Volume 8, Issue 77  |  September 26, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Letters to the Editor

She’s running for the right reasons

Six Newport Beach candidate forums down, a few more to go. Have attended some?

Most start with the “Introduce Yourself/Why Are You Running?” question.  Not surprisingly, we hear “quality of life,” “public safety,” “limit traffic,” “opposition to state-imposed housing mandates,” “manage homelessness,” “limit development,” etc.

Sometimes it’s tough to read behind a candidate’s words. Maybe a candidate’s actions (or inactions) are a better barometer of intentions/heart.

Joy Brenner is running for re-election in District 6. Has attended all of the forums so far. By my count, her opponent has missed at least two forums including the recent one at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, hosted by the Newport Heights Community Association. 

Prejudiced perhaps, but when I think of Joy’s words, actions and sacrifices over the past nearly four years on council (and for decades before), I’ve concluded that she’s there for the right reasons: for Joy, it’s about you as residents rather than Joy as an elected; it’s about tireless, never-miss-a-meeting service to you as opposed to power manipulation and retention; it’s about humility rather than hubris and indiscreet words; it’s about respect as opposed to entitlement and ambition. 

In short, I like Joy’s heart – it’s in the right place for me and for all Newport Beach residents. In my view, she’s running for the right reasons.

Let’s continue for the next four years the values we’ve seen in Joy over the past four years; I support her re-election on November 8.

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

Rejecting the mission to dismantle Newport-Mesa schools

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse wrote a book where he commented that conservatism is “antithetical to an attitude that says to ‘burn it all down.’ Because conservatism is in part a disposition of gratitude, opposed to a culture of grievance or universal victimhood.” 

That’s my brand of conservatism. I’m thankful for public servants who try to get it right while serving the public good. And I’m wary of people trying to tear down an institution that serves 17,000+ children in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. 

Fortunately, we have had good public servants in our Newport Beach area on the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. There are no saints or perfect people there, nor do I expect that…but they have cared deeply about our kids and are working to repair the damage of forced school closures by entities outside of our community.

I’m the mother of two graduates of Corona del Mar High School. I’m a conservative who has and will vote Republican in every election. I’m a Christian, who has served on the school board of a leading Christian school in our area…and has stood hand-in-hand against antisemitism in our community. For the past several years, I’ve advocated for available parking near CdM High School, lighting for athletic fields and the naming of an athletic facility after a beloved coach. My approach is always to encourage and improve. 

Parents like me believe in quality education-focused on literacy, math, science and history…that teaches children critical thinking skills, with curriculum that is right for their age, and meets the needs of all types of learners, from the struggling to the highest achievers.

I’m also a believer in evaluation, reflection and continuous improvement.  What I’m not a believer in is dismantling. I rejected it, along with most rational people, when it was targeting our police departments and I’m rejecting it now when it targets our neighborhood schools and this school district.

It is alarming that some in our community, rather than working with our district to enhance and improve, are calling for its dismantling. They are demonizing our leaders, creating tabloid-style click bait to convince our community that our schools are “the evil empire.”

I’ve not worked for a perfect corporation, attended a perfect church, had a perfect friend, or walked the halls of a perfect school. What I have done is volunteered for a zillion projects, respectfully influenced leaders when the opportunities presented themselves, and done everything possible to lift up and encourage those leaders. What I’ve found is that when a parent conducts themself this way, leaders listen…they care…they consider…and often…they make changes.

My encouragement to our school leaders, is to consider new and enhanced opportunities for parental input, including updating the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council, which I’ve served on, for parents to provide valuable input to the Superintendent on key programs in our schools…and to look for new ways to navigate some of the controversial requirements that come from Sacramento.

My encouragement to our community is to be confident in our schools, to pay attention to our leaders, to ask questions, but to also consider the motives of those who seek to dismantle our district and what that can do to a district with a stellar reputation, that provides an outstanding education for our kids and prepares them for college and career...just ask our graduates.

When you vote this November, pay attention to what mission is behind these candidates. Online activists who declared their mission to “tear down” our school system are opposing Lisa Pearson. Parents who value our schools, and only want them to get better, are behind Lisa Pearson for Trustee Area 4. 

Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi

Newport Beach

Joe Stapleton will keep Newport, Newport

If the last few years have taught us anything, it is that elections matter! Furthermore, character matters in elected officials. The 2022 elections are in full swing. Signs are popping up around town, mailers are arriving and residents are beginning to ask questions as to which candidates to support for City Council. I am supporting Joe Stapleton for City Council in the District 1 election race. 

From the estates in Newport Coast, family neighborhoods in and around CdM, to the historic culture of the Peninsula, Newport Beach is a special place with a range of different lifestyles. The person we elect should have an intimate knowledge of all of the unique characteristics that make up our city. Joe Stapleton has decades of leadership experience. He has served as Harbor Commissioner, chair of the Newport Beach Foundation and is a member of the Finance Committee. His commitment to Newport Beach and his dedication to our community has been unwavering. 

I have had the pleasure of working with Joe through multiple boards and organizations. I have seen his leadership skills in action. Joe is committed to protecting our high quality of life with his main priority addressing the homeless crisis. We need strong leadership that is willing to make the tough decisions necessary to solve the growing homeless population in Newport Beach. We need the business and community leadership of Joe Stapleton to keep our city strong.  He will keep Newport, Newport.

Mario Marovic

Newport Beach 

Upcoming council candidate fundraiser at Mayor Pro Tem’s restaurant appears to violate operating permit

(The following is a letter sent to Seimone Jurjis, the Community Development Director for the City of Newport Beach.)

It has come to my attention that Mayor Pro Tem Noah Blom, along with Councilmembers (Duffy) Duffield, (Kevin) Muldoon and (Will) O’Neill are hosting a fundraising reception for Lauren Kleiman, candidate for City Council at the ARC Bottle Shop, located at 501 30th Street on the Peninsula on October 4, 2022.

It is my understanding that the ARC Bottle Shop is only permitted for sale of take away packaged wine and is specifically NOT permitted to hold events. As you know, this is a work/live type condo with no available parking for such events and I expect inadequate signage and exits to meet fire and safety standards for a large crowd. 

It is further my understanding that this is not the first such event having been held at this venue for private dinners, political fundraisers and other events. 

As I am sure you are aware, ARC Bottle Shop, the ARC Butcher and Baker Restaurant, located in the adjacent block, have been the subject of numerous complaints from local residents for flagrantly violating building and zoning requirements. On both February 17, 2022 and September 14, 2021, Attorney Jeffrey Shields on behalf of resident Jill Markowicz provided substantial documentation of violations and procedural exceptions made for Noah Blom directly to the city council.

I fully appreciate the compromised position of city staff when one council member, supported by three more, simply decides the rules don’t apply to him and that he will ignore the requirements of his operating permit. However, the principle of the rule of law compels you to enforce the city’s building and safety requirements without fear or favor.

Please advise me of the specific authorization in city permits allowing events of this nature to be held at 501 30th Street, including the provisions for parking, and safety compliance. In the absence of such authorization, please advise as to the enforcement action the city will be undertaking to ensure this property is used in accordance with its authorized permitted use.

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Council, 2016-2020

Newport Beach

Truth matters

Lately we are seeing more and more vicious attacks against our local City Council candidates. Truth and facts matter but they apparently are no longer a criteria for some attackers. Tom Miller was the recipient recently of a disgusting attack from four City Council mayors because he questioned Joe Stapleton’s untruthful response on his candidate paperwork. Apparently, Joe Stapleton’s decision to not tell the truth to the Newport residents was acceptable to these former mayors but Tom Miller asking a question about the misrepresentation was not acceptable.

Since Joy Brenner announced her re-election to the City Council, she has been the recipient of vicious attacks. An “anonymous” letter was recently circulated attacking Joy Brenner. Only a coward hides behind “anonymous” and that person or group who cloak themselves as “anonymous” do not deserve our time or attention. 

On another occasion Joy Brenner’s opponent referred to her as “Gramma Joy” as if that would somehow diminish Joy Brenner. What a foolish immature thought! Being a grandparent shows strong character regarding family, loyalty, care and concern which are valuable qualities for all of us. 

Here are some truths and facts: Joy Brenner has continuously shown strong leadership, a thorough knowledge of issues, a willingness to listen to all points of view before making decisions and a strong knowledge of the financial issues that affect our city. Joy Brenner has worked continually non-stop as a City Council member to represent her district residents and ALL Newport residents. Joy Brenner’s leadership does not stop at her district boundaries. 

Our City Councilmembers swear to promote, protect and preserve Newport’s fundamental character and local atmosphere. Newport residents need City Councilmembers with independent voices to truly represent each and every Newport resident.

Nancy Arrache

Balboa Peninsula

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