view from Newport Beach
From the Newport - Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, December 17, 1997
Pilot news is available on-line at: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/COMMUN/PAPERS/PILOT/NEWS/
Argyros throws big-dollar fund-raiser for Silva
Announcement that Sandy Genis may be getting in race to oppose airport is fueling support for county supervisor.
By JENNIFER ARMSTRONG
COSTA MESA -- Former Costa Mesa Mayor Sandy Genis' decision to challenge county Supervisor Jim Silva for his District 2 seat may be the best thing that ever happened to Silva's campaign.
Fund-raising events for the June election already are popping up on the social calendars of the well-connected, and Silva is getting some rousing support from business and pro-El Toro airport corners. Last night, for instance, Newport Beach business mogul George Argyros held a $250-per-person cocktail party to rake in some big bucks for Silva.
If the host committee list is any indication, Silva will have some big-name backing from business, pro-airport and political circles. The committee includes Sheriff Brad Gates, trash disposal company owners Ron Shenkman and Judy Ware, GOP activist Buck Johns, and former Newport Beach Mayor Clarence Turner.
"Jim's a good guy," said David Ellis, a committee member who has worked on public relations for Argyros' pro-airport group, Citizens for Jobs and the Economy. "He's a good conservative, a good free-enterprise guy, a big airport supporter."
Genis announced last month that she'd make a run for Silva's seat. Her anti-airport views ignited fervent Silva support in Newport Beach, which does not sit in his district but serves as a cradle for pro-airport activity. Tuesday evening's fete was set to include finger food, mingling and a brief speech from Silva, who was arriving straight from an exhausting eight-hour board meeting.
He said he didn't see the event as a strictly pro-airport extravaganza. "I just look at it as being very pro-business," he said. "It's just going to be meeting a lot of folks, and my district is very pro-airport."
Though Argyros -- who has helped raise funds for Silva in the past -- lives in Newport Beach, he has plenty at stake in Silva's race. Argyros' business office sits in the South Coast Metro area, which is Silva's district. And Silva is a longtime booster of airport plans for the El Toro Marine base and business interests -- Argyros' biggest pet causes. "Everybody in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa should be getting behind this if they think the airport is important," Ellis said. "We need to send a strong message to Sandy Genis that this is not the right position on this airport."