In the first piece below, the Daily Pilot provides an account of Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff and his reminiscing at yesterday’s Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
So, let me do the same. David Kiff helped me on my campaign for Treasurer back in the spring of 1994. That’s when I remember meeting him for the first time. I can still recall him dropping by my campaign headquarters in Costa Mesa and noticing how buff he was. For this accountant that doesn’t work out much, it’s something that I remember teasing Dave about over the years. He is always in great shape.
When his boss, the late Sen. Marian Bergeson, one of my campaign honorary co-chairs, along with then U.S. Representative Chris Cox, decided to withdraw her endorsement, I rushed to her Newport Beach office. I met Dave there and asked what was going on?
Dave is quiet and noncontroversial, so he politely claimed ignorance. I then pleaded with the Senator to change her mind and continue her endorsement. Unbeknownst to me, since she was running for Orange County Supervisor to replace Supervisor Tom Riley at the time, she was receiving an incredible amount of pressure from the Supervisors and the County Administrative Officer, Ernie Schneider, to drop her support of my candidacy. She caved.
I told her in that meeting that when the portfolio blows, she would be behind the leadership curve for dropping her endorsement. But, the nationwide articles covering the campaign in The Wall Street Journal and The Bond Buyer, which are now seen as prescient, were too frustrating to the Orange County bureaucracy I was taking on at the time.
Sen. Bergeson would win her election in June. The bankruptcy filing would occur on December 6th and she was sworn in the first Tuesday of January, thus inheriting the fiscal mess and the responsibility to clean up the mess.
Some would say that her move cost me ten percent of the vote and, thus, the election.
A few months into her term she lamented to me that the first question every reporter that called her on the Orange County bankruptcy would ask, “Why did you drop your endorsement of Moorlach?”
Dave would go on to work with Supervisor Bergeson on the “Fifth Floor” in the Civic Center and we would interact often as the Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint me to the position of Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector on March 17, 1995. After a number of months, Supervisor Bergeson resigned and accepted an appointment by Governor Pete Wilson to serve as the state’s Secretary of Education. This pulled her out of two storms, the bankruptcy recovery effort and the battle over the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and its future.
That’s when Dave moved over to the city of Newport Beach. In his role there, we worked together closely. I met with him shortly after being elected Orange County Supervisor in 2006 to discuss the harbor, potential annexations, and the John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement Extension.
The settlement agreement extension would be a major subject years in the future, but I wanted to start on it immediately. Know that years of preparation went into the process and we have Dave Kiff’s leadership to thank for a successful outcome.
A sampling of the many successes that we enjoyed over the years are captured in my blog and provided below. The joys of public service are two-fold. The first is that taking on major projects is not easy and can be very lengthy and laborious. But, the second is the satisfaction of knowing, as you reflect back, that good things were accomplished.
David Kiff, thanks for serving quietly, diligently, non-confrontationally, and humbly. It was an honor to work with you. I wish you all the best in your future. I hope to bump into you again at the annual California New Car Dealers Association Auto Show at the Anaheim Convention Center or to visit when you move to Sonoma County, as it is a short day trip from Sacramento.
On addressing homelessness:
On addressing defined benefit pension liabilities:
On collaborating on the John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement Extension and curfew continuance:
On his history with Sen. Marian Bergeson:
On negotiating with the County regarding the cost of Harbor Patrols:
On the fire ring debate:
On dredging the bay:
On the Mesa Drive Horse Trail:
On Shellmaker Island:
On the closure of the Santa Ana Heights Redevelopment Agency:
On the annual Newport Beach Mayors’ Dinner:
On the annual budget process for Newport Beach:
Receiving the Jim deBoom Eagle Award:
Being recognized in the annual Daily Pilot 103:
Oh, there is also a second piece below. R Street mentions the fun panel I enjoyed yesterday evening at the Huntington Beach City Council Chambers. Unfortunately, CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost was called to serve Jury Duty, but she was ably represented by Dan Bienvenue, Managing Investment Director for Global Equity and Brad Pacheco, Deputy Executive Officer, Communications and Stakeholder Relations. We hope to post the panel discussion, ably hosted by Huntington Beach Mayor Mike Posey, when it becomes available.
Kiff reflects on 20 years of service to Newport Beach City Hall
Dave Kiff is a few weeks from retirement as the city manager of Newport Beach and ready to reminisce.
At a “fairly silly but a little bit serious” retrospective Thursday morning at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Wake Up Newport breakfast mixer, Kiff looked back on the 20 years he’s spent with the city, nine as the top appointed official.
He said the leaders that stay or come along after his Aug. 31 departure will want to remember to bring a parking lot to Sunset Ridge Park, to protect the environment and budget conservatively.
He said homelessness is “almost solvable” and Newport could offer jobs, like harbor cleanup, to help people get back on their feet.
He advised city observers to remember that infrastructure investments, such as the repairs funded by the most recent gas tax hike, benefit everybody.
Newport has the resources to keep its roads in good shape, but some nearby cities don’t, Kiff said.
He said to stay concerned about pension debt, “but only the city manager needs to lose sleep over that. The city has a good plan in place to pay down our pension debt faster than almost any other city.”
Kiff said he would miss the leadership of state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown. He’ll miss working to solve the challenges that come with being a neighbor of John Wayne Airport, work that he said will only be successful if the city bands together and doesn’t make it a neighborhood-by-neighborhood issue.
There’s plenty he said he won’t miss, like campaign sign enforcement, bridge-jumpers, the fire rings on the beach, the unofficial and at-times contentious “dog beach” near the mouth of the Santa Ana River, coyotes and banner-towing airplanes.
And he had no love for the criticism posted on the social media platform NextDoor and eroding social graces in general.
“One of the reasons I’m not sad to leave is the civility is really suffering — and it’s nationwide,” Kiff said. “Someone just sent an email the other day blasting the City Council for something they had nothing to do with. And I just thought, there was a time when people would think before that and/or pick up the phone.”
He praised Marina and Sunset Ridge parks, the Civic Center Green and park, Oasis Senior Center, Buck Gully Reserve, the city-run animal shelter, the main library — all built or enhanced during his tenure.
He praised the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguards and the local Community Emergency Response Team.
His voice faltered when he thanked colleagues, and it broke when he projected a picture of the name plate outside his office, showing his city manager title.
“The No. 1 thing I’ll miss the most is just being this,” Kiff said, calling the role “the honor of my lifetime.”
After he leaves the city he plans to move to Sonoma County, not far from his family’s farm. In September, he plans to climb Mt. Whitney, the highest summit in the lower 48 states. He’ll spend time with family.
Former Mayor Rush Hill was on the City Council when it chose Kiff as city manager in 2009. He recalled giving the announcement to a standing-room-only audience that spilled into the lobby of the council chambers in the old City Hall.
The crowd responded that night with a standing ovation.
“Ed [Selich, former mayor] forgot that his mike was open and he turned to the councilperson next to him and said, ‘Boy, I’m glad we didn’t select the other guy.’”
CALPERS CEO and Sen. John Moorlach to talk socially conscious pension investing
From OC Weekly:
Last summer, when speaking about the Public Divestiture of Thermal Coal Companies Act authored by his Senate colleague Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), who is now seeking to unseat U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) in November, Moorlach told CalWatchdog.com’s Steven Greenhut that chief investment officers “invest for value and don’t appreciate being hamstrung by legislators who don’t know how to manage a diversified portfolio. I think I’m the only legislator who managed a $7 billion portfolio. And the studies I’ve seen have shown that social investing has produced lower returns.”
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