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Newport Beach

Volume 7, Issue 64  |  August 12, 2022

Letters to the Editor

Went to the protest expecting worst, found the best

After what we had seen on TV, I was extremely distressed and afraid when I heard we were having protests in Newport...afraid for our citizens, our businesses and our police and other emergency personnel. But on that day, I decided I had a responsibility to do whatever I could and decided to put on my mask and walk down to see how our CdM business owners were preparing. 

I ended up five miles later, on the periphery of two of the protests, talking with our business people and others, including young families. I represent ALL the people and almost all I saw were NB residents. I was prepared to stand in front of our businesses and try to talk to anyone who wanted to cause trouble, but fortunately it wasn’t necessary. All I saw were respectful and I was so proud of our citizens, our NBPD and almost everyone. 

I’m in a great position of serving my time on council and being able to do the right thing without worrying about being elected or re-elected. I am donating these years of my life to serving the community I love, and I sleep very well at night. People say this is a “thankless job.” I disagree because people thank me continually. It is almost overwhelming, and is conveyed in person, in emails, in gifts at my door, comments on social media and cards mailed. They almost always say “thank you for being the voice of reason.” 

Sometimes those with a particular point of view think I’m not liberal enough or conservative enough. In my opinion, there is ALWAYS some truth on all sides and the challenge is trying to still be able to hear that and use it even when it comes from people who may be critical. 

Anyone who tells you these are simple problems with simple “just vote for my party solutions” probably has an ulterior motive. That’s why I vote with all different members of the council at times, because solutions require compromise and delving into each issue on its own merit. Politics plays to people’s desire to have easy answers and there aren’t many of those in this complex world. Being a moderate who looks at all sides of every issue is the way I have chosen to serve and I’m confident in my position. 

I pray that we will someday come together to solve problems rather than polarizing and blaming each other, which only benefits politicians. There are good people on all sides of each issue, and we have a lot to learn from each other if our hearts and minds are open. 

Joy Brenner, District 6

Can I be pro-black and pro-police at the same time?

City Council, Newport Beach – Like many Americans, I’ve struggled to find the words to describe how I feel about the George Floyd protests, riots and looting.

We are a nation in pain and each of us is trying to find an outlet to express complicated, and often conflicting, emotions. Hundreds are taking to the streets to protest, dozens are rioting, and a handful are looting. However, a significant number of Americans, myself included, are taking time to watch, observe, listen, learn, read, contemplate and process everything that is happening.

Many of my friends have turned to social media to voice their anger and frustration. “IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND BLACK LIVES MATTER THEN YOU CAN UNFRIEND ME NOW,” read one of my acquaintance’s posts. “ARREST AND CHARGE ALL COPS WHO KILL BLACK PEOPLE,” read a protest sign of a close friend. 

I’ve hesitated to share my thoughts, particularly publicly and especially online. The digital sphere has become a warzone of pointed words, shouting matches and ultimatums. We’ve become a nation divided with people being silenced and abused online and in the streets. Like many, I’m scared to speak up and to speak out. 

But I cannot stay silent anymore.

I was born in America and am red, white and blue through and through. I love our country and everything it stands for. What made (and makes) our nation great is our diversity and our freedom. But when we can no longer ask questions, listen with empathy, talk without fear, then what have we become? 

Can I be pro-black and pro-police at the same time? Can I express my conflicting feelings without fear of being judged or attacked? Can I choose to not express my opinions on social media without being called a racist? Can I both agree and disagree with Black Lives Matter? Can I support my police while simultaneously advocating against the use of excessive force and racial profiling? Can I condemn rioting and looting while acknowledging the wide economic inequality gap, desperation and lack of faith these individuals have in our country? Can I see our need for systemic change while believing cops are good people? Just like I believe looters and rioters are not bad people? Can I believe we are all inherently good and want the same thing: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Systematic change is slow, uncomfortable and often painful. Technology and social media have increased awareness of flaws and inadequacies in our institutions, while a generation of young people demanding change are swiftly mobilizing across our nation.

I will continue to support our police and those who are demanding justice and equality. That is my opinion. That is my stance. I refuse to lose faith in our country or in the goodness of people. And I hope you won’t either.

Michelle Mar


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