NewLeftHeaderSNN

mist

56.4°F

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Observations of the past election 

An important observation was made by a television commentator who was observing election results two weeks ago: Generation Z played a large role in influencing election returns. And that generation, which ranges in age from 10-25, tends to be pragmatic and moderate, while rejecting extremist views and assaults on democracy.

While our recent City Council election did not garner much national attention, there are those of us who will continue to focus on the undemocratic nature of those elections. 

Fortunately, we are experiencing equal access to our local news sources, particularly Stu News and a local edition of a national newspaper. This is essential for democracy.

Attempts to control the media in Newport Beach have not been unheard of,
but fortunately our most active sources (a principal one being Stu News) have featured letters expressing opposing views on key issues.

Concomitantly, it is our responsibility in a democracy to remain informed of pertinent issues, particularly as they pertain to governance.

While we are allowed freedom of speech in our City Council meetings, we want not only the opportunity to speak but the knowledge that our Council is listening to us.

As residents, we want our majority views to be given priority over decisions pertaining to development in our fair city.

While many of us remain unhappy over our Council election results, we must continue our dissent over the repugnant political flyers that plague every election in Newport Beach. As long as we allow our elections to be heavily influenced by these flyers, we are not truly engaging in democracy.

And, as long as we allow non-partisan elections to become political yet deny equal access to all political parties and individuals through the use of slander and threats, we are not following democratic ideals.

This is where the ideals of younger generations, particularly Generation Z,
offer us some hope for the future. In the recent election, where they rejected extremist and negative viewpoints, may they do so also in Newport Beach. And because they championed democratic ideals, pragmatism and moderation, while rejecting polarization, we can hold out some hope for better governance in Newport Beach.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

What effect does Dave Ellis’ negative campaign tactics have on future potential candidates seeking local office?

It seems to be public knowledge that Dave Ellis and his PACs have been active in Newport Beach politics for multiple years and attempting to influence our elections. Most say those campaign efforts have attempted to negatively harm or disparage ordinary citizens who are simply interested in serving our community. 

Did you know that just within the past few years, Dave Ellis lost a court case to a Dana Point Council candidate in which the courts found that Dave Ellis’ PAC “had acted with malice and recklessly disregarded falsity of statements in the mailers?”

As results of our election are finalized, how do we residents feel or react when Joy Brenner, a well-respected councilmember and long-term resident, is attacked with half-truths and negative visual ads? And perhaps even worse, flyers publicly disparaging Tom Miller and his family who have also put their time and assets into our election process only wanting to serve? Could any of us withstand these targeted attack flyers? And why would anyone choose to run for Council if you knew that Dave Ellis or another similar PAC is likely to attack you and your family if you are an opponent?

I am uncertain why these attack flyers sent by this Ellis PAC were not intercepted or at least publicly condemned by Lauren Kleiman and Joe Stapleton, those candidates who possibly benefited. A quick glimpse at one of these flyers would immediately tell you that its sole intent was to debase opponents by both visual and malicious content. According to campaign disclosure statements that are found on the NB City website, Dave Ellis’ Safe Neighborhoods PAC spent $147,871 in our NB election and funding flyer distributions.

One important question – can any change be brought to prevent these attack PAC flyers solely intended to personally damage opposition candidates? Is this not a reasonable civic goal or do we all continue to be unwilling recipients of these denigrating and assaultive flyers?

Kathe Morgan

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Joe Stapleton has earned our vote

For the past year, we have been talking about what we want in city leadership positions. Repeatedly, letters to the editor have called for leaders who have earned our vote rather than leaders who can buy our vote. I agree, which is why I’m voting for Joe Stapleton.

In this city council race, Joe Stapleton has raised donations from more than 750 individual donors. He has led an all-volunteer group that has knocked on more than 12,000 doors. His leadership has inspired that kind of volunteerism because Joe does more than he’d ever ask someone else to do. 

We’ve seen in the past few years that local politics isn’t a game. It’s not about tearing people down – even if many letters to the editor want to do that. It’s not about who’s friends with whom or who used to be friends with whom. It’s not a Real Housewives episode.

Our local politics come down to policy. And Joe knows policy. His service on the Harbor Commission for four years and the Finance Committee for the past six years makes him the ideal candidate to represent our city. He’s put the work in to make tough policy decisions. And not once – not once – in this entire election cycle has his opponent criticized one of those policy decisions.

Let’s vote for consistency and competence. Let’s vote for Joe Stapleton.

Steve Craig

Newport Coast 

Attacks on “family” hurt candidate’s spouse

Perhaps I was naïve to think the swamp could not exist in Newport Beach? When my husband first thought he needed to have a voice and run for local office, he asked me and our children if we felt we could handle the impending personal attacks on their father. Little did I know the attacks, filled with lies and misleading information, would filter down to me and the kids. The mean messages sent to me and my family from (Joe) Stapleton and his supporters are cruel and unnecessary, including physical threats. What has happened to our city? 

It breaks my heart to see what my family has been dealing with over these past several weeks. I struggle to understand why Joe Stapleton has gone after me and my children. We have done nothing but show him love and respect during this entire campaign. 

In spite of my strong faith and belief in people, I have shed many tears as of late. It pains me to understand why my family is being subjected to these vicious attacks while all my husband wanted to do was give back to the community he plans on living out the rest of his years in. 

I am proud of my husband for the restraint he has shown during these trying times. He feels helpless and unable to defend his family from these attacks and is convinced he has let us down. This could not be further from the truth. I love my husband and I respect him now more than ever before. He faced countless challenges during his 36 years in business, but never expected this.

While Stapleton and his supporters continue to tear our community apart, I choose to support my husband’s message of uniting our city.

I may be a dreamer, but I believe in the residents of our great city, and I believe they’ll see through these vicious people who are so desperate for control over our city, they will stop at nothing to win this election for their selfish power grab.

This race has brought out the worst in some individuals and more than ever, I believe my husband is the best candidate. Please join me in supporting my husband, Tom Miller for city council.

Eileen Miller

Newport Beach

I’ve been around this city and believe Joe Stapleton is the candidate to best serve Newport Beach moving forward

With everything that we have gone through as a city over the past few years, I want someone with a background in service who I trust to make decisions for my family and me.

I want someone who understands the complexity of a city with a quarter-billion-dollar budget and a police department larger than Irvine’s on a per-capita measure.

I want someone who has the humility to know when to call for advice and depth of experience to know who to actually call.

If you have the same desires, then the vote is easy. Vote for Joe Stapleton for City Council.

Joe has been on the Newport Beach Harbor Commission and is serving in his 6th year on the Finance Committee. He’s a leader and a collaborator. Our police and fire personnel trust him and have endorsed him.

I am voting for Joe Stapleton and hopefully you are too.

Clarence “Bus “Turner

Former Mayor, City of Newport Beach

Take it from an outgoing school board trustee, Lisa Pearson is the person we need for our students’ continued success

Next Tuesday we have the privilege and responsibility of electing leaders for our community. I have had the honor of being elected four times as an NMUSD School Board Trustee to serve our students. I am proud of the accomplishments achieved alongside some very committed and engaged trustees over the past 16 years. I am proud of the thousands of students who have been provided a very high-level public education and who have graduated from our local schools well prepared to achieve success after graduation. 

In my Trustee Area 4, I take special pride in accomplishments I’ve witnessed over my tenure; where the graduation rate from Corona del Mar High School is close to 98%, where more than 80% of students who take AP courses pass the AP exams with a 3+, where every year a few perfect scores on college entrance exams are celebrated, and where seniors are routinely accepted at top-ranked colleges and universities around the country and internationally. 

I’m proud of our many students who are involved in extracurricular opportunities that are second to none. This is a school community where motivated and engaged students have the ability to achieve at the highest level, and NMUSD provides quality programs to help assure that all of this is possible. 

When I decided not to seek another term in office, I was hopeful that a candidate would step up who I could wholeheartedly support, someone who would be as committed as I have been to all of the 17,000+ students in our district, a person who has been entrenched in our neighborhoods and schools and who understands the expectations of our community. 

My hope became a reality when Lisa Pearson stepped up to enter the race, and I cannot think of a more qualified person to take my seat on the dais in December. Lisa has deep roots in our community. She has held leadership positions in our schools as PTA President at the elementary, middle and high school levels.   

Her children attended our schools and she knows what it takes to assure every child has the opportunity to find success after high school. Lisa is humble, trustworthy and cares deeply for our community. She did not enter this race as a political stepping-stone for higher office. She’s in this for the kids and their parents. 

It is my hope to leave this seat in the exceptionally qualified hands of someone who will be a strong advocate on behalf of all the students, parents and the greater Newport-Mesa community, Lisa Pearson. 

Please join me in supporting and electing Lisa Pearson for School Board Area 4. 

Karen Yelsey

Corona del Mar

Jim Mosher just may be the right person at the right time

I think I have made my views on the nasty attack mailers we’re all receiving clear in past letters to the editor. I can’t believe anyone is actually reading them. At our house, all those mailers, produced at great expense by the campaigns and their PACs, go straight into the trash. 

When reading Keith Curry’s letter to the editor against Jim Mosher, I felt I needed to comment. There is no perfect candidate as we are all human with strengths and weaknesses, and we all make mistakes. Our best hope as voters is to pick the right person for the right time. 

I agree with this comment from Keith: “As a councilmember, you are like a judge evaluating competing truths from neighbors and trying to reach a decision in the best interests of all residents. This requires flexible judgement and the willingness to be open to new ideas.” 

Ideally all of our councilmembers would be open to new ideas, but I haven’t seen that with our current council majority. Mostly, we see them focusing on being seen at community events, depending on staff for expertise and generally vying for power. Anyone trying to add new ideas tends to get shut down. 

For these times, councilmembers must do more than act like a judge, as Keith describes. Given our form of government in Newport, our council should also have enough subject expertise to oversee the staff and challenge them to get out of their bubble, grow, learn, find new ideas in their fields and contribute more than the best compromise. While competence is certainly desired and essential, as a city, state and nation, we need to go beyond competence to being open to “little slices of genius,” to quote Harvard professor Linda Hill. 

In these trying times, we need people in government who bring leadership, new ideas and innovation while listening to residents’ competing truths, wants and opinions. Jim Mosher’s personality might be different from the typical candidate, but perhaps with his knowledge of what needs to be improved in Newport, he might be the right person for the right time. 

He certainly isn’t sending out nasty mailers full of lies. 

Linda Watkins

Newport Beach

You want a refreshing voice on council…vote Mosher

Many people wrote or spoke to me about how Jim Mosher had helped them navigate the state, county or city bureaucracy to solve a problem or research an issue that they did not have the knowledge to do on their own. Jim Mosher is like that. He will put aside something that he is working on to help others. 

Just imagine how wonderful it would be to have someone on City Council who would actually listen to residents and help them. Right now, the only councilmember who does that is Joy Brenner. 

Mr. (Keith) Curry’s criticism of Jim’s point of view on issues that come before council reflects the attitude that other former councilmembers have had: That only a select group of what we called in education, “the good ole’ boys” knows what is best for Newport Beach and that they should continue to control things even though they are no longer in office. 

So, we in actuality have two groups who continue to vie for power and continue to pursue political goals: Team Newport and a rather large group of former councilmembers. 

And while these former leaders might offer helpful advice from time to time and while some may speak from an expert and even unselfish point of view, they are no longer in office.

We have a need of new leadership with fresh and independent ideas to carry us forth in the future. Jim’s expertise and unselfish nature will be valuable in helping to renew a council which has been neglected while Team Newport has pursued some self-serving goals and totally politicized what is supposed to be a non-partisan entity. 

While Curry speaks of what he perceives as Jim’s shortcomings, he fails to acknowledge that Jim will be part of a larger group and not a king making decisions in a vacuum.

He talks about how Jim’s idea to elect councilmembers in a different way would be expensive to the city – a picky detail. It is interesting to note how he thinks that only his ideas are salient.

If he is concerned with improving the way councilmembers are elected, why didn’t he offer to change the system and do what many other cities have done to make their government more democratic by lowering the costs of running for council. That could be easily done by having councilmembers who are elected by their district only. That would make them more accountable and less likely to form voting blocks. This current council could have added direct voting for councilmembers along with electing a mayor and made our present system more democratic. But more democracy was not their goal. Measure B was only about political power. 

Our ability to improve City Council rests firmly in the choices we will be making on our ballots. Do we want more of the same or do we want a refreshing change?

Those in power now and some from the past, such as Keith Curry, would like to see Erik Weigand elected to council because he is an affable young man whom they think would be easier to mold and control than Jim Mosher.

Erik himself admitted that he has much to learn, while Jim has a vast amount of knowledge and can be a good team player, especially if he is on a good team. Curry’s fear of Jim taking over is ridiculous. 

So, the question remains: Do I want a candidate like Erik Weigand, who very well could be vulnerable to the influence of strong personalities or do I want someone like Jim, who is seasoned and knowledgeable enough to stand up
to those who would want to control him?

There is plenty of time for Erik to acquire a council seat and hopefully in the future most of our controlling members will be gone. Then Erik can work with congenial people who will encourage his independence…people like Jim Mosher, Joy Brenner and Tom Miller.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Don’t base vote on “hysterics or negative flyers”

Please, please, if you haven’t already voted, look at the available candidate forums and other credible information regarding who to vote for. Ask your friends if they are involved and informed. Look at, and talk to, the people who have a history of serving our city. 

Don’t base your vote on hysterics or negative flyers. For one thing, confusingly, in some cases these are not even put out there by the candidates. And if someone cannot articulate their choice without raising their voice or using inflammatory language, maybe they are speaking from emotion rather than logic. 

That is most of what I have to say. I have been out of town the last couple of weeks, and plan to stay away until after the election. I have been disappointed to read that this election has brought out the worst, rather than the best, in some of our residents. 

Let’s all be the best we can be, and hopefully elect an enlightened and experienced council.

Those candidates who have a proven track record of service to our community deserve our informed vote.

Please get informed and vote! 

Dorothy Larson

Corona del Mar

Jim Mosher is the right choice, right now, for City Council

When I first encountered Jim Mosher speaking at city council, I couldn’t help but recall Sid Soffer. Longtime residents will recall Sid as the gadfly speaking at all Costa Mesa and Newport Beach council meetings. It didn’t take long to learn that Jim is so much more than that and the name gadfly does not fit. He is informed, intelligent, dignified and respectful. It is our misfortune that the council and staff do not listen to him and have not placed him in a decision-making position. It is sad that more people don’t get the opportunity to see him in action and may take the letter to the editor on Tuesday at face value rather than from an informed position. Fortunately, this election has given more citizens the opportunity to learn more about Jim and what we are experiencing is a ground swell of public support for him. 

It hurts when a former councilmember calls Jim the wrong choice for city council, but I think it speaks more to the council and staff than it does to Jim being the wrong choice. Saying councilmembers have wasted 48 hours listening to Jim is exactly the point. Council does not always welcome citizen involvement and it seems like public comments are viewed as a waste of time. I’ve been to numerous council meetings, spoke at some and heard others speak. The interaction between council and speakers is minimal. 

How can Jim’s ideas be unworkable and too expensive if council never entertains them as anything but unworkable and too expensive? Have they ever discussed any of these ideas? 

Many of us residents question the importance of tourism to our city finances and the effects it has on our quality of life. Aren’t property taxes the primary income source for the city? Those of us living in the cross hairs of tourism are not receptive to more tourism and rarely do we see the benefits of that income come back into our impacted neighborhoods.

Who other than the author has said Jim is “lacking flexible judgement and a willingness to be open to new ideas.” That is contrary to how scientists are trained. 

Council needs to be more receptive to input from informed people and less concerned about “holding the majority.”

To say that a close look at Jim’s website has no mention of public safety, and has no concrete plans for homelessness, maintaining the harbor or providing affordable housing, the author has missed Jim’s answers to these very questions asked at the forums. He extensively addressed every question in more detail than any candidate. There is no website more informative including the city website. 

I respect Jim for his position on signage, mailers and social media where he has steered clear of negative campaigning unlike some other campaigns. 

Jim Mosher is absolutely the right choice for city council!

Gary Cruz

Newport Beach

The meanings behind the Safe Neighborhood “PAC” flyers

Once again, another disparaging, untrue flyer arrived at my home. Kindly sent by the Safe Neighborhood PAC (is that an acronym for Pretty Awful Content?). As I nearly blew a gasket, I asked myself in what shape, form or manner was this linked to my safety or that of my neighborhood?

The flyer had the same lies and images as the previous two (albeit in a slightly different order with some scale changes implemented which obviously any discerning reader would notice – well I did! And I did wonder to myself the marvel of the graphic artist being able to produce newness when using just old “aka news”). Remarkable. 

Even though Mr. Tom Miller has refuted each malicious point himself, that does not matter at all and so here it is again in my home.

The flyers were delivered diligently by our beloved Posties (hopefully without any dislocated shoulders due to the increased weights as the paper quality was quite exceptional for a flyer of such scale – did I mention it was and double sided – otherwise they may have needed to seek the assistance of a Safe Neighborhood PAC (is that an acronym for Post-people Are Carriers?). Now this Safe Neighborhood PAC (could be an acronym for Perpetually Awful Safe Neighborhood PAC (could be an acronym for Perpetually Awful Claptrap?) is doing all these flyers for our benefit, with the benevolent funding of Mr. Dave Ellis, who is obviously concerned about our well-being, he is putting us first! How very considerate of him….and to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Oh my, aren’t we the lucky ones?! 

Although many have decried these flyers saying that they have no place in Newport Beach, let alone into our homes, obviously everyone who has said that does not know what is best. But wait. It is the Safe Neighborhood PAC (could be an acronym for Politically Astute Con-merchants?) who alone know what is best.

How fortunate I am! Although now that I think of it, how is it that I have never previously heard of them? Given that we have just gone through a global pandemic, have an increase in crime rates, dangers from the surge in numbers of e-bikes, global warming on the rise at alarming rates, human slavery on the increase and a seemingly shortage in my cat’s favorite variety of food, to name but a few, where were they then? But I digress.

As well as funding this PAC (is it an acronym for Petulant Atrocious Codswallop?), Mr. Ellis has contributed funding towards the campaigns of Stapleton and Kleinman. Neither of whom have declared the abusive tone of the flyers directed at Mr. Tom Miller and his wife as even “uncalled for” and there has been plenty opportunity to do so. One can only concur then that they agree with the content. If they do not agree with the horrendous flyers, then why haven’t they said so publicly or privately? One can also conclude that they believe ramming untruths down the throats of residents is the best course of action. Fair point, and they are entitled to their opinion. But wait a minute, if they act like this now, how would they behave if they did get onto city council? Isn’t the tone they set now the tone we should expect them to continue?

In fact, what these candidates and their backer have done is said we hear your responses (to the flyers which once again are costly to the tune of thousands but do make good use of the blue recycling can now that it has more space due to the introduction of the green can), where was I?...oh yes, and we don’t care, and we will continue to do whatever we want regardless of how offensive it is to the other candidates, their family or to you the citizens who will be voting. (The citizens remember are us, the ones having to dispose of the garbage in the correct trash can lest we incur the wrath of the city for not using the correct recycling vessel. If the daily dilemmas just keep building at this rate I will need the help of a safe neighborhood PAC (is that an acronym for Please Abandon Class) to help me navigate trash day to the best of my ability as I fear fines will be on the way if I lose track of the order of the vessels collecting said flyers. 

Question: black and white flyers, do they go into a separate can from those with color? Just asking for a friend!

Let us face it, is this really the sort of candidate you want to support? Do you not believe that we the citizens of Newport Beach deserve better? I do! I believe we should all be treated with respect.

And talking of flyers this week, Laura Kleinman requested more money to be able to fund a last critical flyer lest the city loses the majority! Surely if she is not able to manage her own campaign funds over a period of just several months then how can she prove herself to be fiscally responsible with city funds? Didn’t Lauren realize that flyers are the big-ticket item this election? Mr. Ellis could have advised her on the importance of them and held back a few dollars from the Safe Neighborhood PAC (is that an acronym for Pissing-off All Citizens?). 

Lauren, I seriously suggest you hold back on any more flyers. We are at breaking point. Only the Safe Neighborhood PAC (an acronym for Pitifully Appalling Coalition?) will be able to save us...and there we go again…round and around in circles.

If this line of gutter-sniping does not stop then I fear at this rate The Mariana Trench may lose its ranking position for lowest point on the earth! Newport Beach will take first place and for all the wrong reasons. But hey, let us be positive it could be another tourist asset for the city?! 

Let us hope said flyers are disposed of correctly before the tourists arrive…I would hate them to see the lowest tone of calling card for Newport Beach sitting alone and unread in a gutter (if you do see one, please place in the correct recycling vessel!).

I prefer the acronym Politely Always Caring. But I do not expect that from Mr. Ellis or his candidates.

Gina Cruz

Newport Beach

The police and fire endorsements are from the unions, not the officers themselves

Well Newport sport fans, it’s the bottom of the 9th and the game is a nail biter! Tom Miller or Joe Stapleton…Joy Brenner or Lauren Kleiman. It seems like I’m beating a dead horse (of course Joe doesn’t have a horse in the race as he has said), but here I go again.

Newport Beach Firefighters DO NOT endorse Stapleton or Kleiman. Newport Beach Police officers DO NOT support Stapleton or Kleiman. The Police and Firefighters’ Associations PACs (Unions) support these two. 

Last week, I received a letter in the mail from the Newport Beach Police Association requesting for me to donate money which I have gladly done in past years. I am a firm believer in our great police department and fire department. We are truly understaffed with regards to our police department. We need MORE police officers. 

Now, a few years ago, Joy Brenner and Diane Dixon while sitting councilmembers, requested two more police officers for Newport Beach. Team Newport, Will O’Neill and his loyal team of lemmings, said NO, DENIED, NADA. Their reasoning, it would not look good for the city council. So, what did Newport get, ONE officer.

Two of Newport’s most important issues are safety and our homeless situation. If Stapleton and Kleiman get elected, they will fall in line with Will O’Neill and trying to get more police officers will be like pulling teeth...it wouldn’t look good for the council’s image. Bottom line, when we get more police officers, I will then gladly donate to our police department, but until then, no $ to their UNIONS that support Joe and Laura. 

Miller and Brenner will get us more officers. 

Just saying!

David Frazer

Newport Beach/Peninsula


Letters to the Editor

Money can’t buy my vote, so Stapleton it will be

In the Newport Beach city council election, Tom Miller says he is not trying to buy the election. Really? He has put more than $525,000 and counting of his own money in the race. He is on TV all over Orange County. He has clearly decided to “spend whatever it takes” to satisfy his wish to become an elected official. 

I’m sorry, nobody should be allowed to lead our community by simply buying a seat on the city council. The fact that he is self-funding his campaign only focuses attention on his lack of broad community appeal.

Tom Miller says he is “not a politician.” Well for a guy who is not a politician, his supporters have figured out how to use hidden money independent expenditure committees to send hit piece mail, his sons-in-laws have figured out how to steal his opponent’s signs and he himself has falsely claimed endorsements. Most recently he attempted to pretend to be the Republican choice when the party unanimously endorsed his opponent and made the extraordinary step of recommending against voting for Miller. 

In addition, it speaks volumes that Tom Miller has to send out letters to his supporters to try to convince them he is a decent person, rather than actually focusing on Newport. His opponent, Joe Stapleton, has always focused his campaign only on Newport and how he can work on the issues and provide intelligent solutions to them. That’s what’s important. 

I know my vote is not for sale and I will be supporting the qualified candidate, Joe Stapleton for city council.

Andrea McElroy

Newport Beach

Pearson – Our hometown pick for NMUSD

There’s never been a more compelling time for respected, responsible leadership in our NMUSD schools. In the CdM area, we have the choice between a political climber who is connected to a group that has attacked our student organizations, our teachers and even our parents – or a long-time parent leader who is respected in our community for her years of selfless volunteerism and for her commitment to being a positive voice for students and parents.

Lisa Pearson knows education, knows leadership and knows our community because she has lived here for 30 years. Her endorsements are from local parents, business leaders, community leaders and the Newport Beach Police Association. These groups are vested in our schools and only want them to improve, and our dedicated police officers know who can be tasked to prioritize school safety.

Our years volunteering at Corona del Mar High School on the Boosters, Foundation and PTA, alongside Lisa, showed us what servant leadership looks like. No other candidate in her race has the depth nor the experience that matches her exceptional integrity, her ceaseless dedication to her community and her tireless commitment to educational excellence. She has worked collaboratively with teachers, staff and fellow parents. On campus, Lisa mentored younger moms who were serving for the first time, and she gained the students’ affection on campus.

An elected official is held to a much greater standard of accountability and public trust.

This is not achieved by gaining political favors or hiding behind online provocateurs and bullies. It is built by leading thoughtfully and without seeking favors. It is built by years of caring for our kids and our schools. Only one candidate in Trustee Area 4 can be that committed steward of students and be that positive voice for parents. Please vote for Lisa Pearson for School Board in Trustee Area 4.

Liz & Ray Kennedy

Carol & Gary Crane

Cosy & Bob Ctvrtlik

Colleen & Tony Premer

Kelly & Jim Neiger

Dana & Steve Neiger

Tina & Tom Neiger

Mary Ann & Greg Haly

Sue Ellen & Paul O’Connor

Tracey & Royce Sharf

Vicky & Eric Fults

Molly & Tim Britt

Dana & Brian Flood

Jane Jones

Julie & John Guida

Carolyn & Steve Shaw

Regina & Joe Jennings

Suzanne & Cam Woods

Mosher is the wrong choice for City Council

In the November election, the Newport Beach city council will substantially change due to term limits. In District Three, civic activist Jim Mosher is running for a seat on the council. 

I have a lot of respect for Jim. He is invariably polite and has a sincere interest in city affairs. We have often joked we should hire him as a proofreader given his ability to find typos in staff reports. l have literally spent 48 hours of my life, two full 24-hour days, listening to Jim make public comments. I actually heard what he has to say and I strongly believe he would be a poor choice for the city council.

Jim’s ideas are often unworkable, short sighted, or simply too expensive for the taxpayers. Consider the following examples.

On his website, Jim proposes a primary and runoff system to elect city councilmembers. This would double the taxpayer cost to hold elections every two years. More importantly, it would more than double the cost of candidates to run for council, increasing the power and influence of special interests. Do you think the election season now, which basically runs from September to the first of November, is too long? Think what it would be if candidates were putting up signs and sending mail starting in April. 

Several times, Jim has spoken before the council to oppose our support of tourism in Newport Beach because the traffic is inconvenient for him when he rides his bicycle. The $27.8 million generated from our hotel taxes is the third largest revenue source for the city and it’s paid almost exclusively by non-residents. It is this revenue that allows us to have world class police, fire, park and library services in Newport Beach. 

Tourism also makes a significant contribution to our $46 million in sales tax revenues. There could be no more significant “Defund the Police” initiative than to reduce tourism related revenues. Not only would public services like police, fire and library suffer if we had followed his advice, Newport Beach has more than 400 restaurants, far more than our residents can support alone. Many, perhaps your neighborhood favorite, would be forced to close without our visitors. Councilmembers must be able to consider the community as a whole, not just narrow perspectives.

A close look at his website indicates Jim doesn’t mention crime or public safety at all, and he really has no concrete solutions for homelessness, affordable housing or maintaining our harbor. Indeed, he has opposed the compromise development agreement that will provide $16 million for the creation of workforce housing, a key element in meeting our state mandates and preserving the quality of our neighborhoods. He has called our groundbreaking Airport Settlement Agreement “useless.”

I have observed that Jim approaches issues from an “I’m right and you’re wrong” approach. As a councilmember, you are like a judge evaluating competing truths from neighbors and trying to reach a decision in the best interests of all residents. This requires flexible judgement and the willingness to be open to new ideas. Commendably, Jim had enough self-awareness of his approach when he was considered as a Planning Commissioner to acknowledge that he may not have been the best choice. 

Jim Mosher plays an important role in our community as a watchdog, but his ideas would be expensive and often unworkable if he were a councilmember.

Keith Curry

Former Mayor

Newport Beach

Teachers, staff and parents outraged by Newport Mesa Uncensored group and their candidates

We are teachers and staff at Newport Harbor High School, and we are also parents of children who currently attend, who once attended or who will attend NHHS. Nine of us walked the Davidson stage as graduating Sailors, and two of us are members of multigenerational Newport-Mesa Unified School District families, dating back to the class of ‘44.

We write to express our outrage at the group calling themselves “Newport Mesa Uncensored.” As a part of their campaign to undermine our public schools, they have baselessly equated 10 of our colleagues with being pedophiles. This brazen defamation is appalling, and we condemn the individuals behind these attacks in the strongest possible terms.

Let it be made clear: There is zero evidence of any misconduct from those who have been accused. The teachers, administrators and child psychologists who have been targeted are long-standing, well-respected, highly accomplished educators who have dedicated their professional lives to serving our community, side-by-side with us. To call them “groomers” and thus identify them as sexual predators jeopardizes their safety and the safety of their students – and tarnishes the reputation of our school.

Never in our combined 400-plus years working for Newport-Mesa Unified have we seen such flagrant disregard for community standards. We recognize this stunt for exactly what it is: A hacky political hit-job designed to advance a fringe agenda.

We will not stand for it.

We have kids here and we’ve been kids here. We trust our colleagues, period. Furthermore, we take exception to the suggestion that we would put our own children in harm’s way.

Under its de facto figurehead, Bill Dunlap, “Newport Mesa Uncensored” has been complaining about our schools and attacking our teachers ever since our return from the pandemic; yet most of the group’s half-dozen foot soldiers don’t even have children in Newport-Mesa schools. They simply can’t understand what we do.

We know how special a place Newport Harbor is.

Together, as a community, for nearly a century, we have built Newport Harbor and our NMUSD schools into what they are today. This very loud minority wants to tear it all down. Do not let them succeed.

Fortunately, there’s one silver lining: “Newport Mesa Uncensored” has endorsed a slate of anti-public-school activists running for seats on the nonpartisan Newport-Mesa Unified School Board. Stay away from their candidates!

Area 2: Reject Mills. Vote for Michelle Murphy.

Area 4: Reject George. Vote for Lisa Pearson.

Area 5: Reject Shebesta. Vote for Michelle Barto.

Area 7: Reject Seaburn. Vote for Ashley Anderson.

Make it clear that the voters of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa will punish at the polls those who attack our schools.

In solidarity with all Newport-Mesa Unified teachers, and together with all those in our community who take pride in our neighborhood schools, we thank you for reading.

And for voting.

Kelly Bourgeois, school librarian

John Brazelton, science teacher Matt Burns, science teacher, football coach, head surf coach, NHHS class of ’94

Amy Caulfield, English teacher, NHHS class of ’88

Evan Chalmers, history teacher, former football coach, former head baseball coach

Oscar Constandse, science teacher, football coach, NHHS class of ’98

Betsy Fisher, English teacher

Fabiola Hemmerling, community facilitator

Julie Karjala, science teacher

Kiran Kumar, math teacher

Jason Lynch, science teacher, former head water polo coach

Megan Madden, counselor, NHHS class of ’04

Andrew Mabry, history teacher, head volleyball coach

Taylor Mabry, counselor, NHHS Class of ’01

Sarah Pilon, culinary teacher and program director

Gary Robinson, history teacher, former basketball coach, NHHS class of ’99

Ross Sinclair, history teacher, head water polo coach, head swimming coach, NHHS Class of ’03

Cathye Solliday, special education teacher, NHHS Class of ’72

Jennifer Sonke, workability coordinator

Bob Torribio, history teacher, head basketball coach, NHHS class of ’95

Tony Zeddies, English teacher, former basketball coach

Hit pieces make running for office a scary decision

As theories circulate about an attack on democracy as a result of the upcoming national election, it might be interesting to note that we have been fighting that battle in Newport Beach for the last several years.

If you look at surrounding cities, you will see that most of them usually have more candidates running for office than we do. Why? One reason is clear: No one wants to be a target to the type of verbal and visual attacks that are attributed to Team Newport’s campaign PAC every election campaign.

It seems that those Team Newport PACs want to keep a majority of 4-3 votes to control the decisions of City Council and will launch a campaign of ugly accusations and photos in their election flyers against those who would challenge that majority as voting time approaches.

This election season it looked like maybe things would be different. We have more well-qualified candidates than usual, and voters were excited to see more independent campaigns run by these people. 

One of the candidates, Tom Miller, seems to be running a very positive, people-centered campaign and there is excitement about his candidacy. He assuredly generated some jealousy among “the Team” because he could afford to be independent, running his own campaign and inspiring voters who for so long have wanted candidates who were not indebted to outside forces, candidates who would listen to the people they represented. 

In addition, Tom had put down a chunk of money to help defeat Measure B, the ill-advised attempt to control Newport’s mayorship earlier this year.

Well, just as many of us were breathing more freely about this election, it happened; it appears that the campaign PAC supporting Team Newport and wanting to promote their own candidate, Joe Stapleton, to procure that 4th vote, began sending out those disgusting flyers that allegedly the PAC is known for. They even went so far as to include a very embarrassing photo of Tom and his wife. They had done the unthinkable – dragging an innocent bystander into the mud.

I think it is always helpful to put yourself in another person’s situation before making judgement. So, imagine how you would feel if that were your wife or mother. I know I would be livid. But Tom, wanting to maintain a positive position, chose at that point to do nothing. 

His children, feeling frustrated and wanting to do something to defend Tom Miller and his wife’s reputation and no doubt to avenge that mean-spirited photo that was released, pulled a childish stunt and got caught. I am not condoning what they did but to put that in proper perspective, think about all the sign stealing and illegal placement of signs that have taken place in every election.

Tom and his heirs suffered the humiliation of their acts. They were such amateurs about their indiscretion that they could not pull it off successfully. 

Tom Miller, instead of bemoaning the flyers that generated the
childish stunt, called up Joe Stapleton to apologize for what members of his family had done.

So, let’s put that in proper perspective. Stealing signs versus sending out
repugnant and unproven flyers about the opposition repeatedly in every Council election. 

It seems that the Team Newport PAC is going after Joy Brenner as well. It is interesting and hopefully self-defeating to attack candidates, and in Joy’s case a fellow councilmember, who are extremely popular in the community. So, accept it for what it is, a dishonorable attempt to capture two council seats for Joe Stapleton and Lauren Kleiman and thus maintain the majority.

Please take note that the only way to get rid of the endless “hit pieces “ generated most likely by Team Newport’s Campaign PAC and to restore democracy in Newport Beach is to vote out and vote against the candidates funded by the PAC!

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Mailers point to those behind them and to the candidates they support

It is the final days before the election and voters are being hit with volumes of mailers. I know residents are tired of these mailers, but the senders have gone too far when what they send is as hurtful, offensive, and false as these mailers were towards Tom Miller and Joy Brenner. It sometimes feels like the senders are trying to “bait you” into a response and I will not be going down that rabbit hole. 

I understand that politics can get ugly and that is the downside of the political season, but the senders have overlooked that these mailers are not just seen by voters, but children too are exposed to this material.

It is not difficult to research who is sending these mailers, nor is it difficult to connect these senders to candidates. Dave Ellis is the owner of the Safe Neighborhoods PAC that sent one of the mailers and John Saunders contributed $25,000 to that PAC. Dave Ellis and John Saunders both made contributions to the campaigns of Joe Stapleton and Lauren Kleiman. 

This information is available to the public. Safe Neighborhoods PAC (ID#1450946) background can be found on Form 410 filed with the California Secretary of State. Campaign disclosure statements are found on form 460 filed with FPPC and can be accessed online through the Newport Beach website: https://public.netfile.com/pub2/?AID=cnb.

Are these the people you want on the city council?

I’ve heard it said that “experience matters” in this campaign. I think CHARACTER COUNTS! I’m voting for candidates that demonstrate citizenship, integrity, trust, caring and fairness. 

My vote goes to Tom Miller, Jim Mosher, Robyn Grant and Joy Brenner.

Gary Cruz

Newport Beach

Working quietly for the betterment of our community

If you, like me, had grown tired of negative campaigns, crazy accusations and doomsday headlines, then Friday, Oct. 28th’s Chamber of Commerce celebration congratulating and recognizing the Citizen of the Year, David Beek, and Business Person of the Year, Mario Marovic, was just what this City needed. You saw the best of our Newport Beach community. People that have worked tirelessly behind the scenes and until now unrecognized as they strove to do what was best for our wonderful city without seeking recognition or power. They merely did it to make our city a better place. And they have. 

Congratulations to David Beek, Citizen of the Year, and Mario Marovic, Business Person of the Year, two well deserved and outstanding people. Your efforts are much appreciated. 

Thanks also to Steve Rosansky and the Chamber, the celebration of what is right about this community was just what the doctor ordered. 

Thomas C. Edwards 

Former Mayor, City of Newport Beach


Guest Letter

Robert T. Braithwaite

President & CEO

Hoag

This year’s flu season is upon us

Guest Letter Robert Braithwaite copy

Courtesy of Hoag Hospital

Robert Braithwaite, Hoag president and CEO

Dear Neighbors,

This year’s flu season is underway, and reports indicate that flu and other respiratory illnesses are appearing at higher rates than normal for this time of year, placing a greater demand on our emergency departments. 

While our emergency departments are always well prepared to take care of your emergent needs, Hoag also offers 15 urgent care facilities conveniently located throughout Orange County to treat non-emergency medical issues for both adults and children. With walk-in access to care, extended hours and the ability to schedule appointments and view wait times online, Hoag Urgent Care’s skilled doctors can accommodate patients’ busy schedules.

When your condition is less serious but still requires immediate attention, choosing an urgent care can save you time and money, as well as keeping the emergency room free to handle more serious conditions. Urgent cares can provide treatment for coughs, colds, sore throats, ear infections, flu-like symptoms, COVID-19 symptoms and testing, sprains, strains, cuts, lacerations, stitches and more. 

So, how can you help protect yourself during this flu season? If you haven’t already received your flu vaccine, now’s the time. We offer the flu vaccine at Hoag Urgent Care facilities and walk-ins are accepted. If you are a Hoag Medical Group patient, you may schedule a nurse appointment for your flu vaccine. Please reach out to your physician or our care providers to learn more. 

Hoag is here for you – in sickness and in health. 

Sincerely,

Robert T. Braithwaite

President and Chief Executive Officer


Letters to the Editor

Tom Miller personally defends his character against mailer attacks 

I’ve had so many people reach out to me over this smear piece sent by Team Stapleton attacking me and dragging my wife into it as well.

It is now my time to share the facts on this negative attack.

Team Stapleton lies:

I own 100% of Dynamic Auto Images and 10% of Expert Automotive. The other two companies listed on this smear piece are vendors of Dynamic and I DO NOT own, manage, sign any checks or make any decisions for these two organizations.

Dynamic Auto and Expert did receive PPP funds and 100% of the funds were used towards employee wages, rent and utilities. I DID NOT use a dollar of these funds to make any personal purchases and BOTH PPP loans were FORGIVEN after an extensive audit process.

MORE LIES:

I DO NOT have a bunch of outstanding liens on either myself or the company.

The only legitimate one was back in 1996 when I caught my business manager embezzling more than $1 million from the company. She was pocketing payroll taxes while making it appear as if they were paid. Through intense negotiations between me and the IRS, I was able to get the settlement down to $120,000, as I was able to show proof of the embezzlement. The lien was released immediately.

My wife and I have NEVER cheated our government out of a single dollar owed. We have paid millions of dollars in local, state and federal taxes during the course of my career. In addition to the enormous amount of money we contributed to the economy, we have been able to donate millions of dollars to charitable organizations.

We started with nothing and have been blessed. It is our honor to continue to give back for as long as we’re alive.

TRUTH:

I have bought all our homes with OUR hard-earned money, NOT PPP funds or any other government monies. 

What is true:

Every one of the photos is actual and not Photoshopped. I am not ashamed of the love for my wife and I’m proud of the hard work and commitment I spend on taking care of my body.

Some Facts:

Team Stapleton is trying to paint a picture of discrediting me as an entrepreneur. If I ran my company like the picture they’re trying to project, how could I have sold to one of the biggest and most reputable private equity firms in the world? The terms of the sale to Bain Capital required my company’s balance sheet to have ZERO debt. This means we could not have any outstanding PPP loans or liens.

The extensive background they conduct during the due diligence period involves a deep dive into my organization’s history.

We could NEVER have survived this if my company wasn’t ROCK SOLID.

Let me clear up a few more false narratives they will try and spin:

I have NEVER screwed an employee out of a dollar earned.

I have been a regular voter for my entire life.

I DO NOT have a criminal record.

I have never filed for bankruptcy.

My FICO score is 829.

I have NEVER foreclosed on any real property.

My wife and I are doing our best to ignore these vicious attacks from Team Stapleton. There is no limit to the depths these people will stoop to in order to win and we know there are more attack pieces coming.

This election is a litmus test to truly see where our society stands on truth and morality. I am taking a huge risk by not attacking back on my opponent. I choose to keep a positive message and take the high road on my campaign. I’ve been preaching a message of UNITING our community and I plan on staying the course towards that very important message.

My wife and I will continue to pray for strength and perseverance over these next two weeks and…in the end…we’ll know we did it the right way.

Tom Miller

Candidate, Newport Beach City Council

District 1 

I’m voting for decency in this year’s council races

Joy Brenner, Tom Miller, Jim Mosher and Robyn Grant sent mailers and emails to my husband and me that were truthful, informative, hopeful and decent.

Supporters of Joe Stapleton and Lauren Kleiman sent mailers too. They were dishonest, negative, indecent and violent.

Candidates hide behind disclaimers that these mailers are separate from their campaigns, saying they have no control over what outside groups do. But the public disclosures about these PACs and the candidates’ lack of outrage over their contents, tell a very different story. 

The Safe Neighborhood PAC, which attacked Tom Miller, is from Dave Ellis, a political consultant for Team Newport; and the Accountability & Safety Education PAC, which attacked Joy Brenner, is a dark money group from the Central Valley of California, who is hiding money miles and miles away, and why? 

And the Republican Party, which endorsed both of them, sent its own offensive mailer. Since neither of these candidates sent apologies to every household that received these vile mailers or published letters of apology to the public for the contents, or sent letters of apologies to their opponents, we must (assume) they condone the contents.

First, a large mailer came from (backers of the) Stapleton campaign, showing 10 white men, flanked by a giant GOP elephant. What a message that sends! The women of Newport Beach do not matter. Neither do Democrats, Independents or Libertarians. 

City Council positions are listed as nonpartisan in the California Constitution because a councilmember is supposed to represent all constituents regardless of party affiliation, gender, religious beliefs, or whatever. Apparently, Joe does not believe that.

Then we got a mailer in support of Joe from “Your Firefighters,” but it was not really from the men and women of the Newport Beach Fire Department. It was from the PAC (the political action committee) that represents the firefighters’ union in contract negotiations. I guess misrepresentation is OK to Joe.

The third mailer was beyond offensive. It came from the Republican Party. It showed an unattractive characterization of Joy Brenner graphically stabbing a bloodied GOP elephant. Remember, this is a nonpartisan office. It is shameful that Lauren Kleiman did not forcefully denounce this. She allowed her candidacy to be connected to a violent, hostile mailer that has no place in anyone’s home.

That same day, another mailer came from the Central Valley PAC telling absolute lies about Joy’s vote on vacation housing. 

The Team Newport members on the Council now – Muldoon, Duffield, Blom, and O’Neill – need to publicly denounce those lies told on that mailer about Joy and tell the public the truth about her vote on the council it controls.

And then the Tom Miller attack mailer came from the Dave Ellis PAC. It displays a picture taken from an Instagram account that was taken down months ago. I guess it does not matter that Tom and Eileen are a loving, attractive, married couple having some fun in their private lives. And what does this picture have to do with Tom’s ability to serve on the council anyway? Nothing! It is all about sleazy insinuation which Dave Ellis has mastered over and over and over.

I wish this was the bottom of the barrel for Team Newport and Will O’Neill and Dave Ellis and the Republican Party, but I fear it is not. They will do anything to stay in power and it is disgusting.

Their endorsements reveal much about their candidates’ characters, and it is not what I want on the Council.

I want decency in my council. I want men and women who respect and value everyone. I want councilmembers who will represent everyone. I want Joy, Tom, Jim and Robyn.

Kathy Frazer

Newport Beach

Mosher is “good for Newport Beach”

Jim Mosher is dedicated to Newport Beach. He has long attended council meetings, well prepared for decisions to be made, accepting no outside money and he is independent of political favors. He will guide the council for the public interest. 

Jim is good for Newport Beach. Please vote for Jim Mosher.

Lu Anne Baker

Newport Beach 

No room for “hatred” in our schools

This week, I spoke at the NMUSD school board meeting to encourage our board to address the pandemic learning losses and to ask our community to reject the messaging from a group that has positioned themselves “to restore the basics of education.”

At the school board meeting, I highlighted the hatred the Newport Mesa Uncensored group launched in recent posts against gay students at Newport Harbor High School. Far from being an activist for the gay community, I couldn’t stand by when one of the groups they attacked was Blaze It Forward, which seeks to honor the memory of Blaze Bernstein, who was murdered in 2018 by a Newport Beach man. Blaze was a 19-year-old Jewish college student who was gay.

I’m a conservative Christian, with traditional views of many things including marriage and gender. I also value the dignity of every student, regardless of their gender/sexual identity. 

This group’s Instagram story…published within minutes of my comments, targeted me personally. Under a picture that exclaimed, “if standing up for your kids burns a bridge, I have the matches…we ride at dawn,” was printed in large font, “hi ruth.”

Clearly, this group wanted me to know that they watched my public comments remotely and were calling me out…behind the darkness of their keyboard. Previous to this post, they have used incendiary language, including “tear it down” in referring to our schools.

Fellow conservatives must call out this group for what they are…the embodiment of hate, disguised as a parents’ rights group. We believe in parents’ rights, but we don’t express it through hate, cyberstalking, cyber bullying, or intimidation. We are parents who teach our children about the healthy use of social media and the importance of telling someone if they are targeted.

The four candidates on the Newport Mesa Uncensored slate must be rejected by our community. These four women have accepted this group and their support, therefore, by association, they embrace the hate. 

In Newport Beach, we have two outstanding candidates to vote for – Lisa Pearson (CdM Area 4 Trustee) and Michelle Barto (Newport Area 5 Trustee).

Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi

Newport Beach

Joe Stapleton is the right choice for this longtime Newport Beach resident

After finishing my time serving with the U.S. Marine Corps, my family and I moved to Newport Beach in May 1970. It was a great feeling to finally live close to the Pacific Ocean, in this wonderful city called Newport Beach. With all the amenities that the city had to offer, and as we became more acclimated to the workings of the city, we became more involved in the important issues involving our city. 

In this upcoming election, we’re faced with making very important decisions for the country, our state and locally, and particularly those of us who live around the harbor and on the Peninsula, in council District #1. We’re being asked to select a representative to speak effectively for us, not only about matters concerning our District, but also on matters concerning the general welfare of the city. 

In making that selection, it is extremely important to have someone who has already demonstrated his involvement in city matters, as a private citizen, and someone who is admired by and is receiving the support of the Newport Police Department, the Newport Fire and Lifeguards, as well as several former mayors of Newport and former city officials. 

The candidate I’m speaking of is – Joe Stapleton, a man who has been involved in Newport Beach politics, as a private citizen for a long time, because he wants the best for our city. Because of his dedication and efforts, not any sum of monetary compensation or level of wealth, Joe was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in 2020. 

During the 50 plus years I have lived here in Newport, I have witnessed city councilmembers that exercise positive efforts for the city’s benefit, and I’ve also witnessed the other kind of councilmember, those who go along to get along…and provide really nothing but their physical presence at council meeting sessions. 

Joe is a force to be reckoned with and a young man with passion, fight and clout in a city that deserves to be fought for long into the future, so my daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters have a safe, beautiful, protected city to continue to reside in the way I have resided for 52 years. 

Therefore, my vote will be for Joe Stapleton. I want a council representative that has already demonstrated his willingness to become involved, as he has demonstrated as a previous member of the Finance Committee, Harbor Commissioner and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. 

Joe Stapleton is someone I know who will continue to exert his positive influence to make Newport Beach a better place and the place we are proud to call home for a reason. 

From my observance and research of Tom Miller, there lies a severe lack of experience, effort and grace – things that cannot be bought in an election and should not be. 

As a father of two daughters and grandfather/great-grandfather of four, I am appalled by the lack of tact and decency depicted in the recent mailers and photos circulating of Joe’s opponent – this type of behavior is not fit for a father and certainly unfit for Newport Beach City Council and any office for that matter. 

I would have to agree with the Republican Committee of Newport this is unfit for Newport. When voting, I hope you will be voting for Joe Stapleton, longtime fighter and advocate of Newport Beach, and the man who is already involved in making Newport Beach a better city, not the newcomer who is coming to Newport Beach with a loud, rogue approach with no experience demonstrated, a clear indicator in seeking office for personal gratification.

Robert James Penkwitz 

Lido Island

Threats making local campaign more than uncomfortable

Is this America or a dictator land?

Tom Johnson was right, things have gotten worse in this election, but not because two young men got carried away and stole a sign. That was wrong and they are facing the consequences for their actions. What is far worse, and has been unreported, are the threats being levied at Miller supporters, particularly those who speak out publicly in letters or on social media.

At a recent gathering, one person shared threats she has received. There was a quiet in the room as everyone processed what was shared, and then one by one others shared what they have endured. It is pervasive and frightening! When you think you are the only one, you stay silent. When you realize it is not just you, the proverbial dam breaks. 

X-rated threats, menacing suggestions of harm, and threats against personal safety and the safety of family members, all from untraceable sources, is beyond unacceptable. It is un-American. It is undemocratic. And it must be called out and stopped.

We cannot control all the ways technology has allowed these Team Newport bullies to threaten those who stand in the way of them staying in power, but we can make sure they face the consequence of their actions: They must lose that power by losing this election. We must vote, and our vote needs to be for those who respect the democratic right to support candidates we choose and to have different opinions we value.

Vote for Tom Miller, Joy Brenner, Robyn Grant and Jim Mosher if you want candidates with independence of thought, respect for all constituents and a love of American democracy.

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Pearson’s backing by Police Association makes me feel safer for our schools

Lisa Pearson is the only NMUSD School Board candidate in Area 4 endorsed by our Newport Beach Police Association. For me, that matters. 

Public safety – especially for our kids and grandkids – has to be our number one priority. The school board has invested millions of dollars in recent years enhancing our school security. Newport Beach and NMUSD partner together to pay for school resource officers. Those officers are some of the best we have in an already-amazing department.

So, when it comes to who is best served to support the safety and well-being of our kids, the police officers’ opinion matters to me. I’m joining our local police and voting for Lisa Pearson. I hope that you will too.

Jen Schafer

Newport Beach

Proud of our father-in-law, apologize for our actions

We are proud to call Tom Miller our father-in-law. We are not proud of the choice we made to take down his opponent’s illegally placed signs. 

His opponent has been fined countless times for putting the signs up. The city continues to take it down, and his team quickly puts it back up. Although they were illegally placed, we should have left it in the hands of the city to take it down again. 

We truly apologize to his opponent and for overstepping. We trust our city and the hardworking people who work for it. 

We also want to apologize to our father-in-law, Tom. Our actions let him down and we could not be sorrier. Our beautiful, kind mother-in-law was recently attacked by his opponent’s team. Once his team went so low as to put yard signs of our mother-in-law around elementary schools, we got emotional and wanted to defend her honor, as well as the children that were being subjected to dirty politics.

We stand behind Tom Miller, and we will follow his lead with a clean and fair political fight. We are hoping his opponent can join us in that. The great citizens of Newport Beach deserve the best and nothing less.

Austin C.

Franky C.

(Tom Miller’s sons-in-law; last names have been abbreviated due to threats on their person.)

“Newport Beach is on to” negative campaigning

Politics has always been a contact sport. For the most part, Newport Beach was not a part of the swamp. Sure, folks competed against each other, but it never got down and dirty. 

Enter Will O’Neill. He was new in town but managed to get himself elected. City Council races have been deteriorating ever since then and today’s races are the worst!

Over the weekend, two of Tom Miller’s sons-in-law took down the Joe Stapleton sign at Dover and PCH. Tom knew nothing about this antic. Actually, the sign was on Caltrans property and they had already taken it down four times. 

These young men were incited by the hateful signs posted by (supporters of) the Stapleton campaign of Eileen Miller. Once upon a time, families were off limits. Times change and I guess Stapleton is desperate to win.

Recently, Lynn Swain and her family have been subject to treacherous attacks. Stapleton’s surrogates have started a nasty campaign on Nextdoor, Instagram and personal texts harassing and threatening Lynn, her husband and her daughter. The texts to her daughter told her that she was “ugly and a f***ing piece of s**t, watch your back and be careful starting your car.”

Is Stapleton so desperate to win that he condones this behavior from his friends? How low will Stapleton and Team Newport go to keep control of the city council. And are they really upset about two young men taking down a sign that Caltrans had repeatedly removed?

These tactics were also used against Lynn Swain and her family during the No on B campaign. The same ugly tactics, the same threatening tone. And probably the same awful people. 

Here’s a message for Stapleton, O’Neill and their sidekick, Dave Ellis, who is behind the Safe Neighborhood PAC, which has attacked Miller – Newport Beach is onto you. We get what you are doing and it won’t work! Stop and desist! Stop harassing the Swains! Stop the dirty politics!

It’s time Newport! It’s time to take back our City Council. Vote for the candidates with integrity. Vote for the candidates who are authentic. Vote for the candidates who care about doing good for the city and not themselves. Vote Miller, Vote Grant, Vote Brenner, Vote Mosher.

Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer, ret.

Newport Beach

You can have your own opinions, but you can’t make up your own facts

A few comments regarding India Hynes’s letter about the Assembly District 72 race:

First, Ms. Hynes repeats Diane Dixon’s untrue statement that I am a lobbyist. I am not a lobbyist, I am the founder, CEO and President of a nonprofit that has had 22 sponsored bills signed into law in the last 15 years. Several of these landmark bills have been replicated in other states. Anyone who has been involved in the legislative process knows that this is quite a feat. 

I retain lobbyists to promote our bills, which focus mainly on companion animals, wildlife and the environment. The nonprofit’s work is extremely popular in Orange County and across the state. And more importantly, I am effective and very well-regarded in Sacramento. I will be able to leverage my experience and relationships to have our district’s issues addressed by the legislature and to bring back our tax dollars to Orange County.

Second, regarding campaign contributions, voters should consider that Dixon has received $206,354 from the real estate and development industry, $4,900 from big tobacco, and $16,627 from the oil and gas industry, just to name a few. Such contributions from these special interests never come without strings attached. Dixon has carried the water for these industries on the Newport Beach City Council and (I believe she) will continue to put their interest ahead of the constituents of AD72, if she were in Sacramento. 

By contrast, I have taken no corporate PAC money. Seventy-three percent (73%) of my donations have come from individuals giving $200 or less with the vast majority of those donors living in the district, while only 20% of Dixon’s contributions come from small donors. 

Lastly, Ms. Hynes seems to support candidates who complain about crime rather than those who have a plan to do something about it. I have supported and sponsored bills that are directly related to public safety. I support fully funding law enforcement to make sure those who keep us safe have access to all the latest technologies and other resources they need. Like our first responders, I support the Be Well model and stricter gun safety laws that will keep law enforcement and Orange County families safe by getting weapons of war off of our streets and out of the hands of criminals. By contrast, Diane Dixon is supported by the NRA and others in the gun lobby and is ok with the status quo as per her comments at our candidate forum.

Ms. Hynes can have all the opinions she wants about this race, but she’s not entitled to her own facts. And when you look at the facts, I believe that I am the clear choice for Assembly District 72.

Judie Mancuso

Candidate, Assembly District 72

Laguna Beach

Vile personal attacks on my family have resulted from my backing of a council candidate

I agree that stealing your opponent’s election banner is not the right thing to do but physically threatening your opponent’s supporters is an order of magnitude far worse.

When Tom (Miller) learned that Joe’s (Stapleton) illegal banner on Caltrans property was taken down by his sons-in-law, he made a personal call to Joe and apologized for the incident. 

In exchange for supporting Tom Miller, an excellent City Council candidate, Joe Stapleton’s surrogates have started a nasty campaign on Nextdoor, Instagram and personal text messages from burner phones, harassing and threatening me, my husband, and our daughter. She’s been told that she “is an ugly f***ing piece of s**t and was told to watch her back and be careful when she starts her car!”

Tom’s house is on the boardwalk and he is now taking verbal abuse from Joe’s supporters when they walk by. Horrible mailers are being sent out with content that is completely untrue and is not applicable to Tom’s company.

My family and I have filed a police report and fear for our safety. I am thankful we all live in gated communities.

This has gone way too far. There was a time that campaign workers were not hounded and harassed, when candidates were not threatened and when campaigns exercised some decorum. Newport Beach deserves so much more than this untoward behavior. 

Elections should be run on accolades not slanderous attacks by people who act like children and send things anonymously. 

Lynn Swain

Big Canyon


Letters to the Editor

Shebesta has what parents and kids need to best move forward

I wanted to show my support for Reina Shebesta for Trustee Area 5 in Newport Beach. She is a no-nonsense candidate with an extensive background in the education system with two kids in public schools in the district. She has been active with the Newport El Foundation and PTA at El and Ensign for several years now and has been calling for more security on campuses to keep our precious kiddos safe. She is FOR parental rights and traditional curriculum in schools. 

We need to get back to basics and elect some folks that are not afraid to stand up for what is best for our kids and keep the parents involved in their education.

Reina Shebesta for Trustee Area 5 – the right choice!

Saundra Edgar

Newport Beach parent and resident

Mailers don’t tell the true story

This week the nasty mailers have been landing in mailboxes.

While it is up to individual candidates to defend themselves, I particularly took issue with the flyer from a PAC called Accountability and Safety Education Fund, a shell for another PAC but that is another story.

The headline reads, “Councilwomen Joy Brenner was trusted by voters to curtail the proliferation of Vacation Rentals and AirBNBs. Under Brenner’s leadership we now have an increase in short-term rentals around Newport.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The efforts to regulate and restrict short-term lodging in Newport Beach started with our efforts on Newport Island. Joy was with us in the trenches from day one and stayed with us through the entire process. Without her help I am 100% sure we would be inundated with STR issues today. She did this despite considerable push back from certain councilmembers.

We know the truth and so does the current city council.

Mark Markos

Newport Island Acting President

Stolen signs offer different look to “honest” campaign

The Newport Beach City Council campaigns have taken a turn to the dark side. To the point, there is now video evidence that candidate Tom Miller’s family has turned to crime in an attempt to not only buy his election, but to also damage Tom’s opponent Joe Stapleton.

Miller’s two sons-in-law have been caught destroying a Joe Stapleton banner and removing his campaign lawn signs, while driving around town in a car registered to Miller’s daughter. The issue of signs disappearing and banners being destroyed has been occurring over the past several weeks. A police report has been filed and it appears the totality of damage could possibly become a misdemeanor crime.

This illegal activity speaks loudly to the falseness of the Miller campaign projecting an honest man dedicated to family, faith and all things good and proper. In reality, it is a false front being put on while running a false campaign. Shame on all of the organizations that have fallen for this person’s ability to serve as a qualified council candidate. His actions are an embarrassment to all that support him. And may even be worthy of civil penalty.

Please vote for the qualified candidate, the only qualified candidate in this race for District 1. Vote for Joe Stapleton and tell the Miller group that illegal actions have no place in Newport Beach politics.

Rush N Hill II

Former Mayor

City of Newport Beach

Sleazy mendacious mailers

I’m all for free speech, even that which is offensive. The low, sleazy hit piece mailers containing outright lies do serve a purpose. These very demeaning, crude and mendacious mailers attacking Joy Brenner and Tom Miller indicate the level to which their opponents’ backers will stoop. 

The argument is often made that these hit pieces are not from the candidates, but from independent PACs, so the candidates duck responsibility. Though I doubt that the aforementioned opponents have any direct connection with the PACs, which would be in violation of state election law, I do think there is a good case for guilt by association. It shows clearly how sleazy, unprincipled and deceitful the opponents’ backers are.

As the president of Line In The Sand PAC (now a 501(c)(4) non-profit), I know that, though legally separate and insulated from candidates, supporting PACs are reflective of the candidates or issues they support. My suggestion is to use the recommendations of these sleazy, untrue mailers as a guide to whom to vote against. The sleazy hit mailers are a good indication of the character of the candidates these PACs support.

Dennis Baker

Corona del Mar

I’ve seen Joe in action and I’m a believer

As a longtime resident of Newport Beach (1972-present), I have seen countless Newport Beach city councilmembers come and go without much to remember or have reason to be concerned with incoming members of council. Not the case with Joe Stapleton; he has risen above these unknowns through his passion for his community and his continued involvement year after year. 

I have raised three daughters in Newport Beach who are each actively involved in the community as NHHS alumni/Newport water polo players under Coach Bill Barnett. I have seen Joe at countless Newport Beach community events and volunteer programs over the years supporting our great city, giving his time, energy and his resources to make Newport better. Most importantly, (I’ve seen him) reactivating the energy in young people surrounding elected officials, Newport Beach networks, business leaders and pro-business functions which are integral to their knowledge and upbringing. 

Joe has EARNED the support of both the Newport Beach police and firefighters for a reason, something that cannot be bought. 

Newport needs someone who cares about our community and isn’t afraid to work hard to make it better. Do your homework on Joe and see just how involved he is and has been in our community. My vote will go to Joe Stapleton – 2020 Newport Beach Citizen of the Year – for Newport Beach City Council. He will be both an asset and a voice for our great city. 

Christen Taylor

Newport Beach

Shame on the PACs behind the unacceptable mailers

Odious, repulsive, disgusting, untruths, beyond bad taste.

Shame on you, “Safe Neighborhoods PAC” and “Accountability and Safety Education Fund PAC” (the “Attack PACs”) for your gutter attack flyers which soiled our mailboxes this past week.

As the marathon campaign season comes to a close, the tireless and well-intended Newport Beach Council candidates deserve better than this kind of publicity from the two Attack PACs and from other political action committees.

I have no doubt that Ms. Brenner’s and Mr. Miller’s opponents in the upcoming election knew nothing of the attack flyers and did not authorize their publication by the Attack PACs. 

Let’s hope we have seen the last of the tasteless ads in this cycle from the Attack PACs and all other similarly disposed political action committees.

One of our now retired senior Superior Court Judges used to start each session with the admonition to the lawyers: “Play nice in the sandbox. There will be consequences if you don’t.” 

Not bad advice for each of us to follow, but perhaps Pollyanna-ish in the blood sport of politics.

Joy Brenner has always played nice.

For her decades of community service, for the past four years of exemplary contributions on Council, and because she always plays nice, please re-elect incumbent Joy Brenner on November 8. As a lifetime voice magnifier for each of you, she has earned your vote and deserves re-election.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach 

Side-by-side comparison shows that Miller is the candidate for Newport

We are all approaching the moment for final decision on the elected leaders in our communities. In order to make the choice clearer, we thought that the comparison below may be helpful.

Thank you for considering the analysis below –

Tom Miller

Background – Family man

Age – 60

Professional Achievement – Founder and CEO of multi-regional auto services company with 850 employees

Measure B (Elect the mayor) – Opposed

Controlled by others – Never, Independent

Day job – Retired. Plans to work full time for city council.

Availability – Available full time

Leadership experience – Steered his company through two down economic cycles.

Joe Stapleton

Background – Unmarried

Age – 38

Professional Achievement – Co-founder and President of investment firm

Measure B (Elect the mayor) – Supported 

Day job – Mid-career financial advisor 

Best Candidate is Tom Miller

Our family supports Tom Miller based on his leadership experience and independence.

Mike Dutton

Corona del Mar

Take it from former police chief, I trust Foley to keep Orange County safe

As a police chief for three cities and resident of Newport Beach, I’ve worked with Katrina Foley for many years to keep our communities safe. 

She is tough on crime. Katrina always votes to fund law enforcement even in tough economic times like the recession or pandemic. 

As your OC Supervisor, she partners with our deputy sheriffs and police on solutions and tools to stop dangerous crimes like home burglaries, smash and grabs, and to hold accountable fentanyl drug dealers, rapists and murderers. 

Under her watch, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, Orange County has become one of the safest counties in the state with crime rates plunging in the last 12 months.

I trust Katrina Foley to help keep OC safe. 

David Snowden

Costa Mesa Police Chief (Ret.)

Newport Beach

Diane Dixon will bring “common sense” to Sacramento

I read Deborah Engle’s letter to the editor (Letters to the Editor, Stu News, 10/18/22) with great interest regarding her defense of local Laguna Beach animal lobbyist Judie Mancuso for Assembly. I think Mancuso’s campaign contributions report from the California Secretary of State’s website tells the story of her priorities. Close to 100 of her contributions are from outside the 72nd Assembly District, with a majority of those coming from the Los Angeles area. We don’t need people from Los Angeles choosing our Orange County elected officials. Los Angeles obviously has enough trouble choosing their own!

At last week’s candidate forum in Newport Beach, Mancuso refused to acknowledge that rising crime is a problem in our neighborhoods. I noticed in Laguna Beach’s crime log that one of her neighbors’ houses had recently been broken into on Judie’s own street. Mancuso obfuscates her position on crime by diverting attention to a vague concern for undefined “hate crimes.” 

I wonder if Mancuso’s environmental goals mirror that of Gavin Newsom, who wants to mandate all Californians to buy electric cars, then sends a public notice the next day warning Californians not to plug in their electric cars or we could have an electrical grid blackout. 

The choice is absolutely clear. We need Diane Dixon common sense leadership to represent us in the State Assembly. 

India Hynes

Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Voters need to beware of “big money” entering Newport’s political scene

Voters should be aware of how big money is being used to influence their votes. Many residents received a mailer this week attacking Joy Brenner for the rise in Short Term Rental units in Newport Beach during the time she has been in office. The mailer was highly deceptive since Joy has been one of the most vehement opponents of the increase in Short Term Rentals and fractional ownership units.

The time measured also coincided with the rule of Team Newport, whose members have been much more friendly to short-term rentals and fractional ownership. In fact, their handpicked candidate, Lauren Kleiman, just recently refused to support a moratorium on fractional ownership homes.

What makes this illusory mailer more interesting is that it was funded by the Accountability and Safety Education Fund Political Action Committee (ID 1374496). This committee was formed in Sacramento in August with a $300 contribution by a Sacramento legislative staffer.

On August 12, this committee received $35,000 from the OC Tax Political Action Committee and on August 17, this money was used to fund the attack on Joy. None of this was reported until after the mailer hit, in violation of state law. In addition, OC Tax PAC does not make electronic filings allowing voters to know who put the money into this hit piece.

Given the amount of money contributed, expect to see another hit piece using this “hide the money” strategy.

So, the question for Lauren Kleiman is: “Will you denounce this hidden big-money effort to elect you to the city council?” And the question for your backers Will O’Neill and Noah Blom, “Do you support this effort to hide those who are trying to control our city on your behalf?”

It’s time to put an end to the political machine and just elect people who follow the rules and put the community first.

This hit piece removed all doubt that the right candidate for Newport Beach is Joy Brenner.

Gerald Giannini

Newport Beach

I was right there; this is not the way it happened

I just have to respond to the most recent mailer dispelling Councilwoman Joy Brenner’s work on regulating the short-term lodging industry in our city. You see, I served on this committee the last two years I was on city council, along with councilwomen (Diane) Dixon and Brenner. We were appointed members to an ad hoc committee charged with the responsibility of studying and coming up with recommendations to regulate the short-term lodging industry in our city. 

This work came about as a result of the increasing number of complaints we were receiving from residents about the disruptive nature of short-term rentals. Something had to be done to restore the rights that residents have to a peaceful living environment. 

In this first “hit piece” mailer designed and distributed by Joy’s opposition, it outright lies to the public! When we began our work as an ad hoc committee in 2018, there were approximately 1,350 permitted short-term lodging units in the city. It took three years for the committee to complete their work. It was then sent to council for approval. After narrowly receiving approval, it was then sent to the Coastal Commission for final approval. This took a considerable amount of time which resulted in the number of STL units increasing to more than 1,600. 

The bottom line here is that the growth in the number of STL units is not a result of Joy’s lack of leadership; rather, a lack of action on the part of the council majority, and then waiting and waiting and waiting for the Coastal Commission to give their stamp of approval on the proposed regulation.

It is worth mentioning here that in granting final approval to the regulation, the Coastal Commission was surprised that the city was actually allowing 1,550 permits to be issued. They thought it should be much lower! 

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Council 2016-2020

Stapleton’s record would seem to make him the right choice for Newport Beach

Joe Stapleton is what it means to be a “citizen” – he is an earnest volunteer, a servant, a dedicated leader and someone I first served with on the charter commission many years ago. We have stayed in close touch over the years and I know him to be a selfless and intelligent professional. Our city would be blessed to have him on the council.

I can’t say anything negative about his opponent, Tom Miller, because I have never met him, seen him at a single city event, served with him, observed him in any capacity be a part of city or community life, or anything else. He showed up to town five minutes ago and started slandering Joe Stapleton. No thank you. He should apologize, though, even after the election.

Newport Beach will be well-served by its fellow citizen, Joe Stapleton.

David Bahnsen

Newport Beach

“Appalled” by attack on Brenner

Yesterday, I received the most appalling and disgusting mailer blasting Joy Brenner. It shows a cartoon picture of a lady (supposed to be Joy) stabbing an elephant in the back with blood squirting all over. There is also another flyer spreading a lie that is so egregious.

The people who are behind this kind of politics should be ashamed of themselves. Is this the kind of classless people we want representing us? Emphatically, NO!

Joy Brenner has been nothing but a responsive and productive representative to District 6. My neighbors and I have called upon her numerous times with issues and concerns. She always responded quickly, with good information and problem solving. She interfaces well with police, fire department, public works and traffic department, etc. In short, she knows how to get things done.

If this kind of politics is the new norm for Newport Beach, we want none of it.

Karen and Warren James

Corona del Mar

Attacks on opposition seem desperate

Lauren Kleiman’s backers must have seen some really bad polling in her race against Joy Brenner to go as low as they have gone in the latest hit piece.

The Accountability and Safety General Education Fund PAC that this mailer came from is registered with the Secretary of State, but has only reported raising less than $400, so they are likely in violation of FPPC and city requirements. 

According to Lauren’s campaign, Joy is single-handedly responsible for a proliferation of short-term rentals in Newport Beach. Apparently, the fact that Joy voted for more regulation of short-term rentals (when Team Newport did not) is conveniently forgotten as is the tremendous amount of time that Joy has spent trying to find a legally acceptable solution to the problem.

I really don’t think that Lauren should stop there. Why not hold Joy responsible for the state mandated housing requirements that we all hate? After all, it happened on her watch. And airport noise! And climate change! With a little creativity, the list is nearly endless.

When marking your ballot, consider what type of person decides that it is OK to blatantly lie about others and consider if this is the person you want to represent you on City Council. I’m voting for Joy Brenner!

Lynn Swain

Big Canyon

Want candidates who are committed to Newport Beach and not in it to seek higher office

Did you know that the Newport Beach City Council race is nonpartisan? So why do some of the candidates make such a big deal of endorsements from political parties? In my experience, that is because the GOP, in particular, likes to “farm” for people to win in local elections, build name recognition and subsequently be their candidate for a state or federal partisan race. 

And so it is that they give big money, coming from elsewhere, to fund some local campaigns. Some of our candidates have just that funding in mind and may wish to run later for higher office. That’s exactly what we don’t want: People who are looking to expand their personal political role or seek funding from outside of Newport may be affected in the way they vote, always with an eye toward that other funder or later goal, making deals and not keeping their eye targeted expressly toward Newport. 

With those thoughts in mind, as well as the competency of these people, it is very clear to me that the best candidates in this year’s City Council races are: 

District 1 – Tom Miller 

District 3 – Jim Mosher

District 4 – Robyn Grant

District 6 – Joy Brenner

All of these candidates fulfill the criteria that guide my voting. They are independent, focused on Newport alone and not looking for funding from out-of-city sources. 

Jim Mosher is amazingly knowledgeable of all city matters, and his incredibly informative newsletter is intended and able to provide the transparency that others just talk about.    

With all due respect, I also like Erik Weigand, who was hard-working and thoughtful on the Planning Commission, and I feel that he would do a fine job on the City Council.

Jean Watt 

Former City Council Member, 1988-1996

Newport Beach

Hit pieces show signs of desperation 

(Wednesday), October 19, I received an 8.5” x 22” color glossy mailer authored by Safe Neighborhoods PAC. Does this PAC believe that the citizens of Newport Beach are so stupid, uninformed and gullible not to see through this hit piece just 21 days before the election? Who is/are the person/people behind this PAC?

Disparaging Tom Miller and also insinuating that Councilmember Joy Brenner is “slick” or “dishonest” shows how low some people in our community are so desperate and of low morals that they need to stoop to such a flagrant “digging in the dirt” and to disparage two of the best candidates in this election cycle.

Ignore this piece of garbage and vote for Tom Miller and Joy Brenner. And by the way, Jim Mosher should also receive your vote.

Leonard Simon

Newport Beach

Hoping the Mayor and City Council will take a stance against the dirty politics surfacing in Newport Beach

 This week, two organizations including the “Accountability and Safety Education Fund PAC” and “Safe Neighborhoods PAC” decided that it was OK to be disrespectful of my family & home by mailing salacious, sleezy and untrue flyers about candidates running for election. This was rather like earlier in the year when the proponents of Measure B sent their “Pinocchio flyer” into my home inferring that everyone who disagreed with them was lying. Which, by the way, I also called out for its lack of respect. 

These flyers are in no shape or form informational and they have no place here in Newport Beach.

If this desire to take local politics/government into the gutter continues, then our city will become a laughingstock. We will be no better than the current political storm currently hitting LA.

I would hope that the current city mayor and councilmembers would take a stance against this. They may, or may not, be able to take action to stop it, but I would hope that they would take action to condemn not only the flyers but those behind sending them.

As a city council I would hope that they would want to encourage respect for candidates and encourage respect for Newport Beach residents. After all, during city meetings they desire respect be shown to them.

When this happens on their watch it will become part of their legacy.

Gina Cruz

Newport Beach resident

Thank you for a message that resounded to many

Wow! I am impressed! In this day and age, a seasoned newspaperman with integrity!

Tom Johnson of Stu News stated and published the unabashed truth in the Oct. 18 edition. He told, with accuracy, exactly what, for the past six years, has diminished the Newport Beach City Council. That was, and is, the election of Will O›Neil and his efforts to stack the council with his “yes” men.

But this letter is to laud Tom Johnson for his honesty, integrity and genuine concern about this great community. Thank you, Tom, we owe you a debt of gratitude for all you do for Newport Beach. I know I speak for many when I say, “you have our deep gratitude and appreciation.”

Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer, ret.

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Setting the Tom Miller story correct

The arguments being used to tear down Tom Miller and prop up Joe Stapleton are misleading and need to be called out.

First, they deliberately overlook Tom’s record as a successful businessman and family man who has improved countless lives through his entrepreneurship, volunteer work and philanthropy. We should welcome the idea of having a self-made man with fresh ideas and hard-earned business and life experience on the council. The fact that Tom has spent his time in the real world rather than the Team Newport training school is actually a very good reason to vote for him.

Second, it’s hilarious that anyone would label Tom, who has called Newport home since 2015 a “relative newcomer.” Will O’Neill and Kevin Muldoon had lived here for less than two years when outside spending got them elected as part of “Team Newport” (aka “Team New to Newport”). Muldoon ran on a slate with Scott Peotter, who moved to town just six months before the election. Even after Peotter brought great embarrassment to our city, Will O’Neill still avidly backed his reelection bid. This “newcomer” attack against Tom is truly disingenuous. 

Third, there’s no greater proof of Tom’s love for Newport Beach than the time and money he devoted to defeating the disastrous Measure B. The latter was designed to restructure our city government to transfer nearly all power to a single politician, presumably a Team Newport member. It was an attempt to destroy a voter-approved system of governance that has served us extremely well, all to allow the Team Newport members to further entrench themselves and gain even more control of our city’s agenda and future.

Joe Stapleton’s support for Measure B is totally at odds with his “Keep Newport, Newport” campaign slogan. Maybe a better tagline would be “Keep Newport Team Newport.”

I’ll be voting for Tom Miller to bring a wealth of business and life experience, as well as real independence, to the city council. I urge you to do the same.

Gary Cruz

Newport Beach

Perhaps the best endorsement a candidate could receive, one from their own child

I remember being taught John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success at Lincoln Elementary School, but this wasn’t my first time learning it, as John Wooden was a legend in my home. My dad played volleyball at UCLA, and my mom, LISA PEARSON, received her master’s in education from UCLA. 

The Pyramid of Success teaches sincerity, honesty, reliability, integrity, loyalty and poise. While performing well academically was important in our household, my parents held these values above all else.

My mom, LISA PEARSON, came from a family of educators, and while she was teaching, she became one of the most popular teachers in her school. When I was born, she retired to focus on raising the family. Raising three children, one with a learning disability, has only furthered her compassion and underlies her promise to treat every student with kindness and respect. 

If you haven’t heard of my mom, step outside and ask your neighbors about her. Her positive reputation precedes her. I saw it when I attended Lincoln Elementary and Corona del Mar Middle and High School. Teachers and students were quick to recognize the PEARSON name because of her years of dedicated service to our schools.

We live in a community where reputation goes a long way. Being able to work with others and listen to opposing views is important when considering someone for a position of leadership. As you prepare to vote, either by mail or in-person, I encourage you to think about the type of leader you would want representing you, your kids and our district on the school board. 

LISA PEARSON is the only school board candidate in Trustee Area 4 who has earned the respect of our community through years of service and leadership – always done with kindness and respect. She is trusted by students, parents and leaders throughout our community.

Vote for my mom, Lisa Pearson, for our Newport-Mesa School Board Trustee, Area 4. 

Maxwell Pearson

Newport Beach

City Council picks from Newport Beach’s former City Manager

We are fortunate in Newport Beach to have a slate of excellent candidates campaigning for City Council seats this November. For what it is worth, I would like to share my thoughts on some of the candidates.

District 1: Having known and been a close friend of Joe Stapleton for over 10 years, I have been greatly impressed with his leadership qualities and organizational skills. He gets things done. He works hard for the community and truly loves Newport Beach. Joe earns my support based on his impressive and successful record of serving the City through the many various community organizations he has participated in and presided over. 

That said, I have come to know Tom Miller, who sincerely cares for the City and possesses impressive business leadership qualities that will benefit the community in the years ahead. 

District 3: I need to disclose that Erik Weigand lives in my neighborhood, and I know him to be a good and solid, independent minded, thoughtful person who has deep roots in the community, making Erik my choice for this District seat. At the same time, the community owes Jim Mosher a debt of gratitude for his long-standing role of being a “City government watchdog” spending many hours attending City government meetings, a role that he is perfectly suited for and should continue in the service of the City he embraces and effectively serves.

District 4: Robyn Grant will be an exceptional City Councilmember and future Mayor. For the past 20 years she has served in organizations and roles that benefitted our community and has done so with little fanfare and even less ego. Robin has my full support and is a wonderful person on top of all of her accomplishments.

District 6: This race has two strong candidates; however, I am supporting current City Councilmember Joy Brenner because she has already proven herself to be a hard worker, who is constantly out in the community engaging and listening to her constituents and consistently making decisions based on what she thinks is best for the community she knows so well.

That said, I have much respect and value my friendship with Lauren Kleiman who is currently serving as the Chair of the City’s Planning Commission. No doubt, Lauren will be a strong and effective community leader for years to come, and I look forward to supporting her in any future pursuits.

In addition, Diane Dixon is my strong choice for the State Assembly’s 72nd District seat.

In summary, we have the luxury of having some excellent City Council candidates this election. I urge voters to dig into their backgrounds, ignore the mailings and “hit pieces” and make your voting decisions based on proven track records of achievement. In order for Newport Beach to be the best, it needs to elect the best representatives possible. The choice is up to you. 

Homer Bludau

Former Newport Beach City Manager

Newport Beach

No Joy in Newport

I got hives watching Joy Brenner nominate herself for Mayor Pro Tem in December 2020, without a single vote in favor from her peers, and then blame the lack of support on the fact that she is a woman. Our city has seen many successful women mayors, including Diane Dixon, who was mayor twice, but was also silent from the dais on Joy’s self-nomination. 

As a woman who has worked hard for all that I have helped build for myself and my family, I resent anyone who undermines the position of women in any role with an excuse for their own inability to earn their respect, title or success. I can’t say that I was surprised at this liberal sentiment, however, given that Joy assured voters that she was a lifelong Republican in the last election and has since changed her voter designation, in addition to supporting the campaigns of Katrina Foley and Cottie Petrie-Norris.

To add insult to injury, at every candidate debate, Joy has touted how she now tells residents not to bother to come to Council meetings anymore because “they’re going to vote how they vote.” Has she lost her voice, or just her willingness to work well with others? From what I can see, there are no victims here, just ineffectiveness. 

Perhaps Joy and her supporters have conveniently forgotten that she had the backing of the Newport Beach Police and Fire Association PACs four years ago, or that Line in the Sand spent $30,000 towards getting her elected. And she certainly knew how to make a deal when she brokered a negotiation with SPON for the support of the 22-story Ritz Carlton Residences.

Bottom line is that Joy has lost the support of her colleagues, our esteemed Police and Firefighters, and most importantly, my vote.

Carolina Prichard

Corona del Mar

Good reasons to vote for Jim Mosher for City Council

Jim would never make bad decisions such as voting for a structure like Museum House because it was a political decision that violated local building codes. Jim is apolitical, refusing to bend to any political pressure or decision.

–There would be no learning curve for Jim. He already knows more about City government than anyone on Council or any governmental committee.

–He would owe no political favors to anyone because he has accepted no money.

–Jim is running a grassroots campaign in an effort to show that it can be done…that outside money and government make for a bad mix.

–He always has time to help others who come to him for information. If he can’t answer a question (which is rare), he always knows where to look for an answer and he always gets back to the person.

–Because he is apolitical and ethical, he would never engage in the discussion of petty politics or get involved in them.

–Jim has attended every City Council and Planning Commission meeting since 2009.

–He comes from a science-based background and would have a unique perspective from which to view issues before Council.

–Jim will be working exclusively for the good of the City and its residents.

–He will guide the Council toward adherence to the General Plan and the Zoning Code, keeping it faithful to the Greenlight Measure voted on by the residents.

–Jim wants Newport Beach to be well-run because he plans on living here the rest of his life. He has no designs to try to run for higher office.

–He believes the City staff has taken an outsized role in proposing policies to the Council and in controlling the policy outcomes. At times, the paid staff even overrides the Council. He will strive to bring back policy control to the Council for
the benefit of the people it serves.

–Jim has started writing newsletters which are available on his website since he decided to run for Council. He writes about the latest issues being decided by the Council and the staff in order to keep the public informed of decisions affecting them.

–A considerable number of prominent community activists, especially those involved in SPON, are planning on voting for Jim for Council.

–Jim would not vote to legalize fractional home ownership, which is before the Planning Commission right now, a timeshare use the city banned in 1982.

Nicole Reynolds and Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

It’s not about you, it’s about us

Accolades. Self-promotion. Endorsements. Plaudits. Photographs.

I don’t know about you, but the Council candidate political mailers/emails/Instagrams I’m getting are a little bit over the top.

Sure, I guess it’s important to have a mega list of supporters, but isn’t there someone missing from this equation?

Is it too late for the Council candidates to shift the campaign focus to the City and its residents rather than themselves and the long list of supporters who will expect a return on their investment post-November 8? 

Please don’t give us lists of folks and organizations who want a returned favor. Please tone down smiling pictures. Please save the lengthy resume for another purpose. Please don’t bore us with supporter quotes. Please eliminate the name-calling.

Just tell us – plain and simple – your concrete, thoughtful and specific ideas for:

–RHNA/State-imposed mandates/affordable housing

–General Plan Update and your thoughts for our future

–Homelessness solutions

–Unfunded pension liabilities

–Power retention misuse

–Sensible capital improvements

–JWA issues

–Crime; increasing public safety officers/incentivizing police/fire folks to live in Newport

–Traffic/e-bikes/public safety/fatal and serious injury bicycle accidents

–Mariners’ Mile

–Sustainability/environment/clean water

–Sober living homes/drugs in our community

–Coyotes

–Major events: Film Festival, Boat Parade, etc.

–Business promotion; development; TOT, taxes, fees

–The Harbor

–Council transparency

–Our Budget

–Our Library: the cultural, educational and informational heart of Newport Beach

–Consensus building

Joy Brenner is running for re-election in District 6. She seems to “get it” when it comes to focusing on us. Her literature proudly proclaims: “Putting Residents First.” Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Please fill in the blank on your mail-in ballot or at the polls on November 8 next to “JOY BRENNER, INCUMBENT.”

And please remember: It’s not about you, it’s about us, and it’s not too late to change the focal point.

Paul K. Watkins 

Newport Beach

Tom Miller – the faith, family and country patriot

Ever since the Newport Beach Chamber candidate forum in August, I was convinced that candidate Tom Miller has the better skills to become city councilman in District 1.

As an entrepreneur, Tom started his auto reconditioning business, and grew it over 36 years to 850 employees. He has the knowledge of how to run a business which our local government so desperately needs. He has already delved into the $400 million Newport Beach budget. He has common-sense solutions for problems like the homeless that actually might better solve this problem rather than just putting a band aid on it.

And Tom emphasizes his desire to hear everyone’s concerns. He says that his business couldn’t have succeeded without the helpful ideas of his employees. He wants to hear your ideas to make Newport Beach better, not to just Keep Newport, Newport.

No, Tom is NOT a seasoned politician. He’s proud of that, and so am I. He fought hard against Measure B because he knew this new elected mayor’s position was a mere power grab to continue the status quo. 

No, Tom has not been “groomed” by Team Newport but he does have independent thinking from his business experience and has a “can do” attitude to bring to the table as your next Newport Beach city councilman.

Won’t you join me in voting for this successful, humble family man where his 1-year-old grandchild calls him Papa T.

MillerforNewport.com

Give Tom a call: 714.319.8232

Libby Huyck

Newport Beach

Questioning what the endorsement of the police and fire really means

Your readers should know that Lauren Kleiman’s statement that “Newport Beach Police and Firefighters’ Associations have endorsed my candidacy over an incumbent” doesn’t actually mean that the rank-and-file police and fireman think she is the better candidate. 

Most voters don’t realize that the endorsements by “Newport Beach Police and Firefighters” is an endorsement by a political action committee that appears to be controlled by Team Newport. These endorsements carry huge weight because we all respect our safety personnel and want to support them, but they don’t necessarily represent what the actual police and fire departments think about the candidates. If they did, Joy would likely get their approval.

Politics is a stinky business and voters should know that Newport smells worse than most due to the control exerted by a few power brokers in the city.

Please vote for the best candidate: Joy Brenner.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Questioning why those opposed to Measure B could now support backer

We’ve seen bizarre endorsements in Newport Beach council races before, but what’s happening this year is incomprehensible. 

A number of prominent people who staunchly opposed Measure B, stating unequivocally that it would ruin everything we love about our city, have turned around and endorsed Joe Stapleton, an enthusiastic supporter of B. How can anyone recognize that Measure B was a power grab designed to give a few professional politicians near total control of the council’s agenda and our city’s future, then support a candidate who wanted that outcome? The hypocrisy is just astounding. 

I don’t want to be represented by anyone who would put our city at risk just to earn political favors. I want our council comprised of people who do the right thing. That’s why I’m casting my vote for Tom Miller, Jim Mosher and Joy Brenner, and hope you’ll do the same. 

Dorothy Kraus

Newport Beach

The battle against Ole Will

Ole Will O’Neill is at it again! Issuing his own voter’s guide for self-serving purposes. Let’s take a closer look. 

Ole Will touts that the Police and Fire Associations have endorsed “his” candidates. He proclaims those endorsed are the chosen ones of the city safety groups. Let’s speak truth to power here. It’s NOT the rank-and-file police officers or firefighters that made these selections. It’s the top two to three union guys. It’s about protecting their big pensions and salary increases. It’s who the union guys want.

Ask yourself why? Easy answer = keep “Team Newport” in power with its four-member council voting bloc, keep control over city matters like increased growth, fractional living and protect those big pensions.

Let’s face it folks, Newport was doing well, the city council was fair and harmonious until Ole Will got himself elected (he was new to town). For the past seven years, Ole Will has sponsored candidates – think the wine drinking (Noah) Blom – in exchange for their support of a.) Ole Will’s projects b.) Ole Will’s future candidates. Those are the facts!

Here are some other facts: Joy Brenner, elected four years ago, has done an exemplary job, been responsive to CdM needs and served the entire city fairly and honorably, vs. Lauren Kleinman, personally recruited by Ole Will, former airport commissioner, who missed more meetings than she attended. As chair of the Planning Commission, she had the opportunity to oppose fractional housing and didn’t take a stand. Her actions do not reflect an independent voice. She is a guaranteed Team Newport vote.

Ole Will recommends you vote for Erik Weigand, a nice guy, but elections aren’t about nice guys. They are about who can get the job done. Weigand, also on the Planning Commission, also had the opportunity to nip fractional housing at the onset. He too, ducked the opportunity. A lifelong government employee, he is Ole Will endorsed and another vote for Team Newport.

Ole Will says vote for my friend Joe. He’s a good guy. Maybe so, but let’s take a closer look. Community activist, Joe belongs to the Chamber of Commerce, Environmental Nature Center, Harbor Commission, N.B. Foundation...you get the picture. 

His website states, “he is involved in over a dozen local charitable boards.” Pretty impressive for a guy just 38 years old and working full time. One wonders, is he more than a card-carrying member of these groups? It takes more than 38 years to amass that large a resume with any kind of effective involvement. 

Ole Will bashes Joe’s opponent, Tom Miller, a family man (Joe is divorced) for funding his own race with monies he earned. Let’s look at Joe’s campaign contributions. Mostly from outside of Newport Beach, mostly from contractors and builders and a few locals. Where will Joe’s loyalties lie? With Ole Will, his best friend, who promised him a win and with the builders and contractors who want fractional housing and growth.

Team Newport! To Ole Will it’s about four votes to control what happens in Newport – it’s about four votes to control city staff, to control who gets appointed to boards and commissions and to control who gets elected mayor. It’s all about who and what Ole Will can control.

Since Ole Will was elected and established Team Newport seven years ago, community activists have had to take up the charge and fight city hall. The biggest Ole Will misstep was the fight over the construction of the Newport Center high rise. Ole Will, with his four-man majority, threw every roadblock against the citizens, ignoring green light mandates and serving his campaign donors rather than the citizens of Newport. He lost that one! 

His next big blunder was another Ole Will power grab, the Elect the Mayor initiative. Again, voters of Newport saved the day. Measure B was badly defeated by community efforts and thanks to Tom Miller for taking a stand against it. 

Now, Ole Will is pushing through fractional housing and needs four votes to keep undermining our great Newport.

Your vote matters. It’s time to defeat Team Newport! It’s not about Keeping Newport, Newport. We want a city council that protects our values, fights for our citizens and serves all, not a chosen few. Support the candidates who truly care about our Newport. Candidates who will listen to and honor the voters of Newport.

When you look at the facts, it’s an easy choice. Vote Joy Brenner, vote Jim Mosher, vote Tom Miller and vote Robyn Grant. It’s clear, these folks love and care about Newport Beach. They care about fairness. They are all about solutions.

Please join me by casting your ballots for Joy, Jim, Tom and Robyn. It’s time to elect honorable leaders and end Team Newport’s reign of terror!

Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer, ret.

Newport Beach

Former mayors, Citizens of the Year and other city leaders endorse Joy Brenner

Once in a while we know with absolute certainty that the candidate we are voting for or supporting is the best possible person for the job.

That’s how we feel about Joy Brenner, who’s running for reelection in District 6 with our enthusiastic support.

Most of you are familiar with at least some of Joy’s story. 

You probably know she’s lived in Newport Beach for about 60 years and has served the city in some capacity throughout most of that time.

You’ve likely heard about how, during her first term on the Council, she’s been fighting for transparency and accountability and working to tackle the most pressing issues facing our city, including homelessness, short-term lodging and state-mandated housing numbers. 

But what we can share with you personally, having known and worked alongside her for years, is that Joy is one of the rare people who does the thankless work that makes a councilmember truly exceptional: she reads the lengthy reports, does her own research, brings questions to staff, and meets with individuals and groups that have different viewpoints on a given issue. 

Then she votes in the way that best represents the interests of the city and her constituents. Every time. 

Last but not least, Joy is always available to Newport residents and businesses. They know they can count on her to resolve their concerns directly where possible or connect them with people who can.

Hard work and real representation like that are hard to come by! 

Newport Beach is lucky to have Joy on City Council. Please use your votes to keep her there for another four years. 

“Signed by former mayors, city officials, electeds and Citizens of the Year including these former mayors (partial list)”: 

Brad Avery

Diane Dixon

Nancy Gardner

Rush Hill

Keith Curry

Mike Henn

Bus Turner

Don Webb

Tom Edwards

Evelyn Hart


Letters to the Editor

Lisa Pearson is the candidate we need as District 4 Area Trustee for NMUSD

One question before voters shortly will be who will take Karen Yelsey’s place on the NMUSD School Board Area 4. Over her tenure on the board, Karen has been an engaged, dedicated and fearless leader for our schools and our community. We need to elect a person who, like Karen, will put the welfare and educational needs of the students above all else. 

I believe that the perfect person to fill this seat is Lisa Pearson. I became friends with Lisa when our kids were in school together at CdMHS. Lisa and I served on the PTA together and I saw first-hand how effective a leader Lisa is. 

Lisa has the credentials and the experience to step into the role as a trustee with a dual master’s degree in Education and School Administration, as well as many years of hands-on experience as a teacher and volunteer in our local schools. But more importantly, Lisa is the perfect candidate to fill this role because she is sincere, honest, trustworthy, thoughtful and fair. She will be a voice of reason and logic on the school board. Lisa will work well with teachers and administrators. She will use her background and education to improve upon our district’s educational excellence. Lisa will be an advocate of every student and work to ensure each child has access to the best possible resources and educational programs offered. 

The last few years have been challenging for students across the country with a pandemic that upended daily routines and school schedules for children of all ages. During this period, the NMUSD school board rose to the challenge of ensuring every resource was made available to keep students engaged. Once restrictions were lifted, the School Board quickly implemented a number of reengagement activities like additional summer school programs to help get the students back to socializing and learning. 

As our school community emerges from the COVID crisis, Lisa knows that her immediate focus as a trustee will be to address the mental health issues and educational setbacks students have had to endure during that difficult time. Lisa will excel at managing this aspect of her job and I am confident she has the correct temperament and grasp of the situation to ensure a robust recovery for our school district and children. 

I’m concerned about the candidates running against Lisa because their rhetoric is to paint the narrative that the school board was harming our children during the uncharted period of COVID. Our school board worked tirelessly to reopen our schools safely and earlier than most other districts in Orange County. We cannot continue accepting these false narratives when our children have already lost so much.   

Lisa knows her job will be to ensure each and every child in our district receives the opportunity to live and learn in an environment without fear or intimidation and in an environment that allows children to strive, succeed and be happy. I strongly recommend that you vote for my friend, Lisa Pearson Trustee Area 4. 

Sue Ellen O’Connor

Newport Beach

Scheduling conflicts apparently “excuse” others, while Lisa Pearson continues to show up

One of the most important things for an effective leader to do is to show up. Showing up means being there, caring and staying, even when it isn’t convenient. It doesn’t mean showing up for a few minutes and leaving. By showing up you earn my vote.

I’ve watched our school board candidates these past several weeks and the pattern of showing up or not showing up is glaring. At the community based “Next Up Newport” candidate forum last Sunday, Lisa Pearson attended and participated in the entire event. The next night, at the Harbor Council PTA candidate forum, Lisa Pearson attended and participated in the entire event. Her primary opponent cited scheduling conflicts and did not attend either forum. 

At this week’s State of the Schools Breakfast, Lisa Pearsonand the other guests stayed to enjoy encouraging reports from high school ASB presidents,school principals and Superintendent Wesley Smith. Lisa’s primary opponent took pictures and left before the program got going. Perhaps she had a scheduling conflict.

This pattern is meaningful. For a candidate who has shown up for a long list of out-of-town political figures, to decline invitations to impartial school board candidate forums or to drop in and out of the annual district-wide school celebration speaks volumes to one’s priorities.

By contrast, Lisa Pearson is showing up. As a member of our schools’ PTAs, she attends the PTA and School Foundation meetings, listening to what is important to parents. Whether it’s being welcomed by parents and students at a CdM football or volleyball game, or the recent fall musical performances, Lisa is showing up, staying through the events, and making sure the families and students feel cared for. 

I’m confident that she will do that and much more when she is elected to our school board. I watched her do it for years at the Lincoln and CdM PTA Executive Boards. Lisa doesn’t do part time. She’s a full-timer. 

To be an exceptional school board trustee, one must treat it like a full-time job. That’s what Lisa will do…because she doesn’t believe in scheduling conflicts. She believes in showing up…and she’s earned my vote.

Amber Snider

Newport Coast

Team Newport is lashing out against Tom Miller because they need a fourth vote

Team Newport is lashing out at Tom Miller in the exact same way it attacked those who opposed Measure B, the disastrous Will O’Neill initiative that voters defeated in a landslide earlier this year.

What exactly is Team Newport? 

It is, first and foremost, a voting block on our city council, a group of four councilmen who have played fast and loose with zoning laws, tried to undermine Greenlight and accepted large donations from special interests including developers with huge projects they want to build in Newport. These councilmen have made our city less transparent and less responsive to voters. Many of their decisions are self-serving. Others are simply embarrassingly wrong, like making Noah Blom mayor pro tem over Joy Brenner.

Will O’Neill has been working hard in recent months to secure a new four-vote block. For that, he needs Tom’s opponent to win. The fact is that Tom Miller’s election will leave Team Newport with a lot less power. Which is why the attacks against him are escalating.

In this election, you have a stark choice. You can vote for the same old politics and politicians.

Or, you can elect someone like Tom Miller, who will listen to you and represent your needs rather than those of deep-pocketed developers and special interests. 

Tom is a successful self-made businessman who is funding his own campaign. He is running for the sole purpose of bringing real representation and service to our community.

Let’s usher in a new era on November 8th by electing independent voices whose actions only reflect the concerns and aspirations of our residents and businesses and the wisdom of our city charter.

I encourage you all to choose Tom Miller for a new, refreshing change!

Lynn Swain

Newport Beach

Joe Stapleton is the one for Newport

I have known Joe Stapleton for almost a decade now and am supporting him for Newport Beach City Council. I have served on the Newport Beach Foundation Board with him for the last several years and have seen his work ethic firsthand. He is committed to service and most importantly serving his community. 

All politics is local and elections matter. Some of the reasons I am supporting Joe Stapleton:

–He is accessible, always answers his phone and gets back to people in a timely manner.

–He is uniquely familiar with the City of Newport Beach, as he has already volunteered his time, energy and resources serving the community.

–He is young, energetic, passionate about serving and supportive of the Arts. 

–His profession, financial planning and wealth management give him the knowledge base to understand intergenerational planning as well as understand concepts to help build financial security for our community.

Most importantly, our police, firefighters and lifeguards all support Joe. Currently, crime and homelessness are on the rise in all California cities. I trust Joe to do what is right when it comes to public safety and find compassionate and effective solutions to the homelessness crisis we are facing as a community.

Meghan E. McNulty, Esq.

Newport Beach Foundation Board Member

Newport Beach City Arts Commissioner 

Don’t buy into dirty campaign messages against Katie Porter

Katie Porter – I wonder how many people have noticed the appalling video ads that Scott Baugh and some Republicans are running against Katie Porter. The ads aren’t just misleading, like showing Katie talking while some other woman’s voice is telling the lies as if coming out of Katie’s mouth. Or if Katie wanted to defund the police as some ads say, why did she and Michelle Steel collaborate on legislation to fund police and police training? 

I wish I could say it is just the nonsense of the “silly season” as George W. Bush would call it but it is too dangerous and ugly to be nonsense. 

I hope residents of this congressional district want someone intelligent who has positive ideas and solutions instead of vicious attack ads.

Linda Watkins

Newport Beach

Important City Council election…do your homework…and make an informed vote

The upcoming Newport Beach City Council election is probably the most important City Council election ever!

It is a pivotal election with a guaranteed change to the City Council majority. Four of the seven Council seats are up for election and you have the power to choose who will fill them. In two more years, several more councilmembers are termed out giving us all new faces to trust running our city. 

No matter what people/candidates tell you, there will be a new City Council majority. These newly elected individuals will set policy for the city and direct the City Manager in her operation of the departments. Policy is what determines how often streets are paved, trees are trimmed, what programs are offered to residents and your kids, how the money is spent and how much to save for a rainy day. 

Policy is how hard they are going to fight for us to maintain the airport curfew and fight expansion of the runway. We already lost the first battle with the airport and soon the private jet expansion will be flying over our homes potentially throughout the night. 

I was a proponent of fighting the general aviation expansion until a separate curfew was enacted for the private jets. The current council did not take that path. The wrong City Councilmembers will not have the leadership skills to direct the city through this future airport negotiation and potentially a litigation process, or passing legislation through the Federal Government. I can’t imagine living here with jets overhead throughout the night. This is the council that will be facing this battle.

I recently had the honor of moderating a Newport Beach City Council candidate forum on Balboa Island. My takeaway from the forum was that we have some very good candidates interested in serving on the council. All of the candidates have strengths and weaknesses and we have the responsibility of deciding which candidates best represent future policy direction of the City of Newport Beach. Most candidates are conservative and all possess different skills and philosophies.

Before you vote, please do some of the following to make an informed decision. If you have not met the candidates, watch one of the public forums posted on the internet. 

This one is the easiest to find, so watch this one of the City Council Forum on August 18 at Wake Up Newport.

All of the candidates have web sites. Go to their sites and email questions. Most will answer your emails. Talk to your informed neighbors and people that know about our local government activities. Look at endorsements. This is actually more important than you think. Look for respected individuals or groups such as past city elected officials that you feel did a good job on the City Council and support a candidate. These people want only what is best for the city. 

This election will set Newport Beach public policy direction for many years. Don’t base you decision on who voted for the elected mayor (old news) or who is a friend with whom. This has nothing to do with the best candidate to serve our community and this can easily change as soon as these four new elected individuals get up to speed related to their job on the City Council. 

If the wrong candidates are elected, we will all be stuck because of our ignorance. Pick correctly and the city will continue to move in a positive direction. For the 30,000 of us impacted by airport noise and pollution I hope we pick the right people. The last date to register to vote is October 24. Please make an informed vote.

Lee Pearl

Balboa Island


Letters to the Editor

Stapleton’s record is proven

“The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention” –John Burroughs

To me a clear divide exists in this year’s City Council race for District 1; intention versus deed. I have been involved in the City of Newport Beach for more than 30 years. Sitting on boards, commissions, non-profits and City Council has provided me the good fortune and experience with many citizens active in community affairs. I have literally met hundreds, if not thousands, who I have seen act in the best interest of Newport Beach.

Joe Stapleton is one of these examples. Whether it is the City’s Finance Committee, Harbor Commission, Chamber of Commerce or Newport Beach Foundation, I have watched Joe conduct himself in a manner that puts Newport Beach first. I have a history of examples to judge him by. Examples that led him to be selected by his peers as Newport Beach Citizen of the Year. I know how he will act as the next City Councilmember because I have seen how he has acted as a private citizen. Joe is dependable, honest and full of integrity.

I cannot say that about his opponent. In my many years working in the best interest of the City, I have not once seen Tom Miller. Not one Environmental Nature Center event, Chamber of Commerce mixer, Planning Commission hearing or City Council meeting. Not one Speak Up Newport or Wake Up Newport. And all of a sudden, Mr. Miller intends to represent us. Mr. Miller intends to demonstrate his ability as a new face in the political discourse, with absolutely no community experience or record to run on.

This is a race of intention versus deed. I want to feel safe in my vote based on a record of service that I can judge. Please join me in voting for the only experienced candidate. Vote for Joe Stapleton in November. Thank you.

Tony Petros

Former City Councilmember District 2

Newport Beach

Two friends…with many political differences…but not when it comes to Joe Stapleton

We’re so much alike, we joke that we’re sisters from another mother. It’s almost comical how much we’re alike. Though we’re not politically aligned, we put our friendship above politics. We’ve voted differently from the White House to Measure B, but on this one, we’re voting exactly the same, and it’s for Joe Stapleton.

Why would two political opposites agree on a vote for a City Council seat? For us, it’s pretty obvious. Joe has spent years serving the City of Newport Beach and its citizens. He’s respected for his integrity, intellect, and work ethic. He cherishes our city and wants to preserve what makes it so special. We know Joe personally and we know what kind of man he is.

Some who spoke so loudly about not wanting to give anyone the ability to buy their way onto the City Council to be Mayor are now backing a relative newcomer who is doing just that. We have no animosity towards Joe’s opponent, but he has no track record in our community, other than bankrolling Measure B. That’s anyone’s right to do so, but it’s not a track record of civic leadership, years of building relationships in our community, and a demonstration that one is the type of individual that can lead our City.

One’s moral compass weighs in on both of us as we evaluate these non-partisan races. To refresh – one’s moral compass is the ability to determine what is right and wrong and to act accordingly.

The best example of this is the falsehood claiming that Joe was “not being honest” with the OC Republican Central Committee when he responded to the question, “Have you ever been arrested?” He stated “No.” In fact, he had not been “arrested,” but had been “cited” – two distinct and separate things. Here’s what happened…Joe was cited for driving his intoxicated friends home while in college from a night of partying. One of the friends had an open container and Joe was cited for it…that is NOT an arrest.

Newport needs more of what Joe did – to know when to take action to ensure the safety of others. We all know of far too many instances in Newport Beach or of Newport Beach residents who have not had the care of friends like Joe, to ensure they made it home safe and sound. We applaud Joe for doing the right thing ethically and morally…that’s a good friend and a good person, and that’s what Newport Beach needs more of now and always.

So here we are, two good friends…one red, one blue, but both Newport.  We both love Newport and we’re both voting for Joe Stapleton for City Council.

Suzanne Gauntlett

Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi

Newport Beach

Did your mail-in ballot arrive yet?

The OC Registrar of Voters reports that it sent out a ton of mail-in ballots yesterday (Monday, Oct. 10). Yours should arrive shortly.

Councilwoman Joy Brenner is running for re-election in District 6.

What surprises me a little is Joy’s wide spectrum of support from all sectors of Newport’s residents.

Fellow Councilmembers, former Mayors, former Citizens of the Year, current and former State Legislators on both sides of the aisle, current Council candidates and leading Newport Beach residents. 

Joy was a leading light (no, THE leading light) in saving the Corona del Mar Library.

She opposed the direct election of the mayor (Measure B) which was defeated in a landslide. Her opponent supported ill-advised Measure B.

Decades of community-spirited experience. Can the same be said of her opponent?

Opposes sober living homes which bring traffic and noise to our peaceful neighborhoods.

Supports the highest level of police and fire services.

I trust Joy. Her judgment is uncolored by special interests, donors with an agenda and power seekers. We have witnessed in Joy four years of independent, ethical, residents-first commitment to our city. She’s a results-oriented “doer.”

Four more years, Joy, four more years!

Please fill in the box on your mail-in ballot next to “Joy Brenner, Incumbent” and send it in.

Thank you.

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

Baffled by a previous letter to the editor

In mid-August, a letter by four former mayors (including two current sitting councilmembers) was published in Stu News. What baffles me about that letter are several things.

Firstly: the overall tone.

The letter was in favor of candidate Mr. Joe Stapleton whilst being quite disapproving of candidate Mr. Tom Miller. Why would any current sitting councilmember show favoritism not impartiality? Shouldn’t it be respect for all, especially a potential peer?

Secondly: The need for local government experience. 

Is it mandatory, does it stipulate on the registration form that it is required? I don’t believe that experience alone always ensures that an individual is of good character or necessarily accomplished at what they have done. Suitability for any job or position is surely more than just experience?

Third: Endorsement.

I was under the impression that this is a local city council election and so is nonpartisan. Why then would four former mayors be so wrapped up in an endorsement by the Republican Party for their favored candidate? What, if anything, will that endorsement provide when discussing local issues such as the sewer and water rates? 

Fourth: Within that letter by the four former mayors, their quote.

“Miller invested in out-of-town consultants who are gleefully spending his money on Thanksgiving cards…”

Two things baffle me with this. Is it the location of the business that really offends the four former mayors? Or, is it the action of sending a Thanksgiving greeting card which they find offensive? Regardless, to find fault with sending greetings for one of the greatest days in our calendar is not only petty but frankly, quite sad.

And lastly, I am baffled as to why four former mayors (including two current city councilmembers) are proponents for keeping Newport Newport? Shouldn’t their primary aim be to represent the citizens who elected them and make Newport the best it can be? Have we, as a city, plateaued out?

Let’s not keep Newport Newport. It’s our city and our future so let’s make Newport the best it can be. And let’s start by showing every candidate respect for stepping up to the plate for a position in public service.

Gina Cruz

Newport Beach

Miller’s actions speak louder than words

On October 6 and 7, the Friends of OASIS Senior Center held their annual rummage sale, which at this time is their biggest fundraising event. (OASIS is owned by the city and Friends of OASIS is the non-profit arm.) This was the first sale since 2019 and many volunteers worked tirelessly during the last month to prepare everything; and then “sell” for five hours each day. 

Prior to Friday’s opening there must have been close to 100 people in line to be the first inside. Yet despite the large senior population utilizing services in Newport Beach, only two city councilmembers or candidates stopped by to see how things were going – Joy Brenner and Tom Miller. The others obviously didn’t care enough. And before someone says that they just wanted the exposure for their campaigns – why didn’t any of the other seven candidates make an appearance?

However, what I really wanted to point out is that not only did he drop in and visit with folks, but Tom Miller also came back at 2 p.m. in shorts and a T-shirt to help the Camp Pendleton Marines load up their truck to take the unsold excess back to their Warrior Warehouse. 

There was no press and very few attendees/volunteers when I left around 4 p.m. but Tom was still there, helping to clean-up the venue and load the truck. He has impressed me at the candidate forums which I have attended but he solidly secured my vote with his selflessness and strong values.

Kelly Pierce

Newport Beach

No moratorium for fractional ownership

Newport Beach coastal residents showed up in scores for City Council meetings in September expressing their frustrations at fractional ownership disruptive behaviors in their residential neighborhoods. These same residents were also concerned about drops in their property values due to the Pacaso fractional ownership model and the increasing numbers of these properties.

In the September 13 City Council meeting, both City Attorney Harp and Councilmember Will O’Neill stated that the fractional ownership model does not match the current NB zoning code for timeshares. City watchdog residents Jim Mosher and Carmen Rawson came to the podium each expressing that existing NB zoning code re: timeshares already prohibits conversion of residential properties to timeshares or fractional ownership. Taken from this meeting’s minutes, Mayor Muldoon summarized the direction to staff to explore a regulation timeshare plan with the Planning Commission, conduct more studies on Sonoma and other communities, enact a moratorium and prohibition in the R-1 zone and to move with expediency.

In a subsequent September 27 Council meeting, Councilmembers Joy Brenner and Diane Dixon proposed a motion (subsequently defeated) for a 60-90-day moratorium on sale of additional fractional ownership properties while providing City Council and City Planning Staff sufficient time to study the issue with subsequent recommendations for Council vote. Instead, Councilmember O’Neill supported moving forward with code change with Muldoon concurring to use language and modeling resulting from the St. Helena lawsuit brought by Pacaso.

City Attorney Harp noted that Beverly Hills put a moratorium in place in 2021 with a subsequent extension through July 15, 2023 and which has NOT been legally challenged. Many other cities such as Sonoma, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Palm Springs have all issued cease and desist letters to Pacaso believing that their current land use municipal codes already address zoning regulations and prohibitions against fractional ownership properties. Councilmember O’Neill expressed the opinion that staff’s time is better spent on the code initiation instead of trying to identify findings on a moratorium. Councilmember Muldoon expressed concern as to possible litigation if the City makes any missteps. So, the Council motion which passed on September 27 resulted in no fractional ownership moratorium but giving directive to Planning Commission to develop code amendments regulating fractional ownership,

In the October 6 Planning Commission meeting, chaired by Lauren Kleiman, Pacaso was allowed a lengthy marketing presentation but residents including Jim Mosher and Carmen Rawson were only allowed approximately three minutes. One Peninsula Point resident stated that he had personally hired an attorney whose legal opinion was that fractional ownerships were, in fact, covered under current NB municipal codes for timeshares. Currently, timeshare properties are not allowed in R-1 zoning but Pacaso homes are. One shared staff option was a separation distance between fractional ownership properties of no closer than 500’ from each other. At the end of the meeting, an ad hoc committee was formed to draft recommendations for City Council vote with an estimated completion date of 60-90 days. And City Attorney Harp noted that a legal ruling for St. Helena is not in the immediate future – so legal language and modeling which provided the basis for a Councilmember’s passing motion will not be immediately available. As the moratorium proposed by Councilmembers Brenner and Dixon was dismissed, Newport Beach residents will experience Pacaso home expansion for the next several months until this issue is resolved by City Council vote. For more information, go to www.stoppacasonow.com for status of other CA cities actions.

Kathe Morgan

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Two friends…with many political differences…but not when it comes to Joe Stapleton

We’re so much alike, we joke that we’re sisters from another mother. It’s almost comical how much we’re alike. Though we’re not politically aligned, we put our friendship above politics. We’ve voted differently from the White House to Measure B, but on this one, we’re voting exactly the same, and it’s for Joe Stapleton.

Why would two political opposites agree on a vote for a City Council seat? For us, it’s pretty obvious. Joe has spent years serving the City of Newport Beach and its citizens. He’s respected for his integrity, intellect and work ethic. He cherishes our city and wants to preserve what makes it so special. We know Joe personally and we know what kind of man he is.

Some who spoke so loudly about not wanting to give anyone the ability to buy their way onto the City Council to be Mayor are now backing a relative newcomer who is doing just that. We have no animosity towards Joe’s opponent, but he has no track record in our community, other than bankrolling Measure B. That’s anyone’s right to do so, but it’s not a track record of civic leadership, years of building relationships in our community and a demonstration that one is the type of individual that can lead our City.

One’s moral compass weighs in on both of us as we evaluate these non-partisan races. To refresh – one’s moral compass is the ability to determine what is right and wrong and to act accordingly.

The best example of this is the falsehood claiming that Joe was “not being honest” with the OC Republican Central Committee when he responded to the question, “Have you ever been arrested?” He stated “No.” In fact, he had not been “arrested,” but had been “cited” – two distinct and separate things. Here’s what happened…Joe was cited for driving his intoxicated friends home while in college from a night of partying. One of the friends had an open container and Joe was cited for it…that is NOT an arrest.

Newport needs more of what Joe did – to know when to take action to ensure the safety of others. We all know of far too many instances in Newport Beach or of Newport Beach residents who have not had the care of friends like Joe, to ensure they made it home safe and sound. We applaud Joe for doing the right thing ethically and morally…that’s a good friend and a good person, and that’s what Newport Beach needs more of now and always. 

So here we are, two good friends…one red, one blue, but both Newport.  We both love Newport and we’re both voting for Joe Stapleton for City Council.

Suzanne Gauntlett

Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi

Newport Beach

Balboa Bar or Frozen Banana?

An argument like that delayed a multi-million-dollar tennis club project at the last council meeting, or so I read. Apparently, someone said, “pickles use more parking than tennis.” 

Ok maybe. But as I contemplated the micromanagement that must’ve birthed such a statistical absurdity, I found myself reminiscing about Irrelevant Week in, ah, let’s pick 1985. Uh, when, you know, that guy, he got picked last. We had a tennis tournament for him. And a game of golf. And a great dinner.

That dude, whoever he was, made Newport laugh and play and frolic about. Did anyone argue about his parking spot? I think not. So, clearly, Frozen Bananas are the best, and at the same time are just as irrelevant as pickles and tennis. And Donald Chumley. 

Matt Clabaugh 

Balboa Island

Tired of the “backroom” political deals

I have had enough already! Enough backroom deals. Enough support for developers and investors who build huge buildings where they shouldn’t be allowed. Enough name calling and being mean spirited. Enough of candidates who raise all their money from special interests who will expect favors later on. I have had enough of politicians who cater to their special interest donors and less about the residents of Newport Beach.

Tom Miller is my candidate! He is funding his campaign, so he is independent, without those special interests. To those who whine and complain about that, I say: You get what you pay for and if Joe Stapleton wins, those who paid will get what they want, and our city will suffer. Access to Tom will be unprecedented. He has given out his cell phone number to all who have asked, and we residents will have a councilmember who will respond to US, and not another “Team Newport.”

David Frazer

Newport Beach

Three women that are important to OC’s future

I have been so distracted by our local City Council race that I haven’t focused on other local races that could have an impactful effect on our everyday lives as well.

There are two dynamic women running for positions that represent Newport Beach, among other cities, Katie Porter, running for Congress and Katrina Foley, running for the Orange County Board of Supervisors District 5. Their charisma, dynamic personalities and style make it difficult to differentiate between the two.

Katie Porter, a former professor from UCI, has become somewhat of a folk hero during her two terms in office representing the Congressional district which includes Newport Beach, the 47th. She has become well known for her style of drilling powerful people by questioning them assertively while “scribbling figures on a whiteboard,” a technique reflecting her professorial background. She also has been appreciated as a consumer activist protecting the “little guy” from corporate indifference.

Two of her accomplishments include confronting a pharmaceutical company for hiking the price of cancer drugs and pressing a federal official to make COVID-19 drugs free. She also has been trying to protect Americans’ freedoms being attacked by the right-wing Supreme Court. 

Porter is not afraid to show that she is often politically independent. She even talked Speaker Nancy Pelosi into reversing her opinion on legislation that Porter initiated to prevent lawmakers from trading stocks while in public.

On her Facebook pages, you can see that Katie Porter is appreciated outside of California. Her opponent is Scott Baugh, who led the Orange County Republican Party for several years. According to a national newspaper, if elected, he will join the ranks of “extremist GOP lawmakers.”

As for her colleague, Katrina Foley is also known for her high energy level. When I met her at a social occasion the other evening, she confessed to me that she gets along on five hours sleep per night. Although this was the first time that I met her, I have followed her successful political career for years now. 

When I think to myself that I would like to accomplish all that these two formidable women have accomplished, I have to remind myself of our “considerable age differences.”

Foley seems to be every place at once. She too, has an incredibly large following on Facebook and is constantly involved in community affairs, working as a City Councilmember, Newport-Mesa School Board Trustee, as well as being elected to Mayor of Costa Mesa. In addition, she is also a successful businesswoman, attorney and mother.

Unlike many other Orange County political leaders, Katrina was a positive leader during the pandemic, cutting red tape for small businesses, reducing homelessness, working with others to reduce airport noise and protecting neighborhoods by fully funding law enforcement agencies.

As I write about these incredibly strong and successful Orange County politicians, I cannot help but think of our own local “super energized and accomplished” councilmember, Joy Brenner. How I hope that all three of these candidates will be elected to their respective offices on November 8th.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Impressed with Miller not being beholden to anyone

Independence is a word that has seemingly been lost in the swamp of eager politicians who fall over themselves to get elected to city council as a steppingstone to higher office. Independence means taking the time to learn what is important to residents and voting in a way that benefits them, not your next campaign. Independence means not being under pressure to pay back your campaign donors with special favors and not being beholden to the powerful politicians who helped you win.

Unfortunately, Joe Stapleton is having to collect money from deep pockets and call in his favors from the powerbrokers of Newport Beach. When you win by owing so many other people favors, the people who elected you lose. In my book, the antidote to political favoritism is Tom Miller, a man who is able to self-fund his own campaign, owes no favors to the political elite and will stand up for the little guy. Vote yes for Tom Miller.

Gerry Giannini 

Big Canyon

Mancuso: Here’s who I am and what I stand for

My name is Judie Mancuso and I’m running to represent District 72 in the State Assembly because I believe the majority in the district share my values and want a representative who knows how to get things done in Sacramento.

I’ve lived in the district for 27 years. During that time, I’ve been a steward of this incredible place we call home through my advocacy work. That work has also prepared me to be an effective Assemblymember on day one. 

The nonprofit I founded 15 years ago has had 22 of our sponsored bills signed into law by both Republican and Democratic governors. As anyone who has worked in Sacramento knows, that is a big deal.

Before I founded my nonprofit, I was a for-profit business owner. I know first-hand how important it is to support and advocate for the countless small businesses we’re lucky to have in our district. 

Because I’ve also worked at Fortune 500 corporations, managing large teams of people to build enterprise-wide systems, I know how to tackle big and complex projects and deliver solutions on time and on budget.

As for where I stand on the issues, I can tell you I have values that set me apart from my opponent:

I’m pro-business, but also pro-consumer, worker and environment.

We can drive economic and job growth without destroying our planet. Protecting our irreplaceable landscapes and ecosystems will be among my top priorities.

I’m pro-business but not beholden to special interests. My vote will not be bought for any amount of money. I haven’t taken any corporate donations and will always stick to that rule so I can continue to speak truth to power.

I’m pro-public safety. I’ll make sure those who keep us safe have all the resources they need and are fully funded. And I’ll help law enforcement by working to get weapons of war off our streets and out of the hands of criminals.

The last thing I’ll say is that I’m pro-choice. I support Prop 1 and will fight in Sacramento to protect our rights if a national ban puts reproductive healthcare access at risk here in California.

If I have the honor of representing you in the State Assembly, I can tell you that my door will always be open, and I will work tirelessly to address the pressing issues we face and to bring our taxpayer dollars back to the district.

District 72 deserves to have a voice in Sacramento. I will be that voice.

Judie Mancuso

Candidate, Assembly District 72

Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

My vote goes to Tom Miller

Joe Stapleton’s campaign slogan is “Let’s keep Newport, Newport” yet he voted and supported the Mayor Elect Measure that would have changed the dynamics of our city forever. This toxic attempt for power was backed by Team Newport in their effort to take total control of our community. Thankfully, our residents proved to be intelligent and read the fine print behind this measure and soundly voted it down. On the other hand, Joe’s opponent, Tom Miller not only came out publicly against this Mayor Elect, he poured his own money into helping defeat it. The better campaign slogan is “Vote Tom Miller, he will protect our great city.”

Tom Billings

Newport Beach 

Joe’s knowledge of Harbor is what Newport needs

As a member of the Newport Beach Harbor Commission, I know firsthand the economic importance of the Harbor, and its role in enhancing the property values of all Newport Beach residents. I also know that preserving and protecting the Harbor requires a proactive agenda and ongoing investment. 

That is why I am proud to support Joe Stapleton for city council. Joe has been a Harbor Commissioner himself. His involvement includes supporting the Christmas Boat Parade, judging the Ring of Lights and more importantly, as a member of the Finance Committee he has crafted long-term plans to dredge the Harbor and make the investments needed to preserve and protect the Harbor for future generations.

Joe is a boater, he understands that the Harbor is for everybody and has worked to ensure the interests of boaters, paddle boarders, tourists and residents seeking quiet enjoyment of their homes are balanced. 

Ours is a city with time-honored traditions. Joe is a longtime resident and understands the needs of all of our residents. With Joe on the council, we can be confident Newport Beach will remain the premier small boat harbor on the West Coast. Please join me in supporting Joe Stapleton for Newport Beach City Council District One.

Scott Cunningham

Harbor Commissioner

Newport Beach

With the City Council election nearing, here’s why these are my picks

There have been a number of City Council Candidate Forums this year, and those who have attended or watched on Zoom may not have been able to gain enough insight into each candidate. Because the Council makes decisions about almost everything that goes on in Newport Beach, knowledge of the candidates is essential. 

This is a non-partisan election. My endorsements are individuals who will work full time on Council and have the intentions of living in the city the rest of their lives. They will not use City Council as a stepping-stone to higher office. They are not backed by partisan interests. They will dedicate themselves to serving the residents exclusively.

I am against those who govern with outside interests funding them to get elected. I am not anti-growth; I am pro smart-growth that will help keep Newport’s beauty intact, its infrastructure top-notch, and will assure that the city will keep its reputation as a “special jewel” which adorns the Southern California Coast, an oasis where residents enjoy the American Dream. 

Tom Miller (District 1) is conservative and a very energetic family man who put down roots in Newport Beach in the last decade. As a very honest, highly ethical and successful retired businessman, he saw that Newport Beach residents need help in maintaining an effective local city government. He is primarily self-funding and has stepped up to the challenge to offer his full-time services.

Jim Mosher (District 3) is by far the most knowledgeable and thus qualified person of any current councilperson or candidate. He has attended every City Council and Planning Commission Meeting since 2009. He is not afraid to speak up. He is a brilliant, retired scientist and will spend 100% of his time working for the residents. He will not accept any donations as many of his friends have found out. He will not waver and will make sure that the Council adheres to its guiding principles in keeping with the General Plan and the Zoning Code in order to maintain the quality of life that Newport Beach offers its residents. 

His opponent voted in favor of the 25-story Museum House project which was defeated by popular referendum.

Joy Brenner (District 6, incumbent), who grew up here, is a community leader and consensus builder. She has been the most popular City Council member to residents. It is time for her to be re-elected to a City Council that will keep the high standards for itself that Joy has tried to achieve.

Each of these candidates will work with residents to avoid bad decisions by the Planning Commission and/or City Council. What these candidates have in common is that they will work full time and plan on living in Newport Beach for the rest of their lives. They have the residents’ best interests at heart.

Ballots go out October 10th. Please don’t forget to vote!

Nicole Reynolds

Corona del Mar

Seeking independent thinkers for council

On Sunday, I attended a Meet & Greet to listen to and support Jim Mosher who’s running as a true Independent for City Council in District 3. The event was attended by 50+ friends, supporters, community influencers, and past and present City Councilmembers including former Councilmember Jeff Herdman, Councilmember Joy Brenner (she’s running for her second term in District 6), Charles Klobe (SPON President), Nancy Scarbrough and Dr. Susan Skinner.

Jim, who has no political background, is an independent thinker and a scientist. Over the past 13 years has attended practically every City Council meeting, Commission meeting, and Town hall. He knows more about how the city functions, the City Charter, and other governing documents than any other elected official past and present. 

During the two hours of conversation, Jim presented his ideas on how the City Council could run more efficiently, and as a Councilmember, he would be able to see that the Council functions in line with the existing City Charter and ordinances. The conversation and question and answer session were interrupted frequently by the noise of jets taking off from John Wayne Airport. 

Jim has mounted a true grass-roots campaign. He has not accepted any contributions, has done no mailings, has attended every one of the many candidates’ forums, and only recently distributed yard signs and bumper stickers, which he self-funded. 

Additionally, he has a website (jimmosher.com) and publishes an online newsletter which he sends only at the request of the subscriber. Jim is a true independent with no political agenda. Jim is “Fighting for Better and Transparent City Government.”

Now, this is what I, and many others in Newport Beach, hope is the outcome of the City Council election on November 8th, a group of unaffiliated independent thinkers is elected. This includes Tom Miller (District 1), Jim Moser (District 3), Robyn Grant (District 4) and Joy Brenner (District 6). 

Leonard Simon

Newport Beach

Lisa Pearson has earned the respect of our community

I remember the day, as the founding Principal of Andersen Elementary School in the Port Streets, parents walked their children to their classrooms, excited to meet their teachers. It was a special time for this brand-new neighborhood school. Like those parents, today’s parents want great schools that care about their children, that prepare them for the next grade, eventually for college and career.

This fall, I’m looking forward to electing a school board member in our Trustee Area 4 that knows our schools and our parents, that knows what good teaching looks like, and knows how to treat students and parents with kindness and respect. That candidate for school board is Lisa Pearson. 

Lisa taught elementary school for many years and when it was time for her own children to enter school, she jumped right in and volunteered at every opportunity. From the classroom to the fundraisers to the parent leadership organizations at Lincoln Elementary, Corona del Mar Middle and Corona del Mar High School, Lisa has earned the respect of parents, teachers and community members. She knows how to work as a team member, a problem solver and a leader. She looks for solutions not division. 

When Lisa is elected to the school board, I am confident that the single priority guiding her will be the students. She will put in the work to ensure that Newport-Mesa students receive the top-notch education that our schools are known for and will hold the district to the highest standards of excellence. She will provide a fresh approach to parental input and ensure that our schools honor the values of our community.

After I retired as principal of Ensign Intermediate School, I dedicated my life, along with my wife, Liddy, to serving our community at the OASIS Senior Center and in many other ways. I’ve seen plenty of volunteers come and go. I love this school district. This will always be my school district. What Lisa Pearson has done in her background makes her the perfect candidate for this role on our school board.

Scott Paulsen

Corona del Mar

Candidate Forum season

The system works. I say that because for the last six weeks, candidate forum season has been in full swing, with 13 different resident and business groups hosting almost a thousand attendees to learn about eight candidates running for four Newport Beach City Council seats. And those thousand residents undoubtedly talk to thousands more. So, the important information is getting out to the voters.

It has been a rigorous process with dozens of questions about public safety, homelessness, airport noise and pollution, group homes, ebikes, fractional ownership, short term rentals, housing mandates, and much, much more.

The issues have been vetted over and over. Much of the time, the candidates espoused similar views. We need more local control, better enforcement, fiscal management...

One thing all the candidates agree on, when four of us are sworn in on December 13, we will begin the hard work, rolling up our sleeves and doing what it takes to properly represent all eighty-five thousand residents in our great city.

Until then, use the links below to take a look at some of the forums and understand the candidates, their background, experience and support groups, so you have what you need when it comes time to vote on November 8 (or earlier if you vote by mail).

As a side note, Newport Beach candidates run within a District but are elected by the entire city. That means everyone gets to vote for four different candidates, one from each of the four Districts in this election – District 1, 3, 4, and 6.

To view some of the forum videos, go to:

Speak Up Newport Candidate Forum

Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum

Next Up Newport/SPON Candidate Forum

Robyn Grant

Candidate for District 4

Newport Beach City Council

We must take back the 72nd Assembly District

The Democrat-run state government in Sacramento is out of control. I have seen first-hand how the policies coming down from Sacramento have expanded exponentially and tied the hands of local governments, businesses and individuals. 

Sacramento’s mandates are affecting your everyday life in many ways you might not even realize. If you own a business, if you live in a community, if you pay high taxes, if you have children or grandchildren in school, if your grocery bill is too high and getting higher, you are being affected by the blizzard of bogus decisions spewing from Sacramento. 

They tell us what to do, then tie our hands so we can’t do it. Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to mandate electric cars, but then tells us to cut our electricity consumption or the state will have blackouts. It’s chaos.

The quality of life in the Golden State has been in decline for a long time, and it’s only getting worse under the current Democrat supermajority in the Legislature. Gas is climbing over $7.00 a gallon in Orange County, and our state and federal gas taxes combined are almost $2.00 per gallon. Statewide homicides are up 30% in the past two years and almost 50% of the nation’s homeless population lives in California, according to the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count. 

In addition – with our open-border policies, high taxation and progressive social engineering in our public schools – it’s no wonder we’re now seeing an exodus of people and businesses out of this once-great state. According to the Hoover Institute, almost 600 major businesses have left California from 2018 to mid-2021, and that’s not even counting the accelerating number who have left in the past 12 months. 

Theodore Roosevelt said it was not the critic who counts, but the man in the arena. I’ve decided to run for office to get into the arena. We must take back the 72nd Assembly District so our Orange County values have a voice in Sacramento and I humbly ask for your vote. 

Diane Dixon

Candidate for 72nd Assembly District

Newport Beach

This Pacaso is not a masterpiece

Unless you grew up in Newport, do you remember the feeling of unbridled excitement when you arrived from your inland home at the rental for a summer week at the beach? I do.

The warm sand. Welcoming blue ocean with white-cresting waves. Colorful swimsuits. Canvas rafts before boogie boards were invented. Fishing rods with soft shell sand crabs as bait. Volleyball and touch football. Hot dogs and hamburgers on the barbecue. Multi-colored umbrellas. Zinc Oxide and Baby Oil. Top 40 blaring on the patio. Beach towels on the fence. Noise. Party on. Late nights. Nirvana.   

Could we escape the Ford Country Squire (with the fake wood decals) fast enough to take advantage of all activities from Day 1 through Day 7? We’re only here for a short time, so let’s experience it all without limits – and damn the neighbors.   

And, boy, did we get our money’s worth during that week. 

But what about those poor neighbors who were full-time residents? They put up with the noise. They put up with all of our many visitors – the relatives (some close, some not-so-close), the boyfriends (and their friends), the girlfriends (and their friends), the parents’ pals. They put up with the overcrowded parking by us and the hoards from our San Gabriel Valley home. They put up with the trash we accumulated. They put up with the beach toys we scattered. They put up with the sand we tracked. They put up with the blaring music we played. They put up with the wet towels and bathing suits we draped on the front/side walls. They put up with the beer cans our parents emptied and the paper plates, red cups and garbage. They put up with the loss of privacy. They put up with the likely loss in property value. They put up with a loss of community and “neighborhoodness.” They put up with the traffic. They put up with the noisy late nights by everyone! Yes, for those seven days we received the maximum return on our investment.

Well, the good news for our poor neighbors was that it was temporary. A summer week here and a summer week there. It goes with the territory of Newport as a desirable community, yes? But it all ended on Labor Day.

But fast forward to the age of Pacaso, which IMHO [in my humble opinion] is not a Picasso masterpiece.

The typical Pacaso model promises 45 days for each of eight owners on a repeated, in-and-out, never-ending, year-round basis.

Yes, the Nirvana hormonal excitement of a summer week at the beach is multiplied by eight owners for 52 weeks who all want to get their money’s worth for their high-priced investment at the expense of neighbors and neighborhoods.

Perhaps Beverly Hills Director of Community Development Ryan Gohlich said it best in supporting that city’s moratorium on Pacaso ownership: “Fractional ownership often results in noise, loss of privacy and community, a decline in property values, and a reduction in available homes.”

At the Newport Beach Council meeting on September 27, only Joy Brenner and Diane Dixon seemed to favor the idea of a Government Code Section 65858(c) moratorium to take a Pacaso breath, to keep the status quo while we carefully, thoughtfully, thoroughly and legally study the issue and to consider an appropriate ordinance in light of the above-described threats to our community’s welfare (as required by that Section in order to proceed with the moratorium). 

(Ms. Brenner has publicly stated her interest in regulating the Pacaso model; her opponent in the upcoming election has publicly stated her opposition to regulating the Pacaso model.) 

On September 27, the Council majority determined that it should send the matter to the Planning Commission for an expedited evaluation and an eventual return to Council – all as Rome burns. 

One must ask why Beverly Hills and apparently many other cities in California are considering or have enacted a moratorium until the Pacaso fractional ownership tsunami can be properly studied and appropriately regulated. 

In the meantime, and regrettably, perhaps you or someone in your neighborhood will be a Pacaso victim.

Sad.

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach


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


Letters to the Editor

Lauren Kleiman has proved her good work, that’s why she gets my vote 

It’s no coincidence that so much of the support for Lauren Kleiman’s City Council candidacy has come from her neighbors. 

We love the neighborhood in Corona del Mar where we have chosen to raise our family but were disappointed and frustrated by our HOA Board not taking the necessary measures to keep the neighborhood secure. For years we were told that nothing could or would be done.

Lauren dedicated hours of her time to researching the constraints and potential solutions, meeting with consultants, hosting roundtable discussions with neighboring HOA board members and partnering with her local relationships to ensure success. Eighteen months after Lauren joined the Board, the measures were implemented and residents could not be more pleased.

Not only has Lauren demonstrated leadership and determination with these efforts, but she also selflessly and diligently overhauled the community’s website and newsletter, as well as revamped the neighborhood’s social engagement to bring families and residents in the community together at a time when it was needed most.

We hope to see Lauren continue her service to the community on City Council so that she can do for the City what she has done for our neighborhood.

Anil Tiwari, MD

Corona del Mar

Looking for a candidate with the city’s best interest at heart

In this election, I am focused on supporting candidates who are ethical, transparent and have only the best interests of the city at heart. I have no interest in electing a councilperson whose decisions are based on what is best for his political career. 

Voters decisively defeated Measure B in June and anyone who is politically astute knew that Measure B’s hidden details would have radically changed our city government for the worse. Virtually every former mayor opposed Measure B for this reason, but City Council candidate Joe Stapleton voted yes for this initiative, apparently to further his political career. In stark contrast, Tom Miller vigorously fought to protect our city. 

Which candidate would you want in office? I choose Tom Miller.

Susan Skinner

Newport Beach

Miller rather than Stapleton

At first glance, Joe Stapleton seems to have a stronger resume than Tom Miller for city council. After all, Stapleton has served on the Harbor Commission and the Finance Committee. Miller, although a successful businessman, has not served in city government. 

But I intend to vote for Miller, rather than Stapleton, mainly because of how Tom Miller handled the most important issue our city has faced in recent years, the ill-advised attempt to strengthen the power of the mayor through Measure B.

I first met Tom Miller early this year, when he met with my mother and other senior leaders, seeking their support. He explained to us that he opposed Measure B, but that his political consultants were urging him not to take a public stand. Somewhat later, once he had “come out” against Measure B, Miller told me that saving the city charter, preserving our city council system, was more important than who would hold one city council seat. Miller knew that opposing Measure B would make him a target for Will O’Neill, the prime proponent of the ill-advised measure. But Miller did what was right.

Joe Stapleton took no public stance on Measure B while it was under debate. At a recent public forum, it took some coaxing for Stapleton to admit that he had voted for the measure.   

Tom Miller’s brave stance against Measure B, and his generous contributions, were critical to defeating that proposal. Predictably, Miller’s work against Measure B has caused O’Neill to oppose Miller in the current city council race.

When I look at O’Neill’s arguments against Miller, they are almost laughable. He calls Miller a “political neophyte.” Well, how much political experience did Will O’Neill have when he first ran for city council? Almost none. O’Neill also argues that Miller is a carpetbagger, someone who has moved here to run for political office. But Miller has lived here far longer than O’Neill had lived here when he first ran for city council. He claims that Miller is trying to buy a council seat by donating to his own campaign. But Stapleton is also trying to secure a council seat, by raising more than a quarter of a million dollars in donations, including dozens of donations from friends of O’Neill. Is that any less of an attempt to “buy” a council seat?

The real issue here is independence. Miller will be independent. Stapleton may want to be independent, but he will owe a great deal to O’Neill, and some day O’Neill is going ask him for something. For example, O’Neill may want to force the city residents to vote on a revised version of Measure B and may ask Stapleton to vote to put the measure on the ballot. Or perhaps the issue may be a controversial development project, on which O’Neill seeks to “call in the favor” of his strong support in this council race. 

So, in the District 1 race, I urge you to vote Miller rather than Stapleton.

Walter Stahr 

Newport Beach

Herdman’s attacks on Blom get old

When political sour grapes rot, they become vinegar.

Defeated city councilman Jeff Herdman is rotting on the vine.

His obsession with Mayor Pro Tem Noah Blom is simply political sour grapes.

In 2020, Noah Blom crushed Jeff Herdman by 9,000 votes. 

It’s rare in Newport Beach that an incumbent councilmember is fired by the voters. It’s hard to lose by 20%.

Perhaps cussing out his Balboa Island neighbor for not wearing a face mask outdoors during COVID helped. Herdman’s never recovered from his humiliating loss. 

Mayor Pro Tem Blom represents the new generation of Newport residents. Noah and his amazing wife, Marin, are young, energetic and smart local business owners that sign the front of a paycheck.

They invest their capital in Newport Beach creating jobs and tax revenue for the city. Herdman thinks that’s bad.

Noah is the antithesis of Herdman who spent nearly 40 years in the ivory tower of public education where paychecks are guaranteed and innovation is rejected.

His rants against Blom are tiresome.

David Ellis

Newport Coast

Joe Stapleton is the best choice for Newport

I’m proud to be supporting Joe Stapleton for Newport Beach City Council. Newport deserves the best, and Joe is the best candidate when it comes to experience, leadership, dedication and temperament. I, like many others in our city, have collaborated with Joe for close to a decade working on behalf of Newport Beach and its residents. Joe has a long-standing record maintaining and enhancing the quality of life we have all come to enjoy and will do what is fair and right for Newport Beach residents. We know Joe. We trust Joe. Joe will continue to keep Newport, Newport. 

Elections matter. Particularly local elections where local officials can have a profound impact on our daily life. Fiscal responsibility is one of Joe’s key issues. Joe is a local Newport business owner operating a financial services and money management firm. He understands the discipline it takes to run a successful business. Those same values hold true for the city where Joe serves on the Finance Committee ensuring Newport’s financial stability and prosperity. Joe will bring his experience and financial leadership to positively influence city council decisions thereby preserving and expanding Newport’s financial strength.

The other key issue championed by Joe is public safety. And our own city champions – our police, fire and lifeguards – all support Joe. They know and trust Joe. Joe is dedicated to likewise strengthening our city’s public safety. Given the utter failure of other cities and counties in California to protect its citizens, Newport Beach is instead a shining example of what it means to expect and have the best police, fire and lifeguards. That’s why even Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes has expressly endorsed Joe. Newport must maintain and enhance its public safety. And Joe is the best candidate-steward to do exactly that.

Please join me and many other Newport Beach residents in supporting and voting Joe Stapleton for city council!

Kory Kramer

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Stapleton’s experience will make him ready on day one

In the November election, voters have a choice between longtime community leader Joe Stapleton and newcomer to Newport Beach Tom Miller.

I am supporting Joe Stapleton. Joe has decades of experience in working to improve our city. As a member of the Finance Committee his oversight has contributed to our highest in the nation bond ratings and strong fiscal position. He is ready on day one to lead on financial issues. As a past Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, he understands what it takes to promote local business and he will protect our strong underlying tax base. 

Joe is committed to protecting our high quality of life. He has the experience to lead on reducing airport noise, getting homeless off the streets and reducing crime that is rising around us. That is why Newport Beach police and firefighters support Joe Stapleton.

Most importantly, Joe is an independent leader, not part of a block or team. That is why a diverse group of former mayors, who often disagree among themselves on policy, all agree that Joe Stapleton is the right choice. Leaders like Will O’Neill, Rush Hill, Tom Edwards, Keith Curry, Mike Henn, Duffy Duffield, Brad Avery, Don Webb, Bus Turner and current mayor Kevin Muldoon, all urge you to vote for Joe Stapleton.

Joe Stapleton is the best choice for Newport’s future.

Daryl Nelson

Newport Beach

Retiring incumbent reminds us of the importance of November school board election

I have been privileged to serve on the NMUSD school board for the past 16 years, after being involved in our local school as an involved parent for 18 years prior to my election. Newport-Mesa was then and is now one of the finest public school districts in the state and the country. We have exceptional school offerings, much needed student support services and award-winning schools and district programs. Any student who has the motivation and desire to achieve will graduate from one of our high schools well prepared for his or her future.   

It is concerning to me that there is a small but vocal group in Newport-Mesa who now want to destroy our school district, in their published words – “we will tear down to REBUILD.” This negativity and desire to incite anger in our school system through falsehoods, cleverly edited videos and constant attack is cause for concern. Criticism is fair, but the blatant manipulation and desire to enflame should concern everyone. 

As a trustee who has always had an open-door policy to meet or talk with any parent, it’s interesting that this group professes that the board does not listen. This is false. This group has not asked to speak with me despite my meeting with hundreds of parents during my tenure.

This same group continues to insist that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is taught in Newport-Mesa schools, without providing any specific examples. In groups of parents, students and teachers, we’ve continued to ask for examples of CRT in our classrooms, and still no concrete responses from anyone. The reality is that we don’t teach CRT, and our teachers do not receive professional development in CRT theory or practice. However, this group continues to create a narrative to enflame. 

In 2015, the state of California passed into law the California Healthy Youth Act, which requires school districts to ensure that all students in grades 7-12 receive comprehensive sex education at least once in middle school and once in high school. Schools have the option to offer sex education earlier than grade 7, which we have chosen not to do. This same group claims that we are teaching our students extreme gender identities through a Genderbread Prezi lesson. While this diagram is on the publisher’s site, our schools in Newport-Mesa don’t use this lesson. In fact, when parents have asked their students if this has been taught to them, every student responded in the negative. The falsehoods continue. 

In December 2021, the board voted to approve a special reserve fund to complete a much-needed remodel of the Home Arts Courtyard at Newport Harbor High School. DSA (Division of State Architects) approval for this remodel requires modifications to restrooms nearby the area. The board requested that facilities work on potential designs that would include single occupancy toilet stalls with sinks included. The final recommended plan has not been presented nor voted on by the board, yet this group sensationalizes its interpretation of these restrooms (implying that NMUSD will allow more than one gender into a restroom at one time) and created a falsehood to incite public outrage.   

All of these issues and more are being thrown out in hopes to tear down and rebuild our school district. Interestingly, much of this group consists of folks who don’t send children to our schools, and many seem to think that all public schools are bad. Some are, but ours aren’t. 

One of the school board candidates in Area 4 is supported by this outside group that seeks to dismantle our schools. When this candidate asked to meet with me a few months ago, she was quick to tell me that she moved to Newport Beach after researching the best public school systems in the state. On her website, she states her intention to make sure “NMUSD remains one of the best places for your child’s education.” I’m not sure what turned around for this candidate so quickly, but I would be leery of her intentions. She is backed by people who mostly don’t send their children to Newport-Mesa schools, and who support a movement to tear down our school district.

Those who feel our schools offer excellent opportunities in preparation for life after high school need to speak up in the November election. The high quality of education in Newport-Mesa is at stake. Our parents value our schools and only want to see them improve, they don’t want to destroy them. I urge parents to vote for school board candidates who value our schools, and to vote against candidates who are either part of the movement or are supported by the movement to “tear down our schools.”

In Newport Beach, I urge you to vote for Lisa Pearson (Area 4) and Michelle Barto (Area 5).

Karen Yelsey

NMUSD School Board member, District 4

Corona del Mar


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


Letters to the Editor

Nasty, bullying comments and actions by O’Neill not a good look

It seems like a day doesn’t go by where a local resident isn’t reaching out to me to share a nasty post by (Will) O’Neill attacking me in one way or another via social media, a letter, or through an email list he buys. Their first question is usually “how do I feel about all these attacks,” followed by an apology to me for such tasteless behavior by O’Neill, to which I respond, “no apology needed and besides, these attacks aren’t coming from you.”

In addition, local businesses who have signs up in support of my campaign are telling me O’Neill has called them trying to bully them into removing any signs showing support of me.

He continues to spread a false narrative of my family just moving to Newport Beach a year ago, while the truth is, we’ve been here since December 2015 and in Orange County for 42 years. He also accuses me of trying to “buy” the election. If there was any truth to this, I certainly would not have come out against Measure B.

While I appreciate these calls, I want everyone to know, I DO NOT dislike Will, in fact, I have never officially met the man. The truth is, I have sympathy for him. He is obviously an extremely unhappy person attacking anyone who becomes a threat to his power and influence.

I’m told he is a man of faith, yet his actions show otherwise. My prayer for Will is for God to show him a path to peace and compassion. 

I look forward to working with Will when I win this race and I’ll commit to mentoring him on proper servant leadership. Imagine the good he can do for our community once he learns how to lead with humility. I was once his age and thought I had it ALL figured out, but one of life’s realities is wisdom comes with age and he still has a long journey ahead of him.

May God bless Will O’Neill as he navigates his way through life!

Tom Miller

2022 Candidate for District 1

Newport Beach City Council

Brenner rather than Kleiman

I am writing to set out why I believe people should vote for Joy Brenner rather than Lauren Kleiman for Newport Beach City Council.

Joy Brenner has been serving Newport Beach for many years, in many ways, even before her four current years on city council. For example, about six years ago, there was talk about closing the Corona del Mar branch of the library. The argument was that there was no need for such a branch – people could go to the main library – and that the space was needed for a larger, newer fire station.

Joy Brenner and my mother, Elizabeth Stahr, disagreed. They pointed out that there were hundreds of people who used the CdM library every week: older folks who walked there from their homes and could not walk to the main library; toddlers and mothers and caretakers who attended story times; students looking for a quiet place to study.

Joy and my mother and others persuaded the city to attempt something new: to develop the site as a combined fire station/library. The new buildings are a great example of what happens when people like Joy Brenner listen hard and work for creative solutions.

More recently, I worked closely with Joy Brenner to defeat the ill-advised Measure B – the attempt to change our city’s charter to weaken the city council and strengthen the mayor. Lauren Kleiman was on the other side of that issue: she and her husband donated in support of Measure B. Kleiman seems to believe that what our city needs is not a strong city council, of seven independent members, but rather a strong mayor, with subservient councilors.

We defeated Measure B, so one might ask: why does Measure B matter in this election? Because if you look at those donating to Lauren Kleiman’s campaign, they are in many cases those who wanted to foist a strong mayor on Newport Beach: Will O’Neill and his friends such as Dallas developer Fritz Duda. If Kleiman is elected rather than Brenner, we could well see the city council vote to put another version of Measure B on the ballot – another attempt to change our city charter to strengthen the mayor.

Finally, there is the question of age and experience. I do not know quite how old Joy Brenner is – one does not ask a lady her age – but I know from my many dealings with her that she has not slowed a single step. When Kleiman attempts to make an issue of Brenner’s age, as she did on Sunday, Sept. 11, by calling her “Gramma Joy,” she is simply calling attention to her own callow youth. The proper response is to echo Ronald Reagan, who said at the October 1984 debate that he “was not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Everyone laughed, including his opponent, Walter Mondale.

Joy Brenner has served Newport Beach capably, both as a private citizen and in the past four years on the city council. She deserves four more years on the council.

Walter Stahr

Newport Beach

O’Neill’s attacks are meant to mislead

Recently, a friend sent me a copy of The Honorable Will O’Neill’s letter to Republicans which was essentially an attack letter against Tom Miller. Attack with disinformation!

I use disinformation, instead of misinformation, as the content of the letter was obviously meant to mislead. Will has a tendency to do this sort of thing in support of a friend or anyone he wants to support for election. 

It would be better for Newport if the ex-mayor simply supported his friend and honored the honorable title. 

Tom Miller has a right to run, he owns a home and has lived here for some years. If he has the best ideas for making Newport prosper and keep our quality of life, then he deserves to win. Let’s get rid of the nasty politics. Aren’t we confronted with enough local, state, national and world problems that we need to pull together and solve?

Linda Watkins

Newport Beach

It’s called O’Neill 4 Newport…it should be called 

O’Neill 4 O’Neill

In his recent missive to the community, Will O’Neill lauds the Newport Harbor Republican Women and then goes on to encourage them to read his op-ed piece slamming city council candidate Tom Miller.

Ole Will starts out with, “Tom Miller, a newcomer to Newport Beach.”  Actually, Tom & Eileen have lived in Newport for almost eight years. They are an upstanding couple, who started with nothing and built a successful business. 

Ole Will doesn’t get or understand what it takes to start a business from an idea, build it, market it…and most importantly, make it a success. Ole Will doesn’t get that because he’s a trust fund baby.

Ole Will goes on, in his op-ed piece, that we need to overlook Joe Stapleton’s “omissions of the truth.” 

Why not? The Republican endorsement committee did! Now, there’s an impartial body! If you are not the anointed one…you just don’t get their endorsement! 

Yes, Will, we are all willing to overlook Joe’s college transgressions. What we are not willing to overlook is that Joe, the adult, the professional man, the city council candidate, lied on his replies to the Republican endorsement committee and he lied to us, the voters.

What we are not willing to overlook is that – Joe Stapleton supported Measure B. Measure B was an Ole Will created and endorsed proposal that would have undermined our city charter. Joe supported Measure B as he was told to do. Guess what, Joe? Newport Beach wants and deserves more than that from its city council representatives. 

The days of mediocre are over. We don’t want councilmembers who drink on the dais. We don’t want city councilmembers who dump worthy city managers. And, most of all, we don’t want councilmembers who lie to us, even before they are elected.

Ole Will, your petty comments about Tom Miller are a bit stale. You continue to misrepresent the facts, distort the truth and exaggerate your Team Newport candidate’s abilities. He’s already shown us his true self. It falls short of what Newport Beach deserves! 

My vote goes to Tom Miller – an upstanding guy, who got his money the old-fashioned way – he earned it! My vote goes to Tom Miller who will represent this city with honesty and integrity. My vote goes to the guy who’s gonna win – Tom Miller!

Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer, ret.

Newport Beach

Implied endorsement of Kleiman was not that

Recently Costa Mesa resident and former Airport Working Group (AWG) board member Andy Smith wrote a letter to the Stu News Newport online community forum regarding Lauren Kleiman. Kleiman also served on the AWG board from 2017-2019.

Smith implied in his letter that AWG was actively seeking Ms. Kleiman to return to the board to “lay the groundwork for the upcoming extension of the John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement.” This was written in the context of supporting her election to the city council.

In fact, I had a brief informal conversation with Lauren in late 2021 and she indicated that she was not interested in rejoining the board. No formal offer was ever made nor voted on by the board (required by AWG Bylaws).

Subsequently, in 2022, AWG added two former Newport Beach city councilmembers with extensive experience on airport issues to the board of directors to broaden our policy strength.

It is important to note that AWG does not endorse city council candidates and it would be improper to imply such support.

We very much appreciate Lauren Kleiman’s past service on our board and her interest in airport issues. We also enjoy outstanding relations with the entire city council and are proud to partner with all current members of the council and city administration to protect our community from the impacts of John Wayne Airport (JWA) on Newport Beach residents.

As issues such as the impact of the General Aviation Improvement Program on private jet activity, the need to extend the Settlement Agreement, and, support the increased use of next generation quieter commercial airline aircraft at JWA, the partnership between AWG and the city council will be more important than ever.

Mel Beale, President AWG

Newport Beach

Michelle Barto – doing right for students in NMUSD

We support Michelle Barto for NMUSD Trustee Area 5. Not only did she push to get the kids back to school through a difficult time, but she also pushed to keep them in school. 

This is a non-partisan position which is really evident in how Michelle carries herself. Regardless of your political affiliation, she pushes herself to do right for the students within NMUSD, which ultimately helps all of the NMUSD families. She makes sure that as parents we have choices to opt out on situations that we would like to take ownership of as parents. 

Our vote is for Michelle Barto.

The Tokarz Family

Newport Beach

My years working alongside Lisa Pearson proves to me that she’s right for our School Board

I met Lisa Pearson back in those blissful days of volunteering in the Kindergarten classroom of our first-born children. We were wide eyed and happy to help. We quickly bonded over our shared hopes for our kids, and our love of Lincoln Elementary School. Soon we were attending PTA meetings and signing up for even more opportunities to serve. It is with complete confidence and unbridled enthusiasm that I write to you today to recommend my friend for NMUSD School Board Zone 4!

Over the years I’ve watched Lisa apply her classroom teaching experience, her motherly instincts, her fine-tuned organizational skills, and her endless generosity, to huge jobs like school play producer and PTA President. Under her leadership at both Lincoln and CdM High School, there have been great successes, much needed funds raised, educational goals achieved and all with a refreshing lack of controversy. Our kids have grown, but Lisa has never left the educational environment. As she shepherded her youngest through school choices based on specific learning needs, she even developed a special program at a local private school that has helped others as well.

Everyone in our community knows that our schools are some of the highest ranked in the nation, but recently there has been a politically motivated effort to denigrate those who work diligently to maintain that excellence we expect. The NMUSD school board position is non-partisan, and I can attest after 20 yrs. of lively conversations spanning countless election seasons, that Lisa respects political differences and always leads with a listener’s ear and a peacemaker’s heart; she will never let politics guide her decisions. Lisa Pearson cares about the mental health and well-being of the children, high standards in the classroom, respect for parental involvement and attention to keeping our schools safe. 

Vote Lisa Pearson NMUSD School Board Zone 4!

Summer Bailey-Bress

Newport Beach

Joe Stapleton’s years of community involvement and commitment has earned my vote for City Council

I know Joe Stapleton well. For almost two decades he has tirelessly worked to make Newport Beach a better place to live. He has led the Chamber of Commerce, the Newport Beach Foundation, served as a Harbor Commissioner and current on the Finance Committee. He literally worked to direct the Christmas Boat Parade, and he oversaw the investments to keep our harbor the best on the West Coast. His years of service is why the prior Citizens of the Year named Joe Citizen of the Year in 2020.

I do not know Tom Miller. Tom is new to town and does not have the record of accomplishment remotely approaching Stapleton.

What I do know is that he has stated he intends to spend $400,000 to win election to the city council. $400,000 for the city council? Clearly, he does not believe elections should be based on records of community service or accomplishment, but cynically, he believes he can move into town and buy a council seat.

If he spends so lavishly on his election ambitions, it raises questions how he would spend our tax dollars if he had the chance.

I know my vote cannot be bought no matter how much Miller spends. Join me in supporting a true community leader, Joe Stapleton for Newport Beach. 

Nicholas Prytherch

Newport Beach

Insights on the Speak Up Newport candidates forum

Just a few comments on Wednesday night’s council candidates’ performances (at Speak Up Newport, September 14)…

As expected, Joy Brenner and Tom Miller knocked it out of the ballpark, to borrow a quote from a friend of mine. Both of them are friendly, humorous and natural pathfinders.         

And you gotta love Jim Mosher for telling it like it is. We even discovered Jim’s dry sense of humor, which would have been put to the test many times had he been on the current council. All of Jim’s friends wanted to help him by donating money to his candidacy, but Jim has to do it his way and refused us all. He painstakingly put us through the rules and regulations for monetarily donating to a candidate. Jim never wants to break any of the rules or even gets close, and you have to admire him for that. Even if Jim loses, hopefully his honesty and integrity will have made an impact on future races. 

Interestingly, the young lady running against Jim, Amy Peters, has the same philosophy. She too, seems very down to earth, and amusingly commented that she has raised less than a thousand dollars from friends. Both she and Jim are in agreement about wanting to take the massive amounts of money out of Newport’s council races. Bravo to both of them. 

I did hear some flashes of rhetoric reminiscent of Team Newport, but on the whole, I was impressed by all of the candidates’ energy and interest in participating in an exhausting council race and it was uplifting not to hear any political barbs.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

You can learn a lot by watching and listening to our council candidates at these many forums

If last Sunday’s candidates forum hosted by the Next Up Newport and SPON organizations was not enough to convince you that candidate Lauren Kleiman would be the newest and third member of the power block that has governed our city for the last eight years, I don’t know what will. 

And then there was Joe Stapleton finally revealing under audience pressure how he voted on Measure B; both Kleiman and Stapleton voting “yes” and supporting one of the most flawed measures ever put before the voters of our city; a measure that would have literally given control of our city to one individual – the mayor.    

Then there were the “yes” or “no” responses to quick questions with each candidate using cards for their response. Questions like regulating the use of e-bikes, and another question regarding their position on regulating the newly surfaced Pacaso real estate investment scheme in our city. Kleiman responded “No” to both questions which pitted her against a majority vote of “Yes” by the other candidates. One more indication of her joining sides with the block of four that is trying to be maintained in this election.    

If we the voters are truly interested in returning our city to a citizen-run government and ridding our city of this power block of four that have been running things for the past eight years, then there is simply no question who we should not be voting for in this election, rather who we should be voting for…Joy Brenner and Tom Miller.

I was absolutely shocked at the disrespect shown by Kleiman to Brenner at this forum. Later she did apologize to Joy saying that the term “Gramma” was meant to be endearing and was understood by her to be a common name for Joy around the city. I’ve never ever heard Joy referred to as Gramma by friends or constituents. It is safe to say that almost the entire audience interpreted the use of the word Gramma as arrogant disrespect. 

Having participated in no less than 24 forums myself, there is a particular protocol for a candidate’s behavior and decorum. Showing respect to those who take the time to attend and take an interest in each candidate is an important part of that decorum. Starting with the first forum, I was very impressed with Tom Miller being the only candidate who stood when addressing the audience. Since then, I have noticed that all but Kleiman stand when responding to a question.  Kleiman stayed seated when responding to each question. 

What do you suppose her non-attendance at the Newport Heights/Cliff Haven forum the following evening was about? That’s two now that she has not attended. As I always say, “Suit up and show up!”

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Council, 2016-2020

Newport Beach


Guest Letter

Joy Brenner

District 6

Newport Beach City Council

Time to stand up to airport noise again

It’s been said that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” and on no issue is that truer than jet operations at John Wayne Airport.

Under the prior airport management, buried in the minutiae of the lease agreements for General Aviation aircraft, is a revised definition of the types and size of aircraft to be housed. The effect of this definitional change is to potentially reduce the amount of space available to small general aviation aircraft and to significantly increase the number of private jets stored and operated at John Wayne.

As residents are painfully aware, private jets are not subject to our curfew times, and many of them can be louder than modern commercial aircraft. A shift to more private jets at John Wayne will have a substantially negative effect on noise and the quality of life in Newport Beach.

It appears that this new definition, designed to increase the desirability of John Wayne for larger private jets, may not be in conformance with FAA standards and requirements. Should the airport not be in compliance with FAA rules, its ongoing federal funding can be disrupted and serious repercussions will result.

The General Aviation Pilots Association, and our own Airport Working Group, have highlighted problematic contract provisions and are raising these issues with the FAA. As a practical matter, these new lease provisions raise the costs for small private aircraft and has the effect of driving them away from John Wayne in favor of larger private Jets.

Newport Beach residents have a vital interest in protecting small general aviation aircraft at John Wayne and the city should be advocating for adjustments to the design of leased storage space and lease terms that reduce the costs for small aircraft owners and operators and protects their ability to affordably use John Wayne for the long term. 

I will be asking the City Manager to immediately begin monitoring this situation and to report back to the city council. I will also be working with the Board of Supervisors to protect our residents. These lease changes were initiated by the prior management at the airport. Hopefully, the new management will use this opportunity to make good on promises to be a “good neighbor” to Newport Beach. 

Joy Brenner serves on the Newport Beach City Council for District 6. She presently is running for reelection in November.


Letters to the Editor

Independent voices like Brenner and Miller needed

Former Mayor Keith Curry recently raised some important concerns regarding the behavior of Mayor Pro Temp Noah Blom and the recruitment of Lauren Kleiman to provide the fourth vote to make Blom Mayor. Drinking during council meetings, defrauding his vendors, and ignoring health, safety and planning violations should clearly disqualify him from the position of Mayor, let alone his position on city council, and raise questions about the standards for public office by those who support him.

But bad as he is, Blom is not the only abuse of power by “Team Newport.” Voters should remember that the “Team,” along with Dave Ellis, were found to have violated 42 California Election laws by the Fair Political Practices Commission in 2020. The initial Sworn Complaint against them was filed with the FPPC in 2015. It took five years of investigation. After negotiating with the FPPC to reduce the number of violations, they stipulated to the violations and paid hefty fines.

They tried to force the high-rise Museum House on the public and cynically made the petitions to stop the project look like telephone books. They failed and the legislature passed a law to prevent this type of abuse in the future.

Team member Scott Peotter even proposed limiting the ability of citizens to recall their public officials.

In 2018 the “Team” forced out our nationally acclaimed city manager, Dave Kiff, and most recently with Measure B, tried to circumvent term limits and strip the city manager of the ability to place items on the agenda without the mayor’s consent.

Only the lack of a fourth vote prevented three of the “Team” members from costing the city more than $20 million by a non-economic refunding of the city’s debt and a reduction of the city business license fees that would have been equivalent to 20 police positions. A fourth vote makes a big difference.

It’s time to put Team Newport behind us. We need independent councilmembers like Joy Brenner and Tom Miller; not people beholden to the Team and Noah Blom like Lauren Kleiman.

Jeff Herdman

Former Newport Beach City Councilman

Newport Beach

Lauren Kleiman is a strong independent voice

I have genuinely enjoyed working with Lauren Kleiman as a fellow Newport Beach Planning Commissioner. In addition to being welcoming and encouraging, she has been a great example to follow with her preparation for meetings, interactions with staff, applicants and residents. She also has an impressive knowledge of the issues coming before us on the commission. I admire Laurens’s willingness to make her voice heard on the dais, even as the minority dissenting vote.

During her two terms on the Planning Commission, Lauren has been asked to represent us in every sub-committee created, including parking, council policy review and ADUs. In her first month as chair, she instituted a new training protocol for all Commissioners. She has demonstrated exceptional leadership during her appointment and is why she had the unanimous support to be the first woman chair of the Planning Commission in almost three decades. I am certain she would be a strong independent voice on the Newport Beach City Council.

Mark Rosene

Newport Beach

Lauren Kleiman is the intelligent choice

I got to know Lauren Kleiman through our time together on the Airport Working Group Board. She had previously served on the Newport Beach Aviation Committee and wanted to continue her work on airport noise issues after giving up her seat to accept her appointment to Planning Commission. Lauren dedicated countless hours to understand the complexities of aviation, noise and the John Wayne Airport. She worked closely with all of the community groups to hear their concerns, then identified a proactive approach no one else had taken; she relentlessly pursued airline stakeholder decision makers to come to the table to earn the support of residents by being better neighbors to those under the flight path. 

Lauren has been asked to return to the AWG Board to begin to lay the groundwork for the upcoming extension of the John Wayne Settlement Agreement. They and other community groups would like to see Lauren chair Newport’s Aviation Committee to continue her progress with incentivizing airlines to bring quieter planes and departure procedures to JWA.

In all of my dealings with Lauren, she has demonstrated tenacity, diligence and practicality. Newport Beach would be lucky to have her as their Councilwoman.

Andrew B. Smith, President

AvPac Insurance Services, Inc.

Santa Ana

Tom Miller is what our city needs

It is as if he rode in on a white horse and captured the imagination of Newport’s citizens, bent on making city government more responsive. I “was sold” when he contributed an unusually generous sum to defeat Measure B. And, in so doing, he took a gamble on backing the position of many long-term residents who were adamantly opposed to a measure that was ill-conceived.

The drama that Tom Miller is creating, doing things his way, by himself with no team behind him pulling the strings, is bringing excitement back to the potential of what city government can accomplish for its citizens.

Tom has an ambitious list of objectives. If he can succeed in bringing one third of them to fruition, Newport Beach will be reinvigorated by his influence. His platform focuses on the “hard” issues that we must face in the near future. Upmost on his list of concerns is public safety, certainly an issue that we have been focused on in Newport Heights with all the intended development on Pacific Coast Highway. His first goal is to strengthen the police department that is understaffed and overworked. Public safety has to come first.

Secondly, comes the ever-present plight of the homeless, which must be addressed. Miller recently visited the Bridge Homeless Center that Newport shares with Costa Mesa, to make sure the million dollars that Newport contributes to the project each year, is wisely spent. Meeting with the heads of the shelter and sharing ideas with them, gave Tom motivation to improve the sad plight of our homeless neighbors.

In a similar fashion, Tom plans on working with the new airport director to prevent expansion and ensure that the airport curfew doesn’t change. 

Providing clean beaches and parks along with the harbor is always a must as Newport’s reputation for beauty and safety is sacred. 

Finally, one of the most difficult and least glamorous issues that Tom knows must be faced is the RHNA housing element. And perhaps one of his most important and original goals is to see a percentage of the affordable housing demand be carved out and made available to our police, firefighters and lifeguards, as well as the employees serving us at our local hotels and restaurants. 

It is an ambitious agenda but one that can be accomplished with Tom’s willing partners on the council.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Previous letter writer had it all wrong

We all understand that as the political season gains traction, there is never a loss of individuals, like Kerry Sabo, to fill newspapers with deceptive statements about candidates. Tom Miller has now become a victim of such statements because “this newcomer to Newport Beach” believes that campaign contributions are a basis to judge the worth and integrity of a candidate. That might be how East Coast people assess a candidate’s substance but here in Newport Beach, voters are more astute and look beyond superficial campaign numbers.

Candidates run for elected offices because they believe that they can contribute to and make government more accountable and honest. Mr. Miller, an accomplished businessman, moved to Newport Beach in 2016 and has a vision for our city. Unfortunately, Newport Beach has allowed “Team Newport” to circumvent the “clean government card” and backed the flawed Measure B, which if successful, would have upended the current city council form of government. Even after they spent more than $500K on this flawed measure, the citizens did not buy the rhetoric. 

Mr. Sabo should learn who the candidates really are and what they stand for, and how they can share their successful talents with the residents if elected. 

My vote is going to a man with a clear vision, who has full-time hours to devote to the task at hand and the energy to make our community a better place for our kids and grandkids.

If you would like more facts about Tom Miller, please click on this link.

Lynn Swain

Big Canyon

Worked with Joe, he’s the real deal

As we move toward election day in November with a focus on the Newport Beach City council candidates, I’m looking at each candidate’s experience and hands down, Joe Stapleton’s experience qualifies him for the position. He’s a person who will not only initiate and lead efforts to improve our quality of life, but he will also roll up his sleeves to do the work. 

I have served on the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce board with him as well as on the executive committee of the Commodores Club – and those are just two of the numerous boards and organizations that he has served. 

Currently he sits on the city’s Finance Committee and has served on the Harbor Commission.

With that intimate knowledge of the city, he comes to the council with a solid foundation for his seat on the dais. I believe that Joe is an independent thinker and will do what needs to be done in the best interest of all Newport Beach residents.

Marie Case

Newport Beach

Disparaging reference from one council candidate to another met with concern

An attempt at humor? An effort to disparage? Perhaps “I am young, you are not.”

Whatever Joy Brenner’s opponent had in mind at Sunday afternoon’s NextUp Newport/SPON Candidate Forum when she called her “Gramma Joy,” it seemed to fall flat. From my vantage point, more than a few “in poor taste” eye rolls. 

But, you know, I kinda like the term.

This “Gramma Joy” is wise.

This “Gramma Joy” is experienced.

This “Gramma Joy” is seasoned enough to seek out the city’s senior staff of pros before voting on critical matters.

This “Gramma Joy” has more energy and spunk than most non-grammas.

This “Gramma Joy” stood up to deliver responses to questions.

If it’s happening in Newport, “Gramma Joy” is there. Not sure that is true for her “younger” opponent.

The green paddle/red paddle exercise was enlightening.

“Gramma Joy” quickly raised the green side showing support for more e-bike regulation. Her opponent stammered and refused to take a position until goaded by the audience and only then showed a barely visible green side.

“Gramma Joy” showed a red paddle confirming her vote against the flawed and failed Measure B (direct election of the mayor). Her opponent revealed support of Measure B with a green paddle.

More regulation of Pacaso Fractional Ownership: “Gramma Joy” – green paddle; her opponent – red paddle.

I saw enough on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 11) to confirm support for “Gramma Joy’s” re-election as our councilmember for District 6. I hope you will agree.

Paul Watkins 

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Brenner has firm control of City’s finances

One of the more sensitive jobs of a councilmember is negotiating labor agreements with city staff. The union’s role is to push for as much as they can get. The council’s role is to provide compensation packages that ensure we attract and retain the best people and at the same time keep in mind the long-term financial health of the city which can mean saying no to some requests.    

In her tenure, Joy Brenner has done a good job of finding this balance. For example, she has called for new police hires to provide better coverage in the city, but she has been firm in rejecting some union demands that she felt were both unnecessary and not fiscally responsible.   

In other words, she has said no to some labor requests in order to protect the city’s taxpayers. Supporting the safety of our city while keeping a firm hand on financial controls – this is just one of the reasons I am supporting her reelection. 

Nancy Gardner

Former Newport Beach Council Member/Mayor

Newport Beach

Questioning Miller’s finances

One way to gauge the support of our city council candidates is to look at their campaign disclosure forms. Newport Beach newcomer Tom Miller has threatened to spend up to $400,000 to win a seat on the city council, and he has so far given himself $125,000 to buy the seat.

What is unusual is that as of the most recent disclosures, Miller only has $49,100 cash on hand to start the campaign. This is far behind Joe Stapleton, Robyn Grant, Erik Wiegand and, even, Joy Brenner. Miller’s consultants must have kids in college given how they are spending his money. If he spends the taxpayers’ dollars like he is spending his campaign cash, the city will be broke by Easter.

The disclosure also shows that Miller has limited support except from himself. He raised only a measly $27,529 from other donors. This is far less than all the other candidates. Even worse for Miller is that over 56% of his donations are from people who do not live in Newport Beach. He does appear to be the preferred Newport Beach candidate of people living in Anaheim and Las Vegas.

Like a lot of other rich, entitled candidates, my prediction is that Tom Miller will find Newport Beach voters cannot be bought. Residents want candidates that reflect our values, our history and our unique quality of life. Voters respect those who put in the time over the years to make this a better community. Perhaps Miller should have picked another city to move into if he wants to be an elected official.

Kerry Sabo

Newport Beach

Tom Miller is not a politician and that’s a good thing!

It has been said that all politics are local, but city government is not a place for politicians. It is designed to be non-partisan. 

I took a close look at the Newport Beach City Council and the Planning Commission when Short-Term Rentals became a concern in my neighborhood. I began to see how a voting bloc on the council existed and it was controlling how the city was governed. STR regulation was not on their radar and without the four votes of the bloc, residents were not getting a voice despite most of the residents in favor of restrictions.

This and two other actions caused me to look even closer at how Newport Beach was being governed by Team Newport:

1. When Joy Brenner, who was the most experienced and most qualified candidate to be Mayor Pro-Tem, Team Newport voted in the most inexperienced and least qualified candidate to the position. This was done despite countless residents’ letters to the city and speeches at council. The bloc had made up their mind and had the votes.

2. Measure B was put on the council agenda and eventually the ballot by Team Newport because they had the four votes needed. Measure B would have brought more politics into the city and made it easier for the bloc to control how the city was governed. The bloc prevented any council discussion or input on the measure. Fortunately, voters turned it down. It was a shameful waste of money, and it divided the city. The only way to prevent another such effort is to break up the bloc through the election process.

The voice and the will of residents is restricted when councilmembers vote as a unit rather than working as a unit. 

I don’t want to worry that all voices are not being given equal consideration. I don’t want to attend every City Council or Planning Commission meeting. I want councilmembers to be independent and willing to work with the entire council. No behind the curtain deals and no special treatment. Council needs to encourage resident participation, not discourage it.

At the public candidate forums, a common theme is that city issues are driven by state politics. I will not disagree, but I will point out that our state is governed by a super majority. I have concerns that our current voting bloc, aka Team Newport, is a de facto super majority. We need councilmembers who vote and act independently and will do what is best for the city as a whole and not a result of endorsements and entitlements.

Tom Miller was the only candidate, not already on the council, to publicly support No on Measure B. Politics being political, it is understandable when a politician doesn’t take a stand on a controversial issue. Our nation, our state, and our city need more leaders and less politicians and that is why my vote goes to Tom Miller.

Gary Cruz

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Joe Stapleton is the man for the job

When evaluating City Council candidates, I find it helpful to treat the process like hiring a CEO to run my business. Whether voting or hiring, I want the best possible candidate with the most experience and a proven track record of success.

If you rent or own property in Newport, you know we all have a vested interest in ensuring our City continues to prosper for future generations. We have an obligation to vote for the candidate we believe will proactively put our City in the best possible position to handle current and future issues, thus protecting our investment in this great City.

As a fourth generation Newport Beach resident, I can say with absolute certainty that Joe Stapleton is the most qualified candidate for City Council. In addition to starting and managing his own successful wealth management firm, Joe has shown his fiscal responsibility through his service on the City’s Finance Committee. Furthermore, Joe has served on the Harbor Commission, and was named 2020 Newport Beach Citizen of the Year. I can confidently say that Joe is the best candidate to entrust with our city’s future.

Grant Rawlins

Newport Beach

Don’t let the smear campaign dissuade you from voting for Joy

Joy Brenner is running for City Council District 6 re-election on November 8. She’s exceptionally well-qualified and deserves to be returned to the dais – perhaps this December (finally) as Mayor.

As we approach another election season, I’ve been told that the money power seekers who attempted to smear her in 2018, will rise again from the ashes and fictionalize issues against Joy’s sterling name. It’s already begun with individuals contacting her to endorse a candidate she doesn’t believe in, indicating that “they” will publicly go easier on her if she agrees. Joy doesn’t play politics and cannot be bought off by “Team Newport” or anyone else.

Anyone opposing Joy will have to forget about all of Joy’s achievements, experience and her exceptional reputation within our community the last four years.

Our community needs to see the goodness, the commitment and the sensible honesty that has been the hallmark of Joy’s first four successful years. 

Please help save our city from this corruption and re-elect Joy Brenner on November 8. No one is more deserving and no one has worked harder for Newport Beach than Joy.

Lynn Swain 

Big Canyon

This writer used to be a Republican

I grew up in a Republican family, graduated from USC, and worked for Republican Rep. Bob Dornan. As far as I was concerned, if a candidate had an “R” after his or her name, they could count on me to support their campaign. But that was then and this is now. This is why I am writing about Judie Mancuso, a different kind of Democratic candidate running in the 72nd Assembly District (which includes the coastal communities of Newport, Laguna, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach).     

For starters, Judie understands the critical connection between clean beaches and vibrant, local businesses. Personally, I view this relationship as vital to my family’s future health and welfare. Despite the fact numerous local elected officials attended a rally Judie organized after last October’s 25,000 gallon oil spill in OC, her current Assembly opponent, Diane Dixon, was nowhere to be found that day. 

Second, Judie is against raising taxes. That’s why she opposes Prop. 30, the tax on income above $2 million, on the ballot this fall. I am also against it. And lastly, Judie supports seniors like me. She believes the $35 monthly cap on insulin is a game-changer. I couldn’t agree more. (Interestingly, every GOP lawmaker in Congress, including our own Rep. Michelle Steel, voted against this provision in the new Inflation Reduction Act, but now she is campaigning like the cap was her idea. Go figure.)

Every election season is an opportunity to reset political priorities. I honestly believe Judie Mancuso’s priorities are right for Orange County. Even if you are a Republican who votes the party line like I used to, I urge you to take a serious look at Judie. I don’t think you will be disappointed. 

Stan Mullin

Newport Beach

Click open story button to continue reading…


Letters to the Editor

Request that the City Attorney do his job

There seems to be a misunderstanding as to the City Attorney’s role in Newport Beach. In addition to emceeing the City Council meetings, his job description is simple: Make sure the city’s laws are understood and followed.

Why does Mr. Harp seem confused by the subject of short-term residential treatment programs (STRTPs), which are also called half-way houses or drug/alcohol rehab facilities?

After two of the three citizen comments at last week’s Council meeting complaining about the scourge of STRTPs in Newport Beach, Mr. Harp begins his revelations, “Traditionally, in Newport Beach, the way we’ve handled these issues, as far as facilities we’ve found that are unlicensed, if they can get licensed, whether a restaurant or other facility, if they can get into the license process, we typically stay enforcement, until we can see if they can get the license or not.”

Everyone knows that’s hogwash. 

These facilities must be shut down today. The threat is urgent. These are unlicensed medical facilities filled with drug addicts in our neighborhoods…next to our kids.

Here are the addresses of three unlicensed facilities operating today by the Mental Health Collective:

–Kings Road 

–Orchard Drive 

–Santa Ana Avenue

Please stop reading this letter and begin taking action to shut down these dangerous facilities.

When Councilor Dixon asked why he won’t shut down the Mental Health Collective now, due to their unlicensed status, Mr. Harp falsely stated, “They’re [MHC] going to be licensed in the next month.” 

Then, later in his meandering response, he doubled and tripled down on his clairvoyance, saying, “They’ve been approved at the state level.” And, “They’re going to be licensed.”

–Why would Mr. Harp falsely bestow license status on these rogue actors?

–Can restaurant operators serve alcohol before they receive their liquor license? 

–Can carpenters begin working on a home while they await their building permit?

Mr. Harp acknowledges that the Mental Health Facility uses a “bait and switch” tactic. They are applying to California DHCS for a license to operate a mental health facility, but while they wait an often-interminable license process, they are operating dangerous and unlicensed half-way houses that conduct drug and alcohol counseling. 

Why is Newport Beach treating the Mental Health Collective with kid gloves, instead of protecting its residents from blatantly unlawful and potentially dangerous activity? 

Apparently, their scofflaw status is common knowledge to Mr. Harp, the City Attorney. He claims to be in regular contact with the leadership of MHC.

For some unexplained reason, Mr. Harp thinks that he gets to determine which of Newport Beach’s laws get enforced and which get ignored. He emphatically does not. If he cannot figure out how to enforce the laws, he should be replaced by someone who will.

What if, God forbid, a resident were killed or maimed by these reckless scofflaws? Would the city of Newport Beach feel the need to enforce their laws then? 

Eric Spitz

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Why we support the re-election of Joy Brenner

Four years ago, the citizens of Newport Beach elected Joy Brenner to the City Council. In response to the faith the voters showed in Joy’s leadership and ability, the community has been rewarded with her steady and thoughtful representation. The four years of her tenure have shown her honest, practical and transparent approach to the management of our great city. 

As a longtime resident and extensive volunteer in the community, Joy has continuously demonstrated a concern for all citizens and their points of view as she has listened and been respectful of all opinions before making her decision. At the same time, because Joy has worked extensively in the community before becoming a council person, she has the necessary institutional knowledge which allows her to weigh the long-time interests of the city as she makes her decision and makes her presence on the city council even more valuable.   

Joy is seeking re-election to the council. In addition to the qualities that led to her election, she has the additional benefit of four years’ council experience. It is accordingly sad to see, as noted in editor Tom Johnson’s most recent column, that Joy has been the subject of vicious and personal attacks in her re-election bid. Four years ago, Joy was similarly attacked but rose above those negative campaign tactics with a characteristic demonstration of grace and integrity. 

Joy is a person whose concern is always what is best for the city and its residents and she never places her own interests above that. Elected to a second term, she will do her utmost to steadfastly improve and preserve the city we call Newport Beach. That is why we are supporting Joy Brenner for City Council.    

Clarence Turner

Former Mayor, Newport Beach

Thomas C. Edwards

Former Mayor, Newport Beach

Nancy Gardner

Former Mayor, Newport Beach

Time to elect individuals and not more teams

The saying goes, “Those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it.” Let’s consider that adage from a local perspective to see how it pertains to upcoming council elections in Newport Beach.   

As I remarked in a previous letter, Jim Mosher is one of the only, if not the only, candidate who attends council sessions. You will not learn any gossip or misinformation from him. As a scientist, he will only give you the cold hard facts. And since I became a council watcher when I retired 10+ years ago, I can attest to some of those facts being pretty hard and cold.

I am not only referring to candidates for council, but also to residents of Newport Beach about not repeating mistakes from the past. If you don’t know anything about our council past and present, I would greatly urge you to learn what you can before you vote. 

For instance, if you know anyone who was an active citizen eight to 10 years ago, you would learn that the campaign literature could be filled with false claims and innuendo. Fortunately, in the last election, the campaign literature had improved. So, let’s hope that the days of smears and falsehoods have left us. 

Unfortunately, the most aggravating tradition of trying to establish a “‘team” of councilmembers who vote as a block has not. It has continued and seems to be an issue in this election as well. 

The “Newport Team” over the last several years does not really have many successes to brag about, particularly this last season. Their handling of the pandemic, particularly in the beginning, left much to be desired. They acted as if it never existed as a health hazard. Fortunately, people in higher places made decisions that prevailed and protected citizens. 

Only those who “supported the team” were able to get volunteer positions in city government. It all came down to who you knew. Finally, the team’s unsuccessful attempt to change the governmental structure in Newport to an elected mayorship cost the city thousands upon thousands of dollars.

It is time to elect individuals, not teams, who care more about Newport Beach than they do about personal power. And it is time to do away with block voting. 

We are very lucky to have some strong new candidates who are NOT supported by Team Newport. And we have a return Councilmember Joy Brenner, who represents the epitome of what a Newport Beach representative should be. 

Don’t just listen to others. Do your own research. Check out the archives on local news sites. Avail yourselves of objective information about Newport’s history. And weigh all the facts before you make your own decisions.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Presentation of Stapleton “lie” by Tom Johnson, former mayors’ letter and origination of donors causing concern

As my friends and neighbors know, I take the job of “citizen” very seriously. I do not merely complain about challenges facing my community and neighborhood; I actively seek solutions, and I am never hesitant to write letters, make calls, or circulate petitions. So, I wrote a letter to the editor of Stu News disagreeing with the way Joe Stapleton’s lie was presented. My letter clearly said that what Joe did as a 20-year-old is not the issue. He lied on an application directly related to the campaign of today. That is my issue.

I resent the letter signed by four ex-mayors which appeared in Stu News, the Newport Independent and the Daily Pilot which characterized the letters written about Joe Stapleton’s lie, which would include mine, as “shrill” and the writers, which would include me, as mudslingers who are surrogates of the Miller campaign. My letter was straightforward, reflecting my opinion about Tom Johnson’s presentation, without being shrill. I am not a surrogate! Just as Tom Johnson focused solely on the actions of a 20-year-old Joe, totally ignoring the lie he told, so did the ex-mayors. 

Which brings me to the point of my letter today. In the last Stu News, Tom Johnson reported on the neighborhood canvassing being done by Tom Miller. Having candidates and ultimately councilmembers who are devoted to their constituents they represent is paramount to me. I went through the most recent campaign disclosures of Form 460 for the period ending June 30, 2022, posted on the City of Newport Beach website for anyone to see. Of Joe Stapleton’s donations of $100 or more listed for that period, $50,120 is from OUTSIDE of Newport Beach or outside of California, as compared to Tom Miller’s report showing only $14,750 from outside the city and state. Nearly 1/4 of Stapleton’s donors are from the District #4 ZIP code 92660...twice as many as his donors in District #1 that he says he wants to represent. I am a resident of District #1 and a retired teacher and high school guidance counselor. I want someone who will represent me, not district #4, and someone who will represent “regular” hardworking folks here on the peninsula, not just the wealthy. One-third of Joe Stapleton’s reported donors are wealth managers, consultants, and real estate developers and investors. I can see teachers, firefighters, nurses and physicians listed in the Miller campaign. 

We will disagree on policies and decisions, but we must never disagree on how a councilmember represents his/her district and people. I spend these hours researching candidates so I know what they value, who they are associated with; all reflected in the donations to their campaigns. In this way, I gain insight into how they will represent me and people like me in the District. In any campaign, it is unacceptable that the majority of donors and monies comes from outside the very place a candidate wants to represent. Candidates should fundraise from their constituents to show the actual support they have from their constituents, not from special interests who will garner favors and special treatment if elected. 

Kathy Frazer

Newport Beach

Asking our Assembly candidates two questions

Because two talented women are running for the Assembly from the 72nd District, I’d like to know where Diane Dixon and Judie Mancuso stand on the following two issues. First, what were their reactions to the Supreme Court’s ruling to reverse Roe v. Wade; and second, how will each of them vote on Prop. 1, the women’s equality amendment this fall? 

As a mother and grandmother, I’d like to hear from both candidates. I have a feeling a lot of other women in Laguna would like to know the answers to my questions as well.

Diane Kloke

Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

In response to reader question, saddened that Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

Thank you, Siouxzie B. Salisbury, from Balboa Island, for asking your questions in a recent edition of Stu News Newport. Like tens of millions of women coast-to-coast, I was shocked and saddened when the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, wiping out nearly 50 years of protection for women. As for my vote this fall, I am 100% in favor of the amendment protecting women’s equality in California.   

When it comes to the future of women in California, in general, and women who live in the 72nd Assembly District, in particular, I am guessing my opponent and I couldn’t be further apart on the two issues you raised. No matter how little you have been involved in politics in the past, I urge you – and women of all ages who live in Newport, Laguna, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach for example – to join me in protecting women’s fundamental rights and freedom.

I’m glad you asked your questions.

Judie Mancuso

Candidate for Assembly District 72

Laguna Beach


Guest Letter

Joy Brenner

Thankful to those who have come before us

Guest Letter Joy Brenner

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Joy Brenner

Joy Brenner

It hit me hard today when I heard that Elizabeth Starr, Evelyn Hart and Jean Watt are all having some health issues. These ladies have been the lifeline for our community for so many years. Those of us who were young, working, raising families, but loved our community, could be assured that there were people like these who had our backs. I’ve always been somewhat involved in city government but I relied on people like Jean, Evelyn and Elisabeth to carry the heavy water. 

We all know the child rearing years are among the most stressful and time-consuming, but I could go about raising my children and know that if something really important was happening, one of these ladies would reach out to the rest of us to keep us informed. 

There seems to be a difference between these leaders and some of the younger generation of leaders we have today. There are those like Jean, Evelyn and Elisabeth doing the right things for all the right reasons to ultimately benefit our community and our citizens. But there are also power-hungry ones doing it so that they can control things and they want to be able to just tell us what to do. They don’t really want to educate us. They don’t really want us to understand the complexity of issues. They don’t really want us to make up our own minds after hearing all the facts. They want to make us angry and divide us. They want us to do what they tell us to do without question. 

I know from personal experience that people with families in our community love it and want to protect it. But I also know that time is a critical component for them. Between the practices, the games, the studying, the educating, the driving and the loving of their children, along with careers, there isn’t a lot of time left. And, we also have really good lives with a lot of opportunities for fun.

Consequently, the idea of really analyzing and understanding issues at the core doesn’t take top priority. It’s so tempting to just find someone whose opinion you trust and do what they say. I can only say it’s really dangerous and even if it was me you were listening to, I still would advise you to not give away your power to anyone without a deep understanding of their intentions. If their intention is to benefit our city and our citizens, then we may just have disagreements about how that’s done, but we can still agree that it’s for the good of our city. 

However, if their intention is to make themselves more powerful for any reason and they are not committed to doing what is right for our citizens, then we have to be vigilant and suspicious of their motivations.

My life has been like “let’s make a deal” for the last several months. If I had taken any of these deals and been willing to do what I was told, I would not have an opponent in this council race. But I said time after time when these offers were made, “my integrity is not for sale. I do what I think is best for our community.” 

And as my generation and my children’s generation grow older, I know we all have to step up to the plate and continue the work done by our predecessors…all of them…and we need to do it with integrity. Evelyn, Jean and Elizabeth showed us how and now it’s our turn. The phrase that resonated and still holds true from the No On B Campaign was “Keep Newport Newport” and I couldn’t agree more.

Joy Brenner, District 6

Newport Beach City Council


Letters to the Editor

Asking Assembly candidates their opinions

My interest in politics runs hot and cold. But given the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade, coupled with November’s ballot measure, Prop 1, to maintain equal rights for women in California, I am rapidly becoming engaged again. 

Because two talented women are running for the Assembly from the 72nd District, I’d like to know where Diane Dixon and Judie Mancuso stand on these issues. Specifically, what was their reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling and how will each of them vote on the state amendment this fall? 

Like I said, I haven’t been all that involved in politics; however, as a grandmother of two girls under 6, I’d like to hear from candidates Dixon and Mancuso. I have a feeling a lot of other women in Newport would like to know the answers to my questions as well.

Siouxzie B. Salisbury 

Balboa Island

There’s excitement with a CdM school board candidate who’s been showing us the way for years

It’s the first week of school. Lunches are being packed and carpools are lining up.

Already in the air is the excitement of high school football with great turnout by students and parents. There’s also huge excitement in our community for a highly respected parent leader running for school board in the Corona del Mar Trustee Area 4.

That parent leader is Lisa Pearson. Lisa is a 30-year Newport Beach resident who has raised her kids in our local schools. She’s served as PTA President for Lincoln Elementary School and Corona del Mar High School. Her years of involvement in our schools has earned the trust of our students, parents and the entire community.

Lisa Pearson is committed to ensuring that our kids receive an exceptional education, with age appropriate and challenging content, in buildings that are secure, in an environment where they can thrive. Lisa is the kind of leader that we can trust, unencumbered by political favors, and backed by the grassroots of this community.

I hope you’ll join me in voting for Lisa Pearson, who is determined to be a positive voice for parents and a leader that our kids can count on.

Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi, Parent & Community Volunteer

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Residents have a right to know their candidates

In last Friday’s edition of Stu News, a letter was published from Will O’Neill, Duffy Duffield, Rush Hill and Keith Curry regarding the controversy around Joe Stapleton’s candidate forms. I live in District One on the Balboa Peninsula so I have been following the two candidates and this issue surrounding Joe Stapleton. 

The two candidates running for the District One City Council seat are Joe Stapleton and Tom Miller. I have not decided which candidate I feel will best represent the interests of District One residents so I attempt to read as much as possible about each person. 

I found the recent letter published on Friday by these four former mayors to be very disturbing as it appeared to be a demeaning hit letter against Tom Miller. The authors of the letter accuse Tom Miller of using his “surrogates to try to keep the story alive in increasingly shrill and mudslinging letters.” The authors further write that Tom Miller “recently sold his auto detailing business, moved to town and decided it would be fun to be on the city council.” I found the entire tone of the letter alarming in its attack. I don’t know if we are to assume that the auto detailing business is unworthy or why that reference was even placed in the letter. Not everyone wears a suit and tie to their daily job but that does not indicate they are less capable, caring, dedicated or informed than a person who does wear a suit. Please do not demean a labor-oriented job as if it is beneath you.

Joe Stapleton took out his candidate paperwork and apparently made the decision to not tell the truth on his paperwork regarding his past legal issues. That was his choice and now he is being questioned regarding that choice. To viciously attack anyone questioning that decision is not acceptable. I believe he would be questioned even if he were running uncontested. 

Residents need to feel comfortable that the person they select as their representative will honestly listen to their concerns and make good, informed decisions. We need to know that our representatives will not mislead us or not tell us the truth because it is just simpler for them.

I will continue to watch these two candidates and I truly hope that we can restore some dignity to our election process.

Nancy Arrache

Balboa Peninsula

The truth behind the “alleged” Miller attacks on Stapleton

I read a letter to the editor in last week’s edition alleging an attack by Tom Miller against Joe Stapleton at the OCGOP endorsement committee meeting. I happen to know exactly how the meeting went down and it’s far from how it’s been depicted in this letter from four former Newport Beach mayors.

The true story is Tom Miller asked the committee if truth and integrity plays a part in their endorsement process. When the committee chair asked why such a question was being presented, Mr. Miller mentioned his opponent lied on the official endorsement questionnaire and felt the committee should be made aware of such an egregious error and should eliminate Joe from any such endorsement.

The attack on Mr. Miller for speaking the truth is one of the many reasons politics has become so toxic. He was NOT attacking Mr. Stapleton’s arrest record, in fact, he was questioning how a candidate can run a campaign in our city and get away with lying to cover up his shaky past indiscretions. It’s about the LIE, not his indiscretions. 

Mr. Miller has no agenda other than to continue to make our great city even greater and all “TEAM NEWPORT” wants to do is discredit him because they realize he is a threat to their attempt to take total control.

It’s time for us all to stand up and put our local government back in the hands of the people…SAY NO MORE TO TEAM NEWPORT!

My vote is going to TOM MILLER!

Frank Cammarata

Lido Peninsula

Jim Mosher’s apolitical position presents a rare quality in these divisive times

Most people who run for city council in Newport Beach seem to have a political agenda in mind. Consequently, it is refreshing to see someone like Jim Mosher step forward who only wants to fulfill what he perceives as a civic duty.

First of all, there is no one in the entire city who knows more about city government than Jim Mosher. Most questions that you pose to him can be answered immediately or he will refer you to the specific source where you can find the answer. He also frequently comes forward to offer helpful advice to the council because it is of utmost importance to him that our city and councilmembers abide by the rules and regulations set for them. 

How valuable it would be to council, as well as the community, to have someone with such valuable information in an official position!

Unlike any other candidate in Newport Beach, Jim regularly attends every meeting, not only of council, but of every other official meeting of the city. Which other candidates of Jim’s area have attended council on a regular basis? And yet, you would think that frequent council attendance would be a major prerequisite to running for that body as well as of personal interest to the other candidates.

Jim Mosher’s information and insight are beyond reproach. This is primarily because Jim is apolitical, a rare quality in these intensely divisive times. And after the intensely political environment set up by our current council, wouldn’t it be nice to have a councilmember who has only the betterment of the city in mind?
It is not often that we get to vote for someone with Jim’s level of experience and knowledge of city hall. And how often do we get a candidate with a Ph.D. from Caltech running for city council?

Jim Mosher’s incomparable level of intellect, humility and dedication to the betterment of Newport Beach make him a stellar candidate for that position.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Water from rainstorm runoff needs to be captured

As recently reported, the residents of Newport, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and Laguna are doing their part to conserve water. I’m sure this trend will continue in the months ahead. 

What’s not so certain is our ability to capture the runoff after a rain. Because water sustains both the OC and state economies, we can’t afford to lose a drop. If it’s true nearly 40% of runoff ends up in the ocean, then there is much work that needs to be done. We need to quickly solve this problem.

Judie Mancuso 

Candidate for Assembly District 72

Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Miller’s attacks on Stapleton denounced by four former mayors

We are off to a poor start for the 2022 election. Tom Miller, a newcomer to Newport Beach who recently sold his auto detailing business, moved to town and decided it would be fun to be on the city council, has personally and through surrogates attacked the integrity of Joe Stapleton, one of the most ethical and community-focused candidates to run for office in a generation.

Without any connection to the community, Miller invested in out-of-town consultants who are gleefully spending his money on Thanksgiving cards and “opposition research.” They found that more than 20 years ago, Joe Stapleton (who does not drink) was the designated driver for his friends and was at a party where alcohol was served and some were under 21. He received a traffic ticket and wrote an essay as punishment. Let us note that many of us, and we expect many of you, may have been in this same situation.

As a political neophyte, Miller seized on this as his silver bullet and used this information to attack Stapleton at the Republican endorsement committee.  When the committee heard the facts, they not only unanimously endorsed Stapleton, they unanimously issued a rare negative recommendation on Miller.  This is essentially a finding that Miller is unfit to hold public office. That is a remarkable rebuke to his dirty campaign tactics.

Since this is the only issue his campaign seems to have, he has used surrogates to try to keep the story alive in increasingly shrill and mudslinging letters to the editor. It is a strategy that does not belong in our community.

Collectively, we have been active in the civic affairs of Newport Beach for decades, none of us had ever heard of Tom Miller until he started running for council last year. We often don’t agree with each other on the issues, but we all agree that Joe Stapleton has given decades of service to make Newport Beach a better city. As a member of the Finance Committee, he can hit the ground running on day one to ensure we stay a well-managed city. As a former Harbor Commissioner, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Citizen of the Year and leader of the Newport Beach Foundation, Joe understands our city, its unique character and is committed to keeping it strong and vibrant. 

One more thing, it is completely hypocritical and dishonest for Miller to challenge Stapleton’s veracity, when he himself has been called out for listing “endorsements” from former elected officials who have never endorsed Miller. Newport Beach cannot afford out-of-town amateurs moving in and taking over our city. We support Joe Stapleton and we encourage you to join us. 

Will O’Neill, Former Mayor

Duffy Duffield, Former Mayor

Rush Hill, Former Mayor

Keith Curry, Former Mayor


Guest Letter

Robert T. Braithwaite

President & CEO

Hoag

Philip A. Robinson, MD, FIDSA

Medical Director of Infection Prevention

Principal Investigator of Infectious Disease Research

Hoag

Community COVID-19 Update

Guest Letter Robert Braithwaite Guest Letter Robinson

Photos courtesy of Hoag Hospital

(L-R) Robert Braithwaite, Hoag president and CEO and Philip Robinson, MD, FIDSA

Dear Neighbors, 

With the COVID-19 summer wave still pounding Orange County shores, I am writing to update you about ways that you can protect yourself and your loved ones. 

First: Vaccinate. Most eligible people in the county have now been vaccinated. If you have not, now is the time. 

As of this week, there are four different vaccines available in the U.S. (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax). Contact your Hoag primary care provider for information on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appointments, or search https://myturn.ca.gov and www.vaccines.gov for other vaccine clinic options. 

Next: Get Boosted (If you’re eligible). The FDA recently suggested that people under the age of 50 hold off on their second booster until Pfizer and Moderna issue their reformulated vaccinations in September. 

That said, people 50 and over (and people over 12 with certain immune deficiencies) are eligible for a second booster shot and are advised to receive one. 

Third: Vaccinate your children. Children 6 months and older are now authorized to receive either Pfizer (3 doses) or Moderna (2 doses), and kids ages 5 to 11 are approved for one booster using Pfizer. Children who have received Moderna are not yet authorized for a booster – and likely would not yet need one, given the timing of their initial doses. 

Finally: Bring out those masks. While masking mandates are not in effect, Omicron BA.5 and BA.4 are both highly transmissible and are responsible for an uptick in hospitalizations. So, consider putting that mask back on, dining outdoors, washing your hands plenty and avoiding crowded indoor places. 

We are now in our third summer of the pandemic, and it is easy for “COVID fatigue” to set in. Don’t let it. Enjoy all the melt-in-the-sun goodness that summer has to offer; but this year, please top it off with an extra scoop of caution.

Until next time, 

Robert T. Braithwaite

President and Chief Executive Officer

Philip A. Robinson, MD, FIDSA

Medical Director of Infection Prevention

Principal Investigator of Infectious Disease Research


Letters to the Editor

Concerned with ocean pollution and potential damage to beaches

Living near the beach, I was shocked to hear the news last week that coastal DDT dumping is far worse than expected. In short, we now know the highly toxic pesticide wasn’t just dropped to the ocean floor in sealed containers, much of it was poured directly into the waters off Catalina Island.

As far as I am concerned, these revelations are as dangerous as any oil spill along our coast. Just so you know, even if I wasn’t running for the Assembly this November, I always wake up every morning thinking of ways to best protect Newport’s coastline.

One thing we all know is this: Polluting the ocean and damaging our beaches isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s bad for our local economy. You can’t uncouple the two. They clearly are linked together. 

Judie Mancuso, Candidate

Assembly District 72

Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Jim Mosher is certainly more to this City than a “gadfly”

I enjoy your (Fair Game) commentaries however, I took exception to your recent reference to Mr. Jim Mosher as a “gadfly.” 

Webster’s definition of a gadfly is as follows:

1: any of various flies (such as a horsefly, botfly, or warble fly) that bite or annoy livestock. 2: a person who stimulates or annoys other people especially by persistent criticism.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Mosher from seeing him at all but one meeting (that I can recall) in the past six years for our Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission. His contributions are always polite, succinct and many times thought-provoking. He appears to be an expert on our City’s bylaws and General Plan. I truly enjoy his perspective on issues and always give them consideration.

Mr. Mosher not only attends our Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission meetings but most of all the City meetings open to the public that I am aware of. He also takes the time before every meeting to go through the upcoming agendas, do his homework and add valuable comment.

Does he do this for self-recognition or financial gain? To further his status in the community or his political career? Jim only wants what’s best for the City of Newport Beach, the City that he loves and calls his home.

So, gadfly? Annoying people? Definitely not! Jim is an altruistic, knowledgeable, generous and involved citizen. If speaking intelligently and the truth is annoying, maybe all politicians could learn something from Jim Mosher. I look forward to seeing his name on the ballot.

David Granoff, Commissioner

Parks, Beaches, and Recreation

City of Newport Beach

This type of deceit would disqualify any ordinary “Joe”

Recently we all learned that Newport Beach council candidate Joe Stapleton had prior violations of law when he was a 22-year-old that were not disclosed in his bid for endorsement from the OCGOP.

We all understand that mistakes are made during the college years, but this type of deceit would disqualify any ordinary Joe and any of us from getting a job in the Newport Beach government or any of its outstanding public service divisions such as fire, police, parks, etc.

Joe Stapleton says on his website, “Keep Newport…Newport.” This worries me – he has been spending lots of time with the Newport Beach government elite for years. Do they cover up inconvenient history? Was he trained by his sponsors to avoid the same standard of truth that a city employee would be required to meet? What else haven’t we been told the full truth about?    

Friends and neighbors – this is not the time for an experiment. Let’s elect an independent, honest leader, who is on a mission to help Newport Beach reach its greater potential. 

Mike Dutton

Corona del Mar


Letters to the Editor

Still can’t get past what Joe Stapleton did to the Central Committee

(Tom – I’m still “stewing” over your defense of Joe Stapleton and his outright lies to the Central Committee. However, I do admire your loyalty to friendship.)

Recently, the story broke about Joe Stapleton’s arrests in Arizona for liquor violations. Joe Stapleton lied about this on his questionnaire to the Republican Central Committee. He now acknowledges that he – in fact – did lie. These actions were merely youthful indiscretions. Really?

The decision to lie on the Republican questionnaire was not the decision of a college student – it was the decision a mature, grown man – Joe Stapleton; supposedly an upstanding citizen, who is seeking public office to be on the Newport Beach City Council.

However, he does not seem capable of owning up to his past transgressions. Joe Stapleton knowingly lied to the community that he wants to represent…and withheld critical information that will affect his candidacy.

Joe doesn’t get it! The American people are tired of being lied to! They lied to us about COVID. They lied to us about the Uvalde massacre. They are lying again – telling us there is no inflation. Along comes Joe Stapleton who lied to Newport Beach about his two arrests. One wonders...is there more?

What else is Joe Stapleton lying about? What else is yet to be revealed? Lying to protect oneself might well be the act of a college student. It is not acceptable behavior for a grown man who is seeking the trust and honor of representing the people of his community.

Joe Stapleton – by his actions – has already violated the public trust. By his behavior, he has clearly demonstrated that he doesn’t have integrity and does not deserve to hold public office. He won’t be getting my vote!

Marilyn Brewer, Assemblywoman ret.

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Is there more than one of her?

In the Tuesday, July 19 issue of Stu News Newport, Joy Brenner (along with Councilmember Diane Dixon) is shown signing the “Topping Out” banner for the new Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter. 

Got me thinking.

Joy seems to be everywhere. Maybe there are two of her.

Speak Up Newport. Wake Up! Newport. CdM Residents Association meetings (and Co-Founder/President). CdM Chamber meetings. District 6 Town Hall meetings. Actively opposed Measure B. Fire Station No. 2 groundbreaking and the recent dedication ceremony. Her participation in the early planning of the Balboa Library Branch/Fire Station Replacement Plan. Project Adult Literacy. Witte Lecture Series. Library Live Lectures. And, perhaps her crowning achievement: Leading the charge to not lose the CdM Library Branch as a Co-Founder of the Friends of the Corona del Mar Library and an inspirational speaker at the July 20, 2019 dedication of that new branch and the contiguous fire station.

I know from personal experience with one of her District 6 constituents that Joy is a willing listener to folks in her District and otherwise around town. She is positive, respectful, polite, and constructive; and she isn’t bashful about sharing her views – whether or not she supports yours. 

Not to mention her engaged, active, always well-prepared participation on the Council and her many council committee assignments. 

If my count is correct, she’s been around this City for some 61 years dating back to her days at Harbor HS, PTA service, chair/member of the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission, fundraising for the UCI School of Medicine, work with the Hoag Hospital Foundation, and support for the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UCI. 

Fast forward, I encountered her as a Board of Library Trustees rookie six years ago; she and a couple of colleagues came to every Board meeting. Joy, in particular, wouldn’t let our Board forget about saving the CdM Branch. She was deferential but direct with the Board; and to this day, I’m not sure we’d have the beautiful new library and fire facilities on Marigold but-for Joy’s positive activism and support.

I’m told Joy is running for re-election on November 8. She’s exceptionally well-qualified and deserves to be returned to the dais – perhaps this December (finally) as Mayor Pro Tem.

As we approach another election season, it’s my guess that the moneyed power seekers who attempted to smear her in 2018 will rise from the ashes and fictionalize issues against Joy’s sterling name. Anyone opposing Joy will have to overcome decades of Joy’s achievements and enviable reputation in our community. 

Our electorate needs to see the goodness, the commitment, the sane/sensible/respectful/collaborative approach which has been the hallmark of Joy’s first four successful years. 

Re-Elect Joy Brenner on November 8. No one is more deserving. No one has worked harder for Newport Beach.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

Police Chief calls out candidate

I just read your piece on Joe Stapleton lying to the Republican Party. 

I certainly understand that the offenses were nothing that should follow him around for life, but you avoided the main issue, lying about it. He should have just told them the truth and the story behind it rather than just saying “no”. All he did was succeed in giving ammo to anyone trying to find dirt on him. As we know, politics is a dirty business. 

If this would have been a police applicant, he would be disqualified for lying for answering “no”, or by leaving it out of the application all together if he didn’t mention it in the application. 

My thought is that Joe should have explained it thoroughly why he answered no. 

Dave Snowden (former Chief of Police, City of Costa Mesa)

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

(The first two letters are in response to the Fair Game column in Stu News Newport on July 15 regarding two incidents from college related to City Council candidate Joe Stapleton. Joe was “ticketed” for driving a car where a friend had an open container in the backseat (went to court and was released without further incident) and on another occasion for having a college party without a liquor license. He was asked on a questionnaire from the Republican Party of Orange County whether he had ever been arrested. He answered no. The opposition claims he has.)

“They were tickets, he didn’t lie”

I lived in Newport (CdM) from 1956-1983. My parents and my in-laws lived there their whole lives. I now live in Berkeley, but love reading Stu News. I feel like your articles come from the “NBB4OC” mindset, which is great. However, I was disappointed that your article on Joe Stapleton didn’t end with a clear statement that he in fact didn’t lie, as accused. 

The question was, “Have you ever been arrested?” Citations, tickets etc., are not by any means arrests. I don’t know Joe, or any other candidate in Newport, but it only seems fair that your response to the accuser be “You are wrong, Joe did not lie!”

Bill Godwin

Santanella Terrace 1956-‘61

Seadrift Drive 1961-‘67

Vista Entrada 1967-‘77

Villa Balboa 1980-‘83

The truthful answer, “he lied…and yes, he was arrested”

I agree that we all have things in our youth that should not follow us forever, BUT you chose to overlook and thereby excuse the main point: he lied. To the question, were you arrested? The truthful answer was yes. 

This is not about his college age antics, and it certainly is not an amusing anecdote to chuckle at. This is about his honesty and character now. I have filled in many questionnaires, as I am sure you have, that had questions that were uncomfortable or embarrassing to answer, but you answer truthfully and explain at that time. All questionnaires I have been asked to complete have the space that says, if “Yes,” explain, so you have an opportunity to explain what happened.

If the results are not as you hoped, like not getting the GOP endorsement, then so be it. You were honest and principled. To lie, to cover up, even youthful missteps is wrong, period. 

And why is that endorsement sought for a council seat? This is supposed to be a non-political campaign.

Kathy Frazer

Newport Beach

Mayor Pro Tem Blom called into question over his prior drinking on the council dais

Whether it’s city council, a bank board or let’s say before a doctor does surgery…drinking on the job is ludicrous. Mr. Blom is a loose cannon. If he doesn’t want to follow common sense and courtesy he shouldn’t be on the council. 

Perhaps a policeman should give him a DUI test after every meeting or drive him home. He says he never apologizes for who he is. What arrogance. 

I knew his mother. She would be ashamed of him and make him apologize.

Patricia Dreyfus

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Concerns remain for tennis and pickleball club

First, according to minutes from the City of Newport Beach Planning Commission, Mr. O Hill’s plans that he submitted (for expansion of The Tennis Club [and Pickleball] Club of Newport Beach) in 2012 have expired. The City of Newport Beach is currently reviewing his amendments to the Agreement from 2012 but he will be required to resubmit plans to meet current codes. He can then apply for permits.

Secondly, it is not good news for tennis players as there are only courts for pickleball players unless Mr. O Hill plans to stripe the tennis courts for tennis and pickleball. In which case tennis players still lose as you cannot hear anything when playing in the midst of the loud whack noise of pickle balls.

Susan Kramer

Huntington Beach


Letters to the Editor

Public safety and communication are crucial

Public safety should be the number one priority of our city government.  Unfortunately, it appears right now that there is a very serious failure of timely communication between the city government, law enforcement and the local residents. This failure to properly communicate in a timely manner is creating an environment where residents are suffering more than ever. 

Many of our communities are under siege and there is no warning, instruction or education from our city government. We are witnessing local panga boat landings which proceed to unload numerous people illegally entering our country and specifically our community. 

We are witnessing a growing homeless population that rejects shelters because they refuse to live under any rules or curfews and therefore become permanent “residents” in our communities. 

We are witnessing what appear to be open drug use and drug sales at our piers, our parks, our public bathrooms, our boardwalk, etc. It is difficult to walk along the boardwalk without constantly smelling drugs in use. 

We are witnessing roving gangs of people going up and down the Balboa Peninsula streets, the boardwalk and the piers attempting to start physical confrontations and fights. 

We are witnessing an alarming increase in home robberies and home invasions throughout our communities. 

We are witnessing an increase in thieves working in teams going along the beachfronts, the piers and the boardwalk looking to steal bikes that have been momentarily left unattended. 

As residents we should receive better communication from our city government. The information should be detailed and informative so that residents can have the knowledge to better plan their individual security needs and the security needed for our communities. 

The various law enforcement groups on the land and the sea need to communicate better between themselves and with the city government. This is not the time for rivalry between various law enforcement agencies. Everyone needs to work together. The real victims of silence are the uninformed residents.

Nancy Arrache

Balboa Peninsula


Letters to the Editor

There are lots of questions with road closures leading through the Heights

It is disconcerting when the Council grants special favors to individuals in a neighborhood which can impinge on the rights of fellow neighbors. Just as the Council should not grant these special favors, individuals should not request them as it tears apart the fabric of the community.

The question that was to be decided at this last Tuesday’s council meeting (June 28) was whether lower Tustin in the Newport Heights area should remain closed off to through traffic? The City Traffic Engineer, Tony Brine provided residents with some very useful information, particularly a map showing the differences in traffic flow which was developed as a result of the closure.

Additional statistics which I requested through the Public Information Act, and were provided by the Newport Beach Police Department, helped paint a picture of traffic flow and traffic safety in the Heights. I asked for the accident reports from the last 10 years for the areas affected by the closure. 

The area that was closed off from the rest of the Heights, lower Tustin and Oceanview saw a total of five accidents over the 10-year period. 

With the closure of Tustin, the number of cars on Tustin decreased from 834 to 276 daily while Oceanview saw an increase from 169 to 255.

However, with this closure, traffic increased on other streets. Cliff Drive saw the largest traffic increase, with 323 additional cars daily. I used the 2400 through the 2600 blocks that looked to me to be the area that was most affected. This area also had the largest number of accidents (other than Riverside) from 2012 through 2022 with 19 accidents.

The next area which bears the brunt of the traffic from the closure is Riverside Drive which had an increase of 1,200 cars weekly. They experienced six accidents in the 400-500 block in the last 10 years before the closure.

However, if you look at all of Riverside from Pacific Coast Highway to 15th St., which will become the single most popular thoroughfare through the Heights, it is not too unrealistic to look at what could happen in the future. Drivers will anticipate the closure of Tustin and will very likely get used to the idea of taking the Riverside thoroughfare exclusively to cut through the Heights. 

Imagine the accident count then. In the last 10 years there were 126 accidents on this thoroughfare (meaning from PCH through to 15th Street). Riverside would become the poor stepchild of the Newport Heights.

Upper Tustin had an increase of four cars daily, which doesn’t seem like much until you look at its statistics. Upper Tustin, one of the most beleaguered streets in the Heights, sees a total of 2,513 cars daily. It had a relatively high accident rate of 14 cars (more than twice that of Redlands and the 400-500 blocks of Riverside.)

Upper Tustin, Cliff Drive and Riverside have big traffic problems even without the closure of lower Tustin. These problems will only increase with the anticipated development on Pacific Coast Highway. We should be solving their traffic problems, too, instead of focusing on just one small area.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

(The Newport Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to direct staff to remove the barricade at Tustin and come back in the Fall with an engineering drawing of various options that could be considered in the future, such as adding sidewalks, widening lower Tustin or closing off the bottom rather than the top of Tustin).


Guest Letter

Erik Weigand

Newport Beach Planning Commissioner/

City Council candidate, District 3

Moving forward

Guest Letter Erik Weigand

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Erik Weigand

Erik Weigand

As the dust settles on last Tuesday’s Primary Election, it’s important to recognize the strengths that our beautiful city has to offer. Obviously, our beaches, harbor and charming neighborhoods come to mind. But lost in the shuffle of our natural beauty comes those who are our decision makers. Those who strive to make Newport Beach a better place. 

To many, Measure B was a controversial proposal aimed at benefiting those in a position of power. To others, it was a simple ask: “shouldn’t the public get a say on who serves as Mayor?” Whatever side of the issue you might have been on, it’s time to pick up from those disagreements and work together for the best interests of our city.

Having served on the City’s Planning Commission for the past six years and now a candidate for City Council, I have had the distinct pleasure of personally knowing all seven members of our City Council. I can tell you that all of them are hardworking, highly educated and passionate about our city’s prosperity. Do they get it right 100% of the time? No. Do they disagree with one another every now and then? Yes. Do they make mistakes? Of course. But do they serve the community with the best interests to make our lives better? Absolutely!

For the past several years it seems like politics at every level has gotten to the point of where civility no longer matters. Where disruption and conflict are the norm. It’s time we do better and set an example for others to follow. By moving on from the divisiveness of this past election, we simply need to encourage more positivity. 

It is my hope our community rallies together to support those who are leading our city. We have less than six months remaining on the terms of Mayor Muldoon, and Councilmembers Dixon and Duffield. Whether you have disagreed with them in the past, we can all recognize the tremendous amount of time and commitment they have provided our city. It’s difficult to be in that arena and they have all worked hard to give back to the community they love. We should thank them. 

Councilmembers Avery, Blöm and O’Neill are guaranteed two more years of service, with Councilmember Brenner seeking reelection this upcoming fall.  Their leadership will guide us, and we must embrace their strengths rather than seek out weaknesses. With Sacramento’s constant erosion of our local control, it is important to rally around our leaders to protect us from crime, overdevelopment and an ever-decreasing quality of life. Newport Beach is a special place and we need our Council’s undivided focus to help us keep it that way.

With the Primary in the rearview mirror, we are five months away from the General Election. This upcoming election will decide three new members of our Council, as well as Councilwoman Brenner’s reelection. It will also bring forth three brand new representatives for Congress, State Senate and State Assembly, as well as the opportunity to choose a new member of the Board of Supervisors. I cannot think of a time when we will see so much potential for change. We must remain vigilant and pay close attention to who is seeking election to represent our city.

It is my hope that all Newport Beach residents show kindness and compassion to those who seek to serve us. Debate, engagement and even disagreement are encouraged. Anger, resentment and disorder should be left behind and permanently removed from our vocabulary. Newport Beach can set the bar for others to follow. 

Erik Weigand is a lifelong resident of Newport Beach and candidate for the Newport Beach City Council in District 3.


Letters to the Editor

Bikes on the sidewalk need to either slow down or move to the streets

I have a modest proposal for bicycles, whether electric or not, on sidewalks.
No faster than eight miles per hour.

My dog and I have been nearly injured several times on the segment of sidewalk on Dover near Bob Henry Park. It is a popular way for kids to go from Dover Shores to their schools.

Another dangerous stretch is on Newport Boulevard, the bridge near Lido Village.

I have seen kids going 15 or even 20 miles an hour on these stretches of sidewalk. In my view, NO bike should be going faster than eight miles on a sidewalk, ever. If you want to go faster than that, get out into the street, with the cars. I say this as a lifelong cyclist, who is occasionally on the sidewalks, because those are often the safe and easy way between A and B.

Let us not wait for someone to be seriously injured.

Walter Stahr

Newport Beach


Guest Letter

Hang T. Dang, D.O., FACOS, FACS 

City of Hope

A personal choice: Dr. Hang T. Dang talks about breast cancer reconstruction

Guest Letter Hang T. Dang

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Hope

Hang T. Dang, D.O., City of Hope

The good news about breast cancer is that there are now many options for treatment and recovery. At City of Hope Orange County, we want women to know they have choices about the course of their care, including more innovative reconstructive procedures.

“Women need to know that breast cancer can be very treatable and lifesaving breakthroughs are happening every day,” said Hang T. Dang, D.O., a breast surgical oncologist with fellowship experience who focuses on the treatment of benign and malignant breast diseases at City of Hope Newport Beach Fashion Island.

“Molecular and genetic testing is personalizing breast cancer treatment and making it more effective. A wide portfolio of new drugs can fight cancer better with fewer side effects. And women are seeing excellent cosmetic results from their surgery in combination with advanced techniques for breast preservation and reconstruction.”

Named a 2022 Orange County Medical Association Physician of Excellence, Dr. Dang is fellowship-trained in aesthetic breast surgery. She is one of more than 400 City of Hope physicians and 1,000 scientists and researchers who only focus on cancer.

With leading-edge technology and surgical expertise, City of Hope physicians deliver outstanding outcomes that are difficult to achieve elsewhere. Patients benefit from access to promising new therapies through pioneering research and innovative clinical trials for breast cancer. City of Hope provides a collaborative and caring multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts who understand patients’ needs and backgrounds to provide a whole-person approach to treatment.

Among Dr. Dang’s specialties is oncoplastic reconstructive surgery, a combination of cancer surgery and plastic surgery. Often, both cancer removal and reconstruction can be performed together to avoid multiple surgeries. And for many women, it is possible to leave the nipple intact and to reconstruct the breast tissue so that a natural shape is retained without using implants.

Dr. Dang explains that how one chooses to heal from cancer is a very personal decision.

“Some women feel it is important for their physical and mental health to return to their former shape, while others do not want any additional procedures,” she said. “I advise my patients to take the time they need to learn about how breast reconstruction might affect them, both emotionally and physically. I encourage them to know the facts about the procedures and then make a personal choice that is best for them.”

Dr. Dang believes the most important part of her job is advocating for her patients. “Anyone who has heard the words ‘You have cancer’ knows the importance of hope,” said Dr. Dang. “Having hope allows people facing cancer to get through the process easier and cope with their diagnosis better. I always tell my patients that I’m here to fight for them and with them.”

Visit www.cityofhope.org/OC to learn more. To make an appointment at any of the four City of Hope Orange County locations, call:

–Newport Beach Fashion Island: 949.763.2204

–Newport Beach Lido: 949.999.1400

–Irvine Sand Canyon: 949.333.7580

–Huntington Beach: 714.252.9415

This is paid content by City of Hope Orange County. For more information on City of Hope Orange County Newport Beach locations, go here.


Guest Letter

Bill Dunlap, Newport Beach

Dianne Wells, Newport Beach

Alicia Gallegos, Newport Beach 

Haley Jenkins, Costa Mesa

Unfair Petition?

In response to Stu News Newport Publisher Tom Johnson’s and NMUSD Board President Michelle Barto’s comments in Stu News, community members belonging to Newport-Mesa Uncensored offer a rebuttal:

More than four weeks ago, a total of 21 books were presented by Wilson Elementary School parents to the school principal. Ten books were categorized on the Wilson library catalog and on the school website as “intended for middle school grades to young adults.” Several descriptions of the books state, “pervasive profanity, explicit sexual situations, sexual references, violence, slurs, etc.” 

Of the five age-inappropriate books, four have since been removed from the Wilson library catalog while one remains – They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera. The library has been closed and an investigation by District officials remains underway.

With such obscenity targeted for more mature students, one should not be surprised at NMUSD parent/community concern.

Upon Newport-Mesa Uncensored’s review, five of the 10 books were verified to be written for middle school and above while many of the other books overlap with elementary school ages. 

Wilson gone rogue? Apparently not.

Newport-Mesa Uncensored has a list of other age-inappropriate books found by searching other NMUSD schools’ library catalogs. Contrary to what (Board) President Barto claims, the petition by Newport-Mesa Uncensored is necessary to thoroughly investigate and remove age-inappropriate books at other school sites. Parents need to be involved!

Ms. Barto claims, “As books come in at the end of the school year, district staff are taking the opportunity to review books for age-appropriate content.” There is much work to be done as many age-inappropriate books remain on library shelves according to school catalogs.

Newport-Mesa Uncensored created a Petition – NMUSD Age-appropriate Material Review – Change.org naming two other books, and recommendations for community input, which NMUSD claims to prioritize in its policies, through creation of an Ad Hoc Library Book Review Committee to establish clear parameters for new library books, whether donated or purchased and the removal of age-inappropriate books currently on the shelves.

Additionally, Newport-Mesa Uncensored petitions the Board, that before funding is approved for all human sexuality materials, such materials be screened and approved by a panel of 12 parents, the same as a jury in court. Such a panel should review and approve or reject not only “sex education” curriculum, but any sexual information provided by speakers, videos and other materials such as young adult literature which is made available via the classroom or library. This is essential for the community standards and transparency to be established which would be upheld by diverse representatives of the cities of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. 

In the spirit of transparency, our elected trustees should support their constituents’ requests and embrace this petition. After all, if there is nothing to hide, an Ad Hoc committee and a panel of 12 parents will shine light on what a wonderful job our school district is doing to protect the best interests of our children. 

Bill Dunlap Newport Beach

Dianne Wells Newport Beach

Alicia Gallegos Newport Beach 

Haley Jenkins Costa Mesa


Letters to the Editor

Getting back to Newport’s business

I do not speak for the Yes On Measure B folks. I do not speak for the No On Measure B folks. Like you, I am simply a resident of Newport.

Good, bad, or indifferent, the outcome of Measure B has been decided. 

As my Dad would’ve said about management issues in the law firm with which he was affiliated: “Once a controversial issue in the firm has been discussed and resolved, it is time to put the issue behind you, to join hands, and to look forward – not back.”

So, it should be with the Newport Council’s business. Homelessness/Be Well/Bridge Shelter, the budget, capital improvement projects (including Junior Lifeguard building, library lecture hall, Balboa Library Branch/Fire Station replacement, drainage improvement projects, Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter, infrastructure, etc.), the drought, the library, unfunded pension liability, the return of tourism/hospitality, John Wayne Airport/Aviation Committee, our harbor, film festival, boat parade, COVID-19 pandemic, our parks, our departments and their directors and their valued staff/employees, RHNA/City’s Housing Element/General Plan Update, PD/FD issues, waste disposal, group residential uses, a myriad of commissions/committees, and many, many, many more issues to tackle.

Soldier on – with civility and collaboration. 

Or as author Paulo Coelho tells us in his 1993 classic The Alchemist: “When you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Video was unacceptable and unnecessary

In our city’s politics, it is critical that we all demonstrate respect for each other. We need to spend more time listening than talking. We must call out threatening behavior when we see it. Most of all, we must condemn violence against each other, real or depicted.     

Last Saturday, the Good Morning Newport website posted a video on its social media platforms regarding Measure B. It featured the last of a three-part series entitled “The Godfather.” The ending of the four-minute video depicted a character playing the mayor of Newport Beach being shot by two other politicians. The scene was totally unacceptable and unnecessary.   

Fortunately, the video was taken down within 20 minutes of being posted on the No on Measure B website.

Apparently, a consultant for the No on Measure B campaign posted the video without reviewing its contents. The No on B Committee has taken responsibility for the posting and has apologized to anyone who felt threatened or concerned about the video’s content. While the Measure B campaign paid for a previous video (non-violent) it did not commission or pay for the final video of the series. Good Morning Newport has apologized and described the video as satire. 

Gun violence against political figures is real. In the final days of the contentious Measure B campaign, and during a period of extreme gun violence in our country, the ending of the video demonstrated a complete lack of awareness of our current national news cycle and this moment in our local election. 

We are fortunate to live in a peaceful city. This incident can be a lesson for us. While we have the right to speak and create, all of us, including political rivals, must remain vigilant against increasing to the erosion of societal norms which help keep us safe. 

Brad Avery, District 2 

Newport Beach City Council 

Inappropriate political satire video; divisive Measure B

I did not see the video. From reports, it was inappropriate and in bad taste.  Political satire run amuck. Not created or produced by “NO on Measure B,” I know, but nonetheless unprofessional and unthinking by those folks responsible for it.   

But as I mulled over the Measure B conflict which has divided Newport since it was announced by its chief proponent on Friday, September 3, 2021 (over nine months ago), it occurred to me that perhaps the proponents of ill-advised Measure B should long ago have DESAVOWED the firestorm they created resulting from the poorly conceived and sloppily drafted Measure B. I have not seen such community division in my 68 part-time and full-time years of residency in this great City.

The proponents must have seen the explosion of immediate and continuous opposition from former Mayors, present and past Councilmembers, current and past Citizens of the Year, numerous members of City Boards and Commissions, and other concerned influential residents. 

Would more thoughtful proponents have stopped the festering conflict?  Would more thoughtful proponents have DISAVOWED the idea? Would more thoughtful proponents have lobbied for an ad hoc blue-ribbon committee appointed by the co-equals Council to study the issue, hold public hearings, and draft a comprehensive, thoroughly researched, well written Charter Amendment for Council to approve and on which our residents could then have voted?

A DISAVOWAL in the face of clear overwhelming opposition would have sent the right message: the proponents would be taking the high road, the less traveled road, the ethical road, the more reflective less impulsive road, the democratic road. A costly campaign on both sides would have been avoided.

Well, unfortunately, the train has left the station and the voters will have the last say on what many view as a fatally flawed, defectively drafted proposal.

Please vote “NO” on Bad for Newport Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

A waste of money has been spent on Measure B

Anybody who is familiar with people who have played a strong role in the “No on B” campaign knows that they are community leaders who are strong on integrity. They would never knowingly take a foolish step to compromise their position. 

On the other hand, some of the leaders of “Yes on Measure B” put questionable things in their fliers; they exaggerate the truth, and they overreact to situations to try to influence voters. 

You need to look at the players of “No on B” and, if you know them as well as I do, you know that they want what is best for Newport Beach, not for themselves. 

If the “No on Measure B” campaign wins, and I sincerely hope that it does, we can look at all the money it cost the city and individual donors and say how much better it would have been to donate that money to a worthier cause, like the children in Ukraine or the homeless in Orange County, instead of trying to play with the minds of the voters. 

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

We deserve a mayor that’s accountable to the residents

2020 woke up a lot of people just like me. Moms who thought we didn’t need to engage much in politics suddenly saw that our disinterest in politics didn’t mean that politics wasn’t interested in us. 

During that time, leadership mattered. Having a person in charge as Mayor mattered. Having a city council majority that would keep beaches open, would push back on bad policy, and would fight for our kids mattered.

By the end of 2020, many of us suddenly realized that our system needed more accountability to us. We didn’t elect our Mayor? Seriously? We just roll the dice and hope for the best among seven people? Two of whom voted to close beaches and put mask mandates in place in our city? That’s how our Mayor gets chosen?

We deserve better and we deserve to have our Mayor campaign directly to us for that position.

At the end of the day, the question we’re asked is simple: should our Charter be changed to provide for the direct election of our Mayor. I’m voting yes and hope that you will too.

Annette Harper

Newport Beach 

What’s the problem that Measure B solves?

Let me revert, in the closing days of the Measure B campaign, to a question that has been raised often over the past few months.

What is the problem in Newport Beach that Measure B solves?

Are we spending too much money on civic improvements? Are we making mistakes in our police or fire policies? No. Almost everyone agrees that Newport Beach is well-governed, perhaps one of the best-governed cities in the state.

At no point have the Measure B proponents ever identified a real-world problem in Newport Beach that Measure B would solve.

At best, proponents of Measure B say that the “problem” it solves is that we do not elect our mayor. That is a rather circular definition of a purported problem.

The main proponents of Measure B, Will O’Neill and Noah Blom, said not a word about direct elections of the mayor when they ran for council in 2020.

Indeed, nobody in Newport Beach was talking about this issue until late 2021, when the proponents started soliciting signatures on a petition to change the charter. Surely, if our current council system was causing real problems, people would have been talking about those problems for more than a few months.

There is no problem in Newport Beach that Measure B will solve. Rather, if passed, Measure B would create problems in Newport Beach, by destroying our collegial city council in favor of an all-powerful mayor. Please, join me and the many former mayors, city councilmembers and other city leaders in voting NO on this ill-advised measure.

Walter Stahr 

Newport Beach

Look through the clutter and vote Yes on B

Have you voted yet? In the few days left to vote, I hope you’ll join me in answering the following question: Shall [the Charter] be amended to provide for the direct election of the Mayor, who would be nominated by residents and registered voters of the City of Newport Beach and elected by the voters of the City at-large?”

That’s it. That’s the question. Should the charter be changed so that we – the voters – can choose our Mayor?

My answer is YES on B. 

Have you ever seen the opposition to this question talk directly to what is on our ballot? Or to the City Attorney’s impartial analysis? I haven’t.

Instead, they want you to answer completely different questions. They have run mail pieces asking if you want an “elected King” or to spend “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on the Mayor position. They’ve sent out mail asking if you want a “Republican power grab” and even invoked Donald Trump’s name as a boogeyman. None of that is on our ballot.

So, look past the clutter, the irrational fear mongering, the made-up stories and the bitterness. Answer the question in front of us. If we do that, we’ll have a Mayor that is directly accountable to us for the first time. 

Ruth Kobayashi

Newport Beach

Closing argument on Measure B

I have followed the debate on Measure B very closely. I remain a strong YES on Measure B. I urge Newport Beach voters to read the actual measure and read the voter pamphlet and ignore the hyperbole from the opposition. If you do, you will most likely vote YES on B.

I must confess that I am extremely disappointed with the tactics of the NO on B group. There are, no doubt, many fine people in the NO on B group. But the group clearly rejected the path of an honest debate in favor of an “end justifies the means” campaign to defeat Measure B. Misleading slogans, half-truths and outright misrepresentations about Measure B are mostly what I saw and read from the opposition. To be sure, the best example of the misdirection is the central rallying cry of the NO on B group – “Stop the Power Grab.” This sounds sinister but it actually makes no sense. Exactly what power is being “grabbed” and by whom is it being grabbed? These questions were never answered by the No on B group because they are unanswerable. It was simply a scare tactic.

Measure B merely gives Newport Beach voters the right to cast a ballot for the Mayor of their City. Power to the people.

John O’Hara

Newport Beach

Measure B is all about one guy’s future political career

Although I recently moved from Newport Beach, we have many friends there and a sincere interest in the city. 

I am bemused at the entire Measure B issue. A revealing look at the Measure can be made by taking Mr. O’Neill’s (recent) op/ed penned May 8 and substituting his name in the text every time you see the word “Mayor.” It clearly paints the picture that Councilman O’Neill conjured up the measure with the sole purpose of him being the only likely choice in a free and clear election of a Newport Beach Mayor. 

I have never seen such an obvious self-serving proposal to keep his political life extended after his expected “terming out” of council in 2024! He obviously has sights on higher office than Mayor which makes his potential 8-year gig in that capacity a needed steppingstone to a state or federal post. Without something to step on and from, he is destined to be a former councilman and mayor with nowhere else to go. 

It IS a power grab, but not by a committee or PAC. It is an attempted power grab by the sole author of the self-serving Measure B. Don’t fall for it. Let Mr. O’Neill term out and fade away. 

Richard Weaver

Castle Rock, CO

There’s a lot wrong with Measure B, where to begin?

Newport As We Know It

Since our City’s incorporation in 1906, Newport Beach voters have elected a governing body of co-equal decision makers who, at least as often as new members are elected to it, select one among themselves to serve as their presiding officer. The City’s hired professional, and hopefully objective, administrative staff brings matters before this governing body when a decision is required of them, on behalf of our citizens. 

The presiding officer, as the governing body’s figurehead, has a duty to sign papers related to the decisions made by it as a whole, and, when asked, to articulate its majority’s position, whether or not he or she personally endorses it.

Originally referred to as the “President” of our City’s “Board of Trustees,” since August 1927 California law has described such a presiding officer as the City’s “Mayor,” and the body as a whole as the “City Council.”

This is not a perfect system. None is. But it does allow the council to choose as their presiding officer the colleague they feel will be most congenial and effective in executing the largely ceremonial duties attached to the office – and to immediately choose a different colleague if their first choice doesn’t work out.

The Promises

Measure B dangles before us the alluring fantasy of a new world in which – if we only vote “yes” – we will be able to impose on the Council a presiding officer aligned with our vision for the City who will, in a way “accountable” to each of us, magically guide the rest of City government precisely as we would like.

Much as I would like to have more control over how my city is run, I am voting “NO” because to accomplish its goals Measure B would enact a very specific scheme replete with poorly-thought-out details. Most of those details do not actually accomplish the stated goals and most could not be changed without another costly voter initiative. 

In my view, Measure B would permanently impose on us a system even less perfect than our present one. 

Shared Vision? 

First, since the Mayor would be elected in exactly the same way as all the current Councilmembers, I see no guarantee the person elected would be any more to my liking, or share my vision, than the seven from whom the Mayor is currently chosen.

At least equally important, unless the Mayor were to be elected through a system of primaries and runoffs – something Measure B does not propose – there is no guarantee the person elected will even be preferred by a majority of the people. 

When recently disgraced Anaheim elected Mayor Harry Sidhu ran for election in 2018, he was in an eight-way winner-take-all race in which only 49% of Anaheim’s voters participated. Of those voting, less than a third chose Mr. Sidhu. So, he became “the people’s choice” with five out of six Anaheim voters never having expressed a preference for him, and more than two thirds specifically wanting someone else. We can expect similar results in Newport Beach under Measure B.

Rotating the position among seven separately elected persons does not ensure any one of them will share my views, but it does seem likely more different people’s views will be held by the rotating Mayor at some time, than if we place all our bets on just one person for four years at a time.

Accountability? 

Second, the Mayor under Measure B will clearly be less accountable to the people, not more. 

Currently, if we don’t like a Councilmember’s performance as Mayor, our Council of representatives can, on our behalf, at any time, demote that person back to the status of a regular Councilmember.

Measure B would remove that power. Once elected, the Mayor could act with much more impunity. For far from being more accountable to the people and their representatives, we would be limited to the options we already have for all elected officials: waiting for the end of their term or mounting a difficult and expensive recall campaign. 

If the Measure B proponents truly wanted a Mayor accountable to the people, why are they proposing to give the person a four-year term? Isn’t it axiomatic that a truly accountable Mayor should face the people more frequently – say by running for election every two years, or even annually? 

Moreover, if a misbehaving Mayor chose to leave office voluntarily, as Mr. Sidhu did recently in Anaheim, or if the seat became vacant for any other reason – such as the sitting Mayor moving, becoming incapacitated or being elected to another office – Measure B would generally require our City to hold an expensive special election to fill the vacancy, likely attracting few voters. Especially considering the many alternatives available, that is, to me, a completely unnecessary waste – much like the estimated $215,000 being spent to put Measure B on a non-normal City ballot – to fill what is supposed to be a ceremonial and ministerial position. 

Among the alternatives: the Council could simply continue to function with the Mayor Pro Tem serving as Mayor until the next election; or the Council could be empowered to appoint a caretaker Mayor pledged not to run for the position when, at the next regular election, the people would elect a permanent replacement.

Directing Government As We Wish? 

Third, Measure B proposes to afford the Mayor greater influence over the City’s direction by giving him or her unprecedented agenda setting power and cementing into our City Charter a rule that would suppress the ability of our other representatives, and their constituents, to be heard. 

The agenda is the way (and under state law, the only way) matters are brought before our elected decision makers for public discussion. The vast majority of these are matters presented by the City’s paid administrative staff that require a decision by the Council. A few others are items placed on the agenda by Councilmembers on behalf of their constituents or on their own initiative. The details of how the agenda is prepared for a particular meeting, including the City Manager’s role in that process, has always been left entirely to the discretion of the Council, so they are free to modify the agenda-setting procedures to meet changing needs. And the procedures have, indeed, changed over time.

By placing it in our Charter, Measure B would make permanent one particular and untried system of agenda setting. 

Matters could be placed on the agenda, and therefore come up for discussion, only with the permission of the elected Mayor. The Mayor, it seems, would be completely free to reject requests from staff and colleagues. The only exception would be that the elected Mayor may have to accept the request of three or more Councilmembers to place an item on some future agenda, likely of the Mayor’s choosing. 

Such rules are widely seen as tools to consolidate power by suppressing dissenting views, creating a government less responsive to citizen interests, not more so. 

Shortly after his election, the now-disgraced elected Mayor Sidhu in Anaheim pushed through his Council very similar restrictions on agenda setting (but milder since he still allowed staff to put items on the agenda without needing mayoral consent). Fortunately for Anaheim, he did not manage to get those restrictions cemented into their city charter, so the council is free to move back, as they appear to be doing, to the former system in which every councilmember, individually, had the power to place any item of interest to them, or their constituents, on the agenda for discussion.

More Problems

A final example of the many that might be mentioned as new problems Measure B would create – and one I do not recall having been pointed out in any previous letters to Stu News or the campaign mailers – is the imbalance it will create in the timing of our from-district Council elections.

Newport Beach voters currently elect representatives from Districts 1, 3, 4 and 6 at one election and from Districts 2, 5 and 7 at the next. Measure B proposes to rather arbitrarily eliminate District 7 to create a council consisting of a Mayor and six lesser from-district representatives. But the obvious problem (aside from why not seven plus a Mayor?) is that would leave four of the lesser Council seats up in one election and only two in the next. 

For so-called general law cities, Government Code Section 34906 provides a simple way to get back to even staggering (with three of the six seats up at each election). 

Measure B cements the uneven staggering into our City Charter, where it could only be corrected with a future initiative. 

My Conclusions 

In short, Measure B is more than some sort of advisory request for voters to say whether they support directly electing the Mayor of Newport Beach, with details to be worked out later. 

It is, instead, a request to vote “yes” or “no” on permanently instituting a very specific way of implementing and empowering a directly elected mayor. 

The specific way offered by Measure B is fraught with problems, just a few of which have been detailed above. 

In my view, Measure B’s way would be even worse than the admittedly imperfect system we have now.

Given that, one might ask: Why did the Council majority that put Measure B on the ballot not take the time needed to discuss and correct its many problems?

For, as currently written, B is bad for Newport Beach.

I am voting “NO.”

Jim Mosher

Newport Beach

The strong mayor and setting of the agenda

A recent mailer by the proponents of Measure B included the definition of “accountability.” According to Measure B’s supporters, the strong mayor will be “accountable” to each of Newport’s 85,239 residents. The mayor is gonna be busy.

Taking this cue, I decided to check out the meaning of “SOLE DISCRETION” which words appear in Measure B: one person “shall have SOLE DISCRETION to set City Council agendas and to change the order of business on the agendas.” 

The “Law Insider” says that “SOLE DISCRETION” means “the right and power to decide a matter, which right may be exercised arbitrarily for any reason or no reason at any time and from time to time.” 

Wow! Pretty expansive “right” and “power,” eh?

The definition prompted the following hypothetical: I like cigars. The strong mayor may not. If I were a Councilmember or resident and if Measure B passes, can the strong mayor block my cigar bar proposal as an agenda item or, in the alternative, can the strong mayor put my matter near the end of the agenda when residents may have already left the chambers or dozed off? Or maybe – in the strong mayor’s SOLE DISCRETION – can my cigar bar proposal be blocked until a year from now? 

Sadly, I believe the answer to these questions is “yes.”

And, by the way, I believe the defectively drafted Measure B would allow the strong mayor to thwart consideration of my cigar bar on the agenda EVEN IF three other Councilmembers requested its inclusion. 

Why? 

The Measure B language (unfortunately) is clear on its face: “With the concurrence of at least three members of the City Council at any public meeting, an item MAY [not “WILL”] be added to a FUTURE agenda.” 

Please note the ill-advised choice of the word “MAY” instead of the word “WILL” which word change, of course, would have compelled the strong mayor to add my cigar bar proposal if three other members agreed. So, as you can see, the strong mayor can decline to add my cigar bar to the agenda EVEN IF THREE OTHER COUNCILMEMBERS request its addition. 

Sad.

And – even if added – the strong mayor has the SOLE DISCRETION as to WHEN (if ever) to add the cigar bar to a FUTURE agenda.

Does FUTURE mean in two weeks? Does FUTURE mean in a month? Does FUTURE mean in a year? Does FUTURE mean when the strong mayor develops a liking for cigars?

Sad (again).

As seen, Measure B’s agenda setting language is fatally flawed on several fronts. Please vote “NO” on the Bad for Newport Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

Spirited community meeting discusses traffic and potential solutions

I was at the community meeting last night concerning the closure of lower Tustin Avenue which is being done on a trial basis in the Heights. It was nice to see the number of neighbors in attendance, particularly those who live on other streets which are affected by the closure. 

One issue that was brought up but that was probably lost during the spirited speeches was: What are the widths of all the streets whose traffic has increased during the time that Tustin has been walled off? My house on Redlands and a friend’s house on Riverside date back to approximately 1943. If I heard correctly, that was before the houses were built on lower Tustin and Oceanview. 

One of the main problems residents from lower Tustin and Oceanview expressed was that their streets were only 30 feet wide. That is why I thought the width of other streets could be of concern as well. 

Different alternatives to the closure which many in the streets around Tustin and Oceanview prefer (as well as a few from the latter who spoke), are one-way streets, the addition of sidewalks and increased policing to name a few.

Riverside, with traffic parked on both sides of the street, and visibility limited by a hill, seems particularly hazardous to residents who cannot let children play in their front yard, nor enjoy walks on their street. The closure of Tustin results in an increase of 200 cars per day or 1,400 per week which aggravates an already trying situation.

Also, the traffic on Riverside and upper Tustin is very fast moving which, when coupled with the number of cars that use those streets, creates great cause for concern.

As mentioned, traffic on upper Tustin is a nightmare. It would be interesting to know its width as well. Not to say that lower Tustin, and Oceanview don’t have their problems, but it would help the traffic discussion to talk independently about the problems of each street. Or as in the case of Tustin, the traffic of each half.

It never serves the community well in the long run to make changes that do not take all factors into consideration equally, not just those (to use an overworked metaphor), of the “squeaky wheel.” 

The map that was used at the first traffic meeting was very helpful to see the numerical effects on each street when the barricade was put up. We tried to distribute those maps in the community so that everyone started with the same amount of information. Some in attendance felt that the traffic counts should take summer traffic into consideration. Unfortunately, no one was there from Cliff Drive to express the new traffic problems that they were facing. Irvine, which has terrible traffic at certain times of the day was not represented either. Perhaps these streets trust that the Council will make decisions that take their problems into consideration.

After the meeting, one lady from Riverside spoke to me of a very bad traffic accident on that street. Yet there didn’t seem to be an opportunity to express such information from other streets as the residents from lower Tustin and Oceanview were a bit more aggressive than the others even though it seemed that they did not outnumber them. I tried to say something and was repeatedly interrupted by the people around me.

Between the time limited monologues at council meetings and a boisterous and over energized crowd is a happy medium. That said, last night’s discussion was handled aptly by Mr. Brine and Mr. Webb, despite the feeling among some spectators that perhaps the decision of what to do with Heights’ traffic had already been made.    

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Elect Our Mayor campaign flyers

Measure B is an important proposition for our city of Newport Beach and so warrants discussion and thoughtfulness. Thus, I have tried my best to read information for both sides of the argument.

However, there has not been much available information for the “pro Measure B argument,” so much was my delight when a huge flyer from “Elect Our Mayor” was in my mailbox at the end of last week. My hope was that it would contain relevant facts and details to help me reach my best judgement for supporting Measure B.

My anticipation was short lived and replaced by outright disbelief, when not only was there a lack of information, but the wording “why are opponents of Measure B lying to you?” was accompanied by a not-so-subtle image of Pinocchio. Surely, they could not and would not be using it in such shallow terms to merely brand all opposition as liars. That would mean any opposing voter being labeled as a liar.

Measure B was initiated by some members of the council, the flyer stated, “paid for by elect our mayor,” so I find it difficult to not believe that the councilmembers supporting Measure B have not bestowed their approval for the flyer. If that is the case, then name calling of opponents in such a childish and churlish manner would show the true disdain held for anyone who is of an opposing mind.

I do not usually like to quibble about ideas made by others; however, I think that the reference of Pinocchio may be interpreted another way and so in this instance I will quibble.

We are aware that Pinocchio was a puppet with a puppet master pulling the strings. Maybe it was a Freudian slip by the proponents of Measure B who see themselves more as Pinocchio with a puppeteer behind their scenes?

I would say to the people behind the campaign for Elect Our Mayor that if you decide to send such information to my home, then please have the decency to self-check what you are sending to me and how it may be offensive. I ask that you please treat us, residents and voters with respect regardless of what any voter’s stance is on any issue.

Gina Cruz

Newport Beach

Pro Measure B arguments – Where’s the beef?

Proponents of Measure B started out their campaign saying the issue was simple – do you want to directly elect your Mayor. But as opponents of Measure B have defined the numerous harms and flaws of Measure B, proponents have found a new “reason” for you to support it.

Recently in both letters and social media posts some proponents have claimed that the unelected, professional City Manager (who is hired and can be fired by City Council majority vote) has too much power because the City Manager creates the agenda, while it takes the votes of three City Councilmembers to place an item on the agenda. Therefore, agenda setting should be vested in a strong elected Mayor. This argument is totally disingenuous because the policy that requires three City Council votes to place an item on an agenda is a City Council policy (Council Policy A-1) that can be changed by Council vote any time the members see fit! At their next meeting the City Council could vote to allow only one City Councilmember to request an item be placed on the agenda if that was really an issue!

Measure B proponents have had to manufacture false issues to come up with reasons for voters to support Measure B. But Measure B will:

–Allow a powerful Mayor to decide what goes on and what stays off City Council agendas.

–Increase term limits to allow one person to serve 16 years combined as a Mayor and a City Councilperson. 

–Result in massive expenditures on Mayoral campaigns with outside interests becoming major contributors.

–Measure B is a political solution in search of a problem. There isn’t one thing Measure B proponents can point to that the City did not obtain over the past 67 years due to not having a strong Mayor.

Measure B is opposed by 12 former Mayors and many Citizens of the Year as dangerous to our community.

–Eliminates one City Council district, which allows the district the Mayor resides in to have twice the voting power as every other City Council district. 

Don’t be fooled by the power grab. Vote No on Measure B.

Homer Bludau, 

Newport Beach City Manager (1999-2009)

Measure B: A solution in search of a problem?

I read the “City Attorney Impartial Analysis.”

I read the “Direct Argument In Favor of Measure B” and I read the “Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure B.”

I get that the Mayor “should have to talk to you” – yes, presumably, to all 85,239 of us (according to the 2020 census) as promised by the Measure B proponents.

I get that the Mayor should “be accountable to all of us” – yes, presumably, to all 85,239 of us as promised by the proponents.

But, for the life of me and despite all this new knowledge from the “Voter Information Guide,” I have been unable to determine what problem the proponents of Measure B are trying to solve. 

I have concluded that Measure B may be a solution in search of a problem and may possibly be a one-person crusade.

Here are some questions to ponder:

–Is Newport one of the most financially stable and healthy cities in California?

–Does Newport balance its budget each year and also pay down the unfunded pension obligations each year?

–Has Newport’s fiscal management resulted in a surplus every year for the past 10 years?

–Does Newport’s current management structure (a City Manager and staff) create a superbly managed, collaborative, fiscally strong, highly rated city as concluded by residents, visitors, other cities, bond raters, investment participants, developers and others?

–Does the current Council/Manager governance model evenly disperse power among seven co-equals which model has served us well for nearly seventy years and results in the indisputable conclusion that (as Mayor Muldoon stated at the May 19, 2022 Speak Up Newport Mayor’s Dinner) Newport Beach is stable and strong?

If the foregoing questions can all be answered “Yes,” please help me understand what is broke in Newport and what problem we are attempting to solve by enacting Measure B.

As the majority of absentee votes have now been cast and as we approach the June 7 decision day, I cannot get the notion out of my mind that Measure B is not only a solution in search of a problem, but it is a deficiently drafted, poorly conceived and unnecessary idea that may lead to regrettable unintended consequences, conflict, enormous taxpayer costs and possible corruption not unlike what the City of Anaheim recently experienced. 

Please vote “NO” on the Bad for Newport Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Measure B opponents accused of lying

And we wonder why good people with honorable intentions don’t want to run for public office or to oppose ballot measures in good faith.

In its most recent costly mailer, the “Yes on B” proponents ask in bold red type “WHY ARE OPPONENTS OF MEASURE B LYING TO YOU?”

That same ad shows a slightly overweight, double-chinned, bespectacled accountant-type with fingers crossed asking the “why do they lie” question.

Additional accusations follow in the mailer:

–“Dishonest campaign”

–“Opponents have literally been lying to you”

–“Lie #1”

–“Lie #2”

–“Lie #3”

So, time for honest rebuttal to the proponents’ lying accusations. 

YES, Measure B IS a power grab. Measure B states that one person “shall have SOLE DISCRETION to set City Council agendas and to CHANGE THE ORDER OF BUSINESS on the agendas.” Sounds to me like a heckuva lot of discretionary power is vested in one person. How possibly can the proponents disagree with the meaning of their own words? 

YES, Measure B changes our form of government from seven co-equal collaborative representatives to a strong mayor with six subordinates. Please use common sense. Of course, a strong mayor form of municipal governance dramatically and radically changes our current co-equals governance. 

YES, and ask any city with a strong mayor: the expense of the strong mayor’s staff to administer the strong mayor’s Council subordinates, other City staff and the residents (all 85,239 of us to each of whom the strong mayor will purportedly be “accountable”) will cost a bundle.

I am not naïve. I get that politics is a blood sport as reflected by this latest mailer. But is it any wonder that able folks whose hearts, intentions and ambitions are in the right place are deterred from running for public office or from opposing ill-considered ballot measures? 

Please vote “NO” on Bad for Newport Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

Problems in neighboring cities are proof that Measure B is bad

I’ve been opposed to the Measure B charter change since I first read the text and learned who was behind it. It’s amazing that so many of the dangers I and others saw in it are playing out in other cities just as we prepare to vote. 

For instance, we learned this week that in Anaheim, which has a system similar to what Measure B would introduce in Newport Beach (directly elected and incredibly powerful mayor), the elected mayor is now the subject of a federal corruption probe. He is alleged to have tried to ram through the sale of Angel Stadium to secure $1 million for his reelection campaign. 

This is one of the biggest risks Measure B poses in a city like ours: that the race to be mayor of Newport Beach would be astronomically expensive and open the door to corruption. The race could easily attract crooked politicians from other cities who would seek to buy the office by raising millions through back-room deals with actors who couldn’t care less about our city.

Meanwhile, in Westminster, which also directly elects its mayor for four years, voters will be asked next month if they want to scrap their system and return to one like ours, where the mayor position rotates annually between councilmembers. That city has often seen hours-long, rancor-filled council meetings and it is expected to file for bankruptcy within the next few years.

It would be naïve to think Newport Beach is immune from these kinds of corruption and chaos. 

As someone who’s been observing Newport Beach politics for years, I can honestly say that our system of government works. No one councilmember has too much power. Because the mayor position rotates annually and is mostly ceremonial, and thanks to the checks and balances built into the system, there is little incentive for corrupt and self-serving politicians to run for office. Instead, the system is designed to attract those who simply want the opportunity to give back to the community. 

If Measure B passes, all of this goes away, and all bets are off. 

I’m definitely voting NO and hope you will too. 

Dorothy Kraus

Newport Beach

What to do with Tustin Ave. traffic could be decided at community meeting

Residents in the Newport Heights area are beginning to wake up to the traffic problems that they will be facing if the city decides to block one end of ongoing traffic on Tustin Ave.

Residents are learning how much the changes in traffic flow on other streets will be impacted as drivers are diverted to alternate routes.

According to a traffic study conducted by the city, neighbors learned that the Tustin Ave. closure which greatly decreased its traffic flow from 834 cars to 276 daily, increased the traffic on the only other straight thoroughfare Riverside Ave., which runs from PCH to 15th Street, by 1,400 additional cars per week and increased their daily average by 200 more cars per day.

The other end of Tustin Ave., which reaches to 17th St., will get no break, pushing their total cars average per day to 2,517.

If you are a pedestrian, avoid walking on that street. You would do so to great peril.

Other streets which will see increased traffic from the Tustin Ave. closure, are Ocean View Ave., Avon St., Cliff Drive, Irvine Ave. and Redlands Ave. – literally all streets running parallel to Tustin Ave. will be greatly affected by the closure.

The reasons that Tustin Ave. residents give for wanting to close their street are not clear. Some say the street is very narrow, especially when cars are parked on both sides, that partygoers bring a lot of noise to the area and some councilmembers just said that the reason was because the street was ”unique.”

Actually, every street in the Heights is unique as it is a relatively old area.
But Newport Heights residents should not yet despair. They will have an opportunity to make their concerns known at a Community Meeting next Wednesday evening, June 1. It will take place at the intersection of Tustin Ave. and Ocean View Ave. at 5:30 p.m.

After the neighborhood meeting, there is a plan to place the item on the City Council agenda for the June 28 meeting. If you have any questions, please contact Tony Brine, City Traffic Engineer, 100 Civic Center Drive. Phone: 949.644.3329.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach


Guest Letter

Aaron C. Harp

City Attorney

City of Newport Beach

How we’re addressing and intepreting law related to residential care facilities

Guest Letter Aaron Harp

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of NB

Aaron C. Harp

Dear Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris,

Thank you for your letter dated April 8, 2022, in which you expressed concerns about the City of Newport Beach’s (“City”) regulation of state licensed residential care facilities. Based on a review of your correspondence, we believe that the “policy experts” who are providing you advice may not understand the nuances related to local regulation of state licensed facilities.

Before addressing the ability of the City to regulate state licensed facilities, we think it’s important to distinguish between the various types of residential facilities and the sections of state law that regulate those facilities. In general, under state law, a “social rehabilitation facility” and an “alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facility” are two different types of licensed group residences. They are defined differently and regulated by different sections of the California Health and Safety Code.

Regarding your concerns related to the regulation of social rehabilitation facilities, as you know, there are five applications that are currently pending with the Department of Social Services for new facilities to serve six or fewer residents in Newport Beach. Under state law, the City is prohibited from treating any state licensed facility differently from other dwellings if the facility serves six or fewer residents. (See, Health & Safety Code § 1566.3).

Specifically, Section 1566.3 states that residential facilities – which includes social rehabilitation facilities – serving six or fewer residents must be “considered a residential use of property” and “the residents and operators of such a facility shall be considered a family for the purposes of any law or zoning ordinance that relates to the residential use of property...” (See, Health & Safety Code § 1566.3(a).) Furthermore, under state law, cities may place only the same restrictions on these facilities as they do on “other family dwellings of the same type in the same zone.” (See, Health & Safety Code § 1566.3(c).). Finally, cities may not impose a “conditional use permit, zoning variance, or other zoning clearance” requirement on these facilities if such a requirement is not also imposed on “a family dwelling of the same type in the same zone.” (See, Health & Safety Code§ 1566.3(e).2). 

In your letter, you cited to Section 11834.20 3 to support the idea that the City has the authority to oversee the number and types of social rehabilitation facilities “commensurate with local need.” Specifically, Section 11834.20 states:

The Legislature hereby declares that it is the policy of this state that each county and city shall permit and encourage the development of sufficient numbers and types of alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities as are commensurate with local need.

We agree that since the language refers to local need, the statutory scheme allows the City to regulate facilities serving seven or more persons. However, the sections that follow the introductory language above (which has a parallel provision in the Community Care Facilities Act) restricts local authority to regulate licensed alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities and residential facilities that serve six or fewer persons, respectively. (See, Health & Safety Code§§ 11834.21 et seq; 1566.3). Overall, it appears that the Capitol “policy experts” may have missed the more specific prohibitions related to state licensed facilities serving six or fewer residents when they advised your office regarding this matter.

Also, in your correspondence you state that the Capitol “policy experts” have advised you that the City can regulate two separately state licensed facilities as an integral facility. As noted above, the City is prohibited from regulating a single state licensed facility serving six or fewer residents. While the case law in this area is evolving, we are unaware of any court decision that has upheld a local agency combining two state licensed facilities into one large facility for purposes of applying local regulation. That said, we do agree with the overall premise that two facilities working in conjunction with each other should be licensed as one facility rather than as two separate facilities.

Finally, there appears to be confusion regarding the City of Costa Mesa’s regulation of state licensed facilities. Attached hereto is a list of facilities licensed by the Department of Health Care Services (“DHCS”) in Costa Mesa. As you will note, DHCS has licensed multiple facilities adjacent to each other as separately licensed facilities rather than as one integral facility. The City of Costa Mesa is not regulating these separately state licensed facilities as one integral facility, and we think it is important for the public to know that Costa Mesa and Newport Beach are regulating these types of facilities in the same manner. 

Please know that the City is committed to ensuring that the operators of residential care facilities provide safe, decent housing for the disabled and protected populations who reside in these facilities. Currently, the City is considering adding new provisions that address some of the concerns raised by the “bad actors” referenced in your letter. First, to ensure that commercial operators do not mislead potential residents about the services they legally may or may not provide, the City is considering a provision that would prohibit advertisements that mislead potential residents by stating that the facility provides services requiring a state license when it does not have a license to do so. Also, to preserve the residential nature of these facilities and ensure that residents are given the opportunity to enjoy housing in the same way as non-disabled populations, the City is considering a provision that would prohibit a facility from offering services to people who do not reside onsite (thereby altering the residential nature of the home).

The City also is considering other provisions to ensure the safety of residents in these facilities and make sure they are integrated within the community. For example, the City is considering requiring an operator to prepare a nuisance response plan and a resident discharge plan, meaning that operators would need to provide information regarding available community resources, as well as immediate transportation, to any resident who is evicted. Operators would need to get the residents’ acknowledgment of the offer of information and transportation and provide such forms to the City. In this way, the City could ensure that the operators are acting in the best interests of the residents and providing necessary resources to residents leaving the facility. The City also would be able to determine if a specific operator has a pattern of evicting residents.

As you can see, although the City’s authority to regulate licensed facilities serving six or fewer residents may be limited, the City still hopes to regulate the “bad actors” and ensure that residents are provided safe, decent housing. We encourage the state to take a more direct role in enforcing its licensing programs, especially given the somewhat limited scope of the City’s authority in this area.

In conclusion, if local agencies are granted more authority with respect to the regulation of “residential facilities” and “alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities,” the City would be glad to play a more direct role in enforcement. Regardless, we welcome the opportunity to continue to collaborate with the state and with your office in these efforts.

CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

Aaron C. Harp City Attorney

City of Newport Beach


Guest Letter

Cottie Petrie-Norris

State Assembly

74th District

Irresponsible operators with pending licenses for a social rehabilitation facility

Guest Letter Cottie Petrie Norris

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Cottie Petrie-Norris

Cottie Petrie-Norris

(The letter below is the response from Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris to Newport Beach City Attorney Aaron Harp.)

Thank you for your continued partnership with our office. I am writing in response to your letter dated April 11, 2022. My objective is to clarify a couple of key points and identify opportunities for local enforcement to curtail abuses in residential care facilities in the City of Newport Beach.

When the Legislature enacted Health & Saf. Code, Section 11934.23, subd. (a), the intent was to require that six-bed residential facilities be treated the same “as a family for the purposes of any law or zoning ordinance that relates to a residential use of property.” The Legislature determined that, if the rehabilitation program was structured to act like a family unit, then cities and counties must allow it to locate in single-family residential zones and not subject it to local permitting. The Legislature’s intent was to allow standalone facilities whose residents mimicked a family by their cooperative living arrangements, shared expenses and long-term residency.

Aware of the Legislature’s decision regarding six-bed facilities, operators attempt to exploit this family unit exception by acquiring or leasing multiple single-family properties within close proximity and sending residents of those homes to a single treatment facility where services and staff are shared amongst the residents of their various homes. Further, instead of treating up to six persons, they treat multiples of six, and therefore should be viewed in total as “7 bed and over” Integral Facilities that are subject to local ordinances and laws. In previous correspondence, you have recognized that these facilities should be treated as Integral Facilities. As we have seen in the City of Costa Mesa, there is indeed an opportunity to regulate these Integral Facilities under a City Ordinance.

Costa Mesa’s Ordinance has a very strong Integral Facilities definition that clearly states that two or more state licensed 6 bed and under facilities under common ownership and sharing services can be regulated by the City. Their Ordinance has been reviewed and upheld multiple times before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. At each court review the Integral Facilities definition has passed scrutiny, even though the Ordinance has a severability clause that would allow any section of the Ordinance to be struck. My office recommends that Newport Beach also prudently maintain its current Integral Facilities definition and reserve its right to regulate these facilities.

In order to curtail the proliferation of bad operators in the City of Newport Beach, we must take action at both the state and local level. I am continuing to push forward with much needed reforms in state statute and oversight in the recovery industry. Local oversight and enforcement of Integral Facilities must also be part of the solution.

If you would like to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my Chief of Staff Claire Conlon at 949.251.0074.

Cottie Petrie-Norris 

California State Assemblywoman


Guest Letter

Misagh Karimi, M.D.

City of Hope

Most men don’t know the warning signs of prostate cancer

Guest Letter Misagh Karimi

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Hope

Misagh Karimi, M.D., City of Hope

Do you know the signs of prostate cancer?

If you don’t, you’re not alone.

A recent poll of men in the U.K. found that 68 percent could not identify a single symptom of prostate cancer. The poll highlights the need to bring awareness to men in general, and especially here in the U.S., where prostate cancer affects one in eight men. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in U.S. men, trailing only skin cancers, and men over age 65 and Black men are at greater risk of developing the disease due to a range of factors.

Why is it so important to recognize the signs? Because when prostate cancer is detected at an early stage before it has spread beyond the prostate or the region around it, the treatment success rates are high.

Symptoms of prostate cancer

The prostate lies below the bladder and surrounds the urethra; most prostate cancer signs are connected to urinary symptoms. They include:

–The need to urinate urgently and frequently, especially during the night.

–Difficulty in starting to urinate or having weak urine flow.

–The feeling that the bladder hasn’t emptied.

–Blood in the urine or semen.

Prostate cancer may also cause more generalized symptoms, such as:

–Pain in the lower back or pelvic area.

–Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet.

–Dizziness.

–Fatigue.

Tips for early detection

So, men, what should you do?

First, know the warning signs. Worrisome or persistent symptoms should spark a conversation with your primary care physician.

Second, know your family’s health history. Most prostate cancers are not hereditary, but the risk can double if a man’s brother or father has had prostate cancer. The risk is even higher for men who have had several relatives affected by the disease.

Lastly, talk with your doctor about prostate cancer screening options and the recommendations that should go into making your individual decision to get screened.

Advances in the early detection of prostate cancer are opening up more options for treatment and saving men’s lives. What’s more, if you have early-stage, slow-growing prostate cancer, you may be able to take a watch-and-wait approach instead of starting treatment right away. If you have been newly diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer, there is much reason to feel hopeful and optimistic about your future.

Misagh Karimi, M.D., is the director of clinical operations at City of Hope Newport Beach Fashion Island and a medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal and genitourinary cancers.

City of Hope is a leader in prostate cancer research and treatment, successfully treating thousands of people with prostate cancer each year. To make an appointment at any of City of Hope’s four Orange County locations, click here or call:

Newport Beach Fashion Island: 949.763.2204

Newport Beach Lido: 949.999.1400

Irvine Sand Canyon: 949.333.7580

Huntington Beach: 714.252.9415


Letters to the Editor

I have questions and they need answers

Question Everything!

Since I was a teenager, I have made this my mantra. Maybe it is a generational thing. The other one that stuck with me is “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” Remember the Jonestown Massacre in 1978? 

Question:

Who wrote Measure B, and why?

First, who?

At the Speak Up Newport event on May 11th, Councilmember Noah Blom said that he wrote the measure along with City Manager Grace Leung. The following morning at the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce meeting, Councilmember Will O’Neill said that an attorney wrote the measure. 

Did Blom pass the bar while we weren’t looking? 

O’Neill is an attorney; did he write it? 

This seems like a fair question. To my knowledge, it has not yet been answered. In my mind, it goes to motive. 

What is clear is that the text of the measure was not discussed by the full council. At the City Council meeting on 10/12/21, Councilmember Blom asked to bring the matter of a direct elected mayor back to the council at a future meeting for consideration. What was brought to the next meeting was the text of the measure, complete, as you read it today, not for discussion, but for a Yes or No vote. No discussion was allowed. Why?

It is also clear that the author(s) did not seek public opinion on the text of the measure. There was no Study Session or any other public forum to debate the text of the measure, much less the need for the dramatic change. Why was there no discussion with the full council or the public? 

Which leads me to my next question…why was it written at all? 

Was it because the system we have operated under in Newport Beach for over half a century, no longer works? No one seemed to be concerned with the current system of appointing our mayor until this year, when Councilmember Joy Brenner was overlooked for Mayor Pro Tem. The appointment of our newest councilmember, Noah Blom, was blessed by the same four councilmembers who voted “Yes” to put Measure B on the June Ballot. This occurred after the four councilmembers had already voted to put Measure B on the June ballot. So that doesn’t explain why the council majority decided the Charter needed to change.

So why?

If the argument is that “horse trading” (Blom’s words) is taking place among the councilmembers in the process of appointing our mayor, and they themselves are participating in that process, then that brings up a whole other set of questions. 

In a democracy, it is our duty to discuss, and question, the issues and the decisions of those we elect to lead us, and to keep the pressure on until we have the answers. 

People who follow their leaders blindly, may find the decisions made on their behalf aren’t always made with their best interests in mind. We could talk about some of the recent decisions at the state and federal level, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole. Just think Jonestown. 

When we ask questions, we may not always agree with the answers, but the fact that we are paying attention, needs to be apparent to leaders. This helps avoid that nasty word, corruption. 

If we hope to avoid the fate of the city of Anaheim, which is now mired in legal issues, that will last years, cost the city thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of dollars and tarnish the reputation of that city’s government for decades, we need to be asking our council for more transparency. 

So, who wrote Measure B? And why do we need it now?

I think a truthful answer to those questions would be very helpful to the public who are now being asked to vote on this Charter change without any discussion as to its merits. The “Kool-Aid” answer is, it’s simple, you should be able to elect your mayor. I am not looking for the Kool-Aid answer. 

Before you cast your ballot on June 7th, please ask a few questions. Don’t just follow someone else’s “voter guide.” 

And when it comes to Measure B, don’t drink the Kool-Aid. 

Nancy Scarbrough

Newport Beach

The passage of Measure B would significantly change our city’s governance

It has been disheartening to witness the turmoil created by the Measure B initiative. For those of us paying attention, June 7th can’t come quick enough. 

Over the past several months residents and business owners have asked me, in an almost apologetic tone, “What do you think of Measure B?” Often the question comes from long-time residents, including those who have served in our civic and non-profit organizations. A common refrain is often: “Where did this idea come from?” and, “I’m happy with the city as it is.” Others, younger with families and busy lives, are trying to get up to speed with a complex decision that requires going far beyond the tag line: “Wouldn’t you like to elect your mayor?” 

When proposed by one of our councilmembers last fall, Measure B split the council, eventually leading to a 4-3 vote to place it on the ballot. This brought some tension to the dais. I have great respect for all my fellow councilmembers as we continue to conduct council business professionally despite our differences on this issue. 

Our community is divided over Measure B, which is unfortunate given that council has a duty to work toward bringing citizens together. This is a good time to remember that the best council decisions derive from citizen impetus rather than a council led project out of nowhere.

Newport Beach will continue to move forward regardless of the Measure B result. However, the passage of Measure B would significantly change our city’s governance, adding additional risk. Newport would become vulnerable to the vagaries of one person, the elected mayor, who would have near total control of city hall. Even the best of humans make mistakes. Our country’s founders knew this and created checks and balances on power which allowed our nation’s democracy to thrive. We currently have such a system in Newport. It is a council of seven equals who, believe me, have no problem trying to keep each other in check. 

An elected mayor would be the “go to” councilmember for those seeking favor. He or she would operate in a different civic universe than the rest of the council. Indeed, the elected mayor would be the proverbial 800-pound gorilla of city hall. There are many examples of elected mayor cities which have come to grief. The current Anaheim mess is a classic example.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” For the past 70 years Newport Beach residents have done a fine job of electing seven councilmembers who must work together when making the best decisions for our city. While our councils have had ups and downs, the vast majority of citizens elected to council served their neighbors and community admirably. 

Today our city is a testament to the success of the council-of-equals system. Over the past decades, Newport has gone from strength to strength. No city of our population provides its citizens with a better quality of life. 

We are all thankful to live here, in a beautiful and thriving coastal city. Our aspirational town reflects the optimistic hard work of its residents, businesses and civic leaders. 

We have the city we deserve. Let’s protect it. Vote no on Measure B.     

Brad Avery

Newport Beach Councilmember, District 2

Former mayor 2021 

Where was the discussion? Is this democracy?

In several public forums, I have heard Will O’Neill and Noah Blom publicize that the Newport Beach City Council unanimously voted 7-0 to discuss the changes to the charter that could pave the way for an elected mayor in Newport Beach.

I’ve learned that the council policy to put something on the agenda is a three-step process:

–Any councilmember can request a future agenda item and if two other councilmembers agree it goes on the agenda for a future meeting. Though not a policy but as a manner of courtesy, all councilmembers typically vote yes to put it on the agenda for future discussion. Hence the 7-0 vote to discuss the issue. Why not discuss?

–The agenda language is drafted and presented to the City Attorney.

–In this particular case (and perhaps for the first time) the agenda language was artfully crafted so there would be NO council debate or discussion on the contents of the initiative – the only action permitted was whether the item should be on the June or November ballot. None of the three opponents realized that the language dramatically narrowed the discussion options to NO DISCUSSION allowed.

I still don’t know whether lawyers wrote the language of Measure B or whether Noah Blom wrote the language with approval from the City Manager as he claims, but what I do know is none of the three councilmembers who opposed the initiative had any input into the writing of the initiative.

By now most have heard about a negative situation involving the mayor of Anaheim.

From former Anaheim councilmember Denise Barnes: “We need to clean this up,” Barnes said. She expressed to councilmembers how hard it was to be a taxpayer steward while being blocked from agendizing discussions, especially when it came to stadium negotiations.

“I just go back to the night of December 2020 when we were completely rushed to get that deal done,” added Barnes.

Does anyone else see a correlation between the current issues in Anaheim and how Measure B got on the ballot? Does anyone else have a problem with how it has played out in Newport Beach? Can anyone else recognize how an elected mayor can manipulate the agenda?

Gary Cruz

Newport Beach

Think about it…

Do we really want to create the potential for words like “affidavit, Brown Act violations, collusion, corruption, criminal charges, evasion and scandal” to be associated with our city? This is taking place right now, in real time, in the City of Anaheim. It could, in fact, happen in Newport Beach with a directly elected mayor with even more power and authority than that of the current mayor of Anaheim.

Mayor Harry Sidhu, along with the former Chamber of Commerce president, while representing the city in high stakes contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Angels for the sale of Anaheim Stadium, shared confidential city information with the Angels, including at least one document prepared by the city’s attorney – a violation of the Brown Act. There are actual voice recordings of the mayor and past Chamber president committing collusion regarding the sale of Angel Stadium.

Mayor Sidhu moved to Anaheim for the purpose of running for mayor and got elected thanks to hefty contributions. Now the council is asking for his resignation in light of the federal investigation taking place, and potential charges levied. 

Do we really want to risk something like this happening in our city with the type of directly elected mayor being proposed in Measure B (the textbook definition of a power grab)? When power is taken away from a collective group of officials and representatives, and concentrated in the hands of one politician, it’s a power grab. No other Orange County city has done what Measure B proposes to do: maintain the at-large voting system while taking power away from council representatives and transferring it to a “one-stop shop” elected mayor. 

Measure B is being bankrolled largely by donors from other cities. People support ballot measures in other cities and states to empower themselves, not local voters. These donors clearly expect to have the mayor’s ear, and to have their interests given precedence over those of Newport Beach residents. 

Early on, SPON took a position of opposing Measure B. With the events unfolding as they are in Anaheim, our position is clearly reinforced. 

Measure B proponents want to move us to a system that works better for professional politicians than for residents – exactly the opposite of what our current system is designed to do. Don’t roll the dice and risk all the hard work that has gone into making Newport Beach a uniquely beautiful place to live.  Don’t change a winning formula. 

Say No to Measure B. 

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Councilman, 2016-2020

Did they take the time to read Measure B?

Mr. Clarence (“Clancy”) Hoiles passed away in 1981. Mr. Hoiles was the Chairman of the Board of Freedom Newspapers Inc. which (among other daily newspapers) at the time published The Orange County Register (then known as The Register) (the “Register”). I did not know Mr. Hoiles well, but well enough so that he kindly sponsored my application into a local golf club 44 years ago.

I remember Mr. Hoiles as being reserved and conservative in thought and speech.

I believe Mr. Hoiles would have been surprised by the Register’s recent poorly conceived editorial suggesting that the residents of Newport Beach vote affirmatively for the controversial Measure B. 

Readers of the Register surely must be asking themselves whether the editorial board which reached its ill-advised judgment ever read in its entirety Measure B, analyzed its content, considered its potentially dire consequences and interviewed informed folks opposing the Measure.

In its zeal to write the editorial, one wonders whether the board considered ANY of the following points:

–Why did the proponent abandon the signature gathering effort (i.e., a conventional democratic means of gauging electorate interest and publicly looking at the pluses and minuses)?

–By reducing the council districts from 7 to 6, one district becomes a super district by having the mayor AND another councilmember representing that super district. Moreover, each new district will have at least 2,000 more constituents for whom the councilmember is responsible.

–The measure gives one person the ability to serve a total of 16 consecutive years on council, thereby gutting the 8-year term limit approved by the voters many years ago.

–Tell me one (just one) problem in the City Charter that the measure is trying to solve! Why haven’t any of the pro Measure B councilmembers EVER made the directly elected mayor a centerpiece of their concerns about the City until now? Is this a one-person crusade?

–The measure is on its face fatally defectively drafted, e.g., three other councilmembers “MAY” (not “WILL”) be able to place an item on a “FUTURE” agenda (When? In a month? In a year? Never? When the strong mayor decides to add it to the agenda?). What will the next measure cost our taxpayers to undo the damage of these and other defects in Measure B? And, in light of the defectively drafted measure, think twice if you think “your” councilmember will be able to put anything on the agenda.

–Measure B produces junior, subordinate, diluted, weakened councilmembers to the strong mayor’s will and power. (And, as is well known, power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.) Say goodbye to give-and-take, compromise and collaboration among the former co-equal councilmembers. 

–Why would an experienced, highly educated City Manager want to be stripped of duties and under the thumb of a strong mayor? We think our preeminent City Manager will be on the lookout for other City Manager-operated municipality opportunities where the City Manager can, through independence, make a difference and add value.

–Be ready for big money mayor elections – and some (perhaps a significant number) of donations will come from outside Newport Beach, all of which donors will want to curry favor with the all-powerful mayor.

The Register editorial board still has time to right its wrong. I urge the board to reconsider its hasty ill-conceived editorial and I urge a NO vote on Bad for Newport Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

May might be Bicycle Safety Month, but this cyclist isn’t one honoring it

May 21st – Not an uncommon sight on Newport Coast Drive. In front of me, a truck hits its brakes hard, stopping so as to not run over a bicyclist. Truck was turning left; bicyclist was going straight through the intersection. Trouble is that the truck had a green light to turn left. The bicyclist? He ran the red light without a care, in full view of all the cars that were properly stopped. And this was the second red light he ran that I saw; who knows how many other close calls there were. 

Is there any way to stop these idiots? Apparently, there aren’t enough “white bicycles” on the roadside, with flowers and pictures and memories written by loved ones. May is Bicycle Safety Month? 

Yea, sure. 

Matt Clabaugh

Newport Beach

The current system to elect the mayor has worked for 70 years

The proponents of Measure B just sent out a mailer basically calling their opponents a bunch of liars. Their strong language shows that the truth hurts and it’s gotten under their skin. 

Even more revealing is the email they blasted out saying it’s dishonest to draw a parallel between what’s happening in Anaheim and what could happen in Newport Beach if Measure B passes, since Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu was backed by a council majority. “But he didn’t act alone, therefore he’s not too powerful!” is a weird way to make a case for Measure B, but whatever.   

Let’s remember that two months after Sidhu was elected to his first four-year term, “his” majority approved sweeping changes to how the Anaheim city council conducts its business. And six months later, they appointed Sidhu to the team negotiating the sale of Anaheim Stadium to the Angels, over the objections of other councilmembers.

When asked why he wanted to be on the negotiating team, Sidhu responded: “What do you mean why? I’m the mayor. I would like to represent the city council…it is very simple. As the mayor, I represent the city, just like all of you. And I’d like to appoint myself as a council representative to the negotiating team. There must be someone from the council because we have a vision for the city…I think we have done enough discussion.”

Anyone else reminded of when Will O’Neill said he came up with the idea of the elect our mayor campaign because, after serving as mayor for one year then being forced to pass the baton, he realized, “Voters should be choosing the person whose vision matches the city’s majority?” Anyone else see the parallel with the Measure B team’s focus on the importance of getting Newport Beach’s mayor appointed to any number of boards and other interest groups?

If you don’t think a mayoral candidate in Newport Beach would pick a slate of candidates to run with to ensure a council majority, you haven’t been paying attention. All four councilmembers who put Measure B on the ballot ran as part of slates. They appeared together on mailers, were funded by the same sources, got the same endorsements. On the council, they usually vote together and always choose the mayor and mayor pro tem from within their ranks – even though our charter makes clear that the positions are supposed to rotate among all councilmembers and therefore all districts. 

Fast forward to today: Anaheim is engulfed in scandal. The stadium sale is on hold as the FBI investigates whether Sidhu shared confidential information with the buyer in exchange for a massive contribution to his reelection campaign. Councilmembers who’ve been in the minority are talking about how difficult it is to be blocked from putting discussions on the agenda, including about stadium negotiations…about how hard it is to watch the council majority shut down public debate when they don’t agree with the community members who are speaking. 

Of course, we don’t know if a similar scenario would play out in Newport Beach if Measure B passes, but it certainly could. And that’s reason enough to Vote No on B. 

Let’s stick to the system that’s served our city so well for nearly 70 years and make sure it works the ways it’s intended to – with the mayor position rotating among all districts and with all councilmembers having an equal voice in the conduct of the city’s business.   

Gerald A. Giannini

Newport Beach

Elect Our Mayor is the right policy for our city moving forward

My name is Henry Park, the name that was recently used without my permission on a hit piece mailer sent by the No On B campaign. They lied about me and claimed that my donation to help elect our Mayor was “outside money.” Far from it, my wife and I have been raising our family here in Newport Beach for years.

Why would they lie about me? Why would they specifically name me and claim that I’m an “outsider?”

I donated to the Elect Our Mayor initiative because it’s the right policy for our city going forward. The Mayor should be elected by us and accountable to us. Policy should be made solely by the people accountable to us, not by people farther from us. If you agree, then vote yes on B.

I also donated because I wanted to see the truth go out to voters. The lies in mail coming from the No crowd claimed that the initiative created an unaccountable “king” and would require hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra spending every year. None of that is true, and even the Orange County Register called those claims “utter nonsense.”

I didn’t expect the No campaign to turn around and lie about me. But they did and that’s dirty.

It’s the current system, with these current behind-the-scenes politicos, that we need to move beyond. I’m exhibit A of the effect of their rot.

Stop the backroom deals. Stop the pettiness. Shine light and require the Mayor to campaign in the open to us.

I urge everyone to take my cautionary story and vote Yes On B.

Henry Park

Newport Beach

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

Sometimes you just have to start with a cliché – in this case in reference to Measure B on the Newport Beach ballot…If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! But, some folks with an agenda think direct election of the Mayor for Newport Beach is a great idea. Who are these folks?

Who should be FOR Measure B?

–If you, your spouse, son or daughter is a political consultant: This means full employment! We definitely need more misleading negative campaign expenditures which have been relatively few in Newport Beach. But don’t worry, at least someone is benefiting from this!

–If your family includes entities that need greater influence in city hall. Much easier to influence a mayor whose campaign cost you a lot of money – see above and let him or her use the new “strong mayor” position to control the debate. That is, unless you don’t think lots of money has any effect on policies.

–If you or a family member wants to seek higher office. Or is that too cynical? Again, a new elected mayor will have much more visibility than any councilmember and will be able to be an elected official for up to 16 years. However, I’m guessing we’ll see a number of “one and done” mayors who feel they are ready for Congress or whatever after one term. We have been fortunate that historically, the great majority of our councilmembers have the old-fashioned idea that service to the City alone is an honor and a duty.

–If you want to be mayor of Newport Beach but currently live somewhere else. Given the money that will be involved, you have a lot better chance of succeeding than one of those citizen politicians who’ve lived here for years that we keep getting on our council. And, your purchase of a house here will help the real estate industry.

–If you don’t believe that we already elect our mayor. In fact, we do! Each of our seven councilmembers, although they each represent a district, are elected “at large,” meaning all of us get to vote for each councilmember. Then, the members periodically select the mayor for limited terms. The council is a legislative body where the mayor is only temporarily the first among equals. Measure B would provide a very powerful mayor and reduce the councilmembers’ input and historic collegiality. In other words, equals have to cooperate. With Measure B, the council would only have to decide whether to support or oppose the mayor’s wishes. 

Who should be AGAINST Measure B?

All of the rest of us who recognize that this is an exceptionally well-run city and always has been in comparison to other municipalities. Our councils and city managers have, for the most part, collectively done the right thing without the “leadership” of a strong mayor.

Remember, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Please vote “No.”

Andy Rose

Newport Beach

The writing on Anaheim’s walls could mean trouble ahead for Newport Beach

Does Measure B protect Newport Beach from an Anaheim-similar FBI investigation?

All of us have recently read about the current FBI investigations of Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu and other city officials. Mayor Sidhu is alleged to have planned solicitation of $1M from the Angels for his re-election funds and to have shared city information with the Angels during negotiations for the current stadium land sale. 

The FBI investigation (also) reports that Sidhu, his council majority and possible other city officials allegedly hosted “retreats” with his majority bloc to discuss strategy for items coming up before council. This action was in violation of the Brown Act and essentially was a shadow government.

We say to ourselves that this type of reported illicit behavior wouldn’t happen here in Newport Beach. But as we all address risk management in our private lives, just what does Measure B provide Newport Beach residents in the way of “curbs or firewalls” for any future Mayor misconduct? How can we prevent or save our city from any similar public illicit notoriety or possible special interest corruption? 

Currently, the Newport Beach Mayor serves at the pleasure of the city council. If Measure B passes, both council and residents would have to wait until criminal conviction of any Mayor or a very expensive recall election. That’s it – our city would be tied up for months or years and undoubtedly would incur large legal fees. 

Newport Beach is a city resplendent with rich assets, both public and private, in which special interest groups often are interested in potential financial access and influence. While the proponents of Measure B are campaigning hard for a Mayor-centric city government and perhaps ignoring any protective limitations of power, who and what is protecting the rest of us?

Kathe Morgan

Villa Park resident

Measure B still brings in questions

There is only one thing that cities can do to make their government more democratic and that is to elect councilmembers by their constituencies, not at large. Or they could also increase the number of councilmembers elected by their constituencies.

Interestingly enough, the vast majority of cities who directly elect their mayor, also get to vote directly on the councilmember representing them. Now why did Measure B not propose that? The reason is – a more democratic government is not the goal of the proponents of Measure B.

So, how does electing a governor for over 80,000 people make Newport Beach more democratic or more efficient?

One person responding to that many people does not give residents more power. It just gives more power to that one person who is under no obligation to share it with councilmembers (recent flyers make us wonder if there will even be a council).

Many leading citizens are against Measure B. Those who own property in Newport Beach might be concerned with the stability of the city if there is a new system of government put in place which cannot be observed ahead of time in any other city. 

How can we expect that it will function efficiently in a short period of time? Might there be a bit of chaos? Why even gamble with the future of Newport Beach? Make the conservative choice, vote No on uncertainty – VOTE NO ON MEASURE B!

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Was the OC Grand Jury document on deployment and response by fire departments in emergencies flawed?

(The following letter was submitted to the Mayor and City Council challenging the Orange County Grand Jury’s document on deployment and response of resources in a recent report.)

The recently published document by the Orange County grand jury regarding the deployment and response of resources by Orange County fire departments to emergency medical calls for service is both stunning, and concerning in the inaccuracies, opinions and falsehoods presented as fact. The determinations made appear to be based on these failures or research, and lead to what may be a pre-ordained belief, without factual support. Because this document rehashes a 2012 effort of a similar matter, I am disturbed by the need for another review that fails to build on the earlier discussion.

Fundamentally, the local fire department deploys resources designed to respond to and to mitigate the unwanted effects of the environment on life, property and the environment itself. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that the environment is “everything but me,” referring to himself at the time. Except for specifically law enforcement related matters, unrelated to unwanted fire, this defines the responsibility of fire department emergency response. The two most time sensitive, or emergency responses, include fire suppression and emergency medical/rescue code-three (with lights and siren) response. The fire service is truly a multi-mission operation that serves to address many of the emergency needs of the community. The capability of the local fire department is only limited to the funding and leadership provided by the governing agency decisionmakers.

To fully understand the importance of emergency response it is necessary to carefully consider the concept of time, and the influence of time on the growth of uncontrolled fire and patients in extreme medical conditions i.e., coronary, stroke, blood loss et al. In all these situations the outcome is directly related to timely intervention. The sooner that trained personnel, operating efficiently, arrive at the scene and begin fire suppression or medical treatment the more likely that a desired outcome is probable. There are three components to the total response time of a fire department: call processing time, turnout time and travel time. The only component that cannot be manipulated to a great extent is travel time as rescue personnel can only travel so fast through the city streets to arrive at the scene of an emergency. 

The distribution of fire stations across the land mass of a city like Newport Beach serves to place fire department rescue personnel near potential fires or medical emergencies under static conditions. During times of fire department system stress due to uncontrolled fire i.e., Emerald Bay and Coastal Fire recently, in Orange County and specifically Newport Beach, a rapid and integrated system is employed to shift similar resources into areas of reduced coverage. This was recently demonstrated and reported to the City Council in a timely fashion by the fire chief regarding the Coastal Fire in Laguna Niguel. Rapid intervention serves the people you and your fire department serve. 

Of the two identified time sensitive functions of the fire department, fire suppression and medical/rescue, resource deployment should be considered for the need based on a timely response to the incident, or potential incident. Because the building stock of a community changes slowly over time, the deployment of firefighting resources and staffing at the local firehouse responsible for initial fire suppression efforts should be based on factors related to risk, occupancy type and travel time to all areas of initial responsibility, or first due for the resources staffed at that firehouse. Earlier intervention of fire should equate a smaller fire that is extinguished faster, requiring fewer total resources from neighboring firehouses. This concept should result in a more efficient operation that has fewer fire stations assigned to a fire and committed to a fire outside the first due area.

Because the community will need the firehouses staffed for fire suppression needs, the use of these same firefighting personnel for emergency medical/rescue response was seen as a wise use of taxpayer funds. The report fails to understand the wisdom of this important concept, and in fact fails to consider this altogether. Fire apparatus, fully equipped to perform all the multi-mission functions, and available 24/7 unless committed to a prior emergency is the gold standard of the business. The idea presented to staff a two-person medic unit in place of a “second” engine at the Laguna Woods firehouse fails to consider the multi-mission functions of a fire station that protects a large hospital, a very busy complex of freeways and housing with mature residents who will need additional support under emergency circumstances. That Laguna Woods firehouse is staffed in that fashion because it is the busiest firehouse in a densely developed county of over 3 million residents. Drawing broad conclusions based on a limited, and often false understanding, has resulted in a bad recommendation. 

I found it unusual that Newport Beach in particular, with a somewhat unique deployment of resources only matched by the City of Orange, was not mentioned in the text of this report. This was especially noteworthy as the thesis of the report was focused on resource deployment, city operated ambulance services and the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). The limited investment by the OC grand jury into the research on this important subject only serves to support the idea that the effort was biased from the start and will provide ample information for those intent on diminishing the value of a future OC grand jury report on a similar subject. 

Paul Matheis

Lake Forest


Letters to the Editor

Anaheim scandal shows why Newport should vote NO on Measure B

Anyone in doubt about how to vote in Newport Beach on Measure B should consider closely the recent revelations about corruption in Anaheim.

The allegations are set forth in a sworn statement, signed by a senior FBI agent and filed on May 16 in state court, quoting recorded conversations between the mayor of Anaheim, Harry Sidhu, and others, as well as emails and texts sent by the mayor from his personal accounts. More details appear in the criminal complaint against Todd Ament, of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, close colleague of the mayor.

The FBI affidavit shows that, while Sidhu was representing the city in the high-stakes contract negotiation with the Los Angeles Angels for the sale of Anaheim Stadium, he was also sharing confidential city information with the Angels, including at least one document prepared by the city’s lawyers, in violation if the Brown Act.

Why would Mayor Sidhu, who is supposed to represent Anaheim, help the other side, the Angels, in this way? Because Mayor Sidhu, who was elected in 2018 for a four-year term, is involved in an expensive re-election campaign, seeking another four-year term.

In one of the taped conversations, the mayor tells a friend that he hopes and expects to receive a million-dollar donation from a senior Angels official to his re-election campaign. As the FBI agent said in his affidavit, “I believe Sidhu illustrated his intent to solicit campaign contributions, in the amount of $1,000,000…in exchange for performing official acts intended to finalize the stadium sale for the Angels.” To evade contribution limits, the mayor planned to seek the contribution not for his own committee, but rather for a supposedly independent political action committee that would support his re-election efforts.

As I read page after page of shocking, disgusting detail, I was thankful for one key provision in the current charter of Newport Beach, which states that the mayor serves at the pleasure of the city council. If similar conduct was engaged in by the mayor of Newport Beach, rather than Anaheim, the Newport Beach city council could replace the mayor at the next council meeting – without waiting for criminal charges, or for a criminal conviction. In Anaheim, even though three members of the city council have called for the mayor’s resignation, there is no such option.

If Measure B passes, however, the Newport Beach charter will be changed, so that the mayor no longer serves at the pleasure of the council. The only way to remove a mayor, mired in a corruption scandal, at that point would be to wait for a criminal conviction or to mount a recall campaign which would take many months or years to achieve.

Moreover, if Measure B passes, we are going to have expensive, contentious campaigns for mayor here in Newport Beach. The costs of a successful campaign to become Newport Beach mayor could easily exceed a million dollars. Candidates would seek contributions from those interested in seeing local projects or contracts approved, like the sale of Anaheim Stadium. And Newport Beach is a place where hundred-million-dollar developments are quite possible, so there will be high stakes issues akin to the stadium issue in Anaheim.

Proponents of Measure B might say something like “Newport Beach is not Anaheim; we would never see such corruption here.” But this ignores the close parallels between the system in Anaheim, in which a powerful mayor is elected for a four-year term, and can be re-elected, and the changes to our system under Measure B. In fact, Measure B gives even more power to the mayor than exists in Anaheim, power to control the council’s agenda.

Why shouldn’t we expect, at some point, if we pass Measure B, and create a system in which there are expensive direct elections for mayor, that there will be some corruption, or some highly questionable donations, as candidates scramble to become mayor of Newport Beach?

Please vote no on Measure B: protect our current city charter and save us from the expensive elections and the corruptive tendencies of a powerful four-year mayor.

Walter Stahr

Newport Beach

Confused and “insulted” by campaign mailers

When we vote on a measure, it should be because we think it will fix or improve something in our great city. I wanted to try to understand what the real reason or purpose for Measure B is, so I’ve read the materials in print and online. But I remain puzzled over the ongoing sales pitch by proponents of Measure B.

In last week’s Stu News, rather than explain what he believes are the benefits of Measure B to our residents, Councilman Duffield spent his words attacking Jeff Herdman for issues that happened years ago that nobody remembers or cares about. 

In the print mailers supporting Measure B, there are many points made about the details of how the Measure reads but the only “benefit” to residents appears to be a broad reference to better “accountability” although it’s not clear how that will be achieved by having a voter elected Mayor vs a Council-elected Mayor. Aren’t the current Councilmembers (which includes the measures authors) insulted by being told that they apparently are not accountable now or in the past? How has our city managed to survive all these years with no accountability?

And I am certainly insulted by the mailer that says, “Warning – Opponents of Measure B are running a false and misleading campaign. Don’t be fooled by their lies. Opponents are power brokers who do not want you electing the mayor,” signed by Noah Von Blom.

I find these mailers to be misleading because the reduction of the number of districts is buried in the fine print. 

The measure allows 1) an individual two four-year terms as Councilmember and two four-year terms as Mayor for a total of 16 years. That’s too long for one person and dramatically changes the term limit concept in place today. 2) we would go from 7 equal districts to 6 districts plus a more powerful Mayor. The Mayor and one of the Councilmembers will live in the same district causing one district to have two representatives. I don’t see how these facts can be considered “lies” or “false and misleading.” If I’m wrong on these critical points then someone needs to educate me. 

Read for yourself at https://NoPowerGrab.com. Please vote No on Measure B. 

Mike Groff

Newport Beach 

That Certain Something

In his 2001 coffee table book entitled The Spirit of Newport, Steven Simon Jr. shares his poetry and paintings celebrating the beauty and charm of Newport Beach. Near the end of his book appears Mr. Simon’s closing poem, “That Certain Something”: 

Daylight the setting sun cannot elude

So this visit shall fittingly conclude

To a city blessed – one can see at first glance

With abundance, beauty, and riviera romance.

Ah, but amid these blessings there’s something more

Not easy to explain but simple to adore.

A place like none other I’ve found

Indeed, a certain spirit does here abound.”

Mr. Simon has it right. There is a certain spirit here. Long time and short time residents feel it –“at first glance” as Mr. Simon says. A magnetism made up of small friendly villages, of friendly residents, of friendly businesses, of friendly surroundings including beach and bay.

But some would have you believe that the “certain spirit” needs changing.

The proponents of Measure B say that we are ready for the Big Time. We need a strong mayor who can vault us into the Big Leagues. We need to copy big cities with a very powerful person who can lead us because nearly seventy years of unrivaled success and the universal envy by other cities apparently isn’t proof positive of that “certain spirit” of which Mr. Simon speaks.

Leave it alone. Our system for the annual election of the mayor has worked well for nearly seventy years. Left alone, it will work well for the next seventy years.

Don’t be fooled by the change agents. Vote NO on the Bad for Newport Measure B. 

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

Measure B is not written to better Newport Beach

I have written previously about Measure B because of my great concern for how it will change city government, which in my opinion, is not for the better. It is unfortunate that the plan was not more thoughtfully conceived.

My reaction to the idea of “electing a mayor” was immediate. I knew that it seemed to come out of nowhere and was not conceived with the betterment of Newport Beach government in mind. Its intent seems to promote the political future of its creators as well as the financial future of its benefactors.

For those who think that Newport Beach will benefit from this plan that will replace the current system, I ask you to consider the following question: Would the “elect the mayor” system proposed by Measure B even exist if no one currently on council was able to run for the newly created office?

So unimportant are all the details of the plan other than electing a mayor that the system proposed has changed from its original configuration. On an election brochure this last week, an arrow was drawn from the constituents directly to the mayor representing the flow of power. There was no evidence of a city council existing between the two. It seems that Measure B has already changed, implying that there would be no council, or that the power of the council would meld into that of the constituents as in the diagram.

Was that a printing error or does it illustrate how little anything else matters, as long as there is an elected mayor? In light of this implication, do we really want to give all power in Newport Beach government to one person?

I have lived in Newport Beach a long time and I resent non-residents coming into the city to finance a major change in our government in an effort to make money or build a political career at our expense. Please consider this: The creators of Measure B definitely do not have OUR best interests in mind. 

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Newport Beach: Are you paying attention to Anaheim?

I have been wondering how many people in Newport have been paying attention to what is happening in Anaheim right now. The FBI is investigating Anaheim’s elected mayor for corruption in the sale of Anaheim Stadium and the activities of what is called “the cabal” running Anaheim. So far, the news has not reported exactly who is part of this “cabal” but there is some talk, of course, of the mayor and the head of the chamber of commerce, who is also being investigated. The court has put the sale of the stadium on hold for 60 days and the minority councilmembers who have been trying to ask questions feel vindicated. The full council has now asked for his resignation. 

When too much power is vested in a few, these things happen. I don’t think Newport needs an elected mayor right now given the way Measure B was written by one man and the devil in the details of it being unearthed. 

Linda Watkins

Newport Beach

Do the math: Measure B doesn’t add up

The proposed Measure B has little if anything to do with electing a mayor and more to do with eliminating one council district; eliminating representation for the citizens of Newport Beach and consolidating power in one individual. In the very first sentence of the proposed Measure there is the elimination of one of our current seven council districts. It reads: “The elective officers of the City shall consist of a City Council of six seven members…” 

In 1954 when the City’s charter was adopted the population of the City was 12,120 and there were seven (7) council districts as there are currently. In the latest census the city has a population of 85,780, seven times greater than it was in 1954. Yet what many people don’t realize is that Measure B seeks to reduce the number of council districts from the current number of seven to six. It makes little sense and doesn’t add up. Will it be your council district that is eliminated or your neighbors?

In addition, the Measure further grants a mayor “sole discretion” to set the City Council agendas, in contravention of current City Council Policy embodied in City Council Policy A-1 C as well as the existing City Charter. 

And to be clear, “sole discretion” does not mean that such power would be wielded in a reasonable manner but rather it means power can be exercised in an arbitrary and capricious manner thereby giving a mayor expansive power.

Finally, to suggest somehow that the city needs to become a modern city like others in the state is a false narrative. One needs to look no further than Anaheim which finds itself and its directly elected mayor the subject of an FBI investigation. Consolidating power in one individual and eliminating a council district is not the power grab that the residents of Newport Beach need or want.

Vote No on Measure B.

Thomas C. Edwards, former Mayor

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Attack on Herdman “serves no purpose”

I just read (Friday’s) Stu News and I can’t stop laughing! Doesn’t Duffy have something better to do than re-plow an old field? The citizens of Newport Beach really don’t care about how he nearly wasn’t elected back on the City Council.

Doesn’t Duffy know, it serves NO PURPOSE to go after Jeff Herdman? A councilman who served with honor and grace. Doesn’t Duffy know, the voters are smart enough to see through the specious claims of the Power Grabbers and proponents of Measure B? Well, actually, Duffy doesn’t know much!

I’m voting NO on B and I am proud to support the NO on B side of logical citizens of Newport Beach!

Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer, ret.

Newport Beach

Early departure by elected mayor could cause problems and unanticipated expense to city

One aspect of Measure B that has not gotten the attention it deserves is what happens in the event of the resignation, removal, or death of the mayor. Measure B generally requires that a vacancy in the office of the mayor be filled by a special election held not less than 88 nor more than 103 days from the date of the vacancy.

Imagine the mayor under Measure B dies on a September 25. The window for the special election would run from December 23 through January 6. The city council would not have discretion, under Measure B, to postpone the special election; it would have to pick a date in this holiday window.

There are only two exceptions to the special election approach. First, if the vacancy occurs not less than 88 nor more than 103 days before the end of the mayor’s term, in other words, near the time of the next election of a mayor, the office would remain vacant until the mayor is elected.

Second, if the vacancy occurs not more than 180 days before the next regular municipal election the council may make the mayoral election part of that election. But in some cases, this will not be possible; if the mayor dies on the eve of the election, there will not be time to include the candidates on the ballot, so that a special election will be necessary.

Special elections are expensive and unpredictable and, in a sense, undemocratic. A special election for mayor would probably cost the city more than $250,000, perhaps closer to $500,000. And the benefit could be short-lived; imagine that only seven months were left in the mayor’s term; would it be worthwhile to run a special election? So few people vote in special elections that they do not really represent the “choice of the people.” They may look like democracy but they are really more like a form of gambling.

Our current system for filling a vacancy, whether of the mayor or another city councilmember, works far better than a special election. At present, if a council seat becomes vacant, the remaining councilmembers appoint someone from the relevant district to fill the remainder of the term. If the mayor’s seat becomes vacant, the councilmembers appoint one of the remaining councilmembers to serve the remainder of the year. By custom, this would be the mayor pro tem, who has already been serving on the council for several years and has been “backing up” the mayor at council meetings.

Nothing required the authors of Measure B to include the special election language. They could have left in place our current system for filling a vacancy in the office of the mayor. They could have provided that the appointed mayor would serve only until the next election. They could have left the choice (special election versus appointment) to the council at the time of the vacancy.

The special election language is just one example of the many drafting flaws in Measure B. Even those who favor direct elections of the mayor, and I do not, should vote against Measure B, so that we can have a proper process of discussion and drafting.

Walter Stahr

Newport Beach

A modest proposal: Formation of a NB Charter Update Committee looking at direct election of the mayor

On January 26, 2010, Marian Bergeson was appointed by the Newport Beach Council to chair the Charter Update Commission. Six citizens joined Chair Bergeson on the Commission. They were Dennis O’Neil, Larry Tucker, Richard Luehrs, Rush Hill, Karen Rhyne and the undersigned.

The Commission met regularly in public session following public notice during February, March and April of 2010 with its final meeting on May 4, 2010. 

Following extensive public input and vigorous discussion (including reasonable compromises) among its members, the Commission recommended seventeen (17) revisions to our Charter for the Council’s consideration. The Commission’s report totaled 167 pages.

Fast forward. As you know, by a recent split 4-3 vote and following the abandonment by the proponent of its petition effort, our current Council placed Measure B on the June 7 ballot without public vetting, without public discourse, and without the thoughtful consideration which might have come up with a “home run” instead of the many flaws inherent in the one-person drafted Measure B.  For all its perceived pluses, journalists and others have identified Measure B’s significant shortcomings, weaknesses and deficient drafting – not the least of which shortcomings was the forced ballot process.

So, a modest proposal: please vote “NO” on the ill-advised Measure B but at the first Council meeting following the June 7 Primary Election ask our Council to adopt a Resolution to appoint a blue ribbon Charter Update Committee comprised of well-respected residents to thoughtfully and thoroughly research and analyze the issue of a directly elected Mayor and to (with ample public input as was the case with the 2010 Charter Update Commission proceedings) propose a Charter Amendment for a near term vote by our electorate. (And, BTW, maybe while they are at it, the special Committee could fix an issue which Measure B neglected to address: eight (8) years lifetime is enough – no former 2-term Councilmember should ever be allowed to run again for Council.) 

In 1913, former Supreme Court Justice Lewis Brandeis stated: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Measure B never saw the broad light of day with the benefit of public debate, input and appropriate compromise. It’s not too late to correct an ill-considered process and defective measure. 

Please vote “NO” on Measure B and allow the public to shine future sunlight on the direct election of the mayor.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

“Let’s get into the weeds here answering these questions”

One of the most recent posts on Instagram by the primary proponent of Measure B asks, “Where’s the power grab?” As Ben Franklin said, when arguing against a king for these United States, “I am a mortal enemy of arbitrary government and unlimited power.” 

This proponent claims that the ballot question of, “Shall the Newport Beach City Charter be amended to provide for the direct election of the Mayor?” Says it all and doesn’t get any simpler.     

Do you want to elect your Mayor, and should your Mayor be directly accountable to you?

Let’s get into the weeds here in answering these questions…

Measure B itself goes way beyond those two simple questions. The proponent asks where the term “power grab” comes from. Well, it becomes very obvious when you get deeper into the Measure by reading the details. 

First, the “elected mayor” will be given exclusive authority and control of the city council agenda thereby controlling what comes before the council. Second, council districts will be reduced from 7 to 6, creating double representation within the district the Mayor lives in. Third, the city manager will be reduced in roll and authority making it difficult to attract qualified candidates for the position. Fourth, the position will be highly politicized. How? Candidates seeking the position will become very dependent on large, influential donors who hope to gain the favor of the Mayor when it comes to personal or business interests. Fifth, a “yes” vote on Measure B will create the potential for mayors intent on becoming politically powerful to back and raise campaign funds for city council candidates in order to line up consistent majority votes for their political benefit. 

And finally, and perhaps the most significant, is a loss of voice by the community in the business of the City. The Measure states, “The Mayor...shall perform such other duties consistent with the office as may be prescribed by this Charter, or as may be imposed by the City Council.” This wording takes us from having the City Charter define the mayor’s authority to allowing the mayor and three other City Councilmembers to decide, whenever they want, what the mayor’s authority will be. The residents would not have any say. This is the essence of the “power grab”…the authority given the mayor under this wording is both limitless and dangerous for the community.

There is nothing broken or wrong with the mayor’s position the way it is currently functioning. To change this model now is to risk losing the invaluable relationships among the city councilmembers, city staff and residents that have successfully guided Newport Beach for the past 67 years. 

From a sensible and rational position, as well as “What’s best for the City of Newport Beach?,” I urge you to vote “NO” on Measure B. 

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Council, 2016-2020

Newport Beach

Personally, I trust the advice of 11 former Newport Beach Mayors

Thank you for publishing the pro and con arguments on Measure B on Tuesday. 

The argument in favor of Measure B was presented by Councilmember Will O’Neill. He introduced the measure to City Council and did not support any form of hearing, study sessions or resident input. It was a rush to the ballot. I find it interesting that Councilman O’Neill’s term ends, and he is term limited out of running for city council, at the same time he could run for Mayor in 2024 to win another four-year term. Additionally, he could run for re-election in 2028. This is potentially too much power in one member of the City Council for too long a period. 

Having the City Council elect a member of the City Council to serve as Mayor annually is a proven and successful process. The primary duty of the Mayor is to chair the Council’s meetings and do other official duties for the City. This occurs without reducing the authority and independence of the other six councilmembers. If residents vote yes for measure B, the power shifts to the Mayor. Districts will be reduced from 7 to 6 and each councilmember, City Manager and department heads will have to always ask, “What does the Mayor support?” 

What impressed me about the arguments against Measure B is the list of past mayors recommending a no vote. These dedicated past and current officials have 33 years of cumulative experience as council-selected Newport Beach Mayors. This includes current city councilmembers Diane Dixon, (Mayor 2016 & 2019) and Brad Avery (Mayor 2020). They believe the current system provides equal standing for all councilmembers and supports a neutral professional services approach from our City management staff so there is no political alliance to any one councilmember. 

The current structure provides residents with a councilmember representing their area who understands their issues. Each councilmember votes to provide the best policy direction for their district and does not have to seek permission from the Mayor or worry about retaliation if they disagree. Each district gets one vote. A majority vote of four City Councilmembers is required to approve our budget, appointments to committees and boards, and policy issues. 

Residents should not be fooled by statements that an elected Mayor would be more accountable to voters. During a four-year term the Mayor will be in control and removal will take a recall effort or waiting until the next election. I prefer accountability and equal power to all councilmembers at every council meeting. 

I trust the advice of eleven (11) former Newport Beach Mayors who recommended we vote No on B and retain our current council organization of 7 equal members. I believe this will result in better policy and budget decisions for all Newport Beach residents. We need our City Council to be community-based representatives for their district and not requiring the approval of an elected Mayor for every district issue. 

I urge Newport Beach voters to vote No on Measure B. 

Ron Rubino, President 

Eastbluff Homeowners’ Community Association

Newport Beach

Preserve the city charter, vote No on B

It’s vital that voters ‘unbundle’ Proposition B. It reads like a ‘democratic’ idea. I treasure that we can vote and that our votes matter. However, Proposition B isn’t about voting. It’s about consolidating and concentrating power. That’s it pure and simple. 

I’m a conservative who believes power should be limited and, if possible, spread between individuals, agencies, local and state bodies and at the federal level between three branches of government. 

Prop B does just the opposite. It puts power in the hands of one person, a mayor, who would be elected for four (or possibly eight) years. It strips power from the city council, a council of seven elected people who represent all seven areas of our city equally. This proposition concentrates power in the hands of one individual who is given the authority to set the city council’s agenda. 

We’re all familiar with the mudslinging that fills our mailboxes during elections. It takes money to run for office, unfortunately lots of money. Most often this money is provided by special interests. “We do for you so you do for us.”  There are strings. Always. Politicians become beholden to special interests. Follow the money. Campaign purse strings are politically binding. 

Prop B sounds good, “democratic,” but it’s fundamentally the opposite. We have a balanced democratic system in place that spreads power to all councilmembers and their districts. Do not unbalance what works. Preserve the city’s charter and VOTE NO on Proposition B.

Lorian Petry

Corona del Mar

Measure B: The devil is in the details

Jump, I’ll catch you!”

Blue Buoy swim instructor Pete is standing in the pool out a little from the edge. His promise is reassuring to our 4-year-old. Nick trusts Pete and jumps. Pete catches Nick. 

A proponent of Measure B says that anyone who says that Measure B vests total control in the proposed strong mayor is making a false claim, “not just false, but provably false.” 

I disagree and, moreover, Measure B is so deficiently drafted that it only reinforces the notion that Measure B vests total control in the proposed strong mayor. Despite the subpar drafting, the proponent is, in essence, saying “Jump, I’ll catch you!”; trust me that there’s nothing wrong with the Measure as drafted. But let’s look at the precise deficiently drafted language of Measure B to see who is making the false claim.

Here’s the actual language: “…the Mayor will have the sole discretion to set City Council agendas and to change the order of business on the agenda.”

But wait, there’s more.

The proponent says that the “total control” argument is “false” because of a toothless exception which was added (please read it with care): “With the concurrence of at least three members of the City Council at any public meeting, an item MAY be added to a FUTURE City Council agenda.” [Emphasis added.] 

Toothless, indeed, and here’s why:

–The new agenda item “MAY” be added; the deficiently drafted language does not say “WILL” be added. What good is it to the three councilmembers if their important item “MAY” (or presumably “MAY NOT”) be added. In my view, this language is deficiently written and does not reduce the clear total control of the strong mayor.

–The new agenda item may be added to a “FUTURE” agenda. When? This year? Next year? Ever? When the strong mayor decides to strategically add it – which may well be when the issue is no longer topical or of interest to our residents. 

Again, in my view, this language is deficiently written and does not reduce the clear total control of the strong mayor.

The foregoing specific samples are some of the many examples of the unsatisfactorily drafted Measure B. The proponent is saying “Jump! I’ll catch you!”; the proponent states, “No To Cynicism” and is asking for our trust and faith that all will be well. Does this remind you of Ms. Pelosi’s famous words: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it….”

The only problem with the “all will be well” logic is, of course, that Measure B changes the constitution of our City – FOREVER! (or at least until our residents are exposed to another outrageously expensive campaign to undo the damage).

Measure B is poorly drafted; it is Bad for Newport; vote NO on Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

Duffy: Why I believe Measure B will be good

Former councilman Jeff Herdman’s recent letters opposing Measure B (voter-elected mayor) deserve a trip down memory lane.

As a former mayor, I support Measure B. 

For the past eight years I’ve witnessed the “selection” of the mayor in a private room at City Hall.

I also served with Jeff Herdman for four years until his defeat in 2020.

The November 2018 city council election was a spirited one. I was behind by a couple hundred votes on election day. 

That’s when Herdman pounced on the opportunity to be “selected” mayor. 

He shopped a “term sheet” with councilmembers hoping to cobble together four votes to become mayor. 

Herdman’s term-sheet included removing Will O’Neill from the Finance Committee, denying Will O’Neill from ever being mayor, making certain staff changes and guaranteeing the mayor pro tem position to the agreeable councilmember.

Over the next two weeks the Registrar of Voters counted the late ballots. I won in a 36-vote landslide dashing Herdman’s hope of being “selected” mayor.

Measure B stops these political shenanigans and lets voters decide our mayor. 

Voters have a way of purging bad behavior. Herdman was defeated in 2020 after a series of scandals.

Please vote Yes on B to elect the mayor.

Duffy Duffield, District 3

Newport Beach City Council

Measure B is a shipwreck…don’t let them steer our city into the rocks

Over 40% of Measure B is supported by donors outside our City and the State! Why? Who are they? What do they want? 

–Measure B gives the mayor primary responsibility for interpreting policies, programs and needs of the City to the people. This measure would allow the mayor to set agenda items and to change the order of business. This measure would let one person decide what should be on the agenda. There are competing interests in this city, and one person should not be in charge of what is discussed. We all want to be heard. Measure B gives an inordinate amount of unchecked power to just ONE person. 

 –The current charter allows the City Councilmembers to hold the mayor accountable. This relationship keeps checks and balances of power. Measure B would remove that protection altogether. The only way to remove a mayor would be through a costly recall process. 

–Measure B invites corruption – where there is money, there is a great potential for exploitation. To install a mayor for four years with the option to run again for another four years gives one person plenty of time to get their hands dirty by doing the bidding of special interests. What could this look like? The mayor could be in discussions with a developer and give them the contract. We could lose valuable bluff tops to a mayor that wants to show favor to a developer vs. what the people want. Newport is wealthy – not only for its money but for its natural resources, including Banning Ranch, Back Bay and the beaches. We want a mayor that will have to listen to all of us and not be influenced by outsiders with money.

–Corruption is already happening and is a sign of what is to come. The campaign in favor of measure B has received over 40% of its funding from donors outside our city, and some are even out of state. Why? Who are these people? And what are their true intentions?

The writing is on the wall or, better yet, on every dollar bill – a vote for measure B hands our beloved city to the fists of autocracy. 

 –Four City Councilmembers – O’Neill, Blom, Duffy and Muldoon overlooked Joy Brenner as Mayor. This dismissive arrogant action against a worthy, hard-working, fellow public servant is not what we need more of. They are the ones who support Measure B. We don’t need a crew of people like that at the helm to steer us into the rocks.

–Measure B is a takeover disguised as a democratic proposition. It is not for the people. It is the opposite. 

Don’t be duped by a measure that outsiders fund. 

I am not paid. I am not a politician. I have no other reason to speak out other than I care about you, and I care about our city and all of its natural beauty. Join me to protect it. This is true democracy. Vote NO on Measure B.

Jennifer Irani

Newport Beach

Is the Laguna Niguel fire a reminder for Newport Beach?

(The letter below was sent to the Mayor of Newport Beach and City Councilmembers.) 

You have seen the horrific damage done by the Coastal Fire. Immediate action is required to protect the health safety and welfare of the residents of Newport Beach.

What you will learn is that the damage in the Coastal Fire (Laguna Niguel) impacted an area that incorporated the latest “state of the art” fire protection planning, area incorporating fuel modification zones, fire access roads, fire retardant building materials, etc. There is no flaw to point to. While the cause is not known at this time, this fire could happen in Newport Beach. Immediate action is required to protect Newport Beach.

–We learned from the Santa Monica fire that Mutual Aide Agreements cannot be relied upon during major wildfire events. During the Santa Monica fire, needed emergency reserves were held back by local governments to protect their jurisdictions.

–We learned from the Santa Monica Fire that major transportation arterials (PCH and Freeway) were closed as a result of the fire, significantly impacting emergency evacuations and access of emergency equipment.

–Human life is valued over structures. Emergency responders and resources are prioritized to ensure all human life is evacuated and protected. Extinguishing the fire and protection of structures comes second.

–The size of the structures matter when protecting the spread of fires during periods of high winds.

–Electric power shutoffs/rolling blackouts are a reality. When this happens during a fire emergency more of our emergency resources will be deployed for traffic/intersection control to facilitate emergency evacuations.

–Southern California and the City of Newport Beach are in a period of drought projected to last years. Water supplies will be limited. Watering of yards will be limited. Vegetation will be drier, adding to the fire risk and vegetation’s percentage of volatile oils.

–Newport Beach, as is all of southern California, is subject to high wind conditions.

–Based on State housing mandates Southern California and Newport Beach are projected to experience a significant increase in population and residential structures. Structures are projected to be large high density infill residential structures.

–Based on State transportation mandates the percentage of the population dependent on mass transit will increase. 

Newport Beach is a major tourist destination. Total population is projected to increase significantly as development within Southern California increases significantly.

Please take immediate steps to address the existing potential fire threats to Newport Beach residents and the public. 

The City is in the process of updating its Housing Element and other impacted General Plan Elements to incorporate State housing mandates. Please ensure the General Plan Update and its Environmental Impact Report fully evaluate the fire risk facing Newport Beach, taking into consideration the State mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment, as well as, existing state regulations allowing increased developments beyond anticipated in the existing General Plan and the Final Environmental Impact Report last prepared for the General Plan.

Dave Tanner

Newport Beach

Curbing the effects of inflation, even in Newport

At nearly $5.90 a gallon for regular and more than $6 a gallon for diesel, Newport residents who own a car or a boat know California’s gas prices are the highest in the country. 

Back on March 11, when I first suggested in Stu News Newport’s sister publication, Stu News Laguna, giving all 27 million licensed drivers in the state $250, people laughed at the idea. 

Less than two weeks later, Gov. Newsom announced his plan to give people $400. I’m guessing no one in Newport was laughing then. 

So, here’s my question: Will anyone in Newport, or California for that matter, ever see a check or gas card? If that’s not going to happen, then please tell us.

In an effort to help curb the effects of inflation, even in Newport, maybe the DMV should eliminate the annual vehicle registration fee for 2022-23. 

I wonder how many people will laugh at that idea.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Letters to the Editor

Direct accountability matters

As a small business owner, I hold myself accountable for the service and quality in my restaurants. As your City Councilmember, you hold me directly accountable for decisions we make and the outcomes of those decisions too.

How do we make those decisions? We set public policy based on agendas set well in advance of a City Council meeting. As it currently stands, we delegate most of the agenda-setting functions to our City Manager. No matter how good a City Manager is (and ours is great), the City Manager is accountable only to the City Council and not directly to the people of the City of Newport Beach.

As City Councilmembers, we can also place items on the agenda if three of us agree that it deserves discussion. That, in fact, is how the Elect Our Mayor initiative will be on your ballots. I asked our City Council to consider the item, all seven City Councilmembers agreed, and then a majority of us voted to put Measure B on the ballot so that you get to choose whether you want to elect the Mayor (or whether you want us to keep choosing amongst ourselves every year).

Once you understand that, you’ll join me in expressing surprise that opponents of Measure B claim that the Mayor would be “too powerful.” No power would shift from City Councilmembers to the Mayor, we would still be able to place items on the agenda. The change would be moving the primary agenda setting option from the unelected City Manager to the directly accountable Mayor.

Direct accountability to voters matters. Learn more at www.electourmayor.com and encourage your friends and neighbors to vote Yes on B.

Noah Blom, District 5

Mayor Pro Tem

Newport Beach City Council

Don’t buy into the slogans

I love my “all natural” ice cream.

I always buy “fat free” margarine.

My juice boxes have “no sugar added.”

The chicken my wife serves is “free range” because they are exposed to the outdoors.

The grandkids’ fruit roll ups are “made with real fruit.”

You get the point. Slogans can be (and often are) misleading.

So, it is with the campaign slogan, “Elect Our Mayor.”

Sounds good, yes? Democracy in action, correct?

Motherhood, apple pie, stars and stripes and “Elect Our Mayor.” 

The proponents repeatedly claim, “It’s That Simple.” I admire simplicity, but sometimes simple answers (or clever catch phrases) gloss over complicated problems and unintended consequences. In this case, “It Clearly Isn’t That Simple.”

Maybe we should first read the words behind the superficial slogan of “Elect Our Mayor.”

Maybe we should consider the significant taxpayer cost of the measure to add a strong mayor’s full-time staff which will inevitably be necessary. (Just ask any city with a strong mayor.)

Maybe we should consider the disenfranchisement of the other weakened councilmembers subordinate and junior to the strong mayor.

Maybe we will lose a preeminent educated and experienced City Manager who is stripped of prior duties and who is under the thumb of a powerful mayor.

Maybe the other weakened councilmembers will not be able to be responsive in the reconfigured districts (reduced from seven to six) with at least 2,000 more constituents to serve for each new district.

Maybe the Mayor’s district (already served by another councilmember) will become a super district with two representatives on Council to the significant detriment of the other five districts with only one representative.

Please think twice about the misleading catch phrase “Elect Our Mayor” and the many unfavorable consequences of the measure.

Vote “No” on the “Bad for Newport” Measure B.

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

It’s time for Newport Beach to elect their own mayor

Measure B sure has brought out some interesting opposing arguments, often based in falsehoods and fear. Fear and name-calling don’t move the needle for me and I hope they don’t for you.

A recent rebuttal to the No campaign, written by John O’Hara, reflects the thinking that sealed my commitment to the Elect Our Mayor Campaign. 

–The power to select our Mayor should belong with the voters. 

–Term limits, as written in Measure B, are sound and actually better than what we currently have for the City Council in general.

–‘What if’…are we to let ‘what if’ determine how we lead our city? 

Fear is often used as a persuasion technique, particularly in elections. That certainly is the case with the “No Elected Mayor in Newport Beach” campaign. In fact, the campaign’s website says exactly that. As someone who holds sacred the people’s right to vote for their leaders, that statement alone is enough to reject this fear-based campaign that seeks to limit the power of the voter. No and Elected in the same sentence is baffling. 

A recent No on B mailer was filled with inflammatory language like “deceptive and dangerous,” “Pro-Trump Republicans” and “special interest power grab.”

Those words were used to demonize those of us who support Measure B.  Those words also demonstrate a lack of respect for neighbors who support Measure B and the importance of the power resting with the voters. 

“Special Interest Power Grab?” Yes, your interests and mine are special, and the power should rest with us.

It’s time for Newport Beach to have Mayors that go beyond the ceremonial, and it’s time to give the voters the freedom to choose their Mayor. 

Ruth Kobayashi

Newport Beach

Lee Lowrey officially withdraws from City Council race

(Yesterday, May 9, candidate Lee Lowrey officially withdrew from the 2022 Newport Beach City Council race scheduled for November. Lee cited business commitments. He also promised to refund all $30,000 of political contributions that he received.)

Dear supporters of my candidacy for Newport Beach City Council,

Effective (yesterday), I will be ending my campaign for the position of City Councilman (District 4) for the City of Newport Beach. Your support and encouragement for my candidacy has meant everything to me. It has been an overwhelming humbling experience. Coming to my decision has not been an easy one. As I thought about the time necessary to successfully represent the citizens of Newport Beach on the City Council, initially I believed it was a manageable time commitment. It has become evident with the recent changes in economic conditions more time is going to be required to navigate my company with its current workload, as well as more time needed to seize new economic opportunities. To be able to give the 110% that I have promised my customers, employees, investors, and business partners, the additional time I believed I would have had for City Council just isn’t there.

I decided to run for city council first for my love of Newport Beach and my fellow residents. Additionally, I believed my background in business both large and small, my position as your current Chairman of the Newport Beach Planning Commission navigating through the new and complex housing mandates Sacramento is dictating on local municipalities, and my knowledge of John Wayne Airport’s intricacies from my six years of service on the Airport Commission would have made my background a great fit for the City Council. Unfortunately, this will not be the time that I will be able to take my background and experience to the voters.

I would be remiss in not thanking Mayor Kevin Muldoon, Mayor Pro Tem Noah Blom, Councilman Will O’Neill, Councilman Duffy Duffield, Congresswoman Michelle Steel, Sheriff Don Barnes, Orange County Supervisors Don Wagner and Andrew Do, and former GOP Assembly Leader and OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh for their early support. Also, I want to thank those that donated over $30,000 during the past three weeks. Your donations will be refunded in full.

As the field of candidates begins to take final shape and we get closer to candidate filing, I look forward to listening to all the candidates and their respective policy positions as they seek election. Newport Beach may have some challenges as we look ahead, but we are all beyond blessed to live in this wonderful city we call home.

All the best to you and yours,

Lee M. Lowrey 

Boats landing on the Balboa Peninsula

My husband and I have owned property for over 40 years on the Balboa Peninsula. I read numerous local news sources including major news publications, the Newport City weekly reports, the City Council updates and local internet network sources. I also receive email alerts from the Newport Beach Police Department. 

Lately I have noticed what appears to be a major omission of very serious activities in our local area. Several months ago, a boat approached the Balboa Peninsula and off-loaded numerous people who then raced ashore to waiting cars. On that occasion there were armed police officers and armed agents who arrived in time to surround and contain the people as they attempted to escape into our community. 

I could not find any news explaining the situation. 

Recently, about one week ago, I experienced another similar situation. I saw numerous police cars and ambulances with sirens and lights on racing east on the Peninsula toward the Wedge. There was a group of people hiding on a private property near E St. and they raced toward Balboa Blvd. to head west toward Balboa Village. The police cars returned from the Wedge and apprehended several people. 

Unfortunately, once again I could not find any account in any publication regarding this very serious activity. 

I was frustrated by this lack of a factual account so I reached out to the Police Department and found out that approximately 10 people jumped off a boat near the Wedge. The OCSD Harbor Patrol was on the scene and assisted. U.S Customs and Border Protection resources also responded and detained some of the individuals. 

I feel that keeping local residents in the dark about these potentially dangerous activities is wrong. As a longtime-resident, I believe that we need to know what is happening in our community so we can make appropriate decisions regarding our security as individual property owners and our security as a community. 

The Balboa Peninsula is a water-oriented location and therefore is completely exposed to both the ocean and the bay. We need to work together with our City Council, our Police Department and the various Harbor law enforcement groups and that starts through discussions and education – not through avoidance of the facts. 

Ron and Nancy Arrache

Balboa Peninsula

The acquisition of Banning Ranch is complete

In a victorious moment, a goal that has taken decades to come to fruition, the “darling” of the coastal preservationists, Banning Ranch, acquired $11.5 million from the Coastal Conservancy this last week to complete its acquisition as public land. It had taken many years for preservationists to first gain approval by the Coastal Commission and then secondly acquire the $97 million necessary to purchase the site. 

When I retired in 2008, the Banning Ranch Conservancy became the first charitable group to which I donated time and effort. I was drawn immediately to the cause after listening one evening to a presentation by Suzanne Forster and Dorothy Kraus, and consequentially meeting the President Terry Welsh, all three impressing me greatly with their knowledge of the precious attributes of Banning Ranch and their fervor for preserving it as the largest remaining private coastal parcel between Ventura County and the U.S/Mexico border. Many local citizens from the coastal area volunteered to make this dream come true.

The Banning Ranch Conservancy wants to refresh and repair the coastal resources which have been damaged by decades of oil production for its use as a public space. Eventually it will provide access opportunities such as trails and low-impact overnight accommodations.

Several local political figures have become involved in aiding Banning Ranch Conservancy to meet its goals, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, Costa Mesa Councilmember Arlis Reynolds, California Director for the Trust of Public Land Guillermo Rodriquez and Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.

One would be remiss not to mention the generous gift of $50 million donated by Newport Beach philanthropists Frank and Joann Randall in 2019 to the non-profit Trust for Public Land which helped secure an exclusive agreement with the owners of Banning Ranch for the acquisition.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

Foley has done more, worked harder and deserves our vote for Supervisor

I have been a homeowner and resident of Newport Beach for nine years. For the past five years, I’ve worked to address the impacts of John Wayne Airport on surrounding communities in Orange County, and I’ve witnessed many elected officials talk about this issue. Katrina Foley is the rare public servant who actually delivered results. As Mayor of Costa Mesa, Katrina gathered 20,000 signatures of residents opposed to the operational expansion at JWA and she delivered those signatures to the Board of Supervisors alongside hundreds of concerned citizens during the 2019 GAIP (General Aviation Improvement Program) process.

At the time, I remember feeling like community members didn’t have a seat at the decision-making table when it came to the airport. That changed in 2021 when we elected Katrina Foley to the Board of Supervisors.

There is no better candidate for District 5 Supervisor than Katrina Foley. During the past year that she’s served as Supervisor, Foley has worked tirelessly on behalf of her constituents and has accrued an impressive number of accomplishments. Here are some highlights:

JWA Fly Friendly Program: As an Airport Commissioner, I witnessed firsthand, Supervisor Foley working collaboratively with residents, JWA staff, the City of Newport Beach and the General Aviation community to develop a Fly Friendly program which will soon begin to bring relief from GA aircraft noise to communities surrounding the airport. The fact that she managed to produce this entire program in a less than a year is an unprecedented feat.

Homelessness: Supervisor Foley tackled the problem of homelessness head-on the day she took office: She conducted an audit of the myriad collection of County homelessness programs and expenditures; directed a survey of homeless citizens to understand the issues they confront; and, she hosted an OC Homelessness Hearing to identify the drivers of homelessness and come up with solutions to solve this intractable social problem plaguing our communities. And it is especially noteworthy that, as Costa Mesa Mayor, she spearheaded the construction of a homelessness shelter. Katrina gets things done.

Sober Living Facilities: For more than a decade, Katrina advocated for regulatory reforms to protect patients and neighborhoods from abusive, profit-mill-style detox and sober living home operators. As Costa Mesa Mayor, she worked to adopt the first regulatory scheme that has been repeatedly upheld by the courts. The County adopted the Costa Mesa ordinance and added more protections in 2019. As Supervisor, Katrina’s office collaborated with Newport Beach to share ordinance details and Newport Beach initiated a code amendment to move an ordinance forward. Supervisor Foley serves on a newly formed ad hoc committee to examine and provide recommendations on residential treatment facilities. Notably, Foley testified before a CA state hearing on sober living facilities stating that by allowing the industry to regulate itself, the state endangers patients and neighborhoods and insisted that the state step up. “To achieve change to our sober living regulations, we need policy change across all levels of government,” she said. Katrina will work to make sure policies change.

This is a small sample of the work Supervisor Foley has done to help solve some of the most difficult problems confronting our communities. She’s smart and ethical, works harder than anyone I’ve ever seen, and she gets results. Please vote for Katrina Foley for District 5 Supervisor so she can continue this important work.

Sue Dvorak

Newport Beach

I just can’t be quiet in my opposition to Measure B

I have a right to keep silent, but I can’t! The most recent presentations by the proponents of Measure B – the proposed change to our City Charter to directly elect the mayor of Newport Beach – causes me to once again speak out. Last week, proponents of Measure B claimed that you need to be mayor to get positions on regional boards. Point of fact...Councilman (Will) O’Neill was just made the Chair of the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency (the Toll Roads), and he is not mayor. He was also not the mayor when his appointment to this Board was made in 2016. 

The proponent further stated that you need to be mayor to be a member of the OCTA Board. The current Board Chair of OCTA, Mark Murphy, was appointed to the Board in 2017 when he was a city councilman in Orange, not mayor. And he wasn’t actually elected mayor until Nov. 2018. The vice-chair, Gene Hernandez, who was just re-appointed to the board, is currently the Mayor Pro tem of Yorba Linda, not the mayor. 

Other than the OCTA, our city councilmembers, not the mayor, represent us on most Orange County agencies important to Newport Beach – 11 of them, in fact. 

Councilman (“Duffy”) Duffield has stated that he could not get the attention of the congressman in D.C. when he visited as a councilmember but could when he was mayor. The fact of the matter is that Newport Beach received the dredging money well after he was no longer mayor. If he thought it was so important to have the mayor present in order to get a meeting in D.C., the mayor should have accompanied him on this trip. 

It should also be noted that the City had previously received $16-$18 million for dredging despite not having an elected mayor. My experience when representing the City in D.C., on two different trips, is that you actually get a lot more accomplished when meeting with staffers as opposed to the actual elected representative. 

Let’s not forget that Measure B has been proposed by the council majority that was responsible for the firing of one of the most effective city managers in the history of our city, Dave Kiff. And, although this proposed Charter Amendment does not explicitly detail the cost in the measure that the City will incur, the experience of other cities that have an elected mayor is that they have expenses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the position and the staff that is needed for this newly created office to function. There is no reason to believe that this will not be the case in Newport Beach. 

To the proponents of Measure B I ask, “What didn’t the City get that we needed because we have not had a directly elected mayor?” And, “Why did you abandon the signature gathering process to place this measure on the ballot and resort to going directly to the Council majority for approval?” No public outcry, no demand from constituents, the city is and has been governed well for the past 70 years; the City is financially sound, citizens are not complaining, so where did this come from? 

I have the right to remain silent, but in this case I just can’t. I urge you to vote NO on Measure B. 

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Council, 2016-2020 

Newport Beach


Guest Letter

Joy Brenner

District 6

Newport Beach City Council

Are voters being underestimated?

Guest Letter Joy Brenner

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

City Councilmember Joy Brenner

When a politician tells you, “It’s very simple…I trust the voters” (to do what I say), be suspicious, be very suspicious! The elect your mayor campaign is a perfect example, with a lot of complexities not evident on the surface. We currently elect our mayors every two years when we choose city councilmembers who come from all parts of our city. Each generally serves as mayor for one or two years while on council, not for a total of two four-year terms or eight years as proposed in the June 7 ballot Measure B.

Historically, our most dedicated councilmembers have been citizens who want to give back and protect our quality of life in Newport Beach. Lately there have been many politicians who want to go on to a higher elected office and it often changes their perspective. This measure would serve a politician well while they build their reputation and war chest (lots of money) here in Newport Beach. And they only have to live here for about 30 days before running for council, or in this case, mayor. If this measure passes, we will have many politicians hoping to use us as their political stepping-stone.

I found that by taking any particular person out of my reasoning on this topic I was better able to look at the pros and cons. One important con is that big money special interests may find this desirable in order to just work with one powerful mayor. 

We have seen that most of the money supporting B is coming from business interests, many outside our city. Convincing a majority of the council who have the responsibility to protect all parts of the community would be more difficult. However, even those with special interests who really love our city can see the danger of having one person with extreme power and a rigid perspective in this position.

Our system is not perfect but other cities, normally much larger, have big problems when they elect their mayor…corruption, bribery, bickering, fights, political machines and power-hungry politicians. Please VOTE NO on MEASURE B to preserve our citizen-based local government where everyone has direct access and can discuss issues with ALL councilmembers and lobby for the solutions which best serve our entire community!


Letters to the Editor

Still the shining city on the hill?

Former Mayor Mike Henn’s talk at the Speak Up Newport Dinner on February 11, 2011 stuck with me. Mayor Henn described Newport as “the Shining City on the Hill.”

Yes, we heard from Mike about the City’s then current and future priorities (including “generational priorities,” which phrase is way beyond my pay grade), but that “Shining City” phrase is what I remember 11 years later.

That simple description bespeaks emotion, inspiration, and aspiration. Mike’s vision sorta made me proud to call Newport “home.”

But as I think of the town which has been a part time or fulltime home going on 68 years, I wonder if the vision is about to change.

Our Council of seven has worked collaboratively for nearly 70 years. They (all seven) debate vigorously, they (all seven) decide troublesome issues, they (all seven) put disagreements behind, they (all seven) move on to the next challenge.

I wonder – for all its perceived pluses – whether the direct election of the mayor plan will affect the thoughtful collaborative judgment by seven (former) equals. I wonder whether the “strong mayor” will overshadow the “lesser” remaining councilmembers and nullify our pre-eminent City Manager. I wonder whether we will still be “the Shining City on the Hill” after June 7.

A last thought as we prepare to cast our absentee ballots: If the direct election of the mayor is so worthwhile on its merits as contended by a proponent, why have so many prominent past and present Newport Beach Councilmembers, Mayors, Citizens of the Year, journalists, influential leaders, commission members, committee members, and committed citizens come out against the measure? 

Maybe these thoughtful folks have looked at the devil in the details – not swayed by a superficial catchphrase.

Please vote “NO” on Measure B. 

Paul K. Watkins

Newport Beach

Vote Yes on B, a rebuttal to the naysayers

I have now seen multiple misleading arguments in opposition to Measure B – the Elect Our Mayor initiative in Newport Beach. Here are some of those arguments and why I believe they are misleading. In the end, the voters of Newport Beach get to decide this important issue. Get educated and be sure to vote on June 7, 2022.

Argument 1 – This Is a Power Grab

How is allowing the people of Newport Beach to directly elect their Mayor a “power grab?” A “power grab” by whom? The people? Giving the people the chance to choose their own Mayor is democracy. It is simpler and more accountable government than the present system, which gives the power to appoint the Mayor to the City Council.

Argument 2 – The Proposed Terms for the Mayor Are Too Long.

Long compared to what? Certainly not the current system, where councilmembers can serve for 8 years, sit out a bit, and run again – over and over. Under the proposed measure, a person elected Mayor may only serve a maximum of two terms of four years each (for a maximum of 8 years served as Mayor in a lifetime). These term limits are in line with the limits in most cities. In fact, many cities set the limits at three or four terms of four years. Some cities even have no limits on the number of terms but simply limit successive terms. The proposed terms are not too long and are not unusual.

Argument 3 – Will O’Neill Would Make An Outstanding Mayor But What If the Voters Pick A Bad Mayor?

Most opponents of Measure B openly praise Will O’Neill and believe that he would make an excellent Mayor if Measure B passes and he runs and he is elected by the voters. But, they say, what if the voters of Newport Beach select a bad Mayor? I trust the voters of Newport Beach and believe it is unlikely they will select a bad Mayor. But if they somehow did, it’s worth remembering two important things. First, the proposed elected Mayor would only be one vote of seven, without a veto, and other councilmembers can add items to the policy agenda. Second, if a bad Mayor ever did emerge, the situation could be addressed through a recall process. Or the bad Mayor will not be re-elected. Do not assume that the voters are ignorant or incompetent. Trust the voters. Trust the democratic process. Elect the Mayor.

Argument 4 – The System That Newport Currently Uses Has Been Around a Long Time and Seems to Work So Why Change It?

The naysayers focus so heavily on wanting all the policy power to remain with the unelected City Manager. The Council-Manager system of governance is not democratic and in fact was originally devised to undermine democracy in city governance. The fact that many cities run this way, or that Newport Beach has long been run this way, does not address whether it is the best way to run our city. The origin of the Council-Manager system is enlightening and, in many ways, disturbing. In the early 1900s, when immigrants began to settle in large numbers in cities around the United States, the existing power structure of the cities feared that the immigrant hordes would vote together as a block and vote in one of their own kind. The solution to this “problem” was to develop the Council-Manager system of city governance and prevent the majority of voters from voting in the Mayor they wanted. Instead, voters were limited to electing several councilmembers whose power was diffused and it was up to the council members to select a “professional” city manager. [See 2006 article by Richard C. Schragger in the Yale Law Journal (115 Yale L.J. 2542) entitled “Can Strong Mayors Empower Weak Cities? On the Power of Local Executives in a Federal System”.] The net result is that in the City of Newport Beach, and in all cities that utilize the Council-Manager model, the person with the most power to set, influence and implement policy is the City Manager. The City Manager, however, is unelected by the voters and not directly accountable to the voters. 

A vote of “YES” on Measure B is a vote for democracy, accountability and a better way to run our great city. Please vote YES ON B.

John O’Hara

Newport Beach


Letters to the Editor

We have inherent rights, and one of those should be voting to elect our mayor

I’ve heard some rather odd rumbling around town that even though the people don’t have the right to directly vote for our Mayor, this system “isn’t broke so we don’t need to fix it.” This suggests that our system was whole and right to begin with. But when the government holds back power away from the people – especially power as basic as selecting our city’s leader – then it’s an inherently broken system from the start. 

It’s time to vote to take back our rightful vote by voting “yes” on Measure B. 

Second to mothering my son, my absolute favorite job was teaching high schoolers about civics. It usually only took a few minutes in the first class to incentivize them to care and then we were off to the races with theories, concrete examples, and debates. Oh debates – the best part of it all because it not only showed what and how they were thinking but showed how much they cared. Our most basic question to answer was: what is the role of government? 

The government – according to the Enlightenment values our country was founded upon – is to bring order and protection to our basic individual rights of life, liberty and opportunity. We as individuals have powers and rights that are inherent in being humans. We release some of our individual powers over to the government because there are some circumstances in which a collective power structure better oversees the intersection of all our rights and powers. 

However, the government doesn’t have the same inherent right to power that the people do; its power comes from the consent of the people only when the individual power of the people can’t reasonably balance our rights with the rights of others. In sum, the people are presumed to have inherent powers and the government receives its limited powers from the consent of the people when necessary. 

Currently, the people of Newport Beach do not have the power to directly elect our mayor. We elect the 7 council members who then vote amongst themselves each year who will be our mayor. 

This is an unnecessary governmental power that should rightfully be in the hands of the people. Who is supporting keeping power in the government instead of with us; a small, politically active (read: few but loud) group with disproportionate influence in local politics whose power would be disrupted if we took our rightful vote back? 

We are a vibrant city that garners attention nationwide. We should have a direct say in who represents us as our mayor. By voting “yes” on Measure B, we are directly voting for our mayor and directly voting for our own inherent rights as the people of Newport Beach. 

Vote to vote, my friends. 

Erin Clark 

Newport Beach

Caution to the potential impact Measure B might have

This morning’s (4/26) Stu News starts with an article by Tom Johnson about Measure B. He opens by saying he likes Will O’Neill and considers him a friend but then goes on to explain why he ultimately is against Measure B. I completely agree with him for all the reasons he outlines and several more. 

It shouldn’t be about whether someone likes O’Neill or not but instead, what is the potential impact this change in electing a mayor would bring to our great city. One person having more power, the potential to give wealthy individuals more control because they will bring big dollars to campaigns, reducing districts from 7 to 6 are all reasons residents should be concerned. 

These reasons and more are why so many former council members, mayors and residents are against B. Vote no on B.

Mike Groff

Newport Beach 

Newport Beach

Lessons from Westminster for Newport

In June, residents in Newport Beach and Westminster, two cities in Orange County, will vote on mirror-image changes to their city charters.

In Newport Beach, voters will consider whether the mayor should be directly elected, for a four-year term, renewable for another four years, with considerable control over city policy. In Westminster, which has long had a system of direct election of the mayor, residents will consider something like the Newport Beach system, in which the five members of the city council would select each year, from among themselves, one person to serve as ceremonial mayor for the next year.

Many residents of Westminster are tired of their strong-mayor system, in which contentious city council meetings often last past midnight. The city council is so busy bickering, as Voice of OC has reported, that the city may well have to declare bankruptcy.

Among the points on the Westminster ballot, in favor of changing to the Newport system, are that it would “STOP potential corruption and abuse of power by politicians who hold the title of mayor for too long,” and “ALIGN Westminster with 26 other cities in Orange County who appoint their mayor annually” and “increase the likelihood that the mayor will have local government experience as a Westminster councilmember before serving as mayor.”

These are all good arguments, reasons why Westminster should change its charter, to provide for a one-year mayor selected by the city council. They are also reasons why Newport Beach should NOT change its charter – should retain its current system in which the city council selects a one-year ceremonial mayor.

It is striking that nobody, not even the current mayor of Westminster, submitted an argument against the proposed change to the Westminster charter to be printed on the ballot. It seems that, in Westminster at least, there is a consensus that a powerful, directly elected mayor is not a good idea.

Of course, larger cities, such as Anaheim, Irvine, and Santa Ana, generally have directly elected mayors. But according to the 2020 census, Newport Beach and Westminster are of similar size: 85,239 people in Newport Beach and 90,911 people in Westminster.

Some might argue that the ethnic composition of Westminster is different than Newport Beach, so that Newport Beach (even if it changes its charter) would not face the problems that Westminster has faced. This is a dubious if not racist argument. People are people. Good government systems draw out the best in people; bad government systems draw out the worst. If Newport Beach changes to the Westminster system, the odds that it will start to see the problems from which Westminster has suffered in recent years.

The current system in Newport Beach has worked well and should not be changed. Surely Newport Beach should learn from Westminster and not rush to change its charter in a way that has not worked there. Please join me in voting NO on Measure B in Newport Beach.

Walter Stahr

Newport Beach