The OC Registers The Current columnist, Tom Johnson, provides an update on recent reorganization efforts at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce in the first piece below.
An update on potential candidates for the 45th Congressional District is provided by Roll Call in the second piece below.
Rosansky giving chamber a new lease on life
Many people think a former mayor and councilmans public service for Newport Beach ended in December when his term concluded.
You see, a month after leaving office, Steve Rosansky took over the reins of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce at the grand sum of $0 annually. Thats right it isnt a typo. Rosansky has been running the chamber free of charge since January.
In an opening letter to chamber members Rosansky said, Over the next several months the chamber staff, the chamber board and I are going to assess the services and programs we offer you with the goal of increasing the value to your chamber membership.
Rosansky seems to be proving that the chamber got the best deal in town and this is a town with a lot of deals.
We started the Wake Up! Newport breakfast meetings (with more of a news flair) a couple of months ago that are open to chamber members and nonmembers alike, Rosansky said. Last month we had 200 attendees.
The speakers to date have included Supervisor John Moorlach; the Hoag Hospital leadership, including Robert Braithwaite and Rick Afable; and Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer.
Were trying to do great things in the community, whether its bringing in notable, newsworthy speakers or improving events, Rosansky said. Its important to have a strong public value in order for us to foster a vibrant business community.
Included in the great things is a leadership group that Rosansky is putting together to take some of the previous financial burden off the organization. The group of businesses is partnering with the chamber by committing $5,000 to $15,000 each.
The group of 11, so far, includes the Irvine Co., Hoag Hospital, the Balboa Bay Club, the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, the Newport Dunes Resort and the Hyatt Regency, to name a few.
Hardly news to anyone, the chamber has spent the last several years fighting its way out of debt after an industry-wide membership decline and two financially poor-performing Taste of Newport events.
Well continue to provide our members a revamped lineup of offerings , Rosansky said.
Included in those will be a second night of fireworks at the Christmas Boat Parade, a more concentrated effort to expand the Ring of Lights, and continued community support of education.
And besides the money, whats the best thing about coming to the chamber?
I marvel at the people that have come together to help make this happen, Rosansky said.
GOP Primary Field Grows to Replace Campbell | #CA45
By Emily Cahn
Businessman Pat Maciariello announced Thursday that he is running to replace retiring GOP Rep. John Campbell in Californias 45th District, joining an already crowded GOP primary field in this strong Republican district.
Maciariello, a self-described political newcomer, joins state Sen. Mimi Walters, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach and retired Marine Greg Raths in the GOP primary.
Walters is widely seen as the front-runner, earning endorsements from California Republican Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa, among other local politicians.
The 45th District, based in Orange County, is one of the Golden States most strongly conservative districts. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the district in 2012 by 12 points.
The 45th District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS
Rich Saskal of The Bond Buyer provided his rendition of AG to Take Sides in O.C. Suit. Here are two of the paragraphs:
County Supervisor John Moorlach said in January, when the board voted to proceed with the suit, that the retroactive aspect of the pension benefit increase violated state constitutional prohibitions against incurring debt without voter approval, making gifts of public funds, and granting extra compensation to employees after a service has been rendered.
The countys lawsuit poses a significant threat to all public employees in California, including local police and other law enforcement officers, Brown said in a statement.
Alan Blank of the Daily Pilot provided an update on the issue of traffic emptying from the Costa Mesa Freeway in Cities mull over traffic solutions One option to cut down traffic on 55 Freeway and Newport Boulevard is underground extension of 55. Funding is still the problem, but this article provides the details of the efforts to date.
One option stands above the rest of the possible solutions to deal with the often unbearable traffic on the 55 Freeway and Newport Boulevard, according to a new study by the Orange County Transportation Authority.
The study, which will be presented to the city councils of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach and the OCTA board of directors in the coming weeks, concludes that the so-called cut and cover method is preferred to the other six alternatives studied. The cut and cover method calls for an underground extension of the 55 Freeway through downtown Costa Mesa into Newport Beach so that beach-going traffic can be taken off of overburdened downtown streets.
Still, the fix is not a foregone conclusion. The alternatives cost is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars, and it may not be completed for more than a decade.
Three less expensive and time consuming options, including the option of doing nothing at all, have been tapped by the study as possibilities that merit further inquiry, but Costa Mesa Transportation Director Raja Sethuraman said they are far from ideal.
Among other benefits, the cut-and-cover approach would allow for a more pedestrian-friendly downtown Costa Mesa, on Newport Boulevard between 19th and 17th streets, and an uninterrupted commute to the Balboa Peninsula from inland areas, proponents say.
We did surveys, and we had people identify which option they think is the best option. The cut-and-cover option got picked by the most people in Costa Mesa, Sethuraman said.
Surveys were taken at community outreach sessions held by the transportation authority and Costa Mesa, and also through mailers and other methods. Only about 300 people, or less than 1% of Costa Mesans, responded in the process of trying to determine the community needs, but Sethuraman said this is standard for a project of this scope.
Aside from surveying residents, the study included many computer simulations of traffic at various intersections in the area and how it would be changed if each alternative were instituted.
Alternatives rejected by the study included a proposal to build a raised freeway extension, hoisted up on concrete pillars, and a proposal to extend the freeway through the Eastside of Costa Mesa, demolishing more than 100 homes and businesses.
Costa Mesas City Council will be the first to hear OCTAs presentation at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave.
Since the 55 Freeway spits out traffic directly onto Costa Mesa streets, Costa Mesa has a lot of say in what option ends up being chosen because it owns the streets, which gives it some measure of veto power.
While we dont have the wherewithal to make it happen alone, we certainly have the ability to preclude alternatives that arent satisfactory locally, said Costa Mesa City Manager Allan Roeder.
Newport Beach is also affected by the decision, though, and some people in that city have expressed concerns that a tunneling approach might create a traffic jam wherever it spits out the cars. Caltrans is also involved in the process because the agency has jurisdiction over the freeway itself.
So even though Costa Mesans might overwhelmingly favor the cut-and-cover approach, they need some sort of consensus to move forward with any given option.
If Costa Mesa and Newport Beach cant agree, then I dont think anyone wants to ram a decision down the other citys throat, Newport Beach City Manager Homer Bludau said.
The next step in the planning process is a comprehensive environmental impact study that would take into consideration factors such as noise, air quality and more public opinion. This phase of the study would result in a detailed report that could be presented to governmental agencies from which the city needs to get funding to make any solution a reality.
For a project of this magnitude there is no other means to fund it other than through federal participation, Sethuraman said.
Costa Mesas City Council members are awaiting Tuesdays presentation before making final judgments, but Councilwoman Katrina Foley, Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor and Mayor Eric Bever expressed interest in an option that would tunnel under Newport Boulevard to extend the freeway.
Ideally, it would be fabulous if we could tunnel the 55 Freeway. I think that would be ideal for the residents of Costa Mesa and the businesses. Its going to take a lot of political will, though, because its an expensive option, Foley said.
I think that separation is the optimal solution. Fifty-five percent of the traffic on Newport Boulevard at this time is through traffic, so if we can get that through the area without mixing it in with the downtown traffic, then that will solve most of our problems there, Bever said.
Mansoor, along with county Supervisor John Moorlach and former Costa Mesa mayor and lobbyist Peter Buffa, is part of the 18-member OCTA board of directors, and thus will be involved in the decision on whether to fund the environmental impact study.
I would like to see us go forward with the second phase of the study, Mansoor said.
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