Are we getting the representation that we deserve in Newport Beach?
In the 2012 City Council election, the two incumbents drew no challengers, and one candidate ran unopposed for the open 2nd District seat.
While former Mayor Ed Selich and current Mayor Keith Curry have been vetted by the community through their many years in service and prior elections, newly anointed Councilmember Tony Petros hasn’t. He wasn’t challenged and wasn’t pressed; his views weren’t disputed or broken apart, as a challenged candidate’s normally would be, so any blame for him being a lousy councilmember (hypothetically) would not fall on the voters.
Or would it?
Let’s take Mayor Pro Tem Rush Hill as an example. One of the most controversial issues for Newport Beach in 2012 was the raising of tidelands fees, and I have met with many of the affected parties. As I was sitting with these angry people, I wondered how many of them had voted for Hill, who supported the fee increases. And I wonder how many of the people Hill cursed at during the December City Council meeting had also voted for him.
I bet when they cast those votes two short years ago, they never thought it would potentially cost them thousands and thousands of dollars a year, or possibly put them out of business.
But that is the importance of one councilmember’s vote.
I mention this because our election is less than two years away, and there will be three open seats, plus Hill up for re-election.
Already, in January 2013, around 18 months until the races start heating up, I’ve met with three potential candidates for Councilman Mike Henn’s termed-out 2nd District (Balboa Peninsula) seat. For Councilwoman Leslie Daigle’s termedout 4th District seat, I’ve already heard of three potential candidates.
So it’s never too early to start individually vetting these candidates for yourself. Because if you don’t, and just casually cast your ballot for your neighbor who’s lived here for 30 years, don’t be surprised if that person one day votes to take something from you.
And there will be nothing you can do about it, because you’ll deserve it.