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Letters to the Editor:

Take it from a former student, Yelsey is the choice

Leadership matters in our schools and that’s why I’m supporting Karen Yelsey. 
As a CdMHS alumnus (class of 2011), I know about the importance of a great education. In my years at CdM, I had challenging classes, amazing experiences on the baseball team. It was a launchpad to my business administration degree from Pepperdine University and a 4-month internship, during my junior year, in Washington D.C. with Congressman John Campbell (ret).

Karen Yelsey knows our schools like the back of her hand. She engages with our parents, teachers, and administrators every single week. She partners with our city and law enforcement leaders to ensure that student safety is a top priority. Karen insists that the NMUSD strives for excellence in everything they do.

I recently learned of a program out of Stanford University called “Challenge Success” that works with schools and parents to improve school climate and helps bring balance to the pressures of 21st century student life. Karen was instrumental in bringing this program to CdM and to the district. 

She also worked with the City of Newport Beach, the NBPD and the NMUSD to secure a 3rd School Resource Officer for our two high schools in Newport. This required a partnership that comes from strong relationships built on trust.

Karen rejects partisan politics on the school board. She serves all students and has no political ambitions. That’s why parents, students, coaches, and teachers from all political affiliations trust Karen Yelsey. We need education leaders who put our kids above all else and that’s what we have with Karen Yelsey in NMUSD Area 4.

Clark Cashion

Newport Beach

Former mayor gives one last push for Brenner and Stoaks

As the election draws to a close, Newport Beach residents face some stark choices. After a month of dodging the question, our mayor was forced to disclose that he is a licensed marijuana grower and had secretly employed Councilman Scott Peotter as his lobbyist.

Duffield skipped most of the candidate forums, saying “same questions, same people, I got a sense of what these people were thinking.” That is simply a breathtaking expression of contempt for Newport voters. His platform is clear, cut spending throughout the city and redirect it to the harbor where his business is located. While legally recused from participating in most discussions on the harbor, Mariner’s Mile and the General Plan, he is directing policy behind the scenes despite his conflicts of interest.

Scott Peotter has sought to campaign on national issues like Sanctuary Cities and the Supreme Court which only goes to demonstrate how out of touch he is from neighborhood issues like traffic, high density, homelessness, and rising crime. His reckless policies will lead to a budget deficit. Deficit notwithstanding, he wants to join his employer Duffield in redirecting funding from other city services to the harbor.

Residents should be most concerned about the $50,000 to support Duffield and Peotter that has come from Howard Ahmanson Jr., an advocate for high density housing. Consider Ahmansons’s views from his 2013 blog, “I believe that social justice requires that a region be overbuilt, or at least over-entitled in both high density and single-family housing”. Think about how Peotter and Duffield will go about implementing Ahmanson’s philosophy in the next General Plan Update.

I don’t agree with everything Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks say (and they certainly did not agree with me all the time when I was on the council), but I have no doubt that they will approach the issues from the perspective of what is right for Newport Beach, not what will comport with an extreme partisan philosophy. We simply must end the failed experiment in machine politics and get back to a city council focused on traffic, public safety, density and improving our quality of life. Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner will do that.

Finally, don’t be fooled by the cynical Measure T. No other city in America has these limits on lease obligation debt and it has nothing to do with taxes. It’s just another con by the political machine. Vote no.

Keith Curry

Former Mayor 

Newport Beach

What’s the truth behind Measure T

“This is a phony measure put on the ballot by the political machine to allow them to circumvent the campaign contribution limits. No other city in the entire nation has this kind of restriction on lease obligation debt. It has nothing to do with taxes. Vote NO on this cynical phony measure!” Keith Curry

I believe Measure T was proposed by Scott Peotter and passed by the four of Team Newport on the City Council, so they could have a platform on which to run and to get around campaign contribution limits (as there are none for ballot measure campaigns).

Do we really need to hold an election when we will rebuild the Police Station, repair the sea walls, or other large maintenance projects that are capital improvements? At the last minute, the council realized they had to make exceptions for local emergency “force majeure” events. 

The City’s financial projections do not show need for debt for decades. NB would be the only city in the nation to adopt this.

The City’s Finance Committee refused to endorse this. The City’s outside financial advisors did not endorse it. The Government Finance Officers Association does not support it.

There is no other city in the nation which has adopted this kind of restriction, although lease obligation debt has been validated in court decisions as far back as 1942.

Measure T, if passed, would require an election if the City wanted to issue lease obligation debt over $50 million. This is not the same as bond debt. Lease obligations (COPs), by definition, do not increase taxes, so there is no need for the expense in time and money of holding an election. Lengthy and costly legal validation would also be required. Bond debt already requires an election by State law.

I am voting NO on Measure T.

Nicole Reynolds

Irvine Terrace, Newport Beach

Resident tired of political fliers espousing partisan politics

I hope other Newport Beach residents are as shocked and dismayed as I am by the campaign mailings we are receiving regarding candidates for our City Council. Reflecting our leadership in Washington, they are full of invective, outright lies, and rank partisanship. 

There is no place for partisanship in Newport council races. For example, there could not be a more non-partisan candidate than Joy Brenner, whose background and credentials present a decades-long record of civic-minded community service. 

Unlike her opponent, Scott Peotter, she has no hidden agenda or ambitions for higher office. Yet, because she opposes the Duffield/Peotter/Muldoon political machine that has so damaged the integrity of our Council, she has been targeted with false and misleading ads. 

I appeal to all voters to make your ballot choices carefully. Choose candidates that have a long record of serving the community, who have the endorsement of other long-serving civic-minded leaders, and whose only agenda is to improve the quality of life for all Newporters.

Robert Taylor

Newport Beach

Real estate development has turned me against this incumbent

Mr. Muldoon is not getting my vote…and here’s why. Mr. Muldoon was elected to NB city council in 2014 as part of “Team Newport,” backed by big-money development interests.

The Shopoff land owners, who are planning to add three 13-story towers in the Koll Center and are also building Uptown Newport (the wall of apartments you see going up on Jamboree between MacArthur & Birch) in Newport Beach, are also contributors to Mr. Muldoon’s re-election campaign.

Other donors include the Building Industry Association of So. California PAC, Apartments Association of OC, the CAAPAC Apartment Association, The Irvine Company, other real estate companies, developers and land planners, mortgage brokers, property managers, and attorneys.

For this year’s reelection campaign, he is backed by a political action committee which Howard Ahmanson Jr. has contributed almost $50,000 to. Ahmanson, heir of the Home Savings fortune, is part of the pro-development YIMBY (“Yes in My Backyard”) movement.

The Museum House, approved by Muldoon and the rest of Team Newport, a 25-story condo tower planned near Newport Center, was a project pushed by Muldoon’s campaign manager, Dave Ellis, also a consultant to the project. Muldoon and the council added 3,700 unnecessary pages to Line in The Sand’s referendum petition, making it very difficult to carry around. Muldoon and the council only rescinded their approvals after some 14,000 persons signed this petition.

As mayor, Muldoon also wrote a letter, at the behest of Irvine’s Mayor, Don Wagner, without the council’s consent or public discussion on the impact to NB, supporting Irvine’s bid to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters. Had we known, what would we have said?

Mr. Muldoon jumped at the opportunity to make Newport’s problem with noise and pollution from JWA a campaign issue. One of his friends with no relevant PR experience was brought in as a PR consultant. 

Muldoon voted to delay the city’s long-overdue General Plan Update. But why? The General Plan is the blueprint for development in NB. 

Our city needs election reform, and the only way to get it is to vote out the incumbents, put in by special interests. We cannot continue to petition every oversized and out-of-place development the council approves because of its political backers. 

The future of Newport Beach is at stake. If we keep the same team in city hall, the developments will stay, Mr. Muldoon will move on, and we will pay with increased urbanization to our primarily suburban city.

That is why I’m voting for Roy Englebrecht along with Tim Stoaks and Joy Brenner. Let’s take our coastal beach town back this November. 

Dorothy Kraus

Newport Beach 

Yelsey invaluable to District

Candidate Karen Yelsey is the community’s choice for school board in the NMUSD Trustee Area 4. She is part of our community, knows our area schools and her priority is the agenda of our community. Karen knows our parents, teachers, students, administrators, our city leaders, and has maintained positive relationships with each of the groups for decades.

Our parents know that if they have any questions or concerns, they can call Karen directly because she attends our PTA meetings. She remains accessible, is willing to meet in person and most importantly, will listen and not dismiss. 

Our teachers know that she will meet with them about curriculum, training, or policies, is reasonable, and they can count on her to listen and not dismiss. 

Our students know that she talks with them personally, she cheers them on at performances and sporting events, and when they need to talk, whether they are her own kids or not, Karen will listen and not dismiss. 

Our administrators know that she takes their priorities seriously, that she makes careful financial decisions that put their students first and when they need support for a new program, Karen will listen and not dismiss. 

Our city leaders know that Karen can be trusted, that she partners with them and when they need to look at opportunities together, Karen will listen and not dismiss.

Karen Yelsey is a proven leader whose agenda is to provide the best education in the healthiest and safest schools possible for our students and our community. She has no political aspirations, sees no purpose for partisan politics on our school board and is consistently dedicated and genuine.

That’s why our community is supporting Karen Yelsey for NMUSD Trustee Area 4. 

Debu Tewari, MD, MBA

Nita Tewari, PhD

Some Newport Beach notables back Dixon for re-election

As former city council members, Citizens of the Year, and long-time community volunteers and civic leaders, we have often disagreed on issues facing the city. But we all agree on one thing: Newporters need to re-elect Diane Dixon to the city council.

The reason we all agree that Diane is best for Newport Beach is simple: she listens to all stakeholders, she does her homework, and she tries to fashion solutions that work for the residents and businesses. 

Over the past four years, we have all been asked by Diane for our thoughts, advice or suggestions. She has always listened respectfully and made the effort to understand our points of view. 

Really, you can’t ask for anything more in a council member. 

With her hard work, dedication to the city and fairness toward all, Diane is an independent voice on the city council and has earned your vote for re-election. We urge you to vote for Diane Dixon in the 1st District.

Debra Allen

Former chair, Civil Service Commission

Michael Henn

Former mayor and council member

Tony Petros

Former council member

Nancy and Jack Skinner

Citizens of the Year

John and Elizabeth Stahr

Citizens of the Year

Walter and Masami Stahr

Author and teacher

Yelsey helped grow The Freedom Committee in local schools

School board leadership is essential to an outstanding educational system, and NMUSD Area 4 Trustee candidate Karen Yelsey has proven herself to be a dedicated, responsible and effective leader. 

As a parent whose children attended Andersen Elementary and Corona del Mar High School, and the coordinator of various school programs including community service and character education, I have had the opportunity to observe Karen in action. 

I was fortunate to help The Freedom Committee of Orange County develop a Living History Program, “passing the torch of liberty on to future generations.” After personally attending some of our events and witnessing the program’s profound effect on the students, Karen led the District to engage The Freedom Committee to expand the program. 

What began with 5 veterans speaking at one school grew to include 100 veterans visiting all of our high schools and many of our middle and elementary schools, providing thousands of students with a better understanding and appreciation of our nation’s rich history and the sacrifices and accomplishments of our veterans. 

Please join me in thanking Karen for her service to our students, by voting for her on November 6th. Thank you. 

Denise Weiland

FCOC Living History Program Coordinator

Newport Beach 

I’m running against Dixon for a number of reasons

In 2014, I supported someone who is now my opponent, Diane Dixon. 

She pledged to “Stop the Dock Tax”, which she later affirmed.

She promised to lower taxes, which she not only raised, but also added more of – she recently voted to approve Newport’s first Mello-Roos tax.

She promised to lower our spending, she voted to increase it by over $55 million annually since she took office.

She promised to shrink the size of government, but our staff has grown since she took office (and our “contractors” have ballooned significantly).

She promised to Save the Fire Rings, but she got rid of the same amount as the previous council proposed.

She promised to protect small businesses, but she has regulated them out of town.

She promised to protect the free market, but she has voted to approve socialized programs which have forced small and locally owned businesses to close.

She promised to protect property rights, but her “Lights Out at 11 p.m.” proposal in 2015 sought to steal property rights from bar and restaurant owners on Balboa Peninsula’s historic establishments, and now there are proposals to expand a section of Mariner’s Mile which would require several land seizures through Imminent Domain.

She promised transparency, but then attacked activists from the dais, accusing them of owing the city money – a claim which a judge later stated in a ruling was completely false – but not before she spent $16,000 of taxpayer money to defend  a claim that was repeatedly offered to be settled for a mere apology.

She promised to stop cronyism, but the Balboa Theater was sold to her friends for $1.1 million when there were offers for $1.6 million and $1.7 million on the table. She then purchased the abandoned McDonalds building for over $4 million of taxpayer dollars when the then-current owners had purchased it for less than $2 million just 18 months prior.

She promised to enhance safety, but she is moving the fire station from Lido Peninsula to that same McDonalds building – the opposite direction of where 80 percent of the calls for that station are coming from. This crony deal will not only cost taxpayers money, but it will cost them response time when residents need them the most (78 percent of all responses for fire are actually health emergencies).

She promised to use fiscal restraint, but then spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single road sign saying, “Welcome to Balboa Village.”

She promised to keep our historic amenities like the fire rings, but then she voted to get rid of the same amount of fire rings as the previous council had suggested. Now, she is trying to close Dog Beach between Newport and Huntington Beach (on the Santa Ana River) which has been there for 101 years and costs taxpayers $0.

She promised to help pay down our unfunded pension liability, but under her watch, our unfunded pension debt has increased an eye-popping $70 million.

She promised integrity, and she ran with Councilman Scott Peotter, endorsing him in 2014 – but during the recall, when she also endorsed him, she was actively mingling with the recall proponents. During this election, she endorsed him yet again – while actively mingling with his opponent. 

Perhaps that was due to her approving city-wide raises, having positions like Dog Catcher bringing home over $180,000 in total compensation – and that position alone will retire with 90 percent of their base pay for the rest of their lives as a pension – also almost entirely unfunded.

Our city has annual revenues of about $250 million and an unfunded pension liability of $250 million by even the best numbers – the cost to exit CalPERS? A whopping $1.3 billion – that’s not a typo. With finances like that we couldn’t get a home loan in Kansas.

She has not only failed to deliver on her campaign promises – she has actively voted the opposite of how she promised she would vote.

With regular attacks on property rights, the raising of taxes, the raising of debt, the raising of spending, and dog catchers taking out $180,000 per year, it is clear that Dixon – who moved here just 6 months before filing to run for office – is not a fit for Newport Beach. I have been active in our local community for nearly 15 years, and I am embarrassed that I supported her original campaign, and I am happy to step up to the plate to stop these types of things from continuing in our small beach town. 

For these reasons, I ask for your vote for Newport Beach City Council, District 1.

Mike Glenn

Candidate for District 1

Newport Beach

Try Focusing on the Positive

Tired of the election hit pieces? Try focusing on the positive and you’ll feel better. We live in a beautiful small city, population 80,000 vs Huntington Beach – 202,000 and Costa Mesa – 114,000. Some would even go so far to say “small town” because in many ways we are. Many of us don’t know our neighbors, but many do, and we talk to each other. The fact that we refer to geographic parts of our city as “villages” says a lot about how we think of our city: The City of Newport Beach is made up of villages which are made up of neighborhoods such as “the flower streets” where I live.

We have beautiful beaches, a harbor and estuary, sun and surf. Local small businesses are close by, many within a short walk, but if you crave that mall experience, we have one of the nicest within a few minutes. We have a fair amount of money with an average net household worth of over 1 million dollars and solid city finances, thank you Dave Kiff and staff. We have good schools, an excellent library system and our emergency responders are some of the best.

So, what’s not to like? Not much and this might explain why many move here. Many see opportunity here. Just like people moving all over the world they arrive and blend in. You may wonder what this has to do with the city council election, and justifiably so. We have three candidates challenging incumbents. Two of these incumbents have little history in Newport Beach and the third can’t vote or support action on what he cares about most, the harbor. When you live here for as long as I and many others have, you develop not only a deep affection for the community, you also have a better understanding of how things function. You know the alternate routes when the summer traffic hits. You know when the best time is to hit the beach and the surf or take that bike ride. You have a feel for the city that comes from years of being part of the community. Many newcomers will, with time, develop this deep understanding and affection and will surely contribute positively to the community fabric. Newport Beach is a beautiful place to call home. We are wealthy in many ways beyond that million-dollar net worth. Please don’t forget that.

I’m very pleased to see three council candidates with strong histories of local involvement and positive contribution to the community I know they hold dear. They focus on what is so good about Newport Beach. When deciding who to vote for, please look at all candidates’ records; look at what they’ve done, or not; look at their connections to the community; look at their historic giving to Newport Beach. Then make your choice. I’m very pleased to see three council candidates with strong histories of local involvement and positive contribution to the community I know they hold dear. They focus on what is so good about Newport Beach. I hope you choose Tim, Joy, and Roy. That’s who I voted for. (Sent mine in already.) Thanks for being part of the wonderful community of Newport Beach, our town.

Dennis Baker

President, Line In The Sand

Newport Beach

Disgusted by local politics

I am disgusted by the ‘politics’ of the upcoming election for city council in Newport Beach. You have probably heard it all by now. Please hear my disdain for the actions of Duffy and Peotter. They should be ashamed.

Kathy Leek

Newport Beach

Isn’t it time for someone new in Washington?

I think it is astonishing that voters in the 48th District, given the opportunity to vote for an exciting, energetic and moderate new candidate such as Harley Rouda, would cast a ballot instead for Dana Rohrabacher. Isn’t it time that we elected someone with fresh new ideas that focus on all aspects of our lives? 

Rohrabacher is a one issue candidate – immigration. Granted this is a huge problem, but there are so many other problems out there that touch our daily lives that need to be resolved. Rohrabacher is just out of touch with the concerns of his constituents and with the tenor of modern-day issues.

Harley Rouda, on the other hand, is focusing on many issues of tantamount importance to our lives in Orange County and in the nation – health care, the environment, transparency in government, and treatment of our veterans and our senior citizens. If we don’t elect congressional representatives like Rouda in this election, it is highly likely that cuts to Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and the ACA will be imminent. 

Harley also is energizing our youth, giving them hope for the future. Many of his workers represent earnest young people who want to live in a county and country where partisan politics are not dividing friends and families.

All of us who vote in the 48th District should be energized as well. We have the opportunity to send a stellar candidate to represent us in Washington. Let’s not let that great opportunity pass us by. The whole country is watching us!

Lynn Lorenz

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.