Wrap-Up of 2018 City Council Candidates

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Newport Beach City Council 2018 candidates (top row, left to right): Diane Dixon and Mike Glenn, in District 1; and Marshall “Duffy” Duffield and Tim Stoaks, in District 3; and (bottom row, left to right) Kevin Muldoon and Roy Englebrecht, in District 4; and Scott Peotter and Joy Brenner, in District 6.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

The 2018 Newport Beach City Council campaign season is nearing the end, and this year had its share of twists and turns, controversies and contentions, and hot button issues discussed at about a dozen forums.

Eight candidates spent the last several months meeting residents, spreading their message, and drumming up support and funds.

Read about the earlier forums: First forum hosted by NB Chamber; tackling rumors at Peninsula forum; interesting perspective at CdM Chamber event; hot topics at Speak Up; feet held to the fire at set of two forums; and a lively candidate forum that addressed rumors, partisanship, campaign tactics, Museum House, and more.

Early and mail-in voting has already begun, but many residents will head to nearby polling stations on Nov. 6 to select which four faces they would like to see up on the Council dais.

Voters will choose from (incumbents listed first): Diane Dixon and Mike Glenn, in District 1; Marshall “Duffy” Duffield and Tim Stoaks, in District 3; Kevin Muldoon and Roy Englebrecht, in District 4; and Scott Peotter and Joy Brenner, in District 6.

While many of the forums were civil, informative and insightful, there were some tense moments and heated debate at others. Formal complaints were filed, signs were stolen, and accusations were made.

Unfunded pensions and over-development were again main issues on the minds of both candidates and residents. Several of the challengers also often spoke about the current direction of Council, and how to change it, as well as some Council members not listening to residents.

Candidates were asked about major projects in town, homelessness, Measure T, General Plan update, traffic, and more.

See special City Council candidate coverage below, listed by district, incumbent first.

For more information, visit newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/city-clerk/general-municipal-election-november-6-2018

 

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Diane Dixon • District 1 • dixonfornewport.com

Councilwoman Diane Dixon is up for re-election in District 1.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

 

►District 1 Question: Do you support allowing motorized vehicles on the boardwalk?

No. The Boardwalk is already too congested and motorized vehicles create safety concerns. The Municipal Code prohibits motorized scooters on the Boardwalk. Electric bicycle speeds cannot exceed 8 MPH. Enforcement is costly.

 

►Reader Question: How much control or regulation do you feel is appropriate for alcohol serving establishments on the Peninsula? 

The State Alcoholic and Beverage Control Board controls and regulates alcohol serving establishments. Our police enforce the laws. Good operators work with the community and the police to keep our neighborhoods safe. Good operators train their servers to not over serve their patrons and ensure the safety of our streets and neighborhoods as well as the safety of their patrons and residents. Enforcement is a priority.

 

►Property Rights: If it follows regulations, should a development project be allowed, whether it “fits” into the community or not, or whether the majority of residents want it or not? How many amendments, exceptions, or variances should be allowed?

We need to update our City’s General Plan to meet the needs of a 21st century community. The Community needs to be engaged in the General Plan update process. The community must work together to define our city’s future — housing, transportation and mobility, land use, open space and safety. It is time for an update the General Plan.

 

Electric pay-as-you-go scooters, where do you stand on this issue? Was the way they were “dropped” this summer appropriate? 

I do not support electric Scooters at this time. Our current laws do not allow scooters to be operated or parked in the public right of way. Electric scooters are not permitted on the Boardwalk. The City of Santa Monica, which initially allowed them, has banned electric scooters.

 

Do you believe Former City Manager Dave Kiff was “ousted” and how do you feel about how it was handled? What would you have done differently? 

Mr Kiff’s termination was conducted without transparency and not in accordance with our City Charter and Council Policy concerning the hiring, termination and performance evaluation of council appointees. While I am extremely pleased with the outcome in the hiring of an outstanding new city manager, the “backroom” process led by a minority of the City Council by which Mr Kiff was summarily dismissed without cause, has needlessly torn the community apart and cost the taxpayers over $200,000.

 

What would be your first action, project or idea for Council? 

Bring the community together and restore civility, respect and transparency in the conduct of the city’s business.

 

►Yes/No/Mixed/Unsure

Are you in favor of keeping the trolley service?  YES

Sell the land under the old city hall site (currently leased to the Lido House Hotel)? NO

Support building a new police station? MIXED

West Newport Community Center? MIXED

Do you support Measure T on the November ballot? YES

Do you support marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach? NO

Eliminate or reduce the business license fee? NO

Should the city have a role in funding public art? MIXED

 

 ►Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

I support the trolley if it continues to reduce the number of cars on the peninsula on busy summer weekends as well as offer mobility to visitors and residents. The Trolley brings visitors to shop on the Peninsula when parking is unavailable. It’s a win-win for visitors and residents; The financial numbers do not justify selling the old city hall land at this time; We may need a new police headquarters in 15-20 years; West NB Community Center: Possibly, if complementary, lower cost and not duplicative of Marina Park; I support public/private partnerships for public art.

 

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Mike Glenn • District 1 • savenewport.com

Mike Glenn is challenging the incumbent for the District 1 seat.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

 

►District 1 Question: Do you support allowing motorized vehicles on the boardwalk?

The Americans with Disability Act guarantees the right to use electric wheelchairs and Segways on our Boardwalk. Any attempts to discuss banning those will get us rightfully sued. Assemblyman Matthew Harper also passed legislation which legally conflated motorized bicycles with regular bicycles. Obviously, I do not think cars should be on the boardwalk, though, just to avoid any confusion.

 

►Reader Question: During the 2017 recall effort, you stated that the council majority was “doing a great job” and was “fiscally conservative.” You’ve also expressed other comments on social media and elsewhere that are supportive of the council, as far back as 2015. However, during the 2016 and the current council campaigns, you’ve harshly criticized the incumbents. Where do you stand on this topic, and why the multiple changes of viewpoint?

I give credit when credit is due, and criticize them when needed. The particular time frame being referenced here was when the current Council told me that they would be voting no on the trolley and also would stop trying to close dog beach. In the end, they did neither, despite their promises, and for that, they should have their records known. The current Council indeed has delivered on absolutely none of what they promised in the last 4 years.

 

►Property Rights: If it follows regulations, should a development project be allowed, whether it “fits” into the community or not, or whether the majority of residents want it or not? How many amendments, exceptions, or variances should be allowed?

We need to either follow the general plan or not. Exceptions granted to the general plan by Council almost always go to people that fund their campaigns.

 

Electric pay-as-you-go scooters, where do you stand on this issue? Was the way they were “dropped” this summer appropriate? 

People do not have a problem with scooters. People have a problem with scooters being left in the middle of the sidewalk and streets. If these problems can be solved, I think the scooters are a great idea.

 

Do you believe Former City Manager Dave Kiff was “ousted” and how do you feel about how it was handled? What would you have done differently? 

Yes, when my opponent was called out by name in the council meeting seeking to delay the ousting until after the election, she ignored the calls and the motion died for lack of a second. I would have seconded and voted to delay after the election.

 

What would be your first action, project or idea for Council? 

We are a horribly inefficient City. Increase efficiency to reduce staffing by attrition (not firing anybody). We could reduce Staffing by 15-20% in 8 years through attrition alone.

 

►Yes/No/Mixed/Unsure

Are you in favor of keeping the trolley service?  NO

Sell the land under the old city hall site (currently leased to the Lido House Hotel)? NO

Support building a new police station? NO

West Newport Community Center? NO

Do you support Measure T on the November ballot? MIXED

Do you support marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach? MIXED

Eliminate or reduce the business license fee? YES

Should the city have a role in funding public art? NO

 

 ►Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

The land has a 99-year lease on it. The only buyer would be the lease holder.  For that reason, I have to say no. Our police stations work perfectly fine. We do not have the budget for a West Newport Community Center. I support Measure T, but am greatly disturbed that it is being used to bypass campaign contribution limits. I support discrete marijuana Delivery Systems, but do not support Neon Lights and lines of people clogging up sidewalks. Business licenses, this is a tax, not a fee. Businesses are taxed enough. Repeal it. As for public art, our Arts Commissioners agree that this should be privately funded, that’s a great idea.

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Marshall “Duffy” Duffield • District 3 • duffyfornewport.com

Current Mayor Marshall “Duffy” Duffield is running for re-election in District 3.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

 

►District 3 Question: There has been a lot of concern raised by residents about the Koll Center Residences, with some suggesting it should wait until after the General Plan update, so everyone has a better idea of what they want for the future of the airport area, do you agree/ or disagree?

This project has not come to us.  I am precluded on taking a position.

 

►Reader Question: How do you explain your absence and refusal to face residents at nearly all of the forums? 

I went to four forums.  Same questions, same people.  I got a sense of what these people were thinking.

 

►Property Rights: If it follows regulations, should a development project be allowed, whether it “fits” into the community or not, or whether the majority of residents want it or not? How many amendments, exceptions, or variances should be allowed?

First question: Yes.  Second question “fits” is very subjective. We have zoning laws in place that should handle geographic compatibility. Third question: Unless there is a vote one will never know what the majority wants.  We cannot have the citizens voting on every project.  Fourth question: Conditional Use Permits have an important role in development because no two projects are alike and periodically there needs to be adjustments to make a project compatible.

 

Electric pay-as-you-go scooters, where do you stand on this issue? Was the way they were “dropped” this summer appropriate? 

We are miles away from figuring out this one.  We need lots of input and discussion.  My take on it is there are very few areas of the City that these would be safe and usable.

 

Do you believe Former City Manager Dave Kiff was “ousted” and how do you feel about how it was handled? What would you have done differently? 

Dave left on his own volition.  I would do nothing different.

 

What would be your first action, project or idea for Council? 

I will continue working to fund Harbor dredging and a natural annual beach replenishment program for our ocean beaches through the army corp in Washington DC.

 

►Yes/No/Mixed/Unsure

Are you in favor of keeping the trolley service? YES

Sell the land under the old city hall site (currently leased to the Lido House Hotel)?  NO

Support building a new police station? YES

West Newport Community Center?  YES

Do you support Measure T on the November ballot?  YES

Do you support marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach?  NO

Eliminate or reduce the business license fee?  YES

Should the city have a role in funding public art?  NO

 

 ►Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

I support the trolley, we need a real trolley in the future. No on selling the old city hall land. That train has left the station. It’s an opportunity lost. Support a West Newport Community Center, but with private-public funds only. The business license fee should be a one-time only fee to cover cost of service.

 

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Tim Stoaks • District 3 • nb4tim.com

Tim Stoaks is challenging the incumbent in District 3.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

 

►District 3 Question: There has been a lot of concern raised by residents about the Koll Center Residences, with some suggesting it should wait until after the General Plan update, so everyone has a better idea of what they want for the future of the airport area, do you agree/ or disagree?

Agree for efficiency. This project should be discussed during the General Plan update not before.  Issues to be weighed are impacts to the current business community, adjacent residential communities and traffic.

 

►Reader Question: As a long-time member of Airfair, what do you wish you did differently to avoid the airport noise complaints residents are expressing?

I don’t think AirFair could have done anything differently. We got the optimum outcome considering the options we were presented with. We accomplished keeping the current curfew and minimizing MAP Cap.  We need to continue to work with FAA and Airlines to encourage quieter more environmentally friendly aircraft, as well as take-off and landing procedure with less impact on Newport Beach residents.

 

►Property Rights: If it follows regulations, should a development project be allowed, whether it “fits” into the community or not, or whether the majority of residents want it or not? How many amendments, exceptions, or variances should be allowed?

Projects that meet ALL current regulations have the right to be built. Variances and exceptions shouldn’t be the norm if projects are following the rules and being good neighbors.

 

Electric pay-as-you-go scooters, where do you stand on this issue? Was the way they were “dropped” this summer appropriate? 

Not in favor of this concept for safety reasons.

 

Do you believe Former City Manager Dave Kiff was “ousted” and how do you feel about how it was handled? What would you have done differently? 

The council majority [Team Newport] unceremoniously fired Dave Kiff. The prudent direction should have been to let Dave finish his contract to April 2019, and have him participate in a secession plan. His institutional knowledge and management skills set would have been invaluable in selecting his replacement.

 

What would be your first action, project or idea for Council? 

Review the City Attorneys performance.

 

►Yes/No/Mixed/Unsure

Are you in favor of keeping the trolley service?  YES

Sell the land under the old city hall site (currently leased to the Lido House Hotel)? NO

Support building a new police station? YES

West Newport Community Center? YES

Do you support Measure T on the November ballot? NO

Do you support marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach? NO

Eliminate or reduce the business license fee? NO

Should the city have a role in funding public art? YES

 

Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

(nothing else)

 

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Kevin Muldoon • District 4 • votemuldoon.com

Councilman Kevin Muldoon is running for re-election in District 4.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

 

►District 4 Question: A lot of concern regarding the CdMHS sports field has been raised by local residents, what is the city’s role and what do you think should be done to address these concerns?

The City has monitored the CdMHS sports field project closely, but has no administrative or review powers over projects on school property.

 

 ►Reader Question: How important is residents’ voices in the upcoming General Plan update, and how will their opinions shape what is and isn’t built in Newport Beach in the future?

Residents’ support is required to get voter approval. The more involvement from the residents, the better.

 

►Property Rights: If it follows regulations, should a development project be allowed, whether it “fits” into the community or not, or whether the majority of residents want it or not? How many amendments, exceptions, or variances should be allowed?

Development projects should balance the concerns of neighbors with the desired use and rights of the property owner.

 

Electric pay-as-you-go scooters, where do you stand on this issue? Was the way they were “dropped” this summer appropriate? 

I have a potential conflict on this issue related to my private sector employment and am not able to discuss the matter.

 

Do you believe Former City Manager Dave Kiff was “ousted” and how do you feel about how it was handled? What would you have done differently? 

No. Dave was planning to retire.

 

What would be your first action, project or idea for Council? 

Continue to pay down the unfunded pension liability. No new actions planned.

 

 ►Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

I will support building a new police station when the funds are available in our budget.  Similarly, I would be open to a West Newport Community Center, but only if we had the available funds.  In my opinion, the City must continue to focus on aggressively paying down its long-term debts, including the unfunded pension liability.  Public safety, paying down debt, and reducing spending are the most important issues facing our City.  I respectfully ask for your vote to continue protecting our quality of life and financial stability.  Thank you.

 

►Yes/No/Mixed/Unsure

Are you in favor of keeping the trolley service? NO

Sell the land under the old city hall site currently leased to the Lido House Hotel? NO

Support building a new police station? UNSURE

West Newport Community Center? MIXED

Do you support Measure T on the November ballot? YES

Do you support marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach? NO

Eliminate or reduce the business license fee? YES

Should the city have a role in funding public art? MIXED

 

Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

I will support building a new police station when the funds are available in our budget.  Similarly, I would be open to a West Newport Community Center, but only if we had the available funds.  In my opinion, the City must continue to focus on aggressively paying down its long-term debts, including the unfunded pension liability.  Public safety, paying down debt, and reducing spending are the most important issues facing our City.  I respectfully ask for your vote to continue protecting our quality of life and financial stability.  Thank you.

 

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Roy Englebrecht • District 4 • joinroy.com

Roy Englebrecht is challenging the incumbent in District 4.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

 

►District 4 Question: A lot of concern regarding the CdMHS sports field has been raised by local residents, what is the city’s role and what do you think should be done to address these concerns?

This is really a NMUSD decision but because of parking concerns and quality of life concerns for nearby residents, the Council would get involved.

 

►Reader Question: You’ve advocated for a sales tax increase, budget cut of 10 percent, and a possible hiring freeze.  If elected, how would you implement these measures?

That is what I advocated early in my campaign like a year ago. I have pulled back on these numbers, but feel strongly that the city has a massive debt so spending going forward has to be addressed. The President just asked his cabinet for a 5% budget reduction so we can ask our city departments for the same thing. WE MUST ADDRESS CITY SPENDING!!

 

►Property Rights: If it follows regulations, should a development project be allowed, whether it “fits” into the community or not, or whether the majority of residents want it or not? How many amendments, exceptions, or variances should be allowed?

Sometimes even if the development meets the General Plan, but takes away a “billion dollar view” the city council might have to make exceptions to the development.

 

Electric pay-as-you-go scooters, where do you stand on this issue? Was the way they were “dropped” this summer appropriate? 

As a business owner I would never have come to a city without first contacting the city. This was a very inappropriate way to start a relationship. They need to come to the city and get a business license and go through all the proper channels.

 

Do you believe Former City Manager Dave Kiff was “ousted” and how do you feel about how it was handled? What would you have done differently? 

A disgrace! You let go of a valued city executive in Dave Kiff, who had announced his retirement date. He should have been allowed to retire on his schedule with the grace and accolades due to someone who gave so much. This was just a bush league way to handle it and certain members of the council should be ashamed of themselves.

 

What would be your first action, project or idea for Council? 

Convene residents and staff for a General Plan committee recruitment session.

 

►Yes/No/Mixed/Unsure

Are you in favor of keeping the trolley service? NO

Sell the land under the old city hall site (currently leased to the Lido House Hotel)? UNSURE

Support building a new police station? NO

West Newport Community Center? UNSURE

Do you support Measure T on the November ballot? MIXED

Do you support marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach? NO

Eliminate or reduce the business license fee? UNSURE

Should the city have a role in funding public art? YES

 

Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

I would only be in favor of keeping the trolley if someone wants to pay us to do it. As far as possibly selling the land under the old city hall (Lido House Hotel) site, I want to see what the occupancy rate is as we get paid off of this. For the West Newport Community Center, I would have to see plans and cost first. Considering the idea of eliminating or reducing the business license fee, I need to study both sides.

 

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Scott Peotter • District 6 • peotter.com

Councilman Scott Peotter is running for re-election in District 6.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

 

►District 6 Question: Do you feel the CdM fire station and library, or fibrary, is a good use of funds?

Yes, the fire station needed to be replaced and it made sense to combine the Library and the Fire station sites and make a single building. So, we will end up with a new more efficient building and site for both facilities. We explored a possibility of relocating the fire station south of CDM along PCH as it would put the station closer to Crystal Cove in Newport Coast and take the fire station out of the middle of a residential neighborhood. But we could not locate a suitable site.

  

►Reader Question: What will you do to heal division in our city if you win?

The Kavanaugh hearings last month, I think, showed the country the growing divide in political philosophies. It was painfully obvious that some people would do anything necessary to get their way, including the politics of personal destruction. Taking that end justifies the means approach. Fortunately, in our country we have the ballot box to settle disputes, rather than violence. If elected, I will continue to listen to all sides and make my decision based on that input.

 

►Property Rights: If it follows regulations, should a development project be allowed, whether it “fits” into the community or not, or whether the majority of residents want it or not? How many amendments, exceptions, or variances should be allowed?

We have rules for this purpose. I believe that when a proposed project follows those rules, it will fit in, whether a room addition or condo building. No, your neighbor should not be able to tell you whether you should be able to have a room addition.

 

Electric pay-as-you-go scooters, where do you stand on this issue? Was the way they were “dropped” this summer appropriate? 

I have seen them used effectively in Portland. I think they could work here. But the way they did it and the fact that so many were used on sidewalks and other inappropriate locations shows that there is more work to be done before they can be allowed here.

 

Do you believe Former City Manager Dave Kiff was “ousted” and how do you feel about how it was handled? What would you have done differently? 

No, Dave retired and the city council voted unanimously to approve his revised contract that outlined how that would occur.

 

What would be your first action, project or idea for Council? 

Get rid of the business license tax. Continue to pay down debt, keep our costs under control. Pay more attention to the Harbor, which has been neglected for decades. Continue to install smart traffic controllers.

 

►Yes/No/Mixed/Unsure

Are you in favor of keeping the trolley service? NO

Sell the land under the old city hall site (currently leased to the Lido House Hotel)? NO

Support building a new police station? MIXED

West Newport Community Center? MIXED

Do you support Measure T on the November ballot? YES

Do you support marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach? NO

Eliminate or reduce the business license fee? YES

Should the city have a role in funding public art? MIXED

 

Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

You have a clear choice this November. I was elected in 2014 to restore sanity to a runaway city government that spent $150M on the Taj-Ma-City-Hall, including big white bunnies. Guess what? They didn’t like it. They want to take it back, and they frankly don’t care what it takes to get it.

We got our spending under control, we are paying down our pension debt, we opposed the sanctuary state, cut the dock tax, put real wood back into the fire pits on the beach, and crime is down.

I hope I have earned your vote.

 

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Joy Brenner • District 6 • joyfornewport.com

Joy Brenner is challenging the incumbent in District 6.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

 

►District 6 Question: Do you feel the CdM fire station and library, or fibrary, is a good use of funds?

Our walkable villages are part of what makes our city work. Having amenities nearby cuts down on traffic. This fire station is critical to serving not only CdM but also necessary to meet our down coast demands in a timely manner. The heavy use of our library, if it had to be absorbed by the already crowded central library, would have a heavy impact on traffic as well as services. Many of our seniors who don’t drive also make good use of our CdM branch.

 

►Reader Question: Would you have voted to oppose SB54 (Sanctuary State law) with the rest of the City Council in April 2018?

No one wants Newport Beach to be a sanctuary city. However, the April vote was premature, without even a report by Chief of Police Jon Lewis. I would have asked for an analysis from him and solicited feedback from more of our real citizens, rather than the out of towners who showed up at that city council meeting creating a circus atmosphere. Premature vote was another partisan stunt by Peotter creating division instead of dialogue.

 

►Property Rights: If it follows regulations, should a development project be allowed, whether it “fits” into the community or not, or whether the majority of residents want it or not? How many amendments, exceptions, or variances should be allowed?

We have to consider our General Plan, our infrastructure and our resources in future planning and approvals. As an owner of two CdM R-2 properties, I don’t want our regulations to be onerous, but certainly fair, equitable and the least impactful to other residents as possible.

 

Electric pay-as-you-go scooters, where do you stand on this issue? Was the way they were “dropped” this summer appropriate? 

The news this evening was about lawsuits resulting from accidents where walkers were hit by scooters. Our obligation is the safety and protection of our residents. No one should “drop” anything in our city that is dangerous to our citizens.

 

Do you believe Former City Manager Dave Kiff was “ousted” and how do you feel about how it was handled? What would you have done differently? 

We would have involved the entire council and would have started planning immediately to utilize the wealth of experience Dave possessed. We would have involved him in every aspect of the process in order to make the transition productive and efficient. The community would have played a significant part.

 

What would be your first action, project or idea for Council? 

We need to bring everything to the light, all the back room deals, the crony contracts, the special privileges, the changes to city policies that kept things from the public. We need to stress to our new city manager that our citizens are not our enemies, but our partners.

 

►Yes/No/Mixed/Unsure

Are you in favor of keeping the trolley service?  YES

Sell the land under the old city hall site (currently leased to the Lido House Hotel)? NO

Support building a new police station? MIXED

West Newport Community Center? YES

Do you support Measure T on the November ballot? NO

Do you support marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach? NO

Eliminate or reduce the business license fee? NO

Should the city have a role in funding public art? YES

 

Expand/Add on Hot Topics questions, other issues, or anything else:

New police station, West Newport Community Center etc. Yes, when the time comes, with strategic financial planning. Will help to reduce traffic. Scott wants to sell former city hall property and eliminate the business tax which both create a healthy revenue stream through which we provide services to our citizens. No! Measure T – political ploy to bring outside money in and support re-election. Hurried through without proper research, citizen input. Lied to public as they did about fire and police union support. No to marijuana dispensaries and yes to public/private partnerships for public art and trolley service to reduce traffic.

 

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The Newport Beach Indy special coverage of the 2018 City Council candidates. (click to enlarge)
— Photos by Sara Hall ©
— Map courtesy city of Newport Beach
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