LANDSCAPE:Groups to protest Harkey


The councilwoman's fundraiser dinner will see those who want a recall because she isn't focusing on job.

August 16, 2007|By Alicia Robinson

Dana Point City Councilwoman Diane Harkey had plenty of friends in Newport Beach when she campaigned for the 35th District State Senate seat in 2006, but a planned fundraiser on their turf today may also bring out enemies.

Harkey narrowly lost the open seat to Tom Harman in an April 2006 special election. Now she's running for a state assembly seat in a district that doesn't include Newport but following the trend of fundraising in town.

But when she gets to Newport, Harkey may face protesters who are trying to recall her from her council seat.

Attorney James Lacy — a former Dana Point councilman who is coincidentally working on the city hall ballot measure in Newport — said about 20 demonstrators with signs will crash Harkey's $1,000-a-plate party to bring attention to the recall effort. He said they're angry she's run for statewide office twice in two years instead of attending to her duties on the City Council.


Lacy said Harkey moved the event from the Ritz restaurant in Fashion Island to the private Pacific Club on MacArthur Boulevard when she learned of the protest plans, so her opponents will simply stand outside the venue.

Harkey said the event hasn't been relocated — she declined to say where it's going to be — and dismissed the recall attempt as sour grapes from Lacy, who lost a council reelection bid last year.

"The voters chose not to put him back into office," she said. "I find this all kind of ludicrous. I'm not expecting a big turnout for the picketing."

Newport Beach City Councilman Keith Curry thinks voter control over public employee pensions is the wave of the future, but it's also likely to result in a backlash from unions representing the employees.

The city's public safety unions said Wednesday they'll oppose Curry's proposal of a ballot measure that would let voters decide any future increases in city employee pensions.

"I'm philosophically opposed to it based on the fact that we have elected representatives that make those decisions, and it essentially takes away from our collective bargaining rights that we've worked hard to achieve," said Jeff Boyles, president of the Newport Beach Firefighters Assn.

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