Last night, councilmember Will O’Neill was the only person offered up by his fellow councilpeople to take the place of outgoing mayor Diane Dixon. With zero competition and zero discussion, O’Neill was appointed by councilpeople as the new Mayor.
With zero competition and zero discussion, Brad Avery was appointed by councilpeople as the new Mayor Pro Tem (basically, a “vice mayor”).
According to California State law (specifically, the Brown Act), these things cannot be decided behind closed doors and must be done in open, public discussion, but as has been the custom for decades in Newport Beach, only one person was nominated, everyone supported them, and there was zero public discussion on the matter. Pretty coincidental that 100% of councilmembers for the last 20 years have all unanimously decided who the best person was to be mayor amongst themselves with zero discussion beforehand and they all were on the same page at the exact same time.
Furthermore, for the first time I have ever seen in a decade of watching public feeds, the camera zoomed in on specific people in the audience who were there to support O’Neill. Never before have I ever seen any angle except the same, stagnant views on the camera. It’s almost like someone knew beforehand that O’Neill would be elected mayor and instructed the camerapeople to make it a memorable moment. Finally, nearly everyone in the audience was there to support O’Neill, and not a single other councilperson. I guess it is just coincidence that all councilpeople decided that O’Neill was the best and all of O’Neill’s supporters were in the audience and nobody elses’s supporters were. Because if they all knew beforehand, that would be a violation of the Brown Act.
Regardless of the highly-suspected decades-long tradition of violating the Brown Act, congratulations to Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill.
Hopefully he uses his time in office to crack down on private organizations that are illegally funded by our diverted tax dollars earmarked for other things. He doesn’t seem to know which ones those are, though, as he accidentally praised them last night during his acceptance speech. It’s hard to know everything happening in the city. I look forward to watching him gain even more knowledge about our city during his term as mayor, and seeing how he responds when he has the information to make tough decisions.
It’s not an easy job if you’re trying to make everyone happy. It’s only easy if you do the right thing, relentlessly… But don’t expect those decisions to be popular to the power structure.