The Current

April 19, 2013





I am one of the taxpayers that Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry labeled cynical and mediocre in his April 5 commentary that tried to defend spending $140 million on the new Taj Mahal.

I was an early financial donor to the campaign that changed the zoning to relocate City Hall to Newport Center, the same initiative that Curry opposed for cost reasons.

When I first heard the pitch to move City Hall, it made sense. We had a free parcel from the generous Irvine Company in Fashion Island. We would sell the old City Hall site, take the money and build a new City Hall with the funds from the sale. Simple. Sensible.

What happened? The politicians got hold of the process. There was no selfcontrol.

Mayor Curry fails to realize that so many of the residents of this city are mad and disgusted with the spending of this City Council. They have created a bloated bureaucracy laden with unfunded pension costs that are the highest in Orange County. This includes huge salaries: The city manager makes $300,000 a year, lifeguards retire at $200,000 a year, while the cost of a street sweeping ticket is $63, and there are many more such examples.

Now we have a 30-year debt of $230,000,000, which our children and grandchildren will have to pay. We were not given the opportunity to vote on the $140 million cost. All we did was vote to choose a new location. Keep in mind; this was to be a City Hall, a place where the city does its normal activities, not a Taj Mahal.

When it involves my taxes, I will continue to be part of Curry’s “small cadre of mediocre cynics” that will proudly question, criticize, and confront elected officials who arrogantly waste money. That’s my civic duty.


Bob McCaffrey Balboa Island



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