Campaigning in a city that complains of too much traffic, yet loves to show off its cars, several Newport Beach council candidates are gearing up for the November election by posting signs on their vehicles. (Emily Foxhall, DAILY PILOT / August 14, 2014)

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) has endorsed Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer's bid for reelection to the City Council.

"Jim Righeimer has demonstrated that he has the courage needed to stand up to powerful special interests and ask difficult questions," Rohrabacher said in a statement. "He's controlled spending and has made major improvements to the city I call home. Jim deserves to be reelected this November."

The longtime congressman moved from Huntington Beach to Costa Mesa a couple of years ago. His district spans both cities.

Righeimer, a former city planning commissioner, was elected to the council in 2010.

The Costa Mesa race for two open seats is packed with challengers. Also running are school board Trustee Katrina Foley, an attorney and former councilwoman; Lee Ramos, a Fairview Park committee member who also served on the charter committee; Tony Capitelli, a congressional aide for Rohrabacher; Christopher Bunyan, a Banning Ranch activist and former member of the Cultural Arts and Historical Preservation committees; former Councilman Jay Humphrey, a retired pharmaceutical distribution executive; Al Melone, a retired accountant and dog park activist; and Rita Louise Simpson, a consultant for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

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Rohrabacher endorses Harper for Assembly

In another endorsement, Rohrabacher backed Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper in the 74th Assembly District race.

"Be it on the school board, City Council or as mayor, we have always been able to count on Mayor Matthew Harper for conservative leadership," Rohrabacher said, according to a news release. "I am sure he will have just as solid of a record in the state Assembly representing us, and that is why I am supporting him."

Harper is running against Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry. The district includes swaths of Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods. Rohrabacher already had endorsed Curry in May and Curry said that endorsement still stands.

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Peotter criticizes Civic Center artwork

Newport Beach City Council candidate Scott Peotter issued a news release Thursday critical of the new sculptures on the Civic Center grounds.

He called on the Newport Beach City Council to "stop wasting taxpayers' money on so-called art."

The former planning commissioner likened one installment, a colorful horned figure called "Pretty Boy," to a "pagan idol."

The art installment is slated to last two years. Peotter also was critical of the Civic Center's sculptures of bunnies.

Peotter is running against Planning Commissioner Mike Toerge in Corona del Mar's 6th District.

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Smith announces campaign initiative

Steve Smith, an Area 1 candidate for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District board, has proposed a "School Idea of the Week" program as part of his campaign. He plans to offer at "least one new school improvement concept or administrative recommendation each week for the duration of the campaign."

"The goal is to start discussions on ideas that may help boost not only academic performance but teacher satisfaction and administrative efficiency," Smith said in a statement. "Some of these ideas may come from teachers. After all, they're the ones in the trenches, and they are in the best position to make recommendations on how to improve. We don't need to pay a consultant to take weeks to report what teachers can tell us in 15 minutes."

His first idea is to examine whether it makes sense to start the school day later.

Smith started the program Aug. 5 and plans to continue to Election Day, Nov. 4. Each idea will be posted on Smith's blog, "Better CM/Newport Schools," at SteveSmith714.wordpress.com.

Smith is competing against Trustee Vicki Snell, who was appointed to the board after Trustee David Brooks announced his retirement this year. Smith, a member of the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee, is a former Daily Pilot columnist and professional freelance writer.