Letter to the Editor: Vote for our Mayor by Voting Yes on B

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I’ve heard some rather odd rumbling around town that even though the people don’t have the right to directly vote for our Mayor, this system “isn’t broke so we don’t need to fix it.“

This suggests that our system was whole and right to begin with. But when the government holds back power away from the people – especially power as basic as selecting our city’s leader – then it’s an inherently broken system from the start.

It’s time to vote to take back our rightful vote by voting “yes” on Measure B.

Second to mothering my son, my absolute favorite job was teaching high schoolers about civics. It usually only took a few minutes in the first class to incentivize them to care and then we were off to the races with theories, concrete examples, and debates. Oh debates — the best part of it all because it not only showed what and how they were thinking, but showed how much they cared. Our most basic question to answer was: what is the role of government?

The government — according to the Enlightenment values our country was founded upon — is to bring order and protection to our basic individual rights of life, liberty, and opportunity. We as individuals have powers and rights that are inherent in being humans. We release some of our individual powers over to the government because there are some circumstances in which a collective power structure better oversees the intersection of all our rights and powers.

However, the government doesn’t have the same inherent right to power that the people do; its power comes from the consent of the people only when the individual power of the people can’t reasonably balance our rights with the rights of others. In sum, the people are presumed to have inherent powers and the government receives its limited powers from the consent of the people when necessary.

Currently, the people of Newport Beach do not have the power to directly elect our mayor. We elect the seven council members who then vote amongst themselves each year who will be our mayor.

This is an unnecessary governmental power that should rightfully be in the hands of the people. Who is supporting keeping power in the government instead of with us: a small, politically-active (read: few but loud) group with disproportionate influence in local politics whose power would be disrupted if we took our rightful vote back.

We are a vibrant city that garners attention nationwide. We should have a direct say in who represents us as our mayor. By voting “yes” on Measure B, we are directly voting for our mayor and directly voting for our own inherent rights as the people of Newport Beach.

Vote to vote, my friends.

Erin Clark / Newport Beach

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