Newport Beach voters approve Measure Z

City Charter will be amended to include Harbor Commission.

NEWPORT BEACH—A local measure proposing to update the Newport Beach City Charter to recognize the city’s Harbor Commission was approved by voters on Nov. 3. Measure Z, which proposed to make the city’s harbor advisory board “a City Charter designated Appointive Board and Council,” had 23,115 votes in favor and 18,732 votes against – or 55.24 percent “Yes” and 44.76 percent “No.”

Newport Beach’s City Council proposed and advocated for the measure. There was some formal opposition, as well – most notably by Newport Beach resident Jim Mosher.

The case for Measure Z in Orange County’s formal voting materials was made by Mayor Will O’Neill, Mayor Pro Tem Brad Avery and Council member Marshall “Duffy” Duffield; Mosher filed the official opposition statement.

Former Harbor Commission member Seymour Beek, meanwhile, expressed his position in favor of Measure Z in an opinion piece published by Newport Beach Independent.

“Measure Z was created to safeguard the Harbor Commission under our city’s charter,” Beek wrote in his editorial for Newport Beach Independent. “This will prevent future threats to Newport Harbor from political maneuvering.”

Avery and Duffield, like Beek, were former Harbor Commission members. Duffield is also the inventor and founder of “Duffy” boats.

Mosher stated the measure was “poorly written” and would actually fail to protect the Harbor Commission from the “political whims of future councils.”

The measure, according to Mosher, would do nothing “to resolve the existing uncertainty about the division of labor between the council-created Harbor Commission and the pre-existing Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission.”

Supporters for Measure Z, however, maintained the Harbor Commission would be able to focus on harbor-themed issues because of its inclusion in the City Charter. Those same supporters cited updates to Title 17 of the Harbor Code as the reason why Measure Z was necessary,

“The need for the Harbor Commission’s specific expertise was evident recently when the commission spent three years preparing a comprehensive revision to our Harbor Code to reflect today’s modern uses and regulations,” O’Neill, Avery and Duffield said in their defense of Measure Z.

The Harbor Commission was created in 2002 and advises the Newport Beach City Council on “operational, environmental and regulatory issues that control the harbor,” according to supporters of the measure.

Measure Z was not the only race in Newport Beach; Avery was up for re-election, as well. Avery, the former Harbor Commission member, was leading in the race his District 2 council seat. He was running against Nancy Scarbrough and had 59.94 percent of the vote, as of Nov. 5. The tally, at press time, was 25,241 for Avery and 16,868 for Scarbrough.

O’Neill, who is wrapping up his term as Newport Beach’s mayor, was also re-elected on Nov. 3; he ran uncontested for his District 7 council seat.

Noah Blom had the lead in the the other Newport Beach City Council seat up for grabs; Blom was running against Jeff Herdman.


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