Commentary: Why residents want to ‘draft Duffy’ for City Council

With no offense to Diane Dixon versus Michael Glenn, or Michael Toerge versus Scott Peotter, or even Tim Brown versus Roy Englebrecht, we may soon have a Newport Beach City Council race to watch.

On Wednesday, the “Draft Duffy” movement will start with a fundraiser at dock fee opponent Bob McCaffrey’s house on Balboa Island, where Marshall “Duffy” Duffield will get to see all the folks in the community who want him to be a councilman, presumably because they like the idea of him challenging Mayor Rush Hill.

The fundraising goal out of the gates for this event to draft Duffy? Thirty-thousand dollars.

And with a $1,100 limit per person, only 27.27 people need to show up (and pay full freight) to make the goal.

Is that attainable in the wealthiest ZIP code in Newport Beach? Probably.

So how did we get here — to where the current mayor of the city can draw such a big-name challenger? After all, who has not heard of Duffy and his electric boats?

Let’s look at Hill’s record. His 2010 City Council campaign exploded out of the gates with a telephone poll asking if the voters should elect someone (Ed Reno) whose company (Allergan) performs vivisection on bunnies. (The company has since made a pledge to move away from such practices.)

He went from there to proudly proclaiming at a fundraiser that should he get elected, he’ll guarantee that the Newport Beach City Hall (Civic Center/Taj Mahal/white elephant) would never get more than $90 million. The City Hall settled in at $142.2 million.

Within two years of being elected in 2010, when discussing the “dock tax,” he ended up using a curse word with constituents who had come to a council meeting. And later he received two warning letters (though no fines) from theCalifornia Fair Political Practices Commission.

Which leads us back to the “Draft Duffy” movement. The rumors of a Duffy candidacy have been running rampant for many months now, with me even chasing out potential lesser-known candidates since 2013 to keep the field clear for him.

And it worked.

While there are three open council seats, the Hill versus Duffy race will be the one to watch.

Newport Beach accountant JACK WU is a conservative columnist for the Orange County Register’s weekly Current edition and a former Daily Pilot columnist.