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Countdown to 2000: 1990s Politics

December 31, 1999

Andrew Glazer

The extent to which cities would be developed was the issue that

continued to dominate the political landscape of the 1990s in the

Newport-Mesa area.

In Costa Mesa, City Council members began rewriting the general plan,

with community feedback, to put more restrictions on the city's future

growth and development.

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"The 1990s marked a historic bend from property owners being allowed to

build out whenever they chose to a more restricted growth," City Manager

Allan L. Roeder said.Newport Beach water and sewer services began to feel

the strain of the significant growth in population and development during

the two previous decades. Newport Beach, which had previously drawn its

water from the reservoirs of other cities, reinstalled its ground water

system. At the end of the decade, Newport Beach drew 75% of its water

from its own ground wells.

Newport Beach also was required to improve its undersized sewage pump

station on Balboa Island. But even seemingly necessary building projects

met criticism. People living near the station complained about the

construction and stench.

The downturn in the nation's economy in the first half of the decade took

its toll on both cities. The state took away a major portion of the

revenue sources for city services, including property taxes.

Both cities were required to find new ways of supporting the programs,

both by spending public money more conservatively and privatizing many of

the cities' services. Costa Mesa, for instance, sought a private company

to manage its two golf courses after the city had managed them for nearly

30 years.

As the economy recovered in the late 1990s, both cities began responding

to polls showing citizens concern about public safety. Costa Mesa and

Newport Beach increased the number of police officers patrolling the

streets. And both cities instituted community policing programs, such as

Neighborhood Watch, to also help prevent crime. SOURCES

Kevin Murphy, former Newport Beach city manager

Allan Roeder, Costa Mesa city manager

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