City Councilman Will O’Neill has announced that he is collecting signatures for a voter initiative to make the Mayor of Newport Beach an elected position. However, this initiative does much more than just establish an elected mayor. It establishes an elected mayor with immense power and that is just wrong.
Hidden in the initiative is Section 404(b), which states “Except as provided in Section 405, the Mayor shall have sole discretion to set City Council agendas and to change the order of business on the agendas.”
In other words, the mayor has total control of what may be brought in front of the council and the other members of the council have absolutely no say in the agenda. Thus, even if the other six council members wanted to discuss an important issue for the city, they have no power to do so.
If an unpopular issue makes it on the agenda and a crowd is expected at for an item that is on the agenda to be discussed at 7 p.m., the mayor can arbitrarily move the item to an earlier hour and bypass all that pesky public input.
Now just imagine if the mayor is beholden to special interests. If those special interests do or don’t want something inconvenient to their purposes on the agenda, the mayor can make that happen and the rest of the City Council can only helplessly sit by and watch.
As an example, many of us feel that Team Newport’s campaign consultant Dave Ellis exerts that power over his successful candidates. Remember the Museum House condo approved by the City Council over the objections of literally thousands of residents? The developer told me that Mr. Ellis was a consultant on the project because “that is how it is done.”
The residents of Newport Beach deserve to have each of their elected City Councilpersons have an equal say in the running of our city.
Electing an abnormally powerful mayor is exactly the wrong thing to do and I sincerely hope that citizens will think twice before signing this misguided initiative.
Susan Skinner / Newport Beach
The post Letter to the Editor: Electing Our Mayor is the Wrong Thing To Do appeared first on Newport Beach News.
Source: Newport Beach Independent