Fair Game


City’s annual planning session is tomorrow…it’s the thing future budgets are made of

Fair Game Toms new headshotTomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 noon is the City Council Planning Session – Special Meeting, and the community is most certainly welcome and encouraged to participate.

Here ‘s the plan: after roll call and the traditional items (invocation and pledge), the meeting moves into public comments for non-agenda items. Although it’s important for the public to be able to speak, hopefully this piece of business is short, so they can move quickly into the meat of the morning.

That begins with the Update on Financial Status. Here, under the lead of City Manager Grace Leung and Finance Director Scott Catlett, will be an update on the city’s fiscal picture, including challenges faced in the current fiscal year and in developing next year’s budget. 

Next up is Budget Development/Operating Budget. Here, city staff will discuss development of the next year’s recommended budget and priorities. Topics will include an update on pension funding, proper funding levels for long-term infrastructure maintenance and replacement, and service needs including homeless initiatives and staffing strategies. 

Finally, Budget Development/Capital Improvement Program, where city staff will discuss the upcoming capital improvement program; present recommended projects for the surplus and federal funds; and facilitate a discussion on potential neighborhood enhancement projects. 

At the end of the session, City Council and staff should have the makings of budget items to focus on in the coming months. 

There are several ways to be involved: the first being the good old-fashioned way by showing up and sitting in the Council Chambers. However, you can also watch at home via NBTV, either on your computer or through your TV cable company.

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If you’re heading through Corona del Mar in the next couple of months, you might want to add just a little more time for unexpected traffic delays. Construction began earlier this week to rehabilitate the concrete sidewalks, curbs and access ramps on E. Coast Highway and Marguerite Avenue. 

The construction will require temporary, intermittent lane closures at the work locations. “No parking” signs will also be posted at various locations during the project. 

The areas impacted will be E. Coast Highway between MacArthur Boulevard and Newport Coast Drive, and Marguerite Avenue between Bayside Drive and 5th Avenue.

The improvements are expected to be completed by the end of March and will then be followed in April by street repaving, which will be completed by the end of May. 

 Questions should be directed to Ben Davis at 949.644.3317 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Andy Tran at 949.644.3315 at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., both from the city’s Public Works Department.

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We’re approaching the deadline (Monday) for financial disclosure statements to be filed by political candidates raising money seeking an upcoming elected office. It’s that kickoff of the year that really gives us our first look at who’s serious and maybe who isn’t.

One statement came across my desk early from Robyn Grant, who’s definitely “in it to win it” as the saying goes. Robyn’s announcing that she’s already raised more than $60,000, but perhaps even more important is her impressive list of local endorsements. 

We’ll take a look next week into everyone who’s running and see where they stand.

B-t-w, Robyn to this point is unopposed, but that’s something that’s also subject to change.

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Granted, this next item is still two months out and planned at the Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport Newport Beach on Thursday, March 31, from 7:17-9 a.m. The event is the 49th Annual Police Appreciation Breakfast.

But, but, but…besides our wonderful men and women in blue whom we celebrate that morning, what makes this event even more special is that Keith Morrison, from the TV newsmagazine Dateline, is the guest emcee. Keith is a Newport Beach resident and possesses that unmistakable voice that brings crime stories alive into our living rooms each week on NBC.

Morrison will join in the honoring of the Officer of the Year, Reserve Officer of the Year, Civilian of the Year, Supervisor of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now.

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Then, there’s the 40th Annual Mayor’s Dinner that has announced a new date. Speak Up Newport, the host organization, postponed the previous dinner date scheduled for February because of Omicron issues and now has selected May 19 at the new VEA Newport Beach as the replacement date.

The dinner will feature Mayor Kevin Muldoon, who will offer his State of the City, and be emceed by KCAL 9 and KCBS 2 Orange County reporter and Newport Beach resident Michele Gile.

Another enjoyable feature of the evening is the gathering and presentation of the past mayors. Always good for another picture or two.

To purchase tickets, go here.

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If you’ve never been to the Super Bowl, this just could be the year. Sure, it’s gonna cost you, but you have a shot.

First things first, the game will be played in Inglewood at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 13. If you’re a Rams fan, they could be there…if you like the 49ers, it might be them.

Here’s how the opportunity works. The Hoag Foundation is offering two packages at auction. Yup, I told you it might cost you, after all, they raise funds! 

The first package includes four tickets and a $500 Visa gift card to be used at the game and includes ground transportation to and from the game. Face value…gulp…$21,700.

Package 2 includes two tickets, a $250 Visa gift card and also covers ground transportation. Face value on this one is $11,450. 

Just be prepared, bids already exceed that second amount.

Check it out.

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Speaking of auctions, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce through its Christmas Boat Parade Dinner & Auction puts together one of this community’s best annual auctions.

Unfortunately, this year Omicron canceled the dinner, but the auction is about to go live online for all to enjoy. You have until this Monday, Jan. 31 to donate and get your company name, and perhaps your product, involved.

Donations can be a lot of things, including tickets to events, rounds of golf, dinner, wine, etc., etc. But, be creative, and do something to get your company noticed.

Then when the Chamber goes live, you’ll have the chance to be center stage. And besides, any money raised supports the efforts of the chamber in hosting the annual Christmas Boat Parade.

Donate here.

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And finally, sometimes we get frustrated or angry and perhaps feel like hitting someone or something. Fortunately, we don’t do that!

Who does, however, are the fighters in Roy Englebrecht’s Fight Club OC who hosts their next card of fights on Thursday, Feb. 17 in The Hangar at the OC Fair & Event Center.

Roy’s February event, the kickoff to his 13th season, is a seven-bout card, featuring a mix of MMA and boxing.

As Roy says, “It’s the most fun you can have on a Thursday Night in Orange County.”

For ticket information, go to