Newport-Mesa candidates to debate

COSTA MESA — A panel of journalists representing Orange County news outlets, including the Daily Pilot, will question candidates for the Costa Mesa and Newport Beach city councils at a debate Thursday night.

The event, billed as the Feet to the Fire Forum, is set for 7 to 9 p.m at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave. The forum will be free and open to the public. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

The panel will be made up of Pilot Editor John Canalis, Orange County Register columnists Barbara Venezia and Frank Mickadeit, Newport Beach Independent Editor Roger Bloom, and Voice of O.C. Editor Norberto Santana Jr. Venezia will emcee the event, which she and Canalis organized.

"Costa Mesa and Newport should be working together much more than they are now, so let's start the dialogue with the new crop of candidates and really hold their feet to the fire on issues," Venezia, a former Daily Pilot columnist, told the Pilot earlier this month.

The questions for the debate will hone in on cross-over issues that are important to voters in both Costa Mesa and Newport Beach and that link the neighboring cities, such as John Wayne Airport and Banning Ranch. Some of the questions will have been submitted ahead of time online by Daily Pilot readers.

Invited candidates for the Newport Beach include Councilwoman Leslie Daigle and candidates Ed Reno, Rush Hill and Mark Tabbert. Incumbent council members Nancy Gardner and Michael F. Henn were not asked to debate because they are running unopposed.

Invited candidates for the Costa Mesa include Councilwoman Wendy Leece and candidates Sue Lester, Chris McEvoy, Chad Petschl and James Righeimer, chairman of the city's Planning Commission.

All of the Newport and most of the Costa Mesa candidates have agreed to attend.

— Imran Vittachi

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