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Wu: Newport should sue if OCTA doesn't acquiesce

April 14, 2012|By Jack Wu

So Harp went forward with the tolling agreement because he hadn't received concrete proof that such a rescission had been properly filed by the time the council meeting occurred. Better safe than sorry, right?

This still brought up some questions in my flu-ridden, tax season-crippled little brain.

First, why did it take almost the entire 35-day statute of limitations period to go after the tolling agreement?

And why are Curry and Daigle OK with nicely asking OCTA to mitigate the traffic concerns, but if OCTA says no, why aren't they willing to sue to protect Newport Beach's interests?

Two weeks ago, Curry said he doesn't like when government agencies use taxpayer dollars to sue each other. OK, that's a fair argument, but what if the tolling agreement and negotiations are not successful, another notice of exemption is filed, the additional 35-day statute of limitations expires, and Newport Beach loses all rights for mitigation studies by not suing?

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Then the 19th Street Bridge is gone forever, right? Shouldn't the city be backing up its request for mitigation with a large bat?

"I support the bridge's removal from the master plan and recently requested NB council request OCTA to prepare mitigation studies," Daigle said two weeks ago. "That procedurally is the right path to follow. The council voted to request OCTA do the mitigation studies. ... As we've seen in Costa Mesa, when things are procedurally done so wrong, they grind to a halt. I am optimistic OCTA will come around and do the mitigation studies so traffic is managed appropriately."

This time, Daigle did not respond to my request for a comment, but apparently she's changed her mind regarding pursuing litigation against OCTA, at least when considering the council's original 6-1 consensus. She could be siding with Curry's reasoning, but we just don't know at this point.

Considering that Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach have always been against the 19th Street Bridge, while according to Newport Beach's Public Works Director Steve Badum, "the city has always supported it and formally supported it in the city's first General Plan," how successful do you think the negotiations will go?

Apparently not far, if you are running for Assembly, as Daigle is, in a district that includes Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa. By not protecting Newport Beach's best interests — keeping the 19th Street Bridge on the map — Daigle could be sacrificing Newport Beach votes in favor of possibly gaining votes in Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa in June.

We'll see if this no vote for Newport Beach pays off for her in Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach on June 5.

JACK WU is an accountant who lives in Newport Beach and practices in Costa Mesa. He is a longtime Republican Party loyalist and a volunteer campaign treasurer for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa). His column runs Sundays on the Daily Pilot Forum page. He can be reached at jack@wubell.com.

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