Daigle tries to link Mansoor to Costa Mesa's woes

Newport Beach City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle contrasted her city's fiscal health with Costa Mesa's difficulties on Thursday, as she intensified her campaign to unseat state Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa).

Speaking to the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce's Government Affairs Committee, Daigle criticized Mansoor's eight-year tenure on the Costa Mesa City Council. He was mayor before his election to the Assembly.

Four candidates are running in the June open primary for the newly redrawn 74th District, which includes parts of Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine and Huntington Beach.

Daigle mainly criticized Costa Mesa's recent financial nose dive and its acrimonious public-employee pension negotiations. She contrasted it with Newport, where she said officials have built up healthy reserves, have outsourced some services successfully and wrought concessions from workers.

"Nobody has done what Newport has been able to achieve," Daigle said.

She also pointed to Newport's lifeguards, who agreed to pay more toward their pensions and to less generous benefits for newly hired guards.

City administrators are now negotiating with other unions, including police officers and firefighters, and Daigle said she expects current employees will also pay more toward their pensions.

In Costa Mesa, union leaders have fought bitterly with the current City Council majority, which is looking to outsource city jobs.

"All the hostility that has been generated there has not produced outcomes," Daigle said, trying to link the controversy to Mansoor.

Mansoor voted against the last fire union contract, arguing it did not offer deep enough cuts. Under his watch, the council successfully renegotiated the contract for non-public safety employees.

"Oftentimes police and fire were not always willing to bring as much to the table," Mansoor said in a phone interview from Sacramento. "That's just the nature of collective bargaining and public employee unions."

Daigle also drew a stark contrast between the two cities' finances. Newport Beach has more than $90 million in reserves, while Costa Mesa used about $33 million in reserves to balance its recession-year budgets.

Mansoor pointed to Costa Mesa's heavy reliance on sales tax from South Coast Plaza, which suffered during the recession, and Newport's large, relatively stable, property tax base.

Mansoor was elected to the state Assembly in 2010, when Costa Mesa's cost cutting began to stem the losses.

"We did take responsible action in making cuts and negotiating with our unions," he said.

Daigle was first appointed to her seat in 2004. She won reelection in 2010.

In addition to Daigle and Mansoor, who are both Republicans, Newport Beach community activist Bob Rush, a Democrat, and Irvine financial planner Paul Vann, an independent, are in the race.


Twitter: @mreicher

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