Police union opposes Greenlight

Mathis Winkler

NEWPORT BEACH -- The Newport Beach Police Employees Assn. announced

this week that it opposes Measure S on the November ballot.

Police union officials said the measure would not raise funds to cover

road improvements and deal with increased traffic.

"Without funds to cover road improvements, the city will be forced to

divert funds from elsewhere in the budget," said union spokesman Paul

Salenko, "putting public safety funds in danger of being reduced."

Measure S, also known as the Greenlight initiative, proposes to put

developments that allow an increase of more than 100 peak hour car trips

or 100 dwelling units or 40,000 square feet over the General Plan

allowance before a citywide vote.

Measure T would add parts of the city's traffic phasing ordinance to

the city charter and nullify Greenlight, should voters approve both

measures.

Measure T supporters said that police union members had come to see

that T rather than S would pay for traffic improvements.

"They also feel that by stopping growth, it eventually inhibits the

city to keep up with [growth in] surrounding cities," said Clarence

Turner, co-chairman of Measure T, adding that the group had given a

presentation on both measures to the union. "There would be less money in

city coffers and that also affects their pocketbooks, their quality of

life."

So far, only the Newport Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce has endorsed

Measure T.

Stop Polluting Our Newport, an environmental activist group, remains

the only organization to endorse Measure S.

Greenlight proponents said the union's opposition didn't come as a

surprise.

"What drives the [police] union is just one thing and that's pay

increases," said Philip Arst, a spokesman for Measure S. "Under unlimited

development, there will be more money in the city and that's it. Period."

Arst said his group had not been invited to make a presentation to the

police union.

"I don't think they got an unbiased description of both [measures,]"

he said. "Greenlight actually can raise more money [for traffic

improvements] than the present system. It leaves all current laws in

place and in addition imposes voter oversight."

He added that under Greenlight, voters could require developers to pay

to full cost of road improvements. Measure T requires developers to pay a

portion of the road improvements needed to make up for increased traffic

produced by development.

While it is unconstitutional to ask developers to pay for more than

their fair share of traffic improvements, Arst said the city could ask

the developer to foot the bill and bond the money. Part of the money

would be returned once other developers come in to pay the rest.

He added that traffic improvements might never be made, if the city

can't come up with the money to pay for the entire cost. Measure T

supporters said that county and state matching funds could be used to pay

for improvements.

DEBATE SCHEDULED

A debate between proponents for both measures will take place at the

Sept. 6 meeting of Speak Up Newport, a nonpartisan, nonprofit

organization dedicated to promoting social welfare, educating the public

and improving local government in Newport Beach.

Philip Arst and Tom Hyans will give a presentation on Measure S and

Clarence Turner and Tom Edwards will promote Measure T.

The meeting is free and begins at 6 p.m. at The Riverboat Restaurant,

151 E. Coast Highway. Refreshments will be served before the discussion.

ELECTION INFO

The city of Newport Beach offers extensive information on the Nov. 7

election on its Web site.

It includes ballot statements for and against Measures S and T, City

Council candidate profiles and their ballot statements, as well as dates

for candidate forums and information on registering to vote.

General assistance phone numbers and a link to the Orange County

Registrar's Office are also provided. On election night, the city's Web

site will be linked to the county's for live election results.

To view the information, log on to o7

http://www.city.newport-beach.ca.usf7 and click on the general

municipal election icon. Information: (949) 644-3005

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