SCOTT PEOTTER

Newport Beach Councilman

  • He does not respect the law.
  • He supports high rise development throughout Newport Beach.
  • He failed to conduct himself in a civil manner.
  • He has directed tax dollars to the benefit of his campaign contributors and supporters.

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On April 11, 2017, the following Notice of Recall was served on Mr. Peotter at the Newport Beach City Council meeting.

This started the process of a recall that will culminate in an election to remove him from office. We are required to gather signatures from 15% of the registered voters of Newport Beach within 5 months and will begin that process as soon as the legal requirements to print the petitions are met.

Notice of Recall

Scott Peotter is an embarrassment to our community and a failure as our city councilman.

He strongly supports high-density, high-rise development and even endorsed raising the height limits for developers on Lido. He fought hard to block the Museum House referendum by requiring the ten-pound petition and voted twice to approve the project.

Peotter has insulted his colleagues, compared a councilmember to notorious killers, and insulted residents who opposed his high-rise development plans. He violated the Brown Act by disclosing confidential closed session deliberations and broke campaign contribution regulations and political reporting laws. He misused the city seal and has been rebuked twice by the council. He is the subject of an FPPC investigation for election law violations.

He proposed speculating in the stock market with city tax dollars, voted for fee cuts and large settlements for his contributors and voted against the city sexual harassment prevention policies. Claiming to be a “fiscal conservative,” Peotter uses his council position to collect compensation from four public agencies.

Our city cannot afford the extremist policies of a councilman who disrespects our laws and who mocks and insults residents who disagree with him. Vote to recall Scott Peotter.

Why recall Scott Peotter?

Scott Peotter breaks the law, does not share our values and puts our city at risk with his actions.

  1. He breaks the law. In 2015, he disclosed confidential closed session information to the Costa Mesa Tea Party in violation of the Brown Act. His disclosure had been taped and posted on YouTube and when discovered, he tried to cut the 17 incriminating minutes out of the video, but was caught.In 2014, he was caught twice accepting excess contributions. This is a serious violation of law, potentially punishable by removal from office. One contribution was from Woody’s Wharf. He failed to report the return of this contribution and failed to report the cost of a subsequent fundraiser held at Woody’s. He was later the deciding vote to cease litigation with Woody’s and award them $300,000 instead. The FPPC is even now continuing its investigation of his violations.He repeatedly violated the municipal code related to the use of the city seal by using it inappropriately a total of 7 times and was reprimanded by his colleagues.
  2. He sought to undermine the constitutional rights of residents to referend the Museum House tower in December 2016 by forcing the referendum petition to contain an additional 3700 extraneous pages. The resulting ten-pound petition cost $46,506 to print, more than many families in America make in a year. This was done explicitly to prevent the referendum from being successful. His campaign manager, Dave Ellis, was also a lobbyist for the Museum House.
  3. He strongly supports high rise development throughout Newport Beach. He was a strong advocate of the high-rise Museum House tower, voting to approve it twice and was one of two councilmembers who refused to rescind the approvals for the tower even after 14,000 signatures were submitted and the referendum was qualified. He even proposed eliminate the height limits on Lido Island (2/9/16). Now he wants to revise the General Plan, which is the blueprint for development in our city, to reflect his high-rise vision for Newport Beach.
  4. He puts our city at risk. He proposed speculating in the stock market with city funds as a way to make money to pay down our unfunded pension liability. He suggested a restructuring and refunding of city debt in a way that would have actually cost $20 million instead of saving money. He proposed eliminating the business tax without any consideration of replacing that revenue. He tried to sell revenue generating public assets and voted to run our sewer system at a structural deficit despite the long-term implications of doing so. These are not sound financial practices, but are proposals that would have caused harm to our city had they actually been implemented. His intolerant statements regarding minority groups have created a hostile work environment for an ever-increasing number of workers within our city and would not be tolerated in the private sector due to legal liability.
  5. He opposes civic investments. Thus far, he has opposed the Corona del Mar fire station and library remodel, the Corona del Mar pocket park, Marina Park, the West Newport Community Center and highway beautification projects, all projects that were strongly supported by the community.
  6. He has failed to conduct himself in a civil manner. He has compared his colleagues to notorious killers Lyle and Erik Menendez. He has insulted community leader such as Citizens of the Year Jean Watt and Nancy Skinner and called them liars. He describes the respected community organization SPON as “SPAWN” or “Stop Pouting and Whining in Newport.” He used the city seal to advance his personal agenda, endorse partisan candidates and raise campaign money for himself. He has simply lied in his response to the recall notice, overstating the cost of a special election by hundreds of thousands of dollars despite knowledge of the actual cost. He endorsed the use of racist Farsi language campaign signs used in the last election to smear a candidate he opposed.
  7. He was the only council member to vote against the city’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy, again potentially exposing the city to legal liability if he had prevailed.
  8. He opposed political reform, including the disclosure of the lobbying clients of his campaign manager and any real enforcement of the campaign contribution limits. In addition, he has refused to enforce the campaign contribution limit law against his political allies.
  9. He has directed tax dollars to the benefit of his campaign contributor and supporters. He directed more than $250,000 to 800 residents with docks on public water, over $500,000 to mooring holders even though 60% were nonresidents. (These changes were made at the same time he was cutting funding for other civic projects.) He supported awarding a contract to Southside Towing even though they were rated last by the Police Department. He supported the Museum House project, whose lobbyist was also his campaign manager, and supported a special election for the Museum House referendum when it meant that the project might have a chance at approval. More than $500,000 has been paid in settlement fees by the city to his donors.
  10. Despite his conservative rhetoric, he is collecting compensation from four separate public agencies. On 8/24/16, he attended a meeting of the Sanitation District, stayed for only 27 minutes and left before voting on any major issues. For this investment of time, he collected $212.50 or 7.87 per minute.

Why Now?

Some people have (reasonably) asked why recall Scott Peotter now when he is up for re-election in 2 years. There is, after all, a cost to run a special election (although nothing close to what Mr. Peotter claims).

The answer is that in addition to the things that he has done, Scott Peotter puts the city at risk with the things that he may do between now and the next election.

We are about to begin an update of the General Plan. The General Plan is the blueprint for development in our city and the councilpersons who develop and approve the next General Plan will have an outsized influence on the amount of development that will be approved for the next 10 to 15 years. Mr. Peotter is unabashedly pro-development and readily endorsed the 25 story Museum House. In fact, if the Museum House had already been in the General Plan, we would not have had the option to referend it. If Mr. Peotter is developing the next General Plan, we can count on significant increases in development.

We have two more budget cycles between now and the next election. Mr. Peotter has already shown his irresponsible financial choices in ways that are harmful to our city, as described in #4 above. Team Newport tends to vote as a block and often follows Mr. Peotter’s lead, as they did in voting down increases in sewage fees that resulted in our sewage system now operating at a financial loss. There is often only one vote that stops our city from making remarkably bad financial decisions that are originating from Mr. Peotter.

Although not a reason for a recall (there are plenty of reasons), one benefit of the recall is that Mr. Peotter stands or falls on his own. In a crowded re-election field, the incumbent often wins simply by having the word “incumbent” next to his name. Mr. Peotter could easily win re-election if he faces multiple opponents who split the opposition vote.

Endorsers

Paul Blank, Harbor Commission Chairman
Marilyn Brewer, Former Assemblywoman
John Heffernan, Former Mayor
Mike Henn, Former Mayor
Rush Hill, Former Mayor and Citizen of the Year
Cindy Koller, West Newport Beach Association board member
Scott Paulsen, Citizen of the Year
Jack Skinner, MD Citizen of the Year
Nancy Skinner, Citizen of the Year
Elizabeth Stahr, Citizen of the Year
John Stahr, Citizen of the Year
Fred Ameri
Kay Anderle
Allen Beek
Jean Beek
Kathleen H Blank
Sharon Boles
Dennis Bress
Kathy Bronstein
Kristin Cano
Janet Clarke
Lee Clarke
Dan Cohen
Gregory M Collins
Sonja Conn
David Cook
Elisabeth Cook
Rollin Daniel, MD
Teri Elliott
Denny Lynn Engelke
George Engelke
Lindsey Ensign
Sharon Fisher
Georgia Foell
Suzanne Gauntlett
Nancy Geerlings
Phil Greer
Julia McGinnis Hari
Suzanne Harris
Jennifer Keller
Signe Keller
Kelly Knight
Liz Laubach
Robert Laubach
Christine Laws
Dean R Laws
Allan Leguay
Carol Lind
Maureen McCarthy
Kim Megonigal
Michael Michel
Daniel C Morris
Lori Morris
Robert C Morris III
Robert C Morris IV
Tricia Nichols
Kyle Olson
Linda Painter
Liddy Paulsen
Mary Peikert
Shirley Pepys
Barbara Peters
Ann Peterson
Martha Peyton
Mike Pilsitz
Jim Place
Natalie

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See Full List

Get Notified When The Petition Is Available

Please click the ‘intent to sign’ button to be notified when the petition is available on the website to be downloaded, signed and mailed to us (it cannot be signed electronically).

Take a Stand! Declare Your
Intent to Sign