Letter to the Editor: A Unique Perspective on Electing a Mayor for Newport Beach

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I have a unique perspective on why we need to support the Elect Our Mayor campaign.

As a Newport Beach Harbor Commissioner, I know that we can pretty well chart the growing international appeal of our City by simply looking out on the water. I would have loved to have seen John Wayne atop The Wild Goose in the 1960s when Newport Beach was still a growing city with the recently-shuttered buffalo ranch. Today, we see mega-yachts from around the world passing by residents and tourists on Duffy boats and SUPs.

While our city has maintained much of its charm through village atmospheres, there is no question that we are a modern city with complex issues.

In our Harbor alone, we interact with the California Coastal Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Orange County Sheriffs, the California Air Resources Board, and so many more governmental agencies.

This doesn’t even account for CalTrans on PCH, the FAA at the airport, Housing & Community Development for the state’s housing mandates, etc.

Oftentimes we need help from these agencies. Sometimes in the form of regulatory easing. Sometimes in funding support.

For example, we are indebted to former Mayor Duffy Duffield for his repeated efforts in Washington, D.C. seeking dredging money. He will be the first to tell you that the efforts were helped greatly by his relationships forged through years of work.

But, frankly, it shouldn’t have been that hard to get the dredging money. Our city is a piggybank for Washington and Sacramento politicians. We remain a donor community in both politics and taxes. And because we have a rotating Mayor system, there is no longevity of relationships between our City’s leadership and governmental agencies that affect our daily lives.

A system that worked in the 60s is no longer appropriate in today’s world. With more and more cities moving to a directly elected mayor in Orange County, it’s time that we do the same.

I’m supporting the Elect Our Mayor campaign and hope that you will too.

Gary Williams Jr. / Newport Beach Harbor Commissioner

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