A final look at Measure EE

Election 2012

Newport Beach charter amendment proponents hope to make several revisions with a single vote.

November 02, 2012|By Jill Cowan

Finally getting around to figuring out your ballot? Here's a last-minute guide to Newport Beach's Measure EE, which proposes 38 amendments to the city's charter. (For a more in-depth look, see our story from Oct. 13.)

Proponents say the measure will update Newport's processes for the Internet age, make the city more efficient and protect it from costly class-action lawsuits. But beyond a few important provisions, supporters say most of the 38 changes are fairly mundane, like changing "he" to "he/she."

The measure is endorsed unanimously by the City Council, among other groups, like the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Opponents say it asks voters to approve too many changes with just one vote. Furthermore, they say, some of the components decrease transparency.


The measure is opposed by a group of longtime council critics, along with the League of Women Voters and others.

The following are some key changes.


Red-Light Cameras

Measure EE would add a provision banning red-light cameras from city streets. Proponents say the cameras are operated by private companies that lure cities into expensive contracts with the promise of revenue from tickets, and that a charter amendment banning them would stop future councils from being tempted.

Opponents say the change is a red herring, designed to get voters to shepherd the rest of the changes through.


Class-action Lawsuits

One of the changes proposed in the charter would ban class-action lawsuits against the city. While opponents have questioned the legality of such a ban, the city attorney has cited the California Supreme Court Decision Ardon vs. the city of Los Angeles, in saying that it's acceptable.

Officials have said that although no other city seems to have such bans on the books, the move could save the city from being blindsided by predatory attorneys that don't really represent residents' interests. City Attorney Aaron Harp has said that groups could still sue the city by filing the same claim forms.


Council Compensation

Measure EE proposes changing language surrounding council pay. The charter would be changed to say that the council members will be compensated for their work, but supporters say that doesn't amount to a pay raise. Council members already take home about $15,000 per year, plus about $500 extra per month for the mayor, but it has been categorized as a stipend. The changes say council members will receive about that same amount, only now, officially categorized as compensation.

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