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Mailbag: Supporting the campaign to let residents elect the mayor in Newport Beach

Beachgoers practice social distancing near the Newport Pier in Newport Beach in May 2020.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

I grew up in a city with a strong mayor system, where the mayor basically served as the city’s chief executive and was responsible for proposing a budget, appointing department heads, and signing legislation (from the council) into law. That always struck me as more appropriate for big cities.

But at least voters in my hometown got to choose their mayor. Here, we choose the council members who then choose amongst themselves who will be mayor. That system seems much better reserved for small towns.

Yes, Newport Beach absolutely has a small-town feel inside our various villages. My family and I are thankful everyday that we get to live in Newport Beach. The weather is amazing and the people are even better. In my time on the Ben Carlson Foundation board, I have seen some real acts of generosity from our community that regularly leave me appreciating the real fabric of our people.

Importantly, it’s a city that people are constantly improving. New coats of paint on homes hit by ocean spray, new fins on a surfboard (or just a new surfboard sometimes), or painted pickleball courts on neighborhood streets last year to bring neighbors together.

We don’t sit idle and we don’t just settle. We think, talk and act.

Which is why I was pretty excited when I heard about the Elect Our Mayor campaign. It would give voters the chance to vet the candidates for the most important leadership position in our city.

The mayor would be a person whose vision has majority support and would have sufficient time to implement that vision. But the mayor would also need to ensure that the vision had buy-in from fellow council members because, in the proposed system, the mayor would still be only one vote of seven on the City Council.

It is an improvement over the current minor league system in our major league city.

My family will sign the Elect Our Mayor petition, and I hope you’ll join me too.

Jake Janz
Newport Beach

Individual rights cost lives

GOP lock-step unity at all government levels places the Republican chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors on the side of COVID-19 and Republican politics against science and public information. Chairman
Andrew Do sees harm in regular unbiased COVID-19 information coming from the public health staff. Seemingly in tune with Republican national politics against mask mandates and required vaccinations, Republican sentiments have only reaped higher infection-death rates and lower vaccination rates for red states. It also leaves a highly-charged polarized society that places individual rights over the common good. Data show that it has cost us hundreds of thousands of lives, a prolonged pandemic, endangerment of children who are ineligible for vaccinations, and more chance of variants. Coupled with the indoor-church-service ruling of SCOTUS conservatives, Republican 24/7 politics is placing individual rights over the common good.

Jim Hoover
Huntington Beach

Party support vs. political desire

I was taken aback but not surprised at the political naivete of Huntington Beach commentary writer Michael Barber because it sadly represents a significant segment of local voters (Commentary: I’m one of many Americans who just wants a good job. It’s time for Congress to listen to us, Daily Pilot, Sept. 1). These Trump supporters complain about Congress not doing anything but fail to identify the reasons for its inaction. Barber states “I voted for Donald Trump for president, but now I’m calling on my congresswoman, Michelle Steel, and all members of Congress to stop playing politics and invest in jobs and families by voting for the two big bills currently making their way through Congress.” Good luck in getting Republican Michelle Steel’s support! Barber doesn’t realize that it is only one party that is holding up meaningful legislation like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It starts with an “R.” While the same GOP stalwarts who passed mega tax cuts for the wealthy now claim such legislation is “too expensive” and are trying to bamboozle the electorate into thinking so, they are the ones who are failing their constituents by going beyond not getting anything done to full opposition to such attempts for purely partisan reasons.

Until voters like Mr. Barber wake up and smell the Americano, we are not likely to see meaningful reforms in any major areas like jobs creation, healthcare, workers rights, transportation and the environment as long as it benefits Republicans and their special interest allies to oppose them. Mr. Barber’s plea to “put your politics aside and put everyday people first” needs to go in only one direction.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

I read with interest and sympathy the commentary by Mr. Barber of Huntington Beach. I am just at a loss to reconcile his comments about his desire, his group’s “demand” that our elected officials “put working families first,” for people who are “struggling and … need Washington to work for us.” He asks for “Congress to stop playing politics and invest in jobs and families by voting for the two big bills ...” He says “We need family-sustaining jobs and training opportunities for young people and for older workers like [him] who need or want to change careers.” He is in favor of support for job training through community colleges. All these policy goals are those of the Democratic administration, repeated countless times during their election campaigns and are set forth in their current proposals before the House and Senate. And after all that he says he voted for Trump and Michelle Steel and presumably the Republican party in general, who are the ones against those proposals. I’m just mystified as to how he reconciles his political preference for the party that is fighting the hardest to frustrate and defeat the very policies he would like to see enacted.

S. Lafare
Newport Beach

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