Writers to the Pilot have recently expressed some concern (and relayed some misunderstandings) about the city's budget and the Civic Center project. I apologize in advance for the length of this letter – but I recognize and appreciate that Newport Beach taxpayers want and need to know where their money is going. Transparency is important to the City Council and to me, too.
So bear with me, please, and let me try and help with some clarification:
Q: Did the city have a $10 million budget shortfall?
A: It was $8 million. The City Council directed me to address it without significantly impacting services. We worked hard at it, and closed fiscal year 2009-10 in the black.
Q: Is the Civic Center happening at breakneck speed?
A: Gosh, it sure doesn't seem so. At my count, there have been at least 32 public meetings about this project over about 2 ½ years. If that's too fast, then we are guilty as charged. But 30 months of planning and designing the Civic Center, to me, seems long. A good, deliberate public process takes time.