Senior citizens center hosts Newport Beach City Council candidates forum
About 200 people turned out Friday morning in Corona del Mar for a candidates forum focusing on the Newport Beach City Council election coming up Nov. 8.
Hosting the event was Friends of OASIS, as part of the organization’s general monthly membership meeting at the OASIS senior center. The moderators were members of the organization’s board of directors, Mike Zimmerman and Walt Howald.
Councilwoman Joy Brenner, who is seeking reelection in District 6 representing Corona Del Mar, responded to questions about improving the lives of seniors in Newport Beach and candidates’ familiarity with OASIS programs.
“I want to see the senior population more happy,” said Brenner, who raised the issue of a need for an aquatic center. “I live one block away and appreciate and support the center ... I have taken classes [here].”
Candidate Jim Mosher, who is running in District 3 representing the upper Newport Bay, revealed his sense of humor, saying, “As the most senior candidate, the benefits to losing are that I’d have more time to enjoy membership here.”
The candidates were asked their priorities, should they be elected or reelected to the City Council.
Erik Weigand, who like Mosher is running in District 3, said public safety is his No. 1 priority and a lot of things are intertwined with public safety.
Candidate Tom Miller is seeking to represent District 1, which encompasses the Balboa peninsula and west Newport. He echoed Weigand’s sentiments and added he’d like to see an increase in personnel at the police department to enhance public safety.
Joe Stapleton, also running in District 1, said his top priority is “to reduce homelessness; it’s clearly a regional problem and we need to do a lot more.” He brought up the humanitarian crisis that has led to communities becoming tent cities.
The candidates were asked about increasing enforcement of traffic, parking, temporary housing and control of the impact of construction projects on Newport Beach neighborhoods.
Tom Miller said the city’s code enforcement efforts should better monitor contractors who are working outside of the hours set forth by the city.
Stapleton brought up lack of enforcement for people living in recreational vehicles that are parked on the streets. He wanted to see more walkable, rideable solutions.
Weigand said there should be a focus on neighborhood speed limits, with possible installation of speed bumps.
Among other topics discussed during the forum were the state’s mandates for affordable housing and issues concerning John Wayne Airport.
The forum was the second held so far for this year’s City Council race. The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce held the first in August. A third candidates forum will be hosted by the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 8.
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