It is heating up here in Newport Beach as proponents of the "City Hall in the Park" initiative gather their signatures. Meanwhile, the City Council majority is getting plans ready to build a $5 million passive park on the same site.
City Councilman Keith Curry, who penned a column against the initiative, called me to discuss our differences on the issue. Before I talk about our differences, let me say Curry is an engaging advocate for not locating the City Hall next to the library on Avocado Avenue. He thinks the OCTA site up the street would be a better location for City Hall. Though I completely disagree with him on this issue, the people of Newport should be glad to have a councilman of his caliber representing them. Curry comes out of the John Moorlach mold: elected officials not afraid to speak their minds.
My issues are simple: What is doable, and how much will it cost the taxpayers? To that end, the city has commissioned a study known to all as the DMJM study. What the study says is Newport would save $10 million building on the land next to the library. You would think that might settle the issue. That isn't chump change.