Q. What are you doing to see that the Settlement Agreement at John Wayne Airport is enforced and extended when it expires?
A. This has been one of my highest priorities that has consumed a large part of my time as a council representative. I chair the JWA Citizens Advisory Committee. We have the most noise restrictive airport in the nation and Iím working to ensure we keep it that way.
The JWA Settlement Agreement expires in 2015 and Iím working diligently with my colleagues on the council, the County of Orange, Airport Working Group, Air Fair and SPON to protect our curfew and noise restrictions.
Iím prepared to do whatever it takes to protect the curfew and extend the Settlement Agreement to minimize the impact of flights on our communities.
Q. How do you envision the future of Banning Ranch, and what should the city do to accomplish that?
A. It is my responsibility to act in the furtherance of the voter approved General Plan. The General Plan provides a blueprint for the future of Banning Ranch. The City will accommodate 100% open space preservation so long as a third party such as the Banning Ranch Conservancy, purchases the land. The City retained a consultant to assist the Banning Ranch Conservancy, a potential owner, with finding available funds.
If acquisition by a third party is not successful, the City has no plans to become the owner of this land or fund its purchase.
A long time ago, there were advocates who wanted to stop all development at Castaways, Harbor Cove, etc. The developer agreed to ask voters what they want: buy land or let it be developed with big portions devoted to parks and open space. Voters decided against buying the land.
Today at Banning Ranch, not much has changed. The owner is willing to sell the property for 100% open space preservation. If acquisition is not successful, then per the voter approved General Plan, the city will consider a proposal for development that calls for 70% open space and preservation, and 30% development including amenities.
My responsibility to the citizens of Newport Beach is to act on the furtherance of the voter approved General Plan and not use zoning authority to effectively take private property.
The city has no plans to become the owner of this land or fun its purchase for permanent open space.
Q. The new City Hall project is bigger, more expensive and more expansive than what the voters approved. Why should the taxpayers have confidence in your fiscal stewardship on this project?
A. First, Iím not an expert at large scale construction projects. Iím relying upon a talented city staff that has put together an experienced team, and a sophisticated plan. Iím optimistic that, when it is done, it will be as much a source of pride for the community as the new OASIS senior center will be. Having said that, Iím concerned that some knowledgeable construction people donít believe the project is structured correctly to protect the city from costly mistakes, changes and overruns. I would be more comfortable Ė and I think taxpayers would be too Ė if we installed an experienced, knowledgeable person to act in an oversight capacity. I think he or she would pay for herself by adding a new set of wise eyes looking after our interests.
Q. What are you planning to do with the current City Hall site?
A. The city is evaluating two very different options -- a public use, such as a park and a private use that would generate significant revenue to the city. This is the commercial gateway to the Peninsula, an area that has been in decline. I believe we should look at the major commercial uses surrounding City Hall to see if the site could be a catalyst for some exciting new energy and retail/commercial uses in that area: In Lido Village, the Pavilions shopping center, etc. Iím pleased to see the new investment that will transform the Ralphís center into The Landing, a new, upgraded multi-use shopping center.
The City has a parks system of great beauty and value. This location is a commercial gateway and the property has a higher use than a park. As one visits the Peninsula, they will find long, open stretches of beaches. Itís a favorite place to recreate Ė swim, kayak, walk, run, roller blade, sail or surf.
Q. What are some of your proudest environmental accomplishments?
A. Iím proud to be a part of the on-going local effort to preserve Newport Beachís beauty and water quality. Iíve successfully worked with local, state and regional agencies to:
- Secured more than $17 million to complete the restoration of the Upper Newport Bay
- Played a critical role in the development of the Back Bay Science Center and Water Quality Lab
- Supported the Big Canyon Creek Restoration Project
- Required developers to go above and beyond to install state-of-the art water quality measure