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Letters to the Editor

Jeff Herdman: The Special Interest Candidate

Keith Curry is endorsing Jeff Herdman for city council because he’s not a “special interest” candidate. Oh, really?

Let’s start with the proposed plan for the Mariners Mile expansion. The primary owner and proponent of the project is Manouch Moshayedi. Jeff Herdman took thousands of dollars from Mr. Moshayedi, his wife, and Keith Curry – all disclosed on the same campaign disclosure form.

Amazing what just a little research can yield – It doesn’t stop there...

Herdman has also taken hundreds of dollars from Tod Ridgeway, who led the effort to build housing on the car wash site in Fashion Island.

Herdman happily accepted a max-out donation from the California Real Estate PAC and took more money from the Apartment Association of Orange County, the California Apartment Owners’ Association of Orange County, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, a Political Action Committee called “Taxpayers and Residents United For Newport,” and the Building Industry Association of California.

Herdman has taken money from “Shopoff Land Fund II,” “TSG Parcel 1, LLC” and “Uptown Newport Jamboree.” All are companies associated with the high-density Shopoff project along Jamboree. 

Herdman has taken money from CAA Planning, Inc., who was the political consultant behind the failed Porsche dealer design along Mariner’s Mile.

So, Mr. Curry, who exactly is the special interest candidate? Here’s a hint: you just endorsed him. 

If you’re looking for independence unbeholden to actual special interests, your vote is simple. Vote for Noah Blom!

Jodi P. Bole, Chair

Balboa Island Preservation Association (BIPA) 

Blom brings young, charismatic energy to Council alternatives

I am a native of Newport Beach and my family has been here on Balboa Island since 1926. Never have I been more dismayed with our city leadership than I am now. I have watched helplessly as eight beautiful almost hundred year old Lemon-scented Gum trees were destroyed on Marine Avenue, then four more removed even after the Balboa Island Preservation Association (BIPA) got involved to try to slow down the carnage. To add insult to injury we were told by the City that the trees had to come down because they were diseased, which scientific testing has shown was categorically false. At the same time, prominently displayed on the City’s website was their vision of the future of Marine Avenue – which could best be described as Palm Springs on a bad day. All of this happened on Council member Jeff Herdman’s watch. Doesn’t he have any appreciation for the charm and character that makes Balboa Island special? How could he allow this to happen?

The Board of Supervisors just voted on the John Wayne Airport Initiative that will have a profound adverse effect on our quality of life. Newport Beach received no material concessions that will reduce airport noise. Jeff Herdman is chairman of our City’s airport committee. How could he allow this to happen on his watch? In a similar situation, the city of Lake Arrowhead sued the FAA for flightpath changes and won. Jeff Herdman could learn something from this little town in the mountains with nowhere near the resources of Newport Beach. 

Jeff Herdman says he laments the formation of grassroots organizations like the BIPA and the Balboa Island Merchants Association and doesn’t understand why they are needed. He should look in the mirror. They formed over the last four years because he stubbornly pursues an agenda the vast majority of his constituents don’t want. He claims that he is open to dissenting points of view, but you only have to spend a short time with him to dispel that notion. Any dissension created over the last four years happened on his watch. 

Now Jeff Herdman is running for reelection. I don’t believe he has earned another four-year watch. Fortunately, we have a great alternative. I met Noah Blom and his wife Marin at a recent get-together on Balboa Island. They are a young, charismatic couple with lots of energy. They are successful entrepreneurs – starting and operating many successful restaurants including ARC and ARC Butcher & Baker. Noah was born in Newport Beach and attended local schools. His father was John Blom, a well-known photographer in Corona del Mar. Noah and Marin’s son attends CdM High School. As an entrepreneur, Noah will bring a unique skill set and new vigor to tackle important issues like the Airport, the homeless crisis and the several hundred million dollar unfunded City pension liability. Noah has developed a lot of support all over the City including the endorsement of the Newport Beach Police, Firefighters and Lifeguards. We have a choice in November between a career bureaucrat and a young, dynamic entrepreneur. I will be voting for Noah Blom for City Council and look forward to the start of his watch.

Edward Black

Balboa Island

Schools are reopening except for NMUSD…what’s the hold up?

(Letter written to Mr. Hill, Dr. Gogel, Mr. Lee-Sung and NMUSD Board of Education)

I was reading today that FIVE Orange County school districts opened Tuesday, Sept 22. These school districts include: Fountain Valley Unified School District, Orange Unified School District, Cypress Elementary School District, Irvine Unified School District and Tustin Unified School District. I also know that Los Alamitos Unified School District opened middle schools on September 22 and is beginning in-person high school classes on Tuesday, September 29.

Orange County schools are now eligible for in-person instruction!

How can it be that the Newport-Mesa Unified School District cannot figure out a way to open the middle and high schools NOW?

My son attends CdM High School and he will not begin in-person classes until October 12. That is a full THREE WEEKS after we should have been able to make this transition. 

As a single mom who works FULL TIME, this delay is a slap in the face to all parents who have been dealing with the completely untenable situation of remote learning since March.

What exactly is the hold up? We all have been anticipating a return to school since before the last school year ended. What on earth still needs to be done that is keeping our kids from getting back to in-person school? (As an aside, if this delay is in any way related to construction at CdM High School, that would be absolute malpractice on the part of NMUSD and all other involved parties.)

We clearly have had enough time to prepare. Numerous other OC school districts are OPEN.

This delay is unacceptable, and I would like to hear the reasons for it.

I look forward to your response. Thank you.

Regards,

Karen Davis

Newport Beach

It’s a sign of the times

The “cowboy capitalists” are at it again...

Yesterday on one of my errands, I saw a multitude of Michelle Steel signs planted in the cement and grassy divider between Newport Boulevard and the frontage road which runs parallel approaching 17th Street. Since I always put up flags where my election partner advises, daring to never break any sign rules, I was very cognizant of the possibility that this is one of those places where election campaign signs should not be. I am well aware that Ms. Steel may not be the person who planted signs there, but now that she is informed, I am assuming that, if illegally placed, they will be removed. I was going to counter with the placement of some Harley signs in the same location, citing that if the Steel signs were not removed, it must be okay to put signs there. The Head Supervisor of Orange County should know. But someone in Harley’s organization must know more than me, because when advised of the situation, I was told not to place any Harley signs there. Nice to know that they are trying to go by the rules in this tumultuous race.

On another front last week, Supervisor Wagner from Irvine asked President Trump to bypass the state and send future coronavirus relief money directly to the counties. He contends that counties have the right to come up with their own plans if they follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on topics such as physical distancing and masks.

Is he kidding? The BOS (Board of Supervisors) is the same body that, just a few months ago, sided with anti-maskers with conspiracy theories and in addition to not speaking up for the Health Officer who was getting death threats at her home from anti-maskers, they dropped the mask mandate. Supervisor Steel on tape sympathized with the anti-maskers. Fortunately, Governor Newsom quickly restored the mandate.

And isn’t the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) the agency which has lately become politicized by President Trump and corporate interests? As much as the City Council of Newport Beach and the Board of Supervisors have tried to make COVID a political issue, we are much better protected by rules that guide the rest of the state, while recognizing regional differences. 

This last spring some of the same local leaders of Orange County rebelled when they were told by the governor to close their beaches for safety reasons. Dr. Fred Smoller, an associate professor of political science at Chapman, said that elected officials like Wagner, O’Neill and Board Supervisor Steel who denounced the governor’s beach closure, speak for “the old Orange County of rugged individualism and making your own way,” and added, “I think they speak for a fraction of Orange County that is diminishing in size.”

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach