City Council candidates met for the last time Wednesday night at the Corona del Mar Resident’s Association forum.
The discussion was held at the Oasis Senior Center and was part of the association’s “The More You Know” theme for the year. More than 125 people attended.
The event was moderated by board member and former president of the CdM Resident’s Association, Debra Allen.
The council hopefuls in attendance included: Diane Dixon, who is running unopposed for District 1; incumbent Mayor Rush Hill for District 3; Tim Brown, Roy Englebrecht and Kevin Muldoon for District 4; and Scott Peotter and Mike Toerge for District 6.
Marshall “Duffy” Duffield, vying for the District 3 seat, was absent. He was recovering from quadruple bypass surgery on Monday, according to a statement from his wife, Terry. There were no complications and he is doing well, she said.
After initial introductions, Allen asked questions regarding traffic and parking in CdM, Measure Y and the CdM Bypass Plan, and their top priority as a candidate.
All agreed that parking should not be removed from Coast Highway.
Moving it off PCH would be “foolish,” Hill said. The council doesn’t even have the authority to do that, he added, California Coastal Commission governs it.
A few mentioned shared parking as an alternative.
The private sector will need incentives in order to share parking, Brown said.
Hill warned that the shared parking idea may not work for everyone and could create other problems.
Solving the parking for businesses could create a problem for the residents, Hill noted.
It’s a challenge, Dixon said.
“We need to look at some new creative solutions,” she said.
New technology could help the situation, Muldoon said, and it would be worth looking into.
Englebrecht suggested a shuttle between Big Corona Beach and the CdM businesses.
“We have no land to park people in Corona del Mar,” he said.
Toerge also suggested considering consolidated valet services and coordinating employee parking for multiple businesses.
This led the discussion onto Measure Y and how the CdM Bypass plan plays into it.
The bypass is necessary whether Measure Y passes or not, Dixon said
It’s now possible to talk about differential tolling or possibly eliminating the toll on Bonita Canyon, Hill said.
“It’s going to take everybody in the community marching with me to TCA to cause that to happen, but we can do it,” Hill said.
Measure Y does not contain a Bypass Plan, Brown clarified.
“I believe that (Measure Y) can give our council the tools to address this problem,” he said.
There is wording in the measure that allows the Bypass Plan to be considered, Toerge said.
It sounds like a great idea, Peotter said, but it will be tough.
The full document does contain a provision about using funds acquired from developer agreements to potentially pay for the CdM Bypass, Muldoon explained.
“It’s not an actual measure itself,” he added.
It could have been written better, Muldoon said.
This is how disingenuous Measure Y is, Englebrecht said.
Englebrect is the only candidate voting against the measure.
The solution is to try and reduce or eliminate the toll south of Newport Coast on the 73 Highway, Brown said.
John Wayne Airport agreement, city spending, preserving quality of life, and mobility on the streets and in the air were all answers from the candidates about what they felt was the number one issue facing the city.
After the candidate forum ended, the merits of Measure Y were debated between Planning Commissioner Larry Tucker (vote yes) and Stop Polluting Our Newport treasurer Dennis Baker (vote no).