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Mailbag: Measure V would save taxpayer money

October 23, 2010

This corrects an early version that misidentified Robert Rush as a council candidate.

There has been much misinformation in the press lately regarding Measure V, the comprehensive charter update effort to modernize our charter and improve efficiency.

The recently enacted Zoning Code amendments take up a 4-inch-wide binder with 440 pages of text and 50 pages of maps. All of this information is available online or at our libraries. Unless we pass Measure V, our antiquated charter will require this entire document to be published in the newspaper, in small print, at a cost estimated to be $127,668. The Pilot will likely have to publish a special edition to include it all. Measure V will end this wasteful practice and allow only the title and summary to be published with directions to the web or other sources for the full document. This change in approach is consistent with the laws of the state on publication of ordinances.

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For any given vacancy in police or fire, we can have 500 applicants. The current charter allows all 499 of those not selected to have a costly, formal personnel hearing. This wastes time and taxpayer money. Measure V revises the appeal procedure so that persons who are not employed by the city cannot appeal the city's decision not to hire them to the Civil Service Board.

Formal bidding requires adherence to specific state law requirements. With the current 1950s limit of $30,000, by the time the city complies with the formal process, legal review, advertising and protest periods, the cost of administering the bidding process can exceed the cost of the contract itself. This needs to be fixed and Measure V would simply raise the limit to $120,000. This change does not, however, prevent competitive bidding nor does it stop the city from contracting out. It just makes the process more efficient and less expensive.

Measure V does not provide funding to the Newport Beach or the CdM chambers of commerce. It simply allows them to compete with every other community group. In fact, the city is cutting back funding to all such groups in the community.

Some have said we should have divided each of these questions into separate ballot measures, but in addition to costing the taxpayers about $28,000 more for the election, the county was potentially unable to physically accommodate 14 measures from one city on the November ballot.

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