Commentary: Refinancing City Hall debt warrants consideration


By Ed Reno

I read with great interest the recent opinion piece by Mayor Diane Dixon and Finance Committee member Will O’Neill (“Commentary: Let’s examine refinancing N.B. Civic Center debt,” May 11).

I recall that in 2009, when the concept of a new Civic Center was being debated during my council campaign, the voters were assured that the project would not cost more than $90 million — up from a projected $30 million when first proposed years earlier.

Wrong! The Civic Center turned out to cost $140 million.

I wish that the City Council majority of the time would have reconsidered such a massive government project, and I am reminded of an observation PJ O’Rourke once made: “It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.”

Therefore, I am in agreement with Mrs. Dixon and Mr. O’Neill that what needs to be looked at now is 1) Is there a more favorable financing structure that the city could adopt and save taxpayer money? and 2) How and why were the certificates of participation so punitive to the city and its taxpayers?

The citizens of Newport Beach expect constant and thoughtful leadership and if the proposal to review the financing of the Civic Center determines that better is possible, then why should the residents of Newport Beach have to settle for status quo?

Balboa Island resident ED RENO is a previous candidate for Newport Beach City Council.

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