Reagan statue influenced my vote on arts’ package

To all in our fair, beautiful and affluent city who support the arts in the form of the Sculpture Garden at Civic Center Park, the Art in the Park annual event, the Summer Concert Series and the many other cultural events that the city Arts Commission and Foundation offer to us, an explanation from me is warranted concerning my no vote at the most recent City Council meeting on funding Phase III of the Sculpture Garden.

Had this agenda item not been amended to include the relocation of the Ronald Reagan sculpture from Bonita Canyon Park to the Civic Center Sculpture Garden, and had the motion not been amended to include language that communicated to the Arts Commission and Foundation that future funding would not be forthcoming, I would have voted yes.

While the amended motion did pass, and the commission was awarded the allocation from Newport Beach & Co. for Phase III of the Sculpture Garden, the two amendments also passed. There were just too many unanswered questions for me to approve the amended motion.

Questions like:

  • From what funds will the relocation of the Reagan sculpture come? Will the funds approved in the motion be expected to pay for the relocation, thus reducing the amount the Commission will have for Phase III of the Sculpture Garden?
  • Why was it necessary for the motion to contain language that sent a strong message to the Arts Commission that future funding will not be forthcoming?
  • That was not the subject of the motion. It was simply to approve, or not approve, funding for Phase III of the Sculpture Garden. I simply did not see the purpose in amending the motion to include an expression of lack of future support for arts funding. This message has come across loud and clear to the Arts Commission, and it is currently working on strategies to become self-funded. Why rub their noses in it further?
  • And finally, why did this motion even have to include the relocation of the Reagan sculpture? This could have been accomplished through our Public Works Department as a part of its day-to-day operations.

I am disappointed in the lack of support shown for the folks who volunteer their time and expertise in putting Newport Beach on the map as a champion of the arts and culture. I will continue to show and voice my support for this most important community characteristic and endeavor.

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach

The writer is a city councilman.

Recall effort is not about freedom of speech

Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter likes to say that the recall effort is about intolerant residents attacking his freedom of speech. No, it is not. Let’s be clear, this recall is about his complete failure to respect his oath of office and the residents who elected him.

In June, 2015, Peotter went to the Costa Mesa Tea Party and disclosed confidential information and made statements that could have exposed the city to legal liability. His speech was posted on YouTube. The council made him read an apology to the public.

In 2014 he was found to be taking contributions in excess of the legal contribution limit from the owners of Woody’s Wharf, then in litigation with the city. He failed to report the return of the contribution and then held a fundraiser at Woody’s. Here again, he failed to report the cost of the fundraiser, as required by state law. He later accepted, and reported another excess contribution by Councilman Marshall “Duffy” Duffield.

He used the city seal, contrary to the municipal code, in emails to raise campaign funds, endorse partisan candidates, insult his colleagues and engage in national issues.

Finally, Peotter went to the newspapers to defend the decision to require 3,700 unnecessary pages in the Museum House petition. This was done for one reason — to frustrate the constitutional right of the people to petition their government. Intolerant residents? You’re right Scott, we are intolerant of your law breaking, insults and attacks on our constitutional rights.

Lori Morris

Newport Beach

Disinterested vs. uninterested

When reading June Casagrande’s column on April 15 regarding the use of four particular words, I got what long ago songwriter Cole Porter named one of his songs, “I get a kick out of you.” The kick came from June’s explanation of the word, “disinterested,” as it immediately brought to mind a scene from the 1991 movie “Bugsy,” starring Warren Beatty.

Bugsy (Beatty) was trying to talk another gangster into joining his gang that would benefit the potential new hoodlum. The other bad guy flatly told Bugsy that he is completely disinterested, whereupon Bugsy explained to him that disinterested means impartial, and what he really means is that he is uninterested.

Casagrande’s column used that same explanation in defining the difference between the two words, which could mean that she has seen that movie, really knows what she is talking about or is perhaps a very distant relative of the late Bugsy Siegel. I have to go with the notion that she is quite knowledgeable in what she does and leave it at that. Besides, who wants to incur the wrath of some bad guy from long ago and say that he is wrong?

Bill Spitalnick

Newport Beach



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