December 10, 2003
June Casagrande Council members on Tuesday voted to elect Tod Ridgeway the new mayor and Gary Adams vice mayor for 2004. The proceedings became unusually contentious when Councilman John Heffernan stated that he would oppose Ridgeway's appointment without elaborating on why. FreeNewport.com spokesman Brian Clarkson also added some controversy to the proceedings by speaking out against Ridgeway and accusing him of being beholden to developer money, among other things.
December 9, 2003
June Casagrande A city councilman approaches each of his colleagues in turn and says, "I would like to be mayor. I hope you will support me." He does this in a city where mayors are selected by a vote of the council during a public meeting. He does it a month or so before that meeting. Is this a violation of the state's open-meeting law? These are the types of questions Terry Francke, general counsel for the California First Amendment Coalition, fields every day from reporters and from members of the public worried that officials are conducting public business on the sly. The question above is an actual example: This reporter asked Francke whether Newport Beach City Councilman Tod Ridgeway's remarks to his fellow council members are permitted by the open-meeting law. Ridgeway, like many Newport Beach council members past and present, told colleagues he would like their support when they vote for a new mayor tonight.
October 31, 2002
Newport Beach Mayor Tod Ridgeway nicely summed up this fall's election in an article last week: "It's been relatively mild," he said aboutthe relative lack of dirty tricks. Heading into the campaign, it seemed a sure bet that a targeted incumbent like Ridgeway wouldn't be saying anything of the sort just days before the final vote. Political types across Newport-Mesa (not to mention in the Daily Pilot newsroom) were expecting old-fashioned slugfests in the races in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, where Councilman Gary Monahan's decision to run again seemed to signal interesting developments to come.
October 14, 2002
I think most of our readers would agree that a law doesn't have much value if there aren't any consequences for breaking it. Yet, in my decade and a half or so as a journalist, I've seen precious few cases where someone paid any price at all for breaking the state's open meeting laws. It may have just happened again in a case we reported on Oct. 3 involving the Orange County Sanitation District and its 25-member board The sanitation board, with its attorney's blessing, and hiding under the cloak of "pending litigation," decided to bar the public and press from a meeting held with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board.
July 11, 2002
June Casagrande BALBOA PENINSULA -- Residents who want to save 25 ficus trees on Main Street say they will take their cause to court. A small battalion of impassioned speakers Tuesday took turns at the lectern to plead both sides of the issue. They spoke for more than an hour even though last month's council decision to remove the trees is basically irreversible, at least by the council. The courts, though, are a different matter. Residents who want the trees saved from imminent destruction say the canopy, the shade, the beauty and the ambience the trees create make them too valuable to tear up. This is especially true because some of the trees are designated as "special" city trees, they say. But others are just as passionate in their belief that the trees must go. Members of the business community, as well as residents, say the trees' beauty doesn't compensate for the costly damage the fast-growing roots cause to sewer lines and even building foundations.
June 20, 2002
June Casagrande NEWPORT BEACH -- Mayor Tod Ridgeway and Councilman Gary Adams will both seek reelection in November. The separate announcements round out the current slate of candidates for the upcoming ballot, with one contender for each of the four seats that will be up for grabs. In April, longtime Corona del Mar activist Laura Bekeart Dietz announced she would run for Dennis O'Neil's District 6 council seat. Later that month, the city's former public works director, Don Webb, announced he would run for Norma Glover's District 3 council seat.
May 30, 2002
Paul Clinton NEWPORT BEACH -- A federal bill that would give boaters the green light to dump partially treated sewage into Newport Harbor has come back to life after it died in a subcommittee last year. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) has reintroduced a bill, known as the Recreational Waters Protection Act, that would amend the Clean Water Act to do two things: revise the standards for bacteria levels and allow boats equipped with a "marine sanitation device" to unload their waste in protected water bodies.
May 5, 2002
As we've been going through our "visioning" process to get started on updating the general plan, I've been hearing comments from residents that make me concerned that people may not really understand what this project is all about. I hope I can provide some clarity on the general plan update in this letter. The first thing I'd like to tackle is the notion that Newport Beach is a "built-out" city. I happen to think that's true -- but it doesn't lessen the importance of the general plan update.
February 24, 2002
Newport Beach Mayor Tod Ridgeway calls for unity in the city to promote growth beneficial to all, and criticism gushes forward ("Mayor's speech draws harsh reaction," Feb. 2). I am a firm believer in sensible planning, growth, development and redevelopment. Of course I don't want to see unrestrained growth, low-income housing on Lido Isle or even affordable housing on Linda Isle. When Ridgeway states what is basically an observation rather than an opinion, people shouldn't get their feathers ruffled.