Mailbag: EE would 'liberalize' city charter

I have just received my sample ballot and the five double-sided pages of charter changes will be cumbersome for the voters to read.

But to be sufficiently informed on these charter changes all one has to do is find one they think is questionable and that will be sufficient reason to vote no. The City Council decided that the residents really shouldn't have much choice, so they provided the voters with only one yes or no vote for all 38 proposed amendments. I found it wasn't difficult to find a charter change that I think is very questionable, and that's why I put my signature on the arguments against Measure EE, for the sample ballot, some weeks ago.

The paragraph that describes the charter amendments includes this section: "expands conflicts of interest protections." That's very misleading, for when I go to the third page from the back of the sample ballot to find Charter Section 608, and read the wording of our current city charter, it already states that no member of the council shall be financially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract, sale or transaction to which the city is a party.

Now, the revised language of the charter amendment deletes "directly or indirectly," and "to which the city is a party and "in any contract, sale or transaction" is now qualified with the addition of "made by them in their official city capacity."

The changes appear to liberalize the existing charter by actually permitting a conflict of interest, as long as the council member with the conflict of interest just doesn't vote on it.

These language deletions bother me since I recall when I was on the council, "directly or indirectly" was taken very seriously. It appears to be a dilution of, not an expansion of, protections for the residents, and provides me with a very good reason to vote no on Measure EE.

Lucille Kuehn

Newport Beach

The writer is a former Newport Beach City Council member.


Official transparency

We all know how "transparency" has become a driving force in Costa Mesa.

I think we should all take pride in having a city that is working toward more transparency but shouldn't the candidates running for offices in every area that impacts the residents of Costa Mesa like our City Council, the Mesa Consolidated Water District and our Sanitary District also adhere to the same fundamentals of transparency?

In talking with neighbors and attending events myself I have found that unfortunately many candidates are making stuff up about their opponents as they walk from house to house or speak at a public gathering at one of our parks. The stories even change depending on who they think they are talking to about why you should vote for them. It is really hard to cut through the crap when they are so convincing with their sound bites.

So, if you have heard any sound bites in this crazy world of mud-slinging local politics call their opposition and ask them if what they are saying about them is the truth. Please don't take it as gospel because this election is one of the most important in our city's history and will truly set the course of our City Council, Mesa Water District and the Sanitary District.

Bill Sneen

Costa Mesa

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