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Letters to the Editor

When politicians err, people die

Besides beaches, what do New Zealand and Newport Beach have in common? Sadly it is COVID-19 deaths. New Zealand has 22, Newport Beach, 20. There, the similarity ends. New Zealand has a population of 5 million, Newport Beach, 87,180.

In March, California’s governor issued a “stay-at-home order” to limit the virus spread. New Zealand’s Prime Minister did likewise. New Zealanders endured for 7 weeks and stopped the spread of the virus.

In Newport, the Mayor and City Council sued the governor, then rushed ahead to ease restrictions. In the early days of March and April, Newport had around two new cases per day. After relaxing the restrictions and opening parking lots, piers and beaches, the number of cases shot up to 20 per day. Within weeks, deaths followed, at first one every five days, now one every 2.5 days.

Much of this could have been avoided. We deserve better from our elected officials.

Craig B. Smith

Newport Beach

Getting to know Nancy Scarbrough – femme extraordinaire!

If you have attended any civic meetings in the last several years, most likely you will have seen Nancy Scarbrough in attendance. There is hardly an issue involving city government that Nancy has not had on her radar, most often as an active participant. From her initial involvement in SPON (Still Protecting Our Newport) activities which focused on environmental issues such as the bay, Banning Ranch, short-term lodging, the SPON Policy and Budget Committees and the Good Neighbor Policy Committee, she has branched out to many different areas of concern in our community.

Those areas include Zoning Administrator meetings, community outreach meetings for the General Plan update, the Homeless Task Force, the public Election Reform meetings, the study sessions for Cottage Preservation and 3rd Floor Massing, the NMUSD Board meetings and the Heights’ community effort to save the Ensign trees. 

As a resident of Newport Heights, Nancy has also participated in the Newport Heights Improvement Association, and the Protect Mariner’s Mile Coalition.           

As if all this were not enough, Nancy has gotten very involved in the General Aviation Improvement Program by attending the Orange County Board of Supervisors’ meetings and the Orange County Airport Commission meetings, where she has spoken more than once. 

She regularly attends City Council meetings and has attended or viewed the live feed of most Planning Commission meetings. And, perhaps most impressively, she has attended every town hall meeting of Council members Joy Brenner, Diane Dixon and Jeff Herdman, even though they do not represent her district. She was also one of the three people who regularly attended the office hours of Will O’Neill, until they were postponed.

When asked about her biggest concern in dealing with civic matters, at the top of Nancy’s list is the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee (HEUAC) that had begun before the pandemic. But to her consternation, despite its urgency as an issue, no one is talking about it.

Where Nancy finds time to get involved in all of these civic activities and hold down a full-time job has everyone in awe. She has owned her own commercial design business for 35 years. 

She has also raised three sons here in Newport Heights and they attended all three schools – Newport Heights Elementary, Ensign Intermediate and Newport Harbor High. Her boys also participated in Junior Guards and Newport Aquatic Center programs.

What is definitely noteworthy is that Nancy Scarbrough did not do all these things to put on her resume. She was encouraged and then accepted to run for City Council only a few months ago. And, her neighbors and friends could not be happier. If you have ever met her, her serious and inquisitive nature tells you that she is “all business.” She is that “classic overachiever” who is interested in seeking perfection in all that is going on in her life and around her in the community. If that is not a refreshing description of her attributes as a future council member, I don’t know what is. 

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach