Running Down a New Campaign Road

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Roy Englebrecht is running for council against Tim Brown and Kevin Muldoon in District 4. Outgoing Leslie Daigle currently holds the seat. His approach is completely different and goes against everything anyone will tell you’re about how to run a campaign and win.

He is also the only council candidate voting NO on Measure Y.

I became interested in interviewing him because he choose to run a campaign without raising money, putting up signs, or sending thousands of mailers to your mailbox.

I asked Roy eleven questions and he answered them quickly and succinctly.

Roy tells me he is running for office because he feels the council too often makes quick decisions without enough discussion, research and thoughtful deliberation that include public input. He feels someone has to say no more.

Through the many forums he has participated in he has heard residents say that they do not think that the council listens or is interested in what residents have to say. Roy’s response to this is that “This will end if I serve.”

I asked Roy how much he would have spent on the new City Hall had he been office. He said we spent too much on things we didn’t need and that the Council has a responsibility to be good stewards of every single dollar of residents’ tax dollars. His top concern as a candidate is overspending and mentioned city overtime pay as one example.

Roy has taken a strong stance on Measure Y. He is voting no on this because he feels the Council and city staff were not honest on how they presented Y to the public. “Misinformation is not the way to run a city. I am for growth control. I am not opposed to development, just let’s present it in an honest way to the residents.”

Besides the Council, another large and impactful decision-making body in our city are its commissions.

The council paper screens, conducts the interviews and recommends applicants for the Parks and Recreation, Library, Planning Commission, Harbor and several others.

Since Roy has served as a commissioner on the Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission twice, I was interested in what he had to say about the selection process and how people get on a commission.

For those of you who may not know, these are powerful positions because the commissions make recommendations to the council on important issues related to public policy in the city, and serving on one or more commissions is also considered a stepping stone to the council if and when a person chooses to run.

I asked Roy if he was aware that some citizens will never be chosen to participate in a commission because they do not reflect the thinking of the general council and or may be considered problematic because they have been too outspoken on council issues.

In other words you can apply but you will not be selected no matter how qualified you are.

He responded by saying that in his experience the commissions need to have more power to approve areas that they are knowledgeable in. He feels we have some of the best creative people in the state in Newport Beach to choose from and they are underutilized. He suggested that there needs to be a better interview process and that with qualified people working together on commissions we in essence would have not just seven council members working on issues but closer to fifty people participating in the decision making process for all citizens.

Lastly, I asked Roy how he is conducting his campaign and why he is deviating from what everyone else has done for years. He does not have a campaign manager. He is doing all of it himself and having a great time. He loves the forums and the interaction with the public and the candidates. He enjoys talking to people as he walks the island and stops at Starbucks.

He has chosen not to be put up signs to promote his candidacy because he does not want to clutter the city and feels that most people can’t see your name because there are so many signs close together that you can’t read them. He wanted to be more creative in his approach to campaigning.

“Anyone can put up signs or send out mailers. Wouldn’t the residents want a council person with big ideas and not big money?”

He chose not to raise money because he believes that when you accept donations your decisions are clouded by those donations when it comes time to vote.

We do know that the current process of campaigning is keeping many good candidates out of the mix. It should not cost over fifty thousand dollars to run for a council or school board seat. Keeping money out of the campaign would garner a larger and better field of candidates.

One thing we could do however, is consider having candidates run only in their district instead of city wide. It would save money, time, and valuable energy of all the people involved.

In a couple of weeks we will find out if Roy’s plan to campaign differently will get him elected. If he does, it may bring more candidates into the process for the next election.

I will be watching the race closely and I hope you will too.

Most importantly get out and vote, consider all the candidates and make your choice. It does matter who runs our beautiful city.

That is My Take

Dr. Gloria J. Alkire



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