Last night the city council had a pretty eventful list of things to decide on. The session kicked off by appointing a replacement for current City Manager Dave Kiff’s retirement. Starting on August 31st, the city will be managed by Grace Leung, who is the current Assistant City Manager (and Acting City Manager) in Irvine, and was the Finance Director in Sunnyvale who is coming at us with both a Columbia University and Harvard University education. Her resume can be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gracekleung
Councilwoman Diane Dixon opened the council meeting by saying that she wants to put longer hours on parking meters to tax people more. The councilwoman– who was endorsed by the OC GOP just 2 weeks ago after taking a “no new taxes” pledge– said that she has noticed that since parking is used later into the night, that Newport should be taxing those who use it. Taking this into consideration along with her plan to charge for residential street parking in Balboa, and we can all see where her plan is taking us.
But the biggest item of the night in terms of time-spent definitely had to be the electric scooters, known as “Birds”. The city revealed that they had been in talks with Lime prior to Bird launching. Dixon wanted to create a “moratorium” on electric scooters, but didn’t seem to have the grasp on what she was actually referring to. Will O’Neill put it in plain English: The scooters are currently violating the law by being scattered across the boardwalk and sidewalks with no accountability for the people who own them. He said if the vendors can come up with a way to fix this, then great, but until then, they are in violation of the law and cannot operate here. Dixon continued to state that all she wanted was a moratorium, and didn’t seem to comprehend that if the companies could fix the problem, then they shouldn’t be illegal anymore.
A speaker also came up whose statement caught my ear. He stated that he was being paid by the City of Newport Beach to do a number of things– and one of them was working with the County of Orange to try to convince them to change their mind about allowing Dogs at Dog Beach. I am waiting on the video of the council meeting to be uploaded so I can re-watch this, but if the city is paying consultants to try to work behind the scenes with the county to destroy the very beach that they all said they would protect, this speaks to something much deeper than “an accidental oversight”. More to come on that, later.