At 87, longtime Newport resident, 2013 citizen of the year, councilwoman, community activist and Save Our Newport (SPON) co-founder Jean Watt is fired up.

Watt has championed many causes, the Greenlight development movement and John Wayne Airport restrictions among them.

Now she's on a mission to educate residents and rally them against the city's efforts to update the Land Use Element Amendment to the general plan. She thinks it's a bad idea.

In April, I wrote about how SPON, formed in 1974, was changing its name to Still Protecting Our Newport and repurposing itself because of this land-use issue.

 

Watt and SPON are urging the City Council not to approve the amendment when it comes up for a vote July 8.

If the council approves it, then the measure will appear on the November ballot.

But because the issue is so complex, Watt worries that voters may not take the time to fully understand it and the effect it would have on their lives.

She argues traffic would increase terribly.

When we spoke, Watt had my head spinning as she went into great detail about the many facets and technicalities of what the city's proposing.

"You're right, this is terribly confusing. It's even mind boggling for me," she joked.

Make no mistake — Watt has painstakingly dissected this issue.

She was amazingly detailed explaining the flaws in it and in the city's process.

When a city does an environmental impact report (EIR) it must balance all the elements. And the one Newport did 2006 didn't do that, said Watt.

But the city did a supplemental EIR, which is only supposed to be used if a change in the plan is minor.

"This isn't minor," Watt complained. "This is very major, but they are trying to justify doing it as a supplemental."

She went on to say the 2006 update was meant to last until 2025, with a promise of a reduction in traffic.

"Now along comes this ... plan that flies in the face of that promise and adds traffic," Watt said.

So how do Watt and SPON plan on waking up residents to the implications of this amendment?

In addition to letters to the editor and ads in local newspapers, SPON has used its website as a call to action.