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Newport Beach

Volume 7, Issue 96  |  December 2, 2022


Letters to the Editor

Dave Ellis’s attack is against more than just Jeff Herdman

I spent 25 years in “the ivory tower of public education” teaching a lot of kids with very difficult lives which required a great deal of innovation. (Dave) Ellis’s attack on Herdman, as stated, is an attack on all educators, teachers and administrators and is deeply resented. 

Dennis Baker

Newport Beach

39 days and counting: are you ready for the dirt?

Yes, 39 days from now we’ll know the results of the three contested council campaigns. As we steam towards October, it’s almost time to loathe our daily trips to the mailbox. The negative mailers are soon to arrive.

I suspect the knives will be out for candidate Joy Brenner who is running for re-election in District 6. Joy has done a good job of confronting/dispelling fictional accusations head-on in the forums, but the fictions will rise again in the mailers authored by power brokers in town or their consultants. Fasten your seatbelts.

Here’s what I do know about Joy – and it’s so well summarized on Joy’s Facebook page by the quote from Queen Elizabeth II: “Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom, and we must always be ready to listen and respect other points of view.”

That’s the beauty of Joy. She’ll listen. She’ll weigh the arguments. She’ll make the best decision for you and the city. 

Yes, the Boat Parade is a time-honored signature event in town. Yes, the Film Festival is annually awesome. Yes, Newport Beach & Company (and its outstanding President and CEO Gary Sherwin) is responsible for many tourism dollars and amazing branding of our city. 

In a recent forum, Joy showed that she will not be an automatic yes-woman to community events/contracts. As the events and contract renewals come up for extension, Joy indicated that she will sit down with the sponsors of the events and contractual parties, ask hard questions, and make sure that city dollars will continue to be appropriately allocated and well spent for the benefit of our residents and the city. The events and contracting parties evolve. The city evolves. Joy will make sure that the city continues to get the most bang for the buck. We need that in a city leader and (as she has done for nearly four years on council) she will continue to make good judgments based on thoughtful analysis, research and inquiry.

Please keep Joy on council for the next four years. The last four years and decades before have proven that Joy is the real deal. Thirty-nine days from now, please re-elect Joy Brenner.

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

I’m heavily invested in Newport Beach, and as such, Joe Stapleton is my guy

One thing we all learned during the pandemic is how hard it is today to run a business. Over the past several years, I have invested millions in Newport Beach to create iconic dining experiences and neighborhood favorites. That did not happen by accident, it happened because Newport Beach has invested in promoting itself as a world-class destination and the city has implemented policies that encourage private investment to refresh our city and keep our residents and visitors safe.

I can tell you from experience, it matters who serves on the city council. That is why I am proud to support Joe Stapleton for Newport Beach City Council.

Joe chaired the chamber of commerce, working on behalf of every business in our city. He led the Newport Beach Foundation to train a new generation of leadership. He gets it. Joe knows that the high quality of life we enjoy is made possible by a strong local economy.

Hotels and restaurants are two of our biggest revenue generators, and the majority of these revenues come from nonresidents. It is this nonresident tax income that allows the city to have world-class police, fire protection, parks and libraries.

Now is not the time to turn a $400 million city budget over to amateurs. Joe has served for years on the city’s Finance Committee and he can hit the ground running on day one. We need the business leadership of Joe Stapleton to keep our city strong.

Please join me in voting for Joe Stapleton. He will keep Newport, Newport.

Craig Atkins

Newport Beach

It appears Noah Blom and Team Newport are continuing on with what appears to be unpermitted fundraiser

In addition to drinking during council meetings, failure to pay his vendors and threating to sic the city attorney on his creditors, Noah Blom is at it again.On October 4th, he is hosting, along with the three other Team Newport members of the city council, a fundraiser for council candidate and Planning Commission Chair Lauren Kleiman at his ARC Bottle Shop on the Peninsula.  But it appears that the ARC Bottle Shop is only zoned and permitted for takeaway bottle sales and is not permitted for public events like political fundraisers.

It has been suggested that the invitation notwithstanding, the actual event is being held not in the Bottle Shop, but in the condo space upstairs and people have political fundraisers in their homes all the time. Except that this is not Blom’s residence; he is obligated by law to live in District Five. 

So, what exactly is the space above the Bottle Shop? It is an unoccupied, unpermitted, residential dwelling that is used for commercial business purposes as an event venue. All too many Newport residents know these facilities by their more common name: “Party Houses.” 

Unlike vacation rentals, which are subject to registration, length of stay requirements, parking rules and occupancy limits, Blom assumes he has no limits. He believes he can have events every night of the week, with unrestricted occupancy and no requirements to provide parking. Indeed, he has indicated he has used this space to hold lucrative “private dinners” catered by his nearby restaurant, along with other political fundraisers.

Is it any wonder that residents do not trust the city council to properly regulate vacation rentals, fractional ownership homes or even group homes when the council itself, on behalf of the chair of the Planning Commission, ignores the rules and abuses the neighbors of this facility? Indeed, Lauren Kleiman has a weak record as a Planning Commissioner for regulating these uses in our neighborhoods.

We have reached an intolerable level of councilmembers simply acting as if the rules do not apply to them and they therefore act with impunity. After a week, city staff has not responded to this violation. One can only speculate at the level of intimidation that must be applied to staff by a majority of the council who actively support these illegal land uses. And what does this say about Lauren Kleiman’s ethics and willingness to follow the rules if she is elected?

The only response has been a personal attack from Team Newport puppet master and Museum House lobbyist Dave Ellis. Ellis, of course, has his own issues with following the rules. His support of Blom and Kleiman should tell you all you need to know about why she is running and who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. 

Lauren Kleiman was recruited specifically to provide the fourth vote to make Noah Blom mayor. Residents should weigh their choice carefully. No person is above the law, even Noah. 

Keith Curry, former Mayor

City of Newport Beach

There are four candidates that give us hope in this election

We should be excited in Newport Beach over the prospect of electing four
independent councilmembers for the first time in many years. I can remember in past elections bemoaning the absence of council candidates who were independent thinkers and who voted accordingly.

The most independent thinker by far of all candidates has to be Jim
Mosher who comes from a field (science) where independent thought is not only valued but expected. His inquiring mind has educated those of us who approach him for clarification on city government because Jim knows more about it than any councilmember. His objective in running for council is for the council to make its own decisions independent of city staff. He thinks the council should be listening to their constituents, representing their views and voting accordingly. As they have the opportunity to listen to him, more and more people are realizing how valuable it would be to have Jim on council.

Robyn Grant, who has no opposition, has been serving the city in an amazing number of positions. Those who have worked with her have noticed that she has an especially important quality that is essential for council; she is a good listener, a rare quality in modern times. And, she is not afraid to make important decisions. She has leadership presence.

Tom Miller has been such a pleasant surprise as an independent candidate. He has built a very successful business and now wants to use his leadership skills to serve the community. His friendly personality and desire to help others have helped attract many residents to support his candidacy and there is a lot of palpable excitement about having such an independent new voice on board.

Finally, we have the chance to re-elect one of the most popular and effective councilmembers that I have ever observed. I have witnessed other councils and have seen very few naturals like Joy. Ever smiling and focused on the issue at hand, Joy is an ideal member of council. Unfortunately, Joy Brenner has not had the opportunity to show the full extent of her abilities during her tenure with the current council because of petty jealousies and the manipulatory nature of other councilmembers.

Consequently, if these four highly qualified and independent individuals are elected to council to counter the divisive political climate of the last several years, we will have a reason to rejoice in Newport Beach.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

It’s turning to a campaign battle centered around money

I spent hours last night herding emails and text messages and thinking about Tom Miller’s ending comments at the CDMRA candidate forum. Tom Miller spoke the truth…every word was true.

Joe continues to insist that he is not a puppet for Will (O’Neill). I think he may truly believe that, but it’s clear that he is getting a lot of support (financially and in terms of introductions and whatever other written and verbal communications Will is helping with). I’m one of many that is not convinced that Joe could stand up to Will, especially in a situation where Will is willing to exert maximum pressure, even if Joe thinks he can. He, Joe, says he can, but Will has demonstrated that he can be ruthless, by many subtle threats that he has made to many people within our city. 

Joe feels he is in an unfair fight because no matter how much money he raises, Tom can write a check to his campaign for more. So therefore, Joe doesn’t care who he takes donations from as a result. 

All of those donors will also expect some “repayment” at some point. I think Joe, even though I like him as an individual, is in an impossible situation. I don’t know how he will manage to avoid the extreme demands made by Will, that will follow him into a City Council seat.

My vote goes to Tom Miller, a man without any political ties who knows what’s best for our city.

Lynn Swain

Big Canyon

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