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Volume 6, Issue 61  | July 30, 2021


Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Balboa undergrounding issue enters its final days as misinformation becomes the major concern of supporters

Tom new picAs the Balboa Island undergrounding issue enters its final week of voting, there appears to be a lot of misinformation circulating by a very vocal minority group of disgruntled Islanders. Their efforts appear to be an attempt to confuse residents with accusations of monies being misspent, lack of proper ballot counting oversight, unsubstantiated potential conflicts of interest, lack of eventual system reliability and more.

The group supporting the undergrounding says these claims are factually untrue. In fact, former City Councilmember Jeff Herdman attempts to clarify many of the issues with a lengthy Letter to the Editor in today’s Stu News. Jeff moves through point-by-point on each issue stating what’s being said, or in his mind fabricated, and what the actual truth, as he understands it, is.

Lee Pearl, who has been instrumental in leading the undergrounding committee’s efforts along with a team of three others, flat out says that he’s received fewer than five negative emails over the past year-and-a-half and says that residents, by-and-large, have been more than supportive of the overall issue.

Residents who have not voted as of yet are encouraged to do so and then drop off their ballots directly in-person to City Hall to make certain they are properly counted. They should be directed to the City Clerk’s office.

Ballots are planned to be open as part of the Newport Beach City Council Meeting next Tuesday, July 27.

• • •

Speak Up Newport, a non-partisan group of Newport Beach residents and business leaders, annually hosts the Mayor’s Dinner. In normal years, it always takes place at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and features as its highlight the new mayor’s State of the City address.

Well, as you might imagine, the last two years have been anything but normal. The event for 2021 was canceled earlier this year as the community still struggled with the pandemic.

Finally, a decision was made recently to do an outside event during the summer at Newport Beach Country Club. That time is now, and the event is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, July 21.

It’s typically one of those who’s who events that draws so many notable people out for a night of fun. This year instead of suits & ties, it’ll be casual business attire. It also draws former mayors, who will at some point throughout the evening gather for a reunion photo.

Mayor Brad Avery will finally have his time in the sun, or should we say “setting sun,” as the reception begins at 6 p.m. followed by the program at 7:15 p.m.

And, if you think you can just walk up, buy a ticket and attend, you are WRONG my friend. The event is officially SOLD OUT.

It should be a good time.

• • •

Things were definitely “Breaking Bad” last Saturday, July 17 at Avila’s El Ranchito at the Peninsula location, when Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston arrived on scene as celebrity guest bartender and poured some of his Dos Hombres Mezcal

Fair Game Bryan Cranston

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Patty Mitchell, Culinary Promotions

Actor Bryan Cranston mixing Dos Hombres margaritas

Cranston and fellow Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul are collaborators in the Dos Hombres brand that is being called “the hottest new brand of Mezcal.”

Here’s what Cranston and Paul are saying on the Dos Hombres website about it: “We found the best Mezcal we’re ever tasted. We started Dos Hombres to create a Mezcal that we thought was perfect. A unique blend of the finest Espadin agave, hand-selected from the hillsides of a small village in Oaxaca, Mexico.”

• • •

Orange County Board of Supervisor Katrina Foley last week offered up the highlights of District 2 accomplishments following her first 100 days in office.

Total District 2 funding for nutrition, art programs, nonprofits and businesses, $3M; number of vaccines administered, 182,146; number of COVID clinics held, 51.

The staff and she were responsible for handling 2,670+ constituent concerns and city needs; 36 workshops and chamber of commerce updates; 44 ribbon cuttings, parades, high school graduations and townhalls; and 5,560 certificates and commendations presented.

Not a bad start.

She’ll need to keep busy and performing well. Waiting in the wings are potential challengers to her office who include Diane Dixon (Newport Beach City Council), Kevin Muldoon (Newport Beach Mayor Pro-Tem) and Mike Posey (Huntington Beach City Council).

That race gets more serious as 2022 approaches with first a runoff election to decide the top two for a fall runoff.

And in case you’re thinking these are your only choices, don’t bet on it. More names regularly make their way through the political circles.

• • •

Finally, if you’re like me and drive to San Diego on occasion down the 5 Freeway, you have to wonder how effective the U.S. Border Patrol stop in Oceanside is. After all, it seems like every time I come through, the agents are just waving car after car on their way.

So do they ever actually get anyone?

The answer is yes, a firm “yes.”

Last Tuesday, at approximately 3 p.m., agents observed a suspicious vehicle. They initiated a stop to question the 46-year-old female driver and subsequently requested to search her 2012 Toyota Prius.

While searching the back seat area, agents found dozens of cellophane-wrapped bundles of currency inside the doors.

They arrested the woman and seized the car. The total currency amounted to $414,000. 

I know that that’s more than my ATM allows for withdrawal.

She now faces criminal prosecution for currency smuggling.

Who we are:

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsNewport.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsNewport.com

Shaena Stabler, Co-Owner - Shaena@StuNewsNewport.com

Amy Senk, Duncan Forgey, Len Bose, Nancy Gardner and Sara Hall are our writers and/or columnists.

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Email: Shaena@StuNewsNewport.com for questions about advertising

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