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Letter to the Editor:

Time for a change on council

As a former member of the Newport Beach City Council, I have a unique perspective on this year’s election. During my first two years, I was privileged to serve with dedicated public servants who put the city first and worked in a spirit of collegiality to accomplish important projects like Sunset Ridge Park and Marina Park and to initiate the early pay down of our pension liabilities.

In 2014, things changed with the election of the Bob McCaffrey “Team Newport” machine including Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield. I witnessed firsthand this new four-person council majority overturn staff recommendations and award lucrative city contracts to their campaign supporters. Nearly immediately, we were confronted with Councilman Peotter violating the Brown Act and making potentially libelous statements before the Costa Mesa Tea Party. I saw as Duffield was led by Peotter and a special meeting was called so that he could reverse his vote in the Woody’s Wharf litigation. This resulted in paying $355,000 in tax dollars to Woody’s, another major donor of Scott Peotter.

I was on the council when the Peotter/Duffield machine added thousands of unnecessary pages to the Museum House petitions to undermine the rights of residents.

Dozens of citizens came to the city council to object to Peotter’s misuse of the city seal in expressing his personal opinions. 

I saw our city staff repeatedly threatened by the bullying tactics of the Peotter/Duffield machine.

I was on the council as completely irresponsible ideas were randomly served up. Duffield proposed all departments cut their budgets by up to 3 percent, a proposal that would have reduced funding for public safety by $3 million and resulted in the loss of 15 police officers or firemen. Duffield and Peotter voted twice and continue to advocate a $3.5 million business license cut that would create a structural budget deficit affecting library and public safety services to primarily benefit large law firms and mega employers.

As chairman of the finance committee, we quietly buried some of the most irresponsible ideas from Peotter and Duffield.

I love our city, and we need a change on the city council to restore the ethical standards, fiscal responsibility and sense of civility that we all expect and deserve. I will be supporting Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks; I encourage you to join me and demand change for the good of our community.

Tony Petros, Former Council Member

Newport Beach