MY TURN: Let’s Stick to Issues and Work Together

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By Assemblyman Allan Mansoor

A few weeks ago, Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Keith Curry used these pages to imply that I am unwilling to work with the residents of Newport Beach. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It seems Keith is upset because Scott Peotter, a regular Indy columnist who has been critical of the Newport Beach City Council, is also a part-time staffer in my office.

I don’t think Keith’s implication that Scott’s writing is a reflection of me is fair. What Scott does on his own time is up to him. I don’t screen, review, edit, or in many cases, even read what he writes for the Indy.

I don’t always agree with Scott’s style, approach, or conclusions. This is a good thing. I think it’s important to have variety in ideas and approaches. I believe that I can be a better representative for the community when my staff is not comprised of people who are carbon copies of me.

I looked back at the exchange between Scott and Keith, and my advice to both of them is to stick with the issues.

Scott likes to use lots of emotionally charged and,  at times, inflammatory language. Sometimes this is effective. Sometimes it’s not. In this case, I think Scott is overdoing it. His approach is distracting from his message.

Keith’s approach also distracts from the issue. Instead of focusing on Scott’s concerns about councilmembers’ compensation and the Newport charter amendments, it appears he is trying to silence criticism by threatening Scott’s part-time employment. I think that is wrong.

It looks to me like Keith is being a little oversensitive. The issues here are deeper than Scott Peotter or the Newport Beach charter amendments or anything else that Scott has written about in his column.

I’ve always had an open-door policy and am willing to meet and work with anyone. This goes back to my days on the Costa Mesa City Council. In the Assembly, I’ve been proactive in reaching out to city councilmembers in the cities I represent.

Most councilmembers I’ve met with have been very receptive to establishing a working relationship with my office. Keith Curry has been the exception, and this goes back before Scott ever worked for me.

I haven’t figured out why this is the case, but have always assumed he is uncomfortable with a few disagreements I’ve had with some of his votes on the Newport Beach City Council. One is the infamous $200,000 Newport Beach lifeguards. Another relates to their definition of pension reform. When the Newport Beach City Council asked its firefighters to make contributions into their pensions, then gave them a raise to offset the cost, they called this pension reform. I call it a raise.

It’s impossible to agree on every issue, and I don’t think the inevitable disagreement should prevent us from working together on issues we agree upon. In Sacramento, I disagree with my Democratic colleagues on issues like taxes, regulations, and illegal immigration. Despite these disagreements, we regularly work together on other issues.

Since last year, I have been working with some of my Democratic colleagues on a bipartisan bill in hopes of closing some licensing loopholes for rehab homes, helping patients and neighborhoods alike. I know this is an issue that has not been resolved in Newport Beach for nearly a decade.

I’m hopeful that every Newport Beach City Councilmember, Mayor Pro Tem Keith Curry included, can agree to disagree on some issues and work together on meaningful reform that will help Newport Beach residents.

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  1. OK, everyone. Please hold up your hand if you believe Allan Mansoor actually wrote this column… Yeah, me neither. But, it’s got his byline, so he gets the credit – or blame.

    Ever the class act, the ineffective Assemblyman Mansoor, shoves his staffer under the bus, apparently trying to somehow placate critics. It’s no surprise that his singular accomplishment during nearly two years in the Assembly is to help pass a bill to eliminate the term “mentally retarded” from the official government lexicon. Now, I ask you – who would vote AGAINST that? Nobody! Every other piece of legislation he’s tried to pass has failed miserably.

    Mansoor has continued to demonstrate – just as he did while on the Costa Mesa City Council – that he lacks the skills to develop consensus and accomplish anything for the residents of this state nor his constituents. Once you get past his smiley face – as the renowned writer Gertrude Stein once said about Oakland – “there’s no there there”.

    I, a lifelong Republican, found myself on the horns of a dilemma when I looked down at my primary ballot last June. My choices were Mansoor, his fellow Republican Leslie Daigle and new Democrat Bob Rush. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Mansoor – I’ve watched him closely for a decade. I couldn’t vote for Daigle because of her miserable performance during and after the Feet To The Fire Forum, leaving me with Rush. The more I thought about it, and the more I heard Rush’s ideas and watched his delivery, I decided to – for the first time in more than a half-century of casting ballots – vote for a Democrat. I felt it may be better to have a moderate assemblyman of the party in power if I expected our district to have a voice that is actually heard in Sacramento instead of an ineffective lock-step Republican with virtually no voice on important issues. That’s how I’ll vote in November, too.