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Letters to the Editor

Denying reading materials will have a negative effect

Today, I saw the following witticism on Facebook, As a teacher if I could indoctrinate students they would all do their homework and put away their cell phones. Sometimes it helps to use humor to cast light on the reality of a situation.

The current trend of trying to politicize the selection of reading material for students without specific criteria and often without satisfactory background information is denying access to the classics that have influenced our lives and our culture. And an effort to demean the role of the professionals in selecting books for schools is creating a sterile atmosphere in which students are not given access to that which might broaden their understanding of the world. We will be trying to educate students without inspiring them with the thoughts, wisdom and beauty that literature inspires.

I am so glad that the political atmosphere of the times in which I grew up was not antagonistic as it is today. Some of the most valuable educational experiences of my lifetime took place not in college but in my high school English classes. Our 12th grade English teacher who had formerly been a college professor enlivened not only our classroom but our lives by exposing us to a panorama of American and English literature. We read and wrote extensively and we loved every minute of it. I remember still the image of Mrs. Stubbe sitting on a stool in the front of the classroom with her high heel dangling from her toe while she poured out her knowledge and emotion over a poem, a novel or a play, enlivening our classroom with her obvious love of literature.

It was my English and history teachers in high school in particular who inspired my love of learning by expanding my world. While I came from a family with an artistic background, it was my teachers who exposed me to the classics and expanded my world and my possibilities. Let’s not deny our students the opportunity to experience the beautiful and inspiring words and lessons of classical literature.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Bob McCaffrey offers his proposed solutions to the cost-rising library lecture hall and a little money of his own

“Don’t be deterred by the costs,” said big government Chamber of Commerce president Steve Rosansky while advocating a $23.4 million library lecture hall at a recent city council meeting.

It’s déjà vu all over again in Newport Beach.

Former Councilman Rosansky led the charge for the $140 million city hall ($228 million with debt service – bunnies included) – the most expensive city hall in Orange County’s history. That’s $20,000 per month in debt service payments. The project started at $40 million, then the “don’t be deterred by the costs” crowd embraced mission creep.

The library lecture hall has the same feel. It started at $8 million. Former councilwoman Diane Dixon represented the city (taxpayers) on the design committee. The price immediately jumped to $12 million, then $17 million, and now $23.4 million and climbing.

The Library Foundation isn’t happy with the $140 million city hall facilities they use for a lecture series of highbrow speakers. The Friends Room at city hall has a flat floor and “poor sight lines.” They have four scheduled speeches in 2024.

I have a suggestion, place the speaker on a riser. You can buy one on Amazon for $750. I’ll donate it.

$23.4 million is a ridiculous cost for four speeches attended by 299 people.

OCC has the beautiful 900-seat Richard Neutra-designed Robert Moore Theater a mere six miles from Newport Beach City Hall they can rent.

UCI has the 750-seat Barclay Theater they can rent for $2,000 per speech. Both have theater-quality sound and great sight lines.

There is a silver lining. Our city council has entered into an agreement that matches taxpayer (you) funds raised by the Library Foundation. It’s currently a 50/50 split but the 230% price increase has resulted in a renegotiation of the agreement.

I encourage the city council to hold firm on the 50/50 split – or don’t build it. These should be contractually bound donations. Soft “pledges” are difficult to collect. Furthermore, the city should do nothing until 50% of the cost is raised in contractually enforceable donations.

Better yet, have the Library Foundation pay for the whole thing for a building that benefits them and 299 people that might attend a speech.

I’ll cover the last $3 million if they come up short.

Bob McCaffrey

Balboa Island

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Letters to the Editor

Lecture Hall will fill a void missing from our community

One of the odd things that has struck me over the years is that a city of our caliber doesn’t have a lecture/performance venue worthy of the city – something with great acoustics and stepped seating for good viewing from any spot.

It has been frustrating to work on a program and have to look outside the city – to UCI and other sites – for an appropriate venue because while we have a number of community rooms, none provide the necessities for many presentations.

I was pleased to see that the council has given a green light to the library lecture hall that will give us this venue we have been lacking. Once it is in place, I think the council and the city coffers will be pleased at the groups lining up to utilize the space.

Nancy Gardner, former mayor

City of Newport Beach

We can afford the Lecture Hall

The Newport Beach City Council wisely decided to move forward with the construction of the new Witte Lecture Hall, located at the Central Library. This facility will fill a badly needed deficiency in our civic infrastructure and enhance the high quality of life and strong property values we all enjoy.

Newport Beach is especially blessed because even though we have the second highest property tax base in Orange County (despite the fact we are only the 13th largest city), we have committed and philanthropic residents who have consistently stepped up to ensure our civic facilities are among the best in the nation.

The library itself, our new animal shelter, the OASIS Senior Center and the Junior Lifeguards’ facility are among the facilities that have been undertaken with substantial private sector donations.

By moving forward now, the council took advantage of a commitment by the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation to fund half of the project or an estimated $11.7 million. Stopping the project would have both lost this private investment in our city, and it would have also set a precedent that would discourage similar fundraising efforts in the future. It would have been a costly mistake both now and for future projects.

As for the city’s portion of the project, funding is well within our operating surplus without sacrificing city services or other projects. In Fiscal Year 2022-23 the city had a $20 million operating surplus of which $11.6 million was fully unrestricted.

Significant annual operating surpluses have been the rule, rather than the exception going back decades in Newport Beach and are the result of the strong fiscal policies of the city council and management.

Delaying this project would have lost the $11.7 million private sector funding and as recent experience demonstrates, resulted in a higher cost for the project in the future.

Newport Beach residents should thank the council for making the right call.

Keith Curry, former mayor

City of Newport Beach

Thank you City Council for bringing the vision of the lecture hall to life

I have been an active volunteer with the NB Library Foundation and have helped produce programming in the Friends Room for 29 years! These programs have been a huge success in spite of the limitations of that room. We are in dire need of state-of-the-art technology as well as more capacity and proper sight lines. Newport Beach deserves a 21st century cultural facility to better serve the public who are hungry for more programing – if only the library had an auditorium/lecture hall.

Over the past 10 years, I worked with the Library Foundation on the lecture hall project. Together with city staff and volunteers, an incredible effort has been made behind the scenes: trips to tour other auditoriums and halls, meetings with architects, meetings with donors and more. It has been a remarkable public/private partnership.

We have a design plan in place that works for a multitude of cultural organizations and civic events which was planned for all along and stated clearly in our brochure and to all our donors. I am delighted and relieved that we received the votes to move forward and accept the construction bids for the plan.

This auditorium/lecture hall was designed to be versatile and broadly accessible for use by the community at large, including small scale theater productions, educational programming, film series, choral groups, jazz ensembles, poetry festivals and endless possibilities for the business community. This hall will become the cultural backbone of the city.

Thank you to all those who helped bring this vision to life. And thank you to the councilmembers who voted to move this project forward. It’s time to break ground.

Lizanne Witte

Newport Beach

Thank you City Council; another step in a long journey

At its Tuesday, Nov. 14 Study Session, the City Council reviewed the Library Lecture Hall Civic Auditorium project. Following a lengthy discussion and public input, the councilmembers voted 4-3 to move forward with the project and to seek community input into varied uses of the facility.

The planned Civic Auditorium is also to be known as Witte Hall in honor of the generous foundational pledge by Mr. Bill Witte and Ms. Keiko Sakamoto. We expect in upcoming council meetings that a council committee will be appointed to discuss needed revisions to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation and that the revised MOU and a contract with the lowest qualified bidder will be executed. In the meantime, and in light of the favorable vote, work has already begun by the foundation to add to the substantial pledges/donations already in hand for Witte Hall.

On behalf of the Newport Beach Board of Library Trustees, and as its current chair, I wish to thank the council for taking the positive action on November 14.

It’s been a journey to arrive at this point.

The Witte Hall site next to the Bamboo Court and the Central Library was studied as early as 2014 – almost 10 years ago.

The author was appointed to the board on June 28, 2016, some two years after several Library Lecture Hall pioneers had already been deep thinking about the idea.

For reasons only a fellow packrat would understand, I have kept most everything connected with the board for the intervening 7 1/2 years since my appointment. A couple tidbits of Library Lecture Hall history appear in the stacks of stuff in my office.

The Minutes of the May 16, 2016 board meeting reflect my comment as a then-member of the public regarding the poor sight lines in the Friends Room: “…at the Sunday musicale, it was difficult to see the performers and setting up a stage would help. Mr. Hetherton [then Director of Library Services] will follow up.”

As supported by numerous photographs of my balding head and well-coiffed women in front of me, the sight lines in the Friends Room are still subpar. Many speakers and performers prefer not to navigate the stairs leading up to a temporary stage and, of course, the piano and musicians must remain at ground level for their performances. Witte Hall, with its gradual sloping floor down to the stage, i.e., a “raked” floor, will enable each of the 299 attendees in Witte Hall to clearly see the stage without the bobbing and weaving we now experience in the Friends Room.

Although much of the board’s attention in 2016 was on the construction of the Corona del Mar Branch, the minutes for the September 19, 2016 meeting reflect a growing interest in the Library Lecture Hall: “Chair Johnson-Tucker attended several meetings with an architect regarding space for a lecture hall. Information would be presented in a month or two.”

And with respect to the October 17, 2016 board meeting, the minutes state: “Chair Johnson-Tucker attended meetings regarding creating a lecture hall within existing space. She would travel to San Diego to review facilities there. She was gathering information and exploring ideas to present to the Board of Library Trustees and the Library Foundation. Vice Chair Ray volunteered to assist.”

A couple of months later at the December 19, 2016 board meeting, the Minutes reflect continued interest and progress on Witte Hall: “Chair Johnson-Tucker met with Library Services Director Hetherton, Lizanne Witte and Dorothy Larson regarding receipt of an updated feasibility study in January. The group discussed next steps but did not reach any conclusions. They would meet again in late January with Robert Coffee. She requested Vice Chair Ray be involved in fundraising.”

So, at least nine years ago the seeds were planted and began to be nourished by Jill Johnson-Tucker, Janet Ray and others.

Sharper focus on the hall began in July of 2019 with the creation of the Library Lecture Hall Design Committee. It consisted of Jill Johnson-Tucker, chair; Janet Ray, vice-chair; Karen Clark; Matthew Witte and former Mayor/Councilmember Diane Dixon.

Despite the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the committee regularly met during the ensuing four years with the selected Architect (Robert R. Coffee Architect + Associates) and remarkable progress has continued to the present – culminating, ultimately, with the council’s positive vote on November 14.

As I watched the Study Session last Tuesday, a couple of councilmembers and folks from the public used a phrase I had not previously heard but which I like: “We are ‘bullish’ on Newport Beach.”

There are various definitions for the term, but these stuck with me: expecting the best; positive attitude or outlook and optimistic about future prospects in a powerful and confident way. Do you agree with me that “bullish” seems to fit Newport Beach?

One of the speakers on November 14 said that years ago travelers she met would ask where she was from. When she replied “Newport Beach,” the questioner (in years past) right away knew that she was from that little beachside artists’ colony to the south; but times have changed. Now a response of “Newport Beach” quickly tells the questioner (wherever the questioner may reside around the globe) that she is from that little bit of unparalleled lifestyle of heaven by the sea, which is our town. The Newport Beach brand is now global, enviable and aspirational.

So, as the long journey to the realization of the Witte Hall Civic Auditorium continues, we want to again thank the council for its support and for being “bullish” on Newport Beach.

Paul Watkins, Chair

Board of Library Trustees

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Letters to the Editor

Politicians connected to Newport appear to be doing well on the state and national levels

Folks back home do care how their representatives are voting and what they are accomplishing. And Orange County politicians are increasing the power they hold in both the state and federal legislatures.

Diane Dixon from Newport Beach represents our city which is part of the 72nd State Assembly District. She is making her presence known by getting actively involved in promoting legislation for her district and being involved in more than a dozen committees. She has also been keeping in close touch with her constituents. Dixon has introduced several bills, four of which will become law on January 1, 2024.

Assembly Bill 276 which prohibits the use of mobile devices while driving among young adults was extended to include drivers 21 years of age. AB 1025, Dixon’s legislation dealing with county government, was signed by the Governor on October 13 and will become law in the new year, along with AB 1270 dealing with county government. AB 256 will become law giving drivers more time before being penalized for having an expired license.

Readers of Stu News are updated on a regular basis on Dixon’s views and accomplishments for her district. You can count on her being an active representative for our city and her district as a whole. Readers of Stu News will also be regularly updated on her agenda.

Dave Min, who represents Newport Beach in the State Senate, has not been letting any grass grow under his feet either. At the end of his third year as State Senator from District 37, he has had 10 of his bills signed into law.

The most important bill by far that he authored in 2021 (that became law in 2022) prohibited gun sales at the Orange County Fairgrounds (firearms and ammunition sales on state property were banned). That law opened the door for a statewide ban. Most unfortunately, that law was in the news last week (November 3) because a U.S. District Court Judge granted a plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the two laws.

Undoubtedly, the most-in-the-news lawmaker from Orange County,
who happens to represent Newport Beach in the House of Representatives, is Katie Porter. From the moment of her initial introduction into federal politics, she has put Orange County in the front row. Her challenges to corporate profits and her refusal to take any of their money, along with her colorful personality and language, have endeared her to many and no doubt had the opposite effect on those she cornered with her white boards and aggression.

But much to my surprise, (last week’s news) has her running neck-and-neck with Adam Schiff for the seat opened by the death of Senator Diane Feinstein. Schiff has served as a powerful and well-known congressman from Los Angeles for many years. That a first term representative from Orange County is strongly challenging him is big news!

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

The equipment is the problem and “it belongs to the Palisades”

I have been an avid reader of Stu News for a long time and I have respected your opinion on many of the articles you’ve written. I am, however, very dismayed over the article in your October 10 edition regarding the issue with Mr. Abdali, the Hyatt and Palisades Tennis Club. This article is one-sided and does not have the correct facts regarding this matter.

Eric Davidson, owner of Palisades, has attempted in good faith to negotiate a fair lease for the six courts which were part of Palisades and now the separate lease for the parking lot. The equipment that was removed from the courts are owned and were purchased by the Palisades Tennis Club, including nets, windscreens and very costly lights which can be used on the other 10 courts at the club. This equipment does not belong to the Hyatt.

The Hyatt is now basically blackmailing Palisades by restricting the parking lot for members and employees in order to force Palisades to give them equipment which they do not own.

I have been a member of Palisades Tennis Club for over 18 years. The club is like family to all of us. We have made lifelong friends and support each other through difficult times.

Palisades has hosted events to raise money for Ukraine, Breast Cancer, Adoption Guild and numerous other organizations.

Membership consists of local residents who love the club and our city. This dispute is about Big Corporation and their profits vs. the local people who belong to a long-standing, respected club in Newport Beach.

Terry Becker

Newport Beach

You’re not fair and the truth is out there

“Fair” would be to print the other view regarding the Palisades Tennis Club/Hyatt Regency saga SOON!

There are others involved that know and will tell the truth. (Owner of Palisades Eric Davidson being out ofthe country situation should not stop the press from pursuing the whole story.)

As a concerned member of the community, I have always respected the John Wayne Tennis Club (now the Palisades Tennis Club) as a traditional tennis stage.

Just to think of the sacrilege that “pickleball” (a fad at best) could take this landmark of athletic excellence from our community sickens me.

As with everything in our world today it seems that it all comes down to the “bottom line”…I’m sure this IS the case here!

I look forward to your “Fair Game” article, that in fact is reported fairly.

Vicki Rymill

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Opposed to PACASO’s legal claim

I am a homeowner and resident in the City of Newport Beach. I recently learned of (the company’s) PACASO’s recent legal claim against the City of Newport Beach in regard to the city’s timeshare ordinances.

The complaint is objectionable and frivolous.

I am member of a large group of community members who have vigorously objected to the spread of commercial timeshare business uses being established in our dense, residential neighborhoods, of which PACASO is the most egregious commercial business.

As a member of a protected class, I am personally offended by the allegation and suggestion that the City of Newport Beach and/or its individual residents are discriminating against individuals with the land use-based ordinance.

PACASO is a publicly traded corporation whose greed has apparently overtaken its better judgment. Is it really a sound, sustainable business strategy to bully and assert legal claims everywhere the company wishes to commercially expand…and to blatantly disrespect local ordinances and sustaining members of the community who live and work here? The company’s representatives have publicly proclaimed their vision of purchasing and operating 500 properties in the city focusing on our dense family residential neighborhoods – what about our quality of life, not to mention housing stock for those who live and work here?

There are certainly more constructive approaches that this timeshare business could take to further its business goals and reputational brand.

Denys Oberman

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

We support the city leaders' position on local fractional home ownership

(The following letter was sent to the Coastal Commission in support of the city’s position on fractional ownership on behalf of Good Neighbor Newport, a volunteer group of residents who are involved and passionate about the City of Newport Beach –

Dear Commissioners:

The City of Newport Beach has studied the fractional home ownership issue thoroughly over several years, and there is a consensus within the City against fractional home ownership. The City Council unanimously approved in May 2023 an ordinance to amend the City’s long-standing rules regarding timeshares so that these rules would also apply to fractional home ownership.

The ONLY party opposed to this change is the company Pacaso, Inc., whose entire business is converting single-family residences into fractional-ownership vacation properties. We do not intend to respond to every argument raised by the lawyers for Pacaso in their letter to the Commission of August 4 – we understand that the City has hired outside counsel to respond to that letter. That said, we did want to comment on a few points.

First, the notion that fractional home ownership cannot be distinguished from co-ownership of a property by several family members or close friends is just wrong. The eight owners of a fractional ownership property do not know one another; they do not want to spend time together at the property; they each want to have the property entirely to themselves for several weeks a year. Two or three (or even eight) family members who own a property together do so because they want to spend time together. Moreover, as a legal matter, since they own it as co-tenants, none of them can exclude any of the others from the property.

Second, the notion that the City’s new fractional home ownership rules represent a major change in the City’s land use laws, a change that requires full review by the Coastal Commission, is also wrong. We are not talking about building new houses, or tearing down existing houses, or even modifying any of the features of houses in the coastal region; we are talking about rules that affect the ownership structure of a few houses (at present only approximately 16 in the City) so that fractional home ownership is treated like timeshare ownership (which has been regulated by the City for decades). This is a minor change for everyone except Pacaso.

We urge you to consider and approve the Newport Beach fractional hone ownership rules at your October meeting.

Good Neighbor Newport

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Letters to the Editor

Difficult times and issues facing our public schools

It seems that the “parental rights” issue popping up in recent months is not only being embraced by the far right, but by some people with a bit more mainstream mindset. Fortunately, so far, it has only taken hold in a few school districts where pockets of ultra-conservatives are using it to take over local school boards, my former district being one.

But this is evidently being more widely discussed than just among right wing school boards because yesterday I got a survey from a (local) California lawmaker and nearly every question dealt with some ramification of the transgender issue. I had to ask, is this what is being discussed to a great extent in Sacramento? One of the first parental rights issues was the selection of reading material, but that has taken a back seat now to the transgender issue.

As a former secondary teacher who was in the classroom for 37 years, I just don’t get it. Obviously, these people think that teachers who often see up to 150 students a day have enough time to plan five daily lessons, write letters of recommendations for their college-bound students (sometimes multiple), correct papers and tests and, on top of all that, they must now try to observe and decide if any of their students are showing transgender tendencies?

Do they really want us to violate their child’s privacy and perhaps theirs?

They don’t train teachers to ascertain the sexual orientation of their students. If students do go to teachers to discuss private issues, the best thing a teacher can do is to show compassion and then refer them to their counselor who is better equipped to handle such situations. Current literature tells us that the suicide rate for transgender students is of great concern.

According to one study in March 2022 entitled “Suicidality among Transgender Youth: Elucidating the Role of Interpersonal Risk Factors,” these students are very fragile. “Data indicates that 82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide.”

Adolescents must be dealt with very carefully and by personnel
who are trained in such issues. It is a very transformative time for children.

Many are experimenting with different roles, peer groups, styles and different ways of thinking. They might go through several transitions in junior high and high school before they discover their true identity. That must be taken into consideration by parents.

As a teacher who retired before the divisive school issues, I try to imagine how I would respond. I would have great compassion for any student whom I felt was facing an identity problem, but my first reaction would not have been to call a parent and divulge that I thought his/her child was having transgender identity issues. Nor would I confront a student who did not come to me.

I highly value privacy rights and would discuss this with someone who has the delicacy to contact the parents of a troubled child, someone who has been trained to do so.

So I would have to say that the solution to this issue, whether it is being greatly exaggerated for political reasons or is truly a problem, is for schools to hire more specialized counselors who have been trained to deal with adolescent identity issues. But most of all, I would expect PARENTS to take more responsibility for the psychological health of their children. They should not leave it up to others to try to solve this problem for them.

To re-iterate, it is a parental responsibility issue, not a parental rights one.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Despite the delays at the Coastal Commission, City Council is urged to act on fractional ownership issues

(The following letter was sent to Mayor Blom and Councilmembers.)

Whether the delay at the Coastal Commission to adopt a de minimis amendment to our Local Coastal Programs is an administrative matter or a reaction to a letter from legal counsel or other concerns, the result is the same: more time for fractional home ownerships in our city and an evasion of the ordinance you have crafted to prevent this.

For this reason, we ask that you revisit the subject of a moratorium which, as we understand it and as other cities have done, could be enacted under existing city statutes and applicable California law. It was clear from the public meeting on the subject that the community strongly supports such an action.

As our General Plan states, Newport Beach is primarily a residential city. A person living here for a portion of the year while spending most of the year elsewhere is not a resident but a visitor, and while Newport has always welcomed visitors, it should not be at the expense of our full-time residents.

Good Neighbor Newport strongly urges the Newport Beach City Council to approve a moratorium at the next council meeting during the Coastal Commission delay, so as not to further compromise our residents’ cherished quality of life.

Thank you for acting on our request.

Good Neighbor Newport

Laird Hayes

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Friends of Newport lawsuit rebuttal

I have lived in Newport Harbor for more than 70 years, and I love our bay. I am not motivated to harm the harbor’s water quality. This dredging project will enhance the wildlife, fauna and water clarity like it was 80 years ago. I was chairman of the Newport Beach Water Quality Committee for eight years and on the county Executive Watershed Committee for eight years and the Harbor Commission for 10 years.

This project is extremely sensitive to the Environmental Protection Agency and as a result, the solutions for removing unsuitable material from the bottom surface of the bay are extremely limited. The harbor’s main channels are Federal channels, not county or city. The Feds make the rules!

Here are the viable options:

1. Leave the material where is lays. It is not toxic. No further dredging will be allowed wherever the unsuitable material lays.

2. Dig a trench and put the unsuitable material inside, then cover over with good sediment. Proceed to dredge to the original designed depth in the Federal channels.

3. Allow waterfront residents to use the CAD site for their dredge needs. Once the opportunity for dumping into CAD is over, residents will not be allowed to dredge where the unsuitable material is found…ever. This is directly from the EPA in Washington D.C.

We studied the idea of separating the heavy metals from the unsuitable material on land with special equipment. We don’t have a land site to do a large sediment cleaning. Even if we could clean the sand, the Environmental Protection Agency has made it very clear that we cannot take cleaned material out to the Federal ocean dump site normally used for this operation. The alternative result would require more than 12,000 dump truck loads to re-locate the sediment. This would make the cost unaffordable and have many negative environment impacts.

There are no sites in our city that would be permittable to place 12,000 dump trucks of mucky sand. Sites have been identified, but they are not permittable by the many agencies required for approval of this kind of project. The material is soft and cannot be compacted to put a structure on it.

The EPA, Water Quality Committee, Santa Ana Water District, Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps and Coastal Commission all have approved the CAD project.

Duffy Duffield

Vice Chairman of the Newport Harbor Foundation

Former Mayor of Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Major congrats to Laird Hayes

You could not have picked a better individual than Laird Hayes to be named “Citizen of the Year” for Newport Beach. Laird truly exemplifies the altruistic individual that should have this award. I had the opportunity of serving seven years on the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission with Laird, and he was always the guiding light to our Commission with his valuable insights. The Battle in the Bay water polo match was a huge success thanks to Laird’s efforts. This is only the tip of the iceberg for all the things he has contributed to our community. When you’re with Laird out in Newport, very few people are strangers to him. Kudos to the nominating committee for getting this one very right!

Dave Granoff

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Fractional ownership discussion at California Coastal Commission

Readers may recall that on May 9, 2023, the Newport Beach City Council directed staff to amend the LCP defining fractional-owned homes as timeshares and submit to the California Coastal Commission.

The City’s LCP Amendment is scheduled for review as a De Minimis Amendment (Agenda Item 14) on the Coastal Commission’s August 10 agenda.

Members of the public can submit written comments no later than Friday, August 4 at 5 p.m. using the “Submit Comments” link listed on the agenda for Item 14. Go to CCC meeting agenda at

Gary Cruz

Newport Island

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Letters to the Editor

Keep existing E Street beach walkway in Snowy Plover plans

(The below letter was sent to Newport Beach City Council and to city staff.)

I am writing this to express my comments and request to keep the existing E Street beach sidewalk in place as you consider managing the Western Snowy Plovers. The sidewalk extends southward from the oceanfront boardwalk toward the ocean. I have lived in proximity to it for about 50 years.

–I have lived in the vicinity of this walkway (about 100 feet) and observed its daily use.

This walkway has been in place before 1975.

It has provided beach and oceanfront access for residents and visitors alike.

It has provided the disabled access to the beach as there is no alternative.

My own (now deceased) brother was paraplegic confined to a wheelchair and I his caregiver. I know the benefits of this access all too well, especially the joy it brought him to see not only the beach but observe the Snowy Plovers.

It has provided the elderly access to the beach as there are little alternatives. At 73, I am now the elderly that require it.

For as long as I can remember, about 50 years, there was no fence around the Snowy Plover nesting areas. I would definitely classify the little birds as “Free Range.” The mere thought of a fence is just so inappropriate. Not bird healthy.

The concrete walkway provides a designated “path of travel” that directs visitors across the open land in a defined manner. I can accept signage prohibiting variance from the walkway, but not a fence. These walkways are an accepted practice and management device within environmentally sensitive plains throughout our country.

As I testified at the July 12, 2023, California Coastal Commission, our City of Newport Beach has about double the annual visitors as Yosemite National Park. Accommodations and access like this sidewalk are vital to the visitor and resident experience, making it an “outstanding remarkable value.” It too has designated walkways through meadows.

Please retain this beach walkway amenity in your plans. Please contact me if you wish to discuss this further.

Brian H. Ouzounian

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Thanks to Mayor Pro Tem O’Neill for his stance against funding allocation for Coastkeepers

I was very happy to see our councilman Will O’Neill argue against allocating $3,500 of city money to Orange County Coastkeepers for a public relations campaign about Caulerpa.

Believe it or not, Caulerpa is a weed that grows in fish tanks and has spread to our harbors via people dumping their aquarium water into the bay. We have identified this weed growing in the past in our harbor and the city staff took immediate and strong action that stopped the weed from spreading. To be clear, there is no threat to our harbor from Caulerpa now or in the immediate future. The city staff has surveyed the bay many times looking for the weed and when detected immediate action takes place to remove it. They do it one plant at a time.

To date, the city has spent $70,000 on survey costs to locate the Caulerpa plant. Staff successfully worked alongside the state, Army Corps, the National Fisheries and regional water board to find solutions. Further, Diane Dixon has introduced and successfully lobbied legislation to make it illegal to buy any species of Caulerpa from retail establishments.

I do not agree with Coastkeepers stopping the dredging project in our harbor on the basis we didn’t do enough study. Our city had completed years of testing and surveying. Yes, years and millions of dollars. Every agency agreed that our testing was complete and proper thus they all approved the dredging project. To me, Coastkeepers acts more like Coast Busters using the courts to get their way. Good for Councilman O’Neill and our council for denying these funds to a group fighting against us.

Duffy Duffield

Former Newport Beach Councilman

Board Member, Newport Harbor Foundation

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Guest Letter

Arlene Greer, Chair

Newport Beach Arts Commission

State of the Arts

Guest Letter Arlene Greer

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Arlene Greer

This Saturday stands, from my perspective, as what can only be perceived as a bittersweet milestone with regard to the Arts in Newport Beach and my involvement in our arts community. The “sweet” is that Saturday welcomes the installation of Phase VIII of our nationally recognized sculpture garden. It is also the day we enjoy the 45th Annual Newport Beach Art Exhibition. The “bitter” is that these events mark the end of my tenure, after 12 years, on the Newport Beach Arts Commission.

When I came on to the Commission, the sculpture garden was little more than an idea. But that vision, championed by then city councilmembers Keith Curry and Ed Selich, saw the potential in taking 14 acres of land and creating our “museum without walls” in the middle of a federally protected wetlands. During the formative years, Councilwoman, now Assemblywoman, Diane Dixon and retired Councilwoman Joy Brenner were instrumental in securing stable funding and encouraging the continued growth of the park. And now, new stewards such as Mayor Noah Blom, along with Councilmen Will O’Neill, Erik Weigand and Joe Stapleton, are ensuring that the original vision will continue to grow and evolve for generations.

At the same time, the Newport Beach Arts Foundation, under the long-time, steady leadership of Carmine Smith and Pat Jorgensen, has through their tireless dedication, continued the tradition of bringing local art to the community with the annual Newport Beach Arts Exhibition, a presentation of local artists and their work. Moving forward, retired City Councilman Jeff Herdman, is taking over the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, bringing the same commitment that he brought to the City Council.

The state of the arts in our community is very good.

One of my favorite duties over the past 12 years has been the selection and production of our Concerts on the Green series. The name is somewhat misleading since we have expanded the programming to include concerts at Marina Park and other venues throughout the city. Having 4,000 plus people sitting on the Civic Center Green on a Sunday afternoon in the summer, listening to everything from an Eagles tribute band to an incredible reimagination of Bruce Springsteen to the Pacific Symphony impresses everyone, even the former concert producer/promoter I am married to.

Some of the quieter but most impactful things we have done over the years include working with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District to expose our children to the creative and expanding world of art and music. We have been able to provide them with opportunities, not only to see world-class art but, to participate in the process and provide a safe, fun environment for families to share those special moments of creativity and wonder.

Leaving, I know that the Arts Commission is in good hands. From Melissa (Hartson) and Camille (Escareal-Garcia), who are the library staff liaisons between the city and the Commission, to remaining members such as Maureen Ferguson and Barbie George, the arts in Newport Beach are in good hands.

I hope that through my work with the Arts Commission, I have been able to enrich the lives of our friends, neighbors and community half as much as participating in the process has enriched mine.

Thank you all for allowing me to make a small contribution to our magnificent city.

Arlene Greer was first appointed to the City Arts Commission is June 2011 and currently serves as the Commission’s chair.

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Letters to the Editor

The Tax Canard

I am grateful for Assemblywoman Diane B. Dixon’s response last Friday to my letter published in Stu News, Tuesday, June 6, regarding her no vote on AB 28: The Gun Violence Prevention, Healing & Recovery Act. I am happy to learn that my letter on this State Assembly Bill was brought to Ms. Dixon’s attention, because in the weeks leading up to the Assembly vote on the bill, I called her offices twice to encourage her yes vote. And I left my contact information should she or her staff wish to follow up with me.

But I understand how busy an elected official is and how many calls, letters and emails (not to mention the social media posts) are received on any given day and on every imaginable topic. I say it is fair to not have heard back.

What is not fair, however, in her presentation of her side of AB 28 and her vote against it, is Ms. Dixon’s insistence that she “rarely, if ever” supports tax increases. This, unfortunately, is an over-simplified and misleading view of the excise tax that is part of the language of AB 28.

Briefly, here is the definition of an excise tax: An internal tax levied on the manufacture, sale, or consumption of a commodity. (Thank you, Merriam-Webster.) Perhaps the most recognizable excise tax in the U.S. was levied against the sale of cigarettes and this even before Big Tobacco, in 2006, was found guilty of lying to Americans about the deadly effects of cigarette smoking. States were more than eager to recoup the billions of dollars spent on the treatment of smokers who were chronically or terminally ill from cancer, heart and lung diseases resulting from the consumption of tobacco.

The excise tax associated with AB 28 is taking a similar approach and asking people in California who purchase firearms and ammunition to help contribute to the financial responsibilities that are a direct cause of gun violence. Consumers are being asked to pay an additional 11% tax on the gross receipt sales of firearms and ammunition.

Here are some numbers that reflect current costs associated with gun violence in America: Each gun death costs a U.S. taxpayer, individually, $274,000. In the case of non-fatal gun injuries, the average cost is $25,000. Consider the costs of work loss, medical care – both physical and mental – police & criminal justice response units, and loss of quality of life (survivors of gun violence often deal with lifelong trauma and physical injuries) associated with a shooting, mass or otherwise. The annual total cost of gun violence in America is now estimated to be $557 billion. That is 2.6% of GDP.

To say there is certainly more to be done to protect our communities from the threat of gun violence is an understatement. An overwhelming majority of Americans want and support stricter gun laws. We are long overdue for a more robust response to this shameful American epidemic.

Let’s not say the reason to vote against AB 28 is a matter of taxes.

The life of any single member of California State Assembly District 72 deserves so much more from our representatives.

Sarah E. Vogel

Newport Beach

Sidewalk changes around CdM High School much appreciated

Letter to the editor sidewalk SNN 6.20

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Submitted photo

I’d just like to say thanks and kudos to the city for widening the sidewalk around CdMHS. There used to be a few trees and lots of weeds in the dirt area next to the existing sidewalk. Over the last week, additional cement was laid to double the width of the walk area and efficiently solve not only a bare landscape but also provide the area necessary to facilitate students and the community.

Bravo. Well done.

Carol Tomlinson


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Letters to the Editor

Change is hard…but one thing that doesn’t change is our love for trees

If there is one thing you can say about the residents of Newport Heights, it is that they love nature and tradition and they do not “warm up” to many changes to their natural and traditional environment, especially if it has existed for more than 50 years. And that includes iconic buildings such as the Stuft Shirt restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway, the Tustin Road thoroughfare from PCH to 17th Street, the trees at Ensign Junior High, the overall lack of sidewalks and streetlights, the undergrounding of utilities, the widening of PCH and, most recently, the trees in Cliff Drive Park.

That is not to say that residents of the Heights always win their battles with the city or with the state and they don’t always agree with each other. But the passion is there for nature and for resistance to change, the same kind of zeal I witnessed at college campuses in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Many members of the baby boomer generation, of which I am proudly a part, wanted to push democracy to new limits and rekindle a love for nature. After attending a meeting of the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission this week (a thoroughly refreshing city department that I hardly knew existed), I came away remarking kiddingly to my friends and neighbors that I hadn’t seen such a group of “tree huggers/lovers” since my college days…pure nostalgia.

I do question, however, the city’s stance on views, mostly ocean views, that is. Where I grew up in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, ocean views, in particular, were sacred. The same is true of Laguna Beach and Del Mar, in San Diego County. I am not sure what the rule is in Newport Beach. From my experience of attending council meetings, views are a gray area. As Jim Mosher pointed out, according to city statutes, there is to be no blockage of public views, while the ruling on private views seems to not be a black and white issue.

I believe fully that private ocean views should be protected. For instance, I would not put up a second story that would block my neighbor’s established ocean view. But in some cases, it is difficult to say what comes first when we are talking about nature. Because as they grew, those public trees did block private views, even though the intention was not there. Once established, those trees (the speakers at Tuesday’s meeting proclaimed wholeheartedly) created a glorious haven for those who live in the Heights. They provide a backdrop that helps muffle car noise from the busy street below allowing the community to enjoy the park which serves as a venue for individual and group activities such as weddings, birthdays, graduation parties and city-sponsored gatherings. Tuesday’s meeting turned into a lovefest for Cliff Drive Park which is hard not to appreciate, with its beautifully colored plants and trees as well as its numerous contoured vistas.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Thank you for allowing the memory of Patrick Turner to live on while representing “integrity, kindness and inclusivity”

I’d like to use this forum to thank the Newport Beach community for the incredible support of our Patrick’s Purpose Foundation, since its inception five years ago. Patrick decried the pressure that our society puts on students to get a certain test score, take incredibly heavy Advanced Placement course loads and obtain entrance to elite universities. He longed for our community to focus on integrity, kindness and inclusivity, instead of ACT scores and endless academic awards.

To honor his wishes, in 2018, Patrick’s Purpose Foundation established a scholarship program to celebrate students who plan to attend a community college, or a trade school (non-traditional paths which are often not celebrated). I’m proud that this year, we awarded 23 scholarships to deserving students who wrote compelling essays on kindness and inclusivity. These students represented a wide array of high schools, including Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor, Laguna Hills, Back Bay/Monte Vista, Godinez, Santa Ana, Orange County School of the Arts, Segerstrom, KidWorks and Poway (San Diego).

And over the last five years, we have awarded 85 scholarships totaling $100,000 to deserving students. They are admirably pursuing careers in film, reusable energy, automotive repair, culinary arts, drama, welding and machining, fashion design, nursing, aviation repair, cosmetology, writing and emergency services. We could not execute such a program without the generous support of our amazing community.

Thank you for your unwavering support, and for allowing us to spread Patrick’s message that every student’s path should be valued and celebrated.

Kim Turner, Executive Director

Patrick’s Purpose Foundation

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Letters to the Editor

Water polo in the bay

No matter who beat whom, (last week’s) water polo in the bay was the big winner. To tell the truth, I didn’t know if 50 people would show up to watch the matches, but I’m guessing the number turned out to be more like 250. High fives all around to those who made this possible. I can’t wait to see who plays next year. Water polo rules.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Suzanne Forster has been a special part in the preservation of Banning Ranch

There is a prolific and published author among us. Few people know this because in addition to being modest about her accomplishments, she is better known for her devotion of over a decade of endlessly hard work for the local nonprofit phenomenon, Banning Ranch Conservancy.

I first met Suzanne Forster when I retired from teaching and started getting involved in community projects over a decade ago. Suzanne and another important community leader, Dorothy Kraus, were giving educational talks in private homes and other larger venues about the importance of preserving Banning Ranch as the last unprotected open space in Orange County. I was so impressed with their presentation that I decided to volunteer on the spot. Those presentations were responsible for enticing hundreds of followers to fight for the preservation of Banning Ranch.

During the two years that I was involved with Banning Ranch activities, I was constantly impressed with the intelligence and dedication of its leaders and faithful volunteers. One would be remiss not to mention the role of the Banning Ranch President Terry Welsh, who is also an impressive leader with a kind and serious demeanor. He has devoted countless hours to the cause while holding down a career as a pathologist.

Although I left the Conservancy after two years to become involved in other community projects, I kept in touch with Suzanne Forster who kept me up to date on Conservancy matters. She has always impressed me with her intelligence and dedication as well as her modesty. I became aware only five years ago that she had published novels, but only recently learned that she had more than 40 published works to her credit including – novels, novellas and anthologies featuring multiple authors. Before Banning Ranch, the 30 years that she devoted to her writing resulted in her becoming a New York Times bestselling author.

Her writing career began by accident, literally. She was pursuing a career as a psychotherapist when she was involved in a car accident and had to drop out of grad school. The recovery took longer than expected, and by the time she was well enough to return, she had published a book and launched a new career.

In the last few years, I have met several people who are aspiring authors. None has written as much or as successfully as Suzanne; however, most of them would acknowledge, as she does, that writing is a lonely pursuit and often a frustrating one. But it is also very rewarding. When asked about her advice for new writers, Suzanne’s response is, “a writing career takes discipline and perseverance and wanting it really badly,” but modesty keeps her from admitting that to be successful, it also takes talent. To be as successful as she has been takes lots of it.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

A possibility for Joe Beek to check out in his battle with CARB

I wonder if Joe Beek has looked into seeking assistance from the Pacific Legal Foundation. Looks like a fit to me. The Pacific Legal Foundation has an impressive history of fighting governmental bureaucracy.

This mandate by CARB is so absurd in its understanding of the history and function of the Ferry, along with its complete ignorance of the facts supporting the continuation of the Ferry is way over the top. It is typical of the arrogance our state government continues to show in how they completely ignore the people affected by its overreach for the “green agenda!”

Scott Calder

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

When you look closely, Ferry actually reduces emissions and benefits people’s health

We love the NB ferry and consider it a critical transportation link for NB/OC. The Ferry helps reduce emissions, not increase them.

Without the Ferry, from City Hall it is a 15-minute trip around on a good day to the Peninsula. And then you count emissions while people hunt for free parking. UCLA’s parking expert, Donald Shoup, would have something to say on that.

For public health benefits, there is a reduction in diabetes and chronic health issues from riding a bike or walking over to the Peninsula vs. driving.

And when I take the Ferry, I see people from all over Southern California and am reminded that Newport Beach is a destination for people from all over OC/CA/world.

As my mother always said, “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Let the Beeks keep the Ferry operational and work with them on a longer-term solution.

Laura Curran

Corona del Mar

Leave this institution alone when it’s really not a problem

Please do not put the Balboa Island Ferry out of business. It is an institution in our area, operating benignly and quietly serving tourists for close to 100 years.

As far as pollution goes, without the Ferry, all of the tourists who go from Balboa Island to the Peninsula would be required to drive on our roads several miles to get from one point to another. This is simply a one-size-fits-all solution in search of a problem.

Please do not require the Ferry to have to (convert to electric) that essentially would put it out of business.

Debra Allen

Newport Beach

Our Junior Lifeguard program on its own probably merits leaving the Ferry be

As a 73-year-old native Californian and 43-year resident of Newport Beach and a frequent passenger aboard the Balboa Island Ferry, I encourage the Air Resources Board to do everything in its power to see that our iconic ferry continues to run as it has for generations.

For 26 days during the summer between 500-600 out of the 1,500 Junior Lifeguards who are in the program use the Ferry to get to and from the JG program, with a morning session from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and the afternoon session from 1-4 p.m. Without the Ferry, most of the Jr. Guards would be driven by car the long way around the bay from the east side of Newport Beach/Corona del Mar/Newport Coast to Jr. Guard headquarters at the Balboa Pier on the Balboa Peninsula, a round trip of anywhere between 10-20 miles. The number of car trips and the pollutants they would create (exhaust, brake, tire and oil residue, etc.) and gasoline consumed would far exceed the engine exhaust created by the Ferry.

Letters to the editor junior guards line up SNN 5.12

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Laird Hayes

During the summer months, Junior Guards line up by the hundreds to move across Newport Harbor for their training

Some of the Junior Lifeguards who are bike riders would be forced to ride on Pacific Coast Highway for at least part of the way. This section of PCH that they would have to ride on is the most treacherous roadway in Orange County, according to Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles. The safety aspect for the bike riding Junior Lifeguards cannot be disregarded.

Letters to the editor on the front of the ferry SNN 5.12

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The Junior Lifeguard “herd” packs the Ferry on a ride from Balboa Island over to Balboa Peninsula

Please figure out a way to allow the Balboa Ferry to continue operating. Its demise would have a severe negative impact.

Laird Hayes

Newport Beach Volunteer in Policing

Junior Lifeguard Safety Liaison

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Letters to the Editor

Council to consider proposed prohibition of timeshare fractional ownership: bravo to staff!

Tonight the Council will consider a prohibition of fractional ownership in all of our city’s residential districts.

The matter comes up on the Agenda as Item XVII. Public Hearings, 12. Ordinance Nos. 2023-4 and 2023-5: Code Amendments Related to Time Shares (PA2022-0202) (the “Item”). 

Tip of the hat to the Community Development Department – in particular to Director Seimone Jurjis and Principal Planner Jaime Murillo. 

They got it right!

I haven’t read all 699 pages of the Item, but I think I get the gist of it: If passed by Council, the amendments to Title 20 and 21 of the Municipal Code will modify the definition of “time share” to clearly include fractional ownership units, i.e., the “Pacaso model.” The Staff Report (“Report”) states: “As a time share use, fractional homeownership would be prohibited in all residential zoning districts and only allowed in certain commercial and mixed-use zoning districts subject to existing time share regulations.”

The report points out the clear disastrous consequences of commercializing our residential neighborhoods: more traffic, more parking problems, more noise, more trash. And, I might add, loss of privacy, civility and quality of life.

And the report mentions the packed Chambers (nary an empty seat) on March 14, 2023 when the council unanimously directed the Planning Commission and staff to move forward with a possible fractional ownership prohibition. I think we can expect similar resident passion at tonight’s meeting.

One of the beauties of staff’s recommendation for tonight is the adoption of the Planning Commission’s recent worthy suggestions that (in addition to other prohibitions) the outlawed time share use would NOT allow the advertisement of a time share use or the management thereof. 

A bit more subtle issue (which was raised by Commissioner Lowrey at the April 20, 2023 Planning Commission Public Hearing) involves any inadvertent inclusion in the prohibition of the innocent use of a property by family and friends.  As pointed out in the report, the fractional ownership language from staff does NOT restrict/limit/prohibit such innocent family/friend use because such innocent use fails to pass the following “test” for prohibition which must include ALL of these: (i) the use of an accommodation, (ii) pursuant to a “plan,” (iii) whereby a “purchaser” in exchange for “consideration” and (iv) receives the right to exclusively use the accommodation for “less than one year” during a given year, and “on a recurring basis for more than year.” (See the Vacation Ownership and Time Share Act of 2004, and, specifically, CA Business and Professions Code Section 11212(z), definition of “Time-Share plan.”) 

The Community Development Department Staff has done a masterful job of thoughtful analysis and drafting to prohibit the Pacaso model. Please preserve our quality of life and support tonight the staff’s recommended action to adopt the proposed Amendments to Titles 20 and 21 of the Municipal Code.

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Remembering Jean and her impacts on my life from halfway around the world

My husband and I are traveling in Asia right now. We saw your news about the passing of Jean Watt. I just had to respond to you because she was so important to my life. She was an amazing environmentalist and civic leader. She stood up and fought for so many things, instrumentally the preservation of the Back Bay.

On a personal level, she was also my Girl Scout leader. She gave of her
time humbly and selflessly. She took us camping and canoeing down the Colorado River, took us on numerous other camping trips where we learned to work, lead, compromise, organize and simply get things done. 

She made it cool to be a Girl Scout in high school. She showed us how to fundraise and work in a committee. She cared for all of us while raising her own kids and being so active in the community. She opened her house to us and also made us work. She instilled a love of nature that has never left me. 

Any success I have had is in large part due to her influence. Mrs. Watt was truly a great lady and a hero to so many and to our city. I will never forget her and always be grateful for her. 

Thank you for recognizing her. 

Patsy (Sandhu) Marshall

Newport Beach

Sad that Harley can’t run, hope he emerges again when his health returns

Sad news arrived on April 11th regarding a leading contender for the 47th congressional district. Harley Rouda, a popular Democrat from Laguna Beach, had to withdraw his bid for the congressional race after suffering a moderate traumatic brain injury from a fall he took in late March. Rouda said, that although his doctors predict that he is on the path to a full recovery, that his family came first and that he needed to focus fully on his recovery in the coming months.

Having originally been elected to represent Orange County in 2018 after defeating longtime GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Harley served a single term before being defeated by Michelle Steel. Since many of the areas of Orange County had turned from red to purple, Rouda was the perfect candidate and representative, a political moderate who had originally belonged to the Republican Party.

If voters had sent him back to Congress, Harley said he would have concentrated on the climate crisis. As a Representative of CA-48, he became the most legislatively productive freshman member of Congress after his first six months in 2018. His fans hope that he will recover soon and consider again representing Orange County in public office.

Characteristic of Harley’s popularity with fellow candidates, State Senator Dave Min, who was running as a Democrat against Harley in the 47th, said, “Jane and I want to send Harley, Kaira, and the whole Rouda family good thoughts and prayers. Knowing the fighter that Harley is, I have no doubt that he will have a full and speedy recovery. I want to thank Harley for his public service, his decency and patriotism.”

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Want more details on the decision to deny state emergency declaration

After reading Tom Johnson’s synopsis of the storm emergency declaration (April 4th Stu News), reading Diane Dixon’s letter on the matter, learning that two Council people voted against the decision made by the majority and finally, knowing how some members of the last City Council put politics before the welfare of the community, I would like to learn in more detail why the Council made the decision that it did regarding private property damage from this winter’s storms. 

After reaching out for more information, I received a copy of the Newport Beach City Council’s Staff Report and it is quite technical. I would invite interested parties to do the same. It discloses that this decision was made in response to a consent item recommended by the new Police Chief and was supported by Katrina Foley, Diane Dixon and our state Senator Janet Nguyen. It would not have cost us anything but possibly would have made FEMA aid (our tax dollars) available to fix the damage brought by the storms. This also might include sand erosion at the beaches caused by the heavy storms. 

The above information also raises questions as to how property owners in Newport Beach were/are helped if their property was/is damaged after extreme weather conditions. I personally would find it re-assuring to know that the “state  had my back.” And I should like to know what the city would be doing to help me since the majority on Council chose to vote against the emergency declaration.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Mayor urged to reconsider “in a state of emergency” vote

(The following letter was sent to Newport Beach Mayor Noah Blom and cc’d to the other six City Councilmembers, City Manager Grace Leung, along with State Senator Janet Nguyen and OC Supervisors Katrina Foley and Don Wagner.) 

Thank you for your service to the citizens of Newport Beach. I know firsthand the amount of time and commitment it takes to be the Mayor of such a dynamic community.

The historic rainfall this season has presented many challenges in our region. With the assistance of the Orange County Board of Supervisors we were able to convince the Governor to include Orange County on the list of 13 California counties declared “in a state of emergency” because of the extensive damage caused by the rainfall and the possibility of more rain to come. I urge the Newport Beach City Council to reconsider their decision to reject a local state of emergency in Newport Beach. 

According to the California Office of Emergency Services “Pursuant to California Government Code Section 8680.9, a local emergency is a condition of extreme peril to persons or property proclaimed as such by the governing body of the local agency affected by a natural or manmade disaster. The purpose of a local emergency proclamation is to provide extraordinary police powers; immunity for emergency actions; authorize issuance of orders and regulations; activate pre-established emergency provisions; and is a prerequisite for requesting state or federal assistance.” The homes of my constituents and yours sliding down cliffs into the Back Bay would be considered “extreme peril.” 

The declaration of a local emergency would make it easier for Newport Beach to bring in resources from out of state if needed and to hire equipment that is not always easy to access. It would also provide financial resources and reduce bureaucratic red tape that often stall disaster response at the local level, as well as activate the state National Guard and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to support local efforts. 

This state of emergency is not comparative to COVID-era overreach. Instead, we are facing a natural emergency that could get worse for more city residents if the weather patterns continue as they have for the past few months. My district constituents are your city constituents, and my staff and I stand ready to help with any means within our power. 

Thank you for your assistance on this matter.


Diane B. Dixon

California’s 72nd Assembly District

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Letters to the Editor

Pacaso’s fractional home ownership meets with issues in other cities similar to those in Newport Beach

Newport Beach made the front page of national news again, this time, you guessed it – over fractional home ownership. It is a bit exciting to make the front page which focuses on our beloved Balboa Island, but it would be better if no controversy were involved. I think by now most of us in Newport know what the excitement is about because our City Council devoted one whole meeting to
a hearing on the issue, while debating whether to expand an existing ordinance that prohibits timeshares in residential zones to also encompass fractional ownership properties. The move if approved by city leaders and the California Coastal Commission, would effectively ban the main company acquiring properties, Pacaso, from doing so for fractional home purposes. 

There were many homeowners who attended the City Council meeting and spoke out against the practice of dividing up the ownership of Pacaso-acquired homes. There were also Pacaso owners in the audience who spoke out about how much they liked the idea of sharing the cost of the home, and being able to enjoy Newport Beach for their share of 44 nights a year. But a majority of the homeowners at the meeting were there to urge the City Council and other city leaders to allow no more fractional ownership in Newport Beach. What is to happen to the approximately 11 that exist so far is an unknown at this moment.

Newport Beach residents are not alone in rejecting this new home sharing concept. Palm Springs and Monterey County have sent cease and desist letters to Pacaso, arguing that it is just a “fancy” form of timeshare and should be governed by the same rules, similar to Newport Beach’s stance. Other cities seeking the same restrictions are Carmel, Sonoma and Beverly Hills that just this month expressed the desire to prohibit fractional ownership in the city.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Chemicals rising in Newport neighborhoods could be of concern

It has almost gotten to the point the last several years that one can make the argument that no news is good news. Still, I faithfully get up every morning, get my newspaper and read it with my morning coffee. Now that I am retired, I can give it more than a cursory once over before putting it away.

Although I usually rely on Stu News for local news, occasionally there is something I come across elsewhere that is of specific interest to Newport Beach. Such was the case (last week). Although I don’t enjoy being the harbinger of bad news, a new study has been released in a scientific paper about the possibility of parts of Newport coming under scrutiny for having areas where soil vapors contain Trichloroethylene, more commonly known as TCE. The research paper published on Tuesday, March 14 in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease hypothesizes that this pollution may be contributing to the global spread of Parkinson’s. It is a colorless liquid that had a variety of practical uses in the past such as removing gunk from jet engines, stripping paint and removing stains by the dry cleaners. Because of widespread use, there are thousands of sites contaminated by the TCE. 

TCE is now known to cause kidney cancer. The newly released scientific paper reveals that it could also be linked to Parkinson’s. It references a plume of contamination underlying a portion of Newport Beach, which “is considered one of California’s largest residential communities affected by chemical vapors.” In Newport Beach, the chemicals were left in shallow groundwater by a former testing ground for missile systems. 

 Ford Motor Company had operated an aeronautics campus in Newport Beach on a 98-acre campus where it developed tactile missile systems up until 1993. At that time the area underwent some environmental remediation and then eventually the area was redeveloped into residential properties. Some chemical contamination remained and migrated into the groundwater. As groundwater in Newport was not used for drinking, there was not concern about it being a threat to public health.

In 2014, a federal agency became concerned of the dangers of breathing the vapors of TCE. Ford has been working with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board to address volatile compounds in soil and ground water. They provide regular updates to the community. Out of 350 homes, vapor from TCE and PCE have been detected above screening levels in 129 homes. Air purifiers were provided where vapor intrusion was occurring.

Bayridge Park and Belcourt Terrace are two of the communities with the greatest concentrations. Ford is working to install a system of underground pipes designed to treat underground vapors for about a year, which is expected to lower indoor TCE levels to state standards.

As one of the engineers who grew up in Newport Beach acknowledged, “This is one of the wealthiest parts of the entire United States. If this is happening in a resource-rich area, think about what’s happening in a resource-poor area.”

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Thank you for Council’s support of recommendation to curb fractional home ownership proliferation

(Note to Mayor Noah Blom and Honorable Councilmembers on Wednesday, March 15)

Thank you for your insights and patience last evening. Thank you as well for unanimously supporting Councilmember (Robyn) Grant’s motion to adopt the Planning Commission’s preferred recommendation as to all residential districts (which would include R-2).

We are unaware of any pending fractional homeownership transactions; hopefully the number we heard last evening (12) will not increase during the upcoming expedited drafting/adoption/effective date process.

Councilmember (Erik) Weigand’s concern regarding enforcement of grandfathered properties seems well taken; hopefully, this concern can be factored into the drafting and related processes.

Thank you again for protecting our residents’ quality of life in all residential districts.

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

An idea that could ultimately save the ferry

The City should declare the Balboa Ferry a “Historical Treasure,” then pass laws that exempt it.

Ron Yeo

Newport Beach

Moratorium needed sooner rather than later to stop fractional ownership

In his Stu News Newport Letter to the Editor (March 10, 2023), “Pacaso Exec” Mr. Joe Maehler basically says, “Jump, I’ll catch you.”

No worries, the letter in effect promises. Mr. Maehler states “Pacaso owners have a significant vested interest in both the home and the community…” He adds, “Pacaso owners are responsible families that abide by local ordinances and are committed to being good neighbors…” Mr. Maehler further assures us that his family is “heavily” involved in local sports and “spends a lot of time in local parks and beaches.” (It is unclear whether Mr. Maehler’s home is fractionally owned, but presumably not.)

In my view, Mr. Maehler’s lofty praise and unconditional assurances of Pacaso owners and his family’s civic involvement does not necessarily qualify as license for a well-funded, dressed up timeshare operator to disrupt the peace and quality of life for which our villages are renowned.

Here’s a different take from Mr. Maehler’s, adapted in part and revised from a past letter we provided to Stu News Newport.

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 Boogey 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.” (We seldom engaged our neighbors, nor did they wish to engage us; I suspect this will be the case with the temporary Pacaso visitors.) 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 is not a Picasso masterpiece. The typical Pacaso model promises 45 days for each of eight owners (who may well be strangers to each other) 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.”

So, on Tuesday, March 14, our council will consider the Planning Commission’s majority consensus Preferred Recommendation which correctly identifies fractional ownership as a commercialized timeshare. I like this approach. I do not like Pacaso’s self-serving proposed Ordinance which (in part) would allow up to 500 fractional ownership permits, would not extend to the R-2 Zoning District and would not be restricted to commercial zones.

Until a properly researched, publicly vetted measure is adopted by our council, I favor a moratorium on fractional ownership. (Note the Staff Report that the number of fractional homeownership residential properties as of the end of the Sagecrest study [August 29, 2022, over six months ago] had increased to eleven (11) properties and [I would venture to say] likely more since then.)

Fractional ownership will make Bal Week a permanent fixture in our community with whirlwind transient occupancy, will result in unenforceable enforcement, will not produce TOT, does nothing to help us meet the multiple California mandates regarding RHNA and affordable housing, and will permanently scar the nature, quality of life and character of our village-centric town.

Rome is burning, and I hope that you or someone in your neighborhood does not become a Pacaso victim until our council imposes a moratorium and thereafter acts responsibly, reasonably and quickly to deter/severely restrict/eliminate fractional ownership.

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

Fractional Ownership – a residential zoning game-changer

Tonight’s City Council meeting will present recommendations from the Planning Commission regarding fractional ownership in Newport Beach. Per City Manager Grace Leung’s weekly update, an ad hoc committee of Planning Commission will provide two recommendations per council’s original guidance. The preferred recommendation is to broaden the definition of timeshare which would effectively prohibit homeownership in residential zoning districts. The alternative recommendation is to create a regulatory framework allowing fractional ownership in our residential neighborhoods but would proposes restrictions on number of units, noise and parking requirements.

Since fractional ownership was first raised in the November 16, 2021 council meeting, the number of fractional ownership homes in residentially zoned NB neighborhoods has increased from 1 to an estimated 12. Residents have filled council chambers with complaints about excessive noise, parties and transiency in their previously quiet established neighborhoods. Despite efforts by then-Councilmembers (Joy) Brenner and (Diane) Dixon on September 27, 2022 to secure a study moratorium and to temporarily stop the increase of these homes, Council proceeded to hand this issue off to the Planning Commission and City Staff in an attempt to “move more quickly” to untangle this complex zoning issue.

In the intervening period of time, twenty-two (22) other high-end cities in CA and other U.S. destinations, who are being threatened by fractional housing, have been successful in securing moratoriums (Beverly Hills), bans (Carmel most recently), sending cease and desist orders (Palm Springs being one of many), and legally addressing their current time-share zoning (Maui recently) to essentially dis-allow fractional housing in their highly valued residential neighborhoods.

Other than Newport Beach, only one other city – Park City – has spent months in attempts to accommodate fractional ownership. But the new Utah Senate Bill 271 just passed last week now prohibits any county or municipal legislative body from enacting or enforcing a land use regulation that regulates co-owned homes differently from other residential homes. This new Utah legislation was reportedly pushed forward by fractional ownership industry leaders – in spite of adverse effects on residential neighborhoods, reduction of housing stock and the transient nature of part-time residents. Upon last week’s bill passage, a Pacaso spokesperson stated that “Pacaso strongly supports property rights and the Utah Senate Bill 271, which empowers people to co-own homes without interference from local government.”

Fractional ownership is an important issue affecting property values and quality of life in the residential neighborhoods of Newport Beach for years to come. It is a business model with a goal of making profits for fractional ownership companies. Please take the time to voice your concerns at City Council prior to any vote taken.

Kathe Morgan

Newport Beach 

Another ferry saving idea

Just a thought – but is there any merit in Beek’s applying for State Historic Vehicle or Entity status and preserving its “current” [pardon the pun] system?

Denis LaBonge 

Newport Beach

Your Presence is Requested

I have been opposed to the Fractional Ownership business model in all residential zones since I first learned about it. Over the years I have spoken at City Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings and written letters to both bodies. 

While the issue has been bounced around rather than being dealt with directly, the number of FHO’s has gone from 4 to 12. And unfortunately, it continues to rise.

On March 14 (tonight), the City Council will address this issue. Please go here and scroll down to Item 12 under Current Business.

–Staff Report

–Attachments A to E

Of concern to me is the inclusion of Attachment A-Pacaso Draft Ordinance.

I think there is something wrong with the involvement of a Fractional Ownership company addressing the public directly. Their employees have gone so far as to write letters on at least two news sites that serve Newport Beach. There is not even a counter letter on one of them that appeared on Saturday.

To achieve what residents want (rather than what outside influencers want) it is very important to ATTEND this meeting. I can only imagine what presentations and speakers Pacaso will have in attendance. Remember this is not their show. Make sure that among the people who present and the people who speak from the audience that there are also residents. Often people come from outside the city to speak at our meetings. They should not be speaking as residents nor take the place of residents. There is nothing illegal about their speaking, but they should be identified as visitors. This is a decision that should be made by the residents of Newport Beach. 

Gary Cruz 

Newport Island


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Letters to the Editor

Fractional ownership issues could negatively impact Newport’s neighborhood

After our last election I, undoubtedly like many others, felt the need to take a vacation from city politics. But now that we have an important issue before us that needs resolution, it is time to speak up again.

It has come to my attention that the big issue that our city government is having a hard time resolving is the fractional home (ownership) issue. First I find it hard to understand why OUR City is so fearful of litigation over this issue, because I have been told that many cities have banned fractional homes or put a moratorium on them. During the time that the city has been dragging its feet, the number of fractional homes has increased by seven.

This is a very divisive issue because I am assuming that these homes are cropping up in certain areas and not in others. First of all, the issue divides us because those who live in areas where these homes are not going to exist, for the most part, cannot properly relate to the problem. It does not seem fair that only certain parts of Newport Beach should bear the burden. If they are allowed in beachside areas, they should be allowed in all areas, including Big Canyon, Cameo Shores and Newport Coast. In other words, the whole city must unite behind this issue.

Shared ownership property invites vacation-type activities: lots of noise, partying and late hours-behavior that is not conducive to promoting a sense of community in a neighborhood. It is logical to think that the behavior of people when they are in a fractional home will not be like their behavior in their own community.

The easiest solution of all is to consider the fractional homes as timeshares and prohibit them.

Please attend the Council meeting on March 14 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers to learn more about Fractional Home Ownership.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

An important decision before City Council…don’t stand on the sidelines

You know those times when some unconscionable new policy hits your neighborhood, and you say to yourself, “If only I’d been at the meeting where this was decided on, so I could have done something in time to stop it?” One of those times is nearly here for Newport Beach. On (Tuesday) March 14 at 5:30 p.m., our newly seated City Council is getting ready to make their first big decision and test their negotiation skills. They will be deliberating on a new type of housing product called fractional ownership. Ownership that is divided between eight perfect strangers giving each one-eighth ownership.

The middleman in the transaction is a company that has created this unique ownership and management model. They are the pioneers, headquartered in Newport Beach, paving the way for other companies waiting in the wings to see what happens in these test and court cases. You make money on the sale of the property and more money on the management. I am sure there is more money to be made on the financing too.

My focus is what our City Council is about to do to our villages. We already have two fractional homes on Balboa Island. One is fully operating on Emerald Avenue where (neighboring) residents can tell their own horror stories about what it’s like to live near one of these properties.

My biggest concern is the future when the manager leaves the picture and the original agreed upon rules can be thrown out the window under new management or self-management. When Newport Beach has 500 of these and all the owners have gotten together and fired the original management company with the high fees and decide to self-manage. The fractional owner model can actually work from Newport Coast to the Bluffs, not just the tourist areas like Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula. That is when things become really dicey in Newport Beach. Especially after the original management company paves the way for the “I can do that too” guys. It is a home ownership nightmare for people near these properties because years from now they could be self-managed and a mess. Imagine how trashed a place can get in 10 years and unless they can get five owners to agree, no money will be spent to paint or fix up the property. Imagine the fights when eight strangers disagree how their multi-million-dollar property is operated with no management oversight.

I was also trying to figure out how the sales of 1/8 shares would ever get the properties to full tax assessment. That one issue should cause some concern. Now when a family-owner, trust or partnership sells a house it goes to full assessed value, a boom for the city, county and school district. Under these fractured ownerships, the property would never go to full assessed value and in Newport Beach’s case you are talking about millions of dollars of lost revenue.

It is on the agenda for March 14 and could be a barn-burner meeting if the residents really knew what is about to happen to them. They don’t! We did miss the boat on the expansion of private jet flights over our homes from John Wayne Airport and have yet to feel the full impact of those decisions. Your next neighbor may be eight strangers that have unique ideas how to enjoy their homes.

The majority of our residents do not know about the threat of fractional ownership and would oppose it if asked. The City Council needs to stop these unwanted new eight neighbor homes. Timeshares are not allowed in Newport Beach. Newport Beach residents are depending on their elected officials to do the right thing on Tuesday.

Lee Pearl

Balboa Island

Fractional ownership company employee defends the idea as being good for the community

The City Council has recently taken up the issue of co-ownership. As a Newport Beach resident of 20+ years and Pacaso exec, I feel compelled to share my perspective on what co-ownership means for our community.

I decided to move to Newport Beach because few other places offer such an incredible combination of environment and community. My wife and I love being able to raise our children in Newport. Our family is heavily involved in local sports and we spend a lot of our time in the local parks and beaches with our friends, kids’ teammates and have loved getting to know our fellow community members over the past 20+ years. I firmly believe Pacaso and co-ownership will help us preserve what we love about Newport Beach by more effectively incorporating second homeowners into our community.

It’s no secret that the pandemic created unprecedented demand for second homes in destination communities like Newport Beach. This demand causes a problem.

It’s a problem because the average second home sits empty for 90% of the year. As more homes become second homes, there are fewer and fewer full-time residents and the existing character of a community changes. It’s a problem because the housing market becomes more and more unsustainable as more and more inventory is set aside for people who rarely visit.

Pacaso offers one solution. Through co-ownership, we take up to eight second home buyers and put them into one home. Those buyers were looking for single family homes in the community. Instead, they share one luxury home.

Some more interesting points on Pacaso and co-ownership: 

Co-ownership is not new. It is an established practice. Pacaso is modernizing the process and bringing together buyers. Otherwise, these homes operate similar to any other co-owned home, which are common in Newport Beach.

After the home is sold, Pacaso supports owners as a local property manager and retains no ownership in the home. Owners hold 100% of the home collectively. 

Pacaso owners have a significant vested interest in both the home and the community as many of them have family that live in the area, run local businesses nearby their homes, or have been visiting the community for years and often decades. These owners look forward to returning to their home and cherish the destination on a deeper level, as opposed to those who visit for a weekend getaway in a short-term rental, move on and perhaps never return. Pacaso owners are responsible families that abide by local ordinances and are committed to being good neighbors by following a code of conduct that supports a high quality of life in the neighborhood where they live. These policies restrict noise, prohibit short-term rentals in their homes, and regulate parking and trash.

Joe Maehler

Pacaso employee and Newport Beach resident

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Guest Letter

Gina Jaha


CdM Home Tour

CdM Home Tour has arrived!

After months of preparation, the day of the 49th Annual CdM Home Tour is finally here (Tuesday, March 7). It is going to be a memorable day with seven spectacular homes to explore. 

This is a full-day event including a breakfast reception and luncheon at the Newport Beach Civic Center, the boutique (open from 8 a.m.-2.30 p.m.) featuring more than 30 local vendors, the tour of seven beautiful homes plus a bonus vacation cottage, an opportunity drawing and online auction showcasing some amazing prizes, student performances and finally a fun After-Party.

The day would not have been possible without the support of so many contributors: 37 sponsors, 37 advertisers, 21 underwriters, seven homeowners, six home designers, 30+ boutique vendors, 21 student artists, 20+ student performers, 30+ opportunity drawing and auction donations, 20+ in-kind donors, 10+ media partners, 10+ event partners, 50+ volunteers and 1,450 guests.

A particular thanks to the dedicated teams at Barclay Butera Interiors and VALIA Properties, who have gone above and beyond to make this event a success. 

The event sold out two weeks ago and in total 1,450 tickets have been issued. The funds raised will support PTA programs at Corona del Mar Middle & High School, such as student scholarships, teacher grants, technology, student mental wellness support programs and parent support presentations. 

This year’s theme “Endless Possibilities” highlights that everything is possible when we come together as a community and partner to achieve common goals.

We hope you enjoy the homes on the tour, where Newport’s treasured vistas invite dreams and endless possibilities as far as you can see!

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Letters to the Editor

Words are important

Words are important. They can be as significant as actions, even more so.
Words can inspire, enrich and transform. They can also hurt, shame and inflame.

Those who have enriched their vocabulary by reading or by being around people who use expressive language appreciate the power of words. Children who grow up in households which have an extensive vocabulary or speak more than one language are more likely to want to use words creatively. 

My family always used correct English and adequate vocabulary but they were not necessarily readers. I acquired my love for language in high school where I had excellent teachers who required extensive reading and writing. In English, we read classical and modern literature and were required to analyze what we read.

Learning a foreign language, especially one as beautiful as French, enhanced my love of language, inspiring me to use new vocabulary to express myself.

The history of western civilization is replete with great orators. 

There have been several presidents who have been known for their eloquence in oral or written form: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and, in more modern times, John F. Kennedy. Other leaders known for their motivational and inspiring words are Martin Luther King Jr. and Billy Graham. Perhaps the most famous speaker of all, who led his people during World War II when Britain stood alone against the Axis powers, was Winston Churchill. His writings were as famous as his speeches, winning him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.

One of my pet peeves is people who use other people’s words to express ideas which are clearly not theirs, and ones they often do not fully understand. If used politically these words have a stinging effect. This has been happening a lot in politics, particularly this last decade. Words like woke, alt-right, gaslight, takers, rhetoric, fascism, Antifa. These words and others like them inflame individuals and can lead them to act aggressively. They motivate in a negative way.

I find that using acronyms can be irritating also because they can make others feel ignorant if they do not know what the initials stand for: SCOTUS, POTUS, ASAP, LMK, EOB, WFH. Acronyms are used to make communication go more quickly, but need to be part of shared communication. Otherwise, they can be intimidating.

We can use words that divide us or we can use words that bring our community closer together. These words must be our own words and they must be sincere.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Guest Letter

Robert T. Braithwaite

President & CEO


Hoag Expands Cancer Research and Access to World-Class Care

Guest Letter Robert Braithwaite

Courtesy of Hoag Hospital

Robert Braithwaite, Hoag President and CEO

Dear Neighbors,

I am excited to introduce the community to the recently expanded Patty & George Hoag Cancer Center in Newport Beach. This cutting-edge facility sets the stage for expanded cancer research and access to world-class clinical care.

Already a magnet for leading specialists, Hoag’s expansion continues to attract top-ranked clinicians and researchers from world-class academic institutions who are flocking to Hoag to do their best work.

Hoag’s multidisciplinary team includes leading site-specific cancer subspecialists whose collaboration provides our patients with the highest level of care. Many of these specialists are also leading researchers who bring to Hoag research protocols in precision medicine, molecular imaging and therapy, immunotherapy/cell therapy and a number of other clinical trials, offerings usually reserved for academic medical centers. 

The expanded center is also home to the leading-edge technology for which Hoag is known. With the support of Hoag’s generous philanthropic community, we became the first and only cancer center in Orange County with the ViewRay MRIdian, and we are a leader in the nation for daVinci® robotic surgeries. Hoag physicians are the experts other doctors turn to for training on the latest technological innovations.

From my vantage point, though, what really sets Hoag’s cancer team apart is the fact that they are part of Hoag. The collaborative nature of Hoag means that our cancer team has access to hundreds of subspecialists who work seamlessly together to treat the whole patient. Everyone here shares a patient-centric philosophy that is the hallmark of Hoag’s care.

The attention to patient comfort, dignity and wellness abounds in our reconfigured spaces, each one designed to enhance our cancer patient’s experience and comfort. Innovations and enhancements include:

–A personalized infusion experience.

–An onsite pharmacy completely dedicated to cancer care for the convenience of Hoag patients. 

–A dedicated unit for rapid care allows patients to access procedures such as blood draws and hydration therapy.

–Rapid blood test, an innovative technology that allows Hoag oncologists to analyze a patient’s blood work within minutes and determine the chemotherapy or other course of treatment that is appropriate for them. 

–An open collaborative space where the entire multidisciplinary cancer team collaborates to deliver the best care for patients under one roof. 

–Physician offices, including 35 exam rooms for oncology and cancer subspecialty care.

–Integrated programs including yoga, massage, support groups and image focus.

–An outdoor lounge and other spaces to accommodate caregivers and family members.

The expansion of the Newport Beach Cancer Center builds upon Hoag’s dedication to clinical excellence, research and innovation, and unparalleled patient and family experience. And it reflects Hoag’s commitment to remain a leader in redefining how cancer care is provided.

For more than 70 years, Orange County has trusted us with their cancer care, and we continue to earn that trust through pioneering technological advancements, unsurpassed expert care and our unique patient-centric approach.

This expansion continues our story, which is the story of health, wellness and innovation for Orange County and beyond.


Robert T. Braithwaite

President and Chief Executive Officer

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Letters to the Editor

Concerns with sidewalk solicitation on Balboa Island

At the January Balboa Island Improvement Association (BIIA) Board meeting, the board of directors directed Terry Janssen, president of the BIIA, and me to meet with the city staff related to the problems of sidewalk solicitation of residents and visitors by cosmetic companies on Marine Avenue. There are currently four of these businesses operating on Marine Avenue.

On February 16, 2023, a meeting was held with Seimone Jurjis, community development director, code enforcement, planning staff and Cynthia Shafer, president of the Merchants Association. The staff had some suggestions that may require City Council and public input at the City Council level. We believe a discussion should take place at which time the City Council can determine if further action should be taken. All three of the associations, including the Little Balboa Island Property Owners Association (Ken Yonkers, president), are in agreement with this email. 

Lee Pearl

Balboa Island

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Letters to the Editor

Modern medicine gives people living with the big “C” the potential of a better outcome

Upon reading Tom Johnson’s (Fair Game) touching words about his close relationship with his brother and his brother’s recent diagnosis, I am thinking about how lucky Cliff is that he doesn’t have to think of “C” as Tom puts it, as a terminal disease. I am reminded of friends and family whom I’ve lost to cancer who could have lived many years longer if they had cancer today.   

They passed way too soon, in their sixties.

Just today, en route to a physical therapy appointment, I was totally thrown off guard upon learning about the passing of one of my college friends who had fought breast cancer for years. She was able to live a normal life many years after her initial diagnosis, thanks to modern medicine. My best friend also has had breast cancer four times but continues to lead a normal life several years after each treatment is over.

She just turned 80. I wish that I had her courage and positive attitude.

Thanks to medical progress in recent years, we can begin to think of most cancer as a chronic rather than a terminal disease. It is certainly more uplifting for the patient today to think about recovery. With this knowledge they can meet their medical challenges with a positive attitude. And a positive attitude is such an important part of the battle.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Power outages continue to haunt Peninsula residents as the City and Edison appear to idly sit by

Lido had a power outage last week and it got everyone’s attention. A small area on the Peninsula has 1-2 outages EVERY month for years and what do we hear? Crickets...even here in Stu News, our area was a parenthetical comment to what happened to Lido. Those of us living on Island Ave., parts of Bay Ave., and parts of Buena Vista experience continuing power outages and have for years. Most recently in less than a week, we had three, with the longest lasting 12 hours, and this is not unusual. 

We residents have written letters to the city and Edison. We have circulated petitions. We have called. We have reported every outage on the Edison website. We had Dave Webb, director of (City of Newport Beach) Public Works, come to speak to us. We made sure council candidates understood this issue before the election. We have reported the outages in real time to the mayor and the entire city council, Public Works and Edison. We have included our District 1 Councilman (Joe) Stapleton in our many, many emails.

And what has all this gotten us?

The city says it is Edison, and the Edison repair crews say it is the city.

And we continue to hear, “We are looking into it.”

And still, we sit in the dark far too often!

Food and medicines spoil in refrigerators. The power surges wreak havoc on electronics. Budgets are stretched buying battery-operated devices and generators. Wages are lost by people working from home. Edison routinely denies claims for damages.

The map online for these recurring incidents is no help in knowing the actual 150 or so houses impacted. Neither the city nor Edison will provide me with the actual blocks affected so I can personally speak to each resident. 

Together we must develop a plan to resolve this because the few squeaky wheels have not gotten the attention of whoever can get this fixed. This wobbly senior citizen has been expected to go up and down streets in the dark to figure out who is without power, and while I have met some fabulous neighbors as a result, this is an inexact method to get the information both the city and Edison already have.

We have heard the city is having a meeting with Edison to discuss this. I have asked Dave Webb to include me and other neighbors in this meeting, but there have been no invitations to date.

If you are a neighbor suffering these outages, let me know! Stop by, stick a note in our mailbox, or send me a note to P.O Box 952, Newport Beach, Calif. 92661.

Kathy Frazer

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Why can’t we get lights on the pickleball courts in Bonita Canyon?

My wife and I went before the City Council last week requesting that lights be installed at Bonita Canyon Sports Park’s pickleball courts. 

My name is Joseph Kogon and my wife’s name is Jessica Kogon. We live in the Port Streets neighborhood. I moved to Newport Beach about six years ago. My wife Jessica was born and raised in Newport Beach and we were married at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church. 

We started playing pickleball about a year ago at Bonita Canyon courts and became hooked immediately. Pickleball is a great thing for the City of Newport Beach as it brings really good people to the city. The atmosphere is a lot of fun. We see people of all ages playing together. We see families playing together and youth that may otherwise be stuck inside playing video games. Kids are actually building communication skills with adults and seniors in our community. It’s a positive atmosphere to be a part of and what keeps us coming back to play each day. It’s great to see people in the community who we play pickleball with. I have even received a few nicknames while playing pickleball over the last year like Bama or Bama Joe. It’s definitely been the best way to get to know people and feel a part of the community here in Newport Beach. 

During summer hours it stays light out until almost 8:30 or 9 p.m. That gives us time to arrive home from work and play for a few hours with family and friends. During the winter months, because of the time change, it’s difficult to play during the week at Bonita Canyon, because it starts getting dark around 4 to 4:30 p.m. We have to drive all the way to Tustin or Portola Springs to find lighted courts. 

Most cities around the area and the country have lighted public courts, especially for the winter months. My neighborhood in the Port Streets is the closest neighborhood to the Bonita Canyon pickleball courts. 

This past Sunday we spoke with a resident of whose backyard faces the pickleball courts. He loves pickleball and would love to be able to play at night with his family and neighbors. In fact, the neighbors that live closest to the pickleball courts have a court lined out in the street of Port Abbey perfectly aligned with the streetlight and a portable net so that they can play pickleball in the street after work and on weekends. 

We are not asking for lights to stay on all night, but we think it would be a good idea to have lights until a certain time that matches a standard in other areas. Tustin Legacy: 10 p.m., Portola Springs: 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends.

Why can’t we have lights for Jackson? 

Joseph & Jessica Kogon

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Why not lights at the Bonita Canyon pickleball courts?

(The following was a letter sent to Honorable Mayor Noah Blom, members of the City Council, City Manager Grace Leung and Recreation & Senior Services Director Sean Levin)


This is a request that the City of Newport Beach install LED lights for the four (4) pickleball courts located at Bonita Canyon Sports Park (BCSP) West/Field 6.


The four pickleball courts at BCSP were constructed in 2017 when pickleball was still a little-known growing sport (Attachment A).

One of the primary concerns of the sport was the amount of sound it created. To address this concern, the courts were not only placed in the far northwest part of the park, but the padded sound barriers were put up on the chain link fencing facing the Port Street residences. Our understanding is that as a matter of practice for all Newport Beach parks courts and fields, lights for the new pickleball courts were not installed due to “light pollution.” A precedent has been established by the Parks Commission to allow lighting of the west soccer fields at BCPC since 2019 (Attachment B).

These mobile lights are over 30 feet tall and directly across One Ford Street [Road] and within 300 feet of the fields.

The Bonita Canyon Pickleheads Club is a community of friendly competitors seeking social camaraderie that has organically coalesced around its mutual love of pickleball. It currently has over 215 members and counting. Its members have taken pride in our courts, such as fabricating an ingenious paddle rack for an orderly rotation of waiting players, clarify court rules and mediate disputes among players, buying a surface squeegee and broom to dry the courts, cleaning up leaves and debris after a storm, welcoming beginner players and newcomers to Newport, and providing lost and found services.


Pickleball across the nation and certainly in Newport Beach is undeniably a popular participatory sport and builds a positive social community for all ages. It is often cited as the fastest growing sport in America. (Attachment C)

The courts have a tremendous demand for playing time at all times. Often with 16 players on the courts, there are 20 paddles queued up to play (Attachment D). 

The queue gets even worse in the afternoon when Coach Mel has lessons, reducing the number of courts from 4 to 3 and sometimes just 2 courts.

Currently the rules for playing time is from 7 a.m. to dusk, which in the winter means around 5 p.m. and the summer time up to around 9 p.m. Those that work, go to school, or have other obligations during the day, and those that cannot play due to long wait times (often 30-45 minutes between games) are unable to play in the winter after 5 p.m. Extending playing into the evenings may allow for reserved group play, such as round robins or pickleball parties. There are those sensitive to harmful UV rays or susceptible to melanoma who prefer or can only play after sunset. Some players have continued to play on the unlit courts in the twilight hours which can create a dangerous condition for possible injury and potential liability for the city.

With the recent advent of energy efficient and cost-effective LED lights that are highly directional, the issue of “light pollution” is mitigated (Attachment E) and only a soft bloom would be observable over the courts. The nearest Port Street homes are more than 300 feet away (Attachment F).

Sound would be no more of an issue than what is currently occurring in the summer months when we play until 9 p.m. We have reached out to the five residents whose backyard faces the park on the west side of Port Abbey Lane about our request for lights at the pickleball courts.


An electrical contractor has estimated the cost of installing LED court lights would be $75,000. The funding for the lights may come from Park Fees, which also funded the original construction of the courts. Or it may be within the Parks Department maintenance or contingency budget; if not, it could be placed in the FY2023-24 General Fund CIP budget. 

Pay per use meters also could be installed for initial cost recovery and ongoing energy costs.


With the installation of court lights on the pickleball courts, it would allow an existing valuable city asset to extend playing time for so many players during the wintertime by 4 hours per day. BCSP pickleball courts attract players from not only all over south Orange County, but throughout the country since Newport Beach is a tourist destination particularly in the winter months. The community benefits for the healthy enjoyment of its citizens, spreading out playing time, and a potential reduction of crime with a positive activity, are some of the basis for approving this request. The City of Newport Beach is rightfully proud of such a premier public facility, yet missing a key component.

Why let BCSP pickleball courts sit unused during the winter evening hours?


Bonita Canyon Pickleheads

Lights at Bonita Canyon pickleball courts would allow more people to play

I live in the Bonita Canyon Community which is a short five-minute skateboard ride to the pickleball courts at Bonita Canyon Sports Park. In the past, if I was not at school or playing a sport, I would spend my time on electronics.

However, since I started playing pickleball, I no longer spend time on electronics. Instead, I spend my weekends and some days after school at the Bonita Canyon Sports Park playing pick-up games with people in my community.

I love that people of all ages, young and old, play together. So many people love playing pickleball that there is usually a line. It is unfortunate that we are forced to stop playing at sunset. 

If Bonita Canyon Sports Park added lights to the courts more people in the community would be able to enjoy the game. I know even my dad would like to go after work if that were an option.

The only courts in Newport Beach that have lights are private clubs that charge a membership fee. I am (asking) the City Council to add lights at Bonita Canyon Sports Park which will benefit all the people of Newport Beach.

Jackson Creamer

Newport Beach

Rouda is back at it and brings with him some strong credentials

Just over two weeks ago, Harley Rouda, former congressman from Orange County, announced that in 2024 he is running for the seat that will be vacated by Katie Porter, in the newly created 47th Congressional District which consists of Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Seal Beach and Costa Mesa.   

Harley has established a loyal support group in coastal Orange County which dates back to the election of 2018. At the end of his first six months in office, he became the most legislatively productive freshman member of Congress, having introduced 59 legislative measures and getting three bills signed into law. Rouda and his office returned more than $2 million directly to his former district, CA-48 and more than $40 million to Orange County’s businesses.

Harley was in office when the COVID pandemic first hit and consequently brought $554 million back to Orange County to help fight COVID-19. He wrote a bipartisan bill to provide $25,000 to small businesses to update their PPE stock (Personal Protective Equipment) and to create an environment that was both safe for workers and safe to re-open. It is interesting to note that when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit Orange County, Harley stopped his campaign and asked businesses around Orange County to donate tens of thousands of PPE to Orange Coast Medical Center. 

One local newspaper, which rarely recognizes the accomplishments of Democrats, endorsed Harley, explaining that while they had many issues on which they disagreed, Harley Rouda had “proven to be a credible representative of the district, and a supporter of many causes the editorial board cares about strongly.” This endorsement followed on the heels of one he had received from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce honoring him with the Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

E-bikes are the rage and the problem

Newport Beach made the front page of a national newspaper Monday with an article on a popular subject among residents, and one that often has a negative twist, e-bikes! I have written to Stu News about them before and they often come up when talking about traffic problems in the city. I have personally almost been hit by one more than once while walking to the post office down Riverside Avenue.

The title of the article, E-bikes bring “mayhem” to O.C., means that we certainly are not alone. While the problem plagues Southern California beach cities, inland ones are struggling with the issue also.

Before diving into the negative features of this relatively new form of transportation, one should probably talk about its positive features as well. And yes, there is a positive side. Says the trauma medical director at Mission Hospital, “It’s a convenient vehicle, it’s environmentally friendly – there’s a lot of advantages.” 

And e-bikes do get people out of gas-fueled cars. They particularly became popular during the pandemic when gyms were closed and people were looking for new forms of exercise and recreation. Furthermore, and to the surprise no doubt of many, (according to the article) “the state is allocating $10 million for the California Air Resources Board to help establish a rebate program to make them more affordable.”

This will not make most residents of Newport Beach happy. One resident was quoted as saying that stepping out onto the boardwalk is “like stepping onto the 405 Freeway.” Another resident told the Newport Beach City Council during a meeting on e-bikes last year, “what we are witnessing on the boardwalk is mayhem.”

During the first 10 months of last year, staffers at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo documented 198 e-bike injuries, according to the article.

If you want to see the proliferation and danger of e-bikes which can go up to 28 mph, drive on Irvine Avenue one day towards the junior high school when school is letting out. I made the mistake of doing that and couldn’t believe my eyes…it looked something like a swarm of bees coming at me at full speed. 

Of the three different levels of e-bikes, Type 1 is a low-speed pedal-assisted bike. Type 2 has a pedal and a throttle. Type 3 bikes can go faster – up to 28 mph with pedal assistance, and riders have to be at least 16 years old and wear a helmet according to state law. 

I do not know the level of e-bikes that I saw coming at me on Irvine Avenue, but it seemed like they were going awfully fast. I worried about the students’ safety as well as of those pedestrians who might be near them. 

Newport Beach has not come up with a definitive solution other than appointing “boardwalk ambassadors.” Other cities, not only beach cities, are trying to control the problem as well, cities like Irvine and Aliso Viejo, the latter which permits e-bikers to ride up to only 5 mph on the sidewalk, banning them in commercial centers or city parking lots. San Clemente banned electric bikes from their coastal boardwalks and have posted signs warning of $100 fines for bike riders on the beach or trail. Signs and warnings only work however, when they are regularly enforced. 

It is going to be interesting to see how our new City Council, as well as other California cities, come up with solutions for this new mode of transportation which can be both a blessing and a nightmare.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Fresh off November election win in 47th, Porter sets sights on Feinstein Senate bid in 2024

Some interesting national news that directly affects Newport and Laguna Beach was made public (Tuesday) when our congresswoman, Katie Porter, threw her hat into the ring to announce her candidature for the Senate seat of octogenarian Diane Feinstein. Although Diane Feinstein has not yet announced her retirement, speculation is mounting that she most likely will.

Katie Porter who became our congresswoman as a result of the redistributing of the 47th district in 2020, which includes Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, as well as Newport Beach, is not known for her timidity. In fact, she has built a national reputation for standing up to Wall Street, pharmaceutical companies, oil and gas giants and corporate lobbyists. She is one of just 10 members of Congress who doesn’t take a cent of corporate PAC or federal lobbyist money.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Porter successfully got the Trump Administration in March 2020 to commit to free COVID testing for every American. Perhaps she is best known for standing up for American families by badgering the head of companies and banks for their corporate greed that she vividly demonstrated on her professorial whiteboards, holding the banks’ feet to the fire and winning thousands of victories against the banks, forcing them to pay California families billions.

Before running for Congress, Porter was a law professor at UC Irvine where she specialized in consumer protection law. She was also appointed as California’s Independent Monitor of Big Banks following the foreclosure crisis.

While there was criticism of her announcement to run for Feinstein’s Senate seat before she had even announced her retirement, it was noted in a national newspaper that Porter intends to run whether she does or doesn’t. Others thought it insensitive of her to announce her candidature while California was getting battered by the biggest winter storm in recent history. But national and local tragedies do not often stop political events or calculations, as we so painfully observed during the pandemic, and in typical aggressive form, Katie Porter does not shy away from her important political decision. Instead, she says that the storm “illustrates the dire risks facing the nation from climate change” and the need for federal action.

Besides, she has other concerns that will affect the election in 2024, and that is the reality that several stellar candidates will be making up her opposition, among them most notably Representative Adam B. Schiff. Her participation in the senatorial election means that Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and other coastal cities will have an open congressional seat for the 47th District and the drama over the speculation of who will be running for that seat will soon be upon us. (I can almost anticipate those brain cogs turning.)

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Another Balboa Island restaurant approved without further discussion of impact on parking and traffic issues

In the January 5 meeting, the Planning Commission approved (Noah) Blom’s ARC Balboa Island – the 10th sit-down restaurant on the Island. Waiving parking requirements (only street parking available), the Staff Report encouraged patrons to take alternative modes of transportation like ride sharing, carpooling, bicycling (but required no bike racks) or walking. ARC employees were requested to do the same, but not required to do so. 

This approval vote occurred despite Wilma’s owner openly inquiring why the city is approving another restaurant without first addressing the increased overall parking impact or shuttle alternatives, such as FRANC (previously at Fashion Island). She also voiced her concern of the dilution of income for all existing restaurants attempting to draw from the same pool of limited patrons. 

Further unaddressed by the commission were concerns of increased parking and noise impact on adjacent Island streets – and the high volume of truck loading on Marine Avenue and in adjacent alleys.

Newport Beach residents are well-aware of decreasing parking options providing Balboa Island access. Vons Bayside lot now posts no-parking and weekend guards prevent parking access. The office building at the bridge only allows parking for a hefty fee. Visitors continue to be frustrated and confused as to parking availability. Safe access on and off the Island for both residents, visitors and NBFD services is another imperative concern.

With the recent approval of ARC, it appears that the plan may be to approve unlimited restaurants on the Island. We all want more restaurants, but would welcome a city discussion creatively addressing impact issues unique to Balboa Island. It’s a new year and a great opportunity to start this discussion.

Kathe Morgan 

Newport Beach

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Guest Letter

Robert T. Braithwaite

President & CEO


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas

Guest Letter Robert Braithwaite

Courtesy of Hoag Hospital

Robert T. Braithwaite

Dear Neighbor,

As the New Year approaches, I am filled with a sense of gratitude for the relationship Hoag holds with our community. Your trust in us pushes us to be better every day. Not just to adopt the most advanced technologies and procedures, but also to help create them. Your unwavering support during an unprecedented pandemic has given us the strength to lead during difficult times. Your displays of mutual responsibility – from getting your flu shots to respecting masking recommendations in our hospitals and offices – speaks to our shared appreciation and respect.

My gratitude for this community heightens my excitement for the future of Hoag. With our expansion in Irvine and our creation of new paradigms of care, we are becoming a national leader in health care delivery. We are attracting the best and brightest from the most prestigious institutions around the country. We are creating institutes and programs here in Orange County that rival the top academic facilities in the world, such as our Molecular Imaging & Therapy program, our Digestive Health Institute and our Spine Program. We are changing, growing and improving – for you and with you.

Thank you for all you have done to inspire our momentum. Thank you for your words of gratitude for our world-class medical professionals. And thank you, most of all, for taking care of yourself and each other.

This last point is especially important as we go into the new year facing a “triple-demic” of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). I have seen you do your part, getting vaccinated against the flu and boosted against COVID-19 and I thank you. Your actions communicate your respect and appreciation for the people around you, particularly for our elderly, frail and the front-line medical staff who are always here for you. If you would like to schedule a flu or COVID-19 shot or booster, please reach out to your primary care physician or visit your local pharmacy. 

In this holiday season of gratitude, I look back at Hoag’s incredible growth in the face of unprecedented odds – and forward to a future that holds limitless promise, and my heart fills with thanks. We have done so much together. And together, we will do so much more.

From the Hoag family to yours, we wish you a happy, healthy holiday season. 


Robert T. Braithwaite

President and Chief Executive Officer

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Guest Letter

Kim Turner

Tragedy leads to community walk recognizing teen mental health and crisis at hand

Four years ago, I would not have blinked twice or even thought about teen mental health or teen suicide. I didn’t want to consider such a dark topic, or even mental health in general. It seemed like it had no relevance to me, and it was frankly kind of scary. But wow, what a difference a few years makes. Now it is a very important topic to me, and it should be important to you too.

In 2018, our 16-year-old son Patrick was a sophomore at Corona del Mar High School. Patrick was a good student, although he didn’t love the academics of school. He was an engaged kid who loved playing on the baseball and football teams at CdM. He also loved to ski, fish, golf and go to the beach. He was the YES guy to every adventure. He was close to his three siblings and engaged in every aspect of our family life. In January 2018, the week before finals, Patrick died by suicide. We were shocked, saddened and in disbelief. We still are. How could this happen to a kid who seemed so connected to his family and friends? He was not bullied, was a good student and an athlete. Why?

Suicide does not discriminate. It affects every socioeconomic class, every race and every gender. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults, and 18.8% of high school students reported having seriously considered suicide in the last year according to the CDC. The pandemic has clearly contributed to this crisis. These statistics are frightening!

After our family’s tragedy, and with incredible support from our community, we created Patrick’s Purpose Foundation, with the goal of promoting teen mental wellness. My hope is that parents will not shy away from this previously “taboo” topic and talk to their kids frankly about their mental health. I’m hopeful that someday everyone will recognize that we all must pay attention to our mental health and it’s part of our overall well-being. Our kids are counting on us.

Patrick’s Purpose Foundation is planning our 4th annual “Walk With Us” event on (Saturday) Dec. 17 in Newport Beach to bring awareness to teen mental health. We want kids to know that they aren’t alone, and that it’s important to talk about their feelings. Join us for this important cause and register for the walk at


Kim Turner

Executive Director

Patrick’s Purpose Foundation

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Letters to the Editor

Time to tell the Supervisors that it’s “No” on the vaccine passport

It’s time to stand up for our rights!

The Orange County Board of Supervisors will be voting on December 6 (Tuesday) whether to approve $3.4M towards a vaccine passport system for county residents. This is not about health safety. This is about controlling us. It is not about being vaccinated or unvaccinated at all. It is about controlling our behavior by limiting where we can go and what we can do. They seek to divide us.

It should be very clear that the vaccines do not deliver what we were told they would. Instituting a vaccine passport at this juncture is ridiculous and a huge overreach of power. 

This, coupled with their continuance of a health emergency in the county, proves they are trying to lock us down again. Do not let them.

–Doug Chaffee Chairman – 714.834.3440 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

–Donald P. Wagner, Vice Chairman – 714.834.3330 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

–Andrew Do – 714.834.3110 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

–Katrina Foley – 714.834.3220 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

–Lisa Bartlett – 714.834.3550 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Karen Hinton

Newport Beach

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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

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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

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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 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

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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:

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

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Guest Letter

Robert T. Braithwaite

President & CEO


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. 


Robert T. Braithwaite

President and Chief Executive Officer

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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.


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.


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

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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

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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

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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


–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.

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. 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

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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

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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 for status of other CA cities actions.

Kathe Morgan

Newport Beach

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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

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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 ( 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.


Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

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Letters to the Editor

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

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

Dennis Baker

Newport Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Craig Atkins

Newport Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keith Curry, former Mayor

City of Newport Beach

There are four candidates that give us hope in this election

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

It’s turning to a campaign battle centered around money

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

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

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

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

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

Lynn Swain

Big Canyon

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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

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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

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Letters to the Editor

She’s running for the right reasons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

Rejecting the mission to dismantle Newport-Mesa schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi

Newport Beach

Joe Stapleton will keep Newport, Newport

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

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

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

Mario Marovic

Newport Beach 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Herdman

Newport Beach City Council, 2016-2020

Newport Beach

Truth matters

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy Arrache

Balboa Peninsula

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Guest Letter

Robert T. Braithwaite

President & CEO


Philip A. Robinson, MD, FIDSA

Medical Director of Infection Prevention

Principal Investigator of Infectious Disease Research


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 and 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

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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

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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

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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 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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).

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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.

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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

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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 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.

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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 – 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,