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Letters to the Editor

Correct comments concerning lifeguard associations, but still no endorsements

I just read your election article on the Noah Blom statement on endorsements, as well as your statement about there being no lifeguard associations. I was hoping to share some info and correct both of those claims. There is in fact, two separate lifeguard associations. Neither of which are “lumped in” or associated with the PD or Fire, even though all lifeguard operations and lifeguard training fall under the “Fire” umbrella.

One association is the NBLMA – Newport Beach Lifeguard Management Association, comprised of 14 full-time lifeguard supervisors, officers and chiefs.

The other is ANBOL – Association of Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards, also comprised of over 200 seasonal lifeguards strong.

Both associations remain neutral in politics and will not be endorsing any of the candidates. We are employees of this great city and want to provide the best service to its visitors and citizens alike. Getting into politics can definitely interfere with that main goal. Additionally, some employees are members of this city and some are not, so staying neutral provides individuals the ability to support their own positions. 

I do hope this sheds some light on the matter.

Gary Conwell, President

Newport Beach Lifeguard Management Association

Blom clarifies the endorsement record

I am Noah Blom and I am running for District 5 City Council. I would like to set the record straight with regard to Tom Johnson’s recent “Fair Game” editorial.

I apologize for any confusion on my website regarding my endorsement by the Newport Beach Police and Firefighter departments; City agencies do not make political endorsements. I am very proud that I have been endorsed by the rank and file through the Newport Beach Police and Firefighter Associations. I have adjusted my website to have the necessary language corrections and I want to thank Tom and Stu News for bringing this to my attention.

We face a lot of challenges and I don’t want minor points to distract from the major issues that together we must deal with to preserve the charm and character of our City. These issues include the airport, the homeless crisis, the reopening of our economy and the proposed mandate for the City to provide an additional 4,832 residences. We need to collectively fight this unrealistic mandate, and any eventual high-density housing that is mandated should be thoroughly vetted and located in an appropriate location, likely by the airport. I am opposed to new high density housing in our established and already built out neighborhoods and villages.

As a small business owner myself, I believe we must put our local merchants, salons, gyms, restaurants, hotels and other businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic back to work, which will become one of the greatest challenges to our quality of life and success in 2021.

I have a proven track record for successful negotiations and collaborative ideas. I will use my business experience to negotiate the best deals possible to maintain the strength and integrity of Newport Beach. We have to pass the torch to the next generation, to protect and preserve our villages, enhance and inspire our children and push forth the quality of life our community and families deserve.

I am a fighter, a hard worker, and 100 percent committed to the position I am running for – District 5 City Council.

Noah Blom 

Newport Beach

Disappointed with possible intentions of my fellow council members

Fundraising for a city council election reveals critical information about the candidate’s supporters. Unfortunately, fundraising is a requirement of the job, and it’s necessary in order to get your message out to the public, especially to those who are not directly involved in city issues. Most citizens don’t contribute the allowed $1,200 maximum per candidate, but those with a business interest frequently do.

Most of Noah Blom’s contributions are from out-of-town donors and/or those with ties to short-term rentals (his website lists an endorsement from “Newport Beach Short-Term Rentals Assn.”). I don’t see many small contributions from individual citizens, contrasting with Jeff Herdman’s list. (See the Newport Beach City Council website for complete lists of donors.)

Are Mr. Blom’s donors hoping the new council majority will overturn the short-term lodging ordinance, which if passed on October 13 will cap our number at 1,550? Jeff Herdman’s opponent has said he thinks we should have them all over town, allowing unlimited short-term rentals in every neighborhood in our city. Staff estimate that number could be as high as 10,000 units in Newport Beach if left unregulated. There is a difference between individual homeowners renting their property versus corporate interests. Perhaps we should change the city seal to say, “Hotel Newport Beach.”   

Why are three of my council colleagues endorsing an unknown candidate who has never shown any interest in local issues, has never attended a city council meeting [to my knowledge] or served on a board or commission or even a homeowners association?

If the three members who endorse Mr. Blom get their way, the four will have a majority vote. Furthermore, if Diane Dixon wins her race for an assembly seat, that majority bloc could appoint someone to fill her seat, giving them a super-majority.

Will this appointed council member represent the interests of the bloc that appointed him or her rather than the interests of the city and District 1, Lido and the Peninsula specifically? And will this super-majority gut any short-term lodging ordinance?

At that point it would not matter what the citizens of Newport Beach think, because the majority on the council would have the votes to do anything they want. I like all my colleagues as people but not as politicians. And I’m so disappointed that they have taken this endorsement action. They underestimate the ability of our citizens to see through it.

Joy Brenner, District 6

Newport Beach City Council

The time has come to vote, here’s some food for thought

Newport Beach City Council OK, folks….it’s time! Ballots arrive in the mail over the next couple of days, and if trends hold true, a good 70 percent of you will mark your ballot and mail it within two days of receipt. Several people have brought to my attention information about my opponent that I know Newport Beach voters will want to have before they complete their ballots, so please share the following information as you see fit.

My opponent’s name is Noah Blom. Consider the following verified facts: 

–He has only voted 4 times in our local elections between 2002 and 2018. He has no record of leadership responsibility, community service or involvement whatsoever.

–He has had two active judgements against him from creditors who he has done business with totaling close to $60,000, yet he claims to be an experienced and successful businessman and entrepreneur. With these types of business problems you have to wonder who is financing his campaign? Special interests, developers, and out-of-town donors have poured large sums into his treasury.   

–His places of business (ARC Restaurant, Butcher & Bakery) have been cited and closed twice for COVID-19 violations. His employees and patrons are not required to wear masks. 

–A judge once had to issue a bench warrant against him for the non-payment of child support.

–On his campaign website he [claimed] to be endorsed by the Newport Beach Police Department, the Newport Beach Fire Department, and the Newport Beach Lifeguards. If city council members want to lend their names and faces to the campaigns of their allies they of course have the right to do so, however no one should be allowed to drag city employees, and especially our public safety community, into the fray. City “departments” do not endorse candidates running for city council. His endorsement claims are false! 

–Twenty-seven (27) of his sixty-one (61) donations that total $37,150.00 have been made from developers, real estate investment companies, and short-term lodging companies. And he claims that I am a “special interest” candidate? 

Blom claims that the City has yet to come to the table with the airlines that fly out of JWA to address noise and pollution mitigation. Thanks to city staff, myself, Councilwoman Dixon and community groups such as AirFair, SPON, AWG and CAANP, we have had extremely productive talks with airlines flying out of JWA for the past two years! Blom has no knowledge of and has shown no interest in airport issues or related community concerns. 

I have spent the last four years working seven days a week on helping to solve some of our city’s most pressing problems including airport noise and pollution, water quality, transportation and traffic, development, housing requirements, the homeless, and now business recovery in the wake of COVID. 

I have made every effort to keep my constituents informed and up-to-date on matters that have a direct effect on them. I listen and engage; I am willing to change my mind. I have invested time, gained experience and knowledge, but I’ve got a lot more to do. I am committed and dedicated to my responsibilities. I am retired and have absolutely no restrictions on my time, or the time it takes to do this job the way it needs to be done.    

I wish Noah well. I was in the restaurant business myself for 13 years. It’s hard work. I encourage Noah to place his focus on his business, not on seeking a second full-time job as a city councilman. 

Be responsible and vote responsibly for the sake of our great City and its future.

Sincerely,

Jeff Herdman, District 5

Newport Beach City Council

Scarbrough is the candidate we need

I am writing to tell you about an extraordinary woman who is running for City Council – Nancy Scarbrough. Nancy has been a proactive force in our Newport Heights community for over fifteen years...the Scarbrough children attended our three Newport Heights schools. 

Nancy has been actively involved in everything that is going on in her community, from SPON to Banning Ranch to the Homeless Task Force. In fact, there is scarcely an issue in our city government and in the Newport Heights area that she has not been aware of, and often involved in. She has participated in the Newport Heights Improvement Association and the Protect Mariners Mile Coalition.

She is very interested in the General Aviation Improvement Program, so she attends Board of Supervisors and Airport Commission meetings. Further, she attends City Council meetings and Councilors’ Town Hall meetings.

In contrast to her opponent, she is not beholden to developers and will be an independent thinker looking out exclusively for the resident’s best interests. Elect Nancy Scarbrough! 

Jeanne Fobes

Newport Beach

School Board election important to align with City moving forward

For years I have been unhappy with the school district’s complete disregard for the concerns of the students, parents, staff and residents. Our kids attended all three Newport Heights schools, elementary, junior high and high school from 2005 to 2013 and as a result, we had lots of experience with NMUSD. The school board was terrible the whole way through. 

This year there are three trustee positions up for election. I am advocating for a strong relationship between the City and the school district (at the council level, not the staff level) that does not currently exist. This is critical because we are closely aligned, “joined at the hip to NMUSD.” If there is a problem on one of the District’s Newport Beach campuses, Newport Beach Police and Fire are the ones who must respond. Our officers and paramedics will have to deal with the Ensign security fencing and exiting issues that will invariably be caused by the NMUSD’s security fence design. 

Although we have police officers that are dedicated to the schools, NMUSD didn’t ask for NB Police or Fire input on the design of the new security fencing at any time during the design process, not to mention that the traffic (both vehicle and pedestrian) is the City’s problem.

There was no discussion between the District and the City regarding how this new design would impact our streets and sidewalks in Newport Heights and in Corona del Mar. It demonstrates the school board’s historical arrogance and disregard for their constituents.

Please get involved. Visit the District’s website, email them, call them, or attend a forum.

There is one coming up on October 8th hosted by Harper Council PTA. Information is available at: http://bitly/hcpta2020.

During my City Council campaign, I have spoken to several of the School Board candidates. I believe some of the new candidates are open to a closer relationship with the City as they are strong proponents of change at all levels in the District, from the newly appointed Superintendent to the staff who railroaded the Ensign plans through that resulted in the unnecessary destruction of beautiful mature trees. I was there that week, and I am still angry about it. It is the one of the main reasons that I decided to run for Newport Beach City Council.

You can learn more about NMUSD candidates at the following websites:

Area 1 (now Snell)   

Candidates:

Leah Ersoylu - www.leah4newportmesa.com/meet-leah

Vicki Snell (incumbent) - https://vickisnell.com

Area 3 (now Fluor)

Candidates: 

Carol Crane -  www.carol4nmusd.com

Charles Kent Booker – https://bookerbecause.com

Area 6 (now Black) 

Candidates: 

Xeno Ralf Muller II - www.xenoralfmullerii.com

Amy Peters - www.amypeters4schoolboard.com

Krista Weigand – www.krista4newportmesa.com

Alexis Zavouris - www.alexiszavouris.com

Please make an informed vote. The Newport Mesa Unified School District needs intelligent, reasonable trustees. For the first time in many years, we have an opportunity to influence what happens in our local schools and improve the chances of productive communication between Newport Beach City Council and Newport Mesa Unified School District.

I am Nancy Scarbrough, and I am running for Newport Beach City Council District 2.

Learn more at www.nancyfornewport.com or @nancyfornewport on social media.

Nancy Scarbrough

Newport Beach

The question seems to be who’s best to oversee COVID-19 monitoring systems

In a Michelle Steel article this weekend, she argues that the COVID-19 monitoring system needs to allow for local control. We tried that approach once and failed dismally, Ms. Steel being one of the members of local government
who demonstrated just how fickle local control of a pandemic can be. 

Who can forget that meeting of the Supervisors where Steel and others sympathized with irrational anti-maskers? 

Or that summer weekend that some local beach City governments refused to follow state directives to close their beaches, some even going so far as to sue the representatives of state government? 

And how about the local businessmen and council member who pleaded with the Governor to reopen businesses at the very beginning of the pandemic? 

Finally, we have the most recent appeal by Supervisor (Donald) Wagner asking President Trump to bypass Sacramento and give COVID money directly to local governments. Even the President, it seems, ignored Supervisor Wagner.

Supervisor Steel, we are doing much better under Governor Newsom’s guidance. And since you are a local friend of President Trump, you and other local government officials who have been trying to wrestle control of the pandemic from Sacramento should appreciate that twice during the presidential debate, President Trump mentioned and seemed proud of the fact that he and the Governor got along very well. 

No, thank you Ms. Steel, but I think our fate is much better protected by Sacramento than by local politicians.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach

Clarifying Blom’s dwelling issues

During the September 9 Speak Up Biennial City Council Candidate Forum, Tom Johnson, the moderator and Publisher of Stu News asked a “Yes” or “No” question during the “lightening round,” it was question number five: The Museum House.

“Given that the City is required to provide 4,832 dwelling units in the housing element would you now be in favor of the Museum House Project residential project in Newport Center?” Obviously, suggesting that the Museum House represents high-density housing, however, the project was successfully defeated.

(According to Newport’s City Attorney Aaron Harp, “At this time there are no plans for a possible future project on the property site.” –2018) 

Approximately five minutes later in the forum came question number three, asked by the moderator, “With the State mandate on dwelling unit numbers that are going to be required, do you support adding over five-story high-rises/residential high-rises in the Newport Center? All four candidates answered “yes”, with explanations.

Noah Blom made it clear in his explanation, “We have some very specific areas of growth in our City and we have some very specific areas that we are not going to grow in our City. The villages are sacred and cherished and I think that we have an opportunity in Newport Center to find some really beautiful, well-proportioned development. I would love to see that we could mitigate the idea and keep focus on what our goal is to beautify Newport.”

At the most recent Corona del Mar Residents Association forum, hosted by moderators Riley Hayes and Alex Crawford, the question was asked again, “How can Newport Beach possibly accommodate almost 5,000 new dwellings?”

Noah Blom passionately replied, “The irony is that Newport can’t do it, so fighting is always my number one. I like to fight, I like to get excited, I like to really rebel rouse. The idea is that if we are not fighting for the town we believe in, if we are not pushing back against these ridiculous mandates, especially from Sacramento, then we should be. Now is the time to stand up as a City and say, ‘NO.’” 

At the end of the day, our job is still to fight. It is to fight against Sacramento for the town and City that we believe in.”

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” –Rocky Balboa

Peggy V. Palmer 

Newport Beach Resident

 

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