Mailbag: Newport voters offer opposing Measure B views

Cecelia Decrona of Newport Beach, drops off her ballot at adrop box at Bob Henry Park, in Newport Beach in October 2020.
Cecelia Decrona of Newport Beach, drops off her ballot at an official ballot drop box at Bob Henry Park, in October 2020. The June 7 Primary calls for Newport Beach voters to weigh in on Measure B, the Elect our Mayor initiative.
(Raul Roa)

Have you ever been ghosted? Ghosting, or suddenly disappearing from someone’s life without so much as a call, email, or text, has become a common phenomenon in the modern dating world, but it can occur in any number of private and public forums including the politics of Measure B.

First the proponents of Measure B initiated the petition process of getting the Elect Our Mayor initiative on the ballot. The effort fell short, so they abandoned the process, thereby “ghosting” those that either signed or were working to gather signatures.

Next the initiative was presented to the City Council as another path to getting it on the ballot. The council thought it was worthy of discussion. The architects of the initiative then “ghosted” the City Council by not including it in the drafting of language to alter the charter to accommodate an elected mayor. What was presented to the council was a simple “yes” or “no” on what was going to be put on the ballot with no opportunity for input. All the former civic leaders who spent years forming a successful city government, found themselves “ghosted” with no input despite their years of expertise.

Now a recent political flier shows two images on its cover. One image they call the current system depicts a group of voters and an arrow pointing to a City Council with a mayor elected by the City Council. The next image they call the proposed system shows a group of voters with an arrow pointing toward the elected mayor. There is no City Council in the picture. They have been “ghosted” right out of the picture. Who will residents appeal to if not their district representative?

Why do people ghost? Fear, conflict avoidance, lack of consequence, care of self. I guess why is not important. What is important is the architects of Measure B have demonstrated they have no interest in gathering input from resources into making a change to the charter that will impact the city for decades. They have not taken into consideration the input from civic leaders from today or yesterday. They have their vision for the city and are being helped to push that vision from special interests mostly from outside the city.

You, as informed voters, can turn this back on them and “ghost” them by voting NO on Measure B.

Gary Cruz
Newport Island

Measure B sure has brought out some interesting opposing arguments, often based in falsehoods and fear. Fear and name-calling don’t move the needle for me and I hope they don’t for you.

The power to select our mayor should belong with the voters. Term limits, as written in Measure B, are sound and actually better than what we currently have for the City Council in general.

Fear is often used as a persuasion technique, particularly in elections. That certainly is the case with the “No Elected Mayor in Newport Beach” campaign. As someone who holds sacred the people’s right to vote for their leaders, that stance alone is enough to reject this fear-based campaign that seeks to limit the power of the voter. Using “No” and “Elected” together in the campaign’s name is baffling.

A recent “No on B” mailer was filled with inflammatory language used to demonize those of us who support Measure B. It demonstrated a lack of respect for neighbors who support Measure B and the importance of the power resting with the voters.

“Special Interest Power Grab?” Yes, your interests and mine are special, and the power should rest with us.

It’s time for Newport Beach to have mayors that go beyond the ceremonial, and it’s time to give the voters the freedom to choose their mayor.

Ruth Kobayashi
Newport Beach

Today as I was passing out fliers against Measure B door by door in the Newport Heights, I noticed two yellowing newspapers at my feet as I tried to insert a flier into a neighborhood gate. After a few barking dog scares and near misses going down stairs, I decided that that is the best place to leave a flier.

Well, I was curious about the identity of those two newspapers. I could see that one was the Register, but the other was turned upside down. My first guess was the Epoch Times. Well, lo and behold to my surprise, I peeked and saw none other than the New York Times!

I was surprised and at the same time feeling somewhat guilty because I had rushed to judgement. This person or family is perhaps more enlightened than I, who exclusively reads the LA Times. On the other hand, this household was choosing newspapers that on most issues present diametrically opposed viewpoints.

I admire this show of intellectual curiosity. For me it is not necessarily a lack of intellectual curiosity as it is an inability to suppress emotional reactions to strong opposing views.

If you are familiar with Marshall McLuhan’s theory “ the medium is the message” you will probably agree that reading different viewpoints on a subject in a newspaper for instance, is a lot less likely to result in a strong emotional reaction than watching those viewpoints presented on opposing news stations. Reading the news is usually more of an intellectual exercise.

Of course, with my response, I failed to consider one very strong possibility concerning those two newspapers. It is very possible that they each belong to a different member of the household. And that creates a whole other range of possibilities.

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach

Think ‘comprehensive’ instead of ‘critical’ when considering CRT

Wendy Leece’s commentary on the Holocaust in relation to Critical Race Theory was important in emphasizing the need for continuing awareness of that grim event.

However, her take on CRT in relation to UCI’s teacher and student diversity training program was unfortunate. Replace the word “critical” with “comprehensive” and you get a better idea of what CRT aims to teach.

For example, the tragic 1921 destruction of Tulsa’s Black Wall street by a white mob needs to be taught to white middle schoolers and beyond, not to bring shame but awareness of what can result from bias and hatred. Children can handle facts when presented sensitively and in the context of the Jim Crow period when the Tulsa massacre happened.

Benjamin J. Hubbard
Costa Mesa

Estancia Zone students, families deserve better

I’m a former Newport Mesa Board of Education trustee, and I have a question: Why has the city of Costa Mesa spent over $83,000 of taxpayer dollars in legal fees to bring a lawsuit against the Newport Mesa School District to stop the construction of a performing arts theater benefiting the students of Estancia High School?

Why, even after losing that lawsuit, do they continue to spend taxpayer money to appeal the decision? The NMSD has been forced to spend to date $148,000 in legal fees to move this project forward. This is money meant to educate our students, not for legal fees.

Now, the district appears to be taking a pause to placate the city even though the city has no jurisdiction or ownership of school property.

This theater project was specifically approved by the voters in a bond measure in 2005 along with other projects throughout the district. The Estancia Zone students and parents have waited these many years for this theater. The final project, its location and design were approved by the state of California, the Board of Education, the Community Bond Oversight Committee, and a Theater Committee made up of community members and professionals in 2019. It was discussed numerous times at board meetings and site meetings throughout the years prior to final approval. That was over three years ago! This project should have commenced in 2020 and been completed by now.

Why is the current Board of Education revisiting a well thought-out location based on cost, beautification, and access by the students and the community? These delays deprive our students of an equal music and performing arts education and hurts our programs zone-wide. This delay has the potential to increase costs and reduce the scope of the project.

Most disturbing, hundreds of students and the community are losing out on the opportunities provided by a theater as well as the burden on Costa Mesa High School having to share their theater with all the other schools in Costa Mesa.

Why is the Estancia High School the last high school in the entire district to get an aquatic center and now the last high school to get a theater?

I encourage you to write your Costa Mesa City Council member and ask why they are spending money to stop this approved project. Please reach out to your Board of Education trustee and the schools superintendent and ask why are you not moving forward?

The students and families of the Estancia Zone community deserve much better.

Vicki Snell
Costa Mesa

Fluor gets her vote in O.C. Board of Education race

On May 3, I attended the online candidate forum co-sponsored by Orange County 4th District PTA and the non-partisan League of Women Voters for the candidates running for seats on our O.C. Board of Education. Shockingly, none of the three incumbent members — each of whom are up for reelection next month — showed up or had a surrogate attend in their place. I personally skipped two other meetings in order to hear from these incumbent members who are seeking my vote in the June 7 election.

I am grateful for the five candidates who did take time to participate in this valuable (and free) opportunity to introduce themselves to the voters. Perhaps the incumbents did not show up because they did not want to face voter questions about the millions of dollars they have spent on pointless litigation over past years. Certainly, this is an issue voters should consider when casting their ballots, along with the unwillingness of the incumbents to even bother to show up and answer questions about these and other decisions the incumbent members of the OC Board of Education have made while in office.

I live in District No. 2, currently represented by Mari Barke. I am extremely disappointed that Barke chose not to show up to interface with her current constituents. Martha Fluor did take time to appear. Fluor is running to replace Barke for District 2. Fluor’s decades in school leadership, fiscal responsibility toward O.C. schools and willingness to face OC voters has garnered her my vote.

Denise Miller