By Former Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill
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.