Mailbag: City Council isn’t as conservative as it claims to be
12:32 PM PDT, August 27, 2014
Newport Beach’s current City Council is filled with self-proclaimed Republicans — fiscally conservative, against big government — and they want to just leave people alone and keep the government out of people’s lives.
Or so they claim.
Despite the rhetoric, that’s not what we’ve been seeing in practice.
The current council members are not fiscally conservative. They have passed the largest proportional increase to property owners in Newport’s history: The so-called dock tax is a whopping 500% increase for dock owners I know.
They have also presided over the largest expenditure in Newport’s history: The Taj Ma-City-Hall came in at an astounding $237 million over 30 years, a mind-boggling five times larger than the original $46 million cash estimate.
The current council members claim they are against big government but recently agreed to begin exploring the possibility of ceding our beaches to the state. They claim to represent their constituents, yet have voted to outlaw burning wood in Newport’s beach fire rings — making them charcoal-only — against the will of the public.
The current council outsourced trash services by ramming the process through without spending sufficient time to properly define specs and get the best possible bids. During the very same council session where members voted to pare vendors and proceed with the outsourcing process, they were asking the companies what was and wasn’t included in their specifications — items that should have been pinned down before the bidding process even began.
They claimed the purpose of outsourcing was to reduce pensions, yet promised the workers different city jobs at the same pay. Where is the savings? Why the rush? I’m on record as supporting outsourcing delays. We needed six to eight more months to iron out the details. The city recently completed the transition and is already experiencing “surprises”. Not surprising.
Our current council loves to tout our fantastic credit rating, but if you spend $60,000 and bring in $100,000, your credit rating will be fantastic even if you spend the entirety of that money on complete absurdities. A good credit rating doesn’t mean we are spending wisely. It just means we aren’t spending it all, at least not in an obvious fashion.
Taxing more and spending more isn’t my definition of fiscally conservative. Handing over management of our beaches to the state isn’t “small government,” nor does it serve the needs of the community, and passing ordinances against our fire rings and legislating against the wishes of our own people isn’t “representative” in any fashion.
Newport Beach needs a City Council reboot. Four of seven seats will soon be open. Come November, we have the opportunity to fix our city, to fix our home. Let’s do it right this time.
The writer is a former City Council candidate.