Newport Beach is in desperate need of political and election reform

Newport Beach is in desperate need of political and election reform
The Newport Beach Civic Center. (Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

As voters await the opportunity to vote on recalling Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter, I think it is important to engage in a conversation with the community on the steps we need to take to restore confidence in our city government and those who serve the public. As a first step, we need to undertake concrete reforms to our political system to ensure it is fair to taxpayers and not fixed to benefit the politically connected.

For example, we should require the disclosure of the interests represented by all lobbyists. In the last few years we saw political consultant Dave Ellis work to elect six out of the seven council members while he was engaged — for some of that time — in lobbying in support of the Museum House project. In many cases, council members themselves don't know who their campaign manager is representing. This needs to change.


Second, we need to stop the practice of council members soliciting funds, years in advance of an election, from those having business before the City Council. The potential for conflict is simply too strong. We should limit fundraising to the year of the election and for a defined period thereafter.

Third, we need to provide for a third party to enforce our campaign contribution laws. Since 2014, on four occasions, on their own self-prepared reports, candidates indicated they accepted contributions in excess of the $1,100 contribution limit. Yet they have avoided any substantive consequences.


Fourth, we need to close the slate mail loophole. In 2014, this loophole allowed candidates to pool their funds and allows special interests, including one that was engaged in litigation with the city, to avoid contribution limits and independent expenditure rules.

Michael Toerge

Candidate, District 6

Newport Beach

Not covering UCI athletics is a disservice

For many years, the Daily Pilot did a very good job of covering intercollegiate athletics at UC Irvine. All that went out the window when sports writer Barry Faulkner retired from the beat in July.

As a long time Daily Pilot reader, I would maintain that this decision is a huge loss for the south Orange County community. The Daily Pilot takes great pride in covering local news, but I feel it has dropped the ball when it comes to reporting on UCI athletics.

Competing at the highest NCAA level, men's basketball has secured five straight 20-plus win seasons and three Big West championships in the last four years. Other intercollegiate sports, both men's and women's, have strong track records of success as well.

In my opinion, the Daily Pilot is shortchanging thousands of Orange County residents by failing to embrace and report on the ongoing successes of UCI athletics and the University's exceptional student-athletes.

Randy Lewis

Laguna Beach

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