It has been said that all politics are local, but city government is not a place for politicians. It is designed to be non-partisan.
I took a close look at the Newport Beach City Council and the Planning Commission when Short Term Rentals became a concern in my neighborhood. I began to see how a voting bloc on the council existed and it was controlling how the city was governed. STR regulation was not on their radar and without the four votes of the bloc, residents were not getting a voice despite most of the residents in favor of restrictions.
This and two other actions caused me to look even closer at how Newport Beach was being governed by Team Newport:
- Joy Brenner was the most experienced and most qualified candidate to be Mayor Pro-Tem, but Team Newport voted in the most inexperienced and least qualified candidate to the position. This was done despite countless resident’s letters to the city and speeches at council. The bloc had made up their mind and had the votes.
- Measure B was put on the council agenda, and eventually the ballot, by Team Newport because they had the four votes needed. Measure B would have brought more politics into the city and made it easier for the bloc to control how the city was governed. The bloc prevented any council discussion or input on the measure. Fortunately, voters turned it down. It was a shameful waste of money, and it divided the city. The only way to prevent another such effort is to break up the bloc through the election process.
The voice and the will of residents is restricted when council members vote as a unit rather than working as a unit.
I don’t want to worry that all voices are not being given equal consideration. I don’t want to attend every City Council or Planning Commission meeting. I want council members to be independent and willing to work with the entire council. No behind the curtain deals and no special treatment. Council needs to encourage resident participation, not discourage it.
At the public candidate forums, a common theme is the city issues are driven by state politics. I will not disagree, but I will point out that our state is governed by a super majority. I have concerns that our current voting bloc, aka Team Newport, is a de facto super majority.
We need council members who vote and act independently and do what is best for the city as a whole and not a result of endorsements and entitlements.
Our nation, our state, and our city need more leaders and less politicians and that is why my vote goes to Tom Miller.
Gary Cruz / Newport Beach