Community Commentary:

Our traffic solutions can’t wait at a red light

September 30, 2007|By Philip Arst

Recent city traffic studies show that six city intersections are currently unsatisfactorily traffic congested.

The studies also project that when the additional major developments authorized by the city's new General Plan are completed we will have 18 unsatisfactorily congested intersections.

The only funding plan being discussed will delay receipt of funding for up to 20 years or more, leaving us to suffer through all the new traffic congestion until then.


If the city can't fix the six at present, how do you expect them to fix the 18?

There is an anticipated shortfall of funds to reduce all this traffic congestion.

In terms of the need for a new city hall, Newport Beach's city government is one of the fattest, if not the fattest in Orange County.

In comparing Newport Beach to the six beach cities in the county, and only counting full-time employees to eliminate lifeguards and summer hires, the Newport Beach city government has a full-time city employee for every 110 residents.

The average number of other beach city residents served by city government employees in Orange County is 313.

The average for all county cities is one government employee per every 600 residents.

What do they know about efficient government operations that we don't know? Data for this statement is taken from the 2007 edition of the OC League of Cities Annual Report.

It tabulates overall data on the 34 different Orange County cities.

Another factor in this comparison of cities is that Newport is one of only three cities in Orange County that collects its residents' trash with city employees.

We also use city employees for our sewer-maintenance operations, street sweeping, park maintenance and many other unskilled tasks.

The out-of-control pensions now being guaranteed to government employees has been estimated as a $50 million shortfall for Newport Beach.

It would make fiscal sense to not replace retiring unskilled employees and subcontract their work.

In contrast, private industry runs a tight rein on pension and healthcare costs. We are stuck with a city government that does not practice this fiscal responsibility.

The city has evasively responded to Greenlight's inquiries abut its bureaucratic waste. In a 12-page document published on the city's website, many minor outsourcing applications are listed while major ones are omitted.

This leaves the uninformed reader with the false impression that the city outsources heavily.

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