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Muldoon selected as next mayor, Blom as mayor pro tem

By SARA HALL

In city council’s annual changing of the guard this week, typically a non-controversial item during a mostly light and ceremonial meeting, the position for second in command was contested and a bit contentious, although the top spot was undisputed. 

Kevin Muldoon was unanimously selected as mayor for 2022 during the reorganization process at the meeting on Tuesday (Dec. 14).

Mayor Brad Avery passed the gavel to Muldoon, who previously held the title in 2017. 

“It is truly an honor to have been selected again to serve as mayor,” Muldoon said during his remarks on Tuesday, “and this time even more so because you know what you’re getting.”

As a city, they’ve faced historic challenges and unforeseeable obstacles over the last few years, he said.

“My hope as mayor is to lead a united city council, and the city, into the new year full of new beginnings and blessings,” Muldoon said. 

It’s a time for renewed hope and celebration, he added. 

Muldoon selected as next mayor Kevin Muldoon

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Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Mayor Kevin Muldoon

For the mayor pro tem position, the vote was split 4-3 between councilmembers Joy Brenner and Noah Blom. The majority of Blom, Muldoon, Will O’Neill and Marshall “Duffy” Duffield backed Blom for the spot. 

Prior to public comment, Brenner urged her supporters not to attack Blom. This is about how the leadership on council is structured, she explained, it’s not personal.

There have been a number of public speakers and letters to council and the SNN editor recently regarding Blom drinking wine on the dais during council meetings. Several pointed to this as another reason why he should not be selected for the mayor pro tem position. 

Several public speakers noted Brenner has been on council since 2018, several years longer than Blom, who was elected in district five in 2020. She’s also been a longtime community advocate and Corona del Mar resident, many people emphasized in their comments. 

Brenner has immense integrity and high ethical standards, commented Councilmember Diane Dixon, who nominated Brenner for the role. She would like to see them continue their tradition recognizing councilmembers by seniority in terms of years of public service, Dixon added. 

“She clearly has earned that,” Dixon said. 

Her district in CdM also has not been represented by the mayor or mayor pro tem since 2012, she added. It’s essentially marginalizing those residents, Dixon said, echoing a public speaker’s comments. 

Everybody up on the dais is qualified for both positions, said Avery, who ultimately supported Brenner for the pro tem spot. It’s “her turn,” Avery said, referencing the unofficial rotation the seven councilmembers usually maintain each year. 

“(She) has done nothing to disqualify herself and certainly has earned serious consideration by council to be mayor pro tem,” Avery said. 

Muldoon selected as next mayor Noah Blom

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Mayor Pro Tem Noah Blom

During the acknowledgement of Avery’s time as mayor, Muldoon said he’s done a fantastic job as a calm and steady leader.

“Always kind and respectful to others, you have served the citizens and your colleagues well,” said Muldoon, presenting the traditional gavel plaque as a symbol of justice and peace.

As a 50-year resident of Newport Beach, Avery noted that prior to his time on council, he took some things in the city for granted. 

Meeting so many people, different groups and attending so many events as mayor was eye-opening, he said. He realized how passionate people are for the town and how many are enthusiastic about their civic contribution. It’s extraordinary, he said.

“That’s something I didn’t fully understand before and now I do,” Avery said. “You see how tightly woven this community is.”

He’s more appreciative than ever to be a resident of Newport Beach, he commented. 

“It’s an extraordinary honor to have been mayor in Newport Beach,” Avery said. 

The town is changing, and that’s difficult at times, but it’s for the better (for the most part), he said, and that’s due to people participating in the process, attending meetings and appealing to city leaders. It takes a lot of effort, Avery said. 

They’ve all worked together fairly well during the past year, which was notably difficult, said Avery, who also praised city staff for their work.

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Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.

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