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Letters to the Editor

Batten down the hatches, is the city prepared for the upcoming King tides?

The year’s highest tides are coming.

For more than two years, I and others have met with each Newport Beach City Council member in an effort to have the Council pass a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to take action on global warming, specifically to pass House resolution HR-763 that would mandate a fee on carbon emissions. Over 20 coastal cities in California have done so, including nearby Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach. We’ve approached the Council with endorsements signed by the Balboa Village Merchants Association, the West Newport Beach Association and the Central Newport Beach Community Association, urging the Council to take action. That’s a lot of voters to ignore.

July 3, 2020 demonstrated the depth of the city’s negligence. The warnings were plain to see: a king tide reaching 6’8” and a simultaneous high surf warning. City crews responded by building a sand berm along the Peninsula oceanfront. Heavy surf, riding the crest of the high tide, blew this flimsy barrier over the seawall into the pier parking lot, and spread seawater and sand throughout Balboa village – causing property damage to homes and businesses.

Should we be surprised? No. It’s happened before, and we can expect it to continue happening. The next test will be November 14-16 and December 13-15, when the tide will top off at a record height of 6’10.” Of course, the unknown is the occurrence of winter storms that could augment flooding.

Nationwide, sea levels have risen by 1.1 feet since 1920, due to thermal expansion and melting ice. This trend is accelerating as the oceans warm and more glaciers and Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets melt.

The latest studies indicate that “sea level rise will likely put at least $8 billion in property underwater by 2050 and could affect tens of thousands of jobs and billions in gross domestic product.”

Fortunately, just before the November high tides, we have an election. Now is the time to replace those City Council members who ignore science with others who will be responsive to residents’ concerns. 

Craig B. Smith

(Smith is the co-author with Bill Fletcher of “Reaching Net Zero: What it takes to solve the global climate crisis,” Elsevier, 2020.)

Proud of my son, he’s just what Newport Beach needs

I have read Letters to the Editor that have elaborated on the strong and weak points of both candidates for city council representing District 5 of Newport Beach. After reading some of the negative comments that have been published, I would like to offer a positive note.

I want to say that Noah Blom is the most enthusiastic and positive person that I know. He makes a point of learning from his mistakes. He always listens to people that differ from his opinions. He and his wife, Marin, have created two very popular restaurants out of nothing, originally working on a shoestring. His businesses have survived this pandemic crisis by operating with a positive approach, not one of fear.

He is not afraid to think out of the box and encourages others to contribute their ideas. He gets things done that others say can’t be done. He does this with a smile and a light heartedness that is contagious.

He never bullies anyone or reacts with anger when someone disagrees with him. He never calls people names or swears at them. On the contrary; he asks people who criticize him to meet so they can discuss their differences. I think this is what we want from a person representing us and our causes.

When I was a young second lieutenant in the Army during Vietnam, my commanding officer gave me some good advice when I told him that I was worried that some of the men under my command had much longer careers than I did. He said, “They might have four years in service, but what good is it if it’s one year four times.”

We, as a city, need to be led by someone who is not afraid of challenges, someone who knows how to get people to work together. We need to be led by someone who has diversity and who isn’t just average.

John L. Blom, proud father of Noah Blom

Newport Beach

(39-year businessman in CdM and past president of the CDM Business Improvement)

Proud to endorse Jeff Herdman

I am very distressed by all the negative campaigning against Councilman Jeff Herdman. I have known Jeff since he helped our neighborhood fight the Museum House high rise tower in Newport Center. 

Jeff has served on the Council for four years. His tireless work to protect Newport Beach from airport expansion speaks for itself. 

In my capacity as President of the Harbor View Hills Community Association, I have invited Jeff to speak at our annual meetings. He has always been willing to give us his time and attention and listen to our concerns. He stays in touch and follows through on our issues. 

I am very proud to endorse Jeff Herdman for re-election to the City Council.

Debra Allen

Newport Beach

Let’s re-elect Harley Rouda

It is hard to believe that a superstar like Harley Rouda would have any competition for the Congressional seat that he has occupied so boldly since 2018. But it just shows you how entrenched some ideologies can be and how money in politics can as often as not buy power. 

But just what kind of power will his opponent, conservative Republican Michele Steel, wield in a large governing body controlled by Democrats? Even the Orange County Register, a bastion of conservatism in Orange County questions her suitability, stating that in her interview, “she seemed poorly versed in federal policy issues and overly reliant on GOP talking points.” 

Harley Rouda to many peoples’ pleasant surprise, won the endorsement of the Register’s editorial board explaining that while they have many issues on which they disagree, that he has “proven to be a credible representative of the District, and a supporter of many issues the editorial board cares about strongly.” 

This important endorsement follows another award Harley received in June, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce honored him with the Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award.

At the end of the first six months in Harley’s term, he had already distinguished himself as the most legislatively productive freshman member of Congress. If you have ever heard Harley speak in one of his very frequent visits to his constituency, you can appreciate that show of power that he exerts in Congress. 

Let’s hope that voters realize how important it is to our 48th district to re-elect Harley Rouda who has a strong and caring voice.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Let’s make decisions on what is best for our city and not on political attacks

As Michael Corleone once said, “Just when you think you are out, they pull you back in.”

The latest attack piece against Jeff Herdman brings me into the fight and while I was hoping not to be publicly involved, it looks like I am. So let’s deal with facts, real facts, not alternative facts, not self-generated facts.

Fact One: The mailer is paid for by Bob McCaffrey who is the sole member of Residents for Reform. Last year, Bob and his co-conspirator, Dave Ellis, were sanctioned approximately $20,000 for campaign violations arising from prior Newport Beach City Council elections. For Bob to question the ethics of anybody is like challenging Duffy Duffield’s love for our harbor.

Fact Two: Jeff Herdman did not disclose any confidential or proprietary information. Scott Peotter, another pillar of ethical virtue, was the subject of a lawsuit filed on behalf of Newport Beach citizens regarding various violations of the Brown Act and other transgressions. The City was a named party and had yet to answer the complaint or respond in any manner to the litigation. I asked a number of people who were representing the City, Aaron Harp or outside counsel.

Mr. Herdman forwarded to me a non-confidential, non-privileged public email from Aaron Harp saying that the City had yet to make a decision about counsel.

No confidential, attorney client information was disclosed. The implications that Jeff Herdman violated any fiduciary duty undertaken by him is a complete fabrication.

Fact Three: The real purpose underlying these attempts to smear the name of an honest, ethical, transparent elected official is to pack the city council with votes that can both fulfill the short-term agendas of developers and rental companies and the long-term agendas of various local politicians. 

Noah Blom has been sued for non-payment of obligations to vendors and trades while declaring bankruptcy. This alone makes him unqualified to participate in the fiscal management of our city. But more importantly, Mr. Blom has been chastised by the Orange County Superior Court for failing to live up to his responsibilities as a father and husband. The Court not only found Mr. Blom in contempt but was forced to issue a bench warrant to compel him to even show up in court and face his responsibilities. As a father, that is simply unconscionable.

There is a lot of political intrigue swirling around the city at the moment and none of it has to do with what and who is best for our community. It has to do with money and the long-term agendas of several of our current elected officials. It is my hope that over the next several days, we can unwind, or at least ignore, the political machinations of a few and look to what is best of the City. If we all do that, we will be in a much better place on November 4.

Phil Greer

Newport Beach