Mailbag: Readers weigh in on coming coastal O.C. elections

Voters leave the Costa Mesa Senior Center after voting on Super Tuesday Election Day in 2020.
Voters leave the Costa Mesa Senior Center after voting on Super Tuesday Election Day in 2020. Daily Pilot readers share their thoughts about upcoming elections in their cities.
(File Photo)

If you know anyone who was an active citizen in Newport Beach a decade ago, you would learn that the campaign literature could be filled with false claims and innuendo. Fortunately, in the last election, the campaign literature had improved. Let’s hope the days of smears and falsehoods have left us.

Unfortunately, the most aggravating tradition of trying to establish a team of council members who vote as a block has not. It has continued and seems to be an issue in this election as well.

“Team Newport,” over the last several years, does not have many successes to brag about, particularly this last season. Their handling of the pandemic, particularly in the beginning, left much to be desired. They acted as if it never existed as a health hazard. Fortunately, people in higher places made decisions that prevailed and protected citizens.

Only those who “supported the team” were able to get volunteer positions in city government. It all came down to who you knew. Finally, the team’s unsuccessful attempt to change the governmental structure in Newport to an elected mayorship cost the city thousands upon thousands of dollars.

We are very lucky to have some strong new candidates who are not supported by “Team Newport.” And we have a return City Council member Joy Brenner, who represents the epitome of what a Newport Beach representative should be.

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach

Reasons to reelect Brenner

Four years ago, the citizens of Newport Beach elected Joy Brenner to the City Council. In response to the faith the voters showed in Joy’s leadership and ability the community has been rewarded with her steady and thoughtful representation. The four years of her tenure have shown her honest, practical and transparent approach to the management of our great city. As a longtime resident and extensive volunteer in the community, she has continuously demonstrated a concern for all citizens and their points of view. At the same time because she has worked extensively in the community before becoming a council person, she has the necessary institutional knowledge which allows her to weigh the longtime interests of the city.

Joy is seeking reelection. In addition to the qualities that led to her election, she has the additional benefit of four years’ council experience. It is accordingly sad to see that Joy has recently been the subject of vicious and personal attacks in her reelection bid. Four years ago, she was similarly attacked but rose above those negative campaign tactics with characteristic demonstration of grace and integrity.

Joy is a person whose concern is always what is best for the city and its residents, and she never places her own interests above that. Elected to a second term, she will do her utmost to steadfastly improve and preserve the city we call Newport Beach. That is why we are supporting Joy Brenner for City Council.

Clarence J. Turner, Thomas C. Edwards, Nancy Gardner
former mayors of Newport Beach

Support for Mayor Stephens

I support Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens, who is running in the 2022 November election to continue his service as mayor.

Stephens has the right professional (attorney) and personal skill set, level of personal involvement, collaborative nature, accessibility and motivation to deal with the simplest to the most complex issues the city faces. He has created a tone of civility at City Hall and has led, in collaboration with council members and city staff, numerous accomplishments that have benefitted Costa Mesa.

Under Stephens’ leadership, funding and staffing of police and firefighters are the highest they have been in years. Stephens will continue to place a high priority on public safety.

Stephens has supported the city’s remarkable progress on reducing homelessness by permanently housing 215 individuals through Costa Mesa’s Bridge Shelter and outreach and reducing street homelessness by 20%, according to numbers from the county in May. He has supported affordable permanent supportive housing units for veterans and seniors as well as rent relief for our most needy families and a first-time homebuyer’s program.

Under the mayor’s guidance, the city has successfully defended our sober living ordinances in two federal trials.

Stephens has also focused on infrastructure such as upgrading parks and sports fields, constructing protected bike lanes, rebuilding streets and alleyways and installing streetlights and medians for driver safety. The infrastructure work also promotes energy efficiency by installing nine electric vehicle charging stations at City Hall.

Stephens knows the tendency of residents is to request more services, rather than fewer, and these additional services cost more money. Stephens balances the need for new services with fiscal constraints. As such, the city has a balanced budget, over $50 million in reserves and an AA+ credit rating from Standard & Poor’s.

I encourage all Costa Mesans to vote for Stephens in November.

Charles Mooney
Costa Mesa

Vote ‘no’ on Measure K

On Aug. 2, the majority of the Costa Mesa City Council voted to put a measure on the November ballot that will gut Measure Y. (“Will Costa Mesans vote to reduce their say on large-scale projects? Officials hope so,” Daily Pilot, Aug. 3).

During that chaotic meeting, Councilman Jeffrey Harlan made a last-minute substitution for the measure staff had prepared, which befuddled Mayor John Stephens and other council members and required multiple breaks in the proceedings.

Costa Mesa residents will recall that Measure Y, aka An Initiative to Give the People of Costa Mesa Control of Their Future, was voted into law in 2016 by nearly 70% of the voters. It gave us the right to have a say in approving major changes to our existing zoning and General Plan, including the Housing Element that the city is currently revising to satisfy state requirements.

Now the politicians we elected to represent us are trying to take that right away. The council members who proposed deceptive Measure K say they are doing so because the state is requiring the city to plan for housing, but if you read Measure K and look at its map, you will see that the code amendment:

Expands the scope. The areas covered by the measure are on almost all the major corridors of Costa Mesa, versus the few parcels identified on the revised Housing Element’s proposed map scattered around town. Measure K targets large swaths of properties along Newport, Harbor, West 17th, 18th and 19th, Baker, Bristol, and the area North of the 405 freeway for redevelopment but excludes your vote on those projects. On many of those parcels are successful businesses.

Lacks a housing requirement. There is no requirement in Measure K to build housing (affordable or not) for seniors, disabled persons, veterans, or our workforce. Any new development could be high-density, high-cost housing, but it also may be large commercial, office or industrial buildings.

Ignores impacts. There is no provision in Measure K that protects residential neighborhoods from traffic, noise or pollution generated by development. Will this traffic require road widening? What will developments mean for public safety?

Does not protect the environment. There is no requirement that new developments include building new parks, bike lanes or walking paths.

Costa Mesans voted for the right to decide whether a major land use change is worth the impacts on our daily lives. It is going to take another David vs. Goliath effort to battle this measure. The city and developers will outspend our citizen grassroots group, Costa Mesa First, but we intend to fight!

Please talk to your friends, relatives, neighbors and the owners of businesses targeted by the city. Most importantly, when you vote this fall, vote “no” on Measure K!

Cynthia McDonald
Costa Mesa

Textbook’s claims raise eyebrows

According to a FOX News report, a textbook ordered by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District claims there are 10 sexual orientations, some I personally never heard of. “Comprehensive Health Skills for High School” also claims there are eight different gender identities. How did we get here? What school administrators are pushing this on our kids? Clearly our kids are being exploited, and I, along with countless other parents, will not sit idle and let this ideology continue in our schools. Our tax dollars were never intended to pay for this useless garbage! To those school board members and administrators, stand up and defend your logic.

Juli Hayden
Newport Beach

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