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There is no place for partisanship in Newport Beach City Council races

There is no place for partisanship in Newport Beach City Council races
Candidate Tim Stoaks, center, makes a comment during opening statements of the first 2018 Newport Beach City Council candidate forums at the Newport Beach Central Library. (Photo by Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

It’s been a long time since I’ve written to a newspaper editor, but now I believe I must voice an opinion about what a local election should and should not be.

First, local is truly that — local.

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Does a candidate express views about the city, in this case Newport Beach, that I believe resonate with how I envision the city now and in the future? Does the candidate address issues like traffic and planned growth? Has the candidate acted in a way that validates my views or has he/she voted in an opposite manner? I know how I reacted to Measure Y, the Museum House, and the proposed “port” plan for Newport Beach.

I care about Mariner’s Mile and the impact of John Wayne Airport on Newport. These issues matter to me.

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When I asked the highly astute, and I will add gifted, students who were selected by Corona del Mar High School to ask questions of our local candidates at a forum whether partisan politics has any role in local elections, all three immediately answered no.

There is no role for partisan politics in local elections. If you want a park built or upgraded in your neighborhood I can guarantee it will not matter whether a council member is a Republican or Democrat. It matters whether they hear you from the dais when you make an appeal. Are the City Council members concerned with the residents or with the financial supporters who helped them win an election? Are the council members using the city for their political or financial gain or are they serving the people? That’s all that matters to me.

State and national issues are dealt with on those levels. That’s where partisan politics has a role. Partisan politics is not involved in garbage collection, parks, sewer lines, traffic, high density developments or issues that impact me daily. Partisan politics certainly affects me, but it’s more distant.

I care deeply about who’s serving my views in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., but that’s an entirely different issue. That is and will remain partisan. But that’s simply false on the local level and anyone who understands basic civics recognizes this as false. It’s smoke and mirrors to bring partisan politics into local elections.

Do council members vote for an increase in the police force along party lines? No. I simply find it false to see a political party endorse a person running for council. For some reason partisan politics is being thrown into the local election to muddy the waters and confuse local voters. That’s unconscionable. When I see endorsed by the Republican or Democratic party on local campaign literature I know it’s a ploy. The candidate is likely using a party’s endorsement to get to higher office, not serve the city. The person lacks credibility.

Look at who’s running and try to think why. Look at what they’ve actually done. Look at what council members have tried to do. Are they running to serve the people of the community or to enrich themselves, their friends, their political allies or move to higher political ground at my expense.

Local matters. Please read the real people endorsements, look at voting records, transparency, financial backers and whether you want Newport run by a political machine. I for one am weary of partisan politics. Think and vote for the person who will honestly serve you and this city.

Lorian Petry lives in Corona del Mar.

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