Duffy boat inventor jumps into Newport Beach City Council race
BY NICOLE SHINE
NEWPORT BEACH – Marshall “Duffy” Duffield, an inventor and longtime owner of the electric boat business that bears his name, will file papers Thursday to take on Mayor Rush Hill in November’s election.
Duffield reached the decision Wednesday night at a local fundraiser that raised more than $60,000 for his bid, he said. But the 62-year-old former city Harbor commissioner said he mulled over the decision for a year.
He said the city has long neglected the harbor, instead spending on expensive and unneeded infrastructure, such as the $2 million bridge to the dog park at City Hall.
“I want to be more fiscally responsible and listen to the people,” Duffield said.
Although the current council is made up of “good people,” he said their ideas don’t mesh with what residents actually want. He said he realized that after an outpouring of support Wednesday night at the home of Bob McCaffrey, who leads a new political action committee, Residents for Reform.
“We want to get the city back to the Balboa it used to be,” Duffield said. “It doesn’t need to be this grandiose place. We’re not interested in putting Newport Beach on a world map.”
Duffield was born in Santa Monica and spent weekends on Balboa as a youth. His family moved to Newport Beach in 1958.
Duffield, inventor of the Duffy electric boat, started the business in Newport Harbor in 1970 and attended Orange Coast College until his business consumed all of his time, he said.
Today, the company employs about 200 and includes a 5-acre manufacturing plant in Adelanto along with operations on Pacific Coast Highway.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. “I’m just a regular guy.”
Duffield, who said he would file papers Thursday with the city clerk, called November’s election, where four council seats are open, a “historic opportunity.”
If elected, Duffield would represent District 3, which includes the neighborhoods of Santa Ana Heights and Dover Shores.
“We are excited to bring this whole new fresh approach to the council,” he said.
Contact the writer: [email protected] or Twitter:@nicolekshine