Op-Ed by Keith Curry
Three new members will join the Newport Beach City Council next month and I want to wish the best to all of them.
Jeff Herdman is a long-time resident and neighborhood leader who ran on a platform of listening to the residents on issues of growth and traffic, and for reforming of the flaws in our political financing laws.
Despite a well-funded attack on him and his character, voters saw through the political rhetoric and embraced his message.
Brad Avery and Will O’Neill are active members of the Harbor Commission and Finance Committee respectively, and have made many positive contributions to our community.
While their campaigns were managed by Dave Ellis, I know both Brad and Will, and I believe they have the ability to be independent thinkers on the council. Demonstrating this independence will be the first challenge they face in taking office.
In the year ahead, the new council must develop a financial plan to fund replacement and renewal of our sea walls that could cost as much as $20-$60 million.
We are close to completing our capital facilities plan with the long awaited West Newport Community Center, and we must take additional actions to reduce the cost of public employee pensions which are crowding out other city services in the budget.
Jeff, Brad and Will, along with the other council members, will face difficult decisions that cannot be resolved if the council indulges itself with politically motivated actions such as cutting revenues, increasing spending to benefit special interests, or requiring projects such as sea walls replacement to be submitted to an election process.
Leadership requires making tough decisions. Voters are looking to Jeff, Will and Brad to provide this leadership.
I also want to offer a word of encouragement to Phil Greer, Lee Lowrey, Fred Ameri, Mike Glenn and Shelley Henderson. Each of them offered themselves to the service of the community and I hope all of them stay involved and continue to work to make Newport Beach a better place to live.
With the end of the election, it is time for Newport Beach to abandon the efforts to emulate the political polarization that characterizes Costa Mesa or Irvine, reject the self-appointed political bosses, embrace the values that have historically made Newport Beach unique, and work together to make this an even greater community to live and raise a family.
Keith Curry is a Newport Beach Council Member.