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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

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Brenner’s leadership fails make now the time for Kleiman

On August 24th, I had the opportunity to attend Lauren Kleiman’s campaign launch event for City Council, District 6 (CdM). Lauren is the well-respected Chair of the Newport Beach Planning Commission with a passion for bettering our community. For more information, visit lauren4newport. The event was attended by our current mayor, Kevin Muldoon, as well as prior mayors like Will O’Neill and Duffy Duffield. During her kickoff speech, Lauren spoke enthusiastically about her support for our local law enforcement, reducing the homelessness that has been growing in our city and the need to stop overcrowding.

City council candidate debates are moving forward and only one incumbent (Joy Brenner) is on the debate stage. Rather than running on her accomplishments, Joy seemingly has decided that the best approach is to blame her ineffectiveness on not being a part of “Team Newport.” Voters may remember that “Team Newport” was a slate in 2014 that included Diane Dixon, Kevin Muldoon, Duffy Duffield and Scott Peotter. Brenner’s theory for being ineffective is an odd one, considering that Peotter isn’t on council…because she beat him. Voters may also recall that Brenner and her cronies tried and failed to recall Peotter in 2017 despite him having only a few months left in his term. A boondoggle that cost the city more than $100,000.

Brenner’s claim for being ineffective due to being in the minority simply isn’t true. She’s been a leader and in the majority on multiple hot-button issues. However, the results of those decisions have been so bad that she’s now running away from her involvement.

She was one of three councilmembers leading the city’s response to homelessness. She’s been in the majority on every single vote from the city council dais on the subject. But in the years she has led, the number of homeless people in our city went up from 64 to 96. That’s a 50% increase.

She is one of three councilmembers leading the city’s response to sober living homes. She has been in the majority on every single vote from the city council dais on the subject. The neighborhood issues have gotten worse.

She is one of three councilmembers that led the city’s response to short-term lodging regulations. She was in the majority on every major vote from the city council on that topic, too. And since 2017, the number of short-term living permits has increased from 1,068 to 1,636. In other words, short-term lodging has increased 150% in the past six years – much of it during Brenner’s leadership on the topic.

All that said, it’s true that she was blocked from enacting some of her policies. Fortunately for us, she wasn’t leading our city during the COVID lockdowns. In 2020, she tried to convince her council colleagues to vote for a mask mandate to be enforced by the Newport Beach Police Department. She sided with Gov. Newson and voted to close our beaches. She voted against joining the lawsuit against Newsom to get the beaches back open. And in August 2021, she was the sole dissenter on a resolution supporting children going back to school without masks or COVID vaccines.

We should all be exhausted by politicians running from their records and blaming others. That’s not leadership. We shouldn’t feel any need to follow Joy any longer. We can do better.

I’ll be voting for Lauren Kleiman. And if you take a good look at Joy’s record, you will too.

Chris Jannuzzi

Corona del Mar

Does a council candidate’s political affiliation matter?

I attended the Candidates Forum at OASIS on Friday morning, Sept. 2. Well organized.

District 6 candidate Joy Brenner (running for re-election) was there.

Her opponent was not. Family matter we were told. (It is my understanding that her opponent has also regrettably missed a number of Planning Commission meetings; in almost four years on Council, Joy has yet to miss a meeting; Joy has also been fortunate to never miss any candidates’ forums in this cycle or four years ago when Joy was first elected to Council.)

This is the first forum since the disparaging (and illiterate) letter was distributed by “M” who reportedly is a small biz owner in CdM and who reportedly is not a member of any political party and a self-proclaimed super patriot. Pretty clear that “M” has a vendetta against anyone who might have voted “NO” on the recent failure known as the Direct Election of the Mayor Measure B. “M’s” letter was signed “with love.”

“M” alleges that Joy is a member of a “hardcore left party.” Here’s the truth: Joy is a registered NPP (No Party Preference). She was promised large donations if she registered as a Democrat or went back to Republican. Wonder if political affiliation in a council race matters to anyone other than “M”. It is reported (disturbingly) that the power brokers told Joy that they would not run an opponent against Joy if she supported ill-fated Measure B. If true, sad and disappointing in the extreme.

Well, “M’s” diatribe was not mentioned by Joy during the Forum.

As she has for decades of public service, she stuck to the facts. She stood up to deliver answers to most of the questions. I like that self-assurance.

Joy calmly explained that she favors increasing our public safety officers and incentivizing them to live in or near Newport. Neat idea, IMHO. 

Serves on the Homeless Task Force which has enjoyed some success with much work ahead.

Continued control of JWA.

Despite some disagreements with colleagues, Joy mentioned her goal as a consensus builder. She’s done that for decades.

What struck me – frankly – was the number of candidates on the dais at the Forum who repeatedly acknowledged Joy’s good ideas and openly agreed with her. Others were not so acknowledged. Measure of respect for Joy’s leadership and thoughtful ideas perhaps.

With all due respect to the power brokers, the November 8 election for District 6 needs to be on the merits. Decades of selfless service. She listens. She performs. She is everywhere in town. And she never misses meetings. 

Please support Joy Brenner’s re-election. She’s earned it.

Paul Watkins 

Newport Beach

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