I have a unique perspective on why we need to support the Elect Our Mayor campaign.
As the Harbor Commissioner of Newport Beach, I know we can very well trace our city’s growing international appeal just by looking out on the water. I would have loved to see John Wayne atop The Wild Goose in the 1960s, when Newport Beach was still a growing town with the recently closed Buffalo Ranch. Today we see mega-yachts from all over the world passing by residents and tourists on Duffy boats and SUPs.
While our city has retained much of its charm thanks to village atmospheres, there is no doubt that we are a modern city with complex issues.
In our port alone, we interact with the California Coastal Commission, the US Coast Guard, Orange County Sheriffs, the California Air Resources Board and many other government agencies.
It doesn’t even consider CalTrans on PCH, FAA at the airport, Housing & Community Development for state housing mandates, etc.
Often times we need the help of these agencies. Sometimes in the form of regulatory relaxation. Sometimes in financial support.
For example, we are indebted to former Mayor Duffy Duffield for his repeated efforts in Washington, DC seeking money for dredging. He will be the first to tell you that the efforts have been greatly helped by his relationships forged over years of work.
But, frankly, it shouldn’t have been that hard to get the dredging money. Our city is a piggy bank for politicians in Washington and Sacramento. We remain a community of donors both in politics and in taxation. And because we have a rotating mayor system, there is no longevity of the relationships between our city leaders and government agencies that affect our daily lives.
A system that worked in the 1960s is no longer appropriate in today’s world. With more and more cities moving to a directly elected mayor in Orange County, it’s time we did the same.
I support the Elect Our Mayor campaign and I hope you will too.
Gary Williams Jr. / Newport Beach Harbor Commissioner