Candidate Contributions Raise Questions

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Fundraising for a city council election reveals critical information about the candidate’s supporters. Unfortunately, fundraising is a requirement of the job, and it’s necessary in order to get your message out to the public, especially to those who are not directly involved in city issues.

Most citizens don’t contribute the allowed $1,200 maximum per candidate, but those with a business interest frequently do.

Most of City Council candidate Noah Blom’s contributions are from out-of-town donors and/or those with ties to short-term rentals (his website lists an endorsement from “Newport Beach Short-Term Rentals Assn.”).

I don’t see many small contributions from individual citizens, contrasting with Jeff Herdman’s list. (See the Newport Beach City Council website for complete lists of donors.)

Are Mr. Blom’s donors hoping the new council majority will overturn the short-term lodging ordinance, which if passed on Oct. 13 will cap our number at 1,550? Jeff Herdman’s opponent has said he thinks we should have them all over town, allowing unlimited short-term rentals in every neighborhood in our city.

Staff estimate that number could be as high as 10,000 units in Newport Beach if left unregulated. There is a difference between individual homeowners renting their property versus corporate interests. Perhaps we should change the city seal to read “Hotel Newport Beach.”

Why are three of my council colleagues endorsing an unknown candidate who has never shown any interest in local issues, has never attended a city council meeting or served on a board or commission or even a homeowners association?

If the three members who endorse Mr. Blom get their way, the four will have a majority vote. Furthermore, if Diane Dixon wins her race for an assembly seat, that majority bloc could appoint someone to fill her seat, giving them a super-majority. Will this appointed council member represent the interests of the bloc that appointed him or her rather than the interests of the city and District 1, Lido and the Peninsula specifically? And will this super-majority gut any short-term lodging ordinance?

At that point it would not matter what the citizens of Newport Beach think, because the majority on the council would have the votes to do anything they want.

I like all my colleagues as people but not as politicians. And I’m so disappointed that they have taken this endorsement action. They underestimate the ability of our citizens to see through it.

Joy Brenner / Newport Beach City Councilmember

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