The Two Sides of Measure Y

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Measure Y, the proposed general plan land use element amendment, has been a controversial topic recently and arguments on both ends have been heard.

Political Action Committees have been formed on both sides of the issue to try and convince voters to check their preferred answer of either yes or no at the ballots on Nov. 4.

Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Rosansky is named as the principal officer of the group in support of Measure Y, “Newport Beach Residents for Traffic Reduction and Strong Neighborhoods, Yes on the General Plan Update 2014.”

The Yes on Y group claims the measure will preserve the quality of life and uniqueness of Newport Beach.

The general plan is the “blueprint” for the city’s future and the update refines the city’s priorities by setting new limits on development. It will reduce future traffic, advocates declare.

Opponents strongly disagree.

Dorothy Kraus, chair of Concerned Citizens of Newport Beach, is treasurer of the “Newport Votes No on Y” group.

Measure Y is a “deceptively-written ballot measure which camouflages development and traffic increases in Newport Center and near the Airport with ‘promises’ of ‘average’ reductions,” opponents to the measure claim. It’s about the “roadway reality,” the group states.

The measure favors the developers, not the residents, the group declares.

The measure would decrease possible development in areas like Newport Coast and increase it in other areas, like Newport Center.

Traffic has been a controversial topic surrounding the measure, with supporters saying it will reduce the citywide number of daily trips and opponents saying it will add trips in already congested areas.

The wording of the measure has also been argued.

The ballot measure reads: “Shall the Land Use Element of the Newport Beach General Plan be amended to provide for a reduction of non-residential development square footage by 375,782 square feet, while concurrently increasing the number of residential dwelling units by 138 units, resulting in a reduction of an estimated 2,922 average daily vehicle trips?”

Following an Orange County Superior Court ruling the wording will remain the same, despite two residents who disputed the language and filed a lawsuit against the city. The petitioners alleged there is a “complete lack of impartiality” in the ballot language and is an “egregious violation” of the elections code, according to court records.

The Yes group has not claimed any contributions yet, while No has $5,000 from AirFair, an Orange County community organization that seeks containment of John Wayne Airport.

Opponents include SPON (Stop Polluting Our Newport) board member Nancy Skinner, former Newport Beach city manager and councilman Robert Shelton, former chair of the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation Elizabeth Stahr, Newport Beach Water Quality/Coastal Tidelands Committee Member Tom Houston, former chair Newport Beach Environmental Quality Affairs Committee Debbie Stevens and more.

It’s supported by former mayors Don Webb, Denny O’Neil and Ed Selich, who is also currently mayor pro tem, Councilman Tony Petros, Robyn Grant, chair of Newport Beach Board of Library Trustees and former chair of Newport Beach Arts Commission and more.

City council approved a revised version of the amendment at their July 22 meeting, sending it to the ballot. The majority of the 19 public speakers were opposed to the item, although there were a few supporters.

After more than an hour and a half of discussion, the item passed 4-1, with Councilwoman Nancy Gardner dissenting and council members Mike Henn and Leslie Daigle absent.

The measure also includes a Corona del Mar Traffic Bypass Plan.

 

For details on the ballot measures and to read arguments from both sides, visit newportbeachca.gov.

For information on the No on Measure Y group, visit newportvotesno.org.

For information on the Yes on Measure Y group, visit nbtrafficreduction.com.

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