Council appoints 10 residents to city commissions, boards


This week, City Council considered a number of applicants and made appointments for 10 open seats on various city commissions and boards.

Councilmembers voted on Tuesday (June 25) for their choices on seven different advisory groups. Per city policy, a council ad hoc committee interviewed applicants and made nomination recommendations (with the exception of the Civil Service Board which, pursuant to city charter, are nominated by the police and fire associations). Some applied for more than one position. Nominees must receive four votes in order to be appointed. All new terms will be effective July 1, with an expiration date of June 30, 2028.

Mayor Will O’Neill congratulated the residents who were appointed and thanked all of the applicants.

“We sincerely appreciate everyone who applied and we hope that you’ll continue to apply as we go forward,” he said.

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Photo by Sara Hall

Council made several appointments this week to various city commissions and boards

Councilmembers had individual ballots and marked their choice for each open seat. The city clerk read each vote aloud for every group.

The vote for the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission was the most split among the council. PB&R had one vacant spot, with three applicants: Robin MacGillivray, Drew Teicheira and Amy Waunch.

O’Neill, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Stapleton and Councilmembers Erik Weigand, Noah Blom and Lauren Kleiman voted for Waunch. Councilmember Robyn Grant backed Teicheira and Councilmember Brad Avery selected MacGillivray.

Garnering the required four votes, Waunch was ultimately appointed to the commission.

In her application, 27-year-resident Waunch wrote that she was born and raised in Newport Beach and now her children are growing up in the same community.

“My family has benefited from the exceptional public schools, recreation programs, and beautiful parks, beaches and harbor,” she wrote. “As such, I am inspired to give back to my community by volunteering and becoming involved in our local government.”

Waunch has worked in healthcare for more than 20 years (primarily emergency and trauma departments) and is the current trauma program manager for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). She has a special interest in the health, wellness and safety of the local youth, and recently joined the Newport-Mesa E-Bike Safety Task Force.

“(I) would like to continue to utilize my professional experience to advocate for a safe environment for all community members,” she noted.

The council was also split for the single open seat on the Board of Library Trustees. Meghan Murray and Jenny Williams both applied for the spot.

Grant, Blom, Kleiman, Stapleton and O’Neill voted for Murray, while Weigand and Avery supported Williams.

Murray has lived in Newport Beach for 45 years and is co-owner of local bar and restaurants, Mutt Lynch’s and Mutt’s Eastbluff.

In her application, she wrote that her lifelong love of literature, books and reading combined with her passion for giving back to the community she loves prompted her to apply for the library board. Murray also highlighted how the library can provide for the younger generation.

“It is imperative that the library have historical references and have education grounds for our modern, ever-growing young community. I want to bring stability and common sense to what we are bringing our children,” she wrote.

There were two vacancies on the City Arts Commission and the council had to choose between four applicants: Shireen Amin, David Anastos, Heather Ignatin and Vanessa Moore.

Ignatin and Moore received the majority of votes from Weigand, Avery, Blom, Kleiman, Stapleton and O’Neill. Grant selected Anastos and Ignatin.

Ignatin, a 22-year resident of Newport Beach, previously served on PB&R. In her application, she noted several highlights during her two terms on PB&R and a decade of work with various local nonprofits and organizations.

“This work represents my strong commitment to community service in Newport Beach, which I hope to continue on the Arts Commission,” Ignatin wrote. “For me, there is nothing more rewarding than bringing the community together and finding ways to make an impact.”

She greatly enjoys the arts and views the city’s programs as an important amenity for residents, which has a positive impact on the community.

Moore, who has lived in Newport Beach for 35 years, similarly praised the local arts programs and offerings. She’s also attended a number of performances, shows, gallery openings and other art-focused groups and recently joined the NB Arts Foundation.

“I’ve been obsessed with the arts ever since I was little,” she wrote in her application, noting her experience in a neighboring playhouse and winning a contest to recite her poetry at the NB Public Library.

She feels her energy and commitment would be an asset to the commission.

“I am looking for ways to give back to my community with something that I love and work to make Newport a world-class arts destination,” Moore said.

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The Planning Commission had two vacancies and four nominees: Thomas Downes, Curtis Ellmore (incumbent), Jonathan Langford (incumbent) and Ekta Naik.

Councilmembers unanimously re-appointed Ellmore and Langford to continue their service on the commission.

Ellmore noted in his application that he’s a third generation Newport Beach resident and has lived the past 32 years in various villages throughout the city. He has grown familiar with the character and culture of Newport Beach’s neighborhoods and citizens.

“I feel I possess a unique sense of what it means to be a member of the Newport Beach community,” Ellmore wrote.

He also noted his 16 years in the commercial real estate industry and experience with commercial and corporate transactions in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

“At this point in my professional and personal life, I feel prepared to dedicate the time and effort required to continue to my duties as a planning commissioner, and I welcome the opportunity to serve the City of Newport Beach in this capacity,” Ellmore said.

Langford, a 38-year resident, also works in real estate and noted his background with various firms in his application. After serving a partial term on the PC, he also welcomed the chance to continue the work.

“I found serving on the Planning Commission for this partial term to be a rewarding way to give back to the community I love,” he wrote.

Councilmembers considered three nominees for the one open seat on the Harbor Commission: Kevin Kramer, John (Jock) Marlo III, and Gary Williams (incumbent).

Councilmembers voted 7-0 to re-appoint Williams.

Williams, who has lived in Newport Beach for eight years, wrote in his application that he has enjoyed that past four years on the commission and would love to continue his service.

“It has been a very rewarding experience with all that we have accomplished,” he said.

The city received only one application, from Kenneth Kasdan, for the Building and Fire Code Board of Appeals, which had two open spots.

The council unanimously selected Kasdan, an attorney who has lived in Newport Beach for eight years, to serve on the board.

In his application, Kasdan said his practice is focused on construction defect law, typically representing both residential and commercial property owners. Through his work, he has extensive experience dealing with the California Building Code as well as the interaction with the code and municipal ordinances adopted by the city of Newport Beach.

“I submit that my over 40 years of experience working with and interpreting building codes would provide a valuable background to sit on a board hearing appeals from actions taken by the chief building official and fire marshal of the city,” Kasdan wrote. “Enforcing the code is important for the safety of all those who occupy buildings and providing for orderly development of rail property.”

He also noted that he does not represent any owner, applicant, or agency seeking plan approvals from the city.

Police and fire associations provided five nominees for the two seats that were available on the Civil Service Board: Incumbents Howard Herzog and Brian Moore; as well as Matthew Parisi, Zoë Tapie and Amy Waunch.

The council unanimously selected Herzog and Brian Moore to continue their serve on the board. Both were looking forward to continuing their service.

An attorney, Herzog, a 32-year resident of Newport Beach, wrote in his application that he’s well versed in administrative matters and procedures.

“I am dedicated to serve our city in a positive capacity,” Herzog wrote.

Brian Moore, who has lived in the city for 35 years, wrote in his application that he is civically minded and noted his business background helping organizations navigate long-term planning and difficult situations.

“Our civil service members are of great importance to our community and visitors,” he wrote.


Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


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