On Friday, May 4th, we held our 6th Airport Forum at City Hall. We provided an update on the results of our recent trip to Washington DC for the purpose of advocating for the citizen’s of Newport Beach concerning NextGen airport issues. Council members Diane Dixon, Kevin Muldoon and myself reported on our lobbying efforts, and city Manager Dave Kiff provided a detailed recount of our trip.
Our overall purpose was for those who we met with in DC to place a “name with a face”, and to establish dialogue as well as good working relationships with those who we are dependent upon to initiate support and change. That was certainly accomplished. We had a very aggressive two-day schedule of meetings that were scheduled by our lobbyist, Terry Hubert of Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney). Our team of five from Newport Beach consisted of myself, Kevin, Diane, Dave and Tara Finnigan (Deputy City Manager). We were joined by Terry and Eric Brown of Dynamic Strategies. Together, the seven of us met with Rep. Jeff Denham, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Bill Shuster, the FAA, the Senate Commerce & Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, the EPA, Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Grace Napolitano, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Julia Brownley, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and Rep. Lou Barletta. Whew!
Here are my takeaways from this very first lobbying experience:
1. Newport Beach is at the forefront of this issue. We are working to raise awareness while at the same time working toward a solution.
2. On our trip we strongly made our case giving the people of Newport Beach an elevated voice.
3. We met with senior officials in DC who were the right people to help us with our desired outcome.
4. There is receptivity concerning the issues of noise and pollution.
5. Our strategy will continue to include efforts to build supportive relationships while facilitating collective dialogue.
6. In working with the airlines and local airport authority, support from DC will provide leverage to our advocacy efforts on behalf of the people of Newport Beach.
7. There isn’t a “silver Bullet” solution or a stand-alone legislative/regulatory fix that will resolve this problem instantly. This will continue to take a combined effort including engagement with government and the airlines.
8. Continued legislative and administrative engagement has value to this process.
The timing of our trip could not have been better for the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 did, in fact, pass the House while we were there, and was sent to the Senate. The House version of this Bill includes a number of amendments that respond to the concerns of the public regarding noise impacts of aircraft overflight; particularly those caused by the airspace redesigns which have taken place throughout the country as a result of Next Gen.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California News
Recent, and what will be historic action taken by the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of So Cal to finance the lion’s share of the $17 billion California WaterFix project, also known as the twin tunnels project, was unanimously approved by the Board. This approval represents a secure and reliable water supply for 25 million Californians now, and long into the future. This momentous decision comes after more than a decade of analysis and thousands of hours of thoughtful discussions between local, state, Federal, and environmental leaders. This decision is the best possible outcome for our region, and for the entire state of California.
The city continues to aggressively secure Federal funding for dredging the lower harbor. Staff has been working with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s office and other key congressional members to gain further support for the required $400,000 design funding (FY 18/19), and with the Army Corp for $20,000,000 (FY 19/20) for the actual work to be completed.
After reading Hilary Davis’ Daily Pilot article in the Saturday, May 5th edition of the Daily Pilot (re: E-mails by Herdman May Break Regulations), I just have to respond. First I want readers to understand that when I made the decision to run for City Council, it was because many people had asked me to do so, and I also wanted to serve my city. And yes, I made an error in using my City e-mail account to respond to e-mails that I had received about the termination of our City Manger by encouraging the recipients of my response to support two candidates in the upcoming city council election. Mistake noted; it will never happen again! However, the content of my e-mails to constituents is the important fact here. Hillary’s article states that in responding to people upset about Kiff’s “impending departure,” I stated that “a majority of the seven-member council conspired to achieve a long-term goal of ridding the city of Kiff”. I say let the truth be told.
In her article, Hilary also cites California Government Code 8314 which bans elected local officials from using public resources for campaign activities. “Campaign activity” means an activity constituting a contribution as defined in Section 82015 or an expenditure as defined in Section 82025. “Campaign activity does not include the incidental and minimal use of public resources, such as equipment or office space, for campaign purposes, including the referral of unsolicited political mail, telephone calls, and visitors to private political entities.”
As Mayor Duffield correctly pointed out in Hillary’s article, I have spent my first year and a half on the Council working cooperatively with each of my colleagues, and have not at all demonstrated a disruptive presence. It has truly been my intent to do so knowing that I would be pretty much by myself up there on the dais. I have wanted, and will continue to demonstrate my willingness to work in cooperation with all council members for the good of our City. When I have disagreed with Council action, I have professionally stepped forward on two occasions when the public demanded that the Council rescind their approval of the Museum House Project, and their refusal to accept SB 1 Funds (Gas Tax).
The public spoke and I felt it my responsibility to represent them on each of these issues. When warranted, I will continue to stand up and say it is not OK. If there is something wrong I have a responsibility to fix it; my job is to be the best councilman I can be, and have the
community be proud of me. However, the most recent action by the council majority of terminating our city manager’s employment has really been just too much for me to just sit by quietly and accept. Based on the outrage that this action has resulted in on the part of the community, I once again have attempted to represent the community in expressing my complete dissatisfaction. Dave Kiff had absolutely no intention of retiring early. The current council majority orchestrated his premature departure, and if any of them say otherwise, they simply are not telling the truth. If Duffield is “disappointed with the current discord toward and within the council”, and he “doesn’t see the need”, then he should have thought twice about involving the entire council in discussions about the termination of our city manager.
I will continue to strive to make sure that the rule of law in the City of Newport Beach trumps political retribution, which this is clearly a case of by those who constitute the current council majority.
As always, I remain at your service. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns, issues, etc. Perhaps the best part of serving on the Council is my being able to problem-solve for my constituents.