As I see it some of the major issues currently facing the City of Newport Beach are listed here:
ISSUE – When in 2017 the Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff is quoted in an Orange County daily newspaper stating, “the only thing that keeps me awake at night is the city’s unfunded liabilities” you know you have a serious problem! I believe that the unfunded pension liabilities and health care benefits for retired city employees is more than a serious problem, it could be a game changer for the future of Newport Beach. I said during my 2014 council campaign that it is UNSUSTAINABLE for the health of Newport Beach to have this much debt, and I am saying it again four years later in 2017……it is UNSUSTAINABLE, and it must be addressed!
SOLUTION – The only way to address the current amount of nearly $400 million in unfunded pension and healthcare benefits (and growing every day) is to create new revenue that can be put against this amount while not impacting city services as well as look at future city union contracts. If we don’t start immediately drawing down on this amount, the pension and benefits funds that were promised to so many may not be there in five years. So, I would propose:
- A two cents sales tax increase
- A 10% cut in all city department budgets for two years.
- An immediate hiring freeze for all city departments.
ISSUE – As I see it the most dominate issue in the 2018 Newport Beach City Council race is what direction the new City Council will take the city in regards to growth, development, and approvals of residential and commercial projects and the proper adherence to the City’s General Plan. I am not anti-growth, I am not slow-growth, I am not fast-growth. I am for the RIGHT growth! Every decision the new city council makes in 2018 and beyond must be the “right growth” as laid out in our General Plan. I was the only candidate in the 2014 City Council race that supported the NO on Y ballot issue which won by a landslide, and should have shown the current city council, including Kevin Muldoon, how the clear majority of Newport Beach residents think about the “right growth and development” in our city. Clearly the way my opponent Kevin Muldoon has voted over the past three years clearly he never got the message.
SOLUTION – An in-depth review of every new development project that might require a zoning change or a General Plan challenge. All reviews will take into consideration: the impact on traffic…. the impact and change to the neighborhood…. and the impact on city views. A proposed View Assessment Fee would also be introduced for passage by the City Council, because we cannot continue to give away the city’s Billion Dollar views to developer’s unless the city is compensated accordingly.
ISSUE – Election Reform needs to be on the council agenda during the next term. It is insane for city council candidates to have to spent over $100,000 to try to get elected.
SOLUTION – Consider having district wide election results count instead of city wide results. This would allow each candidate to only have to campaign in their district which would address the current high cost of running for office.
ISSUE – All upcoming union contracts with city employees, police department employees, and fire/paramedic employees. The city must negotiate and enter into new contracts with these three city entities that would address the compensation that has the city in nearly $400 million in unfunded liabilities and with no funds to pay it. The process will not be fun, but the financial survival of the City of Newport Beach is on the line. The City Council and the unions MUST strike a balance in all future negotiations that will be fair for everyone….the public employees as well as all the residents of Newport Beach who are paying their salaries.
SOLUTION – All new union contracts going forward would include:
- 1. All future employee pensions will be in a 401k format with contributions on a 50/50 basis. For every dollar an employee contributes to their 401k plan the City of Newport Beach would match.
- 2. All future retiree healthcare benefits would be a contribution by the City of Newport Beach of $300 a month and would only begin at age of 55 and end at 65 years of age.
- A serious look at contracting out more city services if the financial savings is significant and there is no drop at all in these city services.
ISSUE – The traffic conditions in our city has only gotten worse over the past four years and will continue to deteriorate if not addressed.
SOLUTION – All new development projects brought before the Planning Commission and City Council MUST accurately show the impact on traffic the project will cause.
ISSUE – The John Wayne Airport Agreement
SOLUTION – Continue to work to ensure that the current FAA agreement allowing no flight departures prior to 7am and 8am on Sunday and no takeoffs after 10pm is kept in place. Certainly, proper take-off patterns are important but the 7am and 10pm curfews must not be changed in anyway.