The bunnies that live at the Newport Beach City Hall (also known as the Newport Beach Bunnies) called me and asked if I would interview them so that they could give the community their perspective on all the controversy that is taking place about them.
I did not want to weigh in on this hot topic because it seems that enough community members have written about them, and what really is surfacing as the debate rages on.
However the lead bunny named Cotton Hall would like to propose some questions to the community and the City Hall leaders that perhaps have been overlooked. The bunnies would like their position on the matter of them leaving to be reconsidered.
After a long discussion with Cotton Hall, the following questions, concerns, and ideas surfaced.
The bunnies would like everyone to know that they have been doing their job to enhance the landscape of the new City Hall, provide laughter, smiles, pose for pictures endlessly without compensation, been sat on, made fun of, and watched over The Hall never once asking for more food, a raise, days off, or health benefits.
All the while they have been threatened to be blown up, uprooted, shipped off and sold to those who may mistreat them and or worse yet hide them away some place in a backyard where no one will ever to talk to them, pet them, or smile at them again.
They are continually being told they cost too much and that this is the main reason they must leave.
The bunnies are paid for, in place, and have many followers and admirers, along with those who just don’t like them because they are considered too extravagant to have public money spent on them.
Their question is why would you take out something that is already in place and doing its job, just to demonstrate that the new Newport Beach City Council is going to be better fiscal planners that the last leaders.
Furthermore if you are taking out the bunnies, why are you leaving other sculptures and landscaping that was also very expensive. Will the bridge come down to prove a point? How is this being more fiscally responsible? Isn’t this similar to buying too big a house, or car, and finding out that you cannot afford it? Do you lose more money by returning or selling the car that has now depreciated since driving it off the lot, or the house that you bought too high and selling it and taking a loss. Sometimes, as Cotton Hall says, you simply live with your decision, make the best of it and make better decisions next time as you learn valuable lessons along the way.
Is it the bunny’s fault that they were included in the landscaping package, and the Council – who also must rely on those they hire to make recommendations to them – overlooked their cost?
Cotton Hall and his bunny friends also ask why the City Hall is such a large building on so much land when just about everyone in Newport Beach claims to be a fiscal conservative and says that they do not want big government? If anything speaks big government, it is the new sprawling City Hall.
The bunnies are proposing that they be kept on the property in order to not make what some believe is a bad monetary expenditure worse.
They have proven that that they bring joy to many people, they consistently behave, and they are truly the cheapest employees of the city. They are awake 24/7, do not charge for pictures, never say no to children, and have learned in their lifetime that you simply cannot put a price on providing countless smiles for people of all ages.
It is their belief that they have made politics more fun and thoughtful in the city, and provided much needed viewpoints on what is appropriate spending for projects and what things to look out for and not do the next time. Lessons learned are far more valuable than continuing to place blame, shame and discredit leaders who thought they were making good decisions.
The bunnies are hopping mad that they have had to take drastic measures like doing an interview to get their point of view across, and they thank the many community members who have stepped up with their opinions. But they felt they could no longer sit on their tails and do nothing. As they each continued to read all the talk both good and bad about them, they felt that had to weigh in. They know what goes on at City Hall— they live there and they think that the City Council has many more important projects, goals, and funding priorities that need their undivided attention than displacing what is already done.
They want to see the council work collaboratively and move the city forward. Mistakes are not always intentional, some need to be fixed and some need to be left alone because they are done.
The bunnies do want to make it clear that if the council moves toward displacing them, they may be forced to multiply and take over the entire City Hall, something they do not want to do.
Politics can be mean but the bunnies are not.
That is My Take
Dr. Gloria J. Alkire,