Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

Excited about the Jr. Lifeguard building, but concerned about area’s homeless campsite

I was happy to read about the new Junior Lifeguard building in the recent Stu News. Many of us have benefited from our kids and grandkids participating in the program. I agree the building is much needed. 

I do have one concern. Has anyone taken a walk on or near the Balboa Pier lately? If not, maybe you should. It has become a homeless campsite with all the tents and lack of hygiene that come with it. If the City and the Foundation are going to make a big investment, the City should address this problem. Right?

Jerry Piersall

Costa Mesa

Finding common purpose out of the morass!

In a recent letter, I spoke about our Newport city council’s focus on whack a mole issues rather than tackling the more difficult issues and getting innovative about them. I should have explained the pattern of behavior I see. It isn’t unique to Newport, but I live here. 

The pattern is to not seriously address the wicked problems like sea level rise or homelessness or affordable housing, or transportation or better community health within the city to the point that the courts or state government step in and mandate changes. Then when the courts or state mandate change or citizens revolt, elected leaders complain, fight them in court, or resist in other ways. 

Newport recently was to begin a general plan update. A substantial update addressing the problems of the 21st century would truly require extensive community engagement and participation. It would also require leadership to be bold in explaining what issues the city faces. A lackluster effort to engage the community ensued until the state mandated a huge housing increase and the pandemic stopped any idea for any robust community involvement. Staff and hired consultants then came up with status quo draft plans for housing and transportation which included widening PCH through Mariner’s Mile and annexing Banning Ranch to build housing. Both ideas that citizens have been fighting for years. 

Leadership in the 21st century going forward will need to be bold, inclusive and innovative. Community and organizational success and solutions of wicked problems will take communication and involvement like we haven’t seen in years or maybe never. We need a common purpose of making the changes we need to survive and saving, even enhancing, our quality of life. The parroting of partisan themes needs to be gone and we need leaders in all areas – resident, elected and business – to collaborate and lead us out of this current morass. 

Linda Watkins

Newport Beach


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