It’s Valentine’s Day. According to Wikipedia, Valentine was a saint that reportedly performed marriages for Roman soldiers that were forbidden to marry, and for ministering to Christians that were being persecuted by the Romans. It evolved into a day to celebrate love, where lovers showed their love by giving candy, flowers or “Valentines.” These early Valentines were handwritten expressions of love. Now of course, Hallmark, See’s Candy and ProFlowers have taken over.
So I thought I would take this opportunity to send a Valentine to the Newport Beach City Council. Normally I would attribute the actions of the City Council to the whole body and never single out a particular councilman, but in this case, it is the actions of the mayor that I “love.”
My Valentine to the Mayor
Mayor Rush Hill gave his State of the City speech last Friday. In that speech he touted all of the great things that the council has accomplished during Hill’s tenure, or are in the process of being completed. I almost expected to see Cupid flying around the room shooting love arrows, because being under the influence of Cupid was the only way that I expected anyone to buy what Hill was selling.
Let Me Count The Ways
First, Hill bragged about all the great things the council has accomplished. Did he talk about how they cut spending? No. Did he talk about how they had better government and cheaper delivery of services? Hill bragged about all the new “stuff” the council gave the citizens. It’s almost like the rich suitor that feels like he has to buy our affection. Here are the ways that Hill has bought our love (with our money, I might add):
Taj-Ma-City-Hall. Now Hill calls it the “new civic center complex and park,” but this overpriced, oversized, trendy civic center that went from a $40 million makeover of 50 thousand square feet to a $140 million, 100,000 square foot Taj-Ma-City-Hall is supposed to make us love him?
Sunset Ridge Park. This is a new park at the corner of Superior and PCH with new ball fields.
Back Bay Park. This is a proposed park at the corner of Jamboree and PCH. Not exactly monumental, but one of those “when I get to it, or can afford it” projects.
Marina Park Composite. Composite is one of those fancy words for “multi-use.” This replaces the Marina Park Trailer Park down on the peninsula. This was land leased and the city decided to turn it into a park with a Marina, Community Building, Girl Scout Building, Light House, and passive park.
Lido House Hotel. This is the fancy name for the proposed hotel partnership where the city is getting into the hotel business on the old city hall site.
But I am Not Done Counting the Ways
I guess the mayor has tax money burning a hole in his pockets. The mayor went on to outline his “vision” for the future. He must really love us!
Initiative 1. More recreational access to our harbor. Hill wants to remove the moorings and use a more restricted floating dock system with power and fresh water at no extra cost to the mooring renters. And you thought those dock taxes weren’t going to a good cause! And to get you there, a new water taxi system you can call using a new phone app.
Initiative 2. Construct a golf course on Coyote Canyon land fill with subsidized fees for residents and full fees for those that are outsiders.
Initiative 3. The Newport dividend. Hill admits that we have too high of a reserve. But rather than pay down debt, or give it to the taxpayers that paid the taxes, he wants to subsidize residential building permit fees.
Now That The Mayor has Bought and Paid For You
This is an election year. I guess Cupid forgot to mention that. Did he mention that Hill is up for re-election? Oops, I guess Cupid forgot that as well. So that well-heeled suitor took our money and bought us lavish gifts and now what? He is expecting us to put out? I say we put him out in November!
Scott Peotter is an Architect and former Planning Commissioner in Newport Beach. Scott can be reached at [email protected]