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.

Sign the Petition!

Please click the ‘sign the petition’ button to access the petition and its instructions. Please print the petition, sign it and mail it back to the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter, 2618 San Miguel Dr, #1708, Newport Beach, CA 92660.

Take a Stand!
Sign the Petition

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, starting from May 23, the date that the City Clerk approved our petition.

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 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. The litigation to defend the petitions continues, also at great cost. This act was unethical in its intent to stop the referendum and may well be illegal under California election code 18620 preventing interference with a referendum. It certainly undermined the constitutional rights of residents to petition their government and can only be described as the act of a bully. Interestingly, his campaign manager Dave Ellis was also a lobbyist for the Museum House.
  2. He breaks the law. In 2015, Mr. Peotter reported income of between $10,000 to $100,000 from Capitol Ministries, a Washington DC based group. Capitol Ministries’ website clearly states that lay ministers must solicit their own funding, which is then donated to Capitol Ministries and diverted back to the lay minister. If Peotter received $10,000 to $100,00 from Capitol Ministries as he reported, it seems clear that it was as a result of solicitations he made at the time. It is against the law for Mr. Peotter to solicit/accept donations more than 50.00 without reporting them or to solicit/accept donations above 460.00 at all. From a timing standpoint, the Museum House project was just preparing to come before the council. An FPPC complaint has been made regarding this.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.
  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 published an editorial in the Daily Pilot after voting to approve the Museum House in which he called respected opponents of the project “liars, pouters and whiners”. 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 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.

The Process of recall

Once we have collected enough signatures to qualify the recall, the City Council will select a date for a special election. The recall ballot is in two parts: the first part simply asks if Mr. Peotter will be allowed to continue as a councilman. The second part will have a list of the folks who would like to replace him. If the majority feels that Mr. Peotter should depart, then the candidate who gets the most votes in the second part of the ballot will immediately replace him.

At the time of this posting (6/3), there is one declared candidate for this seat. There are expected to be multiple candidates stepping forward once the recall has qualified and before the nomination period closes.

Endorsers

Paul Blank, Harbor Commission Chairman
Joy Brenner, Founder Friends of CdM Library
Marilyn Brewer, Former Assemblywoman
David Grant, President Emeritus, Orange Coast College
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
Michael Toerge, Former Planning Commissioner
Lynda Adams
Bradley Alewine
Joan Allison
Fred Ameri
Trish Anastos
Sara Asher
Allen Beek
Jean Beek
Lyn Belasco
Kathleen Blank
William Bloomberg
Sharon Boles
Dennis Bress
Kathy Bronstein
Tim Brown
Kristin Cano
Allison Carr
Jeffrey Christian
David Clarke
Janet Clarke
Lee Clarke
Dan Cohen
Sandy Collier
Gregory M Collins
Sonja Conn
David Cook
Elisabeth Cook
Sally Corngold
Victoria Cubeiro
Rollin Daniel, MD
Lori Dauncey
Molly Davin
Marlyne Diamond
Deborah

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See Full List

Sign the Petition!

Please click the ‘sign the petition’ button to access the petition and its instructions. Please print the petition, sign it and mail it back to the Committee to Recall Scott Peotter, 2618 San Miguel Dr, #1708, Newport Beach, CA 92660.

Take a Stand!
Sign the Petition