Venezia: Candidates' websites lack ideas, specifics too [Corrected]

After I wrote about where the new crop of Newport Beach council candidates stood on the city's controversial efforts to update the land-use element to the general plan, readers complained that the candidates danced around the issue, saying a lot of nothing.

I decided to check out the candidates' websites to see if they offered more insight. After many mind-numbing hours of reading, I found that they weren't any more informative — with the exception of one. Most of the candidates have professional campaign consultants so you'd expect more, yet not one site shows any innovative thinking.


For the record: A previous version of this column incorrectly stated that Newport Beach City Council candidate Diane Dixon's campaign website does not mention that she worked for the Irvine Co. In fact, her resume, which includes Irvine Co. employment, is posted on her website. In addition, Michael Glenn's name was misspelled.


Each candidate claims to be fiscally conservative. All promise to protect Newport Harbor, keep the John Wayne Airport settlement agreement and preserve residents' quality of life — whatever that means.

None really tells how any of that would be accomplished.

But some things stood out to me on each site.

I've also included each candidate's campaign consultant in my listing here.


Diane Dixon, District 1

Campaign consultant: Dave Ellis

On the page "About Diane," I found it odd that she never mentions that her sister is Costa Mesa Councilwoman Wendy Leece.


Michael Glen, District 1

Consults with Rhonda Rohrabacher

His bio page states that he became interested in politics when his "business partner lost 20% in home equity due to the City Council's dock tax, which resulted in the elimination of more than $1 billion (yes, with a "B") of homeowner equity throughout Newport."

But he doesn't say how he derived the figure — and officially it's a fee, not a tax.

Last year I interviewed several top real estate brokers who sell waterfront properties in Newport. None gave me the impression that the increased dock fees were deterring buyers or had any major effect on home sales or values.

Glen also claims he'll "save Newport" by "repealing double-taxation and 'black hole' tax measures" but doesn't say what those are.


Marshall 'Duffy' Duffield, District 3

Campaign consultant: Dave Ellis

Though there's a lot of information about Duffield's successful entrepreneurial career, his "Issues" page has only three items: revitalizing the harbor, paying down the city's debt and restoring respectful dialogue at council meetings.

On the harbor issue, he suggests the city should have its own dredging equipment but doesn't address the cost.

Duffield also believes the city's surplus funds should be used to decrease debt. Not a bad idea, though I doubt he'd have the council votes to support it.

Respectful dialogue at council meetings isn't a major campaign issue, and there are far more important things to focus on.


Timothy Brown, District 4

Campaign consultant: Scott Hart

This site clearly gives the impression that Brown is part of the current council establishment in his thinking.

His "Issues" page includes history about the John Wayne Airport settlement agreement and notes the importance of protecting the upper Newport Bay and ecological preserve, public safety and reinvestment in Newport Beach, but offers no creative solutions or ideas.


Kevin Muldoon, District 4

Campaign consultant: Dave Ellis

This site seems to be just for fundraising. It lists Muldoon's work history, but his "Issues" page is blank.


Roy Englebrecht, District 4

Campaign consultant: None

Despite not having a campaign consultant, he has probably one of the best websites for disseminating information and creating a picture of a candidate.

Englebrecht outlines issues more concisely than the others and doesn't make outlandish claims.

He's the only one running who doesn't sound like a politician, though I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing for him.


Scott Peotter, District 6

Campaign consultant: Dave Ellis

The use of video makes this site the most entertaining, but he's another one who continues to call the dock fees taxes. If you're going to be a council member, at least get the official terminology correct.

He also rails about the cost of City Hall and the fire pit debate. Am I the only one who finds these two subjects old news and tiring?


Mike Toerge, District 6

Campaign Consultant: Scott Hart

Toerge uses the same website format as Dixon, making the sites look strangely similar.

Like Brown, his "Issues" page gives only background on the JWA settlement agreement, Newport Harbor, upper Newport Bay and ecological preserve and the Oasis Senior Center.

If he has any creative thinking, now would be the time to post it.


Interestingly enough, on July 16, campaign consultant Ellis became a candidate himself.

He filed to run for the Municipal Water District of Orange County, Division 5, against Jose Vergara, according to the Orange County registrar of voter's site.

BARBARA VENEZIA, whose column appears Fridays, lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at Barbara's column will be on hiatus Aug. 1, returning Aug. 8.

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