District 4 (Eastbluff, Santa Ana Heights, Airport area)
Running against Leslie Daigle
Name: Mark Tabbert
How long have you lived in Newport Beach? 11 years
Occupation: merger and acquisition intermediary/business sales and consulting
Education: bachelor's degree
Previously elected or appointed positions: none
Community organizations you belong to: American Legion Yacht Club, Newport Beach Lawn Bowling Club, Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment, Banning Ranch Conservancy
What do you think are the biggest issues facing Newport Beach right now?
John Wayne Airport ranks as No. 1. It is the first issue mentioned in a broad band stretching from Santa Ana Heights to Balboa Island. The second most important issue is protecting neighborhoods. I've talked to more than 500 people and many of them want to put community first.
They are very concerned about development that doesn't fit their neighborhoods, zoning and development around the current City Hall. And the restoration on Banning Ranch as open space is widely popular once people understand where Banning is.
Looking ahead, Newport's future will be affected greatly by the same issues that California communities will face: protecting our coastline, unsustainable growth, and the impacts that climate change and rising oil prices will have on our local community. Working to build a better understanding of these global issues will be a major focus of mine. There is a real need for a grassroots discussion on how Newport Beach can lead by building higher efficiency civic buildings and giving incentives to our residents to conserve.
With the John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement up for renegotiation in 2015, what should the city ask for to limit the environmental impacts to Newport Beach residents?
This is a work in progress. I will look to Air Fair, the Airport Working Group, SPON and city staff for direction. I have met with or am scheduled to meet with these groups during the campaign and thus far see great cooperation among everyone in common purpose. Allowing the expansion at JWA was a mistake but that is behind us and the lessons learned may help pave the way to an acceptable agreement. Other communities are beginning to carry more of their share. One alternative to consider is the development of high speed rail as an alternative to short flights.
How do you envision the future of Banning Ranch, and what should the city do to accomplish that?
Exxon/Mobil and Shell Oil, who own Banning Ranch want to build one of the largest, most dense developments in recent memory on the Orange County coast. In my door-to-door effort I often bring up Banning Ranch. Many don't know where Banning Ranch is but, once they know, they understand why Newport Beach residents voted years ago to see Banning remain as open space and part of the Santa Ana River Park to come. And nobody wants another Superior Road with 30,000 daily car trips from more development like this. Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa won't let us dump traffic into their cities, and we certainly don't want to add lights, congestion and new lanes on Pacific Coast Highway.
The council works much more closely with the developers than it does with those working to find the money to buy Banning. Developers spent years trying to turn degraded wetlands at Bolsa Chica into housing, and lost at every step. Maybe we could just say no now to more development and save 20 years of lawsuits.