A few questions with newly elected Newport Beach City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Diane Dixon of District 1.
Q: Now that you’re on the Newport Beach City Council, what are your priorities?
A: My priorities are those I outlined in my campaign: fiscal discipline, government transparency, and listening with respect and an open mind to all the city’s residents. I don’t expect these priorities to change as a result of incumbency or the passage of time.
Q: How do you plan to help the residents of your district and of the entire city during your term?
A: In a general sense, I think the entire city will benefit from a more efficient and transparent city government. More specifically, I’m keenly interested in continuing the economic development and revitalization of the Peninsula and the West Side, continuing improvements to ease traffic and improve parking on the Peninsula and citywide, and working to rationalize income and expenditures related to Newport Harbor and develop a long-range plan to clear and maintain all its navigable channels.
Q: What is a specific action you’d like to take while on council?
A: I’d like to see processes now underway lead to actions to extend the revitalization of the Peninsula down to the Balboa Village area. The parking management plan adopted this month is a start. There are other actions the city can take in cooperation with the business community and the residents to improve safety and quality of life, and we’ll be advancing those in the coming months.
Q: What do you hope to learn from the project completion close-out audit on the Civic Center?
A: Now we all understand how the project grew in scope and expense because of council decisions to keep adding expensive “nice to have” structures like the library expansion and pedestrian bridge without consideration of the budget impact. But there was another layer of decision-making that resulted in the city paying about $20,000 per space for a parking structure and about $900 per square foot for the City Hall office building – both way above industry standards. We need to figure out how that happened so we can put systems and processes into place to guard against “scope creep” and unbudgeted spending.
Q: Why is it important?
A: We have other major capital projects coming, most notably a new police headquarters, which will be a complex project because of the technology and regulations involved. Understanding how costs could have been better controlled in the Civic Center project will help us keep these future capital projects under control.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add that the residents should know about you?
A: Residents should feel free to express their opinions to me on any issue facing the city. My email is [email protected].