In 2016, I co-authored the Taxpayer Protection Act, which prevents placing a tax increase on our City's ballots without 5/7 approval from our City Council. Following up on that success, we ran another Charter Amendment in 2018 to require voter approval of Certificates of Participation (the debt instrument for the Civic Center project). These both passed with approximately 80% of the vote.
Shortly after joining our City Council, I initiated a comprehensive review of our City Council policies. At that time, we had one hundred twenty-eight policies that direct staff, our volunteer boards, and even City Council how to conduct themselves in a variety of situations. We have policies directing how the Mayor is elected, processing tree donations and removals, maintaining an appropriate level of reserves, permitting events at our beaches and parks, etc.
Ultimately, the City Council voted unanimously to reduce the number of policies by 48, eliminate 111 pages, and eliminate over 21,000 words from the City Council Policy Manual. Reading what we eliminated is more than Macbeth (in length, not quality).
Our City has also prohibited using taxpayer money to advocate for tax increases. Steve Greenhut wrote a column recently that highlighted the insidious cottage industry that has popped up where political consultants pitch cities on their "win percentages" to "educate" the public on tax increase measures. The consultants define their wins as whether the tax passed. That will not happen in Newport Beach.
I also led our Council’s comprehensive civil asset seizure reform. This has led to solid kudos by groups focused on civil liberties.