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As a former councilman I take issue with where the city is headed

As a former councilman I take issue with where the city is headed
Then-Newport Beach City Councilman Tony Petros at a 2016 council meeting. Petros writes that he’d like to see Team Newport leave the council. (File photo)

As a former member of the Newport Beach City Council, I have a unique perspective on this year’s election. During my first two years, I was privileged to serve with dedicated public servants who put the city first and worked in a spirit of collegiality to accomplish important projects like Sunset Ridge Park and Marina Park and to initiate the early pay down of our pension liabilities.

In 2014, things changed with the election of the Bob McCaffrey “Team Newport” machine, including Scott Peotter and Marshall “Duffy” Duffield. I witnessed firsthand this new four-person council majority overturn staff recommendations.

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I was on the council when the Peotter/Duffield machine added thousands of unnecessary pages to the Museum House petitions to undermine the rights of residents. Dozens of citizens came to the City Council to object to Peotter’s misuse of the city seal in expressing his personal opinions.

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I was on the council as completely irresponsible ideas were randomly served up. As chairman of the Finance Committee, we quietly buried some of the most irresponsible ideas from Peotter and Duffield.

Duffield proposed all departments cut their budgets by up to 3%, a proposal that would have reduced funding for public safety by $3 million and result in the loss of 15 police officers or firemen. Duffield and Peotter voted twice, and continue to advocate a $3.5 million business license cut that would create a structural budget deficit affecting library and public safety services to primarily benefit large law firms and mega employers.

I love our city, and we need a change on the City Council to restore the ethical standards, fiscal responsibility and sense of civility that we all expect and deserve. I will be supporting council candidates Joy Brenner and Tim Stoaks. I encourage you to join me and demand change for the good of our community.

Tony Petros is a former Newport Beach councilman.

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