June 2013.

wuBy JACK WU

How many times can you bang your head into a wall before you finally realize that you can’t fight City Hall?

After years and years of writing about the Civic Center-Dog Park-Espresso Stand in the Park/Taj Mahal/White Elephant and it’s huge price tag and the roundabout way $150 million was borrowed without one vote of the people, the hits keep on coming as the Newport Beach City Council unanimously voted last week to spend millions more due to “items left out of the original design plans that later had to be incorporated into the project.”

I’m not too sure what that means, but I think it somehow has to do with zinc and white bunnies.

And it also has something to do with the blind, out-of-control spending our Republicans on the City Council have to do to properly construct that shiny monument to themselves and larger government. Just take a gander at that egregious plaque on the outside of the Council Chambers to properly feel that love of self.

But in order to properly celebrate this white elephant, the city employees also need to be congratulated, as a compensation study requested by Newport Beach employees to determine whether those same Newport Beach employees are paid as much as other government employees came in and, guess what, it said Newport Beach executive employees should be paid over 20 percent more. 

WHEN YOU’RE IN A HOLE … STOP DIGGING 

Three years ago our city council rejected Councilwoman Nancy Gardner’s plea to ban fire pits on our beaches.   Last year the pressure from a couple of well healed donors caused a change of heart and they unanimously banned fire pits on our beaches.

As you’ve read, it’s set off quite a reaction throughout the Los Angeles Basin.

It’s important to remember how they got us into this mess.   The fire pit ban requires Coastal Commission approval.  But they don’t like to ban these things.  Not to be deterred, our fine health conscious City Council went to the air quality regulators at the AQMD – the most draconian regulatory agency in our region.

There’s an old adage in politics, “When you’re in hole, stop digging.”  Well, they kept digging and we will end up paying for it.

First, fire pits are part of the tidelands – therefore we care.

Mayor Curry’s press release below is the beginning of a new city bureaucracy that will be paid for by the Harbor users of Newport Beach.  I fully expect a new Fire Pit & Air Quality Enforcement Department will be started at City Hall if the AQMD approves the Mayor’s loopy idea.

The good Mayor thinks city approved propane tanks instead of fire pits are a good idea.  (In Iraq these are called IED’s).  Someone call Homeland Security – quick.  Please Mr. Mayor, stop digging.

Here’s an example of the Mayor’s idea:

Newport’s Taj Mahal  will hit $145 million by the time all the change orders are in.  I am reminded of candidate and architect Rush Hill’s commitment to cap the project at $90 million because “the council is really on top of this.”  Check out his YouTube video below.

PAY YOUR DOCK TAX UNDER PROTEST 

On December 11, 2012 the Newport Beach City Council stripped us of our property right to the value of our residential dock.  Buried in the fine print of the new “permit” the city repeals your “property right” to your pier.  The Dock Tax was troubling enough, but this affront to our property right has significant economic impact on the value of our real estate.

Last month we advised you to withhold payment of your Dock Tax pending the outcome of our request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from collecting the Dock Tax.   A key concern of ours has always been to prevent the City from seizing your dock by administrative fiat.  Put a different way, we don’t trust our expansionist City government.  We believe they want to confiscate our docks and go into the dock leasing business to fund their ever-expanding bureaucracy.

Bigger, better, more expensive.  That’s the motto that should be etched on the commemorative plaque at Newport Beach City Hall.

It’s my sense that our cloistered city staff is enjoying their $1,000 office chairs in the $138 million city hall.  I hope so, it costs us $8 million per year in mortgage payment ($22,000 a day for 30 years).

A couple of months ago we alerted you to a mysterious report commissioned by the city’s human relations director Terri Cassidy, a former Costa Mesa employee that found greener pastures in Newport Beach.  She recommended Fox Lawson & Associates, a Minnesota firm specializing in compensation studies, to determine if our city’s upper management was underpaid. (http://www.stopthedocktax.com/news_details.php?id=84)