Last year I ran for city council because I did not like the Team Newport system of boss rule.
I came to know my opponent, Will O’Neill, as a smart, thoughtful and hard-working person, despite his recent support of policy changes which took hundreds of thousands of dollars away from the arts.
And, despite this misstep, I still believe that he wants to do the right thing. That is why it is so disappointing to see him participate in what is nothing more than political grandstanding by voting to turn down $480,000 in transportation funds that are needed to repair our streets.
Team Newport says that they want to “send a message” that they oppose the recent gas tax increase. Most of us oppose it but to deny the taxpayers of Newport Beach the benefit of their own tax monies makes no sense.
The money we are talking about is money that we paid at the pump and are entitled to. What good does it serve to tell the California Transportation Commission that we do not want our own money but that they should go ahead and spend that money in Oakland? We should thank Councilmembers Dixon and Avery for standing up to this nonsense.
Scott Peotter has called these gas tax revenues “blood money” and “free money.” These revenues are not free, we paid them at the pump and deserve to have them returned to our community. This sort of contrary, partisan, political posturing and intemperate language are expected from Mr. Peotter. It is one of the reasons that he is being recalled.
The money lost, $480,000 this year and $1.9 million annually thereafter, is significant. Mr. Peotter bemoans his inflated cost of a recall but opposes bringing four to six times that amount into the city annually because of some ill placed ideological litmus test.
Rejecting the funds is not going to eliminate the gas tax, it is simply going to present a windfall to another municipality.
Residents have been told that Councilman Herdman will move for reconsideration of this spiteful decision. That means that Duffy Duffield, Kevin Muldoon, Scott Peotter or Will O’Neill will have the opportunity to rectify their mistake, take off their ideological blinders and do right by our community.
I ran for city council because I believe that the city council should be a place to solve problems, improve roads and traffic and make our quality of life better. Politicians who just want to play political games and engage in empty ideological gestures should run for a different office.