If you thought that Mr. Peotter and Mr. Duffield were ‘anti-tax, let’s vote on bonds’ councilmen, you would be wrong. Their anti-tax stance becomes remarkably flexible when one of their financial backers requests a tax increase, as occurred last month when they approved the largest property tax increase in the City of Newport Beach since the passage of Proposition 13.
At the same June 26 meeting where the council put their misnamed “Taxpayer Protection Act” on the November ballot to require a vote to fund major public capital improvements, projects that do not even raise taxes, they approved the formation of a Mello Roos district for Uptown Newport at the request of their contributor developer Bill Shopoff.
The massive Uptown Newport project was approved years ago and is now coming out of the ground at MacArthur and Jamboree. One might expect that all financial dealings would have been finalized years ago when the project was approved, but the developer has just now asked the city council to authorize additional Mello Roos taxes for this project. This allows the city to tax future residents for required improvements such as the streets and parks that are being built rather than charge the developer.
As a result, each new homeowner in this development will pay up to $4500/year in additional property taxes for 30 years for a potential total tax of $27 million. Ironically, these homes were intended as affordable housing and these future homeowners were denied a vote in this particularly onerous tax. This was all approved without a whimper by the anti-tax contingent of the council.
The hypocrisy of this action is staggering but perhaps not unexpected. The overriding philosophy of Mr. Peotter and Duffield appears to be a ‘me first, city second’ attitude. Since the best predictor of future actions are past actions, I can only assume that we can expect more of the same unless we remove these men from office and replace them with true public servants.