Nichols' words no surprise to Greenlight

June 20, 2003

June Casagrande

Members of Greenlight's old guard are divided on how Councilman Dick

Nichols' comments about Mexicans might affect their cause, but they

agree that Nichols' comment was, at best, unwise. And they're not

surprised that Nichols would make such a comment.

"Dick Nichols is my friend, I admire his honesty and his ability.

It's unfortunate that he puts his foot in his mouth," said Allan


Beek, who authored the original Greenlight initiative and who, like

Nichols, ran on a Greenlight ticket in the last City Council

election. "I've had two meetings with him to tell him to choose his

words more carefully. I had urged Greenlight not to seek Dick

Nichols' candidacy. They didn't listen."

Beek added that opponents of the Greenlight principles of limiting

growth and traffic might use the Nichols' incident to their


Former Mayor Evelyn Hart, also one of the original Greenlight

proponents, said that Nichols' comment does not and should not

reflect on Greenlight's core issues.

"I have no idea where he's coming from with these comments," Hart

said. "Dick Nichols does not represent Greenlight when he's talking,

and this is certainly not a Greenlight issue. ... Greenlight is about

traffic and making sure that our street system works. Any council

member that has supported that philosophy, we have supported, and I

would hope that we continue to."

Former Mayor Jean Watt declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Tom Fuentes, the leader of the Orange County Republican

Party, has joined the list of local political leaders denouncing

Nichols' comments about Mexicans and calling for action.

"This is a tragic and appalling circumstance," said Fuentes,

chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County. "I believe that an

apology is in order and that if a suitable apology is not immediately

rendered, I suspect that the direction of the gentleman's colleagues

will move forward among the people of Newport Beach."

Some of Nichols' colleagues have called for him to resign his

council position as a result of the comment.

The party branch is not in the position to strip Nichols of any

privileges because, though Nichols has a long history of activism

within the Republican Party, the party does not endorse candidates or

office holders in nonpartisan elections, Fuentes said.

Fuentes added that Nichols' comment does not reflect the position

of the party.

"There is nothing that is partisan about this kind of

controversy," Fuentes said, adding that he had three Mexican

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