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Measure EE passes

Newport's charter reform initiative glides through.

November 07, 2012|By Jill Cowan

Newport Beach residents approved 38 changes to their city charter on election day.

About 18,862 voters (57%) were in favor of Measure EE, and 14,244 (43%) were opposed, according to final election results released Wednesday.

"I'm encouraged citizens saw through misrepresentations of opponents to make the city more efficient and protect it from [class-action] lawsuits," Mayor Pro Tem Keith Curry said, taking a short break from mingling at the Orange County Republican Party's election night gathering at the Westin South Coast Plaza.

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The measure will make a variety of changes to a document likened to the city's constitution. Among its more visible provisions were a ban on red-light cameras and class-action lawsuits. Most of the changes were relatively minor updates to the charter's language.

Opponents had argued that the measure would make too many changes to be considered with just one vote and that it decreases transparency.

Earlier Tuesday evening, one of Measure EE's primary opponents Jim Mosher stood just outside the legally mandated 100-foot campaign boundary at Mariners Elementary School as a chilly evening mist settled in. A steady stream of residents passed through the heavily trafficked poll location.

Mosher, who sported an "I Voted" sticker, held a sign urging passersby to vote no on the measure. He said he'd been out since early in the day and that he'd "spent the weekend outside supermarkets," getting his word out.

At Mariners, he said, he hoped to turn a few more voters who may not have followed the issue much leading up to the election.

Indeed, many residents hitting the polls said they didn't know much about local races. National and statewide races, for the most part, were what drew them to the polls.

"Ironically, the local issues have more impact on our lives," said Paul Bellamy, 56, who dropped off his vote-by-mail ballot at City Hall, but people "start at the top." He said he knew he was unusual in putting in about 10 hours of election research time. He wasn't in favor of Measure EE.

"I thought they tried to put in too much on a single item," he said.

Terry MacNeish, a three-year Newport Beach resident who was volunteering as a poll inspector, said he doesn't follow local politics much, but he also had harsh words for Measure EE.

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