Mailbag: This is what ‘Team Newport’ really stands for: fiscal sanity
Re. “Mailbag: Why hide from a debate?” (Oct. 2): Letter writer Paul Watkins can of course assume anything he wants.
We have discussed the issues at many forums, so I will assume that his questions are rhetorical.
This Newport Beach City Council, led by Mayor Rush Hill, spent $143 million on what I have been referring to for nearly two years as the Taj-Ma-City-Hall because of its incredible costs. The residents of Newport Beach trusted our elected officials as our representatives to deliver a new City Hall. When we voted to relocate the City Hall to the current site, the voters actually thought that with land that we already owned, and by selling the old site, that we would have only a modest out-of-pocket cost.
Instead this council spent almost four times the original $40 million budget and did not offset it by selling the old City Hall site, instead leasing it to a hotel developer and, in effect, banking on the success of the developer. This is not the role of government, and it is not being a good steward of the taxpayers’ resources.
Let me be clear though. Team Newport supports the Lido House Hotel and Bob Olson’s ownership. We would encourage R.D. Olson to exercise its option to purchase the land instead of leasing it.
Then the council borrowed $128 million against the Taj-Ma-City-Hall without putting it to a vote of the taxpayers. That is more debt than the city has had in its previous 98 years of existence, during which time we built a City Hall, parks, roads and a harbor.
Hill and Councilman Keith Curry have been reckless with our money and need to be sent packing. Obviously there were no grown-ups around to say no to the $230,000 white bunnies, no to the $3 million bridge to nowhere, no to the 200 designer chairs that each cost $1,100. Maybe they can hang out after Nov. 4 at the new Latte Bar in the library expansion that they built with our $143 million.
That is why we are not endorsed by Hill or Curry and why Marshall “Duffy” Duffield, Kevin Muldoon, Diane Dixon and I are running as a reform slate to bring fiscal sanity back to City Hall.
The writer is a candidate for the Newport Beach City Council.