2014-10-02 / Opinion

Misleading Rhetoric

Let’s start with what’s on the record.

The Newport Harbor Corporation’s decision to sell some of its holdings and continue to operate others, such as the Mooring and Smokehouse restaurants, was, as stated in their September 23 letter, “to generate capital to reinvest into our expanding restaurant and hotel operations, where we see excellent growth opportunities.” This sale was essentially an internal business choice in the best interests of its owners, which they have every right to make.

The city appreciates that the owners of the Newport Harbor Corporation will remain a part of our business community. We are also pleased to welcome the new owners of the property, who chose to make such a significant business investment in Newport. The sale will add to the nearly $89 million in commercial real estate investment transactions announced this year.

The city will continue to do its part to ensure Newport’s appeal as a destination for businesses, visitors and residents alike. It is our sincere hope that others will do their part, which includes dispensing with the misleading rhetoric that serves to divide us rather than bring us together, in the best interest of our community. For example, stating that city government is anti-business and anti-tourism is both groundless and reckless. We are working hard to promote Newport’s desirability to the type of business interests that bring fulltime employment and sustainable economic growth. For instance, the city recently implemented a process to facilitate review of large projects, such as the Tennis Hall of Fame’s redevelopment of its Memorial Boulevard properties, through the city’s permitting and regulatory system. Just this past week, we celebrated the launch of a new technology and business incubator at the former Sheffield School site through a sizable grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.

Of concern is the suggestion that the city is somehow wrong for listening to what its residents have to say, whether they speak through their elected officials, neighborhood associations or represent themselves in the city’s public forums. Everyone, regardless of the economic power they wield, has the right to be heard. It is the healthy balancing of interests to resolve issues and encourage growth that results in a city with the brightest future, and one which demonstrates mutual respect for all parties.

The City of Newport is committed to serving the interests of residents and businesses alike, while ensuring that our many visitors are welcomed. We sincerely hope we will have the collaborative help and support of all to create a prosperous, livable community for many years to come.

Henry F. Winthrop
Mayor of Newport

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