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Newport Beach

Volume 4, Issue 66  |  August 16, 2019


Letters to the Editor:

Who’s Republican and who’s not in a non-partisan race

Republican voters have recently received what is likely to be one of several mailers touting the Team Newport candidates including Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield from the local Republican Party Committee. This small group of activists (of which Peotter is a member) mostly consists of people who do not live in Newport Beach or reflect the values of our community. If you are a Republican, ask yourself:

Peotter and Duffield voted for a tax increase of up to $4,500 per home for the new residents of Uptown Newport. The tax will be used to secure $8 million in bonds to shift a facility funding requirement from the developer to the taxpayers. Do you find that to be “Republican?”

Peotter and Duffield have proposed excessive and wasteful public spending: For example, Peotter proposed $200,000 to make himself look better on cable TV, Peotter and Duffield supported a $16,000 per month lobbying contract for the discredited “Port Plan”, Duffield proposed millions to buy a fireboat and millions more to operate it, Peotter and Duffield supported paying $355,000 to Woody’s Wharf, a major campaign donor to both of them. Is that “Republican?”

It was recently revealed that Peotter has been lying to the public regarding his role as a lobbyist to obtain the land use permits allowing Duffield to convert his boat manufacturing facility to a marijuana growing facility. When did the Republicans become the party of pot?

Duffield proposed cutting all departments by “1-3 percent” which would have amounted to a $3 million cut in public safety, a number equal to fifteen cops or firemen.  Peotter opposed the plan to add police on the peninsula proposed by Diane Dixon.  Peotter even held a fundraiser hosted by someone convicted of thirteen felonies involving fraud against the city of Newport Beach. So much for the party of law and order.

Given that four local congressional seats are highly competitive this year, Republicans should be outraged if party funds had actually used this mailer as it indicates. Of course, that is not the real case. Money from big money donors is being run though the party to avoid disclosure. More of the same ethical behavior we have come to expect from Duffield and Peotter.

Republicans don’t be fooled. Elect Republicans Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks.   

Keith Curry

Former Mayor

Newport Beach

Kudos to council for support to Conservancy

This is a shout out to our current Newport Beach City Council. Kudos for supporting the Crystal Cove Conservancy, an environmental and educational success story in Newport Beach. Our City has been a great partner.

  The Conservancy is poised to start a rebuild effort of the remaining 17 cottages. Seeing an opportunity to increase occupancy and additional education efforts, our City partnered with the Conservancy on a contribution basis earlier this year.

The benefits of this partnership will flourish once the cottages are rebuilt. The history is restored, the visitor opportunities increase, and the revenue numbers double from sales and bed taxes. Sounds like a true win-win for our community.

The current City Council’s leadership on this environmental and fiscal stewardship partnership was key. Voters who care about the quality of our community should recognize the wisdom of our current council and vote for the incumbents: Duffy, Muldoon, Dixon, and Peotter. This is the best it’s been for many years. 

Feeling positive about the vision of our City Council. 

Judy Weightman

50+ year resident

Newport Beach

You can’t make this stuff up!

Muskrat Consultants LLC, a licensed medicinal marijuana distributor with manager/member Marshall Duffield, Mayor, City of Newport Beach, is in the news. This new business will be located in Adelanto on property operated by DC Developments, whose manager/member is also Marshall Duffield. Presumably it will be next door to Duffield’s electric boat manufacturing facility. But wait, it gets better.

Who appeared before the Adelanto Planning Commission in September 2017 on behalf of DC Developments to request approval to subdivide the property? None other than fellow Newport City Council person Scott Peotter, the same Peotter who voted in 2015 to ban medicinal marijuana in Newport Beach. 

A consulting fee of $10,000 from DC Developments convinced Peotter that medicinal marijuana wasn’t so bad after all. To think that this wouldn’t make the news, Peotter and Duffield must have been testing their new product. 

In terms of business partnerships, “Muskrat” Marshall and Scott “Pot” Peotter are Newport’s odd couple.

Craig B. Smith

Newport Beach

Duffield deserves as much of the blame as Peotter

Your editorial about Peotter and Duffield and their cannabis connection omits one important fact. This is not just Peotter “digging a big hole.” Two men are involved in this transaction. It seems you feel Peotter is the more culpable of the two. Exactly why is that? Both city councilmen had a duty to inform the citizens about their mutual business relationship. Neither did. It appears you find Duffield’s part in the transaction less appalling than that of Peotter.

Both ignored their duty to provide transparency to their constituents. Why not call Duffield to task as well as Peotter? Have you a relationship to Mr. Duffield you are trying to protect?

Melinda Seely 

Newport Beach

Council race should not involve partisan politics

If the question was asked of Joy Brenner (running for District 6 on the City Council), do you favor Cheerios or Wheaties for breakfast? The answer would be that it has nothing to do with the Newport Beach City Council. 

The same can be said if questioned about her political party affiliation. The answer again, would have to be that political parties have nothing to do with the Newport Beach City Council. It is a non-partisan office.

Those who try to make the city council race about political parties evidently did not pay attention to high school civics, which describes non-partisan offices at the local level. 

Using partisan politics to attack Joy Brenner in a non-partisan election must mean that her opponents have nothing of critical substance to say about her record of decades of outstanding selfless, volunteer community service in many areas of Newport Beach. 

I have known Joy for 33 years and worked with her as a volunteer in her earlier years. She is honest, responsible, and dedicated to serving her community. Joy politely listens to input from all sides and objectively makes her decisions. She loves her hometown of Newport Beach where she grew up and is not beholden to doing the bidding of any special interest or political party. 

It is the way our Charter City was set up to have the City Council be a non-partisan decision-making local governing body to address only city issues. Her major supporters are residents who also love their city, which is why you see Joy’s campaign signs and banners on the residents’ private property all over Newport Beach. This in contrast to her opponent whose campaign signs can be seen mainly on public property and stapled to telephone poles by paid workers by a public relations firm, who most likely do not even reside in Newport Beach. 

Political parties who send out endorsement slates for local city council candidates, as well as the candidates themselves who list political party endorsements in their literature, are not abiding by the “non-partisan” rule. They should remember that the Newport Beach City Council is a non-partisan office to be free of partisan politics. Political parties and their representatives are not to be involved in the Newport Beach City Council race.

Carol Boice

Newport Beach

Disappointed in current local political scene

I am so disappointed in our incumbent city council members Scott Peotter and Duffy Duffield. They do not represent the best interests of the citizens of Newport Beach. Their pot farm interests and allegiance to large builders rather than the people who voted for them has left me dismayed and angry.

I have had enough. Enough of millionaires donating $50,000 to them in a small city election, enough of blatant old school politics. I am voting for Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks who better represent the people of Newport Beach.

B. Kiley

Corona Del Mar

Encouraged to follow the money

As the November election approaches, it is worthwhile to consider whose money supports the incumbents. The largest donor by far is Howard Ahmanson Jr., who has spent over $200,000 since 2014, most of it to install Scott Peotter in office. Just a few days ago, Ahmanson contributed $50,000 to help Mr. Peotter and Mr. Duffield survive the November election by attacking their opponents Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks.

Ahmanson’s views on growth and development should most concern Newport residents. In 2013, Ahmanson wrote: “I believe that social justice requires that a region be overbuilt, or at least over-entitled, in “both high density housing and single-family housing”. Contemplate what it means for our city and how his candidates have implemented his vision. 

Since 2014, development or real estate related interests have directly given more than $122,000 to Mr. Duffield and $82,000 to Mr. Peotter. Developers poured another $57,625 into the 2014 election to indirectly help these candidates and it’s not just developers whose money supports the incumbents. Great Scott Tree Service has given Team Newport related committees and candidates over $11,000. Interestingly, this occurred after they kept the city’s tree contract when the council declined to open sealed bids to determine the actual lowest cost provider for this service.

Donors associated with Woody’s Wharf restaurant have given over $7,000 each to Mr. Duffield and Mr. Peotter after Mr. Duffield switched his vote and settled a lawsuit with Woody’s, which then received $355,000 from the taxpayers as part of the settlement. An excellent return on their investment.

The Family Action PAC and its head, developer Larry Smith, recently gave a committee backing Mr. Duffield and Mr. Peotter $10,000. Given the extremely conservative nature of this PAC, one has to wonder if they will be surprised to learn that their candidates are pot farmers.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that special interest money buys special attention from these incumbents. This money will pay for an avalanche of negative mail attacking Joy Brenner, Tim Stoaks and Roy Englebrecht in the coming days as voters make their decisions. Only by becoming educated regarding who really represents the residents will we be able to elect a council who puts the best interests of the city first.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Citizen of the Year and former mayor weighs in with her endorsements

As a former mayor and Citizen of the Year, and a 50-plus-year resident of Newport Beach, I urge my fellow Newporters to re-elect Councilwoman Diane Dixon in the 1st District.

I know Diane to be a hard worker, an excellent listener, smart and caring, and a natural leader. She has demonstrated all these qualities in her first four years in office. I have watched with admiration as she has navigated the crosscurrents and occasional storms of city politics with balance and grace – and always with the best interests of the city as her first concern.

Her investment in the community goes well beyond the home she owns here. It includes also the hundreds of hours spent in meetings, town halls and one-on-one discussions with residents, in briefings and reading reports from the city staff and other agencies as well as non-governmental stakeholders, and the late nights in meetings of the city council and other boards and committees she serves on.

Smart, capable, ethical and dedicated to the residents of Newport Beach and our shared quality of life, Diane is exactly what a city council member should be. Let’s recognize and reward her excellent work and return her to office on November 6!

Evelyn Hart

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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