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Newport Beach

Volume 4, Issue 66  |  August 16, 2019

Letters to the Editor:

Dixon withdraws support of Peotter

After giving careful consideration of the facts revealed in the October 12, 2018 Daily Pilot, I have withdrawn my endorsement of Scott Peotter for Newport Beach City Council. I informed Mr. Peotter of my decision. 

Mr. Peotter had a moral and ethical duty to inform the city council, the City Attorney and the public of his financial relationship with the Mayor. He was asked about this relationship repeatedly in several recent candidate forums and refused to answer. Over the last four years, the Mayor has correctly recused himself from votes of the council that presented a potential financial conflict with his business interests. Now, armed with this new information, I believe that Mr. Peotter also should have recused himself from these votes. Mr. Peotter’s failure to disclose these facts may have put city council business at risk.

Mr. Peotter has a fiduciary duty to the City of Newport Beach. He breached his ethical obligation by failing to inform his Council colleagues of his relevant financial relationship with the Mayor so that we were fully informed while doing the City’s business.

Diane Dixon, District 1

Newport Beach City Council

Newport Beach

Current council doing great job, deserves our support

As a lifelong resident of Newport Beach, I have experienced many city councils. In my opinion our current council is doing a great job. Despite the fuss made in some quarters about the resignation of Dave Kiff and his replacement, it appears to me that the transition has been handled well and our new city manager has all the right qualifications.

The dedication of this council to fiscal responsibility is impressive. We are fortunate that this council has given increased attention to our harbor, our city’s crown jewel. As well as enhancing the lives of our residents with its recreational opportunities, the harbor provides an enormous economic benefit to our city and this council is paying attention.

Over the past four years there have been substantial infrastructure improvements in the harbor and an actual Harbor Department created as part of our own city government. No longer will we be calling an Orange County Sheriff Deputy our Harbor Master. No doubt our first Harbor Master, my father Joseph Beek, would be proud.

With a sense of history and anticipation of continued progress, I encourage re-election of Mayor Duffield and council members Peotter, Muldoon and Dixon.

Seymour Beek 

Balboa Island  

Council has improved school safety

School safety has been a major priority for grandparents, parents, and students in our community and around the country. Our NMUSD Trustees and Newport Beach City Council stepped up this year to address the concerns head on.

With their combined leadership, our city council added another School Resource Officer into our local high schools and middle schools, bringing the total number of SROs to three. Our city council also added recently another crossing guard to the Newport Heights area surrounding Ensign Intermediate School.

This response does not happen without the leadership of our incumbents. I’m voting for Mayor Duffield, council member Muldoon, council member Peotter and council member Dixon to continue this positive trend in school safety.

Carl F. Thon

Corona del Mar

Newport Beach can do better than Scott Peotter

The stunning disclosure that Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter openly lied to the public regarding his association with Mayor Duffield’s pot growing business should in itself be disqualifying from public office. Peotter called his employment by Duffield a “rumor” but he knew the real truth. But this is not the first time Peotter has failed to tell the truth to Newport Beach residents.

At the candidate forums, he takes credit for the pension pay down, but in fact, he voted against the pension pay down twice, in 2016 and 2018. He says he has reduced debt, but our unfunded pension liability is $70 million higher than when he took office.

He says he is reducing spending, but the city’s operating budget is $56.5 million higher under his watch.

He says he has lived in Newport Beach for thirteen years. Not consecutively. He moved to Irvine in 2010. He returned to Newport Beach in March of 2014 solely to run for office. From 1990-1998 he was a member of the Irvine Planning Commission. Take a look at the high rise, high density in that city to see if Peotter’s planning vision aligns with yours. While in Irvine, Peotter was part of the efforts to prevent the airport from moving to El Toro air base.

He recently sent around a slate mailer claiming to be endorsed by Newport Beach Fire. Neither the Firefighters Association nor Fire Management Association have endorsed. He lied.

He claims to be a “big Republican” but he introduced measures to limit the public’s rights to petition their government and he proposed endorsing a Democrat bill that would make initiatives and referendums like Proposition 13 or the gas tax repeal very difficult to qualify.

He is the first council member to have someone convicted of thirteen felonies involving fraud against the city of Newport Beach itself, to host his fundraiser. 

We can do better. It’s time to replace the dishonest Scott Peotter with Joy Brenner.

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Calling on City Attorney to look into potential Peotter conflicts

Ante up $10,000 and deal the POT, Mr. Mayor. 

According to the State of California, DC Developments, a company our Mayor Marshall Duffield is associated with, hired Newport Beach City Councilperson Scott Peotter to appear in front of the Adelanto City Council seeking approval for a marijuana cultivation and distribution hub. For his appearance, a payment of $10,000 was made from a company controlled by Duffield to a company connected to Peotter. 

When an issue concerning the Newport Harbor comes before the Council, Duffield recuses himself from voting due to potential business conflicts. I would encourage our City Attorney Aaron Harp to review past City Council meetings to determine if Peotter, being an employee of Duffield, should have done the same. If they felt there was nothing to hide why have they refused for over a year to comment on their business arrangements?

Clay Wells

Newport Beach 

Council has created no new debt

A decade ago, Newport Beach had minimal debt on its balance sheet. Between 2007 and 2014, the City then took on $281MM in civic center debt, $253MM in unfunded pension liabilities, and tens of millions in debt to fund Marina Park. Debt fatigue set in.

At the same time, it lost millions in off balance sheet income...Led by an incompetent city manager, the former city hall site sat rotting for years. A competent council and manager would have sold the property and construction would have started the day after the city moved out. The property should be sold immediately, and the proceeds used to reduce our debt.

A new city council was elected in 2014 and 2016 that ran on a platform opposing debt. They have been successful. They’ve stemmed the tide on pension liability. They have paid down the civic center debt each year. Most importantly, they haven’t taken on any new debt and have instead used existing resources to build a new fire station and library in Corona del Mar and capped the Balboa Island sea wall. 

Now challengers want to “take the City back.” Back to where? This city council has voted consistent with their platform. Let’s not forget to vote for Duffy, Muldoon, and Peotter.

Roger D. Lockhart

Newport Beach

Is the current council out of touch?

The misogynistic attitude that has been displayed by some of the incumbents and a few of their followers is distasteful and should play no role in modern society. 

While we are trying to promote equality for future generations in society and in the workplace we must be careful of complacency and at the other end of the spectrum, overreach in our daily lives. 

This is obviously not a new battle but one that has been brought to the forefront again in the last two years, in part by the attitude of some of our new leaders.   

And like some of those in our federal government, there are members in our local government who are “out of touch” in the treatment of their peers. 

Certainly, it is one of our greatest rights – the freedom of the press. And as painful as it is for some of us to read misogynistic and extremist letters in our local newspapers and online, we can presently take comfort in the fact that these views are in the minority.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Another voice for change in Newport Beach

For me, the main reason to vote for Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks for Newport Beach City Council is to vote against the incumbents Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield. 

I was appalled by what I saw, earlier this year at city council meetings, as Duffield, Peotter and the rest of the Gang of Four seemed to push out City Manager Dave Kiff. At one point, Peotter referred to “the kind of guy” the City would want as the next City Manager. 

Diane Dixon had to call Peotter to task, to remind him that the City might want to hire a woman.

At various points Mayor Duffield did not know the proper procedure; he had to confer in whispers with his friend Will O’Neill. 

None of the Gang of Four had any explanation for why they were reportedly pushing Dave Kiff out of his position months early, a move that cost the city thousands of dollars as well as much lost reputation. At one point either Duffield or Peotter, I cannot recall which, said to the audience “you know, you do not select the City Manager, we the city council do.” 

That is right: but now is the time we get to select the city council. We can do much better than Peotter and Duffield. Vote for Brenner and Stoaks.

Walter B. Stahr

Newport Beach

“Muskrat Love”

Do you remember the song by Captain and Tennille? “Muskrat, Muskrat, candle light…Doing the town and doing it right…”

It was the first thing that came to mind when I read about Muskrat Consultants, Mayor Marshall Duffield’s new medicinal marijuana dispensary business, associated with Councilman Scott Peotter. 

“Doing the town, doing it right…” That’s them, all right. They’ve been doing our town; now it’s time for a change. 

I’m voting for Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner.

Nancy J. Smith

Newport Beach

Editor’s Note: Letters to the Editor do not necessarily represent the opinions of Stu News Newport but rather the opinions of the letter writer.

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