Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley rolls through town on a mid-week SoCal swing

Wednesday morning I got up relatively early, and like 300+ other people, headed to the Wild Goose Tavern (17th St. in Costa Mesa) to see and hear Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Nikki Haley.

The former governor of South Carolina and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, candidate Haley was introduced to the crowd by Newport Beach City Councilmember Erik Weigand.

Nikki, or maybe keeping with what’s popular in political parlance these days, The Nikki, as in The Donald, was in town to do what candidates do…get out, share their messaging, attempt to rally the troops and maybe make a nickel or two in donations along the way. And although she was in high spirits and showed great signs of optimism, honestly, she still lags considerably behind The Donald by double-digit numbers.

Still, you’d hardly know it…she demonstrated confidence and excitement in her message. Another plus for her, she’s outlasted 12 other Republican men who also had their name in the mix at some point or another, and now it’s just down to two.

The unfortunate part of the morning was a protest group appearing to represent the extreme far-right had positioned themselves just outside any of the number of doors that opened momentarily into the Goose, allowing them to yell inside and disrupt the gathering. Quite frankly, it was somewhat embarrassing for the Trump campaign.

Still, despite the interruptions and the occasional protestor that had to be kindly shown the door, The Nikki defended their right to free speech and reminded those in attendance that it was one of the things her husband, Michael Haley, a businessman and commissioned officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard, was protecting the U.S. with his service.

I must say, I left the rally impressed.

Photo by Steve Rosansky

(L-R) Former Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry was on hand to welcome Nikki Haley to town

• • •

South Coast Plaza (SCP) ushered in the 12th year of Lunar New Year celebrations yesterday (Thursday, Feb. 8) in Jewel Court. The 19 days of festivities include “a celebration filled with extraordinary gifts and special menus, a spectacular Year of the Dragon display and more.”

SCP represents the largest and most extensive celebration of any retail center on the West Coast, drawing visitors from all over California.

“South Coast Plaza continues to be at the forefront of Lunar New Year celebrations on the West Coast by providing the best in exclusive and culturally relevant experiences,” said Debra Gunn Downing, executive director, marketing at South Coast Plaza. “From limited-edition products from our boutiques and specially created menus by world-class chefs at select restaurants to our spectacular centerpiece, South Coast Plaza is the must-visit destination for the Year of the Dragon.”

The centerpiece of the display in Jewel Court depicts “a large dragon, symbolizing power, nobility, honor, luck and success. It will hold a pearl symbolizing wisdom, spiritual energy and power.” The dragon will appear to come to life, breathing water to yield a bountiful harvest, while eight holographic dragons will additionally fly above Jewel Court.

Eight more dragons will soar inside and outside of South Coast Plaza, and other powerful dragons will be displayed above the Bridge of Gardens and Garden Terrace amid a colorful lantern display.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of South Coast Plaza

One of a number of dragons on display throughout South Coast Plaza during their 19-day Lunar New Year celebration

• • •

If you’re planning to attend the 42nd Annual Mayor’s Dinner at the VEA Newport Beach on Thursday, Feb. 29, now’s the time to look into tickets.

The dinner is year-in and year-out the go-to who’s who event in Newport Beach and organized by Speak Up Newport.

Mayor Will O’Neill will be on hand to offer his State of the City leading into 2024. Additionally, all former living mayors of Newport Beach will again be invited and celebrated during the evening on stage when they’re recognized for a historical group photo opportunity.

• • •

Speaking of our Mayor Will O’Neill, he will also attend and speak at the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce Network & Speaker Luncheon on Wednesday, March 13, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Five Crowns in CdM.

CdM Chamber President and CEO Linda Leonhard is hoping to have accurate headcounts by Wednesday, Feb. 21. RSVP here.

• • •

If you’re a regular reader of Fair Game, you know that I love, love, love the game of golf. Well, Tuesday of this week I received the upcoming weeklong schedule for this year’s Hoag Classic that returns to Newport Beach Country Club, March 20-24.

Now granted, I love to go out to just enjoy the guys playing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But there are also other goings-on during the week that are fun, and more are promised to come.

One that caught my attention was the Hoag Classic Hall of Fame Community Breakfast scheduled for 7:30 a.m. at the VEA Newport Beach Resort & Spa. The guest speaker is a favorite, David Duval.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Former World #1 golfer David Duval will play in this year’s Hoag Classic and speak at the Community Breakfast

Another exciting one is the big Wednesday/Thursday Pro-Am, this year with the new marquee name of the Aston Martin Newport Beach Legends Pro-Am. Gosh, now that has a nice Newport Beach upscale ring to it.

As usual, there will also be the Military Appreciation Day (presented by CoreLogic) and the Student Day (presented by Kingston Technology).

I’m told that there might be other things coming…we’ll keep you posted.

• • •

Here’s a little Valentine’s Day idea to perhaps score some points this year. The new exhibition Joan Brown has opened at the Orange County Museum of Art.

According to OCMA, “The exhibition invites you to explore a world through Brown’s eyes, where the rich tapestry of romantic emotions comes to life. Brown’s passion for dance, swimming, her beloved cats, the allure of fish and above all, her own journey of self-discovery, are vividly portrayed in her paintings and sculptures.”

Find out more at https://ocma.art.

B-t-w, you can thank me later.

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