Newport Beach’s new mayor, Kevin Muldoon, plans to place a measure on the 2018 ballot that would require city officials to get voter approval before taking on additional debt for new infrastructure or buildings.
“It is my hope that the residents of Newport Beach will have a say in the issuances of large amounts of debt going forward,” he said.
Muldoon made the announcement at Tuesday’s council meeting after the newly-installed City Council unanimously elected him as mayor and Marshall “Duffy Duffield” as mayor pro tem. The vote ensures that Team Newport, which claimed a majority of seats in 2014, will retain leadership of the City Council.
Muldoon also highlighted the City’s $300 million unfunded pension liability for its retirees, arguing it’s the most pressing issue of our time.
“This Council must be disciplined in our spending and work to change the trajectory of the projected debt, which likely requires holding off on new facilities and other non-essential capital projects,” Muldoon said.
After Tuesday’s meeting, the council members, city staff and other dignitaries celebrated at the Newport Chamber of Commerce’s reception at Back Bay Bistro.
In with the New
Three councilmen elected in November’s general election took the oath of office on Tuesday night. Brad Avery of District 2 will represent West Newport Beach, Jeff Herdman of District 5 will represent Balboa Island, Newport Center and a portion of Big Canyon, and Will O’Neill of District 7 will represent Newport Ridge and a part of Newport Coast.
“Just know it is truly an honor to have a hard earned place here,” Herdman said. “I consider this, to be honest with you, one of my most important accomplishments.”
The ceremony was particularly emotional for O’Neill, who was sworn in by his father, Chief United States District Judge Lawrence O’Neill of the Eastern District of California.
“Having my dad swear me is a memory that will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life,” O’Neill said.
Out with the Old
Tuesday’s City Council meeting was also the last for veteran councilmen Ed Selich, Keith Curry and Tony Petros.
City Manager Dave Kiff had some farewell comments for the departing council members. He started with Selich, who served Newport Beach for more than 21 years as an Economic Development Committee member, planning commissioner and a two-term mayor.
“There is no better researcher in the room than Ed Selich,” Kiff said. “I had to warn our staff early on that if you’re
working on a project important to Ed beware, there’s no equivocating. You can’t do partial research like [saying], ‘this is done in other cities.’ If you find 25 cities that do something Ed will find number 26 and 27 and then he’ll find the 15 cities that decided not to do it and why.”
Selich’s final comments primarily focused on his experience with the terrific work done by each city department. He closed with, “It was a great ride, thanks for the memories.”
Kiff said Petros brought a unique approach because of his job as a transportation planner for cities, counties and other agencies.
“He knows what it’s like to be a staff member,” Kiff said. “He’s stayed late to help put away chairs, arrived early to help set up, and slopped out stuffing and gravy at OASIS Senior Center. And that part of him forever endears him to the staff.”
Lastly, Kiff said while Curry is never someone to shrink from debate, he still has a remarkable ability to bring people together. In 2010, Curry and his wife Pamela hosted Kiff, city employee union representatives and other council members at their home to hammer out a collective bargaining agreement.
“It set the tone for a few months of challenging but productive negotiations where Keith focused clearly on the goals and those achievements and that tone still help us today,” Kiff said.