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Newport Coast backs incumbents

December 28, 2002

June Casagrande

Newport Coast voters were the strongest supporters of the

incumbent slate in November's election, while Greenlight-endorsed

challengers had their strongest showing in the older parts of town:

Corona del Mar and the Balboa Peninsula.

Tod Ridgeway received 606 votes, or 61% of the vote, from the six

precincts that encompass most of Newport Coast. By comparison, the

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Greenlight challenger for Ridgeway's District 1 seat, Madelene Arakelian, got 270 votes from Newport Coast, and independent Marianne

Zippi got 116 votes, according to a detailed breakdown of voting

provided by the county Registrar of Voters.

In other areas of the city, Ridgeway's lead varied from about 50%

to 58% of the vote.

Newport Coast voters also favored incumbent Councilman Gary Adams,

who got 558 votes for the District 4 seat, compared to Greenlight

candidate Rick Taylor's 296 votes and independent candidate Ron

Winship's 84.

Don Webb and Bernie Svalstad, the two candidates who ran on the

same "Team Newport" slate with incumbents Ridgeway and Adams, also

had their most solid support in Newport Coast.

Svalstad got 433 votes to Greenlight candidate Dick Nichols' 385.

Across the city, Nichols led Svalstad, winning the seat with 10,929

votes to Svalstad's 9,833 and Laura Dietz's 2,713.

Webb got 601 votes to Greenlight opponent Allan Beek's 337. Though

Webb won the council seat, his citywide support of 53.7% was much

less than his 64% support in Newport Coast.

In contrast to the votes in the city's newest community -- Newport

Coast was annexed at the beginning of the year -- the votes in

Newport's historic sections was far more pro-Greenlight.

In Corona del Mar at large, for instance, the results were far

different. There, Ridgeway only topped Arakelian 922 to 799. Nichols

far outstripped Svalstad, 958 to 673, with Dietz landing 268.

And Beek pulled in more votes than his opponent, winning the area

985 to 916.

The Beek-Webb race ironically reinforces something Beek said

nearly two years ago and that Greenlight leaders have said all along:

The gated communities of Newport Coast could put grass-roots

campaigns at a disadvantage because they discourage door-to-door

campaigning in favor of more expensive campaign mailers.

Webb ran as Walkin' Don Webb because he has walked every street in

the city, including those in Newport Coast. He worked with resident

groups to be allowed to go on walks in Newport Coast communities, he

said. He did not go door to door to hand out campaign literature,

though.

Though both slates of candidates sent mailers to Newport Coast

residents, Greenlight spokesman Phil Arst said that his group had

less money, especially early in the campaign, for expensive mailers.

Citywide, the group's volunteers handed out about 80,000 fliers. In

Newport Coast, they were only able to reach one community, Arst said.

"It put a severe crimp in our campaigning in that area," Arst

said. "It hurt."

* JUNE CASAGRANDE covers Newport Beach and John Wayne Airport.

She may be reached at (949) 574-4232 or by e-mail at

june.casagrande@latimes.com.

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