Fair Game



Candidates for City Council races show that campaigns are beginning to take shape

As January drew to a close, the initial financial disclosures were posted for candidates who have previously announced their plans to run for Newport Beach City Council come November.

First off, I remind you that it’s still early in the campaign/race. In the old days, someone wouldn’t announce their intentions to run until way into the New Year, or perhaps even into springtime.

That all kind of changed back in 2021 when Robyn Grant decided she was not only going to run for City Council, but she was also going to lap the field before anyone else barely even noticed. She did so, appearing everywhere, garnering support and signatures, along with contributions, and eventually ran unopposed through summer and into a convincing win in November 2022.

Some think that tactic became the new norm. The difference is, today, there are few surprises.

In the waning months of 2023, at least one of the council races began taking serious shape with the announcement of two very strong candidates. Another potential race appeared to finally land in on a formal candidate for what seemed like a seat no one appeared to want in District 7. And then, of course, there’s councilmember Noah Blom’s run for re-election in District 5.

To review:

In District 2, Brad Avery is termed out and the two candidates that have announced are Nancy Scarbrough and Michelle Barto. Both are very likable and excellent potential candidates for the job at hand.

Scarbrough has been an activist that has stayed intimately involved over the years in city business and, in fact, is a current member of the Newport Beach Finance Committee. She previously ran an unsuccessful challenge to Avery in 2020.

Barto is a Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Trustee and past president. She, too, has been around town and extremely involved; she has also demonstrated her much-needed leadership skills with the school board.

It’s far too early to tell what kind of money it’s going to take to eventually win this seat, but an early look reveals the following developing story:

Scarbrough has initially raised a scant $5,475 reported on her December 31 formally filed financial campaign statement.

Barto on the other hand came out big, showing contributions totaling $75,766.

Recognizable donors to Barto’s campaign include such names as Scott Baugh, Seymour Beek, John Curci, Dave Ellis, Russ Fluter, Fieldstead & Company (Howard Ahmanson), Jon Langford, Noah Blom, Will O’Neill, Henry Pyle, John Wortmann, Joe Stapleton and many others.

This is kind of a who’s who for “if you like where Newport Beach is headed…here’s your candidate.”

For Scarbrough, she shows Jill Ayres, Mike Henn, Paul Watkins and others.

Some folks, such as William Lyon, Avery and Peter Zak took the easy way out and endorsed both. Frankly, I don’t blame them.

But again, I remind you that it’s still early. However, with the above news, I went to Scarbrough to get her thoughts on where things stand: “I believe Newport Beach residents are more interested in who best represents them, not who has vacuumed up the most money. We will be raising money well in advance of the November election, and I have no doubt we will be able to execute our campaign plan.”

Barto then also added her thoughts, “I’m incredibly honored by the outpouring of support from our community leaders and residents. It’s humbling to see so many different people making contributions to this effort. Newport Beach is a very special place to call home and I want to make sure it stays that way.”

Former Mayor Blom, in his campaign, raised $21,589 to add to a previous account balance of $17,536. So far, he’s unchallenged and I suspect it’ll probably stay that way for his District 5 reelection run.

Sara Weber is the newcomer in District 7 to the political scene, but a longtime Newport Beach resident who will run to replace a termed-out Mayor O’Neill.

Weber doesn’t show any money yet, but word has it she’ll be strongly supported by many of the same names found connected to the Barto camp.

Lots can change in the months ahead…or to quote a saying a golf playing partner far too often says on the course, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.”

Whatever the heck that means!

• • •

We can’t let this get by without offering up a little support. The Friends of the Newport Beach Library have their Winter Book Sale beginning today (Friday, Feb. 2) from 1-4 p.m. and tomorrow from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Friends Room of the Central Library (rain or shine).

Things to know – today is for Friends members ONLY and all books are three for $1.

Tomorrow is open to everyone and all books are $3 a bag (They provide the bags.).

More than 15,000 bestsellers, children’s books, vintage, CDs, DVDs and LPs will be there to peruse.

• • •

Next Thursday (Feb. 8), the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce presents Good Morning CdM. It’s their monthly community and government affairs group that discusses the hot topics around town.

To prove my point, U.S. Congressional Republican candidate Max Ukropina will be featured to discuss his race, along with reports from other local office representatives.

The meeting is open to the community at large and takes place from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. No RSVP is necessary.

• • •

Wednesday, March 20, is the beginning of Hoag Classic Newport Beach week. It’s the time of year when the best golfers of the PGA TOUR Champions come to Newport Beach to compete for $2 million in prize money out at Newport Beach Country Club.

There are so many great things going on during the five days, but, simply put, they still need more volunteers to help make the tournament successful. Whether you’re a golfer or not, volunteering at the Hoag Classic allows you the opportunity to get involved in a community effort that at the end of the day raises big money for Hoag Hospital.

Besides, it’s fun.

There are a bunch of different needs…but one, if in fact you know a little about golf, is being a Course Marshal. Here, you are responsible for making sure that play proceeds smoothly by assisting with crowd and noise control, locating errant shots and moving galleries so play can continue.

And, maybe best of all, you get up close to the action.

“We are extremely grateful for the individuals each year that donate their time to this special event,” said Jason Mericle, volunteer co-chairman of the Hoag Classic. “Our volunteers play an essential role in every aspect of the tournament and are vital to our goal of raising charitable donations for Hoag’s programs and services and beyond.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of the Hoag Classic Newport Beach

Just some of the many volunteers that have previously joined in to help make the Hoag Classic one of the featured stops on the PGA TOUR Champions

All volunteers receive a package that includes a uniform (polo shirt(s), full-zip jacket and unisex hat), parking pass, drawstring backpack, volunteer credential, souvenir volunteer pin and two Good-Any-One-Day admission tickets.

Volunteer registration is open through February 16, by visiting https://hoagclassic.com/volunteer/, or contacting volunteers@hoagcharitysports.com, or 949.764.7406.

All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.

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