Costa Mesa Confidential
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Councilwoman Andrea Marr in Favor of Transferring Power from Voters to the City Council

Marr’s support of Measure K as solidified in an OC Register article this week.

Ballot Measure K, to be voted on in November, effectively eliminates voter approval for significant development projects. Measure K removes voters input for specific areas of the city’s General Plan and zoning and hands it solely to the city council. 

Councilwoman Andrea Marr along with other councilmembers Arils Reynolds and John Stephens, all voted in favor of limiting voter input on community development. Two days ago, Marr detailed in the OC Register why she supports it.

“I support Measure K because it allows us to start the planning process — we can consider how to incorporate housing into our major corridors while providing much-needed revitalization and ensuring thoughtful development. It does not itself result in development — developers will still have to go through a normal entitlement process and be subject to fees and building restrictions like height and density.”

The vote’s specifics language of affordable, low income and senior housing. Critics say this change also could have power to extend beyond the issue of high-density housing into other city projects.

Costa Mesa, a city of 110,000 residents, voted into law Measure Y in 2016. Measure Y ensured residents had a say in the future development of its communities by giving residents approval power for any major changes to the city’s General Plan and existing zoning. The measure also mandated developers give a complete disclosure of impacts to the community for their projects.

The Council was provided “talking points” to help promote the decision prior to their vote. An email to Council said, “Prepare the council with talking points as they work with the community.” The email contained:” Techniques to blocking, bridging, and answering tough questions – Answer the question briefly, transition with “let me tell you about”, and then “here’s our” (move to the message). 

Councilman Don Harper thought it “inappropriate” that all council members were provided with talking points in favor of an item prior to public input and Council vote.  Communication in private of more than three council members is considered a Brown Act violation.

Upon further questioning by Harper, it was revealed that the council hired a consultant to put together the talking points.  Andrea Marr attempted to explain to Harper saying, “You weren’t at the study session, so we thought it would be helpful for you”, implying Marr was involved in coordinating the talking points.

The talking points appear to not only share positive views on Measure K, but guide councilmembers on how to address public concern about the measure using specific “techniques.” 

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