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LANDSCAPE:Parks commissioner says survey shows no conflict

THE POLITICAL

Newport officials said Debra Allen lives too close to park to have voted on it.

March 26, 2007|By Alicia Robinson

As she promised — or threatened, depending on your point of view — last week, Newport Beach parks commissioner Debra Allen did indeed have a survey done to show how far her property is from the Newport Center Park parcel. For those who weren’t tuned in, city officials said Allen lives within 500 feet of the property, which could be a conflict of interest, so the city may have to redo some park-related decisions in which Allen participated.

She contends the city’s measurement — 375 feet, per its maps — is wrong, and a survey she had done Friday agrees, she said Monday. It showed she’s more than 550 feet away, and there’s more: she got an appraisal that she said shows there’s no financial impact to her no matter what’s developed on the park site.

It’s the presumption of financial impact that creates the conflict of interest, Allen said.

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“The park has absolutely no impact on my property,” she said. “It has a lot of impact on my concern as a citizen for open space.”

Check Tuesday’s paper for a letter from Allen explaining all that, and then Wednesday for an article on whether the council votes to rescind a February decision to proceed with building the park.

Giuliani talks about 9/11 and immigration in Newport Saturday

I’m just back from Rudy Giuliani’s talk to a packed ballroom at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, where people laughed, cried, and kissed campaign donations goodbye — OK, nobody cried. But they did applaud and laugh a lot.

Out of the “big three” GOP presidential contenders, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has Newport Beach Rep. John Campbell backing him, and Arizona Sen. John McCain has O.C. bigwigs Don Bren and George Argyros, but Giuliani appears to have support from Lincoln Club and New Majority folks, which will be significant for fundraising — and as that always-desired cue to voters.

Giuliani wasn’t as riveting in person as he’s apparently been before, but I don’t blame him after hearing he did at least three or possibly five events Saturday. The opener for his speech —  shepherding New Yorkers through the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — will be a central theme of his campaign because, as Newport political player Buck Johns said, “He trumps a lot of issues when he lays that card on the table.”

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