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Daigle, Hill, Measure V winning in Newport

Early returns show voters trusting incumbent, well-known civic leader.

November 02, 2010|By Mike Reicher, mike.reicher@latimes.com

Voters in Newport Beach on Tuesday appeared poised to choose the familiar: the insider over the outsider; the incumbent over the challenger; and yes to a package of laws blessed by the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce.

If trends seen in early returns hold, it looks as if Rush Hill will beat Ed Reno for the District 3 City Council seat, Leslie Daigle will beat Mark Tabbert for the District 4 seat, and the Measure V package of charter reforms will pass.

Hill, an architect and longtime actor in civic affairs, was leading Reno by a wide margin at 10:30 p.m.

District 3 represents Dover Shores and Mariner's Mile.

This contest for the termed-out Councilman Don Webb's seat was the most heated race in Newport and drew attention from wider political circles. The Republican Party supported Reno, a lobbyist with strong political ties. Public employee pension reform was the GOP's main issue.

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"This campaign boiled down to, 'Do you elect someone who understands the issues or do you elect someone who is the Republican nominee?'" Hill said.

Voters were asked to choose between Hill, 65, a past Citizen of the Year and 35-year local business owner, and Reno, 41, a parent of a school-aged boy who sought to connect with younger voters.

In some circles, Hill is called the "eighth city councilman" because of his extensive involvement in civic affairs. He has twice served as chairman of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and helped found the city's Economic Development Committee. An architect by trade, Hill has also been a consultant in public-private partnerships. He has owned and operated Hill Partnership, an architecture firm in Newport, since 1975.

Hill served on the citizens' design oversight committee for the Civic Center, and made recommendations to the City Council on the project. Reno hammered on the project during the campaign, pointing out aspects that ballooned in cost. He sought to tie Hill to the Civic Center and other city spending that he characterized as unnecessary.

Reno also criticized the city for spending too much on employees, while Hill called public safety employees part of the Newport "family." The Newport Beach Firefighters Assn. spent more than $6,000 for mailers supporting Hill.

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