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Column: Newport Beach and Costa Mesa election season begins in earnest

July 16 officially starts campaign season in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa and those running for elected office need to pull official papers in their respective city clerks’ offices before the Aug. 10. deadline.

Costa Mesa’s election page suggests candidates make an appointment with the city clerk to review all documents.

For the record:
5:30 AM, Jul. 13, 2018 An earlier version of this column misspelled mayoral candidate Al Melone’s last name.

The page offers links so residents can keep abreast of candidate filings, disclosure statements, ballot measures, district maps and election notices.

Newport’s city election page also has all the same information as it pertains to the upcoming November elections.


Looking at both cities’ election information pages, I found Costa Mesa did a better job; it’s far more user-friendly than Newport’s.

That’s important because there’s a lot on the line in 2018 politically in both cities, and voters need to do their homework. Cities should make this as simple as possible so residents can educate themselves.

Election season is busy for me as I prepare to bring readers candidate profiles and get into the pre-production phase for the upcoming Feet to the Fire election forums.

The tentative dates for F2F are Sept. 17, 19 and 20 — each at the Robert B. Moore Theatre at Orange Coast College. There’s always a meet and greet with candidates from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and forums start at 7:15 p.m.


The goal for Sept. 17 is to bring Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and his Democratic challenger, Harley Rouda, together for a comprehensive conversation about the 48th Congressional District.

I’ve spoken with Mac Zilber of Los Angeles-based Jacobson & Zilber Strategies, which represents Rouda. He says his candidate will be there and welcomes the conversation.

Jason Pitkin, who represents Rohrabacher, says he will check the calendar and get back to me, as Rohrabacher is usually in Washington on Mondays.

I stressed with Pitkin how much interest there is in this forum and offered flexibility with dates in order to make it happen.

I’ll keep readers posted. Let’s see what happens.

Sept. 19 is all about Costa Mesa. We’ll explore the candidates for each district and the mayoral race. The plan is to have the first part of the evening devoted to council races, and the second to the mayoral candidates.

Voters in Costa Mesa will be asked to vote by district. If you’re not sure which district you live in, there’s a good description on the city’s website

As of this week, the following council candidates have filed intention statements, according to the city’s website, but this field could narrow — or expand — depending on who pulls official papers.


I’ve listed them by districts and campaign websites or Facebook pages so readers can start to familiarize themselves with this new crop. Any one of these folks could wind up making decisions affecting your family’s future so be your own investigative reporter and feel free to contact them directly.

Start asking questions, as I will, in the coming weeks.

Costa Mesa Mayor

Costa Mesa District 3

Costa Mesa District 4

Costa Mesa District 5

Newport elections are a little different. No matter where a voter lives, they can vote for a candidate in each of the city’s seven districts, which is why Newporters need to do a bit more homework than their Costa Mesa counterparts. The candidates must live in whichever district they run.
Information to contact incumbents can be found on the city’s site,

Newport Beach District 1

Newport Beach District 4

Newport Beach District 6

That’s what the political landscape looks like so far.
The local political drama will start to unfold in the coming days, weeks and months with intrigue, nastiness, misinformation, hidden agendas and more. Those in power will fight to keep it, and those wanting political change will battle against them.

As I’ve said many times in these columns, people get the government they deserve. Decide what you deserve and start paying attention now. Your city’s future is literally at stake.

Barbara Venezia is an opinion columnist writing political and social commentary since 2007. She can be reached at