Letters to the Editor: Newport Beach is a picture of financial health

The city of Newport Beach recently received its financial ratings report from Fitch Ratings. I was so impressed with the report that I wanted to share some of its findings with you.

Below I have taken statements from the report to demonstrate the flavor of the financial condition of our city:

  • AAA Rating: This rating reflects notable financial flexibility and low liability levels.
  • Consistent tax-base performance enhances the city’s strong revenue growth prospects and a well-controlled expenditure framework.
  • Conservative financial management will enable the city to maintain financial stability and solid reserves in a potential economic downturn.
  • The extensive use of pay-as-you-go capital financing and planned pension over-funding to eliminate the outstanding liability support the city’s low-debt condition.
  • The city reliably maintains reserves, which generate a low potential decline of the city’s revenues in an economic downturn and maintains ample fiscal tools to address any future financial stress.
  • Well-managed, long-term liabilities in relation to pension payments to address there city’s unfunded liability. The report provides the following evidence for the above findings
  • The local economy benefits from the city’s mature, wealthy tax base and strong employment.
  • Home values are among the highest in the country.
  • Unemployment is exceptionally low.
  • The city benefits from diverse revenue sources.
  • The city’s mature tax base, stable demographics, high personal incomes and focus on economic development have contributed to strong historical general fund growth.
  • The unfunded pension liability constitutes just under one-third of the long-term liability. The city has taken recent action to mitigate the effect of escalating pension costs and eliminate their unfunded pension liability within 20 years, thus placing a low burden on the city in terms of long-term liability.

Conservative budgeting and sound financial policies have resulted in a trend of general fund operating surpluses and strong reserve levels.
Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach

The writer is a city councilman.

The Bible teaches us to love the outsider

President Trump’s administration has inflamed smoldering suspicions of the outsider. This distrust makes millions vulnerable to hatred but also many Christians and Jews, now during the Easter and Passover season, are troubled by the dismissal of the imperative to care for immigrants and refugees. Close readings of Ruth and Luke show the importance of caring for outsiders and how in turn they energize us.

Despite the deep divide between Israelis and Palestinians, or between Christians and Muslims, the Book of Ruth puts love before religious traditions, customs and even gods. Ruth, a Moabite, an outsider from a rival tribe of the Hebrews, has a Hebrew husband who dies but nonetheless she puts love of her also-grieving mother-in-law, Naomi, above her own Moabite faith and customs, pledging to Naomi, “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

The Bible gives us a Jesus who rises above treachery, not out of innocence but from a profound understanding of the consequences of teaching from the outside. As the ultimate outsider, he sacrifices his life to uphold his values and shows what courage it takes to hold onto our inner light, a light that is just as likely lit by an outsider as dimmed by those closest to us. The Donald’s mentality, railing against outsiders, pushes away that source of light.

Gary Hoffman

Huntington Beach

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