Letter to the Editor: Follow the Money

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As the November election approaches, it is worthwhile to consider whose money supports the incumbents.

The largest donor by far is Howard Ahmanson Jr., who has spent over $200,000 since 2014, most of it to install Scott Peotter in office.

Just a few days ago, Ahmanson contributed $50,000 to help Mr. Peotter and Mr. Duffield survive the November election by attacking their opponents Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks.

Ahmanson’s views on growth and development should most concern Newport residents. In 2013, Ahmanson wrote: “I believe that social justice requires that a region be overbuilt, or at least over-entitled, in “both high density housing and single-family housing.”

Contemplate what it means for our city and how his candidates have implemented his vision.

Since 2014, development or real estate related interests have directly given more than $122,000 to Mr. Duffield and $82,000 to Mr. Peotter. Developers poured another $57,625 into the 2014 election to indirectly help these candidates and it’s not just developers whose money supports the incumbents.

Great Scott Tree Service has given Team Newport related committees and candidates over $11,000.  Interestingly, this occurred after they kept the city’s tree contract when the council declined to open sealed bids to determine the actual lowest cost provider for this service.

Donors associated with Woody’s Wharf restaurant have given over $7,000 each to Mr. Duffield and Mr. Peotter after Mr. Duffield switched his vote and settled a lawsuit with Woody’s, which then received $355,000 from the taxpayers as part of the settlement. An excellent return on their investment.

The Family Action PAC and its head, developer Larry Smith, recently gave a committee backing Mr. Duffield and Mr. Peotter $10,000. Given the extremely conservative nature of this PAC, one has to wonder if they will be surprised to learn that their candidates are pot farmers.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that special interest money buys special attention from these incumbents. This money will pay for an avalanche of negative mail attacking Joy Brenner, Tim Stoaks and Roy Englebrecht in the coming days as voters make their decisions.

Only by becoming educated regarding who really represents the residents will we be able to elect a council who puts the best interests of the city first.


Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

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