In 2010, I was privileged to serve as the chair of the Newport Beach Charter Update Commission. We carefully reviewed several sections of the charter that had become outdated or that mandated costly and inefficient practices, and we recommended several changes that were approved by the voters in the November election.
Because we could not consider everything that needed to be updated. Mayor Nancy Gardner and the City Council appointed a new Citizens Charter Update Committee this year, chaired by Paul Watkins, who also served with me in 2010. This group of distinguished citizens from throughout our city carefully reviewed the potential updates and has recommended several additional changes that are included in Measure EE on this November’s ballot.
These common-sense amendments would save the taxpayers money, make our city more efficient and stop potentially abusive practices such as red-light cameras. Measure EE picks up where we left off in 2010 by bringing our charter, much of which was written more than 50 years ago, into the 21st century.
Just like in 2010, a small group of activists has lined up in opposition to these reforms. As in 2010, they suggest voters are not sufficiently wise to understand what is being voted upon, and they suggest vague conspiracy theories for the reasons a bipartisan citizens’ committee would make these recommendations.
It appears the strongest opposition is focused on the proposed reforms that would limit class-action lawsuits against the city by activist lawyers. Plaintiffs in these actions receive little, but lawyers hit the jackpot when successful, at taxpayers’ expense. I know from my experience on the Legislature, school board and board of supervisors that these lawsuits are costly to taxpayers and threaten our ability to provide top quality services. We all need the protection that Measure EE provides.
Some of the same opponents predicted all manner of bad results from the 2010 charter amendments. Yet our city is stronger and more efficient than ever. Don’t be fooled this time. Read it for yourself and vote Yes on Measure EE.