Fair Game



Board of Trustees tackling controversial book issue seemingly hitting libraries everywhere

This interesting item caught my attention on the Board of Library Trustees meeting agenda tonight (Marina Park, 5 p.m.). It’s titled the “Process for Patron Appeal of Evaluation of Library Resources.”

I went to Trustees’ Chair Paul Watkins for clarification:

“Attention has recently been focused throughout the country on the age appropriateness of some books in a public library’s children’s collection. Some folks believe that there should be no restrictions on the content or access to it. Others believe that some content should be restricted, removed, or relocated within a library.”

According to Watkins, “The Newport Beach Public Library has not been immune from this controversy.

“The library is governed by a five-member Board of Library Trustees appointed by the [city] council. The board in turn operates under 14 Library Policies which the board regularly adds to, amends and reviews.

“One such Policy is the Collection Development Policy. This is the Policy up for review tonight.

“Under the Policy, a library patron with concerns about a specific title may fill out a form called ‘Patron’s Request for Evaluation of Library Resources’,” added Watkins.

Those concerns/forms then go to library staff, overseen by Director of Library Services Melissa Hartson.

However, according to Watkins, “The new wrinkle in the Policy to be discussed (this evening) involves an appeal of the director’s decision to the board. It is proposed that if the patron disagrees with the director’s decision, the patron may appeal to the board. The appeal is then finally decided by the board following a hearing pursuant to proposed ‘Procedures for Patron’s Appeal’ to be discussed Tuesday eve.”

So I asked Watkins, how often does this happen?

“Interestingly, the last appeal of a title to the board took place 20 years ago in 2004,” he replied.

However, with today’s political climate, something tells me it won’t be another 20. Kudos to the board for being proactive and creating a policy of steps to potentially handle this issue.

• • •

Speaking of tonight’s Library Board of Trustees meeting, here’s another reason you might be interested.

What will the replacement building for the new combo Newport Beach Fire Station #1/Balboa Library look like? You can find out as the design options will be presented publicly there for the first time.

Staff from the city’s Public Works Department and representatives from COAR Design Group will display building renderings for review and comment.

• • •

It’s happening to Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick and Nick Saban…they’re all moving on from their football coaching positions for one reason or another. Newport Harbor High School’s head football coach Peter Lofthouse also has announced he’s leaving, in a move to El Toro High School…a place where he once played.

NHHS Principal Sean Boulton said, “Since 2018, Coach Lofthouse has proven himself as a winner within Orange County football, achieving respected successes both on and off the field.

“Under (his) guidance, the football program at Newport Harbor High School experienced an extraordinary run. Notably, he led our school to (their) fourth CIF Southern Section football title, participated in two CIF semifinal games, and won the Battle of the Bay for the first time in a decade.

“Beyond the on-field success, Coach Lofthouse had a profound understanding that football is more than just a game – it is a community,” added Boulton. “He recognized the interconnectedness of various elements, including cheer, marching band, dance and our spirited TAR PIT student section, and fostered a sense of unity among these diverse components. This inclusive approach not only enhanced the overall football experience, but also strengthened the bonds within the entire Newport Harbor High School community – students who traditionally never attended football games were all of a sudden showing up.”

He will be missed.

• • •

A friend of mine in the proverbial ivory tower at South Coast Plaza sent me a note shortly after the first of the year, a sort of checklist along the lines of New Year’s Resolutions and just how SCP might assist.

Some examples, including this heading on his note, referred to “Juices, Tonics and Cleanses” outlining places such as Nékter Juice Bar and Pressed; detailing their offerings for a New Year’s reset…with “cleanses to help renew, revitalize and rejuvenate.”

For extra challenges, my friend pointed out there’s a “mile roundtrip” between those two establishments, hinting at desired get-back-in-shape workout opportunities…even further suggesting to “add in a loop around Segerstrom Center for the Arts for an extra challenge”…while specifically pointing out the walking of the Center’s different wings, utilizing the various pedestrian bridges, stairs and other outdoor spaces, might be your new workout site. Suggestions alluded to this area as “among the aesthetically compelling for fitness routines anywhere.”

And sure, he even pointed out that TYR, HOKA, JD Sports, a newly designed New Balance, along with boutiques such as Nike, The North Face, lululemon and Vans are brands located within the Plaza offering activewear, fitness apparel, shoes and more, making training even easier, and much more fashionable at that.

Hey, I’m all for this. I love walking South Coast Plaza, window shopping or just simply buying for that matter.

But, it was one more item added into the note that really caught my attention. This is where he told me about the new Casper boutique…“offering outrageously comfortable sleep products including mattresses, pillows, bedding, furniture and even dog beds.”

Wait, we’re not there yet.

Here goes, “Casper customers can book complimentary NAP APPOINTMENTS, choosing 30-minute, 45-minute, or 1-hour (offerings), where (guests) can experience a personalized trial of their product offerings, or just take a nap if they would like.”


Imagine, the wife pleads with you to join her for a day of shopping. We’ve all been there. It’s fun for a while, then we remember the ballgame we’re missing, time on the golf course, or worse yet, the money we’re spending.

In the old days, you might just make your way off to the TV and appliance area to “look around,” take in a quick peek at the game, get a score, or perhaps just kill some time.

Forget that! NOW, you can go to South Coast Plaza and book a nap.

I love it!

• • •

Finally, before we completely put 2023 in the rearview mirror, how about a quick look back on Friends of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter (FONBAS) and their impact on our unfortunate wayward pets.

First off, according to the “Friends” end-of-the-year wrap up, “2023 was the culmination of six years of “blood, sweat and tears” when FONBAS along with incredible, generous community donations, designed and built the brand-new (Animal) Shelter and then gifted it to the City of Newport Beach.

“This permanent shelter is state-of-the-art and within its 1,500 square feet, it houses: 20 individual indoor/outdoor kennels, an animal exercise area, a meet & greet room, two visiting yards, a cat playroom, small animal housing, a quarantine room, staff break room, and facilities for animal grooming, meal preparation, laundry and storage.”

The shelter continues to be operated by the Newport Beach Police Department Animal Control Unit.

FONBAS also continues to provide extra funding for medical, dental, grooming and socialization services to help every pet.

What did that all mean? Last year, 139 animals were adopted and 117 animals were returned to their owners.

That’s a total of 250 animals in their “Forever Homes.”

And those are really good things.