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Mailbag: Too many housing developments; More Measure B opponents weigh in

The Ellis Avenue condominiums will be built on the north side of the street, just east of Beach Boulevard.
(Courtesy of city of Huntington Beach)

Re: “Huntington Beach City Council approves Ellis Avenue 48-condominium project.” How and why do these projects keep getting approved? Not just here in Huntington Beach but all over California.

We have a severe water shortage yet the building continues. At some point we must say no more.

Stacey Colburn
Huntington Beach

AB2146 should be passed

As a kid, I loved going to the Environmental Nature Center in my hometown of Newport Beach. The ENC was the place where I first began to care about the well-being of plants and animals and learned about the importance of healthy ecosystems.

Unfortunately, California’s ecosystems are at risk due to the collapse of our native bee species and butterfly populations in recent decades. A leading factor in their die-off has been the use of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.

Next week, the California State Assembly will vote on AB2146 — a bill that would ban the use of these pesticides on lawns, gardens, and golf courses. I am urging Orange County residents to contact Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris to vote “yes” on AB2146 next week in order to save our pollinators and ecosystems.

Joe Skinner
Newport Beach

Worried about what lies ahead for women

I feel compelled to respond to the commentary by Andrea Schmidt titled “I had an abortion. It changed my life for the better” and to share my personal recollections.

In the 1970s, as a 20-something, I encountered three young women who all admitted to having an abortion. One was a college student from Iowa who had to travel out of state to have her procedure. One was a married businesswoman who had an affair but wanted to preserve her marriage. One was a single hotel maid who was not in a relationship and could not afford to alter her life or her job. Needless to say, all had unplanned pregnancies and, with the exception of the college student, did not want the men involved to share responsibility. I sympathized with their right to make decisions about their bodies and their lives. I had always been and remain pro-choice.

While I never found out how the lives of these three women turned out, I assume that their decisions were for the better for them at the time. I would have been outraged if they were restricted in making such a personal choice about their futures. The current Supreme Court threat to overturn Roe v. Wade and to further allow interference on a woman’s right to choose by ideologically partisan, religious, or moral zealots with more concern for power and authority over others than human life, health, or welfare is infuriating.

While California will not succumb to the rash of reactionary retribution sweeping red states in the Midwest and South, I fear for millions of our citizens who will be adversely affected and even ruined by these extremist exigencies.

Andrea Schmidt was right to share and speak out in her commentary. We must be vigilant in protecting the right to privacy and the personal freedoms enshrined in the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in order to preserve our democracy.

Tim Geddes
Huntington Beach

‘No’ votes for Newport Beach’s Measure B

Don’t be duped. I invite readers to look into the list of donors supporting Measure B. Visit newportbeachca.gov and go to the site’s page listed “Campaign Disclosure Statements.” Several of the donors you will find there are real estate investors/developers; not only are some from Newport Beach, but many are from out of town. These influential donors will expect something in return for their money. And that expectation will be met by the next mayor they purchase under Measure B.

Measure B puts a vice on the voice of the people for up to eight years. That’s long enough for lucrative contracts to be put in place by a mayor that would be given complete control of the agenda.

This is not democracy. It is autocracy.

This measure is a contract signed and delivered with big money developers and agents.

Jennifer Irani
Newport Beach

In January 2010 Marian Bergeson was appointed by the Newport Beach City Council to chair the Charter Update Commission. Six citizens joined Bergeson on the Commission, which met regularly in public session.
The Commission ultimately recommended 17 revisions to our Charter for the City Council’s consideration.

Fast forward. On a recent split 4-3 vote and following the abandonment by the proponent of its petition effort, our current City Council placed Measure B on the June 7 ballot without public vetting, without public discourse, and without the thoughtful consideration.

Please vote “No” on the ill-advised Measure B. At the first council meeting following the June 7 election ask our City Council to adopt a resolution to appoint a Charter Update Committee comprised of well-respected residents to thoughtfully and thoroughly research and analyze the issue of a directly elected mayor and to (with ample public input) propose a Charter Amendment for a near term vote by our electorate. (And, BTW, maybe while they are at it, the special Committee could fix an issue which Measure B neglected to address: eight years lifetime is enough — no former two-term council member should ever be allowed to run again for Council.)

In 1913 former Supreme Court Justice Lewis Brandeis stated: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Measure B never saw the broad light of day with the benefit of public debate, input, and appropriate compromise. It’s not too late to correct an ill-considered process and defective measure.

Please vote “No” on Measure B and allow the public to shine future sunlight on the direct election of the mayor.

Paul K. Watkins
Newport Beach

The proposed Measure B has little if anything to do with electing a mayor and more to do with eliminating one council district; eliminating representation for the citizens of Newport Beach and consolidating power in one individual.

In the very first sentence of the proposed measure there is the elimination of one of our current seven council districts. In 1954 when the City’s charter was adopted the population of the city was 12,120 and there were seven council districts as there are currently. In the latest census the city has a population of 85,780, seven times greater than it was in 1954. Yet what many people don’t realize is that Measure B seeks to reduce the number of council districts from the current number of seven to six. It makes little sense and doesn’t add up. Will it be your council district that is eliminated or your neighbors?

In addition, Measure B further grants a mayor “sole discretion” to set the City Council agendas, in contravention of current City Council policy as well as the existing city charter. “Sole discretion” does not mean that such power would be wielded in a reasonable manner but rather it means power can be exercised in an arbitrary and capricious manner thereby giving a mayor expansive power.

Finally, to suggest somehow that the city needs to become a modern city like others in the state is a false narrative. One needs to look no further than Anaheim which finds itself and its directly elected mayor the subject of an FBI investigation. Consolidating power in one individual and eliminating a council district is not the power grab that the residents of Newport Beach needs or wants. Vote “No” on Measure B.

Thomas C. Edwards
Newport Beach

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