Mailbag: More election thoughts from Daily Pilot readers

An official ballot drop box stands at Bob Henry Park in Newport Beach in October 2020.
(Raul Roa)

I met Lisa Pearson back in those blissful days of volunteering in the kindergarten classroom of our first-born children. We were wide-eyed and happy to help. We quickly bonded over our shared hopes for our kids, and our love of Lincoln Elementary School. Soon we were attending PTA meetings and signing up for even more opportunities to serve. It is with complete confidence and unbridled enthusiasm that I recommend my friend for Newport-Mesa Unified school board zone 4.

Over the years I’ve watched Lisa apply her classroom teaching experience, her motherly instincts, her fine-tuned organizational skills and her endless generosity to huge jobs like school play producer and PTA president. Under her leadership at both Lincoln and Corona del Mar High School, there have been great successes, much needed funds raised and educational goals achieved — all with a refreshing lack of controversy. Our kids have grown, but Lisa has never left the educational environment. As she shepherded her youngest through school choices based on specific learning needs, she even developed a special program at a local private school that has helped others as well.

Everyone in our community knows that our schools are some of the highest ranked in the nation, but recently there has been a politically motivated effort to denigrate those who work diligently to maintain that excellence we expect. The NMUSD school board position is nonpartisan, and I can attest after 20 years of lively conversations spanning countless election seasons, that Lisa respects political differences and always leads with a listener’s ear and a peacemaker’s heart; she will never let politics guide her decisions. Lisa Pearson cares about the mental health and well being of the children, high standards in the classroom, respect for parental involvement, and attention to keeping our schools safe.

Summer Bailey-Bress
Newport Beach

Brenner finds balance

One of the more sensitive jobs of a council member is negotiating labor agreements with city staff. The union’s role is to push for as much as it can get. The council’s role is to provide compensation packages that ensure we attract and retain the best people and at the same time keep in mind the long-term financial health of the city, which can mean saying no to some requests. In her tenure, Joy Brenner has done a good job of finding this balance. For example, she has called for new police hires to provide better coverage in the city, but she has been firm in rejecting some union demands that she felt were both unnecessary and not fiscally responsible. In other words, she has said no to some labor requests in order to protect the city’s taxpayers. Supporting the safety of our city while keeping a firm hand on financial controls — this is just one of the reasons I am supporting her reelection.

Nancy Gardner
former Newport Beach council member/mayor

A few facts about Y and K

Costa Mesa’s Measure Y by its own terms exempts all affordable housing projects required by law. It does not prohibit any housing projects but only requires a public vote for certain major projects.

Measure Y applies only to projects (residential or nonresidential) that require exceeding the limits of the existing general plan and zoning law. The measure passed by more than a 2-to-1 vote of the people in 2016.

There is no requirement in Measure K, on the Costa Mesa ballot this November, that any new housing be affordable or that would limit the sales price or rent that could be charged for houses, condominiums or apartments.

There is nothing in Measure K that would mitigate the effects of high-density projects on increased vehicular traffic, noise, air pollution and other adverse effects.

Any project the City Council approves under the terms of Measure K would be immune from referendum; the public would have no way to reverse the council’s decision.

Although a new housing project may increase net property tax revenue for the first five years or so, the cost to Costa Mesa taxpayers of providing services to the project every year after that is substantially greater than the revenue.

The people of Costa Mesa must continue to have a say in their city’s future by voting against Measure K.

Eleanor Egan
Costa Mesa

A look at N.B. campaign disclosures

One way to gauge the support of our City Council candidates is to look at their campaign disclosure forms.

Newport Beach newcomer Tom Miller has threatened to spend up to $400,000 to win a seat on the council, and he has so far given himself $125,000 to buy the seat.

What is unusual is that as of the most recent disclosures, Miller only has $49,100 cash on hand to start the campaign. This is far behind Joe Stapleton, Robyn Grant, Erik Wiegand and even Joy Brenner. Miller’s consultants must have kids in college given how they are spending his money. If he spends the taxpayers’ dollars like he is spending his campaign cash, the city will be broke by Easter.

The disclosure also shows that Miller has limited support except from himself. He raised only $27,529 from other donors. This is far less than all the other candidates. Even worse for Miller is that over 56% of his donations are from people who do not live in Newport Beach. He does appear to be the preferred Newport Beach candidate of people living in Anaheim and Las Vegas.

Like a lot of other rich, entitled candidates, my prediction is that Tom Miller will find Newport Beach voters cannot be bought. Residents want candidates who reflect our values, history and unique quality of life. Voters respect those who put in the time over the years to make this a better community. Perhaps Miller should have picked another city to move into if he wants to be an elected official.

Kerry Sabo
Newport Beach

Stephens deserves reelection in CM

In 2011, I was appointed to the position of interim fire chief for the city of Costa Mesa. I worked with city leaders from all sides of the political spectrum to make important improvements to our fire and emergency medical services. As a public safety professional, I valued the support from those who demonstrated strong leadership skills, who made rational decisions and who were focused on the most important issues at hand.

As a longtime Costa Mesa resident, I look for candidates who are fully engaged, hard workers and committed to solving our problems.

Thankfully, Mayor John Stephens is running to continue his mayoral role. John embodies all of these traits. He is a problem solver who works tirelessly on behalf of our community and has the skill set we need. He has effectively guided our city through some of the most challenging times in our history. John Stephens has proven himself to be a great mayor and deserves to be elected Costa Mesa’s mayor in November.

Tom Arnold
Costa Mesa

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