacity to sue the Coastal Commission for refusing to grant him an “after the fact“ permit. 

Too often when I visited CCC hearings in the past I was dismayed to see the commissioners acquiescing to the demands of wealthy developers, homeowners and cities. Hopefully, this opens a new chapter – the Coastal Commission’s rededication to protecting the general public’s access to the coast. 

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

Has Harbor’s government chaos led to poor safety decisions?

Next week hundreds of boats will be floating on Newport Harbor enjoying the 111th Christmas Boat Parade.

Mega-yachts, sail boats, speed boats, paddle boards, tiny kayaks and Duffy boats will attempt to safely navigate the chaos.

The Harbor will look like the 405 at rush hour.

Almost as chaotic as the Christmas Boat Parade is the gaggle of a dozen government agencies that regulate the Harbor. 

Two years ago Councilman Duffy Duffield worked with the local Boy Scouts to have LED lights placed on the harbor buoys. It made the Harbor safer and the Scouts did it for free.

Letters to the editor buoy

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of David Ellis

Within months, one of the gaggle of government agencies removed the LED lights because they didn’t have the “proper permits.”

Last February I requested the city’s help to find out what happened to the lights – and hopefully replace them. Nothing has happened in ten months. 

This is a small issue that underscores the need for our city to take control of the Harbor from the multiple bureaucracies that regulate it.

Let’s turn on the lights!

David Ellis

Newport Beach 

Rising sea level needs our attention

There have been two articles this last week in the LA Times (one an editorial) that talk about an existential threat to coastal cities – that of the rising sea level. Experts predict that in the next decade the sea level will rise by six inches.

Local coastal governments need to be working with the state and the California Coastal Commission to determine strategies for addressing this urgent problem. While California is a leader in reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses, it is totally unprepared for the rising sea.

 In Newport Beach, the time, energy and expense the city spends on problematic coastal developments could be better used to face this urgent issue.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beac

Letters to the Editor

Widening PCH will be a major step in the wrong direction for Mariner’s Mile

As a resident of Corona del Mar in Newport Beach, I can appreciate the desire of the Mariner’s Mile Neighborhood to have a similar “village type” atmosphere to the one that we have. However, it was brought to my attention by a friend of mine who lives in the Heights, that along with attempting to establish that atmosphere, the City is considering widening PCH in Mariner’s to a six-lane highway. This would have the effect of establishing the opposite of a village atmosphere.

Corona del Mar has been successful because the highway through the area is narrow and despite traffic problems, particularly at certain times of the day, people can leisurely move around the neighborhood, and can cross PCH quite easily. The businesses are small in stature and align both sides of the highway in a very consistent pattern, creating a very small town atmosphere.

I understand that there are other problems concerning the proposed development for the Mariner’s Mile neighborhood, including fast-moving traffic (which would become worse if the highway is widened), large view-blocking buildings situated next to very small ones and styles of architecture that do not reflect a “beach” atmosphere.

Other than CdM, there is not a typically “beachy” area in the rest of Newport. Doing away with many of the famous land sites on Mariner’s Mile would rob it of its historical significance to Newport Beach. There are views that are going to be blocked, and while I understand that this is allowed, it is not the way to set up a “friendly” area. Many of the residents from that area, one of the oldest in Newport Beach, have lived there for decades.

Although private views can be blocked, I understand that public ones cannot be and that there will be some blocked public views because of this new development.

Although I do not live on Mariner’s Mile, as a resident of Newport Beach, I prize highly the atmosphere of a Newport of bygone years that this area possesses.

I hope the City will not widen PCH, which is the antithesis of a leisurely walking, cycling, driving area.

A village should possess buildings that are similar in size with small variations, consistent architecture, and historical architecture that blends with the new and is inviting to visitors as well as residents.

Tim Stephens

Newport Beach

Let’s remove Banning Ranch from the SCAG List

In response to the SCAG directive, Newport Beach is considering selecting Banning Ranch as one of its choices for limited development. But building homes on this historically significant property with its delicate ecosystem can be a bit of a PR problem for City government, considering its delicate past history with Banning Ranch.

With Coastal Commission validation and a California Supreme Court decision in its favor, you would think that Banning Ranch, with its thousands of admirers, would be off the radar for such a prospect. But Newport Beach government seems to have a proclivity for controversial issues in the past decade.

On the other hand, giving the city the benefit of the doubt, perhaps this decision was made naively since staff members and even some City Council members have not resided in Newport Beach for many years and do not understand the significance of this property to long-term residents and nature enthusiasts throughout California.

Let’s hope that the City does its homework and removes Banning Ranch from any prospective list for development that does not come with blessings from the Conservancy.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor

Is Banning Ranch in the sights for new home requirements from Sacramento?

The ink had not yet dried on the $50 million dollar check from Frank and Joann Randall when Newport Beach Community Development Director Seimone Jurjis announced at a public meeting on Wednesday, November 13 that Banning Ranch was on the short list for giving up land to help meet City building requirements under SCAG. The Southern California Association of Governments voted this month to shift the 1.3 million new homes needed over the next ten years toward the coast and Newport Beach’s share greatly increased. 

For Banning Ranch, such an announcement was tantamount to “raining on someone’s parade” and all the other platitudes that express monumental disappointment shortly after experiencing long overdue success for the preservation of Banning Ranch. 

Banning Ranch defenders’ elation came after winning an excruciatingly difficult battle, of too many years to count, trying to preserve Banning Ranch from being irresponsibly developed. The wetlands of Banning Ranch represent the one last vestige of large coastal greenbelt along the county’s coast, which contains many remnants of disappearing natural phenomenon-vernal pools and endangered species.    

People like Terry Welsh, Suzanne Forster, Steve Ray and Dorothy Kraus and a whole cast of other hard working supporters contributed countless hours to preserve this choice piece of land for posterity for the benefit of our community and visitors. 

Interestingly and questionably coincidentally, it is western Newport which seems to be experiencing the strongest growing pains in the last few years. In addition to the loss of being able to challenge what seemed to local residents as favoritism shown in zoning rules, the area is also fighting two large developments that will drastically change the iconic Mariner’s Mile area of Newport Beach. Without the nostalgia experienced by most residents and visitors when characterizing this quaint part of our coastal town, there would be little to distinguish Newport Beach from any other colorless beach town. It is as if the City Government and the two developments being proposed are metaphorically erasing the heart of the city. 

It is not surprising that many of the residents of Western Newport are saying, “Why Western Newport?” Why our beloved Banning Ranch? Perhaps a better choice would be to use the several hundred undeveloped acres just north of Crystal Cove State Park to fulfill the City’s need for new housing. That would make a lot more sense particularly when talking about traffic circulation.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

Was there a disconnect between the developer and his project and the residents of the community?

On Veterans Day, the applicant for the Newport Village Project (MX3 Ventures-MSM Global) presented the proposed project on several small and hard to see foam boards to concerned residents. Many in attendance were discouraged to learn that our iconic Mariner’s Mile neighborhood is going to be drastically transformed in the coming years. 

Most people who attended the meeting were not happy with the proposed development. One would have thought that the magnitude of this project would have been professionally presented with visuals, view simulations and audio that would have fully illustrated the projects and its impacts to the surrounding communities of Bayshores, Lido Isle, Cliff Haven and Newport Heights.

There was a direct disconnect with the developer’s project that disturbed many residents in the room; for example, there is only one entrance and exit on the north parcel of Mariner’s Mile for the ingress and egress of 108 apartments, 128,640 square feet of non-residential floor area. This same entrance would be used for residents, employees, offices, retail and restaurants, not to mention service, trash and emergency vehicles. Also, this same entry will include an exotic racecar dealership and a boat showroom. This enormous project will only be 30 feet from the abutting residential neighborhoods. Furthermore (as mandated by the State of California), solar panels are required to be installed on each of the residential units and this additional height is outside of the actual height of the residential high-rise units.

The developer and his team stated on a presentation board that they have conducted “Unprecedented Community Outreach” and “Improved View Corridors from John Wayne Park.” According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “unprecedented” means “extraordinary” and according to the California Coastal Commission, views from public parks cannot be blocked. These two statements were disingenuous to the community. The architecture was defined as “Newport Specific” in particular, which seemed vague and unclear.

When asked about the grading on the north parcel, the applicant’s land-use attorney stated, “Grades are hard to measure and difficult to explain.” The residents deserve an explanation to fully understand the scope and impact of this massive project. 

Another concern is that this stretch of Mariner’s Mile is part of California’s Corridor Protection Program, which regulates land use and density and development, detailed land, site-planning, careful control of earthmoving, landscaping and the design and appearance of structures. The benefits make development more compatible with the environment and in harmony with the surroundings. It preserves views of hillsides by minimizing development on steep slopes and along ridgelines. It also prevents the need for noise barriers by requiring a minimum setback for residential development adjacent to a scenic highway. 

 There is also a need to address the historical significance of the historical Ladd & Kelsey building, also known as Amarees (formerly the Stuft Shirt). The Stuft Shirt is an excellent example of Southern California Modern Architecture; the proposed parking structure would obscure a significant portion of its street-facing facade.

The City is conducting a scoping meeting for the public on November 20, 2019 at the Community Room located at 100 Civic Center Drive at 6 p.m. All concerned residents need to attend this extremely important meeting. 

Who knows, perhaps our local champions of preservation, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Randall, will attend. The Randalls clearly recognize the need to protect our community’s quality of life and do no harm, as they recently donated $50 million for the preservation of open-land on Banning Ranch.

Peggy V. Palmer

The Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile

Let’s embrace this opportunity for a new community pool

As some of you have heard, we are in the midst of attempting to build a community pool here in Newport Beach. We have done several informal inquiries, and have found that the community, in general, does enthusiastically favor this project as something Newport Beach has needed for many years, or even decades. 

While we currently support both Harbor and CdM for some pool time, having our own pool is a better alternative in the long run. 

I need to compliment Laura Detweiler, our Recreation and Senior Services Director, along with her colleagues, for all their due diligence in vetting each and every possible location over the past couple of years, and we have learned, as has our Pool Committee, that there are particular issues with each and every past proposed location.

The Lower Castaways is our best option, and it is 100 percent doable. It is a four-acre property that is large enough for a pool complex, along with adequate parking, with the future possibility of some type of activity center for rowing or kayaking. 

I am hopeful the City Council and community will embrace this unique opportunity, and continue to move forward with this needed project.

Mike Zimmerman, President

Friends of OASIS

There appears to be alternatives to a new Library Lecture Hall

Next Tuesday our Newport Beach city council will consider entering into an estimated $750,000 architectural contract for a Library Lecture Hall.

It’s the start of a slippery slope that could obligate taxpayers to fund an estimated $8 million building next to the Central Library for 6-7 annual “high-profile” speakers sponsored by the Library Foundation. 

For the past month I’ve been asking why? 

That’s like building a taxpayer funded football stadium for eight games per year. The fans love it, but taxpayers get stuck with the bill.

I’ve asked what’s wrong with our $140 million Civic Center? They say the “sight-lines” are bad and it’s overcrowded. 

Or, what about using Oasis Community Center – they say the flat floor makes the “sight-lines” bad. People might have to strain to see the speakers.

I’ve asked what’s wrong with the “high-profile” speakers using Corona del Mar or Newport Harbor high schools’ theaters? Both have sloped floors. They say the school district won’t grant access.

Finally, the owner of the newly remodeled Lido Theatre is willing to rent it at a nominal rate for the Speakers Series. Radio silence…a viable alternative saving taxpayers millions got no response.

Next Tuesday we’ll see which councilmembers can resist the urge to spend millions of our taxes for a few fans on a lecture hall for 6-7 annual speeches.

Bob McCaffrey, Volunteer Chairman 

Residents for Reform

McCaffrey seems to miss the point on what the Library needs

In suggesting alternative sites for Library lectures, Bob McCaffrey and his followers miss a most important point. Those lectures would not be at the Library. The mission of Library support groups is to bring people to the Library, to congregate before and after lectures surrounded by the stacks at the Library, to stress the importance of our Library system, and to encourage support of our Libraries by having our Libraries become part of peoples’ cultural lives. In short, to retain the Libraries as “the cultural, educational and informational heart” of our community.   

These support groups put on programming to educate and entertain our residents at the Library, all at no cost to the City. But the demand for programming has outgrown the existing facilities at the Library. The support groups are not looking for new venues to present programming, they are looking for a better venue at the Library to do so. And it is not just eight events per year. The Library hosted well over 200 events attended by over 72,000 attendees during the Library’s last fiscal year, many of which could have used larger facilities, and all of which could have used better facilities.   

Mr. McCaffrey fails to appreciate that other venues could have serious scheduling conflicts with their core uses, not to mention that Library staff that assists the support groups would not be available for off-site events. Would Lido Theatre be able to make their remodeled theatre available for large chunks of time on Friday nights? And what about inevitable conflicts with the demanding needs before, during and after the lengthy Film Festival at the Lido? All of the suggested alternative locations seem sensible until you look at the facts. They are not at the Library, some are undersized, some are already overbooked, some are for school or senior programming, not library programming and all would cost money to rent and staff.

These support groups raised $700,000 last year with contributions of over 1,000 generous donors and volunteered many hundreds of hours to plan and execute programming for the Library. $700,000 is a lot of money and dedication.   Their request for a more workable facility at the Central Library should be seriously considered, not subjected to serial suggestions of unworkable locations away from the Library. Moreover, these groups have from the beginning said they will help the City by raising half of the Lecture Hall construction costs. 

Paul K. Watkins, Vice-Chair

Newport Beach Board of Library Trustees

Letters to the Editor

In spite of frustrations along the way, long-term determination pays off

When I retired from teaching, I wanted to find some venerable causes to occupy my mind and time. Through neighbors’ encouragement, Portia Weiss and Tom Baker, I got involved with the Banning Ranch Conservancy. I was inspired by the leadership’s intelligence and dedication to such a worthy cause as saving Banning Ranch. Leaders like Terry Walsh, Suzanne Forster, Dorothy Kraus and Steve Ray attracted me with their intelligence, perseverance and dedication. I used to attend their monthly meetings in the evening and really felt part of a diverse and spirited group that was totally dedicated to keeping the wetlands of Banning Ranch from being developed – one large vestige of coastal greenbelt along the county’s coast which contained many remnants of disappearing natural phenomenon – vernal pools and endangered species.

After Banning Ranch Conservancy won the right by the Coastal Commission to prevent development, I felt it was time to donate my time and efforts to another group in Newport Beach called SPON (Still Protecting Our Newport). It too is led by an inspiring founder, Jean Watt, who is still at its helm after co-founding the group over 45 years ago. The numerous causes and projects which this group has taken on are amazing – their goal being to protect the vestiges of the past be they coastal houses, landmarks, or open land, from being over-encumbered by gargantuan houses or overlarge commercial developments.

Trying to preserve Newport’s past, working alongside my neighbors in the Heights and Cliffhaven, has proven a daunting task. So often my neighbors and I have had to go before City Council and the Planning Commission to plead our cases and so often our requests have fallen on deaf ears – a case in point, last night (Tuesday, Nov. 5) when a small, dedicated group of us attended the City Council meeting to ask the council for more time and more community input before adopting their election reform package. We felt that, as often is the case, not enough community input had been elicited. Minds had already been made up and the sympathetic ears that we had on the council were outnumbered and thus overwhelmed by the ever-unbending majority. It is so frustrating to try to work with a City Council that is not often open to the requests and needs of its residents. The remark was made that night that we were only a small group who had made a request, but I have been before a similar council who turned deaf ears to very large groups of concerned citizens. 

It also seems so often that issues that are important to residents, particularly longtime residents, are put last on the agenda. At such a meeting last month, would-be speakers had to wait until midnight to go before the council. Thus, the most important goal that the council should adopt is improving its mode of communication with the public – in all forms, spoken as well as written.

But, all did not end on a negative note this last week for those who would revere the past. Banning Ranch enthusiasts proved that worthy causes, long enduring optimism and hard work pay off. They were able to catch the attention of generous philanthropists Frank and Joann Randall, who have promised the ranch $50 million dollars. Let’s not give up yet on preserving our traditional old Newport. As with those at Banning Ranch found out, hard work and optimism can pay off.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Developer has filed for EIR for project, community urged to attend meeting to hear more

The developer for the Newport Village Project has filed for an EIR impact report and is having a meeting this Monday, November 11, at 5:30 p.m. at 2429 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach.

We highly recommend that concerned residents attend this very important meeting. 

What will this development mean to our community?

Please watch the video ( and plan on attending this meeting.

Concerned Residents of Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor

Mr. McCaffrey: Please stop with your misrepresentations concerning the Library Lecture Hall

Well, Mr. McCaffrey is at it again. Same o’, Same o’. Spreading mistruths about the proposed Library Lecture Hall.

This time it’s an “Open Letter” to Dr. Frederick Navarro, Superintendent of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

Mr. McCaffrey trots out the same trite argument that Library programs such as the Witte Lecture Series, Library Live, Medicine in Your Backyard, It’s Your Money, Wake Up Newport, Speak Up Newport, Friends of the Library, Newport Mesa ProLiteracy, the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation and other community programs should schedule their over 200 annual events with over 69,000 participants at the Corona del Mar High School Theater or the Robins Hall/Loats Theater at Newport Harbor High School. 

Dr. Navarro has already told Mr. McCaffrey in an October 4, 2019 email to Councilmember Brenner which was reported in the press: “...our theaters are always booked. We do not allow outside use for two reasons, schools in each zone also use the high school theaters and the schedule is so tight that we cannot find time for all the elementary schools in a year. In the summer, our theaters are down for several weeks for safety inspections and equipment repairs, maintenance and upgrades. We are barely able to squeeze in our own children’s theater summer programs and our summer music camp performances with our busy operations schedule.”

So Mr. McCaffrey and in light of the current overuse of our high school auditoriums, please let us know how you would schedule over 200 events and over 69,000 folks in the facilities at CDM and Harbor.

And in his “Open Letter” to Dr. Navarro, Mr. McCaffrey repeats the following mistruth which has been countered on many occasions: “Instead of the Newport Beach taxpayers spending $8 million on a Library Lecture Hall...” We believe Mr. McCaffrey is well aware that half of the construction costs will be privately donated and will, in effect, be a gift to the City. 

And, finally, Mr. McCaffrey claims in his “Open Letter” to Dr. Navarro that “the library trustees host 6 or 7 high profile speakers each year. Surely you can find 6 or 7 evenings between two theaters to save Newport’s taxpayers $8 million.”

Wrong on all counts Mr. McCaffrey. Please see above.

Mr. McCaffrey has prepared a form email, which he requested our residents to send to the Council. We have prepared the following response to each of Mr. McCaffrey’s emailers. We hope that they will contact us with any remaining questions once they understand the truth.

Here is our response to Mr. McCaffrey’s emailers:

“Dear Mr./Ms. _____________:

My name is Paul Watkins. I serve as Vice Chair of the Newport Beach Public Library Board of Library Trustees (the “Board”). Based on your email to the City Council, the Board wanted me to respond to insure that you have all of the actual facts with respect to the proposed Library Lecture Hall.

(1) First and foremost, you should know that the Lecture Hall is not an “$8 Million taxpayer rip off” as initially claimed by Mr. McCaffrey. The Lecture Hall will be constructed with private funds as well as public funds. Half of the construction costs will be privately donated and will, in effect, be a gift to the City. Had Mr. McCaffrey done any research before making the accusation, he would have discovered that the project has always been a 50-50 cost sharing arrangement between Library supporters and the City. Since the City’s General Fund Budget is about $230 Million, the Lecture Hall one-time contribution will be equivalent to two percent of one year of the General Fund revenues. So it is a false charge that the City will not be able to dredge the harbor, or fight any John Wayne expansion, or support police, or pay other debts if any money is spent on the Lecture Hall.

(2) Over the past few years, the Friends Room has become inadequate in meeting our residents’ needs for presentations and community involvement. But you might not know this if you have never been to a popular event in the Library Friends Room. The Friends Room (capacity of 187) hosted over 69,000 folks in 2018 spanning more than 200 events, approximately 2-1/2 times the number of participants in 2009. And over 1.1 million patrons visited our Libraries in 2018. Demand continues to grow for events and for the Library itself. We anticipate that the Witte Lecture Series, Library Live, Medicine in Your Backyard, It’s Your Money, Wake Up Newport, Speak Up Newport, Friends of the Library, Newport Mesa ProLiteracy, Foundation and other community and outside groups will make regular use of the Lecture Hall with some revenue generation possibilities to the City. Quite simply, the demand for programming by our residents who do enjoy the Library has exceeded the capacity of the Friends Room. And there are no other City facilities that would work any better.

(3) The sight lines from the flat-floored Library Friends Room do not permit guests in the back half of the Friends Room to clearly see the speaker at the front of the Room. The Community Room has a similar capacity to the Friends Room and it too is flat-floored. The Council Chambers has a smaller capacity still. Where would a speaker in the Council Chambers stand? In the three feet behind the dais? In front of the dais but behind the built-in speaker podiums? Neither the Community Room nor the Chambers are actually at the Library where supporters gather before and after events, and Library Staff can be efficiently used because they too have offices at the Library. The 275 fixed comfortable seating Lecture Hall will be sloped from back to front with excellent sight lines throughout. (An additional 50 seats may be added for larger events.) It will have planned pre and post-event areas and can be easily staffed by Library personnel.

(4) Speakers at the flat-floored venues have frequently mentioned that they prefer to look into the faces of their audience to gauge reaction during the course of their talks. This is simply not possible at the Friends Room or the Community Room, nor is it possible with the Event Center at the Oasis Senior Center. Mr. McCaffrey also chastised the Board for not supporting our local schools by using the auditoriums at Corona del Mar High School and at Harbor High School without bothering to check to see if they were available. The Newport-Mesa Unified School District Superintendent bluntly emailed back that the auditoriums are not available to the Library due to already overuse by the high schools themselves and by the elementary/middle schools in the District. Mr. McCaffrey also suggested using Oasis, but Oasis is primarily designed for seniors’ programming, not Library programming, not to mention that it is heavily booked. And how would the limited parking at Oasis work in a very busy facility that suddenly has 300 people descend upon it, not to mention having that number of folks driving through Olde Corona del Mar to get there and to exit from there.

(5) The Lecture Hall will complete the centralized Library campus as the “cultural, educational, and informational heart” of our community. The Library Staff and the Foundation’s offices are located within the Library. The Library Staff members and the Foundation Staff members who arrange for and execute the events at the Lecture Hall will be on-site and able to efficiently carry out their duties with a nearby centralized Lecture Hall. Did you know that the Foundation raised $350,000 last year for Library programming, and also gave a check to the City for $155,000 to spend on Library-related materials? This total of $500,000 was all privately-raised money and enabled a wide variety of presentations in the Friends Room.

(6) A state of the art Lecture Hall will be able to attract world class speakers, performers, and presenters to Newport Beach. Many authors and other Library-centric presenters expect to discuss their books or other scholarly works at a library and not elsewhere.

It is our hope that once you have reviewed the foregoing points in favor of the proposed Lecture Hall, you will reconsider your position and support the Lecture Hall. And please know that you can call me or send me an email at any time to further discuss the proposed Lecture Hall.

Thank you.”

So, Mr. McCaffrey, please stop with your misrepresentations concerning the Library Lecture Hall. 


Paul Watkins, Vice Chair 

Newport Beach Board of Library Trustees

Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor

Mr. McCaffrey’s misunderstanding concerning the Library Lecture Hall

At the risk of boring your readers with our to-and-fro exchanges, I would like to make a couple of observations regarding Mr. McCaffrey’s recent sarcastic comments about the proposed Library Lecture Hall.

1. Mr. McCaffrey’s letter published October 18 mentions an $8 million price tag for the Lecture Hall five separate times before he finally concedes that half the construction costs will come from private funds. That cost sharing arrangement was part of the Library Board’s presentation to the Council on March 12, 2019, which Mr. McCaffrey either knew or should have known before he started his letter-writing campaign in the press about the Lecture Hall cost.

2. Mr. McCaffrey apparently did not see the published photo I took of the March 8, 2019 Witte Lecture by Ms. Amy Walter in the Friends Room. Indeed, Ms. Walter IS on a riser and is still cut off from view for many attendees on the flat-floored Friends Room. And I guess Mr. McCaffrey’s simplistic and naive suggestion would have us stack riser-upon-riser-upon-riser so that folks sitting up front would crane their necks to look up at the speaker. Think first row at the Lido. 

3. The Friends Room hosted over 69,000 participants in 2018 spanning more than 200 events, approximately 1 1/2 times the number of participants in 2009. Over 1.1 million people visited our libraries in 2018. Demand is growing for both. Yes, the Library Board views the Lecture Hall as a “need” at this point. While Mr. McCaffrey ridicules our desire to offer high-quality facilities to host our programming, we believe the Library campus will be greatly enhanced with a 275-seat Lecture Hall (plus 50 overflow capacity), with sloped fixed comfortable seating and excellent sight lines, with state of the art audio visual equipment. Mr. McCaffrey does not believe such a facility merits even one cent of public funding, even though the City will own 100 percent of the Lecture Hall upon completion with some attendant revenues. He has other priorities for the City’s money, but the Library Board believes enhancing the Central Library competes well with any other City project, especially since half the construction cost will in effect be donated to the City. 

Paul Watkins, Vice Chair, Board of Library Trustees

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor

McCaffrey retorts Watkins’ retort

Paul Watkins’ recent letter supporting the need for an $8 million library lecture hall makes my point – he “wants it.” We don’t “need it.”

Mr. Watkins, Vice Chair, Board of Library Trustees, thinks it’s a good use of our taxes to spend $8 million so high-profile speakers like Doris Kearns Goodwin can be shrouded in opulence – at our expense – as she hawks her latest book.

He “wants” taxpayers to spend $8 million because neither the $140 million City Hall Chambers or adjacent Friends Room “offers fixed comfortable seating or a sloped floor that preserves all-important sight lines.”

Here’s an idea to save us $8 million, rent a riser for $200. The sightlines will be perfect.

Here’s another idea Mr. Watkins, if you pay Goodwin’s fee she will speak on the beach and we’ll save $8 million and apply it to things we “need” like bay dredging, public safety, and paying down the pension debt.

I was pleased to read that the library folks would use private funds for 50 percent of construction costs. They can start by paying all of the estimated $750,000 architect fee and fundraise for 100 percent of the construction cost because they “want it.”

Bob McCaffrey

Balboa Island

Letters to the Editor

No alternatives fill need for new Library Lecture Hall

In a recent letter, Mr. Bob McCaffrey opposed the proposed Library Lecture Hall at the Newport Beach Central Library. Mr. McCaffrey complained about its cost and questioned the need for a Lecture Hall. He suggested that instead, the Civic Center Council Chambers or Community Room be used. 

Previously, Mr. McCaffrey suggested that the high school auditoriums at Harbor High School and Corona del Mar High School be used without bothering to ask Newport-Mesa about its plans for their facilities. NMUSD Superintendent Dr. Frederick Navarro emailed that the idea was “not pragmatic” due to already heavy overuse by the high schools and local elementary/middle schools. Mr. McCaffrey has also suggested Oasis Senior Center.

Mr. McCaffrey’s latest proposed alternative sites for the high-profile speakers, presentations, and performances contemplated for the new Lecture Hall ignores that the groups that raise funds for and are instrumental in securing the programming are library-centric groups. They love libraries and are motivated by their desire to ensure our library system continues to be the “cultural, educational and informational heart of the City.” They believe that better facilities mean better programming opportunities.

Here’s what else Mr. McCaffrey failed to consider:

1. The cost of the Lecture Hall will be a private-public partnership where half of the cost will be raised by library supporters. Speaking of costs, library staff who also perform other functions at the library cannot be efficiently utilized for the planning and executing of events if the events are not actually at the library. 

2. The Newport Beach Public Library Foundation (with offices located at the Central Library) seeks to attract world class speakers, presentations, and performers, many of whom expect to discuss their books or other scholarly work at a library. For example, the first speaker for the 2019-2020 Witte Lectures is internationally renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. And sometimes, events like Ms. Goodwin’s draw more people than the Friends’ Room, the Council Chambers, and the Community Room will hold; the Lecture Hall is currently planned for approximately 275 seats with overflow capacity of an additional approximately 50 seats. A recent library “needs assessment” reflects a nearly 30 percent attendance increase over a short four-year period. The Foundation and its many supporters are closely aligned with the location and operations of the Central Library, not with the high school auditoriums, not with the Oasis Senior Center, and not with the Council Chambers or Community Room. Beyond the Witte Lectures, it is expected that Library Live, Wake Up Newport, Speak Up Newport, and other community and outside groups will regularly use the Lecture Hall with revenue generation possibilities. 

3. The Lecture Hall will be designed with permanent comfortable seating.  The floor design of the Hall will be sloped (i.e. inclined) from back to front for excellent line of sight to the stage from each seat in the Hall. Neither the Community Room nor the Event Center at the Oasis Senior Center (nor for that matter the Friends Room) offers fixed comfortable seating or a sloped floor which preserves all-important sight lines. And needless to say, Mr. McCaffrey’s Council Chambers’ suggestion ignores the fact that the Chambers have a permanent dais at the front, which disqualifies the Chambers as a reasonable option for theatrical, musical, or like performances.

The proposed Library Lecture Hall will complete the Central Library campus and allow the library, its affiliates, and outside groups to offer world class speakers, presentations, and performances.

Paul K. Watkins, Vice Chair, Board of Library Trustees

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

Why do we need a Library Lecture Hall just because some people want it?

Our Newport Beach Library Board of Trustees are wonderful community-minded individuals. They support the Central Library and sponsor the Witte Lecture Series of six or seven annual high-profile speakers events through the Newport Public Library Foundation. 

They are floating an idea to build their own “Library Lecture Hall” next to the Civic Center adjacent to the Central Library. 

Here’s the problem, they “want” taxpayers to pay for it. They think they “need” it.

The early cost is eight million dollars. 

I’ve seen this movie before. The early cost estimate for City Hall was 50 million dollars. It ballooned to 140 million dollars costing us eight million per year to pay off the 228 million long-term debt.

The City Hall construction included a multi-million breezeway connecting it to the Central Library.

Instead of building a “Library Lecture Hall” why don’t they simply use the ornate City Council Chambers or the new Community Room?

Newport has many “needs” including harbor dredging, properly funding public safety and top-notch city services.

Do we really “need” another lecture hall because someone “wants” it?

Bob McCaffrey

Balboa Island

Skinner, Moorlach and Petrie-Norris make certain no more disingenuous Museum House petition issues

In November 2016, the Newport Beach City Council, knowing that Line in the Sand planned to challenge their approval of the 25-story Museum House condo tower through a referendum, very intentionally added 3,700 pages to the referendum petition that we were required to carry. This action was taken with the clear intent of undermining the resident’s right to petition their government and it failed spectacularly when Line in the Sand obtained the required signatures to reverse the decision.

In September 2017, I submitted a complaint to the OC Grand Jury and the OC District Attorney’s office, both of whom opened an investigation into the actions of the council and both of whom concluded that it was not against the law for them to have taken this step.

The only remedy remaining was to change the law. In January 2019, I approached State Senator John Moorlach and Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris with a request to carry a bill in Sacramento that would prevent this abuse from occurring again. To his credit, John had already considered such a bill and introduced SB 359, which would allow referendum proponents to submit a 5,000- word summary in lieu of adding thousands of unnecessary pages to a petition if a future unethical city council tried to take the same action. 

I was invited to address the Elections Committee as the bill started its process through the legislature and took the 10-lb. Museum House petition with me to show the legislators why this was necessary. The bill sailed through both houses with no opposition and was signed into law on Tuesday. 

Anyone who carried the Museum House petition in 2016 will appreciate the fact that good people of both parties still respect the underlying democratic principles of our great nation and are willing to work together to protect our rights. 

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

Our energetic new representatives

Characterized as a “firecracker” by a local newspaper, our Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris is in the news again, this time as the author of a new bill signed into law last Saturday by Governor Newsom. AB 65 invests in green infrastructure along the California coast in order to combat sea level rise. 

She also secured a state grant ($4.5 million) to finance a 150-day program called FIRIS (Fire Integrated Real Time Intelligence Systems) which would provide a tool that could be the future of wildfire combat.

Finally, she has authored two other bills recently, AB 469, which improves transparency and preserves sensitive information, also signed into law by Governor Newsom, and AB 558, whose goal is to provide pro-bono legal services for active military members, again signed into law by Governor Newsom. 

Cottie’s 74th Assembly district includes Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Irvine, and Laguna Woods.

Equally as active and charismatic as Cottie is our new Representative in the House, Harley Rouda. Like Cottie, he has gotten to work quickly authoring several bills in the House including H.R. 1317, the Coastal Communities Adaptation Act; H.R. 2570, which holds PFAS polluters accountable for their role in a nationwide contamination crisis; and, H.R. 1929, a bill to permanently extend the fuel cell motor vehicle tax credit. 

He is also Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and the Reform Environment Subcommittee.

His two major goals are protecting the environment and propelling the economy. Harley’s 48th Congressional district includes Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, and parts of Garden Grove, Midway City, Santa Ana, and Westminster. 

Interestingly, both Harley and Cottie live in Laguna Beach.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Open letter to Board of Supervisors concerning General Aviation “Request for Proposal” process

Dear Chairperson Bartlett and Supervisors Steel, Do, Wagner and Chaffee: 

We appreciate you taking the concerns of Orange County citizens into account during your consideration of the three proposed GAIP options and approving an option that addressed many of these concerns. 

As Newport Beach Mayor Diane Dixon and others stated during the June Board of Supervisors meeting, there is a need for more “specificity” in the details of the GAIP, which we believe must be resolved before the RFP process begins.  We feel strongly that the RFP process be transparent and reflective of concerns clearly voiced by Orange County residents. As you recall county chambers were at standing room capacity. 

To that end, we recommend the County incorporate the following “specifics” into its RFP process and future FBO (Fixed Base Operations) lease agreements:

1. Eliminate the GAF/international provision and remove JWA as a General Aviation “port of entry.”

2. Ensure leases involving the County, JWA and the FBOs establish strict FBO hours of operation that mirror commercial jet hours of operation. Include provisions for terminating lease agreements of violators.

–Preserve the 2016 light GA/Jet mix as clearly defined in the approved EIR limiting the number of larger/louder aircraft. It is vital to limit hangar width to 40’ or less.

3. Limit medium and large GA jet aircraft to approximately 25.6 acres on JWA property.

4. Guarantee provisions for future aircraft utilizing electric/alternative energy. 

Lastly, the “Request for Proposals” must define the terms of compliance with the resolution so prospective FBOs with responses outside these terms will be classified as non-compliant and eliminated from consideration. RFPs must require language in the final lease documents that makes the commitment to the above terms mandatory for the life of the lease and any renewals or amendments. 


Nancy Alston, AirFair

Lorian Petry, CAANP

Homeless location in northwest part of town seems best

I was just enjoying the latest copy of Stu News and noted your reporting on Wednesday’s Council meeting regarding a temporary homeless shelter. Just my two bits, I think the 825 16th Street address makes the most sense. It’s away from high-end homes and in an area less visible to visitors. I think there is a low-priced grocery market nearby as well.

Bill Rhinesmith

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Only one location suitable for homeless shelter 

The City will be having a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 4 p.m. regarding where to place a homeless shelter.

In my opinion, our area, known as West Newport, is already inundated and two of the suggested locations, 6302 Coast Highway and the 825 16th St., are too close to residential neighborhoods, businesses and schools. This area already has the highest crime rate in Newport Beach.

Having a homeless shelter one block away from the beach could in fact create more transient activity and should be a non-negotiable. 

The 4200 Campus seems to be a reasonable area for a shelter as it appears to be in an industrial park and would be non-intrusive to the surrounding community.

Peggy V. Palmer

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

California Coastal Committee Public Meeting should have been better attended

On December 12, in the Newport Beach Civic Center, a decision was made by the California Coastal Commission that will no doubt come back to haunt the residents of Newport Beach for many years to come. If you entered the room and saw the audience scattered sparsely around the large area, you would think that something very inconsequential was taking place. Yet at the dais, the Coastal Commission was represented by a large crew-staff and commissioners, supported by a group of technicians. The audience was greatly outnumbered.

Only the night before, a huge crowd of residents had filled the room to swear in the new City Council. Did the residents of Newport Beach who had a 70 percent plus turnout rate of voters for the election care more about the Council than the outcome of the Coastal Commission meeting the very next day? In reality “no.” But the public meeting on the Newport Beach LCP (Local Coastal Program) amendment which took place on the 12th required interest and at least minimal knowledge of what seemed like a very complex issue.

Following a many-years-long process, the City finally obtained certification of its Local Coastal Program in January 2017 from the California Coastal Commission. This was much to the chagrin of a few bystanders who knew it would become an ominous decision. That was because they had been working with a City Council that wanted to run around the Coastal Act as much as possible, and enact rules that seemed to say one thing, but that later could be read to mean something different. The city has been using its certified LCP ever since to issue Coastal Development Permits for projects proposed within the Coastal Zone. Almost immediately after certification, the City began requesting changes to the LCP.

Not surprisingly the “public” meeting on the 12th requested by the City was to amend their approved LCP to include “a new provision allowing for modifications and variances, add exceptions to the Shoreline Height Limit and revise IP (Implementation Plan) sections to allow additions to nonconforming structures and revise IP sections regarding the waiver of future protection in shoreline hazardous areas.” In other words, the LCP that had been adopted only a few years back was already under major changes by the City, all of which over time will change its very character.

Residents aware of the new relationship between the CCC and Newport Beach by means of the LCP, immediately responded to the words that were constantly on their radar when dealing with the City: additions, variances, height exceptions, waivers, deviations, Shoreline Height Limits and revisions to the IP.

Why wasn’t more attention given to this important meeting? The technical nature of the meeting itself required education on the part of the residents. The staff report was fragmented and confusing. Also, the public meeting was held at a time that people were overburdened with public and personal events: the recent election, the recount, the selection and swearing in of new Council Members and officers, and the holiday season. Some people also may have felt that the California Coastal Commission which had gone through a “cleansing” period itself, would protect them from the power grasp of the City.

A few brave and faithful souls got up to comment on this attempted move by the City, nearly begging for the protection of the Coastal Commission. Time for presentations was cut short as if the Commission had already made up its mind and was just going through the motions. The basic results of what the City got approved by a sizable majority of the commissioners that fateful day was the City’s right to deviate from the Commission’s certified development standards if it felt that the deviations were consistent with the CCC’s standards. And even more distressing was the decision that the City’s arbiter was to rule on that, not the Coastal Commission, not the Planning Commission, but the sole Zoning Administrator. The only course of action a resident might take to fight any objectional rulings is to appeal to the City (at a cost of over $1,600) for Planning Commission review, and if that fails, appeal to the Coastal Commission.

One of the Commissioners, Erik Howell, who ruled against the CCC’s adoption of the revised new standards of Newport Beach’s LCP, summarized so aptly what had just taken place. He said that he was “not super comfortable with this whole thing.” He went on to say that this was in part due to the City’s failed attempt earlier in the year to “declare” Newport Beach a Port “to avoid oversight by the Commission.” Commissioner Howell concluded by saying, “I think that the intent of things coming out of Newport is to avoid oversight by the Commission on any projects in the City.”

As citizens, we must familiarize ourselves with the modifications or variances that challenge the California Coastal Commission’s seven “findings” or protections. Findings must be verified by the Zoning Administrator before approval of a Coastal Development Permit can be granted. “Findings” include that the modification or variance will not result in development that significantly impedes public access along the sea or shoreline, will not block or significantly impair public views to and along the sea or shoreline, and other scenic coastal areas, and will not have an adverse effect, either individually or cumulatively, on coastal resources.

We will no doubt pay a high price for not having better attendance at the meeting on December 12th. And so we will add still another page to our playbook of why we as residents must remain constantly vigilant of what is taking place around us. 

Dorothy Kraus and Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Ballot recounts started December 12

Letter to the Editor Tim Stoaks Letter to the Editor Duffy Duffield

Courtesy of Mike Glenn’s Save Newport

(L-R) Tim Stoaks and Marshall “Duffy” Duffield

As the ballots were being counted for three weeks after the election, it appeared that our Mayor Duffy Duffield had been unseated. In the final weeks, the ballots counted gave a serious plot twist: Tim Stoaks lost his lead and Duffy began to win. When the dust settled, Duffy won by 36 votes.

Every vote matters, guys.

Supporters of Stoaks have gotten up enough money to begin conducting a recount. That recount effort began December 12.

Conventional wisdom says that a recount in a council race doesn’t move the needle if the margin is wider than 10 votes, so don’t expect a change in outcome, but the pressure continues for Duffield, which may be part of the intent, too.

A full recount will cost about $27,000, composed of rolling daily deposits in the amount of $3,800.

Sources tell me that the first ballots to be recounted will be the absentee and provisional ballots, as those carried the biggest differences and therefore are considered most suspect by those doing the recount.

If successful there, they will continue with the recount. If not, they will end it early.

We are looking forward to seeing the results of this recount, as it is definitely one of the closest races in the history of our city.

Regardless of who wins, it sends a message that when politicians literally do not complete a single promise that they made – and do the opposite of what they promised – the voters do take notice.

In the last four years, the city has seen an increase in taxes, an affirmation (rather than a repeal) of the Dock Tax, we’ve seen wood burning fire rings be replaced by “coal” fire rings, overall staff increases, massive consultant increases, new taxes, more regulations, multiple proposals to seize property and property rights from citizens, attacks on Dog Beach and an expansion of local government in virtually every aspect, despite promises to do the opposite in nearly every aspect.

So good luck to Tim in unseating Duffy. I have my doubts, but would be ecstatic to be proven wrong.

Mike Glenn

Newport Beach

Editor’s Note: The Letter above originally appears on Mike Glenn’s website.

Letters to the Editor:

It’s time for a change in our City Council

Most residents agree that it’s time for change in our Newport City Council, we envision our future to include new and responsible developments along Mariner’s Mile, reduced speeds and lanes along West Coast Highway.

The surrounding communities of Lido Isle, Bayshores, Newport Heights and Cliff-Haven have been working together to make certain that we “Make Newport Beach Great Again” and this includes looking at those developments that have become an architectural “gem” (Lido House), and those that have failed to an extent that the iconic Crab Cooker must be torn down (The Vue).

We have set goals, met new friends and neighbors, who have come together for the common good of our community, we care deeply about our bayside town and most everyone shares this same vision.

Simply, adjusting our sails could be the best thing that has happened in our town since the “Freeway Fighters” who led the battle in 1971 against PCH becoming a 10-lane highway. It will also allow those current city council members to follow their passion and their heart by protecting our precious harbor.

We need to work together, to preserve the tranquility and character of Newport Beach and this means making difficult decisions on November 6th that will influence our future now and for generations to come.

Luke Dru

President Cliff-Haven Community Association

Newport Beach

Time for a change to the school board

I supported and encouraged my friends to vote for Karen Yelsey 12 years ago when she ran for a NMUSD trustee position. She had an excellent background; I felt she might bring some new ideas to the school board and she promised to stay on the board for only 12 years. After a twelve-year tenure, she is running for another 4-year term. (She also voted “yes” on the amendment that the trustees approved to limit term limits to 12 years.)

As a trustee, she represents the entire district. One example of her leadership is that she voted for the failed Swun math program which cost the district four million dollars. As a result, in 2017, 50 percent of all NM students failed to meet state math standards. (83.3 percent of Estancia students and 36.38 percent of CDM students were not proficient in math.)

For the last 12 years she has voted “yes” on all issues. I want a trustee that will speak up and do some real critical thinking for the entire district, not just CDM!

You are knowledgeable about school issues, why haven’t you found someone to represent trustee area 4 that might provide new ideas and perspectives?

Martie O’Meara, Retired Teacher

Newport-Mesa Unified District resident

Letters to the Editor:

Activist disagrees with future Uptown Newport tax

The pressure must be getting to Newport Beach City Councilmen Scott Peotter and Marshall Duffield because their surrogates have taken to the press to attack their opposition.

Their first surrogate Greg Sullivan posits that there are only two choices regarding the funding of the park and utility undergrounding required for 200 condominium units at Uptown Newport. One alternative is to have the new residents pay a stiff special tax, up to $4,500 per year, on their property tax bill to support $8.8 million in bonds for thirty years. The new residents, of course, did not get to vote on either the taxes or the bonds.

He suggests that the only alternative is for all other residents to pay for these improvements through the general fund. But this is really a false choice. The real alternative is for the developer to pay for the improvements as he is contractually obligated to do and then build the cost into the price of the units. In this alternative, there are NO new taxes. In fact, until the Team Newport council came into power, prior city councils required millions in developer fees to fund infrastructure improvements throughout the city. Mr. Duffield and Mr. Peotter are quick to abandon their anti-tax rhetoric in order to benefit their developer donors. That was the real choice, but one conveniently overlooked by Mr. Sullivan. Interestingly, they put the deceitfully titled the “Taxpayer Protection Act” on the November ballot to make it look that they opposed taxes at the same meeting that they were jacking taxes up with the highest property tax increase since Proposition 13. Apparently, Mr. Duffield and Mr. Peotter lack a sense of irony.

There is really nothing to say about Team Newport’s surrogate Bob McCaffrey and his weird, incoherent and childish rant. It is interesting that Mr. McCaffrey doesn’t even attempt to defend the sorry records of Mr. Peotter and Mr. Duffield. He just calls people names. With friends like that, who needs enemies.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Nice to remember Rosalind

When I read your mention of Rosalind (Williams) today, it actually gave me a chill, but a good one. Talking about someone who truly made a difference here, wow. It was nice to see it. I hope all is well.

Steve Bromberg

Newport Beach

Tumultuous election season is upon us

These are not quiet times. A tumultuous election season is upon us at both the local and national level. At the national level, there is some concern that our democracy is being tested. The divisiveness that is being played out currently in our country affects the relationships that we hold not only with our fellow citizens, but with our families and our friends as well.

But what does a challenge to democracy look like at the local level? Do you see the same kind of turmoil among factions in Newport Beach that you do at the national level? At the local level, democracy would play out with a city government that is responsive to the needs of its citizens. Council members would have open and frequent communication with the residents of their districts. They would express and represent the views of the majority and they would follow the rule of law. 

Ask yourself if this is the kind of government that we now have in Newport Beach. 

If it isn’t, you will soon have the opportunity to make some important changes. It’s time to get involved.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

McCaffrey letter attack on all women

Words cannot express the disgust I felt, as a woman and Newport Beach resident, reading Bob McCaffrey’s letter last week in which he compared council candidate Joy Brenner and community activists Susan Skinner and Lynn Swain to drooling dogs. 

All three women are longtime Newport Beach residents, successful professionals and mothers. Joy’s grandkids go to our local schools. What did they do to draw Mr. McCaffrey’s ire? They’ve dared to express concerns about the direction his hand-picked council is taking the city we love. 

I share their concerns and believe enough residents are paying attention that we have a good chance of taking back our city in November. Many voters now see how toxic Mr. McCaffrey’s “Team Newport” is and how much we need independent candidates, not his slate, in City Hall. 

It’s possible that Mr. McCaffrey is escalating simply because he’s reading the writing on the wall the same way I am. But still, that’s no excuse: There’s no place for this kind of openly misogynistic rhetoric in our public sphere. 

Bob McCaffrey’s attack on these women is an attack on all women. And the candidates who are endorsed and bankrolled by him are complicit if they remain silent. As are all those who contribute to his causes and attend his events. 

Mayor Duffield and the rest of Team Newport should publicly repudiate Mr. McCaffrey’s views. Scott Peotter should move his September 13 fundraiser to a location other than McCaffrey’s home. If the venue doesn’t change then council members, elected officials and all those who respect women should boycott it. 

We’ll soon find out who has a sense of decency. 

Jennifer McDonald

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Uptown Newport project good for housing needs

My name is Greg Sullivan and I have been a lifelong resident of Newport Beach and a career real estate professional. I remember getting ice cream at Wil Wrights (corner of PCH & Dover), the development of Shark/Linda Isle, Promontory Point, Spyglass and more. 

Some changes have been good and some not so much, but I feel the Uptown Newport project is good for our city’s housing needs and a place I could see my children live. To me, it appears that Susan Skinner’s complaint against a CFD (addressed below) is a thinly veiled complaint to fight against a project that provides an alternative housing solution and was processed within the parameters of a well vetted General Plan Update. I realize that this project has already been approved, but I disagree with Susan’s tactics and it is irresponsible to not share in some of the burden to provide housing for our growing population. 

In her latest complaint, she attacks the approval of a Community Facilities District for a new development (Uptown Newport) off Jamboree. But let’s get real: CFD’s ensure that the future homebuyers at Uptown – not existing Newport residents – pay for their own park and utilities. 

Would Ms. Skinner rather have existing residents fund these costs? I certainly hope not! 

The Uptown CFD provides for a new public park for all Newport Beach residents. It also funds the undergrounding of unsightly overhead power lines above Jamboree. All of this is done at the expense of future Uptown residents and not existing Newport Beach residents. 

Personally, I find this complaint confusing, without merit and wrongly addresses this development and city finances. 

This is a good deal for Newport Beach and the Council was right to approve it. Sincerest regards,

Greg Sullivan

Newport Beach 

Activist turns to science to explain local political frenzy

Almost 130 years ago Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov was studying how digestion worked in mammals. He noticed that when he entered the room wearing a lab coat his dogs began drooling. They thought it was dinner time.

Pavlov then started ringing a bell while feeding Fido. Fido slobbered all over the place.

Then he started faking-out Fido by withholding food while ringing the bell. Poor Fido started to drool.

With Newport Beach elections on the horizon, Pavlovian Theory is playing out in our sleepy little beach town.

Decked out in his Tommy Bahama’s lab coat, former councilman Keith Curry rings the bell with wild allegations causing his Pavlovian dogs to start to salivate.

Psychiatrist Susan Skinner slobbers all over herself on Nextdoor. 

Lynn Cuckovich Swain spits up all over social media. 

Candidate Clyda “Joy” Brenner becomes a Bernese Mountain Dog with a dishtowel draped around her neck collecting drool.

Councilman Jeff Herdman starts dribbling all over himself then calls Curry to ask for permission to stop.

It’s quite a site. Pavlov’s classic conditioning is alive and well in Newport Beach.

Bob McCaffrey

Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island

The question is, who might attend?

Thank you for letting us know about the upcoming fundraiser for Scott Peotter at the home of puppet master Bob McCaffrey. It got me thinking about who might attend.

I can’t imagine that any women will attend since Peotter voted against the city Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy.

Republicans won’t go because Peotter voted in favor of the largest property tax increase since Proposition 13. New taxes of up to $4,500 per year on the new homes in Uptown Newport.

Democrats? Forget it, Peotter is a far-right political extremist.

City employee representatives won’t be there, given the abusive and condescending way Peotter treats employees.

Those residents who think traffic is a top Newport issue have no reason to go, Peotter voted against accepting $485,000 in tax dollars earmarked for traffic and road improvements.

If you live in the John Wayne Airport takeoff corridor, well, Peotter has been missing in action on airport issues for four years.

I guess Bob and Scott will have a small intimate gathering to talk about high-rise growth together.

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Sweet remembrance of Blaze

What a sweet and sad letter from Lily Williams – thank you for publishing it.

Brenda L. McCroskey

Corona del Mar

Letters to the Editor:

Asking for a little civility until November comes

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Our recall didn’t work. So, we’ll do our best to bully intelligent people and demand they do things our way RIGHT THIS MINUTE. 

Shoot, then let’s demand we are involved in selecting the next city manager because we are now pontificating the current manager. We will never find a replacement as good because the NB elected officials can’t possibly do the right thing. 

So, we’ll go to the meeting, act like immature thugs and chant “vote them out.”

Oh darn! They selected the best available candidate. Darn it. 

But in the meantime, we are supported by former mayors. Now we will get our way.

Shoot, I forgot that one exceeded spending on city hall and then called all questioning the costs “mediocre.” Got trounced in his next election for higher office and blamed it on the winner coming from a larger populace. Nope! We wanted a solid candidate. 

One of the other mayors was soundly defeated because voters did not want him in office. 

Imagine that. 

So, now it looks like the Three Musketeers who started all of this noise are more like the Three Stooges. 

The rest of us know the council needs reworking. We will do so at election time. Like civilized ladies and gentlemen. The Newport Beach way. Quietly and efficiently. 

Mark Adams

Newport Beach 

Stoaks is long-time friend to Newport Beach

Friends and Neighbors,

Together, we have worked with Tim Stoaks on John Wayne Airport issues for more than a dozen years, which is why we are excited that he has decided to run for Newport Beach City Council.

Tim has been a reliable, consistent voice for the goal of controlling growth at JWA.  Over the years we have had many people drop in and out of our meetings, proposing one solution or another. However, Tim has been steadfast in working with the City, the County and Newport Beach residents in order to help make our uneasy alliance with the Airport work.

Because of our relatively long relationship, we know that while working full-time as an architect and raising his daughter here in Newport Beach, Tim has involved himself in many other aspects of community life. His activities include participation with the Santa Ana Heights Project and the Newport Harbor Educational Foundation. He and Evelyn Hart worked closely together to see to it that the Oasis Senior Center was built. 

Until recently, he served on the Board of Directors of Line in the Sand, resigning from the Board in order to run for the City Council. Tim was not only one of the founders of Friends of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter (FONBAS) but is currently serving as president.

We believe that because of the actions of Tim (and many other community minded folks like him), Newport Beach is a great place to raise a family. We know from our past experiences, Tim will work hard as a council member to help KEEP Newport Beach the great city we all love. 

Melinda Seely and Nancy Alston

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Joy Brenner wrong to lie about crime

Shame on Joy Brenner for using a fear campaign as she runs for Newport Beach City Council. She used her position with the Corona del Mar Residents Association to send out a message recently that there is a “plague” and “rash of burglaries” in the area. 

This forced our hard-working Newport Beach Police Department to issue statements that essentially called Brenner’s claims false. Property crime in Corona del Mar is actually down compared to last year. Specific to burglaries, a whopping four additional investigations over an 8-month period have been investigated. 

Our Police Chief, Jon Lewis, reported recently that serious crime is down 15.7 percent, burglary is down 14.5 percent, and overall arrests are up 3.1 percent. 

A rash? A plague? Hardly. It’s just a scare campaign from a City Council candidate and it disrespects our Police Department.

Debra Walden

Corona del Mar

Kudos to council on city manager hire

Great job Newport Beach City Council. They have unanimously selected a well-qualified person to move our City forward. It took sustained leadership from Mayor Duffield and his fellow council members to push forward over unfounded rumors and baseless accusations.

It is curious that Council Member Jeff Herdman made a motion to wait until after the elections when he knew that this qualified candidate was available. He could not have realistically believed that she would still be available if his political stunt had worked. 

Either way, the city council should be commended. Bravo. 


Peter C. Pallette

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Argument against Team Newport proposed ballot measure 

On Friday (Aug. 17), the real opponents of the ballot measure being advanced by Team Newport will go to court to displace the phony arguments filed by Team Newport supporter Bob Rush. The following is the ballot argument Team Newport is trying to keep residents of Newport Beach from reading:

Don’t be fooled, this measure may sound good, but consider that no other city in California has adopted this restriction. That should tell you that it is not a good idea.

Lease obligation debt by definition does not increase taxes. A special election could cost over $350,000, project costs will be increased as projects are delayed and politics, not fiscal analysis, will decide which projects are sent to the voters and which are funded with cash.

This measure will require projects be submitted to the voters without going through a competitive bidding process, alternatively, bids will be padded by as much as 30 percent due to election delay. 

This law is so bad, the authors have tried to exempt all of the projects such as sea walls and disaster repairs that might actually fall under these provisions. Sea walls may still need a vote if they are not in imminent danger of failing. Do you really want to vote on a new police headquarters building or vehicle replacements? Do you want to have to raise campaign funds to get a new park near your home?

City staff did not recommend this, our financial advisors did not recommend it, the City Finance Committee did not recommend it, and no “best practice” supports this. It’s just a cynical effort by some members of the city council to give them an issue to run on in the absence of any real accomplishments.

They will use the ballot measure campaign to raise funds in excess of the contribution limits to augment their personal campaigns. They do this without regard to the impact of the future ability of the city to maintain its essential public infrastructure. 

Don’t buy this con. Vote No on Measure ___ and restore good government to Newport Beach.

Mike Henn, Former Mayor

Rush Hill, Former Mayor

Keith Curry, Former Mayor 

Jean Watt, Former Mayor Pro Tem

Toerge will not enter council race

I have chosen to withdraw from the 2018 Newport Beach City Council election. Words cannot express my appreciation for those that supported me in my effort to bring experienced independent leadership to our City. While I feel I am uniquely qualified to serve as a City Councilman, the divisiveness of team politics renders the election process anything but enjoyable. There is greatness in our future and I am looking forward to the years to come. 

Mike Toerge

Corona del Mar

Michael Toerge originally announced he would run for the District 6 City Council seat during last year’s recall effort of incumbent Scott Peotter. Following the failure of that effort, Toerge kept active on all financial filings for the position.

Toerge is “my hero”

Now that the window of opportunity has closed for candidates to declare themselves for the Newport Beach city council, I would like to share with you the real hero of this process: Mike Toerge.

Mike was heavily involved in the recall of Scott Peotter and would certainly have run if the recall had been successful. When it was not, he left the door open as to whether or not he was going to run. Most people felt that he was going to do so, creating quite a bit of angst among those of us who recognized that Peotter would clearly win a three-sided race. He fooled me, too. When the window of opportunity closed last Friday, Mike had not submitted papers to be a candidate.

I can assure you that this was not because he was not passionate about our city nor because he felt that he couldn’t do a bang-up job as a councilman. He took that bullet knowing that if three people were in the race, Scott wins, and he wanted what was best for our city.

To do this, he had to convince people that he was likely to run. This meant getting beat upon regularly by just about everyone trying to talk him out of running. It meant filing financial forms showing that he had lent himself 60K to keep up the appearance of being a viable candidate. Doing so also meant that he fooled Scott and Dave Ellis into thinking that he was going to run and kept them from running a decoy third candidate in the race.

Mike is my hero for this. We all want Peotter thrown out of office, but Mike had to take the slings and arrows that have been thrown at him for literally months while putting up a convincing front in order to keep the race a two-person race. For this, he deserves every accolade that can be given.   


Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

And the audience chanted, “Vote ‘em out!”

The week that was...

It seems like rarely a week goes by without the news of some kind of controversial, hot-button issue being introduced by the City Council. Be it developments which do not meet city codes, declarations of refusing funds from the gas tax, the attempt to make Newport a port city, the debacle over Museum House, the on-again, off-again discussion of adopting a new General Plan, the questionable and greatly unpopular move to terminate the City Manager’s contract: These are just a few of the developments that make residents in Newport feel like they are on a perpetual roller coaster. 

Most recently the Council set up a meeting at 9 a.m., Monday morning (evidently they think that no one in Newport Beach works), to privately interview candidates for City Manager by phone. They had narrowed their choice down to three candidates, one of whom was rumored to be a political pick because of his lack of managerial skills. Amazingly they went from over 70 applicants down to three finalists and after their closed-door session, allegedly just two in a very short period of time. 

All residents who got up to speak last Monday had lots to say about the hiring process and what they said was not very complimentary. In fact, when one of the concerned residents, and candidate for council, Roy Englebrecht, suggested putting the process on pause until after the November election, only one council person, Jeff Herdman, sympathized with the frustrated residents by making a motion to that effect – but he was unable to get a second from the other council members.

Among the approximately 50 people in the audience, no one seemed to be supportive of the Council, often applauding as 14 impassioned speakers criticized the Council’s constant lack of transparency, as well as their present hiring process of a City Manager. However, no one was prepared for what happened as the Council was leaving the chamber to go into closed session. The usually staid audience at council meetings erupted into catcalls and a chant of “Vote ‘em out,” which lasted just long enough to become a popular topic of conversation in Newport Beach the following day. This spontaneity at the meeting just might become a more formalized plea for residents who have had their fill of city council politics: VOTE EM OUT!

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Wait…Peotter didn’t give you the full story

Scott Peotter recently sent out an email taking “credit” for various “accomplishments”. Incredibly, one of them was the pay down of the city’s unfunded pension obligations. Peotter had actually voted against this twice. That he should try to take credit after opposing it speaks to his integrity.

But Scott sold himself short. He has actually done much more than he claimed. For example:

Peotter voted to support the 22-story Museum House high-rise. He voted to impose a thirty-year tax of up to $4,500 per year on Uptown Newport residents for improvements that would have otherwise been provided by the developer. He voted to reject $485,000 in funds to improve roads and traffic in Newport Beach. He led efforts to spend tens of thousands of tax dollars on the now abandoned “Port Plan.” He proposed spending $200,000 for audio visual improvements at city hall to make himself look better on cable TV.

He opposed efforts to fund more police on the peninsula and in our schools. He was involved in the ouster of our outstanding City Manager Dave Kiff, and he publicly defended the qualifications of politician Shawn Nelson to be the replacement.

He has managed to yet again put himself under investigation for violating our campaign contribution limits and reporting requirements. This year, he added an investigation for conflict of interest violations.

Peotter should take “credit” for his full record. And the public should not forget it on Election Day.

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Councilmember Herdman attempts to clear the confusion

First, a most sincere thanks to those of you who were able to rearrange your schedules this past Monday morning in order to attend the special meeting of the City Council. 

An honest display of concern and democracy on your part. I wish it would have been so on the part of the remainder of the Council in not seconding my motion to delay the hiring process of our city manager until after the November election. Without a second the motion failed, and we immediately adjourned to Closed Session. I was honestly amazed by the intense chanting that then took place, “Vote them out”, by those in the audience. It appears to me that a revolution has been launched!

Second, it is important to me that without breaking the Brown Act, I explain my situation, and deal with the accusations that are being leveled at me by my colleagues on the Council. What is being said is that I broke a confidentiality agreement by releasing the name of one of the three finalists. This is flat out not true. The other implied accusation of my being supportive of this individual as a finalist, is true. I was one of the council members who supported this candidate moving forward as a finalist, but let me explain…

Going into the interview with this candidate, I knew absolutely nothing about him other than what I had read on his resume. He did an outstanding job in the interview and moved to the top as one of my three most qualified candidates. Based on his performance during the interview I did vote to place him in the top three for a second interview.

Then the name of the candidate was “leaked”, and absolutely not by me.  As a result of this leak I began receiving emails and face-to-face comments from people encouraging me to not consider this individual for the position. I even did some fact checking myself and concluded that this individual was no longer a viable candidate. I had a responsibility to the community to do this. This left me with two very qualified candidates from which to select; candidates I was very comfortable with as finalists. 

With the above explanation of facts, I have not broken any confidentiality agreements, or the Brown Act. I have simply explained my situation and provided you with the facts. As you would predict, I have received several phone calls from the press asking for a statement. I have simply responded with, “It appears that the election season is upon us!”

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Councilmember

Newport Dodges a Bullet

This has been a wild week in Newport Beach. When it became known that an elected County Supervisor with absolutely no experience as a city manager was in the top three for consideration to replace Dave Kiff, the public became outraged. Over three hundred emails were generated to the city council after the “interviews” were moved up two weeks and notice given late Friday night for a Monday morning special meeting. 

Despite this effort to avoid public scrutiny, over fifty residents attended the meeting demanding that only a qualified city manager candidate be considered and requesting this decision be delayed until after the election. Everyone in attendance was shocked when the crowd began to chant “Vote Them Out!” as the council filed out of the room.

It was troubling to see the council issue a statement accusing Councilmember Jeff Herdman of leaking the name and violating some sort of “confidentiality agreement” by commenting on qualifications of one of the candidates without mentioning his name. 

As council watcher Jim Mosher has noted, this statement itself may be a violation of the Brown Act and it failed to mention all of the members of the council who had advanced Supervisor Nelson’s name to the finals. 

I know my source of the name was not Herdman and the community owes him a word of thanks for standing up for the community and calling for the public to attend this “special meeting.” 

Now council, tell us the names of everyone who supported this candidate. 

When Dave Kiff was ousted by Team Newport, many of us feared an attempt to bring in a politician as city manager to carry out the full agenda of the political machine running our city. That is almost what we got. Thank you Jeff Herdman for standing up for the residents.

From the bungling of the Kiff retirement, the tens of thousands of tax dollars spent on the foolish “Port Plan”, the phony charter amendment and even phonier negative arguments by Bob Rush, the subpoenas, putting Peotter on the finance committee, conflict of interest violations and the erosion of civility in our city, the fault lies with Mayor Duffield who has been involved in all these measures. 

It is time for a change. We cannot allow our city to continue to be embarrassed by the Peotter/Duffield special interest agenda. 

Keith Curry
Former Mayor Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Another concern with the Koll Center project

I am requesting that our city not approve the Koll Center condo tower. Another high-rise residential tower (Koll Center) that will be bigger by far than the Museum House tower that we rejected a few years ago. Every oversized project puts more stress on our water supply and as we enter another dry year, it seems likely that we will be facing water rationing more and more in the future. I would appreciate consideration for existing residents and ask that we not continue adding more and more development to our city since doing so virtually guarantees that we will face prolonged water restrictions in the future.

Geri Ferguson

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Election Fraud in Newport Beach

Election fraud is occurring in Newport Beach. On June 26, the city council put a charter amendment on the ballot purporting to require a vote before the city could issue lease obligation debt, which by definition does not require a tax increase. Newport Beach would be the only city in the nation to adopt this poorly thought out and expensive requirement. That should tell you something right there. 

Watch the meeting video as the council learns for the first time that sea walls and dredging of the harbor are the most likely projects to fall under this restriction and see them feebly try to concoct loopholes and exceptions. In the end, they just didn’t care about the impact of this measure on our infrastructure and ability to respond to our capital needs. 

The real reason for this ballot measure is to create a vehicle so that the Team Newport political machine can circumvent our campaign spending limits.  It’s exactly what was done in 2016. Just another dishonest way to cheat.

But that is not the worst of it. Bob Rush, acting as a shill for the machine, filed fake arguments in opposition. The machine is apparently deathly afraid of you hearing the truth about this sham, so to block the real opponents they cheated again. Rush is a failed candidate best known for his opposition to our Group Home Ordinance and his support for ousting Dave Kiff. He was a strong ally of Scott Peotter in the recent recall effort.

Adding 3,700 pages to the Museum House petitions, failing to enforce our conflict of interest and campaign contribution limits against themselves, ousting our outstanding city manager, issuing subpoenas to their political opponents, awarding contracts to their friends and donors; there is a continuing pattern of dishonesty.

Rush was speaking for the machine when he told the real opponents including Jean Watt “to kiss my ass”. That’s how the Team Newport machine feels about our community.

The dishonesty and hypocrisy of this cynical effort was best displayed on the same night this ballot measure was adopted when the council approved $8.8 million in bonds and up to $27 million in new property taxes in order to benefit a developer/campaign donor. The impacted residents did not get to vote on these new taxes. 

In November, vote against dishonesty. Vote against the Team Newport machine including Peotter and Duffield.

Keith Curry, Former Mayor 

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Activist “taxed” by councilmembers’ conflicting decisions

If you thought that Mr. (Scott) Peotter and Mr. (Marshall) Duffield were ‘anti-tax, let’s vote on bonds’ councilmen, you would be wrong. Their anti-tax stance becomes remarkably flexible when one of their financial backers requests a tax increase, as occurred last month when they approved the largest property tax increase in the City of Newport Beach since the passage of Proposition 13.

At the same June 26 meeting where the council put their misnamed “Taxpayer Protection Act” on the November ballot to require a vote to fund major public capital improvements, projects that do not even raise taxes, they approved the formation of a Mello Roos district for Uptown Newport at the request of developer Bill Shopoff, a frequent contributor to the Gang of 4.

The massive Uptown Newport project was approved years ago and is now coming out of the ground at MacArthur and Jamboree. One might expect that all financial dealings would have been finalized years ago when the project was approved, but the developer has just now asked the city council to authorize additional Mello Roos taxes for this project. This allows the city to tax future residents for required improvements such as the streets and parks that are being built rather than charge the developer. 

As a result, each new homeowner in this development will pay up to $4,500/year in additional property taxes for 30 years for a potential total tax of $27 million. Ironically, these homes were intended as affordable housing and these future homeowners were denied a vote in this particularly onerous tax. 

This was all approved without a whimper by the anti-tax contingent of the council.

The hypocrisy of this action is staggering but perhaps not unexpected. The overriding philosophy of Peotter and Duffield appears to be a ‘me first, city second’ attitude. 

Since the best predictor of future actions are past actions, I can only assume that we can expect more of the same unless we remove these men from office and replace them with true public servants.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Please don’t let our gondola business sink

On behalf of the Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile, we wanted to inquire (about finding) two slips for the gondolas and a small office space for this small family owned company, Gondola Adventures. 

The owners Elisa and Greg Mohr spoke at Tuesday’s City Council meeting to plead for help to find a new home and we are afraid their voices fell on deaf ears. 

If the City can make room for the Invictus, one would think that the City could find a way to accommodate an iconic company that has serviced Newport’s marine related industry for more than 25 years. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as Gondola Adventures has to find a home before November 1, 2018.

Please feel free to share, as this family owned “gem” of a business really needs the community’s support right now.

Peggy Palmer 

The Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile

Newport Beach 

Letter to the Editor:

Not happy with the Peotter appointment to Finance Committee

Another week of chaos in Newport Beach. Scott Peotter was put on the Finance Committee, ensuring his dangerous and expensive “ideas” previously dismissed by the Finance Committee will be brought back again and again. 

Peotter actually told the Finance Committee and its member Larry Tucker “Tough Crap” for not advancing the Peotter idea to require a vote on lease obligation debt. Two days later the Finance Committee actually did consider Peotter’s proposal and declined to support it.

Despite lacking support from the Finance Committee, city staff, city financial advisors and any other city in California, nonetheless, our council did move forward to put a charter amendment on the ballot to require a vote for lease obligations.

One could only laugh as Brad Avery sheepishly asked if we would “actually be the only city in California with this restriction?” Answer: Yes, and Will O’Neill discovered to his surprise that yes, sea walls would be financed with Certificates of Participation if financing was needed.

The council exempted financings for emergency repairs from “state or federal declared emergencies”. They also added an exemption from “locally declared” emergencies. This is actually not a thing, just a big loophole for the council. Having discovered that Certificates of Participation would be used to fund sea walls, dredging and bulkhead improvements, they added a loophole for any project that “could prevent the damage to property”. Hmm, wouldn’t that include almost anything like a fire station, road repairs or utility undergrounding?

The council was not really concerned with the specifics, they now have a ballot measure campaign that will allow fundraising outside of our campaign limits. Expect to see their smiling faces in your mailbox in support of this measure.

I hope voters have had enough of the nonsense at the city council and they will reject this poorly written political ploy and the council members who continue to put politics before community.

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

PCI Consultants says City falsely accused them of violating state election laws

I write to you on behalf of PCI Consultants, Inc. (“PCI”), and its President, Angelo Paparella. As you are aware, PCI was retained earlier this year to circulate and solicit signatures on a petition calling for the recall of City Councilmember (Scott) Peotter. During the review of submitted signatures at the Orange County Registrar’s office, PCI agreed that it appeared that a circulator hired by one of its subcontractors had submitted approximately 50 fraudulent signatures on one or more of the recall petition sections. PCI is cooperating fully with the District Attorney’s investigation into the matter. PCI has also cooperated fully with the City Council’s investigation into the matter, including providing the City Council with all of the documents the City has requested in response to a subpoena issued to the company earlier this year. 

Nevertheless, in describing PCI’s response to the City’s document request, City Manager Dave Kiff’s Staff Report for Agenda Item 24 for the City Council’s June 26, 2018, meeting asserts that “it does not appear that the company [PCI] provided instructions or certificates to gatherers as required by California Elections Code Sections 9607, 9608, 9609, and/or 9610.” The Staff Report, as well as City Manager Kiff’s “Insider’s Guide” and proposed Ordinance
No. 2018-12, essentially accuse PCI of violating state election laws by failing to demonstrate compliance with Elections Code sections 9607 and 9609. 

Before you proceed to further defame PCI by accusing it of violating Elections Code sections 9607 and 9609, we suggest that you actually read the language of those statutes, which neither City Manager Kiff nor City Attorney Harp appears to have done. Both sections explicitly apply only to the gathering of signatures on initiative petitions – not recall petitions, which is what are at issue here. Elections Code section 9607, for example, states: 

 “The proponents of an initiative measure shall ensure that any person, company, or other organization that is paid, or who volunteers, to solicit signatures to qualify the proposed measure for the ballot shall receive instruction on the requirements and prohibitions imposed by state law with respect to the circulation of the petition and signature gathering thereon, with an emphasis on the prohibition on the use of signatures on an initiative petition for a purpose other than qualification of the proposed measure for the ballot.” 

Likewise, section 9609 declares: “(a) Prior to allowing a person to circulate an initiative petition for signatures, the person, company official, or other organizational officer who is in charge of signature gathering shall execute and submit to the proponents a signed statement that reads as follows: 

“I, ______, acknowledge that it is a misdemeanor under state law (Section 18650 of the Elections Code) to knowingly or willfully allow the signatures on an initiative petition to be used for any purpose other than qualification of the proposed measure for the ballot. I certify that I will not knowingly or willfully allow the signatures for this initiative to be used for any purpose other than qualification of the measure for the ballot. 

(Signature of Official) _______________ Dated this ________ day of __________, 20___

“(b) The certification required by subdivision (a) shall be kept on file by the proponents of the proposed initiative measure for not less than eight months after the certification of the results of the election for which the measure qualified, or if the measure, for any reason, is not submitted to the voters, eight months after the deadline for submission of the petition to the elections official. 

“(c) Failure to comply with this section shall not invalidate any signatures on a state or local initiative petition.” 

As can readily be seen, neither of those sections (nor sections 9608 or 9610) applies to or imposes any obligation on companies that are hired to solicit signatures on recall petitions, which fully explains why PCI’s response to the City’s subpoena did not include any instructions or certificates that the Staff Report erroneously suggests should have been included in PCI’s production. 

We therefore request that the City publicly correct the record by retracting those portions of the Staff Report, proposed Ordinance No. 2018-12, and City Manager Kiff’s “Insider Report” that wrongly state or imply that PCI has violated or has potentially violated state election laws by failing to maintain or provide the instructions and certificates referenced in Elections Code sections 9607-9610. Having hereby been put on notice regarding the erroneous allegations contained in these City documents, any further repetition of these or any similar allegations at the June 26, 2018, City Council meeting will constitute “knowing or reckless” disregard of the truth under New York Times v. Sullivan’s “actual malice” standard for defamation. 



Fredric D. Woocher 

Strumwasser & Woocher, LLP

Los Angeles

Letter to the Editor:

This is what Koll looks like from up here?

I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the “Birdseye Perspective” of the Koll Center Residences on the City of Newport Beach website. In addition to the other problems with this massive project, it is completely out of character with the surrounding buildings with its size and height. 

Is this the first step towards the Koll Business Park becoming a high-rise, high-density area? I thought there was an agreement that low impact housing was going to be built at this site. What has happened to that? I do hope the city council remembers this compromise and keeps these buildings to a moderate size.

Joan McCauley

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

A Good Day for Residents

As someone who is occasionally critical of the city council, I think it is appropriate to offer a word of thanks when it is due. On Tuesday, the council rejected Councilman Scott Peotter’s proposal to implement the City of Irvine political patronage model for the City Finance Committee. This 6-1 vote ensures that the Finance Committee will continue to enjoy the strong participation of experienced members of the city council and not become a place to use political appointees to wage surrogate battles in backrooms.

More importantly, the closed session report indicates that the council has put to rest efforts to sell the old city hall/Lido House Hotel site. This project will generate tens of millions of revenue for the benefit of Newport residents in the years ahead. Selling the property has been a longstanding objective of Councilman Peotter.

Third, the council adopted a sound budget. I give the council credit for finding ways to expand needed public safety services, improve the harbor and fund capital improvement projects. 

Councilmembers Will O’Neill and Diane Dixon made special note of our efforts to accelerate the pay down of our unfunded pension liability. This continues the efforts begun by the prior council and is to be commended. Here again, on a 6-1 vote, the council decisively rejected a last-minute effort by Councilmember Peotter to divert $8 million of our pension pay down into a  separate investment fund. In essence, he believed the city could “beat the stock market” on our own. The city gets no credit on reducing its pension liability and the liabilities continue to accrue interest at 7.25 percent unless and until we pay down the money with CalPERS. The council was right in rejecting this reckless proposal by Peotter who alone, voted against the budget.

Finally, the council decided to send the Peotter proposal to require a vote on lease obligation debt to the Finance Committee for fiscal review. 

I expect there will be an effort to provide emergency exemptions, raise the threshold level for a vote and otherwise address the many problems of this proposal. At the end of the day, you cannot fix bad legislation with cosmetic changes. Hopefully the council will continue to separate itself from Peotter on these financially costly and misguided ideas. The last council meeting was a good start


Keith Curry, Former Mayor

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   

There is a busy afternoon and evening planned for the Newport Beach City Council when it meets this coming Tuesday, June 12. Here is the Insider’s Guide for that meeting. The Guide is not an attempt to summarize every item on the agenda – just the ones that seem of specific interest to me. I encourage you to read the full agenda if you wish. 

In the afternoon session starting at 4 p.m., we will talk about three things: Learning about advances in earthquake warning systems. They won’t give any of us a lot of time, but maybe just a short time to get away from windows and old buildings, and to electronically send signals to elevators to stop and open at the nearest floor. Technology can be a good friend here. Council Member Muldoon asked for this to appear on the agenda.

Going deep into undergrounding. We’ll talk about costs for current and planned undergrounding districts, as well as some strategies to reduce those costs. Folks in the pending CdM District (near Avocado), on the Peninsula along Balboa Boulevard in the 30s-50s, and other neighborhoods interested in undergrounding may want to listen in.

An update to the Council on a proposed Harbor Department, further stepping up some of our efforts to make the Harbor even more customer-friendly.

The Regular Session at 7 p.m. has a whole bunch of items, but not all are Guide-worthy. The ones that are include Sunshining a tentative agreement with our good colleagues represented by the Newport Beach Police Association. The NBPA represents both rank-and-file officers as well as non-sworn folks in records, the jail, dispatch, and more. Hard work on both sides brought an agreement forward that I think respects the interests of the community, the Association members, taxpayers and the city government.

A few parents from Carden Hall have written to the Council in recent weeks concerned about a planned mobile needle exchange program that could route its way through western Costa Mesa, not far from our city limits. A couple of Council members asked me to bring a statement of concern forward for consideration that the Police Chief would later send to the State agency that reviews the program’s certification. 

The proposed Fiscal Year 2018-19 City Budget is up for adoption. The budget process here is a tad unique – to get a good grasp of it, you would review the Budget that I proposed back in April and then layer on a document called the “Budget Checklist” over it. The Checklist, if adopted along with the Budget, is the late catch-up and correction items that came up between April and today. All in all, and in my biased eyes, this is a fairly conservative budget that adds no new full-time positions from what we have right now, while still accommodating new needs for the Harbor and safety in our schools. And while continuing our very aggressive pension paydown program – where we pay more (nearly $9 million more) than we have to pay to get ahead of the unfunded pension liability. A nostalgic note: this is my last budget that I’ll prepare here, and I am pretty proud of it. I am even more proud of the staff from our Finance Department and our Department Heads and budget analysts that help wade through it with me – in meeting after meeting, and mind-change after mind-change. 

A big dollar item is up after that (all within the Budget’s parameters) that would award a contract to a private sector provider to manage our parking infrastructure. That’s meters, pay stations, on-street parking spaces, and our big beach and other parking lots. We’ve contracted that out for about 6-7 years now, and it’s gone OK with some bumps. I think people are still surprised to see the “KGB Car” (as I call it) that goes around using License Plate Recognition (LPR) to see if folks are current with their meter payments and pay stations.

Council Member Peotter asked his colleagues to consider changing the structure of the Finance Committee to an all-citizen body, so that’s up for discussion Tuesday night. Today, three Council members and four non-elected citizens sit on the Committee, which advises the Council on a number of things involving the City’s finances (pensions, audits, budgets, more).    

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. 



Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor

Don’t Be Fooled by Political Ploy

Once again, without proper fiscal or public review, the Newport Beach City Council is considering a Charter Amendment to require lease obligation debt, which by legal definition does not involve an increase in taxes, to be submitted to the voters. 

No other city in California, nor to my knowledge in the entire country has this requirement. That should tell us something. This is a bad idea from Scott Peotter. Currently there is no projected need for lease debt for more than 50 years. Some of the council members who will consider the next debt issue have not yet been born. The city currently has the highest bond ratings of any city in the nation and our current lease debt service is less than the annual budget surplus and very affordable.

Election requirements cause debt proposals to be larger, not smaller as they are increased to involve multiple projects to broaden political support. It prevents the timely award of construction bids because bids will either be padded by 30 percent or will expire before an election can be held. Alternatively, it requires going to the voters without a sound basis of a project’s cost. Of course, there is the added cost of an election itself and the sequencing of projects into the season immediately following a biannual election date will cause project costs to rise.

It will prevent future city councils from responding to natural disasters such as an earthquake, fire, tsunami or landside where critical infrastructure could be destroyed. Puerto Rico shows us what happens when a jurisdiction does not have immediate capital markets access after a disaster. Depending on wording and limits, it could require our next police car replacements to be voted on.

It will pit neighbors against each other as the council will pay cash for projects favored by a majority while requiring others to seek voter approval, irrespective of actual financial analysis.

What is truly disappointing is that the real reason for this proposal is to allow council members in the November election to evade the campaign spending limits by using a committee formed to support this measure. Remember the “Team Newport 2016” signs from the last election paid for by Measure MM donors? Don’t you think this council would pay more attention to following our campaign laws?

Don’t be fooled by this cynical effort to create a phony issue by people who have actually accomplished nothing for the good of the community. 

Keith Curry, Former Mayor 

Newport Beach

Want to support Koll Center Residences but canceled workshops prevent that

I have been looking forward to expressing my support for the Koll Center Residences at a Planning Commission workshop on two separate occasions now. This is a General Plan compatible project that will generate tens of millions of dollars in fees for the City. 

It won’t affect traffic in my neighborhood – Eastbluff – or any of the other established neighborhoods in our town. I understand there was an issue about a quorum, but I’m wondering is something else up? Why is this taking so long to be heard? 

Lisa Fogarty

Eastbluff Community

Newport Beach

Former mayor says potential financial moves bad for city

I spent a 40-year career as Chief Financial Officer of publicly held companies, and 9 1/2 years in service to the residents of Newport Beach, first on the planning commission and then on City Council where I chaired the Finance Committee for several years.

I am intimately familiar with the workings of the City’s budget and the City’s financial standing. There is no need whatsoever for the proposal to require a vote prior to issuance of COP’s. It will hamstring future Council decisions to properly move forward with large projects or financing of potential catastrophic events afflicting our City. It is not necessary, since our City has ample financial flexibility to budget for costs of necessary large-project financings. Is the City’s Finance Director recommending this action? This proposal is a very bad financial policy for our City. Please reject this idea, or, at the very least, refer it to your Finance Committee for careful study before you consider it.

Similarly, there is no need to sell City assets, including the Lido House land. What is the proposed need that drives this idea? It certainly can’t be a budgetary need. It certainly can’t be a need to make extra payments on our pension obligations…we are already doing that in steady, meaningful amounts, which is the proper dollar-averaging approach to do it. I believe this is a slippery slope to embark on. Why stop at Lido House? The City has many assets it could sell, but I believe it’s bad policy to do so and curb the City’s flexibility to manage those assets over time. Please reject this idea.

Mike Henn, former Mayor City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Appreciation for City is important to this former mayor

When deciding who should represent me on city council, one of the most important attributes I look for is an appreciation for our city’s culture and history.  It is a critical factor in the evaluation of the projects and programs that determine our future. With such an appreciation, new projects will be organic and fit in well.  Without it, too often they will be out of character, discordant and disruptive. I am supporting Joy Brenner because she has this appreciation. 

That is not the only reason for my support. I have worked with Joy, and I have been impressed with her preparation, her thoughtfulness and her efforts to be inclusive. Joy is one who puts in the hard work. She reads the boring reports, she does the necessary research, and she reaches out – not just to one side or group, but to as many people as she can to get a full picture. When it comes time to make a decision, there is a solid foundation for her action.

Finally, Joy has a strong moral compass. She will be steadfast in standing up for her positions. Her decisions will be based on what she sincerely believes is best for the city, not because of pressure from some group or individual. This is the kind of person we want to represent us. I urge you to vote for Joy as council member for District 6.

Nancy Gardner

Former Council Member for District 6

Newport Beach

Another call to stop the development

I am writing to add my voice to the growing number of Newport Beach residents speaking out about overdevelopment in our city. The city council continues to approve high density developments and is now proposing the Koll High Rise Residential building near the John Wayne Airport.

As voters, we have made it clear to the Newport Beach City Council that this type of development is not wanted. In 2000, a large majority of voters approved the Greenlight initiative limiting run-away growth. In 2014, a large majority of voters rejected a General Plan Update that would increase growth in the city.  And in 2016, voters signed a referendum petition that stopped the Museum House Condo Tower.

It’s time for the Newport Beach City Council to start listening to their constituents and reject the Koll condo project outright. Newport Beach Citizens do not want high density, high rise developments. 

Thank you,

Melody L. McCulloch

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

We argue that parking lifts are not the answer

Developing the property at 435 Old Newport Blvd. was a very contested project. A developer sought to create a medical building on a small lot with insufficient parking. 

The project was denied several times by the planning commission, brought to the previous city council, back to planning and through some mysterious process, finally approved.

The solution – PARKING LIFTS.  

ALL the neighboring property owners were against this solution. The lifts are just now being installed and I would invite you all to drive by and have a look! It is a massive, unsightly installation that no amount of bushes will be able to hide.

The lifts actually look bigger than the building and even seem to encroach onto the public sidewalk. We neighbors have always felt that patients coming to this property will just drive around and park in our attractive, flat, safe parking lots; parking lots that comply with building department requirements.

We would ask you (City Council) to look into this and determine if the lifts are, in your opinion, a good solution. Further, do you want these lifts installed all around town? Do you think Newport Beach should decide this was a mistake and lifts should not be allowed as a solution to insufficient parking?

Rick and Sandie Haskell

Newport Beach

Not happy, “city is on the wrong track”

I found a review of the responses to the recent survey on the qualities of the new City Manager to be illuminating. Overwhelmingly, residents want a city manager to reflect the skills and values of Dave Kiff. In fact, residents want to keep Kiff.

Dozens of residents expressed their outrage over the way the Gang of Four (Duffy Duffield, Scott Peotter, Will O’Neill and Kevin Muldoon) forced the ouster of Kiff. I share this outrage.

The survey showed that the top issues for residents are development, traffic and airport noise. This is because under the Gang of Four, development has accelerated, traffic is much worse and airport noise is a bigger problem than before. When you also consider the ongoing political campaign violations, failure to address lobbyist abuses, special interest spending, discrimination claims, and budget increases, it is clear the city is on the wrong track. 

It’s time to restore normalcy to the city council, end the partisan posturing, stop wasting money and restore trust with the community. That will only happen with a city manager that reflects the approach Dave Kiff brought to Newport Beach and with the replacement of the Gang of Four in the upcoming election. (That would be the 2020 election for you O’Neill.)

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Still remember four-digit number and party line

Tell Nancy (Gardner) I remember we had a four-digit phone number (1044) on a four-party line! That’s right, there were 4 families on the same line with four separate rings (one for each family). Ours was three rings! And if one was particularly nosy, one could listen in on the other three lines!

Bill Coté

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Wait…aren’t Koll Center Residences part of the plan?

Since when is it considered bad business practices to submit a proposal that fits exactly within the General Plan-2006 and ICDP-2012 the voter-approved development guidelines for the City of Newport Beach? The Koll Center Residences proposal is a high-density condominium project proposed on 10 acres, with a public park, paseos and pickleball courts. Exactly what they painstakingly laid out in the planning documents. Housing in the John Wayne airport area? That’s exactly where the voters and our city’s planning documents direct us to build.

As a lifelong Newport Beach resident, active community leader and a local Realtor, the airport area is where I’d like to see future growth in Newport Beach, away from PCH and not in our established neighborhoods. 


Mary Pat Earl

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Too much has happened in the last year to forget

One year ago, a grassroots effort was launched to recall Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter. Ultimately more than 10,000 residents would sign petitions demanding Peotter be removed from office. The recall effort froze the Gang of Four (Peotter, Duffy Duffield, Kevin Muldoon and Will O’Neill) from pursuing their agenda. 

When the recall fell 106 signatures short, The Four proceeded to demonstrate why the recall effort was so necessary.

We said that, if Peotter remained in office, they would move to replace our outstanding City Manager. Beginning in February, the Four conducted secret negotiations to force Dave Kiff to leave early. They negotiated in secret, even keeping their plans from the rest of the city council.

We said that they would continue to disregard the civic rights of Newport residents. So, it was no surprise in February when the Gang, who tried to undermine the Museum House petitions, voted to issue subpoenas to harass their opponents. 

We said that they place themselves above the law. Today, Peotter and Duffield stand accused of, yet again, violating our campaign contribution limits.  Rather than enforce the law, the Gang of Four is spending taxpayer dollars to defend the accused. Where is the commitment to law and order? The Gang has also been charged with violating the Brown Act in their efforts to oust Dave Kiff.

We said that they would direct tax dollars to special interests and donors. In March they voted to spend $16,000 per month to lobby for a “Port Plan” to make us like San Pedro. The Coastal Commission called this plan “laughable” and the only oblivious beneficiary was Duffield’s boat business.

We said that they would gut programs important to residents to fund their special interest objectives. They have already spent $200,000 in unnecessary severance and legal fees, paid $150,000 in discrimination settlement payments due to our conflicted city attorney and hundreds of thousands to expand staff for Duffy’s “harbor plan” to give him complete control over the water. Peotter even proposed $200,000 in Audio-Visual improvements to “make him look better” on cable TV. Now, watch the budget as they cut arts, recreation and park services.

We can stop this chaos. Vote for change in November. Reject the divisive, financially reckless, and costly policies of the Gang of Four.

Kristin M. Cano

Newport Beach

Shopoff Develops Bad Business Practices in Newport Beach

There are good business practices that benefit the business and the community, and bad practices that harm the community. An example of good business practices is the Oyster Point Development in San Francisco, where a developer withdrew their application for a housing project in a local business park. Lack of transportation and services, incompatibility with existing uses, and significant traffic congestion all contributed to local opposition to the residential project. The developer acted responsibly by listening and putting the housing project on hold for the foreseeable future, working with members of the community on a mutually beneficial solution.  

Next up, bad business practices. Shopoff Realty Investments is planning to supplant parking and green space in Newport Beach’s Koll Center business park with three high-rise, high-density condominium towers. Despite vehement objections from business owners, Shopoff refuses to amend their development plans. The location for the proposed development is not suitable for housing, is not in a school district, will further congest roadways (I-405, Jamboree, MacArthur and Culver), and threatens the expansion of existing businesses (read: jobs).  

Obviously, Shopoff would do well to withdraw his proposed Koll Residences project from the Koll business park, if he values good business practices.


Best Regards,

Haley Detwiler-McDonald, PR Director

COMAC America Corporation

Newport Beach

In whose interest is our City Attorney acting?

Equal protection under the law is a basic Constitutional principle, but it is one that the Newport Beach City Council is trampling upon with abandon.

In 2014 and again now, Councilmembers Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield were accused of violating our municipal campaign contribution limits. The city attorney and the city council did nothing. In 2016, their ally, Lee Lowrey, was accused of violating the same law. Again, the council and city attorney did nothing.

Contrast this with the aggressive way City Attorney Aaron Harp retained outside counsel (without city council approval), in an attempt to keep Jeff Herdman off the ballot in 2016. The courts quickly repudiated this effort. Today, the city attorney and members of the council are selectively leaking Herdman’s emails in an effort to discredit him and to prevent the appointment of a special prosecutor to pursue the charges against Peotter and Duffield.

It’s not just campaign laws, this council attempted to undermine the right to stop the Museum House by making the petitions more than a 1,000 pages long. They are using subpoenas at taxpayer expense to harass their opponents. They are systematically replacing our excellent city management with people loyal to them. The new proposed Harbor Department is an example. Testimony under oath is needed to determine the depth of the conspiracy to oust the city manager and negotiate a $200,000 severance without the knowledge of the other three members of the city council. Here again, the city attorney is working hand and glove with the four conspirators. The council refused to discipline Peotter for his misuse of the city seal.

Now we learn the city has been forced to pay $150,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit resulting from the actions of the city attorney.

The out of town political hacks on the city council are betting that the public is not paying attention to their actions and after November, free of the need to run again for reelection, they will be empowered to enact a new General Plan that reflects their high-rise vision. It is up to all of us to stop this insidious plan.


Liddy and Scott Paulsen

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

More opposition to Koll Center

This is to express my opposition to the Koll Center, an over-sized high-rise complex of luxury units.

When we residents of Newport Beach approved the new General Plan in 2006, we were promised a reduction of traffic and of building. The exact opposite has happened!

For instance, the Koll Center was described as a mid-rise building. Now it has morphed into an over-sized high-rise complex of luxury units! 

It is time for our City to keep its promises and say “NO!” to the Koll condos!


Jeanne Fobes 

Newport Beach

Thank you for sharing our story

(Following our Malawi picnic fundraising story in Stu News Newport)

Thank you so much for the article. I love Stu News!

Nancy Clark

Newport Beach

(A reminder, the community is invited to a Picnic Fundraiser for Mangochi, Malawi students on Sunday, May 20 from 2 - 5 p.m. at 2317 Private Road, Newport Beach. Proceeds benefit BEAM – Building Education Across Malawi.)

Letter to the Editor:

Gang of Four not fiscal conservatives

The Gang of Four on the Newport Beach City Council, Scott Peotter, Kevin Muldoon, Duffy Duffield and Will O’Neill go to comic extremes to pose as fiscal conservatives, but the numbers tell another story.

The Gang cost the city $200,000 in legal fees and severance in the classless way they forced our outstanding City Manager Dave Kiff to leave early. The four were willing to forfeit $480,000 in fuel taxes paid by Newport residents to improve our streets in order to make a political point. Only public outrage made them abandon this foolish action.

In 2015 Peotter, Duffield and Muldoon gave $355,000 in taxpayer dollars to major campaign donor Woody’s Wharf. Peotter proposed spending $200,000 in audio visual improvements at city hall so that he “doesn’t look like he’s asleep” during council broadcasts.

They spent $300,000 on the so called “City Hall Audit” which was never completed and quietly abandoned when it proved to be just a mistake-filled political hatchet job.

Duffield and Peotter refuse to put a price tag on their plans for our harbor, but buying fire boats, jet boats for lifeguards, a dredge and taking over public safety services currently funded and provided by the county will cost tens of millions. 

We do know that their ill-conceived “Port Plan” to make us more like San Pedro cost $16,000 a month in lobbyist fees for a proposal the Coastal Commission called “laughable.” The goal of the “Port Plan” would appear to be exempting businesses like Duffy’s from review by the Coastal Commission.

The meter is running on their abuse of the subpoena process and recently they voted to bring on a city manager search firm without interviews or price negotiation.  

There are many other examples of waste. I expect them to propose cuts to arts, recreation and library services to cover for their waste and mistakes.

The Four have cost taxpayers millions already. Peotter, Muldoon, Duffield and O’Neill are not fiscal conservatives. They’re just amateur political hacks, screwing up our city while desperately trying to posture for a run for higher office.

It’s time for a change at city hall.

Tim Stephens

Corona Del Mar

Letter to the Editor:

We believe Community Involvement is the name of the game

Thank you for covering our Annual Meeting this year and stressing our theme of Community Involvement. Nowhere is that more evident than in reading Stu News. I am continually amazed at the wealth of opportunities for our citizens to engage with a wide variety of organizations. We are an inspiring community and most it seems are living in gratitude while addressing problems and solutions. Our residents are not sitting back and complaining, they are taking action in ways that support others and ourselves. 

Joy Brenner, President

Corona del Mar Residents Association

Letters to the Editor:

Thanks for the help Nancy, we’re one of the best kept secrets in town

It was with delight I read Nancy Gardner’s story about the Follies that the Assistance League of Newport-Beach used to have as their fundraiser. Even though I’ve been a member of Assistance League for 40 years, the Follies were before my time!

Twenty-five plus years ago, needing more room for our Thrift Shop and Dental Center, we moved from our Lido address to Costa Mesa. 

We continue to serve the Newport-Mesa community through our Cheri Harris Dental Center, our Operation School Bell clothing program, our Scholarship program for High School Seniors and our Kids on the Block puppet program for young children. We raise money to fund these programs through our Thrift Shop and Consignment Shop and various other fundraising events. 

One event that we have done for 10 years is called Dancing for Tomorrow Stars. It resembles the old Follies in a way, by pairing local celebrities with professional dancers, based on the popular television series “Dancing with the Stars”. This event has raised considerable funds to help us continue to serve the community. 

Even though we are one of the oldest non-profits, having been in the community over 75 years, we seem to get very little press coverage for the children and families we serve. That’s one reason I was so happy to see reference to Assistance League in Nancy’s article.

We welcome anyone to become a part of this wonderful organization. We will continue to honor our vision of “A Better Tomorrow for Today’s Child”.


Ann Marie Alford, President 2000-2001, 2015

Newport Beach

Koll businesses opposed to proposed condo towers

Where Should Newport Beach Grow? Wrong question for a developer to ask in a glossy brochure mailed to Newport Beach residents. There is no mandate for Newport to grow and negatively impact its current residents. Koll Center Residences (KCR) is all about developer fees and not about quality of living or working in Newport Beach. 

I have had an office in Koll Center Newport since 1987 and am currently a building owner next to the proposed KCR development. As a property owner I respect property rights, however this development is in the common area managed by Koll Center Newport. The office owner’s association should be representing the interests of the building owners in Koll Center and not an outside developer. This is like a homeowner’s association selling off a park for development and pocketing the money. 

There is a misconception that if there are residential units in the airport area, people will live and work there. None of my employees would want to purchase a multi-million-dollar condo. Why? It is in an office parking lot. What is appealing about that? And, it certainly exceeds the price point for software developers. 

Koll Center and the immediate area is loud due to the airport and vehicle traffic noise. It lacks residential shopping, entertainment, services, and neighborhood schools. If growth is pushed over to the airport, the traffic will increase. There are many reasons why the citizens of Newport Beach passed Greenlight and defeated Measure Y – to maintain quality of life. It turns out that over by the airport is also in everyone’s backyard.

Fred Fourcher, CEO, Bitcentral Inc.

Newport Beach

Mad and not going to take it anymore

In the past few weeks, the “Gang of Four” running the city of Newport Beach (Councilmembers Duffield, Peotter, Muldoon and O’Neill), have been accused by residents and past and present members of the city council of violating the Brown Act on open meetings in the way they engineered the ouster of our city manager behind closed doors. They simply cut the other three council members out of the decision-making process and cost the taxpayers an unnecessary $200,000 in the process.

Peotter and Duffield have been accused of yet again violating our campaign contribution laws, and amazingly, the city attorney apparently refused legal service on their behalf, thus requiring a process server to track down our council members. Public ridicule and the prospect of Peotter and Duffield being served during a council meeting made him reverse himself. He should be prosecuting, not protecting these violations. 

The Gang of Four recently voted to issue subpoenas against their political opponents on an issue already being handled by the DA. No other city has done this. 

During this same time, the Gang of Four decided to declare Newport Beach a “Rule of Law” city. Given their actions, we are about as far away from a “Rule of Law” city as we can be.

As a “law and order” voter, I will be casting my vote to restore sanity and respect for law in Newport Beach by voting against Peotter, Duffield and Muldoon in November and against Will O’Neill in 2020. 

Gerald A Giannini

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Is a new interim city manager waiting in the wings at city hall? 

This is to keep you updated on the issues surrounding the city manager position.  

If you were at the April 10 City Council meeting, you learned that City Councilmen (Will) O’Neill and (Marshall) Duffield met with our well-respected City Manager Dave Kiff and effectively forced his retirement. It is unclear if Councilmen (Kevin) Muldoon and (Scott) Peotter were directly involved, but it is widely believed that they were.

Dave’s new contract states that if an interim city manager is named, Dave will immediately be placed on administrative leave until August 31, the date of his retirement. Well-placed sources now say that an interim city manager will be named imminently. If these sources are correct, our new city manager will be…Assistant City Attorney Michael Torres. Mr. Torres has absolutely NO experience as a city manager and his current position has not even given him the opportunity to develop significant administrative or leadership skills.  

It is hugely ironic that those councilmen who campaigned on fiscal responsibility are willing to throw away money on severance pay and administrative leave pay in order to ensure that Dave Kiff is no longer in charge. Why?

Why is the “Gang of 4” so hot to remove Mr. Kiff? What do they want so badly that Dave Kiff will impede? What are they planning to accomplish once he is gone? 

Mr. Peotter is facing an uphill climb to hold on to his seat and the “Gang of 4” likely knows that once he is gone, they may not have the votes to make changes to the city that they want to make. What ARE those changes? Firing staff that they disagree with? Dave won’t be able to protect city staff any longer. (Possibly) making it easier for their campaign consultant Dave Ellis to influence planning decisions? Mr. Ellis was a lobbyist for the Museum House, a project widely rejected by the residents that was approved by his clients on the council despite an enormous outcry.  

It was also revealed at the council meeting that Mr. Peotter had pushed multiple times for Mark Denny to get a position as an assistant city manager but was unsuccessful. It is believed that he was trying to position Mr. Denny to take over the city manager position. 

So, let’s learn a bit more about Mr. Denny. He worked for the County of Orange for a number of years after his conviction for voter fraud in the 1990s. While at the county, his stewardship was questioned because of a million dollars spent on no bid contracts apparently awarded to friends of friends and without appropriate paperwork or oversight.  

In 2017, the city of Dana Point created a new position as head of the Parks and Recreation Department at a Tuesday meeting and by Friday, Mr. Denny had been offered the position and accepted it.

Shortly after, the city manager of Dana Point announced his retirement and a professional recruiter was brought in. Three excellent candidates applied for the job but it went to Mr. Denny, a man with NO experience as a city manager. Mr. Denny never even applied for the job but was given it regardless. He now has exactly 10 months of experience as city manager and has been politely described as “learning on the job” by a city official in Dana Point. What Mr. Denny does have is a virtual web of political connections to the “Gang of 4” on our council. The word on the street is that this is the man that Mr. O’Neill, Duffield, Peotter and Muldoon wish to replace Mr. Kiff.

I’m fearful for our city and for the ability of our city staff to act in an ethical and independent way. If unethical forces are working to have key staff positions filled with people who share their philosophy, what does that mean for the future?

At the city council meeting on Tuesday, April 24, the council will decide the process to replace Mr. Kiff. Although it is beyond obvious that the Human Resources department should be heading up this process, the “Gang of 4” adamantly refused to allow that to occur and insisted that City Clerk Leilani Brown be put in charge of this process.  

You might ask yourself why? Might it be because Ms. Brown is an at will employee who serves at the pleasure of the “Gang of 4?” Might it be precisely since she has NO experience in picking a city manager and might be manipulated to do what they want? Is that why Mr. Peotter said that he absolutely refused to have HR manage this process?

We cannot save Dave Kiff, but we are now looking at a bigger picture: saving the city from the “Gang of 4.” The more people know about what is going on, the harder it is for the unethical things that are happening to our city to continue.

The “Gang of 4” must be stopped. 

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Not happy with our Team Newport city council

What is going on in our city? Some of the council members are meeting in secret in order to oust the city manager. Two members of the council are accused of violating our campaign contribution laws; for the second time! The council is issuing subpoenas to harass our citizens in a case where they have no jurisdiction. The council is proposing to spend millions on a port plan that will mostly benefit one of the council members who is in the boat business.

Before that, they were trying to undermine our right to petition on the Museum House and wanted to refuse the gas tax dollars paid by Newport Beach Motorists.

We never had this type of chaos before Team Newport moved into town and took over. This band of partisan, out of town incompetents has made our city a laughing stock. We need to make a clean sweep of these interlopers and the puppet masters who pull their strings. As a taxpayer, I am simply outraged.

Let’s drain the swap at City Hall by electing a new council in November and restore ethics to Newport Beach!

Lauri Preedge

Newport Beach

Former politician says it’s time for Dana to hang it up

When asked about when he knew when to retire, former New York Mets catcher and broadcaster Fran Healy said, “As I walked back to the dugout after striking out, I looked into the stands and saw my wife and kids booing me.”

I have been a 30-year supporter of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher but believe it is time for him to retire. I’ve walked precincts for Dana, raised money, and over the past three decades watched him lose touch with his constituents.

Washington DC has a way of changing politicians. Elected In 1988, Dana was a strong term-limits supporter. That was thirty years ago.

Dana has spent too much time in the beltway where he has accomplished little except marking time and collecting a paycheck. 

He’s neglected his constituents while enriching himself, traveling the world on taxpayer funded junkets, and paying his wife nearly a million dollars in campaign funds.

We need a new member of Congress with the energy and ideas to represent the district; not one who focuses on Vladimir Putin, marijuana and his next trip abroad.

After 15-terms, Dana needs to retire.  

Jim Silva

Former HB City Councilman, a former member of the California Assembly and Orange County Supervisor

Huntington 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 is a summary of what’s on the agenda of the next City Council meeting (set for tonight, April 24). Below, I try to summarize items that caught my attention. I don’t summarize the whole agenda, though. To see that, please click here.

Study Session begins pretty early at 3:30 p.m., with the Regular Session convening at 7 p.m.  

At the Study Session, we’ll talk to the Council about concepts to reduce parking problems in residential areas that are heavily impacted by construction vehicles. As folks know, in several parts of the community it seems like everyone is remodeling something. All of those workers need to park somewhere, and that somewhere includes perfectly legal parking on public streets. Run the street sweeper by, and the problems get worse. Compounding that, the most typical areas for remodeling seem to be our older areas (CdM, Balboa Peninsula, Balboa Island, Lido Isle, and others) that can also have narrower streets with more limited parking. 

The Regular Session at 7 p.m. has these items that caught my attention:

An item that may bring a loud cheer from West Newport Beach and Newport Shores: We’re finally okaying the contract for landscaping improvements along Coast Highway on that side of town (between Newport Boulevard and the Santa Ana River). While this project will be bitten off in pieces, this is the first bite of that. Residents there (shout out to George and Gina Lesley) have been waiting a long time. This Phase 1 will go from Highland to a bit east of 61st Street (past Cappy’s). How exciting.   

A minor item (a Notice of Completion) marks the conclusion of a project that improved the landscaping along MacArthur (the slope on the western side of MacArthur near Big Canyon). As I drive by, I like the look of the landscaping although the plants seem pretty small right now. It’s quite an improvement on the mustard weed and brush that usually populates that slope.  

I’ve asked the Council to consider steps forward on the concept of a Port Master Plan (PMP), now that the California Coastal Commission has voted to formally oppose our legislation which would have allowed us to submit a PMP to the Commission (AB 1196, Harper). Various options could include moving forward until at least the first bill hearing in June, considering other alternatives already in the Coastal Act that may secure something similar to a PMP without new legislation (as the Commission in part suggested), or dropping the effort altogether.

Council may decide on a firm to conduct the recruitment for the next city manager. There is a closed session item about this, too.

A few notes for your calendar:

The CdMRA’s annual town meeting is this coming Wednesday, April 25 at Sherman Library and Gardens. The event is from 5 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., with an expo at the beginning and a program (starting at 6:45 p.m.) closing it out. More information is here.

The Newport Beach Film Festival runs April 26 - May 3. The festival will include more than 350 films from 50 countries and offer more than two dozen special events, including free filmmaking seminars on April 28 and 29. The festival brings visitors to town, but a lot of Newport Beach residents and businesses help to put it on each year.        

The City Clerk will host a free, brown bag lunch and workshop to assist residents in applying to serve on a City board or commission on Friday, May 4 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Community Room, 100 Civic Center Drive. For more information and to RSVP, call 949.644.3005 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Important note: The City will accept applications through May 9 at 12 p.m. for about a dozen board and commission seats that are eligible for appointment on July 1.

This is a bit off in the future but mark your calendars for another free document shredding day. The City and CR&R Environmental Services will offer free document shredding for CR&R’s Newport Beach customers on Saturday, May 12 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Big Canyon Reservoir Parking Lot, 3300 Pacific View Drive (near the intersection of Marguerite & Pacific View), Corona del Mar.

In closing today, I wanted to offer two items of congratulations – one to Reverend Cindy Voorhees and her parishioners at St James Church, for being back in their sanctuary after too long a time and working so hard to save St James. I have a special affinity for this group because they’ve had to use city facilities (including parks) to stick together during their time without a building. They always paid the market rate, but we’re happy to see them back home.  

Also, congratulations to Bob Olson – in the same neighborhood as St James – who opened the new Lido House Hotel this past week, exactly five years from the day that he (Bob) won a challenging RFP competition set forth by the City. Bob “wowed” everyone with his proposal at the time – it’s now up and running in real time at the “old” city hall site, and it’s even more amazing than I had thought it would be.

Congratulations, Bob. Congratulations, Rev. Cindy. Here’s to a long, prosperous future for you both.

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.



Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor:

Elected officials should be held accountable

After some sanctimonious pontification about election integrity, it looks like the City Council did not need subpoenas to investigate violations of our campaign laws, they could have just looked at Scott Peotter’s campaign reports on the City Clerk’s webpage.

Once again, Peotter has accepted excess contributions from Woody’s Wharf and from Duffy Duffield. Amazingly, these are the same two donors who made excess donations to Peotter in 2014. Then, the city attorney and city council ignored the violation. These are serious offenses and the penalty in the Municipal Code for both making and receiving an excess donation is removal from office.

In 2015, Peotter and Duffield were key votes in reversing the city’s position, allowing Woody’s to play loud music late into the evening and awarding them $355,000 in taxpayer’s money. No wonder the owners can afford to be generous to Peotter.

The council is spending taxpayer dollars to pursue subpoenas related to state election laws, where they have no jurisdiction, in an effort to harass their opponents. The council actually is responsible for enforcing the Municipal Code and the entire city is watching to see if they will pursue these violations by Peotter and Duffield with the same vigor. I am not holding my breath.

Our elected officials should be held accountable for obeying the laws of the city. Their two-faced, political hypocrisy is now on full display for all to see.

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Thanks for the memories...Duncan

I enjoyed Duncan’s article (“Free Flowing,” published April 13), which brought back many fond memories having moved to Newport with my family in 1953. Looking forward to future articles.

Lawrence Cunningham

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Koll Center Residences “too much”

I received a mailer from the Koll Center Residences asking me, “Where Should Newport Beach Grow?”

They have a project that is three 13-story buildings they want to add to the Airport area. (They don’t say the size in the mailer, but that’s what it is).

So, in answer to their question about growth…I don’t want this large, this massive, this tall and this dense of a project anywhere in Newport Beach. If I only consider traffic, it’s too much. I believe most citizens of Newport Beach would say the same.

Since our Planning Commission and City Council have made so many changes to our City’s existing General Plan, we need to work together to update a General Plan where we can all be in agreement.

Thank you,

Jo Carol Hunter

Newport Beach

Reflecting on the PTA Reflections Program

I was thrilled Stu News highlighted the PTA Reflections Program recently. Reflections is dear to my heart. 

As a five-time PTA president, twice on Harbor Council, a Reflections chair in several Newport Beach schools, and on Fourth District PTA (all of Orange County), I was privileged to revise the program and give workshops about it at two California State PTA conventions. 

As many know, PTA’s slogan is that PTA advocates for all children, in every way, in everything. That’s what’s so special about Reflections. It encourages creativity for children at every grade level and in every area of the arts – no boundaries. And now it is incorporating technology arts. Thank you for a wonderful article and encouraging the Reflections Program.

Bonnie Engstrom

Former PTA president at:

Roy O. Andersen Elementary School

Corona del Mar High School

Mira Vista High School

Harbor Council PTA (all Newport-Mesa schools)

Is Rohrabacher perpetuating misunderstanding on sanctuary city laws?

There seems to be a misunderstanding of what the three California “sanctuary” laws are intended to do, which is being perpetuated by Dana Rohrabacher, a partisan city council, and a lack of appropriate and informed reporting on the part of the Daily Pilot.

Under the laws, state and local agencies would not be able to detain immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement based on mere “hold” requests, something many departments already stopped doing after a 2014 court ruling. Subpoenas and court orders would be honored and followed but not mere requests.

Electronic fingerprint records for all offenders, booked into state prisons and local jails, will continue going to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, concurrent with the booking.

Police and sheriffs will continue sharing inmates’ release dates and transferring people to immigration authorities if they have been convicted within the last 15 years of one of roughly 800 offenses outlined in the Trust Act. That California law prohibits state and local law enforcement from holding people past their release dates for federal immigration agents unless they’ve been convicted of certain crimes.

Those certain crimes include all serious and violent crimes, registered sex and arson offenses, domestic violence charges and other felonies. They also cover many nonviolent offenses and “wobblers” – crimes that can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor.

The California law is designed to enable the State to better enforce its state laws, most particularly its criminal laws. When people are afraid to call the police because they or their families may be deported, violent criminals are free to act without consequence. California has lawfully decided that it wants people to report crimes instead of just hiding. The State has also properly decided that it does not want to be forced to defend lawsuits brought by people who are arrested by ICE and confined for years without cause or a court order. ICE makes law enforcement more difficult, not better. 

Second there is Supreme Court precedent exactly on point which provides that the federal government is responsible for enforcing federal laws and it cannot force states to “deputize” state law enforcement personnel to do that job. The federal government may not punish states for refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement agents by withholding federal funds unrelated to the action in question. There have been repeated suits over this and California has successfully challenged the Trump administration for threatening to withhold federal funds over rules which forbid collusion with ICE officials. The only unfortunate possibility is that the US Supreme Court, as now politicized, is only too willing to ignore or reverse established precedent, particularly when it comes to immigration. It is sad when we must hope for justice and not expect it.

I object to the City Council spending one penny of the City’s money on a partisan issue that is being more than adequately challenged by A.G. Sessions and the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Kristin M. Cano, Attorney at Law

Corona del Mar

Letters to the Editor:

Could the Kiff exit get even uglier

Newport Beach’s City Manager Dave Kiff will be retiring soon. Normally, his myriad of fans would simply wish him well, but this is not a normal situation. Team Newport (Councilmen O’Neill, Muldoon, Peotter and Duffield) are running him out of town despite wide acknowledgement among his peers and the residents that he is one of the best city managers in California. 

Our bay is no longer covered with green mats of algae because of his advocacy for clean water. We are proactively addressing our pension liability under his direction. His enormous depth of knowledge about the airport benefits everyone under the John Wayne flight plan, making his departure especially mourned by those concerned about flight noise.

Team Newport claims that Dave is retiring of his own accord and vigorously deny that they have pushed him out, but his newly amended contract calls for severance pay. 

Have you ever heard of a retiree getting severance pay? Of course not. 

Councilpersons Herdman, Avery and Dixon were left completely out of this power play and were never even aware that Mr. Kiff’s contract was being discussed until it was a done deal. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, Ms. Dixon presented Mr. Kiff’s description of events, confirming that he had been forced out. These backdoor dealings are clearly a violation of the Brown Act, for which the maximum penalty is removal from office.

The jungle drums are beating that Team Newport has Mr. Kiff’s ultimate replacement already chosen. Meet Mark Denny, a man with a prior conviction for voter fraud and exactly 10 months experience as a city manager. What Mark does have is a virtual web of political connections to the people who have the greatest influence over Team Newport and this may well be enough to get him the job. It is telling that he was hired as city manager in Dana Point even though he never even applied for the job, had absolutely no experience as a city manager and there were other excellent candidates for the position. 

Making a bad situation worse, there is much speculation that Team Newport is considering removing Mr. Kiff effective immediately and replacing him on an interim basis with Assistant City Attorney Michael Torres. Mr. Torres has no experience whatsoever as a city manager and has had no opportunity to develop administrative nor leadership skills in his current position. This is a situation that can only lead to chaos. Newport Beach deserves better than this, but we may not get it.

It is time to clean house in Newport Beach, but not by removing Dave Kiff. It is time for Team Newport to be swept from office and elect representatives who put “city before self” on the City Council. Character matters. Team Newport has revealed with absolute clarity the foul nature of their character through their words and deeds. 

I can only hope that the next election will rid us of the dry rot that currently permeates our city council and I will do my level best to ensure that occurs.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Is the housing project worth it?

Once again, we are facing down an enormous housing project designed to enrich some developer but entangle the rest of us with more traffic and more high rises. I’m not sure why our decision makers aren’t listening to the residents, but they aren’t. 

The vast majority of my neighbors see no value whatsoever in these monstrous developments, but they keep coming and coming. At the moment, it’s the Koll Center Residences, three high-rise luxury condominium towers. Eventually we will exceed the capacity of our roads and face gridlock all the time, just like L.A. Not exactly what I signed up for.

Tom Baker 

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Don’t like the Koll Center Residences

I try to stay current with developments proposed to my City…especially a major project like the Koll Center Residences.

I oppose it in its current size. It’s three huge 13-story buildings. So dense, so massive, so imposing on other buildings. It also will add a large amount of traffic. There is no way this project fits into the area for which it’s proposed. I would turn it down.

Since our Planning Commission and City Council many times don’t recognize our current City’s General Plan, let’s work together to update a General Plan with which we can all agree.

Thank you for listening,

Jo Carol Hunter

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 is what’s going on at the upcoming Newport Beach City Council meeting set for tonight, April 10, 2018. Meetings are held in the Newport Beach Civic Center at 100 Civic Center Drive – the public is always welcome. I do not highlight all of the items on the agenda – please go to the City’s webpage and review the agenda if you want to see all of the items.

There is a brief study session in the afternoon with a number of presentations, like National Library Week. Lots of cool stuff happening during the upcoming week at our always-terrific Newport Beach Public Library system. 

Study Session starts at 4:30 p.m. in case you want to attend. Then the Regular Session starts at 7 p.m. 

The items that seem worthy of highlighting and/or explaining are these:

With the Balboa Peninsula Trolley getting prepared to roll into its second summer (with some changes, like the offsite parking area will be off of our Avon Street Lot near Tustin Avenue, instead of at the Lower Hoag Campus), the Council will be asked to finalize the grant agreement with OCTA that helps fund the program.

A quiet but important agenda item involves the disposition of a special improvement district’s reserves – in this case, back to the property owners associated with the taxes paid into the district. This includes about 273 parcels and is part of what we referred to as the Circulation Improvement and Open Space Agreement (CIOSA) that was envisioned in 1995.

The Council will consider an amendment to the city manager’s contract (that’s me) that plans for a transition for me, as well as for a recruitment for a new city manager. I’m actually not allowed to comment on it, so I will save you some reading time. 

Lastly, the Council will consider an action relating to Senate Bill 54 (De Leon, 2017) which some have dubbed the “Sanctuary State” act. The Council previously opposed aspects of SB 54 as it was going through the Legislature last year. The proposed resolution to be considered on Tuesday would state the City’s continued opposition to SB 54.  

As always, I enjoy hearing from you about this or any other community issue involving the city government. So does the City Council – remember that you can email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express your thoughts or ideas.  

Thanks for reading!



Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor:

Planned condo towers seem out of place

I used to work in a four-story office building in Koll Center Newport and still have friends there who’ve been worrying lately about a new project that is being proposed next door called the Koll Center Residences. It is apparently three very large condo towers that will be put where the parking lots have been for the offices. They will tower over the next-door business properties and force workers to park farther away in another bulky parking garage.   

Even though Koll Center Newport is a fairly intense business complex by previous Newport standards, it was well laid out and provides a pleasant place to work with an open feeling that is a big relief from maneuvering around Los Angeles. 

Putting three bulky 160-foot high, luxury condominium towers in this location just seems out-of-place, out-of-scale and out-of-order. Are the people who work there going to be able to live in these very large luxury condos? It makes me seriously wonder who thinks up these things.

Thank you for considering publishing this so that other Newport Beach residents can be made aware and weigh in before it’s too late.

Tamara Watt

Newport Beach

Could a replacement for Kiff already be in the works?

The jungle drums are beating that the replacement for Dave Kiff has already been picked.

Meet Mark Denny, a man with a prior conviction for voter fraud and only 9 months experience as a city manager.

In 1996, Mark was convicted of voter fraud when he helped arrange a decoy Democratic candidate in a tight Assembly race. Dana Rohrabacher’s future wife was involved in that incident as well. He was working for Curt Pringle at the time.

He then worked as former Supervisor Bill Campbell’s chief of staff until he was hired as the director of county parks in 2008. Around 2014, he was hired as the Chief Operating Officer of the county, a position that involved overseeing the Registrar of Voters. This created a flurry of controversy given his prior conviction and he was ultimately stripped of the ability to oversee elections.

He was in the COO position for 3 years before moving to Dana Point as the Director of Parks and Recreation in the fall of 2016. During that time, the OC Register reported that he was under investigation for awarding $1 million dollars of no bid contracts while running the parks department. According to the article, the contracts were awarded to a friend of a friend of Denny’s with little oversight and no appropriate paperwork.

I spoke at length with a city official in Dana Point yesterday and this is what I learned:

Dana Point, like our city, has a council majority of three who often are at odds with the other 2 councilpersons. The gentleman I spoke with didn’t know if Dave Ellis was involved but said that it is commonly believed that there is an outside person or group who is directing decisions for the council majority (sound familiar)?

A bit more than a year ago, the city manager there said that he was planning to retire in a few years and that he thought that it would be good to have a Parks and Recreation director. The council agreed and created this position on a Tuesday night and by Friday, Mark Denny had been offered the job and accepted. It was clearly planned in advance. The information about his past became known after he had accepted the job.

The city manager then announced that he was going to retire immediately.

The city hired a recruitment specialist to find experienced candidates. The well-respected assistant city manager applied for the job and the recruiter found them a number of excellent candidates. Unexpectedly, the assistant city manager withdrew his application, leaving three finalists for the job. 

Mark Denny never even applied for the job, but when the selection occurred, the three members of the ruling cabal picked him in July 2017.

He has now been city manager for 9 months. The man I spoke with was quite guarded in his description of how Mark was doing on the job, but did say that he was “learning on the job.” He said that the skill sets Mark had acquired at the county are quite different from the skill set needed to run a city. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this scenario is pretty similar to our own. If you google Mark Denny, there are quite a few articles written about him, many of them uncomplimentary. 

Newport Beach deserves an experienced, ethical city manager to replace Dave Kiff and we should settle for nothing less.

Please feel free to forward this widely. Sunshine is probably the only antidote to the dry rot that has taken hold of our city.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Maybe we’re asking the wrong questions

I didn’t prepare myself to speak at the City Council meeting on Tuesday about the City Manager’s resignation because, even though I have the greatest respect for Dave Kiff, I felt I needed more facts and information. I basically believe that his sudden announcement to retire early without even the usual “need to attend to health or family matters” excuse is because of something certain City Council members have caused to happen.

I came away from the City Council meeting without much more in the way of facts and information, but I also came away with an opinion, some questions and a not so comfortable observation. My opinion is that at least four of the Council members have acted to coerce/induce the City Manager to resign all of a sudden without any notice to the public and at least to one of the other City Council members. (Brad Avery is totally silent, and Diane Dixon had left the meeting.)  That in itself is alarming, distressful and totally not understandable.

My questions come as a result of my having had the experience of serving on the City Council. It’s always the matter of getting four votes for anything. You can acquire and assure yourself of the four votes by telephone or whatever. In this case the only question that has been asked and answered is whether 3 Council members came to Dave and asked for his resignation – his answer was no. But no one has asked the myriad of other questions. Was it two members who came to his office; was it one member; was it a phone call? Did Council members Dixon and Avery get asked if they wanted to ask for his resignation?  We don’t know because Councilman Avery remained silent and Council member Dixon had fled the meeting.  

My observation was that the four Council persons who were consistently and vehemently accused by members of the public and past elected officials at the meeting chose to absolutely ignore the pleas and comments and people.  They noticeably and I would add arrogantly said nothing. I can’t believe that I, in their place would have said nothing, unless I was indeed in on the very thing the people were complaining about and felt that I could get away with it politically and legally. It looks to me that somebody/s has let their little power trip go to their little heads and this is most definitely not what the people of Newport Beach, let alone the City Manager, deserves. As has been said, it’s disgusting!

Jean Watt

Newport Beach

Former Mayor denounces council in Kiff action

The following is a complete transcript of former Mayor Michael Henn’s comments at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Mayor Duffield and council members, my name is Michael Henn. I was Mayor of Newport Beach in 2011 and a city councilmember for eight years.

I am here tonight regarding the retirement of Dave Kiff, City Manager.

Dave, among a long line of great city managers for Newport Beach, you are the finest. Your knowledge, dedication, integrity, work ethic and accomplishments are second to none. I count among the foremost blessings of my life the opportunity to work with you for the betterment of our city. 

Congratulations to you and your team on 20 years of superb service to our residents. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

I wish you and Tom success and happiness in all the remaining chapters of your life.

However, it is with a heavy heart that I appear here tonight. It is alleged that you were encouraged to retire early by a small group of councilmembers, and that this was done: 1) in private, 2) without the knowledge of councilmembers Herdman, Dixon or Avery, 3) that the councilmembers who did this, did so without the authority of the council acting as a whole, 4) that this action was not based on any sort of performance reason, and without due process.

The voters should know that in my eight years on council, never once did a rogue group of councilmembers engage in such a serious action against a senior city executive without notice, due process or the proper authority.

This action, if true, is a terrible affront and is deeply disrespectful to fellow councilmembers, and to the voters who elected them.

Councilmembers Peotter, Muldoon and O’Neill, and Mayor Duffield, you, or some subject of you, are apparently the rogue councilmembers. You owe the voters of this city answers to the following questions:

1) Are the allegations true? 

2) If so, what were your true motivations? 

3) Who were the councilmembers that conducted this rogue act? 

4) Mayor Duffield: as mayor, one of your prime responsibilities is to assure proper due process and respectful treatment of all your council colleagues. You must have known about this. How could you be so feckless as to standby and allow this disrespectful and insulting action to occur, or worse yet, encourage it

5) Have the rogue councilmembers already picked a new city manager? Is it Mark Denny from Dana Point?

6) If not, how will council assure that a proper, fully-inclusive and objective process be used to select the next city manager?

Most of all, Dave Kiff, Councilmembers Avery, Herdman and Dixon, as well as the voters of Newport Beach, deserve an apology.

Mike Henn

Newport Beach

Kudos to Kiff from friend

In all the years I have known Dave Kiff I have found him to be an intelligent, knowledgeable, hardworking, caring person who will go out of his way to assist when he’s called upon, professionally or otherwise. 

He will always land on his feet and let them take him whichever way he chooses to go because he can!!

And, you can never not like a person that loves dogs!

Let us all know where you land, when you do, so we can keep track of you Dave!

Lynn Cathcart 

Friends of OASIS, Board of Directors

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’s going on at the upcoming Newport Beach City Council meeting set for (tonight) Tuesday, March 27th at 7 p.m. Meetings are held in the Newport Beach Civic Center at 100 Civic Center Drive – the public is always welcome. I do not highlight all of the items on the agenda – please go to the City’s webpage and review the agenda if you want to see all of the items.

There is no study session in the afternoon, so the Regular Session starts at 7 p.m. The items that seem worthy of highlighting and/or explaining are these:

Council Member Muldoon asked his colleagues to consider a statement in support of a ballot measure proposed for the November 2018 statewide ballot. This relates to tightening up some of the things that arguably were loosened with recent ballot and legislative actions involving the parole system and who is eligible and when. It also would place new penalties on parole violations, among other things.

Some new improvements and maintenance are/is coming for Peninsula Point Park near the Balboa Pier, and Bayview Park near the Marriott Bayview.

I think folks will be happy to see improvements to the crosswalks along Newport Boulevard and Balboa Boulevard – recall that we’ve had a number of community meetings that Council Member Dixon has hosted about further enhancing the visibility of current crosswalks on the Peninsula.  

The Annual “Status Report” on the General Plan and its Housing Element. This is usually a pro forma item, but it allows the staff and Council to ensure that we are following State law relating to reporting in on how we’re implementing the General Plan and whether there have been any recent changes to housing activity in the community.    

I’ve placed Advocacy for a Port Master Plan back on the agenda and will explain why. The goal of having a special carve-out for aspects of Newport Harbor’s public and private permitting is (to me) a good one. Today, nearly all permits to do things like dredging around residential piers, residential pier repairs, sea wall repairs, and more all have to go to the Coastal Commission. Ideally, those permits could be assigned to the City and City Council for approval, provided that we considered them through the same lens that the Coastal Commission would – same concerns, same protections, same compliance with the Coastal Act. This concept will not cause Newport Harbor’s current character to change – it’s about permit authority, not becoming port-like (or even Port-lite). Anyway, in order to even be able to submit a plan for permit authority to the Coastal Commission, we think we need state legislation to allow us to send a Port Master Plan in for Commission review and approval. There are certainly good questions involved in this process, and good reasons to ask questions, but It seems to make sense to try it out. There could come a time in the near future when we decide this isn’t going to work, and our advocacy agreements allow us to pull the plug quickly. Speaking of advocacy, Council Members Dixon and Peotter and I had a good conversation between Council meetings to become more comfortable with the approach and staffing that Don Schmitz and Sean Henschel will provide. Therefore, I was comfortable putting it back on the agenda quite quickly. If anyone has any questions about this at all, please contact me and I’ll wade through it with you.  

A couple of random notes:

A lot is going on regarding homelessness in our region. In fact, I spent last Saturday morning in Judge Carter’s chambers listening to updates about the clearing of encampments in the Santa Ana riverbed as well as a planned clearing of the Santa Ana Civic Center encampment. While I won’t include it here, I recently wrote up an email that I sent to a number of residents about this issue, including what we’re doing as a City and community. I can send that to you if you ask me by return email.

Secondly, Speak Up Newport is planning their Wednesday, April 11 forum on this issue. SUN meets at 5:30 p.m. – with the program at 6 p.m. –  in the Community Room at the Civic Center. Note, too, that a small (12-unit) “permanent supportive housing” location in town has recently completed its renovation and is open for business, housing six veterans and six low-income seniors. It’s an amazing place and looks terrific.  

We’re chugging along on our airport efforts, thanks to great enthusiasm by our key community groups. We’re now in the thick of a data study looking at ways to improve departure procedures so that planes can depart in the quietest manner (but still safely, of course) possible. Our groups like AWG, Air Fair and CAANP are really engaged on this. It’s exciting. I’m happy to fill you in more on this if you ask. This coming week may (emphasis on “may” because stuff like this is very uncertain) also see the first few planes using a new pathway in the Upper Bay that involves two gentle turns, versus the current “just one” turn procedure. I will confess to trepidation as to how this will work, but we’ll be following it very closely.

I hope everyone has a pleasant Easter and great spring break in the upcoming weeks.  

As always, I enjoy hearing from you about this or any other community issue involving the city government. So does the City Council – remember that you can email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express your thoughts or ideas.  

Thanks for reading!



Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Guest Column

Will O’Neill

The Blurred Line Between Tax Education and Tax Advocacy

Will O'Neill

Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill

After Stanton residents voted to increase their own sales tax, the city’s Finance Director crowed to his fellow municipal finance directors about his city’s successful campaign. According to his article, the only thing that “went wrong” was that Stanton “didn’t suppress the opposition with one-on-one meetings early.”  

Cities throughout our State have been using Orwellian tactics to “suppress” opposition to tax increases through coordinated and premeditated “education campaigns.” These campaigns operate in a grey legal area because each campaign uses public resources to accomplish its goals.

The California Supreme Court in Stanson v. Mott stated resolutely that “a fundamental precept of this nation’s democratic electoral process is that the government may not ‘take sides’ in election contests or bestow an unfair advantage on one of several competing factions.” The Supreme Court in Vargas v. City of Salinas then created its own grey area exception by allowing governmental entities to express publicly an opinion on the merits of a ballot measure so long as the governmental entity “does not expend public funds to mount a campaign on the measure.”

Cities undeterred by the Stanson prohibition or blinded by their own fiscal desperation of their own making have driven Mack trucks through the Vargas limited exception. Cities throughout our State are hiring political campaign consultants or public relations firms to “educate” the public on the cities’ opinion. At what point, though, do campaigns move from education to advocacy?

In 2010, for example, the City of Tracy hired political campaign consultant Lew Edwards in connection with a sales tax increase. According to the consultant’s presentation, the consultant conducted a poll to determine “campaign messaging,” draft the “ballot arguments,” and create the “ballot question wording.” The City then sent “education materials” to voters through broadcast television and City-created newsletters, presentations, emails, and even sent the materials through utility bill inserts.  

Campaign consultants respond to cities’ requests for proposal by touting their “wins” or “successes,” which they define by whether a tax measure passes. One consultant bragged that it has “enacted more than $30 Billion in California revenue measures with a success rate of 94 percent.” Another consultant bragged that its “competitive strength” is that “we WIN.” Where the objective is supposedly public education, though, winning and losing or success and failure cannot be measured by ballot box results.

Enough is enough. Cities must stop using tax dollars to advocate under the thinly veiled guise of education.  

The City of Newport Beach recently passed a resolution prohibiting public expenditure on these “education” campaigns. We invite other City leaders to use our resolution as a model. We also invite residents throughout the State to demand that their leaders stop hiring campaign consultants who view tax increases as “wins.”  

Will O’Neill is Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Newport Beach. He will gladly provide anyone a copy of the City’s Resolution and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Letter to the Editor:

The BBC, where Dorothy knew everyone’s name

Loved the story about Dorothy Yardley. When I first came to the Balboa Bay Club as the wife of the new owner, Bill Ray, the first person I met was Dorothy, the heart of the club. She knew the name of every member, and to me, scared to death as I could recall NO names, she was my savior. In the reception line before a big party, Dorothy was always there to tell me the names as the members passed through the lines, saving me great embarrassment.

Once, when my dad was coming to California with his buddies to play golf, Bill and I wanted to give a party to welcome the Texans to Newport. I asked Dorothy if she thought John Wayne would come to the party if invited. “Well, of course he would,” she said. The four Cowtown guys were standing on the porch when The Duke ambled up, put out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m John Wayne.” Well, those four guys were speechless, thrilled to meet face-to-face with their long-time hero, and I can guarantee you, they were still talking about it at the 19th Hole at Colonial Country Club for years after!

Yes, Dorothy was the heart of the BBC, and no she didn’t pass after a long stay at a retirement home. Dorothy passed at Hoag Hospital after a short illness, but is still a fixture at The Club, having a drink with one of her multitudes of friends. I, still, think of her often as my mentor and much-loved friend.

Beverly Ray

Former Owner Balboa Bay Club

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Stop Playing Games at Taxpayer Expense

Once again, Mayor Duffield and Mayor Pro-Tem O’Neill, in a desperate attempt to find something, anything, to serve as a record to run on, have proposed an unnecessary and foolish prohibition to using city resources to advocate for city and county ballot measures. This of course is already prohibited by state law and has been so for many years.

Much like the misguided effort to refuse our gas tax funds, this proposal is fraught with unintended consequences.

For example, when our local transportation tax measure, Measure M, was reauthorized in 2006, Newport Beach, like every other city in Orange County, was represented by elected officials and staff in working groups leading up to the drafting of the ballot measure to ensure that local priorities were considered and included in the measure. This policy would preclude the representation of Newport Beach in the preparation of any extension of our local transportation funding source and likely result in our city losing valuable street and road improvement funds. Measure M has been used to improve our traffic signals, repair our roads, provide a needed bridge over Superior at Sunset Ridge Park and even fund our summer bus service on the Peninsula.

Secondly, we all know that any tax increase must be voted on and none is projected to be submitted to the voters. Where this policy may come into play, however, is in the case of a natural disaster. Laguna Beach was required to go to the voters to seek special tax funding to make emergency repairs to Bluebird Canyon after a catastrophic landslide. This policy would prohibit the city from even explaining the need for special funding to the voters and would delay emergency improvements. Consider what would happen if we had a Tsunami, canyon fire or earthquake.

Third, the city spent millions in the 1990s in indirect support of the three ballot measures related to moving the airport to El Toro. Since taxes are part of any airport plan, this policy could have prevented advocacy on one of the most important issues to city residents.

Ironically, the only recent use of city resources to advocate on tax issues was the August 31, 2017 council meeting hastily called by Team Newport to reverse themselves on their misguided refusal to accept our own gas tax funds. The resolution included a statement of city opposition to SB1, the state gas tax bill and thus engaged in advocacy.  

Let’s stop playing political games and wasting tax dollars on empty gestures such as this.

Keith Curry, Former Mayor 

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

“Lucky us” because we spent our youth in CdM

Nancy Gardner’s article brought back wonderful memories of my youth in Corona del Mar. My younger sister and I, seven and ten, lived in a duplex apartment at 514 Avocado in 1950 with our mother. Dad was in the army in Korea, and Mother worked at the iconic Merle’s Drive In as a car hop to make ends meet.

Mom and Dad at Merles Drive In

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Gayle Jones

Gayle Jones’ Mom and Dad at Merle’s Drive In, where her mother worked as a car hop

Merle’s site is now Corona del Mar Plaza, with magnificent Fashion Island on a hill to the north. (As chance would have it, my company built the Plaza for The Irvine Company in 1999.)

Merles Drive In

Click on photo for a larger image

The iconic Merle’s Drive In, where Corona del Mar Plaza is now situated

Besides jumping off rocks into Newport Bay in China Cove, our playground was a field across from our Avocado duplex. We ran up and down the ravines in summer and made Christmas tree forts in winter. We also rented horses by the hour from the stables in the middle of the field. Mother was working, and we were on our own, always feeling safe. Lucky us. The stables moved to the south of Cameo Shores when the residential community, Irvine Terrace, was developed. Remarkably, our duplex still stands; it’s even the same color.   

514 Avocado home

The 514 Avocado Avenue duplex in Corona del Mar, where Gayle Jones grew up, still stands today and is the same color

On Saturdays, my sister and I would have lunch at our favorite coffee shop before we made our way to the Port Theater for a matinee. A nice lady behind the counter took our melted cheese sandwich and chocolate shake order, and her husband cooked our delicious lunch. Of course, this was Audrey and John McIntosh’s Snack Shop. Lucky us.

The Snack Shop Group was a restaurant empire in Orange County when my husband and I moved to Shore Cliffs in 1976. The McIntoshes were neighbors and it was fun sharing stories of “old” Corona del Mar with Audrey. My husband, Roy, shared the love of fishing with John. We also visited with Nancy’s father, Judge Gardner, on our walks around Shore Cliffs. Lucky us. 

Thank you, Nancy Gardner and the talented folks at StuNews, for keeping Newport Beach residents entertained and informed. I never miss an issue.


Gayle (Willinger) Jones

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Opposed to any large development

I totally oppose your view regarding the Koll Residences. I totally oppose your view regarding developer fees making this or any large development OK.

I’ve been a resident of Newport Beach for 47+ years. I’m not against more houses, more buildings, more development. But I am against large developments. In the case of the three 15-story Koll Residences, this is too large of a project. It doesn’t fit the General Plan. It is too tall and too dense.

To read your article in StuNews that Developer Fees are needed, then this large development is fine. A grin and bear it.

I totally disagree.

This project will generate several million dollars in developer fees. But we’ll have this project for maybe a hundred years…we’ll have this project’s traffic and the imprint that its residents make on our city.

My friends and I feel you are incorrect and you do a disservice to your paper in taking a stand that is so unrepresentative of the citizens of Newport Beach.

Thanks for listening,

Jo Carol Hunter

Newport Beach

Reader shares “wanted” sour cream recipe

Several issues ago, we published one of Nancy Gardner’s always entertaining columns. One reader, Jamie McGrew, wrote afterwards saying, “Your mention of the Sour Cream salad dressing, nearly brought tears to my eyes; and it sure as heck re-ignited my taste buds just recalling its great flavor. I can’t even recall the countless times I’ve tried to re-create it at home. If you have any clues about that sour cream dressing recipe, please advise.”

Well Jamie, today’s your lucky day. “I saw this letter (Jamie’s) and after I resolved a few reservations, I decided to send it. Hope it makes a few people happy,” Leslie Betz.

I worked for the Snack Shop/Far West Services between 1962 and 1966. I started as a dishwasher in the Huntington Beach restaurant, No. 8. I was also a bus boy, host, and eventually a cook. I worked in the Coco’s on 17th Street and Harbor at Adams. I also worked at the Reuben E. Lee as a kitchen steward. 

While at Coco’s, one of my duties was making the sour cream and house dressing. The dressing was made in five-gallon buckets. I reduced the recipe down to about a quart.

There is a small group of former Snack Shop employees who get together here in OC at least twice a year. At one of our dinners, I whipped up a batch and put the dressing in Mason jars to give everyone a sample. Everybody remembered the dressing and said it was a great replica.  

Snack Shop sour cream salad dressing

1 1/4 cup good mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup butter milk

2/3 cup milk

1 T garlic salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

3T white wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients and put in refrigerator for 24 hours. The next day, it will be thicker and may need thinning with more buttermilk. 

Enjoy this great recipe. I feel okay to share it with those who remember a great company. It was a great place to work while going to college.

Leslie Betz 

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Help in the name of sour cream salad dressing

Nancy Gardner: Thank you for the great Snack Shop/John McIntosh article.

It certainly brought back cherished memories. 

Your mention of the sour cream salad dressing nearly brought tears to my eyes; and, it sure as heck reignited my taste buds just recalling its great flavor. I can’t even recall the countless times I’ve tried to recreate it at home, all with good but not GREAT results.

I would give big bucks (at least $10!) to know how to make that dressing. And, who could forget the Nui-Nui Burger, though I think that came later; Hurley Bell, the Arches, we’re great too, Bob Batchelor at the Arches, just superb; and don’t forget the Chef’s Inn, now Banderas.

B-t-w, my father David McGrew, was quite a fan of your father; he always remarked well about him at the dinner table, after he had spent a day in Santa Ana going through court house records.

If you have any clues about that sour cream dressing recipe, please advise. Thanks again.

Best regards.

Jamie McGrew

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Investigation should be handled by DA’s office

I agree with the opinion of Lynn Swain expressed in her letter about the Newport Beach City Council approving of the expenditure of staff time and taxpayer funds to investigate the recall effort of Scott Peotter. The Orange County District Attorney’s office is the agency best suited for the job. A duplicate of the DA’s investigation would not only be costly and time-consuming but could appear by many to be politically motivated. I would think also that citizens might feel that such an investigation is a thinly veiled attempt by council members to discourage future recall efforts, thus depriving them of one of their constitutional rights.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach 

Letter to the Editor:

Protecting integrity of elections is foundation of democracy

Mr. McCaffrey’s enthusiasm for retaliation against the committee who sought to recall “his” councilman Scott Peotter is clouding his logic. He appears to be suggesting that we knew that a paid professional circulator had forged signatures and encouraged this practice. May I point out that the recall failed by a miniscule number of signatures (106) and that the forged signatures clearly contributed to that failure? If we had known about it, we would have stopped it AND submitted 107 more signatures to qualify the recall. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous. 

We encourage the District Attorney’s investigation and will assist in any way we can. On the other hand, the City Council’s desire to see our private emails and confidential invoices is nothing more than political payback by Peotter, who clearly is orchestrating this witch-hunt. The District Attorney is the appropriate person to conduct this investigation and we look forward to supporting his results.

Lynn Swain

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Protecting integrity of elections is foundation of democracy

I applaud the Newport Beach city council for undertaking an investigation of “irregularities” in the Scott Peotter recall petitions.

Protecting the integrity of our local elections is the foundation of our Democracy. 

Leaders in the recall campaign have already admitted to submitting fraudulent signatures – that’s a crime.

They reported paying folks $25 per signature thereby creating an incentive for people to break the law.

Did they orchestrate a conspiracy to break the law? Did they knowingly submit fraudulent signatures?

We won’t know until a thorough investigation is done by the District Attorney and our city.

Bob McCaffrey, Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island

Letter to the Editor:

Recall signature investigation should be handled by District Attorney

In December, we learned that the recall of Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter failed to qualify by only 106 signatures. A month later, the Orange County District Attorney opened an investigation into the allegation that one of the paid professional petition circulators had forged signatures, contributing to the insufficiency of signatures.

On Tuesday, Mr. Peotter and the Newport Beach City Council (excluding Mr. Herdman and Ms. Dixon), gave themselves subpoena powers to investigate the recall committee. Their stated reason was to restore trust in the election processes, but are they the best ones to do so? They clearly have skin in the game and most of them openly supported Mr. Peotter while we were collecting signatures. In contrast, the District Attorney has no skin in the game and his investigation will be both competent and thorough. Those of us on the recall committee support such an unbiased investigation by the DA, with an emphasis on the word “unbiased”.

Mr. O’Neill inadvertently revealed the underlying agenda when he spoke about forcing the release of confidential invoices as well as the private emails of the recall committee. It is hard to imagine how that data will lead to the arrest of a rogue individual who may have forged signatures, but it isn’t hard at all to imagine how information about the workings of his opponent’s campaign will be helpful to Mr. Peotter. The immense power of the subpoena that the council has voted upon themselves is that they will be able to compel answers to any questions that they wish while someone is under oath. Can we trust them to exercise that power responsibly? I would argue that we cannot. 

Democracy works best when democratic processes are respected. Mr. Peotter’s investigation is a thinly disguised threat to those who dare to challenge his position and should not be tolerated. Anyone who thinks that Mr. Peotter will fairly investigate his own recall is in error. The Orange County District Attorney is the only person we can trust to appropriately investigate this situation.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Boulton’s message keeps ringing


Click on photo for a larger image

This is so appropriate, especially in light of Sean Boulton’s right-on piece last week.

Charles Davison

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Boulton’s message should be shouted from the rooftops

BRAVO, BRAVO for the article published this morning (Thursday, Feb. 1) about the pressures on our youth in today’s school culture – focused on this area in particular!

What Principal Boulton stated needs to be shouted from the rooftops of our homes to EVERYONE who lives in this area!  

The two latest incidents in this area: the murder of Bernstein and now the suicide of this fine young man last Saturday, these are cries for help! 

My three grandchildren either have attended or still attend high schools here (NHHS, CdM, and OCSA) and I simply can’t believe the PRESSURE they are under. They don’t have time to enjoy their youth! If there is any way that this message/article can have an impact on this community, please help as much as you can. Thank you for publishing his article. Keep up the good work…        

Jan Landstrom 

Corona del Mar 

Reader applauds Boulton’s column

As a parent of three CdM students, I applaud the recent guest column written by Newport Harbor’s principal, Sean Boulton. I hope this article sparks meaningful conversations and positive changes at CdM and Newport Harbor. His advocacy of vocational training schools should be strongly supported by all Newport-Mesa families. 


Brian Flood

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

We care about the character of our City

In his letter last week, Bob McCaffrey vilified us being anti-property rights and anti-development. Bob McCaffrey might be surprised at how much we have in common. For example, we both support property rights. If property has a specific development right delineated in the General Plan and zoning code, we need to respect those rights. However, our opinions diverge from there. Mr. McCaffrey appears to feel that the term “property rights” is synonymous with “build whatever you can get away with.” We do not support this view, as evidenced by our vocal opposition to the Museum House and the latest high-rise condo tower Koll Residencies.  

The character of a city is the result of its General Plan, which determines the intensity of development, and its zoning rules, which determines what buildings will look like. Our zoning rules should be consistently applied to all properties (unless unusual circumstances exist) and we all benefit when the rules are applied consistently and equitably. When our city allows frequent exceptions to zoning rules, we end up with big box houses that are not in character with its neighbors. When our City Council approves high rise, high density projects like the Museum House condo tower, our city creeps ever closer to looking like Miami.

Mr. McCaffrey’s views will likely influence the Team Newport City Council members more than our own given his extremely generous support of their election campaigns, but we hope that giving voice to the not so silent majority in our city who are concerned about overdevelopment may someday level the playing field and result in a council that will hear our voice as clearly as his.

Lynn Swain Newport Beach  |  Susan Skinner Newport Beach

The ENC remembers Elizabeth Steele

Recently our community lost an individual whose impact will continue for generations. I remember several years ago sitting with Elizabeth Steele at the Environmental Nature Center, her sight nearly gone but her vision as clear as ever. She asked me to call her Betty, but I always called her Mrs. Steele. We talked about philanthropy, the giving history of the Harry & Grace Steele Foundation, her love of the outdoors, and the impact of the ENC on our children. Our conversation was often interrupted by the excited voices of children who were making, for many of them, their first discovery in nature. Mrs. Steele would recognize their reactions and simply smile. She knew the impact the ENC was having on these children. She also recognized that the real impact may not be immediate and may not truly come to fruition for many years later. If those children only knew of the impact that Mrs. Steele had on the ENC, I’m sure they would have stopped to thank her personally.  

We sat across from each other talking on land that she helped to acquire next to a building that she and the Steele Foundation were largely responsible for building. Her support went far beyond capital investments for Mrs. Steele knew organizations rely on the community’s continued support in order to provide their valuable service. When people ask me about what philanthropy means, I immediately think of Mrs. Steele. She identified a community need, did her homework to identify an organization addressing that need, and provided her financial support to allow the organization to do its work to the best of their ability. 

Next month, the ENC will start construction on our communities’ first Nature Preschool, another project Mrs. Steele helped bring to fruition, to provide more of those experiences in Nature like the ones Mrs. Steele witnessed, but even more lasting and impactful ones.

The ENC’s relationship with Mrs. Steele is one of many similar stories of relationships she had with other organizations throughout our community. Her impact will continue to be realized for many years to come. Our community is better because of Mrs. Steele. She is an example for us all.

Bo Glover, Executive Director

Environmental Nature Center

Letter to the Editor:

Property Right are “the cornerstone of our Republic”

I have been the target of streams of letters and social media comments from title insurance executive Lynn Cuckovich Swain and psychiatrist Susan Skinner for my support of politicians that believe in private property rights.

I would like to speak to the issue of private property rights and remind them they are a cornerstone of our Republic. When government erodes property rights you get Cuba.

Cuckovich Swain and Skinner unnecessarily demonize “developers” and anyone that supports development, including city councilmembers that support private property rights.

For the record, I am a 50-year resident, believe private property rights are good, and I support quality development. 

After all, respect for private property rights allowed a “developer” to build Cuckovich Swain’s and Skinner’s houses. 

I’m confident that Cuckovich Swain is happy the original plans in the 1970s to create a landfill at Big Canyon never materialized. 

Those “evil” developers built one of Southern California’s most desirable communities where families flourish. Big Canyon prices started at $71,000 for a home that’s now worth millions. Cuckovich Swain should be praising Big Canyon’s original developers Richard B. Smith, McClain Development, and Deane Development because now she’s got a roof over her head.

Skinner’s been singing the same tired “developer bad” tune for years.

Her house in the Port Streets once was a pasture for cattle grazing the day away. My guess is she’s glad the cows are gone and she has a warm place to sleep. In Skinner-world no one else is allowed to enjoy a home in Newport Beach. She’s got hers.

In the last 20 years Newport’s population has increased a paltry 6,000 (8 percent), all from the annexation and build-out of Newport Coast. 

Newport Coast is a magnificent addition to our city that shores up our tax base with beautiful homes and amenities.

Quality development like Swain’s and Skinner’s neighborhoods create the value that results in property taxes that pay for our police, fire, parks, streets, and all those services they crave.

But, they’ve got theirs. No one else is allowed.

I will gladly continue to support city councilmembers that respect private property rights and quality development.

Bob McCaffrey, Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island



Letters to the Editor:

Petition launched against Koll airport project

Currently, a petition is being circulated involving an important traffic issue in Newport Beach. The issue involves the pending approval of a mega development – the Koll Center Residences near John Wayne Airport, within the City limits.

This huge new residential development, if built, will impact our overloaded streets in a negative way. Because it is being proposed near the airport it is easy to overlook its import to the rest of the city.

I would urge all interested citizens to read the petition: go to and do some research. The website makes it very understandable. Please look into this for yourself then contact the NB City Council and help defeat this new assault on our community.

Melinda Seely, President, Airfair

Newport Beach

Speak Up Newport hosts meeting on sea level rise

Wednesday, Jan. 10, Speak Up Newport hosted an informative meeting on sea level rise, its potential risks for Newport Beach, and measures the City is taking to protect public and private property. 

The program included City Planner, Jim Campbell, who described how the City is planning to prepare for changes in sea level on Newport’s beachfronts and harbor. Robert Stein, of Public Works, described the Balboa Island sea wall improvements and other projects the City has in the works. Campbell and Stein explained that the City is taking a cautious approach, based on the lowest estimates of sea level rise. Current projects should provide protection for the next ten years. 

They were followed by Brett Sanders and Jochen Shubert of UCI, who are working on a flood mapping project. Their flood maps are available for review at The maps show the extent of flooding within the City for various assumptions regarding sea level, rainfall, storm surge and other variables.

The program was well done and attracted a large turnout. Stein had one graph in his presentation that merited only a brief comment, but may have been the most significant item of the evening. It showed various forecasts of the rapid buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Scientists believe that it is this buildup of greenhouse gases that is causing sea levels around the globe to rise.

In the question and answer session, one attendee asked about this: “If carbon dioxide is the cause of problem, shouldn’t the City be addressing it?” 

The panel had no answer. However, the question resonated with the audience, as indicated by the loud applause that followed. My take away from the meeting, in addition to being pleased by the City’s preventive measures, is voters want the Council to take a public stance on asking Congress to enact measures to immediately address the problem of reducing carbon dioxide emissions as recommended by the Paris Climate Accord. Dozens of other ocean front cities have done this, and our combined voices will be heard.

Craig Smith

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Nancy Gardner column stirs thoughts of a favorite childhood teacher

Nancy Gardner’s article in your 1-8-18 edition regarding her former teacher at Newport Harbor High reminded me of my favorite teacher, who happened to teach 4th grade in a Sioux City, Iowa school. I never forgot this woman, who had never married or raised her own children, nevertheless was the most influential teacher in my life. Unlike Nancy’s teacher who sounded fun and progressive, Miss Trehune was known for endorsing long-held American traditions and rules which she believed important.

My respect for this teacher has grown with each passing year as I experience the rewards of living according to the words and truths she taught. She was unforgettable, but not due to her personality, looks, or any awards. In fact, she was exceedingly plain looking, deplorably blunt, and frighteningly honest. Yet, for more decades than I care to share, she remains the teacher that most influenced my life.

She always began Monday mornings asking if anyone would like to share something special they had done over the weekend. I had nothing to report of significance, but being a veracious child I raised my hand. When she called on me I began my little speech and soon realized it needed something a bit more exciting if I wanted to keep everyone’s attention. I was actually pretty good at embellishing at that age, but I didn’t get too far into the fiction portion before Miss Trehune stopped me and asked if what I had said was really true. Apparently, I had exaggerated beyond anything she found acceptable and used it as an example to the class that one must always stick to facts. I cannot tell you how embarrassed I was, but it accomplished my teacher’s apparent purpose. Not only did I strive to never exaggerate after that experience, I do my best to always be as accurate as possible.


Miss Trehune was even more eager to point out the good among her nine-year-old students, whenever she saw an example to do so. My Mom hadn’t time to make my lunch one morning and there was no school cafeteria. I was given money to go across the street to a local restaurant. I sat by myself at the lunch counter, ate, and went back to class. The first thing Miss Trehune did when class began was to announce she had just witnessed something special by a student in our class.

I was totally shocked when she identified me as that student. I had no idea Miss Trehune had lunched at that restaurant as well. She had noticed a man and his wife wanting to eat at the counter, but there weren’t two seats together. I saw their problem as well, so I told the couple I would move to another seat so they could sit together. Obviously no big deal, but from that time to now, due to Miss Trehune, I’ve purposed to think more of others in similar situations.

Miss Trehune never let a teaching opportunity go to waste. We were the children she never had and as such she devoted her life to teaching us more than just facts from books; she taught us tools to be better people. Teaching was not just her profession, it was her life. I sometimes wonder how many students she taught incorporated this amazing woman’s advice into their lives and thus benefited from her wisdom. A teacher like Miss Trehune is a gift that keeps on giving throughout life and thus helps make our World a bit better for everyone.

Bonnie O’Neil

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

Happy 2018 to you! I hope that your holidays were safe, fun, and relaxing (unless you like it otherwise, and that’s fine too – I know more than a few holiday adrenaline junkies). Anyway, back here at City Hall we’re revving up for another year. The new Mayor is Duffy Duffield and the new Mayor Pro Tem is Will O’Neill.

Our first meeting of the year starts with a Study Session at 4 p.m. and then goes to a Regular Session at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

As to Study Session, we’ll honor Pacific Life on its 150th Anniversary. Then the Council will go into two policy items:

A briefing by the City’s consultant that looks at the state and regional economy

that’s Beacon Economics. We had Beacon do a public workshop about this time last year, and I think that the folks attending got a lot out of it. This time, it’s a Study Session item so that more people might be able to hear it or see it online. This can be a good one to tune in to if you want some solid guidance about the current (and possibly future) state of the regional economy. I should probably put in here something about not making investment strategies or decisions based on this, as they are just projections and you can’t come back after investing the kids’ college fund in Bitcoin to say “well, the City’s economist said so…”

An update on past actions, present activities, and the future goals regarding Ocean and Bay Water Quality. This is always a great subject for the community to learn more about, as some really significant strides have been made to improve the water quality of our Bay, especially. The City is well-served by members of the Water Quality/Coastal Tidelands citizens committee, and the goals we’ll talk about on Tuesday reflect the Committee’s ideas as well as the perspective of our good Public Works staff.

On the Regular Session agenda are a few housekeeping items and others, of which I think only one seems worth a community mention. That is the appeal by Electra Cruises of a parking management plan (PMP) for Lido Marina Village. I don’t have a perspective on the merits of the appeal, but it is a good time to remind folks about zoning and parking in our commercial areas. 

Most commercial areas, like Lido Marina Village, have parking standards set forth in the code, and they are generally linked to the types of land uses in the area. Parking requirements can be addressed in a variety of ways – with on-site parking or offsite, with shuttles or more. In Lido Marina Village, the new restaurants and shops are bringing more customers and employees to the area, resulting in greater use of the private parking structure there (and to some extent, to surrounding residential areas).  

The structure is also used by Electra Cruises’ patrons. In this case, a parking management plan helps determine how to best accommodate all uses – sometimes on an hourly basis. While this PMP was approved by the Planning Commission, Electra appealed the approval to the City Council. The City Council will hold a public hearing to determine the merits of the appeal, and then can decide to reject, modify, or accept the PMP.   

A few notes:

The Council’s annual planning/goal setting session is likely to be Monday

evening, Jan. 29 at Marina Park, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. This is tentative and subject to change, but you may want to pencil it in on your calendar if you like attending these (and you know you do). There will be cookies.

The City Finance Committee meets next Thursday afternoon, Jan. 11, at 3

p.m. here at City Hall in the Corona del Mar Conference Room (Bay D, 2nd Floor). No cookies.

Newport Beach Restaurant Week is coming up, starting on Jan. 15 and going

through Jan. 28. It’s a fun and creative time to try out new (or old favorite) restaurants. More information at

A personal note here, and I get to do this as it’s my e-mail. Twenty years ago

(Jan. 5, 1998), I walked into my first day of work at (the old) Newport Beach City Hall, starting my job as an “assistant to” the city manager. I was nervous and excited, and so honored to be working for this great community. I was looking forward to some great projects, experiences, and fun people to meet and to work with.  Twenty years later, those expectations were all met. And they continue to be met. I hope that you enjoy living and/or working in Newport Beach as much as your city staff – including a much older me – enjoys serving here.

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. 


Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letter to the Editor:

Final comment from Glenn on the City/Dixon lawsuit

My objective here was to prove that Dixon was lying, and to do so in a court of law. I have accomplished that objective.

The defamation section I was less concerned about, even though that was the legal tool which allowed the case to be heard. I was going to donate all money won anyway – so that was not the objective.

The fact that the judge said that State Code 47 allows people to literally lie from the dais without any recourse for citizens who are being slandered by elected officials tells me that we have a very serious problem in the state of California, and while I am happy to be vindicated by a judge from Dixon’s accusations, I am saddened that she has all the legal ability to espouse as many lies as she wants – and her entire defense in this case was not that she was telling the truth, it was that she was immune from being held accountable for telling lies.

That’s concerning.
Mike Glenn

Letter to the Editor:

Concerns expressed for the General Plan update process

The General Plan, the blueprint of development for our city, is ready to be updated. 

In past updates, our City Council has added extensive new developments to this blueprint. Once a development has been added to the General Plan, there is no effective way to prevent it from being built. 

As an example, the high-density apartments at San Joaquin Hills and Jamboree were added to the 2006 General Plan update and were just now built. 

Many of us are concerned that our current City Council will add substantial development to the General Plan. A majority of the councilpersons voted for the 25 story Museum House tower last November and a simple majority can add additional development to our city through the General Plan.

Because our General Plan revisions add development rights, they require a Greenlight vote. 

However, in the last two updates, the City Council represented the update as an opportunity to remove traffic and density, although each added huge new developments to our city. 

This disingenuous presentation backfired in 2014 when residents decisively defeated Measure Y. Voters don’t like to be fooled by their elected representatives and they felt hoodwinked by the way the new development was hidden.

Although the city did a major outreach to residents in 2014, they ignored the results when the overwhelming sentiment expressed was to slow development and protect quality of life. 

SPON’s General Plan committee has been recently formed in part to give a greater voice to the residents in the update process. An educated and involved electorate is the best way to make this update resident focused and will make it harder to quietly slip major projects into the plan.  

Voters deserve to know exactly what they are voting for. For my part, I’m asking our City Council for transparency, a level playing field and a clear accounting of the new developments that they are adding to our city. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Susan Skinner

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  

Happy almost-Christmas Boat Parade time to you. That starts Wednesday the 13th, you know. Be prepared for good times, good decorations, good friends, and not-so-good traffic.

This coming Tuesday, December 12 is the last official regular Council meeting of 2017. Hard to believe we’re already there. At this meeting, not a lot happens besides some important ceremonial moves. As this is not a year where we had a Council election, we have no newcomers nor folks terming out.  

Starting at 6:30 p.m., there are some very minor business items, one being the 2nd Reading of the rescinding of the approvals for Banning Ranch. Why is this coming up again? Glad you asked.   

This is a good chance to remind folks of the arcane rules about ordinances versus

resolutions versus other actions. An ordinance is typically (but not always) an action that amends the municipal code (in Banning Ranch’s case, the development approvals being rescinded include lots of things, some being changes made in 2012 to the Zoning Code). Remember that the Municipal Code itself spells out our local laws relating to everything from parking to fire and building codes to the harbor to nuisances to zoning. When the Council amends the Muni Code, they do it via two nearly identical actions (called 1st Reading or Introduction and then 2nd Reading). This is in part to allow more transparency and in part to allow the Council to reconsider or change an action before it becomes law. A Muni Code change does not take effect until 30 days following an affirmative vote at 2nd Reading.

The City Charter give additional roles to ordinances, requiring that franchises and new fines and penalties be adopted by ordinance. This too is a two-step process. The Council only adopts about 25-35 ordinances in any one year. 

A resolution is different. It is not an action that amends the Code, but it does express a formal determination by the Council of a policy, adopting a fee, stating an intention to apply for a grant, a budget’s adoption, certain personnel changes and more. Resolutions only have one vote, and they typically become effective upon adoption. Last year the Council adopted about 130 resolutions, though we’re on track for less in 2017.

There. You now know more about ordinances and resolutions and are half asleep. So am I.

So back to the December 12th meeting. After the Banning Ranch business item, we go to the annual reorganization. The reorganization goes like this:

The mayor for 2017, Kevin Muldoon, is recognized for his service, and will offer his thoughts as he concludes that role, Then,

Council takes nominations for the mayor’s position for 2018, and takes a vote. Oftentimes only one Council member is nominated before nominations are closed.

With the new mayor taking the gavel and the center seat, he or she takes nominations for the vice-mayor or mayor pro tem position (and another vote is taken). The vice-mayor then takes the seat to the mayor’s right.

Everyone else picks their 2018 seats, with the Council members next in seniority picking first, by alphabetical order of their first pet’s name if two or more have the same seniority. Or their own last name, whatever.

The new mayor gets to make some remarks.

The meeting ends and off everyone goes to eat. City staff breathes a sigh of relief and imbibes in a few drinks (afterward, of course – what were you thinking?) as another year of meetings is under the belt.

A few notes:

Thank you to all who have attended the two Open Forums on the airport in recent days and weeks. We’ve had strong discussions and I have appreciated the good questions and comments. I know Council Member (Jeff) Herdman has as well. Just as an update for all, the last known FAA NextGen adjustment at JWA was made on Thursday, December 7, as the plane routes going to two destinations (Las Vegas and Salt Lake City – the FINZZ) were shifted very slightly west. While we didn’t see evidence of this until Friday, December 8, as we were in Santa Ana reverse flow conditions, the shift did happen according to our review of a handful of flights Friday afternoon. For those who want further updates on JWA, the Aviation Committee meets on Monday, December 11, at 4 p.m. at the Community Room at City Hall.

The Christmas Boat Parade (as noted) starts on Wednesday, December 13th and occurs through Sunday, December 17th. With fireworks on the first and last days. More details are at

By the end of this month, I have to say goodbye to another Department Director at the City. 2017 was a year that saw some retirements that I really didn’t want to see – that of Community Development Director Kim Brandt and now Utilities Guru George Murdoch. George is a remarkable man and leader, and he’s one of those people that I knew, if George was around, things were going to be OK. He led us through the drought. He would be the guy up in the middle of the night at a water main break, supervising a flooded street, or even that night this summer when a sea wall (or lack thereof) on Newport Island was in the news. If you didn’t know George, you knew his work – it was in the quality of your water service, the way we didn’t have to worry about wastewater spills, how your streetlights went on when they were supposed to, and much more. George has been with the City since 1980, starting as a $5.44/hour refuse worker. He retires about 38 years later, as one of the most well-liked and respected department directors we’ve had here. Fortunately, he has been good about sharing his knowledge, so we’ll be OK. I think. I will still miss him a great deal.

A reminder that City Hall takes a few days off between Christmas and New Year’s, so the Civic Center will be closed during the week of December 25 all the way to Monday, January 1, 2018. The Newport Beach Public Library has different hours, and is open in a limited way that week – check the Library’s Holiday Hours at before you go. I hope that you and your families have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and good and safe holidays overall.          

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. 


Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor:

Do some get more than their fair share?

Newport Beach District 6 City Council Candidate Joy Brenner addressed the Planning Commission last week with some concerns. This is a transcript.

My concern this evening is not primarily the 2706 Ocean Blvd. project, but about the city policies and procedures which have made this another lightning rod to our citizens.  

After attending many meetings on this project with concerned citizens,

city planning staff and even representatives of the builder, I’ve come away

amazed at the confusion over what the owner is legitimately allowed to build, and further amazed at what has been proposed in the way of variances. Small variances are understandable, excessive variances are not.

Understanding how to calculate Floor Area Ratio, even on irregular lots, such as this, should not be this difficult to determine, yet we have spent hours upon hours trying to get to the accurate number.   

BUT the ratio I am most concerned with is the ratio between Perception and Reality. Many, if not most, of our citizens have the perception that our city is not protecting us. We see buildings around us that have pushed the limits so far, we believe they MUST have cheated. 

WE DESERVE BETTER! Our citizens should not have to monitor our City’s actions at each and every turn. We need our city representatives to enact policies which are absolutely fair, transparent, understandable, totally above board and to have all those in positions of responsibility follow them to the letter and spirit of the law.  

This not only protects the city, but also the builders, property owners and 

other residents.  

It should not take an applicant one-and-a-half years, as this project has, to know what they are allowed to build and it should not take that many hours of city staff time, but MOSTLY it should not take EXCESSIVE VIGILANCE by our citizens to make sure no special privilege is being granted to one homeowner over another. 

ALL of our PROPERTY RIGHTS have to be protected from those who want more than their fair share.  

Our zoning laws need to be so fair and so transparent that citizens can easily determine whether they are being interpreted fairly, or whether special privilege is being granted.

MANY, if not most, of our citizens have lost faith in our city representatives and their willingness to stand up for us. I believe most of you have read the temperature of our community and IT IS HOT! Many of us are interested in city government and how it works and we enjoy fostering understanding on issues such as this.  

But, there are a LOT of citizens who are extremely irritated that every time they turn around, it seems another building project is pushing the limits of not only our infrastructure but of our quality of life.  

The city planning staff has gone out of their way to meet with and help us understand the complexities of this particular project and I believe that is a sign of changing times. One of our citizens said recently, that we should get rid of the building officials and just put a rubber stamp on the counter. I don’t believe that, but if our citizens have that perception, then our electeds, their appointees and our city staff have to be vigilant in not only changing that perception, but of changing the climate which fosters that perception.

Thank you for your time, attention and service to our community!

Joy Brenner

City Council Candidate, District 6

Letters to the Editor:

Peotter is a “rare politician that does what he’s promised”

Groucho Marx was right when he famously said, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

The Peotter recall is the wrong remedy.

Defeated city council candidate Michael Toerge and Fidelity Title Insurance executive Lynn Swain have driveled out a stream of letters accusing Peotter of everything but causing Malaria.

My suspicion is the letters are ghost written by Keith Curry, an angry failed politician that saddled Newport’s taxpayers with $140 million in debt for the Taj Mahal.

Peotter is one of those rare politicians that does what he’s promised – a novel concept to Toerge, Swain, and Curry.

Peotter led the charge to repeal the Dock Tax, return wood to our beach fire rings, audit the Taj Mahal, respect private property rights, and kill unnecessary projects like the 25-million dollar West Newport community center.

Newport’s finances are solid, home values continue to rise, and we are one of the safest communities in the state.

The council is working to reduce our massive unfunded pension debt – despite having little control over the abysmal investment performance of CalPERs.

Swain and Toerge want Peotter recalled simply because they don’t like him.  

He’s not “their kind of guy” because he speaks his mind and advocates for taxpayers.

Bob McCaffrey 

Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island

Scott Peotter Must Be Desperate

Scott Peotter must be getting desperate because he rolled out Team Newport puppet master Bob McCaffrey to once again launch personal attacks on the recall leaders and by extension the 10,688 residents who signed the petitions to remove Peotter.

McCaffery claims Peotter “does what he promises,” but does he? Dock fees were not eliminated, they were reduced by an average of only $18.00 per year for two-thirds of dock owners. Some major donors, however, received reductions of over $700.  

The current fire ring plan is essentially what the prior council proposed except it is implemented in a way to cause maximum smoke and health impacts on Newport Beach residents.  

The so-called civic center audit was a $300,000 boondoggle that still has never been completed in final form and resulted in no findings of wrongdoing by anyone.  

Peotter and Team Newport have temporally stopped the West Newport Community Center because they don’t think residents on the west side of town deserve facilities on par with Newport Coast or OASIS.

Our unfunded pension liability has increased by $70 million since Peotter took office and he opposed efforts of the council to reduce the liability in 2015.  

As for taxpayers, Peotter is pulling down compensation from four public agencies at the same time. He was the only council member to vote against the city’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy.

No Bob, he is not being recalled by more than 10,000 residents simply because we don’t like him. He is being recalled because he continues to act like our campaign contribution and disclosure laws don’t apply to him; he is rude and insulting to his colleagues and the public; and he (with your shilling on the side) attempted to prevent the residents from stopping the high-rise Museum House project.  

We are tired of the special interest, pay to play, pro high-rise antics of Peotter and the self-proclaimed “kingmakers” like yourself who stand behind them.

Lynn Swain

Committee To Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Reader cites various perceived political abuses

As America debates the impact of Russia on our election process, it is important to note that locally, we have seen the integrity of our city council elections attacked by Scott Peotter and his Team Newport puppet masters. 

Consider this pattern of political abuses:

In 2014, Dave Ellis had bragged that over $900,000 was spent through various committees to elect “Team Newport”. Much of this money is still untraceable. Peotter was cited twice for accepting donations that exceed the legal limit and is still under investigation by the state for failing to report in kind donations from Woody’s Wharf. Peotter was the deciding vote in favor of ending litigation with Woody’s.

Team Newport boss Bob McCaffery attempted to prevent now Councilmember Jeff Herdman from even running for office. This cynical effort was quickly rejected by the courts.

Peottter’s brother, Bruce Peotter, went to court to force Fred Ameri to run under the name “Farouk”. Again, rejected by the courts. Later, racist signs appeared in the Farsi language purporting to support Ameri. Scott Peotter wrote in the Newport Beach Independent in support of this political dirty trick.

Peotter and Team Newport hijacked a charter amendment from former Councilmember Keith Curry, put their names on it and raised money to support it.  The funds mostly were used to pay for signs in support of favored council candidates in order to circumvent campaign-spending limits.

Perhaps the most outrageous political dirty trick was when the city council added thousands of unnecessary pages to the Museum House petition in an effort to obstruct the rights of the people to stop this high-rise development.  More than $400,000 was spent by Ellis and project supporters in television ads, phony petitions and “petition blockers” in order to frustrate the rights of our residents.

This pattern was repeated when Peotter himself employed out of town “blockers” and false mailings to try to stop the recall petitions.

Expect Scott Peotter and his political bosses to continue to use every dirty trick in the bag to save his job and keep his special interest vote on the city council.

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar

It’s all about the traffic

Traffic is always an important issue for Newport Beach residents. I watched with great interest the October 24th City Council Study Session where several methods of dealing with traffic flow in our City were presented. While these efforts are appreciated, what ever happened to the Corona del Mar bypass?  When Newport Coast Road was completed in 1992, the traffic through CdM decreased significantly. Four years later, when the 73 Toll Road was completed and the free route to and from the 73 Freeway was replaced with a toll, traffic returned to CdM. 

Creating awareness of alternate routes to and from areas inland will certainly improve traffic through CdM. To accelerate this process, the bypass effort should be organized into two separate phases, the first is one that enacts measures the City can employ now and independent of other public agencies. These would include real time traffic monitoring and messaging to alert Coast Highway bound traffic. A second parallel effort would be working with other public agencies to facilitate a broader and more effective bypass. This would include the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), the City of Irvine and traffic solutions surrounding the drop off and pick up of students at Sage Hill High School. Local leadership is needed to implement these quality of life improvements now. 

As we plan for Mariner’s Mile, we must be certain that we support local businesses and residents and not turn this stretch of highway into a wide thoroughfare with added automotive traffic lanes. It is also important that we work with our neighbors in Costa Mesa to reduce the impact of the termination of State Route 55 on both of our cities, particularly cut through traffic on our residential streets.

Now is the time to plan for autonomous vehicles and the impact of home delivery and shared ride services such as Uber and Lyft. For example, how do we prevent double parking for pickups that stall overall traffic movement and how will the demand for parking be reduced in a shared economy?

Under the leadership of Tony Petros, the council made several major investments in bicycle safety, and improved traffic flow, but these seem to have fallen in priority.  

The key to addressing both our traffic issues and the need for better-managed parking is the upcoming revision of the General Plan. As a councilmember, my position on the General Plan will be focused on how we reduce the impact of traffic, better provide for parking and use the General Plan to improve our quality of life. This will not happen if our city council is not committed to putting residents first.

Michael Toerge, District 6, Candidate for City Council

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  

A good after-Thanksgiving to you. I hope that you and your extended families and/or friends had a nice visit and that everyone is safely home.

We’re getting near the end of the calendar year, of course, and that means only two more business meetings for the City Council before a fairly long break starting December 13. A lot is still going on during that period, like the Boat Parade and lots of traffic and shopping, but we try to ratchet down meetings to be respectful of your schedule as well as our own.

Here’s what might be of interest on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, November 28, 2017. I don’t summarize every item, so make sure you look at the City Clerk’sagenda page to read the whole agenda if you’d like.  

The study session begins at 4 p.m. with:  

A presentation on the Orange County Drowning Prevention Task Force, of which our Lifeguard Division is a big part. While not a lot of backyard pool or ocean swimming goes on in the fall, the Task Force works hard every year to make sure that deaths by drowning are minimized and hopefully eliminated. Right now, it’s still the leading cause of death or disability for California kids under 5 years old. For more information and for a cool home poster, click here.

We’ll talk with the City Council about moving our water meter reading system towards something more automated. It would involve swapping out some

of the infrastructure at 20,000+ water meters over time. 

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Items include:

Anyone remember the Banning Ranch project? Of course you do. After winding its way to the California Supreme Court, a case against the City’s 2012 approval of various entitlements for the Project (at the western edge of the community) has led to the City having to formally vacate those approvals to comply with the Court’s order. The project itself was denied by the California Coastal Commission in early 2017, so the City’s 2012 approvals never resulted in a project. People often ask where this project is in the process, and that’s complicated, as it remains tied up in other litigation. If it were to come back to the City Council for a re-do or modification (or even the same project), a lot of the entitlement work would have to start generally from square one.

The Friends of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter (aka FONBAS) have formed and are ready to start working to support our great little shelter in West Santa Ana Heights in the community’s only “residential-kennel” zone. I can’t say enough about the good folks who have volunteered to support the Shelter through donations and volunteering their time and affection. The agenda for Nov. 28 has a formal agreement that establishes that fundraising relationship. If you want to support FONBAS, visit

The Council annually allocates about $40,000 towards various community

programs, and the award of those grants is on this meeting’s agenda. It’s also

proposed to fund the Newport Beach Historical Society and the Balboa Island 

Museum and Historical Society.

We continue to try to find a more efficient way of dredging Lower Newport

Bay (aka the Harbor). It’s problematic right now because we still have some

material in there that is not suitable for offshore or onshore disposal. We’d like to

figure out a way to place that material somewhere appropriate and then move

forward on a dredging method that would be more routine and less sporadic. 

Meaning a more continuous annual effort versus once every 10 years or so. It’s a

good goal (championed by Council member Duffield), and it’s achievable if we

can get the right permits and address this legacy material. An item on this

agenda conducts some start-up testing to see how we can best tackle that first

hurdle of the unsuitable sediment.

A few community notes:

If folks are up for a second “Open Forum” on the airport, we are. Therefore, come and talk about any airport issue this coming Friday, December 8th, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. We’ll be in the City Council Chambers again. Like last time, it’s very informal and we hope to answer any and all questions. A number of good ideas came out of the last one, which I will write about in the future. Again, this forum is not a formal meeting of the Aviation Committee. 

It’s almost Christmas Boat Parade time again. This 109th annual event starts on Wednesday, December 13th and occurs through Sunday, December 17th. With fireworks on the first and last days. More details are here.

If you are a Council follower, we may be starting the City Council meeting of December 12th a few hours earlier than usual, possibly with a business meeting at 4 p.m. (versus just a Study Session). That evening is the traditional “reorganization” where Council members can name a new Mayor and Mayor pro Tem.

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. 



Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor:

This reader likes “basic policing”

If you (Mark Adams) have a chance, please read the NBPD “Events” log. You will see the “basic policing” that occurs on a daily basis. If the city council approves “magic wands” (not batons-wands), then surely the daily “events” would triple. 

And of course, if the criminals would commit crimes in their own cities instead of preying on NB residents (we can dream can’t we?) NBPD would be available for even more “basic policing”. 

Sheri Black

Newport Beach

Surprise, another attack on Peotter

In her recent Forum letter, Lynn Swain forgot to list one last Scott Peotter misstep involving his lack of transparency and fiscal responsibility that were two of his campaign pledges. This particular misstep calls into question alleged child endangerment and missing City funds.

During his tenure on the city council, Peotter and his Team Newport cronies, who also touted transparency and fiscal accountability at City Hall, authorized the City Manager and City Attorney to spend nearly $450,000 of taxpayer funds to prevent me from accessing embarrassing information using the CA Public Records Act. Why not ask the Councilman why the City of Newport Beach did not want these records released to the public? 

So, as Ms. Swain states, perhaps citizens can’t afford not to recall Councilman Peotter.

Kent Moore

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

We Can’t Afford Scott Peotter

Scott Peotter is soon to be recalled by the residents of Newport Beach. Rather than offer any defense for his irresponsible behavior and ideas on the city council, Peotter and the puppet masters behind him offer only the argument that the recall would result in a cost estimated by the county to be $272,885-$303,385. How does this cost compare with some of Peotter’s other ideas?

$273,000 – The cost of a special election for the Museum House which Peotter advocated rather than simply to rescind project approvals.

$480,000 – The amount of road improvement funds Peotter proposed to turn down in order to “make a point”. This amount would have risen to $1.9 million annually had he succeeded.

$355,000 – The amount of taxpayer dollars paid out to the owners of Woody’s Wharf, major Peotter donors.

$500,000 – The amount of the fee cut given to mooring holders, 60 percent of which do not live in Newport Beach.

$300,000 – The cost of the politically motivated “audit” of city hall which has never been actually completed and was settled with no finding of any wrong doing.

$3.5 million – The amount of the irresponsible fee cut proposed by Peotter for the licenses of large businesses in the city. This would have created a huge budget deficit and was not even supported by the business community.

$719,000 – The amount of additional annual debt service if Peotter’s policies had been followed in the financing of the civic center. 

$300,000 – The amount of funding Peotter attempted to delete from Diane Dixon’s efforts to improve police services on the Peninsula.

$70 million – The amount the city’s unfunded pension liability has risen since Peotter took office.

When Peotter says we cannot afford the recall, I say we cannot afford not to recall him. Let’s take back our city from the out of town special interests.

Lynn Swain

Committee to Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach

76 Station expansion - is this a good investment for West NB?

This letter is in regard to the 76 Station Expansion (Superior Ave. and Placentia Ave.) that was presented to the Planning Commission meeting on November 9, 2017, this business should facilitate its operation as a “dusk to dawn” operation.

During the presentation, the Newport Beach Police Department made it quite clear that this particular area of West Newport has the highest crime rate within the City’s parameters. 

As a stakeholder of one of the adjacent properties, I can assure you that their statistics are accurate. Our community has been working very hard with the Police and Code Enforcement to clean up this area and make it a better place to live. This area borderlines Costa Mesa and has had a propensity to channel more crime and transient activity into Newport Beach.

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, (NACS), Crime and Convenience store hold-ups account for about 6 percent of all robberies in the nation. Additional studies found an increasing trend as the number of alcohol outlets in an area rose and had a direct impact on neighborhood violence. For example, the following convenience stores are located within 300 feet of each other from property line to property line: Minute King, 7-Eleven and 76 Gas Station.

Recently, developers have been investing millions of dollars to revitalize this area of West Newport Beach. This is the case of the Ebb & Tide development located at 1560 Placentia Ave., Newport Beach; MBK Homes has recently completed 81 detached luxury homes that begin at approximately $1,000,000. According to the developer these homes are almost sold-out and there is a residual waiting list of 121 applicants.

We need to ask ourselves, if we are doing an injustice to the developers and the new homeowners by adding another convenience store that will be selling alcohol?

Ironically, one of the most trending “Hipster” or “Counter Culture” places to dine are referred to as Gourmet Gas Stations, or also known as, “Park, Pump & Pig-Out.” An example of this concept is the 76 Gas Station in Fullerton. This particular station has a deli that makes cold and hot food and they also have a mini-express spa onsite. It is located across the street from St. Jude Hospital and is enjoyed by the employees and visitors from the hospital who want to leave the hospital for fresh air and a quick lunch in a pleasant outdoor setting.

Visit the website at:

“Let’s challenge the applicant to bring added value to the community, by meeting the needs of the residents and in so doing provide a better quality of life for West Newport Beach.”  

“I personally, I think that a good cup of “Joe” yields more profits and less problems than a bottle of hooch.”

Peggy V. Palmer

Newport Beach

More additions to columnist Duncan Forgey’s “grab bag”

(In response to Monday’s Boozin’ in Balboa column by Duncan Forgey)

Restaurants to jog your memory:

Ok, I know you couldn’t do’em all, but leaving out Tale of the Whale (crock of spreadable cheddar cheese), the Galley (best greasy spoon in the country), the Alley (2nd only to Arches as local hangout) and Sid’s?  

Matt Clabaugh

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 on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, November 14, 2017. 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 begins at 4 p.m. with: (1) A preliminary, early, conceptual roll-out of how an update to the General Plan might work. Did I mention this was early? You want to pay attention to this one. A community’s General Plan is its most consequential document (the City budget is a close second). The General Plan tells all about how and where various land uses will be accommodated, how circulation and traffic will (or won’t) work, where parks and recreational amenities will go, and much more. Yes, much of Newport Beach is built out and things are set – but it doesn’t mean that we can’t improve upon and adjust what we have. Staff will present some ideas as to how to involve the community, the Council, and various commissions in ensuring that the next update to the General Plan reflects the community’s values.

(2) An update on our new Harbor adventure – that of taking on limited code enforcement and mooring administration. As you know, we’ve been doing this since July 1, 2017, when we transitioned from the County Harbor Patrol to having City crews both manage moorings and take on general on-water code enforcement. It’s been a fun adventure, especially for our new part-time staff who do that under direction of their fearless leader, Dennis Durgan. And I do mean fearless – there is virtually no problem that scares Dennis off. From illegal live-aboards to loud charter boats to miscreants jumping off the Lido Isle Bridge. Miscreant is such a good word. But isn’t it normal to be a miscreant once or twice or twelve times? I’m only asking hypothetically. Anyway, four-ish months in, it’s time to update the Council on how we’ve done with Harbor Operations and what our next phases might be.

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Again, it looks to be a bit quiet on the evening side. 

(1) Consideration of supporting the California Water Fix, aka the Delta Tunnel program. We haven’t waded into these waters (rim-shot here) previously in a formal way, but our City’s approach has always been to attempt to ensure that our current mix of Orange County Water District groundwater and purchased Metropolitan Water District water (right now, it’s split about 70 percent OCWD and 30 percent Met) is always fully safe and fully reliable. We believe that the Delta Tunnel project will continue this assurance of good clean Met water from the Sierras snowpack. 

(2) A lot of new ADA access ramps and other sidewalk improvements are coming to Harbor View, Spyglass, Eastbluff and the Port Streets. This is another $1.2M towards ensuring that our community is fully compliant with disabled access laws (and easier for strollers).

(3) Lastly, the Council may formalize the General Plan process ideas that it will have talked about in the afternoon’s session.

A few community notes:

(1) Anyone who wants to talk about any airport issue is invited to our first informal discussion group this coming Friday, November 17th, from 3 – 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. We’ll be in the City Council Chambers, but don’t assume it’s that formal. You can come in shorts and flip-flops. Anyone is welcome, and you are further welcome to ask any question you want. Council Member Jeff Herdman, as chairman of the Aviation Committee, is hosting this with me in order to facilitate good communication and awareness about all things JWA. This is not a formal meeting of the Aviation Committee. 

(2) The current sculpture exhibition in the Civic Center Park is fun to walk along and through. Some of the kinetic ones are quite interesting, and the “Burnt Matchstick” is rather dramatic. Please consider picking one of these nice fall weekend days to walk through the park. 

(3) November and December are both times when we (and other agencies) squeeze in important infrastructure projects that can impact your daily routes. For advanced notice of these, be sure to check out Public Works’ Traffic Advisories page. It is updated weekly.   

I hope that you have a good Thanksgiving, as I won’t be e-mailing before that. About (this past) Veterans Day, after much DVR-ing and in slow bites, I only recently completed the PBS documentary done by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on the Vietnam War. It was a lot to digest and a lot of emotional material. With no slight to veterans of other wars, I left the documentary wanting to shake the hands of and thank every Vietnam veteran for their service, knowing that some of those thanks didn’t occur when they first came home. The series is very much worth watching.

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. 



Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor:

Peotter Recall – follow the money

As reported in the press, the campaign finance disclosures from the committees on both sides of the Scott Peotter recall have been submitted and they tell us much about who holds power in our city.

Dozens of Newport Beach residents contributed $78,672 to fund the pro recall efforts.

Two pro-Peotter committees were formed. “Newport Beach Residents Against Recalling Councilman Peotter” raised $27,000 from three donors. Howard Ahmanson and his affiliated Fieldstead Companies contributed $17,000 of the $27,000 (63 percent) with Larry Smith, giving another $8,000. Both Ahmanson and Smith are activists on social issue politics and Ahmanson is known for his extremist positions.

The other donor was Great Scott Tree Service who gave $2,000. On May 26, 2015, Peotter made the motion to reject unopened bids for trimming the city’s trees and to award the contract without bids to Great Scott. We will never know if they were the lowest cost provider because Peotter’s motion resulted in the bids being returned unopened. Once again, special interests donors are getting great return on their investment from Peotter.

The second pro-Peotter “Committee to Oppose the Recall” raised $14,125 from four donors including city developer John Saunders who gave $1,100. Peotter himself contributed 82 percent of this amount ($11,648) which was used to fund out of town “petition blockers” and to campaign against a fictitious “bunny tax”.

In addition to 10,688 residents calling for his recall, Peotter’s opponents raised more than twice as much money from a broad-based group of community leaders. Peotter raised money from politically aligned extremist activists and vendors doing business before the city. As the recall continues, we can expect Peotter to continue to shake down city vendors and developers to save his political scalp. It’s time to stop the “pay to play” and recall Peotter now.

Karl Kimme

Newport Beach

One more misstating of facts

One more misstating of facts from liberal (Susan) Skinner in her article. Twenty-two hundred units in Koll project is twice as big as Museum House? The Museum House was 100 units. Did she take any math classes? Once again, misleading public with fake facts.

Steve Roush

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Good Neighbor Policy?

The NMUSD is changing its 50-year relationship with neighbors to its campuses.

It will transition CdMHS from a daytime-intensive use facility to a day and night intensive use facility. The District plans to install two lighted artificial turf fields at CdMHS where there have never been field lights before.

The District repeatedly refers to its “Good Neighbor Policy”. They say they want to be a good neighbor but they don’t want to follow host city rules. The District recommended the School Board to vote to exempt the district from City of Newport Beach regulations. Why? Because the city does not allow sports facility lighting installed within 200 feet of a residential zoned district. The lighting on this project will be 110 feet from residential structures.

The District walked away from negotiations with community groups for a binding field use agreement. Why? The District wants to have a fluid use policy whereby it can increase the nighttime field usage at any time for any reason with a School Board vote. 

Other communities have use agreements with their school districts that insure the facilities are being used as the Trustees intended. They stipulate hours of use, the maximum number of nighttime events to occur annually and state enforceable consequences for violations of the contract. Under these contracts, the District monitors the facility use. 

In the absence of a binding use agreement with the community, the new or current board could change hours of operation at will and may expand use to rent to outside groups. 

If the Trustees were sincere in their commitment to limit use, they would be eager to work with the community to come to a committed agreement.

Chuck Fry

Newport Beach

Peotter is Part of the Problem

As America reacts with disgust at the sexual harassment and assault record of Harvey Weinstein, the California Legislature, Fox News, and other political and media leaders, I have become exceedingly angry that our own City Council Member, Scott Peotter, was the only member of the city council to vote against the city’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy (September 13, 2016).  

What was he thinking? In light of the revelations of how wide spread sexual harassment and outright assault is in our nation, his vote becomes even more indefensible.

Further, Peotter claims to have recently worked for an organization whose leader, Ralph Drollinger “once counseled a group of Sacramento lawmakers that female politicians with young children had no business serving in the Legislature. In fact, he called them sinners.” (LA Times, August 3, 2017).   

Enough is enough for me, we need to eliminate the disrespect for women from our institutions and a good place to start is to support the recall of Scott Peotter. We owe it to our daughters.

Shannon Green

Corona del Mar

Skinner clarifies “drain the swamp” comment

Thank you for publishing my letter regarding the recall of Scott Peotter last Thursday. My last line referenced that the recall was a good first step toward ‘draining the swamp’ and restoring faith in city government, which you understood to mean that I was intent on removing the rest of the city council. I am not.

While I absolutely feel that Councilpersons Muldoon and Duffy (and to a lesser extent Dixon, who actually tried to remove some of the added pages to the petition) should be held accountable for their actions in undermining the constitutional rights of the residents with the 3,700 pages of the Museum House petition, there is a much larger swamp that needs to be drained. 

Much of that swamp revolves around political consultant Dave Ellis. While it is perfectly legal for him to elect candidates to the council and then immediately lobby them on behalf of large developers, it stinks to high heaven. Until this cycle is broken, we can expect more council decisions that disregard the best interests of the voters in favor of special interests. 

Add to that the total lack of transparency on the part of our city government. For example, the General Plan updates in 2006 and 2014 added extensive new development. Because the General Plan required a Greenlight vote, the city had to figure out a way to get it past the voters. The ballot question for both asked if voters wanted to “remove traffic and density from the General Plan”. In actual fact, the high-density apartments at Jamboree and San Joaquin Hills were approved in the 2006 General Plan as were the 2,200 dwelling units that will be used for the upcoming Koll Residences (twice as big as the Museum House) and were already used to approve Uptown Newport (1,244 units coming out of the ground right now). Even if you had wanted to find out what extra developments were being added, it was nowhere on the city’s website for the 2014 General Plan.

In 2012, the Planning Department pushed, and the City Council approved, the conversion of 79 hotel rooms into apartments (which were added to the number of new apartments in Newport Center). This shouldn’t have been allowed without a General Plan Amendment for a number of reasons, but the city allowed this to occur. Those 79 new apartments should have been counted in the Greenlight calculations for the Museum House (leaving 21 units left that could be approved without a vote), but even after having this called to their attention, the Planning Department chose to ignore this inconvenient fact.

The list goes on and on. My hope is that the combination of the Museum House referendum and the recall of Scott Peotter will drain some of this swamp. I would love to live in a place where I could trust that my government is acting in my best interests. 

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Koll project should be considered after General Plan Update

Newport Beach residents have spoken clearly and vocally that we do not want massive high-rise condominium towers degrading the quality of life and special character of our city.  

The three colossal luxury condominium towers proposed by the Shopoff Group are a perfect example of the high-rise, high-density development that Newport Beach residents have already strongly opposed. This project looms over the next-door existing businesses as if progress has a right to trample existing property rights.  

This project needs to be considered during the upcoming General Plan process. The City is about to launch a General Plan Update because the current document is outdated and legally inconsistent. The Update will correct its many problems and will more accurately reflect residents’ needs and sentiments.  

Consideration of the Shopoff project should be postponed until the General Plan update is completed so that the views of existing residents and businesses are properly considered.

Don Harvey

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Recallers spend $90k to submit signatures

On Friday (Oct. 27) the usual cast of characters that supported my opponent from 2014 showed up at City Hall to submit their signatures. They had until Monday, Oct. 30.

What happens next?

The petitions were sent to the Registrar of Voters Friday to perform the official verification for the City Clerk. The ROV will verify that the signors are indeed registered voters in Newport Beach. If there are 8,445 valid signatures it will come back to the Council to set an election.

What about the bunny tax petitions?

Very good question. I submitted 1,783 signatures to rescind their signatures from the recall Petition. The ROV will check my signatures and SUBTRACT the signatures that match on the recall petition.

Many people that signed told me that they were misled. They thought they were signing a petition to stop high-rise development. Of course, no one on this council has ever supported High Rise development anywhere near the coastal district. But since when does the truth matter in gutter politics?

Liberal Democrat, former U.S. Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” 

Join the Orange County Republican Party and others in endorsing against the recall!

Scott Peotter

City Councilmember, District 6

Voters want independent city council

In November 2014, Scott Peotter was barely elected to the Newport Beach City Council with 11,920 votes. On October 27, the signatures of 10,688 voters were submitted on a recall petition asking that he be removed from office. As I walked the city with my recall petition, I was impressed that our neighbors gave so many varied reasons for supporting his removal, ranging from his jaw dropping incivility to his total disregard of campaign finance laws. In August, his attempt to turn down $480,000 in gas tax funds due to our city brought him the scorn of residents as just one of the many poor financial decisions he has made in his tenure.  

By far, the biggest objection voiced to Mr. Peotter was his attempt to deny the residents their right to stop the Museum House project by adding 3700 pages to the referendum petition. This was an act of stunning legislative arrogance and it was the act of a bully. Democracy works best when democratic processes are respected and his attempt to undermine the constitutional rights of the residents failed when the project was stopped. His use of out of town “blockers” to harass recall petition signers, false and misleading mailers, and misrepresentation of the cost of the recall shows that he continues to hold the political rights of the public in contempt.

While I expected the public opposition to his strong support for high rise development, I was surprised by the number of residents who signed the petition because they resent the “boss style” government introduced by Team Newport and the men who got them elected: Dave Ellis and Bob McCaffery. The belief that Ellis and McCaffery control their candidate’s actions is strong, reinforced by the fact that Dave Ellis was a lobbyist for the Museum House and that every councilmember who voted for it had been elected with his help.

Voters want an independent city council and a level playing field, not backroom machinations that disregard the best interests of residents. They want civility and fairness. The recall of Scott Peotter is the first step toward draining the swamp and restoring our faith in government.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Committee to Recall Scott Peotter turns in 10,866 signatures

The Committee to Recall Scott Peotter submitted close to 11,000 signatures to the City Clerk demanding a recall of Newport Beach City Councilmember Scott Peotter. 

“Nearly as many people signed the recall petition as voted for Peotter in 2014,” said recall leader Lynn Swain. “These signatures represent a complete public repudiation of Peotter’s carpet bagging support for high rise development, partisan posturing, special interest favors, boss rule by political consultants and his un-civil attacks on his colleagues, the public and the city staff,” Swain continued.

The city in conjunction with the Register of Voters now has 30 business days to review and validate the petitions. 8,445 valid signatures are required.

“The success of the recall is all the more impressive given that Peotter employed out of town blockers to impede residents, sent out false and misleading mail citywide and consistently and falsely misrepresented the cost of a special election,” said recall supporter and community activist Susan Skinner. “Hundreds of residents from every part of the city participated in the signature gathering and residents were clear and forceful in their reasons for supporting the recall.”

The signature gathering process began in May and focused on several issues including Peotter’s support for high rise developments such as the Museum House, his efforts to undermine the citizen referendum for the Museum House project, his personal attacks on his colleagues and the public, and continued violations of the city’s campaign laws. In the face of strong public outrage, Peotter backed off his efforts to reject gas tax funds paid by city residents and reversed himself to support the Corona del Mar Library and Fire Station.

During the recall process, it was discovered that Peotter had defaulted on a $13 million loan in Irvine and lost his Newport Beach home due to financial mismanagement. Several charges regarding financial reporting irregularities are currently under investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Peotter moved into Newport Beach in March of 2014 in order to run in the November election. He was part of the so-called “Team Newport” elected with nearly a million dollars of support from special interests and directed by lobbyist/campaign manager Dave Ellis. Ellis was a lobbyist for the Museum House project.

“The recall is a clear message that the residents are tired of the political game playing, name calling, and special interest back room deals of the past three years. We need a city council member who will represent residents, not special interests. The rest of the city council should view this as a wakeup call,” Swain said. 

For more information on the many reasons to recall Peotter, go to:

Issued by the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter

Peotter “violated his oath”

This morning (Friday, Oct. 27) the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter turned in almost 11,000 signatures to initiate the recall election of the 6th District Councilman representing Corona del Mar.  

From the beginning, Mr. Peotter has been out of step with the majority of Newport Beach residents. You can’t relocate, rent an apartment in a new area only nine months prior to an election, and expect to understand your new community and the people you are elected to represent.  

This is just the latest in a series of public rebukes for Scott Peotter and Political Consultant Dave Ellis. The recall represents the fact that our community wants a representative who listens to their constituents and is not committed to an outside special interest group. The community has made it clear that clean, honest and transparent government is what we in Newport Beach expect. 

We have to talk to each other about issues and every person in our community who has engaged in this discussion is to be congratulated. Lynn Swain and Susan Skinner deserve special appreciation for the dedicated community leaders they are. They, and the Recall Committee, gave of their time and resources in this grass roots effort. Now it is time for all of us to step up to the plate and become educated in order to protect this very special place we call home!

Joy Brenner

Newport Beach City Council Candidate, District 6

Letter to the Editor:

Resident doesn’t like new JWA flight patterns

The John Wayne Airport and the flight path are two of the greatest issues impacting the quality of life of Newport Beach residents. Airplanes fly over many of us and the long-term impacts of noise and pollution are known to negatively impact our health. If you live near or under the departing planes, a permanent change will soon impact you and your neighborhood.

The Newport Beach City Council has decided the best departure pattern for their residents. In their litigation and negotiations with the FAA they have used their power of gerrymandering to decide the winners and losers. Since we don’t get to be a party to the Closed Legal Sessions or the negotiations with the FAA, the fate of many Newport residents is wholly in their hands.  

Here is my spin based on the new “S” two turn pattern proposed by the City and the new departures using GPS that keep the planes in one lane in the sky.

If you are under the planes you are doomed, with carcinogenic particulates in your lungs and on your home, cars and patios. The noise will have indirect impacts on your health, too. The City has not proposed any relief for you. When you are outdoors enjoying our outdoor lifestyles with your grandkids or kids, be sure to provide a fine particulate mask to protect their lungs. The City can no longer blame the FAA or airlines since this is their departure plan recommended by their consultants.

The City Council has failed to set policy before they decided to represent our best interests. The resulting gerrymandering does not follow any specific policy. If the Council had set a policy that stated, “The planes fly over the least residents and most water possible” their plan could be better justified. Instead, we received a NIMBI (not in my backyard) plan. In addition to the need for specific policy, the Council should also have developed a plan of relief for those residents suffering from the long-term impacts from the airport. Things would have been different and a defensible plan would be in place instead of a gerrymandered one.

I am hopeful that someday this Council or a future Council will fully understand the impact of the airport on property values, tourism and especially the health of all Newport Beach residents, and decisions will be made with proper planning and sound public policy. 

Lee Pearl 

Newport Beach

Guest Column

Jon T. Lewis,  Chief of Police Newport Beach

Robert Sharpnack, Chief of Police Costa Mesa

Russell Lee-Sung, Deputy Superintendent of Schools


Dear Parents: 

Halloween is the children’s “night” for Trick or Treat and make-believe horrors. Unfortunately, some of the horrors are too real! Each year, many children suffer from automobile accidents, falls, cuts, tampered “treats” and other unnecessary miseries. 

To make this Halloween a safe one, please follow these tips: 

Know Your Child’s Plans 

What will his/her route be so you can find him/her if need be? 

What companions will he/she have? 

What time will he/she be home? 

Tips on Costume Safety 

Makeup is safer than a mask which can obscure vision. 

Costumes and wigs should be flame-resistant. 

Reflective strips and bright clothing will increase visibility along with a flashlight.

Wear comfortable shoes. 

Props or items that children carry should be made of cardboard so they won’t injure your child if he/she should fall down. 

Critical Safety Tips 

Trick or Treat in your own neighborhood. 

Trick or Treat in a group of two or more and only in well-lighted areas. accompanied by a parent or adult. 

Stay on sidewalks and look both ways when crossing the street. Never cross the street between parked cars or mid-block. 

Don’t allow your child to enter ANY house. 

Before any treats are eaten, they must be inspected by you. Discard fruit or any candy in loose or torn wrappings. 

Law Enforcement Tips 

Discuss with your child the importance of respecting the property of others. 

Advise your children that throwing eggs and water balloons, spraying shaving cream, etc. is inappropriate and could be illegal. 

Curfew in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa is 10:00 p.m. 

All fireworks are illegal in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. 

If you should discover anything wrong with the “treats” brought home, call the police, so other parents can be warned and the people responsible can be caught. Preventive measures, no matter how good they are, are ineffective if not applied by you. 

Jon T. Lewis,  Chief of Police Newport Beach

Robert Sharpnack, Chief of Police Costa Mesa

Russell Lee-Sung, Deputy Superintendent of Schools

Kids trick or treating

Click on photo for a larger image

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 on the agenda for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, October 24, 2017. 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 begins at 4 p.m. with a couple of interesting items.

If you’ve ever wondered if traffic system management is going to change with automation, this is a good one for you. Our Public Works staff will discuss new technologies in guiding you and your car (or bike) on your way through town. This includes information such as that gathered by Google and Waze as they use your phone (and how it pings one antenna then another as you travel) to give you timely information about current commute routes and times. 

Crosswalks on the Balboa Peninsula. We didn’t get to it last time, so this is a re-do. Public Works has been working on ways to improve pedestrian visibility at the many crosswalks and intersections along Balboa Boulevard and parts of Newport Boulevard. 

Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. I have to confess that it looks pretty quiet. But here are a few more noteworthy items:

The annual review of the Zoning Agreement between the City and Sober Living by the Sea. This Agreement was entered into in 2009, and settled litigation at the time. The City asked SLBTS to deconcentrate some of its recovery facilities, as well as to agree to a cap on beds citywide and certain protocols associated with doing business in residential areas. SLBTS, in turn, asked for the ability to remain in some places and to have adequate time to de-concentrate. As has been the case in past years, the City has found SLBTS to be generally in compliance with the Agreement.

A fairly large dollar item to support the reconstruction of our ocean piers. We typically remove and replace the piers’ piles and struts on a regular basis, so this is actually a fairly routine item for us. The dollar amount ($1.4M) is a bit larger this time, though, as the piers are showing their age. And the Balboa Pier took a beating or two over the last weekend with the high surf, so we had some emergency work to do.   

Some community notes:

The first involves two programs by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce: One is the Chamber’s annual Citizen of the Year dinner, where they will honor former City Manager Homer Bludau. The honor is well-deserved, given Homer’s work as city manager as well as in retirement. Congratulations, Homer. This event is Friday evening, November 3 at the Balboa Bay Resort. 

Second is the Chamber’s annual Economic Forecast. Presenters there will be UCLA’s Jerry Nickelsburg, UCI’s Christopher Schwarz, and the OC Register’s Jonathan Lansner. This event is next Friday, October 27 at lunchtime also at the Balboa Bay Resort. For more information on either event, visit or call 949.729.4400.  

For those of you following the review process for the Koll Center Residences near John Wayne Airport, it’s likely that the project may not be heard before the Planning Commission at least until sometime in January 2018 (versus initial plans for December 2017). A community meeting is planned on the 260-unit project for Monday, October 30 in the Friends Room at the Central Library starting at 6 p.m. More information is here.

I read a story as many did in the OC Business Journal about the land beneath the Newport Beach Tennis Club being sold to a new owner (this is the club near the Ralphs in Eastbluff). Please know that, thus far, the only rumor we have heard is that the new owner may keep the tennis club use there. Any change in the use from something that is recreational in nature would require a General Plan Amendment, a zoning change, and possibly (depending on scope of the change) a vote of the electorate under Greenlight.

Wind and Heat coming. According to the weather, we have some “red flag” days ahead, especially Tuesday. Having just watched (and worried about) the Sonoma and Napa County fires over the past many days, we all worry about our own wildland-urban interface areas during Santa Ana conditions. For those of us on the eastern side of town, near Buck Gully, near Upper Newport Bay or adjacent to any area with dry brush, please be prepared and aware. Some great information about the wildland-urban interface is on our Fire Department’s webpage here. And Cal-Fire’s good information about preparing your home, family and pets for fast evacuation (“Ready, Set, Go!”) is here.

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.


Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letter to the Editor:

Peotter’s misguided efforts

While recent headlines have focused on Scott Peotter’s misguided efforts to refuse Newport’s gas tax revenues, and ridiculous charges by Peotter supporter Bob Rush regarding an imaginary “enemies list”, it is important not to forget that Peotter provides a clear and present danger to the quality of life in Newport Beach due to his full throttled support of high rise development.

Peotter attempted to undermine the people’s right to petition their government by putting thousands of unnecessary pages in the Museum House referendum petitions. These petitions weighed more than ten pounds and cost thousands to print. He failed in this effort when 14,000 residents opposed this project. Even with this, Peotter opposed rescinding the project approval and sought a special election (now he wails crocodile tears about the cost of a special election but he was all for it in February).

Peotter has advocated raising the height limits on Lido, and the new General Plan will allow him the opportunity to fix his high-rise vision on our city for a generation.

We need public officials that will focus on reducing traffic, improving our streets, protecting our quality of life and keeping our city safe. Peotter would rather address state and national issues to the detriment of Newport Beach taxpayers.  

It’s time for a change. Go to for more information.

Georgia Foell

Big Canyon

Letter to the Editor:

Brenner first to throw hat in ring against Peotter

Joy BrennerIt is with tremendous enthusiasm that I have decided to run for Newport Beach City Council, District 6. Having observed the response to the Recall Scott Peotter campaign, it became apparent that now is the time. Earlier this year, I had declined to run because of time constraints. I participated in efforts to find an equally passionate and qualified candidate, but those efforts failed.  

Once this Recall is verified in November, I will no longer be focused on our current councilman or his record. My aim for the future is to “Take Newport Back for our Residents.” I will serve with Energy, Integrity, Common Sense and Passion” as I have done in every phase of my life since I was a sophomore at Newport Harbor High School.  

I wish no ill will toward Scott or his family, but his commitment to an extremely partisan agenda was apparently more important than listening to his constituents. We are a community of good, intelligent and fair-minded people. We need to be represented that way. I want to be a council member who is focused on making our city better, improving public participation and protecting our quality of life.  

The special recall election will give Newport Beach residents the opportunity to express their views on the tone of politics in our city. Having spoken with hundreds during the signature gathering, I am convinced the residents want change. We want a council member with community roots who will work for the good of Newport Beach, not an out of town partisan agenda. I look forward with excitement to representing us all in a fair and ethical manner.  

For more information about my Newport Beach City Council District 6 candidacy, please visit my website and follow me on social media @JoyForNewport.

Joy Brenner, Candidate, Newport Beach City Council District 6

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Brenner first to throw hat in ring against Peotter

Joy Brenner

It is with tremendous enthusiasm that I have decided to run for Newport Beach City Council, District 6. Having observed the response to the Recall Scott Peotter campaign, it became apparent that now is the time. Earlier this year, I had declined to run because of time constraints. I participated in efforts to find an equally passionate and qualified candidate, but those efforts failed.  

Once this Recall is verified in November, I will no longer be focused on our current councilman or his record. My aim for the future is to “Take Newport Back for our Residents.” I will serve with Energy, Integrity, Common Sense and Passion” as I have done in every phase of my life since I was a sophomore at Newport Harbor High School.  

I wish no ill will toward Scott or his family, but his commitment to an extremely partisan agenda was apparently more important than listening to his constituents. We are a community of good, intelligent and fair-minded people. We need to be represented that way. I want to be a council member who is focused on making our city better, improving public participation and protecting our quality of life.  

The special recall election will give Newport Beach residents the opportunity to express their views on the tone of politics in our city. Having spoken with hundreds during the signature gathering, I am convinced the residents want change. We want a council member with community roots who will work for the good of Newport Beach, not an out of town partisan agenda. I look forward with excitement to representing us all in a fair and ethical manner.  

For more information about my Newport Beach City Council District 6 candidacy, please visit my website and follow me on social media @JoyForNewport.

Joy Brenner, Candidate, Newport Beach City Council District 6

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Peotter is a Political Hack

I support the recall of Scott Peotter because he is a lifetime political hack who has accomplished nothing to make our community better.

For more than eight years, Peotter was a politically appointed Planning Commissioner in Irvine, where he was a sure vote for high-rise and high-density development plans by the politically connected. Drive up Jamboree at five in the evening to see the Peotter legacy in Irvine. In the nineties, he ran unsuccessfully for the Irvine Ranch Water Board, where he complained about the cost of their headquarters building. His tune hasn’t changed.

He is a political disciple of failed Costa Mesa politician Allan Mansoor, another developer puppet and hack who did lasting damage to that city. Peotter actually worked as a political staffer for Mansoor when he was in the State legislature. Mansoor was a poor representative for Newport Beach who did nothing to address the group home issue or anything else important to Newport Beach residents.

Peotter himself has managed to get appointed by the rest of Team Newport to the Sanitation District, Vector Control District and Transportation Corridor Agency. He therefore collects four public paychecks which appear to be his only source of income. Public records show that his ventures into private sector business have resulted in financial failure and defaults.

He has been cited for repeated campaign reporting and contribution limit violations and was personally involved in justifying the infamous “Farsi” attacks on Fred Ameri, both in the pages of the Newport Beach Independent and before the Republican Central Committee.

Peotter moved back into Newport Beach in March 2014 just in time for the November 2014 election where he was supported as part of Team Newport in an effort to take over the city government. Narrowly winning, he is a sure vote for high-rise projects like the Museum House and he now wants to take the lead in giving us a General Plan that will lock his high-rise vision into our laws for the future.

I have had enough. It’s time to recall Scott Peotter and elect someone with real community roots and connections. A new council member who will work to improve our quality of life and not be just a partisan, political hack.

Paul Blank

Corona del Mar

Letter to the Editor:

Peotter is a Political Hack

I support the recall of Scott Peotter because he is a lifetime political hack who has accomplished nothing to make our community better.

For more than eight years, Peotter was a politically appointed Planning Commissioner in Irvine, where he was a sure vote for high-rise and high-density development plans by the politically connected. Drive up Jamboree at five in the evening to see the Peotter legacy in Irvine. In the nineties, he ran unsuccessfully for the Irvine Ranch Water Board, where he complained about the cost of their headquarters building. His tune hasn’t changed.

He is a political disciple of failed Costa Mesa politician Allan Mansoor, another developer puppet and hack who did lasting damage to that city. Peotter actually worked as a political staffer for Mansoor when he was in the State legislature. Mansoor was a poor representative for Newport Beach who did nothing to address the group home issue or anything else important to Newport Beach residents.

Peotter himself has managed to get appointed by the rest of Team Newport to the Sanitation District, Vector Control District and Transportation Corridor Agency. He therefore collects four public paychecks which appear to be his only source of income. Public records show that his ventures into private sector business have resulted in financial failure and defaults.

He has been cited for repeated campaign reporting and contribution limit violations and was personally involved in justifying the infamous “Farsi” attacks on Fred Ameri, both in the pages of the Newport Beach Independent and before the Republican Central Committee.

Peotter moved back into Newport Beach in March 2014 just in time for the November 2014 election where he was supported as part of Team Newport in an effort to take over the city government. Narrowly winning, he is a sure vote for high-rise projects like the Museum House and he now wants to take the lead in giving us a General Plan that will lock his high-rise vision into our laws for the future.

I have had enough. It’s time to recall Scott Peotter and elect someone with real community roots and connections. A new council member who will work to improve our quality of life and not be just a partisan, political hack.

Paul Blank

Corona del Mar

Tourism Matters

Gary Sherwin

Go Beyond/September 2017/Annual Marketing Outlook

Gary Sherwin

Newport Beach & Co. President & CEO

Each year we challenge ourselves to bring forth new and exciting initiatives to the destination, and each year we are thrilled to share our collective success at the Annual Marketing Outlook Dinner and in our Annual Report.

This past Thursday, Sept. 28, was a fantastic evening that brought together travel and tourism professionals, destination partners, and community members to celebrate the past year’s successes as well as look at initiatives to promote Newport Beach in the year ahead. In addition to looking at the wins of Newport Beach & Company, I also had the pleasure of sharing the latest statistics from our bi-annual visitor profile study. 

I’m happy to tell you, Newport Beach continued its historic visitation growth, setting another new record of welcoming 7.3 million visitors for the first time. This breaks the previous high of seven million, which is a 4 percent increase. Additionally, the increased visitation led to a 20 percent increase of $1.2 billion in economic impact.

Visit Newport Beach, Inc. efforts also garnered an all-time record high of 182,620 room nights booked, which was a 13 percent increase year-over-year, and generated $93.6 million in overall economic impact to the city. The group sales team exceeded its annual goal and booked 84,520 room nights, resulting in $21.3 million in direct revenue for Newport Beach hotels and resorts, and a total economic impact of $56.7 million. Leisure advertising campaigns garnered 98,100 visitor room nights, with an economic value exceeding $36.9 million, including the spend on hotel and resort stays, shopping, dining and in-market activities. 

As you can see, tourism is an economic engine for Newport Beach. It’s the city’s third largest revenue source and this income benefits residents who would have to pay over $1,000 more per household on property taxes each year to maintain the exceptional infrastructure expected in the community. Additionally, to keep the city’s economy churning at the same levels that tourism generates, each household would have to spend over $43,000 more locally each year. Furthermore, visitors to our beautiful city play a vital role in supporting local businesses and creating more than 16,000 jobs for our residents.

Finally, the evening also recognized two outstanding community members for their dedication to Newport Beach and serving its guests. For his commitment to Newport Beach & Company, as well as the community via his many public and civic roles, the late Dennis O’Neil was honored with the prestigious Partner in Progress Award, which was also renamed the Dennis O’Neil Partner in Progress Award. Additionally, Jose Mendoza of Balboa Bay Resort received the Rosalind Williams Service Excellence Award for his remarkable customer service that creates a welcoming environment for locals and visitors alike.

So, to the entire destination – Thank you! You’ve pushed and inspired us to achieve more.

Journey Well,


Gary C. Sherwin, CDME
President & CEO
Newport Beach & Co.

Letter to the Editor:

“Art has won”

Barry Allen is a great guy. He is someone that I consider a friend and a person I respect as having contributed significantly to our community. His lovely wife, Debbie, is also a class act.

Unfortunately, Barry’s taste in, and appreciation for, contemporary art is on par with my appreciation and understanding of lacrosse.

Paraphrasing Councilman (Brad) Avery, art is subjective and is designed to, at a minimum, foster conversation among the viewing audience. And, when you add a beautiful environment and exquisite ocean view as the setting for that conversation, you realize why art is such an integral part of the human experience. Art encourages civilized discourse.

Councilman (Scott) Peotter hates the rabbits but he is still, to this day, talking about them. They are an essential part of his political essence. And therefore, in that context, the art in the park has served its purpose: it has stimulated conversation and become a substantial part of our community’s political dialogue. Art has won.

Mr. Allen might not like some of the pieces chosen by the Arts Commission and their consultants, but he is publically talking about them and his comments will, if nothing else, encourage people to go and see for themselves what he is talking about. And then, based upon each visitor’s subjective taste, that each visitor will either agree with, or disagree with, my friend Barry. But the very fact that they are visiting the garden, and then stopping at Ruby’s or Sprinkles or Gulfstream to discuss what they have experienced, contributes to our community in both a tangible and intangible manner.

We can quantify the tangible impact on the community by the revenues generated at our local businesses. We can quantify the intangible impact by simply looking at the diversity and number of the people who are enjoying their walks through the garden.

The Arts Commission, the consultants and the City Council all did their job and all should be commended. They have, at a very nominal cost, enhanced the soul of our community by creating a unique respite, like the tide pools and Buck Gully or Marina Park and Fashion Island, where residents and visitors alike can relax, recreate and converse. Our community has reaffirmed the importance of public art in public life. The City Arts Commission, the City Council and Barry Allen should all be thanked.

And, just for the record, it should be noted that since President Reagan has been relocated to Rabbit Hill, his smile seems a little bigger.

Phil Greer

Newport Beach

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

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  

I’m sorry to do this to you for the third time this month, but I had a couple of quick community notes.

1 – The annual Huntington Beach Breitling Air Show is this coming weekend – Sept. 29, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. According to our PD (and in light of what we saw and heard last year), we anticipate that there will be significant – and very different – air traffic over the waters at the western edge of Newport Beach. You can expect increased noise from the Show and its training flights between the hours of noon and 4 p.m. Training is likely to affect us on Thursday (today), too. Noise from the planes may be very loud. While that’s not new to us in the JWA departure path, it is new to the western edge of town. And these are different types of planes, sometimes flying very acrobatic patterns. Please be sure to make accommodations for anyone who may be disturbed, including pets. Residents and visitors to the city may also be impacted by increased traffic along Pacific Coast Highway during the event (approximately 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday). Please use alternate routes when possible to avoid delay. Additional information about the air show can be found at To receive live updates, text HBAirshow to 888777.  I swear I am not smiling as I write this, but any complaints or concerns can be filed via the City of Huntington Beach’s website at You may also call 714.536.5985 to leave a message for Huntington Beach city staff.

2 – It’s sandcastle time at CDM State Beach. That’s this coming Sunday, Oct. 1 at Big Corona Beach in Corona del Mar. The theme is Pirates of the Pacific. In addition to one-eyed scurvy dawgs, there will be a custom built sand sculpture sponsored by The UPS Store and the Los Angeles Rams, a Capt. Jack Sparrow look-a-like and the return of the Bubble Lady. Teams will compete for cash prizes and trophies. The Chamber will be cooking food and serving beverages as well. Registration starts at 9 a.m. Competition is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and awards will be handed out approximately at 3:30 p.m. More information can be found at

3 – The Civic Center will be busy as well, hosting the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival. That’s also Sept. 29 – Oct. 1. More information for the Festival is at While this is not an official City event, it does impact the Civic Center and the Green, so folks should be aware of it should they use the Central Library or City Hall starting today (set up is going on now) through Sunday.

4 – Lastly, the City Council spent a good bit of time on the John Wayne Airport and NextGen issues at its meeting (Tuesday). It might be worth watching if you missed it. Click here to navigate to the video of the Study Session. Once you get to our Calendar, look at the “City Council – 9-26-17” item, and click on the video button way to the right. Then you’ll want to advance to where the video’s timer says 22:05, or click on the item below the video screen that says “SS4…”

Again, sorry for the additional Insider’s Guide in your inbox – I really wanted to make you aware of the air show before you heard it or saw it.

Dave Kiff

City Manager

City of Newport Beach


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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

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, September 26, 2017. 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 focused mostly on John Wayne Airport and the recent Next Gen actions. Study Session begins at 4 p.m. Following closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7 p.m. Here’s more on the Study Session:

The big item is about the FAA, NextGen, and John Wayne Airport. It’s been a

short while since the FAA implemented new NextGen departure paths over us here in Newport Beach. A few things to know as you look at this issue with us: (1) NextGen is a nationwide effort. I was looking back to a briefing I gave nearly two years ago to the Council and our comments were “hey, this is coming and it’s not good”. Indeed, that’s where we are; (2) Of the three new departure tracks that affect us most, each of them seems to have something wrong with it. The biggest problems may be with the two departure paths (called FINNZ and HHERO) that are taking about half of all departures too far to the east; (3) the City Council moved to sue the FAA in October 2016, in part because we suspected that the FAA would get it wrong the first time; and (4) people should hold out hope that this can and will be improved, and that we are working on it diligently. 

I say this because in 2009, a very similar thing happened. The FAA released a new departure pattern (called the DUUKE) in September 2009. The DUUKE was our first RNAV departure, and the way it was coded brought planes well over Eastbluff with a turn over Corona del Mar. It took resident concern, City activism, and County participation to get the FAA to fix it – and they did. The best fix was the FAA’s third try, and took effect in March 2011 – a full eighteen months.  

But no, I will not tell you to be patient. No one needs to be patient. In fact, when 21 airports are involved and the FAA deals with them one by one, Newport Beach residents should be weighing in directly with the FAA. Because it’s hard to contact the FAA’s MetroPlex folks directly (snail mail appears to be the preferred way from the MetroPlex website), we recently set up a web page that allows you to comment, and then we’ll send all comments to the FAA for you. So comment away! That page is here.

But regardless of that, you can and should come to the 4 p.m. meeting to learn more and to speak your mind. One final thought: The Upper Bay is not configured to have a perfect departure pattern using only one turn. i.e. the landforms of the Upper Bay mean that one side is going to be affected a bit more than another after that first turn. The key is to figure out the path that affects the least amount of people and that follows the historic departure paths. 

At our Regular Session, there were only a few items that jumped out at me. These are:

Phase III of the Civic Center Sculpture Garden is up for Council review (following a public review and the Arts Commission’s selections). This involves nine sculptures, and would be the third two-year round of temporary sculptures for the Civic Center Park. There will be additional public comment about the selections. For those who have watched this in the past, a highlight of the public comment is resident Barry Allen’s three-minute analysis of what each piece looks like to him. I’m not sure if Barry is planning on coming down to speak, but I’m bringing popcorn just in case. I might live-tweet it.     

The Wastewater Fee increase was approved at the last meeting and comes back for a “second reading” on the consent calendar at this Tuesday’s meeting.

Also on the consent calendar is a long resolution that memorializes past City and community action regarding JWA, and hopefully expresses some intent and direction to address recent resident concerns about NextGen (as noted in the Study Session synopsis above).    

Some community notes:

For our West Newport friends, the Coastal Country Jam took place at Huntington Beach State Park this past weekend (Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24). Sound from this event impacted Newport Beach residents in the past, but I am told that the organizers have taken steps to reduce the noise impact on the surrounding communities. Residents with noise complaints or concerns can contact State Parks directly at 951-443-2969 (and ask for Huntington Beach Dispatch). Information on the event is available here.

The tragedy at Camp Pendleton several days ago affected many from the 1st Battalion/1st Marines, the USMC unit that the City adopted over 10 years ago. If you want to know more as to how to help, that link is here. Our thoughts and prayers remain with them and their families as they recover.   

On a very fun note, the long-awaited Argyros Girl Scout Leadership Center at Marina Park opened, Saturday, September 23. This is a major accomplishment for the Girl Scouts of Orange County – they worked so hard to get this facility funded and built. Congratulations!! And many thanks to the Argyros family for supporting the funding for the Center. The Center replaces the “Girl Scout Hut” that resided at Marina Park for many, many years when the area was a mobile home park and trailer park before it. Good job, GSOC!

Enjoy your week, 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. 


Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letter to the Editor:

Why to recall now

Tom Johnson’s questioning of the need for a special election is a fair inquiry. The question has also been posed by Mr. Peotter. Mr. Johnson’s goal in asking the question is, I believe, civic discourse. Mr. Peotter’s goal appears to be political manipulation.

Fourteen thousand Newport Beach residents signed the Museum House referendum, despite the aggressive efforts of Mr. Peotter and Team Newport to derail citizen participation. Public outrage, again directed at Mr. Peotter and his politically partisan crew, caused the City Council to reverse itself with regard to accepting gas tax revenues. The threat of a recall has tempered Mr. Peotter in both his votes on the council and his rhetoric in the community. Unfortunately, his interactions with recall supporters, and their mothers, and YouTube postings clearly show that underneath this apparent modification lies the same insensitive, uncaring fanatically ideological politician who the public wants to replace.

In theory, the public could wait until the end of 2018 to replace Mr. Peotter. Unfortunately, that wait has serious implications and consequences.

The city will pass another budget during Mr. Peotter’s remaining tenure, the general plan will be revisited, capital improvements will be made and economic decisions will be made with long-term ramifications. To allow Mr. Peotter to continue to have influence over these decisions will continue to take the city in a direction it has overwhelmingly said it does not want to go.

And finally, there is the political reality of what waiting till November 2018 allows Team Newport to do. In a general election, Mr. Peotter is on the ballot with any number of challengers. I would not put it past Team Newport to place one or more additional candidates on the ballot to split the vote and return Mr. Peotter to City Hall for another four years. On the other hand, a recall vote is a clean up or down vote with regard to the performance of Mr. Peotter. If Councilman Peotter truly believes that he represents the people of Newport Beach, he should have no hesitation in subjecting his reputation and performance to a single, direct vote of the people. The people do not want another four years of Scott Peotter, or four years of a clone who is still manipulated by Dave Ellis and his friends. The people want a change.

The recall effort, like the revolt against Museum House and the uprising for a reversal of the gas tax vote, is an organic citizen led movement that has emerged as a direct response to the insensitivity and disdain Scott Peotter and his ideological fellow travelers have shown for the public. Had Scott Peotter listened during the Museum House debate, had Mr. Peotter listened prior to rejecting the gas tax revenues, had Mr. Peotter listened at any time during his almost three years on the city council, the people could most likely be persuaded to wait. Unfortunately, Mr. Peotter does not listen and, therefore, the people cannot wait.

Phil Greer

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Reader believes in “fair” play

Did I miss it?

You told me you needed my hometown because you were going to publish my letter. 

Next thing I know Rush Hill is ANOTHER anti-Peotter agent jumping into the fray. 

I’m not a Peotter supporter. 

I am a guy who believes in fair play. 

And it makes no sense, or cents, to demand the council accept the gas tax money while at the same time sweeping $300,000 under the rug. 

Since the first cost estimate of recall was 500k and the current number is 300k one can assume the real expense is probably somewhere in the middle.

So we are willing to spend the money that we get from the state’s gas tax on a recall? Funny, but the people demanding the gas tax money for road repairs think it’s ok to use to embarrass a council member up for re-election in a year. 

And then we wonder how stupid deals like the city hall and new hotel get through?

If Stu News can’t be objective you provide no service to this community.

Mark Adams

Newport Beach

Loves her “some” Nancy Gardner

I’m a huge fan of Stu News since I subscribed 4 - 5 months ago and read every edition, even when I was on vacation. One of my favorites in your publication are the articles from Nancy Gardner on the history of Newport Beach. I just love her stories and the way she writes them makes them so interesting. Keep it up!

Debbie Stevens

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Enough is Enough

Since leaving the city council, I have tried to refrain from commenting on the actions of the new council, but the irresponsible decision to turn down over $480,000 in tax revenue, paid by Newport Beach residents to fix our streets, demands comment. It was only citizen outrage that forced the council to reverse this misguided decision.

Right up until the day he flip-flopped, Councilman Scott Peotter was the primary defender of this action. He called the street improvement funds “free money” and claimed the amount was not really significant. Peotter disparaged other former council members who challenged this decision and he asserted he was “standing on principle” to send a message to Sacramento.

How foolish these arguments look in the light of the resident response. This is not the first time Peotter has put some vague political principle ahead of the interests of Newport Beach taxpayers. At the same time Peotter was defending the rejection of our own road improvement funds, Duffy Duffield was sending mail on behalf of Peotter claiming that if the recall moves forward, cuts in street improvements would be required. This cynical and deceitful exercise shows why now is the time to recall Peotter. Had the rejection of road funds continued, it would have cost city motorists $1.9 million annually. Peotter and Duffield wrap themselves in the “Republican” banner, but their policies are neither Republican nor conservative. They are simply financially incoherent and irresponsible.

I expect that Peotter and Team Newport puppet master Dave Ellis will respond to this commentary with some personal attack. It’s what they have done to other critics such as Nancy and Susan Skinner, Jean Watt, Keith Curry and Mike Toerge. They have nothing else. The two recent mailings by Duffield didn’t even mention Peotter’s name except in the legal disclosure and the rescission card. It’s time to return to a city council that considers road repair a core service of the city, not a vehicle to play political games. It’s time to return to a council that understands why the position is a non-partisan position dedicated to solving local problems, not perusing state and national partisan politics at the expense of our city’s tax payers.

Rush Hill, Mayor, 2013-2014

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Peotter’s Reckless Financial Management Continues

Public pressure forced Councilman Scott Peotter to abandon his foolish “political protest” of refusing $480,000 in gas tax (SB-1) funds for local streets in order to “send a message” to Sacramento. This cost would have risen to $1.9 million next year if it had continued. The gas tax debacle is only the latest example of Poetter’s fiscal recklessness and irresponsibility.

In 2015, he proposed refunding the civic center debt, even in light of a financial advisor’s report that showed his idea would cost $20 million more in debt service.

At the same time, he criticized the call features of the civic center debt, even when the same financial advisor showed him that changing the provision as Peotter would have wanted would have increased debt service by $719,000 annually for a minimum period of 10 years or $7,190,000.

In 2015, out of the blue he proposed reducing the business license fees by $3.5 million, creating an immediate deficit in the city budget. Even the business community did not support this imprudent action.

He proposed arbitrarily adding $5 million to the 2015-16 budget for “sea walls.” This was more than $4 million more than staff said could be reasonably spent and more than $2 million over the ultimate budget for these improvements. Here again, he would have created a budget deficit.

Peotter was the deciding vote in abandoning litigation and awarding over $300,000 to the owners of Woody’s Wharf, major Peotter campaign donors.

Peotter pushed to change the city policy so that his political ally Jack Wu could be appointed to the city Finance Committee. Wu was later convicted of embezzlement and resigned from his city appointment.

While Peotter has been long on partisan rhetoric, he has been short on real results. The city’s pension liabilities have grown $70 million since he took office and the operating budget has grown each year he has been on the council.

The near loss of our street improvement funds to political posturing and game playing show us how important it is to have thoughtful, responsible leaders on the city council, not political ideologues. We simply cannot afford more of Scott Peotter. Go to for more information.

Becky Hill

Corona del Mar

Scott Peotter Should be Recalled Because He Does Not Respect Our Community Values

Much has been written about the myriad of reasons for the recall of Councilman Scott Peotter and two of the many issues that come up in favor of recall are that he does not represent or respect the values of our community and that he has failed to conduct himself in a civil manner. I got to witness first hand, at the recent and last in the summer, Newport Beach Concerts on the Green, just how out of touch Mr. Peotter is with our community and how he does not conduct himself in a civil manner.

I have been collecting signatures for the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter at each of the concerts this summer and at the concert on September 3, Mr. Peotter showed up with a table and his own two-man crew to collect counter-signatures. Mr. Peotter set up his table and crew about 10 feet from the table manned by the Recall Scott Peotter crew.

I can only describe that two-man crew as ill mannered, boisterous, and aggressive, to put it politely. The Peotter crew was in sharp contrast to the Recall Committee table that was manned by a retired legislator, a doctor, a lawyer and an insurance agent, all longtime residents of our City. 

The Peotter crew kept taunting and insulting the Recall Committee crew and at one point, one of them came right up to me, cackling in my face, sounding like the cackler in the Surfaris’ song, Wipe Out and then screamed, “I am obnoxious.”  I turned away.  

Peotter did our city proud and displayed how out of touch he is with our community he really is. Peotter brought them to the party and supervised their obnoxiousness. He arrived with them, set them up, and stayed with them. I believe that this shows what an outlier Peotter is and how out of step with the community he really is, particularly to have this kind of behavior occur on Civic Center property under the watch of a Councilman. 

If Peotter were in step with the community, his table would have been manned respectfully.

Kristin M. Cano

Corona del Mar

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

Letter to the Editor:

It’s time to stop playing politics

Last year I ran for city council because I did not like the Team Newport system of boss rule. I came to know my opponent, Will O’Neill, as a smart, thoughtful and hard working person, despite his recent support of policy changes that took hundreds of thousands of dollars away from the arts. And, despite this misstep, I still believe that he wants to do the right thing. And, that is why it is so disappointing to see him participate in what is nothing more than political grandstanding by voting to turn down $480,000 in transportation funds that are needed to repair our streets.

Team Newport says that they want to “send a message” that they oppose the recent gas tax increase. Most of us oppose it but to deny the taxpayers of Newport Beach the benefit of their own tax monies makes no sense. The money we are talking about is money that we paid at the pump and are entitled to. What good does it serve to tell the California Transportation Commission that we do not want our own money but that they should go ahead and spend that money in Oakland? We should thank Councilmembers Dixon and Avery for standing up to this nonsense.

Scott Peotter has called these gas tax revenues “blood money” and “free money.” These revenues are not free, we paid them at the pump and deserve to have them returned to our community. This sort of contrary, partisan, political posturing and intemperate language are expected from Mr. Peotter. It is one of the reasons that he is being recalled.

The money lost, $480,000 this year and $1.9 million annually thereafter, is significant. Mr. Peotter bemoans his inflated cost of a recall but opposes bringing four to six times that amount into the city annually because of some ill placed ideological litmus test. Rejecting the funds is not going to eliminate the gas tax, it is simply going to present a windfall to another municipality.

Residents have been told that Councilman Herdman will move for reconsideration of this spiteful decision. That means that Duffy Duffield, Kevin Muldoon, Scott Peotter or Will O’Neill will have the opportunity to rectify their mistake, take off their ideological blinders and do right by our community.

I ran because I believe that the city council should be a place to solve problems, improve roads and traffic and make our quality of life better. Politicians who just want to play political games and engage in empty ideological gestures should run for a different office.

Phil Greer

Newport Beach

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 for more information or to report more election fraud by Peotter!

Lynn Swain

Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor:

Peotter is too Extreme for Newport Beach

I support the recall of Scott Peotter because his extremist views are not suitable for a member of the Newport Beach City Council. He holds extremist views on the environment. 

Barbara Venezia reported recently that he opposed the appointment of a leading Balboa Island resident to the Harbor Commission because the resident apparently believed in “that whole man-made global warming/sea level rise thing”. Within days, the council voted to spend millions to raise the sea walls on Balboa Island to respond to the recent flooding during King Tides. That would be the whole “sea level rise thing.” Peotter’s anti-science views can cost the city millions.

He is an extremist on the role of women. The LA Times reported this month that the head of Capitol Ministries, Ralph Drollinger, said it was “sinful” for women with young children to serve in public office like the legislature and that “Roman Catholicism is one of the primary false religions in the world”. Peotter reported receiving between $10,000-$100,000 working for Drollinger and his organization. Is this the example we want our councilmembers to provide for our children?  

Peotter has still not revealed who provided the funding to support his efforts working for Drollinger. Peotter was the only council member to vote against the city’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy. Who does that?

Campaign reports filed last week show that the primary financial support opposing the recall comes from well-known extremist Howard Ahmanson Jr. and his Fieldstead Companies.

Peotter is an extremist in his support for high-rise development. Peotter strongly supported the high rise Museum House project, he alone defended the project in the press after refusing to rescind the project approvals when 14,000 residents signed petitions in opposition and he has endorsed raising the height limits on Lido.

I want a city council focused on reducing traffic, public safety and improving our quality of life. Peotter has made it clear that his priorities and concerns are on other issues.

Please go to  to learn more and stop extremism in Newport Beach.

Lynn Swain, Committee to Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach

City, County, FAA and others need to get on the same page for residents sake

As I sit on my patio this summer morning at 6:45, I think how lucky I am to live in Newport Beach. Then, at 7 a.m. the morning quiet is interrupted by a roar that 7,000 residents directly under the flight path of John Wayne Airport hear each day as the first ten airplanes come less than one minute apart. Several years ago the planes stopped using the power reduction procedure over the residential areas. This has caused more noise for everyone. 

The most significant change is that all planes seem to be in one lane in the sky with little variance. In the past, planes were scattered as far as a mile apart. The new FAA Metroplex project narrows the departure pattern to one lane in the sky guided by new GPS navigation systems. This is great for air traffic safety but bad for people suffering from noise and pollution under the planes. 

What I realized is that our elected officials have failed to recognize one of the most important quality of life issues impacting 10 percent of their residents. That is the impact of noise and pollution on residents directly under the flight pattern. 

Actually, all have worked hard to minimize the impact of noise and pollution on Dover Shores and Eastbluff by centering the planes in the Back Bay, placing noise monitors, creating and extending the JWA agreement and curfew, and holding the airlines to flight restrictions. For that I am grateful to our community groups, residents and elected officials and the FAA. The residents of Dover Shores and Eastbluff will have the best possible outcome within their communities, with JWA, the FAA and the City always focusing on their critical problem. 

After reading a recent study on the impact of airplane noise on humans, my concerns are amplified as I plan to live out my life here. Some community groups directly under the departure pattern have been working to deal with this “elephant in the room” that all have missed for the last 20+ years. This new FAA Metroplex project is now a permanent reminder that without focus on the 7,000 residents impacted, we will never get any relief from the health effects of airplane noise and pollution. 

Last year, the City of Newport Beach entered into litigation with the FAA over the environmental study for the Metroplex Project. At the same time, community groups were working with the FAA to address the concerns of those residents who live directly under the flight pattern after the planes pass the Back Bay. These are the neighborhoods of Promontory Point, Promontory Bay Homes, Beacon Bay, Peninsula Point, Bayside Village, Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island and others. The FAA, in a meeting, stated that they could split the departure pattern after the Back Bay for relief. Because of litigation initiated by the City of Newport Beach, consideration of this option will not be possible.

We have a great City Council who has the best interest of the City as their primary concern. Many of the new City Councilmembers were elected after the City filed the litigation against the FAA. I am writing this letter to inform the community and to ask the Newport Beach City Council to end the litigation against the FAA and work with all parties toward the best possible solution for the residents of Newport Beach. All productive dialogue with the FAA came to a halt as a result of this litigation. 

The best plan would be for the flights to take off from JWA and go over the Back Bay as they currently depart and then split into a north and south pattern. This option reduces environment impact on residents by 50 percent without moving the planes into neighborhoods currently with no noise, pollution impacts or danger of crash. Those of us with the almost 200 over-flights would only experience the direct impact of 100 flights, which is a significant improvement. 

I was in a meeting with community leaders and the FAA told us that a split departure is a possible option. The existing target point in the ocean would be moved and a new point established at a minimal cost to the FAA. Without this we have no chance to improve the current, unendurable situation. 

Our City leaders need to end the expensive litigation and enter into a dialogue with the FAA. All of our Community leaders need to recognize there is a problem and a solution, City of Newport Beach, County of Orange, JWA Staff, Federal and State officials and residents can improve our lives forever in Newport Beach if they can work together for this solution. 

Lee Pearl 

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


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

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. 


Dave Kiff

City Manager

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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

Art Matters

Todd D. Smith

Upcoming programs at OCMA

Todd D Smith

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

OCMA Director & CEO Todd D. Smith

Today I share the exciting news that eight dedicated individuals have recently joined the Orange County Museum of Art Board of Trustees. They represent leadership in Orange County’s business art, and philanthropic sectors.

The new trustees are Jamie Brooks, Debra Gunn Downing, David Emmes, II, John Gunnin, Pamela Schmider, Tracy Schroeder, Jennifer Van Bergh, and Chris Van Dusen.

Growth of our governing body is an important step in our building for the future. New insight will complement the existing vision and wisdom of the veteran trustees and ensure the museum remains a leader in Southern California’s cultural landscape. We are deeply grateful for the service of our current and former trustees.

In other news, our Senior Curator Cassandra Coblentz is at work on an important new installation of OCMA’s collection. Titled Pivotal: Highlights from the Collection, this exhibition will examine the museum’s long history of supporting artists at watershed points in their career. For over half a century, our museum has championed artists in this manner. Notable artists in the show include Richard Diebenkorn, Mary Heilmann, Cathy Opie and Charles Ray.

We are pleased to offer this reflection on our past while celebrating the work of one of our newest discoveries, Shanghai-based painter Shi Zhiying. Our tradition continues as this will be her first U.S. solo museum exhibition.

And finally, I invite you to visit the 2017 California-Pacific Triennial: Building As Ever. And keep an eye out as we announce several opportunities in the coming weeks to engage with artists in the exhibition.

Todd D. Smith

Director and CEO

Tourism Matters

Gary Sherwin

Newport Beach makes an impact

Gary Sherwin

Newport & Co. President & CEO Gary Sherwin

Ah, summer. Long days, cool breezes and the busiest time of the year here in Newport Beach. Once again, people from around the world come to our very special place to not only soak up some sun but also enjoy our very enviable lifestyle. 

On the business side of things, July is also the start of our Fiscal Year, which means we take stock of the last year and add up the numbers. Once again, our conference sales team had another strong year and booked 84,520 room nights, which resulted in $21.3 million in revenue for our hotels and a total economic impact of $56,738,942 for the community (that includes not only hotels stays, but shopping at places like Fashion Island, dining in restaurants and enjoying harbor-related activities for example).

On the leisure side, which includes people who come just to vacation here, our specific campaigns generated 98,100 room nights with an economic value of $36.9 million. Add up both our conference and leisure marketing efforts and Visit Newport Beach generated $93.6 million in overall economic impact to the city.

It is worth noting that our visitors are critical to keeping your taxes as a resident of Newport Beach low. Without our visitors the average tax bill would go up nearly $1,000 per household if city services were kept at existing levels. And, without our visitors, the number of restaurants and great retail shopping simply could not continue unless everyone in town spent $36,628 more each year.

The year ahead will bring some interesting changes to Newport Beach. Not only will we welcome the highly anticipated 130-room Lido House Hotel on the peninsula, but the Duke Hotel (formerly the Fairmont Newport Beach) will become the Renaissance Newport Beach in early 2018 after an extensive remodel. The Radisson Newport Beach is also undergoing an extensive remodel and will reopen as the Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport Newport Beach in the first quarter of 2018. (The existing Hyatt Regency on Jamboree won’t change).

Newport Beach is not alone on the new hotel front. Our neighbors to the north in Huntington Beach are opening a new addition at the Hilton in late summer that will add 192 ocean-front suites. That is great news for them, but it adds even more competition for visitor dollars. Anaheim will be adding more than 22,000 hotel rooms in the next few years including several four-star properties.

The best news for us is that Newport Beach continues to reinvent itself. In addition to the new hotels, we are seeing tremendous buzz over the new shops and restaurants at Lido Marina Village. And in just a few weeks, our retail centerpiece, Fashion Island, celebrates its 50th anniversary. The iconic center is always coming up with new ways to remain fresh, vital and take advantage of the latest trends.

So, savor those wonderful summer days and the good life in our wonderful community. And know that while we are enjoying them essentially for free, our visitors are paying for the privilege!

Journey Well,
Gary C. Sherwin
President & CEO
Newport Beach & Co.

Letter to the Editor:

Peotter’s Plan is bad for Newport Beach

As someone who served with Scott Peotter on the Newport Beach Planning Commission, an issue that greatly concerns me is Mr. Peotter’s initiative to update the City General Plan. The current City Council has limited municipal planning experience thereby offering Mr. Peotter significant and undue influence in the General Plan update process. If he is successful, this will have negative impacts on Newport Beach neighborhoods for decades to come.

Mr. Peotter has outlined a plan for “trip based” zoning. While this may sound appealing, what he really wants to do is go to a trip-based zone program. This is what was used in Irvine for the Irvine Business Center (IBC) developments that has produced street after street of dense, higher rise development. Take a drive along Jamboree in Irvine at 5 p.m. to see the Peotter Plan in action. Mr. Peotter, of course, was an Irvine Planning Commissioner and was personally involved for years in approving development deals in that city. As with many issues, he wants to bring Irvine policies and development intensity to Newport Beach.

Mr. Peotter’s other idea is to institute “by right” development. This would give extraordinary development powers to the politically connected, and more importantly, would deny the public the opportunity to speak on major projects and influence the approvals by the Planning Commission and City Council.

As we saw with Museum House, Mr. Peotter is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prevent the public from exercising its rights to be heard on development. He alone wrote an opinion piece defending his actions to subvert the petition process, and he refused to rescind the project approvals in spite of 14,000 resident signatures in opposition to this high-rise development.

Mr. Peotter is on record in support of raising the height limits on Lido and he was a consistent affirmative vote on the Planning Commission for larger and denser development.

The recall is not simply a matter of removing him from office a few months before the 2018 election, it is the best opportunity for residents to prevent him from locking his high-rise vision into our General Plan for a generation.

Mike Toerge

Corona del Mar

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’s in store for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, July 25, 2017. We’re probably back to a fairly long meeting again, after the luxury of an 8:00-ish end to the last one. It was still light out.

Remember that 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. 

There are a couple of noteworthy items on study session, which begins at 4 p.m.:

 Our annual visit from Visit Newport Beach and Newport Beach and Company, as they review the year past and look forward to the year ahead in Newport Beach tourism and destination marketing (among other things). The VNB/NB & Co folks, led by Gary Sherwin, are always among the best in the business at what they do.

•And then there is wastewater rates. After a detailed study of our capital and operating needs, we’ll be asking the Council and the public to consider allowing the rates to be adjusted upward to cover sewer costs, as is typical of an “enterprise fund” within government. Our sewer operations consist of about 20 different pump stations (our geography makes moving wastewater more expensive and complex than a relatively flat inland city), many miles of a collection system, a bazillion sewer laterals to homes, and the staff to keep all of that running and from spilling into the Bay. In Newport, we don’t treat the sewage – that goes to the Orange County Sanitation District and you pay for that differently via your property tax bill. The wastewater rate appears on your municipal services statement. This study session item is but one chance for the Council and community to understand the system’s obligations and to weigh in on any concerns about a rate increase. However, at a later date (likely in September 2017), the public has a formal chance to support or protest the possible rate increase via a public hearing.   

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:

labor agreement with the association that represents our seasonal lifeguards.

A new contract that continues our relationship with our Huntington Beach neighbors, as they provide a PD helicopter to assist our PD in crime suppression.

The routine – but still very special and very appreciated – annual donation of a whopping $250,000 from the Friends of the Newport Beach Library. Each sale of a $1 or $2 book adds up, and the Friends are very gracious about putting that money back into more materials and programming at the NBPL. Thank you, Friends!!

A-Frame signs may be coming to the Lido Marina Village area, just as they have been allowed in Corona del Mar. A-Frame signs are not allowed on public spaces as marketing tools in other parts of town, generally.

Council will review an appraisal for and an update of rents that commercial pier permit holders pay in Newport Harbor. These include large and small marinas and more, when they are over public (and City-held) tidelands.

Council will be asked to consider sending the Coastal Commission a plan to allow residents along the oceanfront in Balboa Peninsula Point to keep (and pay fees upon) their use of about 15’ of City right-of-way that is coastward of their properties. The fate of the plan ultimately will rest with the Coastal Commission, as the Commission considers whether these encroachments are appropriate even with a fee.

State law has recently changed in regards to allowing accessory dwelling units in residential areas (aka Granny Units). The State has been trying to get more housing units built, recognizing a shortage in California of good housing. State law allows cities to make some modifications as we allow these units, and the Planning Staff and the Planning Commission have developed a proposal for Council to consider.  

That’s a lot of stuff. There are more items, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Again, please check out the agenda in full if you’d like.

Community Notes:

A heads-up to our Newport Heights neighbors. The removals of some of the eucalyptus along 15th Street (Heights, not 15th Street on the Peninsula) will be occurring early this week, maybe as early as today (Monday) morning. These are being removed to accommodate the new sidewalk along the coastward side of 15th Street from about Newport Heights Elementary to Irvine Avenue. 

At long last, the Little Island Bridge (aka the Park Avenue Bridge) is about to open back up. After a long and tight-quartered construction project, this once-in-a-lifetime effort to replace (entirely) a very important accessway for traffic, peds, bikers, and utilities from Balboa Island to Little Balboa Island will be all done on Tuesday July 25th. The detour bridge will then come down, likely over a short period of time. Big kudos to our Public Works team, led by Dave Webb and Mark Vukojevic, our contractor, and to the patience of the “four corners” residents (the residents who had to experience all of this on each side of the bridge for way too long) for getting us to this point. Someday they’ll write a book about it.   

The Aviation Committee – which has not met for a long time – will meet at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 24th. There is a lot to talk about, especially in regards to the FAA’s NextGen efforts and new flight paths out of JWA. The Committee meets at City Hall in the Community Room. All are welcome to attend. 

This coming week is the final working week for Community Development Director Kim Brandt. This is a week I’d hoped would never come, but retirement (and a new grandson) is beckoning for Kim. Kim was our first Community Development Director (in a very long time), as it was her assignment to combine the Building and Planning Departments into one department that provided for a more seamless customer service experience and better coordinated work. Her project accomplishments are many – from the management of the department to the LCP/IP to her assistance with Marina Park, Sunset Ridge Park, the Lido House Hotel, and many more. She leaves the department in great shape, with some of the best personnel that I have seen in this field. All the same, Kim’s are tough shoes to fill. Kim has my deepest admiration and thanks – I am so honored that she spent the years she did with me, the CD Department, the management team, and the community of Newport Beach.    

That’s it for now, 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. 


Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor:

Mariner’s Mile Revitalization Master Plan withdrawn

Thank you for your continued interest in the Mariner’s Mile Revitalization Master Plan. The Mariner’s Mile Revitalization Master Plan has been withdrawn and may be considered again following the General Plan update scheduled to begin in late 2017. 

Please also refer to the notification below. 

The Planning Commission will accept public comments but will not take action on the Mariner’s Mile Revitalization Master Plan at the Planning Commission Meeting scheduled for this Thursday, July 20, 2017. 

Thank you, 

Makana Nova 

Associate Planner, AICP Planning Division 

Community Development Department 

City of Newport Beach 

(This letter was forwarded to StuNewsNewport from The Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile)

• • •

Are Peotter’s thoughts on property rights different?

Scott Peotter likes to defend his support of high-rise development by saying he supports “property rights”. I also support property rights. However, I believe most residents would define property rights as the ability to develop your property in accordance with the General Plan and your permitted zoning.

Mr. Peotter clearly has a different interpretation of “property rights,” as demonstrated by his strong support of the 25-story Museum House condo tower that he voted to approve in December 2016. This site was donated specifically to OCMA for use as a museum and was zoned only for “public institutional” use. The property “right” associated with this parcel was for a low-rise, low impact building. In order to develop the high-rise Museum House, multiple changes to the development rights were required, including height and density increases. In other words, Mr. Peotter wanted to grant an entirely new set of “rights” to the property that had never existed before. He appears to believe that developers should have the “right” to build to any use or height as long as they own the property. This would lead to development chaos in our city.

Mr. Peotter’s support for high-rise, high intensity development is well documented from his votes as a Newport Beach Planning Commissioner, his expressed support for increasing height limits on Lido and his support of height limit exceptions in Newport. 

Our city is about to update the General Plan, which is effectively the blueprint for development in our city. The update is an opportunity to add development rights to properties across the city in a way that may not manifest itself for decades. As an example, the new apartments at the corner of Jamboree and San Joaquin Hills Road were added in the last General Plan update in 2006. Team Newport tends to vote as a block and with the direction of Mr. Peotter, they have the votes to substantially increase the new developments that will be entitled in a new General Plan.

We need a councilman who reflects Newport Beach values and respects the wishes of the residents to preserve our quality of life. There are many other reasons to recall Mr. Peotter, but this is the reason we need to recall him now instead of waiting for the November 2018 election.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

The Recall of Scott Peotter is About Malfeasance

As a Democrat, I just have to laugh at the hypocrisy of the Orange County Republicans who oppose the recall of Scott Peotter, saying recall elections should only be used for “malfeasance” in office, while at the same time aggressively pursuing the recall of state senator Josh Newman. Senator Josh Newman’s “malfeasance?” Voting to fund transportation improvements.

Additionally, Republicans have been even more willing to use the recall elections against their own. In recent years Republican Assembly members Anthony Adams, Paul Horcher and Doris Allen were subject to recall. Their offences were voting for the state budget or voting for the wrong candidate for Speaker. No “malfeasance” was ever alleged against any of them. 

The irony of course is that Scott Peotter actually is facing charges of malfeasance. He is being investigated for failure to properly report his campaign expenditures, failure to report his economic interests, violation of the city’s campaign contribution limits, violation of the Brown Act by disclosing confidential closed session information, failure to have a city of Irvine business license and misuse of the city seal. I thought the Republicans were supposed to be the party of law and order?

Republicans claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility, yet Peotter has personally defaulted on a $13 million loan, proposed a refinancing scheme of the City Hall construction debt that would actually increase city costs by $20 million, changed the rules so that an embezzler could be placed on the city Finance Committee, proposed using city money to speculate in the stock market, and collects checks from four public agencies.

Republicans claim to be a party of inclusiveness, but Peotter wrote an editorial in the Newport Beach Independent in support of the notorious racist Farsi signs used in the last city council election.

It appears that Peotter’s sole claim to Republican support is his slavish support of all high-rise development proposals put forward by clients of his campaign manager, Dave Ellis. I think both Republicans and Democrats have had enough of Peotter’s antics. It’s time for a change. The residents of Newport Beach deserve better. Go to for more information.

Kristin Cano

Corona del Mar

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  

I hope you have a good summer planned with lots of sun but equal amounts of hydration and sunscreen. Should be a busy one in town given the nice weather. 

Here’s what’s in store for the Newport Beach City Council meeting planned for Tuesday, July 11, 2017. It again may be a short meeting. Remember that 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. 

There is no study session. Therefore, the Council meeting will start at 6 p.m. for a brief presentation to “Fast Eddie” (of Fast Eddie’s Barbershop fame in CdM) on his 50th Anniversary of fast haircuts. Congratulations, Eddie! I would still go there like I did 20 years ago if I still had hair. No, I’m not bitter about that. Not at all. Really. What makes you think I’m bitter? 

Following a few closed session items, the evening’s Regular Session will start at 7:00 p.m. I basically have almost nothing to call out of any interest (!). Maybe except for one item. 

Each year, the Council allocates a certain amount of funding for various special events – like the Christmas Boat Parade, the Newport to Ensenada race, and more. We have a long history of providing some City funding to these events, in the range of about $300,000 per year. 

In some cases, the City Council grants enough funds to cover City support and fees for the event. In other cases, we propose giving a bit more or a bit less. Generally, the event needs to have a specific public benefit to the Newport Beach community or local economy or both.s

While it might be a light Council night, a few community notes are in order: 

The Balboa Trolley is going strong and had a gangbuster weekend as well as on Tuesday, July 4. Remember that you can park off of Hoag Drive for free and ride the Trolley from there to the Balboa Village (and back) free of charge every Saturday and Sunday all the way through Labor Day (including that Monday).  

Our second Concert on the Green is this Sunday, July 16th. It’s the Pacific Symphony’s return to the Green after a great performance last year. The show starts at 5:30 p.m. with a kids’ element then the full Symphony’s concert starts at 7 p.m. and ends by 8:30 p.m. Again, buy food from the food trucks or bring your own. No alcohol here either. More information is here.

I am pleased (and thankful) to report that the City’s endeavor to provide a stronger customer-service experience on the Harbor seems to be going pretty well thus far. This began on July 1 under the good leadership of Harbormaster Dennis Durgan – nothing like jumping right in on a weekend in the middle of summer. But we did it, and Dennis and his crew did it (in part because that’s also the start of the Fiscal Year). For more information about this change, please look here. And remember to offer a wave or a friendly hello to the folks in the vessels called Harbormaster 1, 2, or 3 as you see them on the water. 

That’s it for now. Please keep enjoying summer in Newport Beach (why would you be anywhere else?), and 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. 


Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letter to the Editor:

Peotter insults and attacks but does not address substance of recall 

How do we know that Scott Peotter is getting desperate in the face of a recall by Newport Beach voters? His “campaign” has resorted to attacks on leading citizens and organizations rather than even attempting to defend his record. 

Peotter, through his emails and posts, and his surrogates Marshall Duffield and Team Newport Ring Leader, Bob McCaffrey, have lashed out at community activist Susan Skinner. She is called an “obstructionist” because of her efforts to oppose the 25-story Museum House Tower. McCaffrey continues his role as a shill for the high-rise development clients of Dave Ellis.   

Duffield, who earlier said he depends on Peotter to tell him how to vote on high-rise development proposals, attacked former Councilmember Keith Curry. Duffield simply made up things regarding Curry’s record and role in the recall and has again falsely asserted the cost of a special election to replace Peotter. 

Other attacks have been leveled at Mike Toerge, Marilyn Brewer, Nancy Skinner and Jean Watt. There is simply no defending the high-rise development record of Peotter, nor his continued violations of state and local laws. This list has grown recently to include failure to make proper economic disclosures, failure to have a business license, failure to have a building permit for his overly ambitious, failed mess of a home remodel, and his well-known violations of the Brown Act and campaign finance reporting laws. 

Rather than pulling back from charges that he is uncivil in his interactions with the public and shows blatant disrespect for his constituents, the Peotter team is doubling down on the insults and attacks. The public should keep in mind that this is all a strategy to take the public’s mind off Peotter’s true record. 

The recall now involves hundreds of residents and thousands have already signed the petition. Go to to learn more and add your name to the petition. 

Ray Lewis

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

We’re decked out in Balboa Peninsula Trolley Red today for this version of a slightly shorter Insider’s Guide because the Council meeting planned for June 27th might also be a tad shorter than most. It’s summertime, the Budget’s adopted, and the City can tend to hunker down into a busy operational mode (managing traffic, keeping the place tidy as best we can, keeping you and our visitors safe from big waves, crime, and fire, and running busy libraries and recreational programs) versus administrative items.

So on to the Agenda for the meeting. Remember that 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.

Study Session starts at 4 p.m., and has a handful of items:

Updating the Council about recent changes to State law that obligate us to change our Franchise Agreements with the 35 or so commercial trash haulers that work in Newport Beach. These are the haulers used by apartments, restaurants, businesses, schools and more. They can provide daily or weekly service (or something in between) and provide “roll-offs” for construction debris.

Updating the Council on our activities involving Short-Term Lodgings, like Airbnb and HomeAway. In short, we’ve been trying to work on improving compliance with our codes for those persons operating vacation rentals without a permit. Sometimes that means telling a homeowner that they cannot rent short-term lodgings at all, if the home is in the R-1 zone and does not have a pre-existing short-term lodging permit.

Our yearly summary of what to expect on July 4. Which is a Tuesday this year, not a Wednesday as I wrote last time. Sorry about that mistake, but kudos to the dozen or so folks that read that far and caught it. Anyway, expect pretty much the usual stuff for July 4 – lots of traffic, our West Newport special enforcement zone w/”LUGO” fines if groups get crazy, but also some great fireworks shows and fun parades and family stuff. A couple of new things – know that the Balboa Rolley will be operating that day and please DO NOT bring in or use fireworks. Our PD will be more aggressive this year in trying to catch you if you do. The past years have seen too many uses of fireworks on our local streets, which can be dangerous for you and your property and subject you to fines and penalties.

The evening’s Regular Session is at 7 p.m. There are only these items that I’ll call attention to:

Council will consider appointments to lots of Boards and Commissions. As always, Council has a great list of worthy candidates to consider. Thank you to all who made the commitment to apply. While not everyone can get an appointment the first or even second time, eventually it happens. 

From our Community Development Department, some contracts with various private sector firms that provide plan check, technical, and inspection services to you if you’re remodeling or newly constructing a home, business, or similar. We have both in-house staff who can do this and outside plan checkers – actually, you generally can choose which path you’d like. But sometimes plan reviews are shipped to outside contractors if we’re overloaded with the workload internally. 

Calendar and other notes include:

The Trolley again. Give it a try on any weekend day or July 4 through Sunday, Sept 3rd. It’s free and a fun way to navigate around the busy Peninsula. Limited parking is available at Hoag Hospital’s lower campus (PCH and Hoag Drive – see map) if you want to send guests there. To download the Trolley Tracker app, go to the App Store and look for “Ride Systems” then select “Newport Beach” (I just tested it and it works).

Can I ring my usual Summer bell about just biker and pedestrian safety in general? It’s our busy season, so that means more people – and more people who aren’t familiar with town. Plus some of them are probably walking or biking while texting. And Junior Guards starts on Tuesday, June 27th. So remember that a gazillion younger folks on bikes in their JG uniforms (with fins and backpacks) will be on the streets and sidewalks getting to and from two shifts of JGs each Monday through Thursday through August 10th. Please look out for all of them. It makes so much sense for us to drive a little more slowly and cautiously down Balboa, on Bayside, on Dover, on Newport Boulevard and more – and across crosswalks, through intersections, and around alleyways. Let’s all survive the summer with life and limbs intact.

Starting on Saturday, July 1, expect to see a few new Newport Beach boats in the Harbor under the direction of our new Harbormaster, Dennis Durgan. Dennis and his crew of harbor ambassadors will be out in the Harbor performing some (but not all) of the functions that the OC Sheriff has done in the past. For any Harbor issue not involving an emergency, call the new Harbor phone number at 949.270.8159, or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The website there is

Finally, this is my chance to congratulate and say goodbye to Deputy City Manager Rob Houston, who is leaving us soon to become the City Manager of Fountain Valley (“a nice place to live” – and it is). I wish Rob the best in this new endeavor, as the region needs good city managers, I thank Rob for his years of service to the City. 

Have a safe and sane July 4th, and 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. 


Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letters to the Editor:

Peotter has some explaining to do 

As citizens have reviewed and examined the record of Councilmember Scott Peotter, several distributing questions have arisen. Scott Peotter owes the community answers to these questions.

In 2015, Peotter reported $10,000-$100,000 income from Capitol Ministries, a religious organization whose web site indicates “ministers… must be capable of raising funds for their ministries”… Did Peotter solicit donations from undisclosed parties to support his living expenses? If so, from whom and how much did they provide for Peotter’s personal expenses?

During his four years on the Planning Commission, Peotter reported no income, including, spousal income, investments, investment income or gifts. Yet, during this time frame, he qualified for, and received, two loans, one for $7 million and one for $13 million that repaid the first loan. Shortly thereafter, Peotter defaulted on the second loan. How was Peotter able to qualify for a loan of this size while on the Planning Commission, with no reportable income?

In 2015 and 2016, Peotter reported an ownership interest in 14972 Culver Drive, Irvine. A search on Google maps shows that there is no such address. Why did he report a false address for his Irvine property?

Despite allegedly being the President of Aslan Companies in Irvine since 1992, why does Peotter not have a valid Irvine Business License?

In an April 13, 2015 email to the city manager, Peotter raised questions as to the status of the city tow contract, and specifically Southside Towing, a firm not under contract to the city. On January 26, 2016, Peotter made a substitute motion that overturned the recommendation of the Newport Beach Police Department and awarded a lucrative police towing contract to Southside. Southside is represented by Steve Baric, Peotter’s campaign lawyer and a donor to Independent Expenditure Committees linked to Team Newport. What is Peotter’s relationship to Southside Towing?

In July of 2014, Peotter was cited by the City Clerk for accepting contributions in excess of the legal limit from persons associated with Woody’s Wharf restaurant. Why did Peotter then schedule a September 2014 fundraiser at Woody’s and fail to report the expenses associated with that fundraiser until cited by a resident in 2015? Peotter was later the deciding vote in reversing a prior decision on Woody’s Wharf and settling litigation on terms highly favorable to Woody’s.  

When it was clear that the public rejected Museum House, why did Peotter refuse to rescind the approvals of the project and why did he oppose efforts to require his campaign manager Dave Ellis to disclose his relationship with the project developer?

Peotter should provide clear and complete answers to the public or he should resign.

Kristin M. Cano

Newport Beach


The Recall of Scott Peotter is necessary and is a worthy effort

WHY? His record speaks for itself. Consider this:

I. His business, Aslan Companies is functioning without a business license in the city of Irvine. 

II. Scott Peotter, president of Aslan Companies is subject to a $13 Million court judgement and makes $1,667 monthly restitution payments.

III. A recent complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission shows he submitted a false address for property in Irvine, failed to report ANY economic interests during four years on the planning commission and has been raising private, undisclosed cash donations for living expenses.

IV. He is currently under investigation by the FPPC for violating campaign contributions limits.

V. He recommended the city take funds designated for pension cost reduction and instead 

speculate in the stock market.

VI. He recommended a refinancing of city hall debt; City’s financial advisors said this would cost $20 million more!

VII. He violated the Brown Act and was forced to read a public apology (his actions could have exposed the city to liability).

VIII. He changed the rules so that a man later convicted of embezzlement was appointed to oversee city finances. 

Peotter has demonstrated time and again that State laws don’t apply to him and he does not grasp or understand City issues. He supports high density and high-rise development, stating there should be high rises on Lido Island. He voted twice for the Museum House tower condominium project, among other development. Thanks Scott, for that 3,760-page petition.

If this recall is delayed until the 2018 election, Scott Peotter will be involved in two additional budget cycles and a revision of our General Plan. This will give him the opportunity to cause the city irreparable harm with his careless decisions. 

The number of bad decisions he makes - in his personal life and professional life - clearly demonstrate that he is ill informed and lacks judgement; he does not uphold the city goals and directions.  

He does not understand and is not guided by what is in the best interest of our community.

Do you really want a man of his caliber making important, long lasting city decisions for you and your community? 

Go to to sign the petition.

Marilyn Brewer, California State Assembly (retired)

Newport Beach

Guest Column

Hon. Diane Dixon

Hon. Will O’Neill

Promises Made, Promises Kept

Newport Beach enjoys extraordinary blessings, including weather, location, fiscal prosperity and community stewards, to name just a handful. Our City Council Members and dedicated citizen members have worked hard through public outreach and committee work to ensure that our budget meets community expectations.  

Newport Beach remains fiscally strong in the short-term, but has looming concerns in the long-term. At the positive end, we project another balanced budget, steady revenue sources, consistent surpluses, infrastructure maintenance on schedule and healthy reserves. Long-term, though, we remain concerned about pension liability, large infrastructure projects like sea wall rehabilitation, a structural deficit in our wastewater enterprise fund, and ongoing civic center debt payments.

Our current budget balances the community’s short-term goals with these long-term concerns. For example, we devote more than half of our general fund spending to our number one priority: public safety. Nearly $109 million out of our General Fund’s projected $202 million expenditures will go toward police, fire and lifeguards. We devote substantial resources from diverse external funds toward our Capital Improvement Program, including allocations to rebuild the fire stations in Lido Village and in Corona del Mar (yes, including the library, too).  

Seniors who frequent OASIS will continue to enjoy the extraordinary services and programs provided by top-class staff. Families who use our community centers and parks can expect clean facilities, safe parks and innovative programming. And everyone in between can drive our streets free of potholes with increasingly drought-friendly yet attractive median landscaping.

We have also followed promises made by setting aside more money toward our Harbor and pension liability than ever before. Last year’s budget surplus has afforded an additional $6 million be spent toward deferred harbor infrastructure, including sea walls.  

We will also spend an additional $9.1 million to pay down the City’s unfunded pension liability faster. This approach accelerates the CalPERS discount rate reduction and should save $15 million over 20 years. Our employees remain committed to helping pay their share of pension liability by contributing $10 million this year toward their “normal” cost. 

As more money is required toward pension liabilities, less money is available for important expenditures in our community. Infrastructure spending, for example, will be increasingly challenged as increasing pension liability and decreasing developer fee funds squeeze our ability to spend at expected levels.  

The City Council and our City’s Finance Committee remain vigilant to find the proper fiscal balance. 

We publicly thank our citizen Finance Committee members for their dozens and dozens of hours crafting fiscal policy and offering unvarnished and well-informed opinions about future liabilities such as pension and civic center debt. These members include Larry Tucker, Patti Gorczyca, Joe Stapleton and Bill Collopy. We also thank John Warner for his prior work.

July 1, 2017 starts our new fiscal year and the planning for the next budget. We invite increased public participation. We also look forward to continuing to serve you and keeping our promises.

Letter to the Editor:

Coalition to protect Mariner’s Mile has “simple” message 

Thank you for being a part of our Community Outreach Event this past Monday. We hope you realize how much our community appreciates your involvement to help inform and unite our residents who also treasure our bayside community.

The Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile message is very simple:

1. Protect the Property Owners 

The City along with Cal Trans intends to expand PCH and to accomplish the widening, they would have to take 12 feet of property away on the inland side from Dover to The Arches Bridge.

The City and Cal Trans call it ‘dedication’ or ‘master opportunity’, we call it eminent domain.

2. Protect our Local Merchants

The local merchants and businesses along PCH could lose their businesses, if the expansion of PCH occurs. There are 44 curb cuts on the inland side of this 1.3 mile stretch of road, it is a very dangerous stretch of highway, accidents occur almost on a daily basis. Making PCH a six-lane highway is not a good investment for the businesses and would potentially reroute traffic from the 405 freeway into the heart our town.

3. Protect our Children and Residents

We have 4,300 children attending school in Newport Heights and 1,500 Junior Lifeguards crossing PCH to get to and from the peninsula. We have four sailing and seamanship schools along this corridor that is summer camp to thousands of children. Why would we ever want to jeopardize lives, by adding more lanes to PCH that children travel across everyday?

The Coalition for Mariner’s Mile is looking forward to a smart, thoughtful and responsible development with the revitalization plan for Mariner’s Mile. We also need to make certain that we maintain our current 35-foot height limit, our views, our property values and qualities of our bayside town.

Thank you for those folks that made a donation at our event, your money will be going towards more community awareness, printed collateral and most importantly for our Protect Mariner’s Mile newly retained attorney firm. We are now a 501c3 tax exempt organization and your donations are tax deductible.

For more information or to make tax deductible donation or sign the petition, please visit our website: or

We truly appreciate your support. If you should have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Peggy V. Palmer

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

On Tuesday, June 13th, the Newport Beach City Council will meet briefly for a few presentations starting at 6 p.m., then go to Closed Session, then have the Regular Session starting at 7 p.m. 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 evening’s Regular Session is at 7 p.m. The items worth noting are:

Two items under Public Hearings relate to the yearly renewals of the Business

Improvement Districts (BIDs) for Corona del Mar and for Restaurants across Newport Beach.

The annual City Budget is up for adoption, pretty much on schedule with past years. As I noted two weeks ago, this proposed budget:

Allocates a total of $50M for pensions (that’s a lot). About $9M of this is an “additional discretionary payment” above and beyond what we are required to pay. The LA Times wrote about this last Sunday. Importantly, about $10M of the $50M is paid for directly by employees (me included). A number of residents regularly ask me about pension issues. I am always happy to discuss it with anyone, so please call or e-mail me.

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

Is balanced.

The capital project side of it:

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.

Allocates funding for the Corona del Mar Library and Fire Station, as well as for a replacement of Fire Station #2 next to Lido Isle. It allocates the funds, but does not expend them – that would take separate action by the City Council at a later date.

On the subject of the Budget, we have a new budget portal to allow you to get to know the budget better. What fun! You might want to take some time to look at the portal a bit – it’s really pretty interesting (says the guy who thinks budgets are interesting). Doing this will make you more educated about your local government and the least popular person at area cocktail parties.  

For our Newport Heights neighbors, the long-awaited Heights alley repair project is up for contract award. It’s nearly a $4M item. If approved, it means that work will start in just a few weeks – first up will be the new 15th Street Sidewalk. So, it’s actually an Alley Repair and Sidewalk Contract.

Today’s Fun Questions from Residents/Visitors:

Are we having Junior Guards this summer even with shark sightings off of the Orange County coast? Yes. For more details, I will defer to Amy Senk as she fills in relevant facts via her column in Stu News.

What’s new on July 4 this year? Well, it’s a Tuesday this year, which may tend to lower our crowd levels. Beyond that not much is new, but we still expect a fun time for all on Independence Day. If you live in the West Newport Beach “Safety Enhancement Zone” area, be sure to be aware of and learn more about the additional regulations that apply in this Zone between 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4, and 3 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5. Please do not bring in fireworks in any part of town. Fireworks are illegal here except for the really great shows that the City and others produce on the evening of July 4. Remember the family-friendly activities and parades – there will be one in West Newport and the Mariners neighborhood, as always. More details to come.

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. 


Dave Kiff

City Manager

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Letter to the Editor:

“Peotter caught again” 

Scott Peotter’s record of ignoring our laws, from public disclosures in violation of the Brown Act, acceptance of excess campaign contributions, failure to report his campaign expenses and mis-use of the city seal are well documented.  

Now we learn that Peotter has failed to properly report his economic interests to the Fair Political Practices Commission. For two years, he reported an interest in a property in Irvine, but provided an address on Culver Drive that does not exist.  

In 2015 he apparently worked in a “ministry” whose web site indicates “ministers” raise their own support from private, undisclosed, donations. Peotter reports he received between $10,000-$100,000 in income from this source. Exactly who was providing cash for living expenses to our councilmember?  

Our state does not allow elected officials to receive undisclosed gifts of cash and puts a $460 limit on the value of such gifts. 

For the four years he was on the Newport Beach Planning Commission, Peotter reported no income, investments, business interests, spousal income or gifts at all. 

How did he manage to live in Newport Beach during that time? It depends on which newspaper you read. In the Daily Pilot he said he lived off his savings (despite reporting no investments nor investment income). In the Orange County Register he says that his income came from outside the city and he did not think he needed to report it.

What’s next? 

Our community deserves council members who respect our residents and respect our laws.  Peotter fails on both counts.

Brad Alewine

Corona del Mar

Letters to the Editor:

McCaffrey calls out Skinner for Peotter attacks

Saying it often doesn’t make it true.

Susan Skinner’s recent email diatribes calling for Scott Peotter’s recall are an exercise in fantasy. Skinner is a well-known obstructionist with a personal vendetta against Councilman Scott Peotter. Scott is a conservative Republican and property rights advocate, Skinner isn’t. 

When she doesn’t get her way she sues the city at great cost to taxpayers.

Skinner calls for Peotter’s recall because he stood up for private property rights in supporting the Museum House project. After a two year planning process, the project was approved unanimously by the planning commission and by the city council on a 6-1 vote.

Skinner claims the Line in the Sand PAC raises its money “mostly in small amount from many people who support its goals.” Not the case.

Public records filed under the penalty of perjury confirm that Skinner has a PAC of her own, Newport 1st.

Newport 1st received $47,500 on December 16, 2016 from an anonymous donor funneling money through Citizens Against Urban High Rise Towers, a non-profit organization that doesn’t report donors’ names as required for PAC’s.

On the same day, Skinner transferred $46,506 from her PAC, “Newport 1st, to Line in the Sand PAC. In some circles this is called laundering political donations.

Why should taxpayers write a $500,000 check for Susan Skinner’s political vendetta?

Why doesn’t she just run against Peotter in 2018 and save taxpayers the money?

Bob McCaffrey

Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island

Mom advocates for safety and helmet awareness for all

My name is Carmen Lofgren and I advocate safety and helmet awareness. I noticed some pictures (in StuNewsNewport) of kids on scooters without helmets. I thought it may be a good idea with summer coming and more families being out having fun, you may want to do a piece on safety, following rules, safety check for bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc., wearing helmets & proper fitting. 

It is a law for kids under 18 to wear a helmet riding any of the above and it is simply a smart idea to wear them no matter your age as accidents happen, and adult brains aren’t any stronger than a child’s brain. Parents should want to protect themselves (who will take care of their child if they’re hurt) and they should lead by example.

I have been raising awareness for the past 2 1/2 years. My son Gary Lofgren was 25 years old, a great human being, and his life was cut short from a bicycle accident. He was not wearing a helmet and all his injuries were to his brain. 

Please check out FB page, Love and Support For Gary to see what we have been doing in the community. I reached out to the CEO of Kaiser Permanente and he started a region wide Helmet Awareness Campaign because of my son’s story & my efforts; I started a Helmet Awareness program at the high schools in the OUSD; I’ve shared the video & donated helmets to students at Ensign Middle School in Newport Beach; did the same at La Purisima Church in Orange; and shared my story with Anaheim Fire and Rescue.

I am currently a member of the Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club and will be working to get a Helmet in a Box program started with Rotarian Steve Bender. I’ve done events with Kaiser Permanente, volunteered with Helmet Heads in Colorado, and recently the Mayor of Baldwin Park has asked me to speak on this very important issue over the summer. 

I hope you find this important enough to share. 

Thank you,

Carmen Lofgren

Concerned citizens still keeping an eye on JWA

Residents who live close to our bay and ocean enjoy incredibly beautiful neighborhoods and spectacular views, but many also have to endure the noise and pollution from airplanes flying out of John Wayne Airport. From the first time Orange County Supervisors introduced the idea of commercial flights from the former small airfield known as Eddie Martin, concerned citizens complained and initiated efforts to prevent the airfield from becoming a commercial airport. Some residents were so furious they developed a plan to lie on the tarmac of the runway, arm in arm, to prevent planes from departing. Orange County Supervisors stopped their plan with the promise they would seek an alternative site, a more appropriate one than that small piece of land.  

When El Toro Air Base closed and the Marines vacated the property, County Supervisors believed they had found the perfect site for a county airport. Having runways which had been used by Marine jet planes, the surrounding property was zoned to prohibit homes, parks, and schools, thus providing the perfect departure pattern. It seemed an ideal site. However, the city of Irvine and other southern Orange County cities waged war against the Supervisors’ proposed plan for this property and won. Irvine ended up with the large piece of property, with the promise they would build a “Great Park.” That was 15 years ago! To date, the Great Park has not materialized. Instead JWA was forced to increase in size, number of flights, and complaints from residents. Not a single official has been held responsible for broken promises. The following website provides a brief history and timeline of JWA: ( 

The battle to keep JWA from further expansion has been a struggle ever since the first commercial flight left the ground. Fortunately, the Newport Beach City Council, County Supervisors and SPON developed a Settlement Agreement that was accepted by the FAA. It provides specific protections for those under the JWA flight path and is one of the few airports in our Country to have such a contract. It offers specific protections for impacted residents, such as having designated noise limits that are monitored by sound equipment and a curfew that prevents departures of commercial airlines between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Residents most impacted by the planes resent the increasing number of airplane departures. They are concerned that the accumulated noise and pollution are detrimental to their health and have asked Newport Beach officials for an official study to determine the extent of these potential health risks.  

JWA has a “hot line” citizens can call to report any suspected violations of rules regarding commercial planes, such as those flying below the required height, planes that sound significantly louder than usual, or a commercial plane violating the curfew. It is helpful to provide as much information as possible regarding the plane in question, such as exact time of the flight, identification of the specific carrier, the plane’s identification number, and any other specific information to help JWA representatives identify the offender. The airport number to call is: 949.252.5185. 

Citizen groups such as AirFair, AWG, SPON and the Newport Beach Aviation Citizens Committee have worked to ensure all rules and regulations are followed. As a current Board member of AirFair, I invite all who are interested in airport issues to attend our meetings and join us in our efforts to keep Newport Beach as one of the most desirable places to live in the World by insisting JWA and the FAA consider citizens’ safety and health over airline profits. Please access our website for exact the dates and times of our meetings.

Bonnie O’Neil

AirFair Board member
Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

Mayor Pro Tem says wait until 2018

In my sixty-five years in Newport Beach I have always admired the kindness of our residents. My wife Terry and I have been blessed to raise our children and build a worldwide business in one of the most unique and beautiful harbors I have ever seen.

I was honored to be elected in 2014 to the City Council. As just a boat builder I was excited to give back to the community in the best way possible.  

I was unfamiliar with the intricacies of local politics but was willing to put in the time and use my business background to help bring common-sense policies to our great city. Maybe I was naïve, I thought doing the right thing for taxpayers was enough.  

The attempted recall of Councilman Scott Peotter has revealed an ugly side of our community.  

A few people led by former Councilman Keith Curry, are upset that they lost the 2014 election. They desperately want the controlling votes on the council. That’s what this is all about. To achieve this they continually write letters that are inaccurate and unfair.

For example, they claim Scott wants to gamble with tax dollars in the stock market. They don’t tell you that in 2007 Councilman Curry led the charge to create a section 115 Trust allowing the City to invest funds for employees receiving lifetime health insurance. It’s the vehicle we are reviewing to help pay down the City’s massive pension debt created by the Curry City Council.  

They didn’t recall former Mayor Rush Hill for swearing at constituents from the dais saying “We’re here in large part because previous councils did not want to take the kind of sh** you’re giving out.”  

They didn’t recall Keith Curry for saying, “This is designed to leave a big turd in the City after (Peotter) leaves. This is pathetic. This is bad public policy. Nobody else in America has this policy. It’s an absolute disgrace.” (Daily Pilot, June 15, 2016 -

They criticize Scott for his support of private property rights and the Museum House project. They don’t tell you that recall leader Keith Curry voted for it.  

Scott is hardworking and accessible. He’s on the ballot next year. That’s the time to hash out these issues, not in a recall election that will cost taxpayers $500,000.00, money that could be used to pay down our pension and Civic Center debt.

Duffy Duffield, Mayor Pro Tem

Newport Beach

Letter to the Editor:

“Three compelling reasons” for Peotter recall

Many residents oppose Councilman Scott Peotter, but some wonder if a recall is the right thing to do.

I believe there are three compelling reasons why a recall is critical to our city:

First, Peotter has violated his oath to defend the Constitution and has compromised the rights of the residents to petition our government. When he added 3700 unnecessary pages to the Museum House petition, he was trying to stop all of us from exercising our right to petition our government. What’s next? Residents must stand up for our rights.

Second, Peotter simply refuses to obey the law. Twice, he violated the city contribution limits. This is a serious offense and the penalty is removal from office. Twice he violated the state Political Reform Act and is currently under investigation by the FPPC. On more than seven occasions he used the city seal contrary to local law and continued to do so citing a perceived “loophole”. He violated the Brown Act by disclosing confidential information that could have cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because the city attorney believes he is prohibited from prosecuting and the city council has not appointed a special prosecutor, he thinks he can simply get away with it. We cannot tolerate lawlessness by our public officials. We must hold them to a higher standard.

Third, there is the potential for Peotter to do lasting damage over the next two years. In the upcoming budget, he wants to eliminate funding for several projects. These include traffic improvements, public safety buildings, and libraries. He wants to sell the old city hall site eliminating a long-term revenue source and potentially opening up the option for high-rise condo development on this site if the hotel is not successful. He wants to slash revenues by $3.5 million to create justification for more service cuts. He wants to take funds needed to reduce pension liability and speculate in the stock market. He wants to update the General Plan, so that it will reflect his high-rise vision of our city and he wants to replace our outstanding city management with those loyal to him. Our city could be changed forever in the next two years.

Some worry about the cost of a special election, but this is small compared to the millions in lost revenues and costs if even some of Peotter’s ideas are implemented. Visit for more information.

Lynn Swain

Committee To Recall Scott Peotter

Newport Beach

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